Where the Passing Attack Is At

Frank Beamer is fond of reminding reporters after his team's first game that the most improvement in a season happens between the first and second games. It's a coaching adage that is common because it is usually pretty true. The first week a coach prepares his game plan based on who he thinks his team is. It's not unusual for a squad to perform like something entirely unimagined. In that case, the changes made from week one to week two will increase productivity as scheme, practice focus, and game plan better match personnel and their pros and cons.

The Alabama game taught the Hokies coaching staff a lot about the current squad. Bud Foster and the defensive coaches saw their defense hold up very well versus one of the best pro-formation offenses in the country. The d-line looked stout against the run and the slanting scheme worked well to take away a powerful zone-rushing offense. Coach Torrian Gray's youngest pupils (Kendall Fuller, Brandon Facyson, and Donovan Riley) all looked more than capable in pass coverage, and his eldest statesman (Kyle Fuller) appeared to have taken the next step in single man coverage against one of the nation's premiere wide receivers. The defense looked to be pretty special after the first game, and simply needed to see that success continue against the spread-style offense that Western Carolina brought to town.

The Hokie offensive brain trust had a lot more to improve on than their defensive counterparts. The running game looked decent in the Dome (which was a vast improvement over the 2012 campaign), but the passing attack looked downright poor. The wide receivers... well, we all know how they played versus Alabama. Heading into the Western Carolina game Hokie fans wanted to see the offense continue to run the ball with authority (something Jeff Grimes's unit was able to do with a fair amount of consistency) as well as start to show some semblance of an air attack.

Fortunately, Logan Thomas and his targets did improve. The senior signal caller had many well thrown balls and made many correct reads while his receivers did a much better job at holding on to the football. While it wasn't all flawless football, it was certainly a step in the right direction.

Good Things Happened

Logan Thomas has shown time and time again that he has arguably the most NFL ready arm in college football. There is not a throw that has been drawn up by an offensive coordinator that he isn't capable of completing, and on Saturday afternoon Thomas completed many "next level" throws.

00:08:33–00:08:41

That is one pretty ball, the type of pas that gets NFL scouts all hot and bothered. Not many guys are capable of fitting the ball in there, and that's why Thomas is considered to have one of (if not the) highest ceilings among QB prospects. As a defensive coordinator, there's not a lot more you can do other than shake your head and tip your hat when you see a man complete a pass like that.

The defense was in "Quarters" coverage or what some people call a "Cover-4". It's a coverage that is very popular right now, especially with the amount of spread offenses that defenses are facing. A Quarters coverage will have four defenders (two safeties, two cornerbacks) each responsible for guarding one fourth (or a quarter) of the deep portion of the field.

One clever thing that Loeffler does versus Quarters coverage is he overloads the deep routes to the field side of the formation. By rule, if the "Boundary Corner" doesn't have a receiver threaten him deep, he stays shallow to defend against a late developing screen. This means that deep down the field, there is a 3v2 matchup (one corner and two safeties vs two receivers). While the defense has the numbers advantage, Loeffler uses the rules of their defense against them to out leverage the "Field Corner".

One of the few weaknesses with Quarters coverage is that often the two halves of the secondary work independently of each other. The "Field Safety" is going to follow the slot receiver's post into the middle of the field regardless of what the other safety is doing. This loophole allows Loeffler to force the safeties to double cover his decoy slot receiver, and isolate his outside receiver (D.J. Coles) on a cornerback. Loeffler then uses another rule of Quarters coverage, on vertical routes the corners play with outside leverage, against the defense.
The corners in Quarters coverage want to force the receivers they are covering to break back towards the middle of the field. That's where their safety help is... usually. In this case, the Western Carolina corner's safety ISN'T in a position to help, because he's been run off by the decoy receiver's post route. That leaves an opening (albeit a small one, but an opening) down the field for Logan to try and fit the ball through, and he does perfectly. Here's an even better angle showing the safety giving up the passing lane to D.J. Coles.

This was a great play design by Loeffler, great execution by the receivers, and a great throw by Logan Thomas. This throw is difficult because it requires both accuracy and power on the ball. A lot of people brush off the importance of a quarterback's arm strength, but this is an important example of why it matters. D.J. Coles breaks open somewhere in between the goal line and the five-yard-line. Once he gets open, Logan Thomas has very little time to get the football to him before Coles runs out of real estate in the back of the end zone. If Thomas can't throw the football fast enough it doesn't matter how accurate the throw is, Coles won't be in bounds to make the play.

That wasn't the only throw which Logan showed off his arm strength. Here he is again zipping the ball to a receiver who is quickly headed towards the sideline. A lofted ball, rather than a driven ball, won't reach the target in time.

00:10:02–00:10:08

Just a great throw. Not a bad catch either. The Hokies did a better job at holding onto the football when it was thrown to them Saturday. Stanford and Willie Byrn both made a handful of nice plays, including this beautiful one, in the red zone, on third down.

00:06:03–00:06:11

After going almost a decade watching the Hokies struggle to throw the ball in the red zone, I felt ecstatic watching this play. It's another well designed play which Logan read perfectly.

So right off the bat, we see that on the boundary side of the field the defense is going to be running some type of combination coverage. The corner on the bottom is going to keep the Demitri Knowles in front of him. He'll only come off the Knowles if the number two receiver to his side (on this occasion, that would be Willie Byrn) runs a "smash concept". If the slot receiver runs a deep flag route towards the corner of the endzone, then the slot defender will drift over to cover Knowles and the corner and safety will double team the flag route.

While this coverage does take away the ever-popular red zone "Smash" concept, it also takes a safety away from the middle of the field. The defensive coordinator now has to choose. Does it want to cover the middle of the field with the second safety and leave its other corner in one-on-one coverage, or does it want to drop a linebacker into the middle of the field and give it's second corner some deep support? The Western Carolina DC chose the second option and when Logan Thomas sees a linebacker drop to cover a streaking TE, he throws into the space the linebacker vacates. Beautiful Play.

That wasn't the only positive impact that tight ends had for the Hokies on Saturday. While I wasn't expecting to see Kalvin Cline play on Saturday, I wasn't surprised by his effectiveness in the passing game. I said back in May that Cline was my "sleeper pick" of this recruiting class after watching his film. He's an athletic tight end who can make the plays in the passing game that Loeffler looks for from that position. Cline is a player who can be a matchup problem for defenses when they over commit to stop Grimes's zone rushing attack. Here he is with surprisingly good technique on a bootleg play.

00:04:49–00:04:56

If Thomas can get that ball to him a step earlier, Cline might be have a little more room and time to try and make that first defender miss. As it is, Cline still picks up good yardage.

00:05:58–00:06:03

This time Cline again shows good technique to get free of his initial defender. Look at how violent he is with his hands to get free, if Thomas doesn't get his throw tipped here Cline will pick up the first down. Cline isn't just a "One trick route pony" either. Here he is coming across the formation on a crossing route on another bootleg.

00:07:53–00:07:59

Many tight ends will lose awareness on this route and start running parallel to the line of scrimmage, but Cline has a good feel for where he is supposed to be and picks up an extra 3-4 yards by pushing up the field. Kalvin Cline will continue to have a positive impact on the passing attack for the Hokies and if he shows good technique with his blocking responsibilities may very well become the starter.

There's Still Room For Improvement

The Hokies showed positive development on Saturday, but they were far from perfect. The wide receivers were better at catching the ball, but still had their moments when they couldn't make the play. Here's Stanford doing a good job at getting open, but not being able to hold on to the ball in traffic.

00:05:04–00:05:10

That's a play that a big time 1-A receiver makes. Stanford has the potential to be a really effective player for Frank Beamer, but he'll have to clean up that part of his game.

00:00:36–00:00:42

Above might be the worst non-interception decision that Logan Thomas made all day. Western Carolina only brought three rushers, the offensive line did a fine job of picking them up, and created a pocket for Thomas to step into. Thomas has to realize that he has plenty of time to continue to survey the field and give his receivers more time to work themselves open. There are 8 defenders in coverage here, so there aren't many windows to throw to, but given enough time his playmakers might be able to get themselves free. In the end, Thomas looks to rush the ball to Knowles who is running a crossing route right into the zone of a defender. Knowles has zero chance to protect himself here, and Thomas isn't doing Knowles' confidence any favors by leading him directly into a big hit.

Thomas is still missing his drop off targets, something Loeffler noted in postgame comments after the Alabama game. Loeffler likes to leave his RB's and TE's in pass protection for a couple of ticks, and then have them leak out once the underneath defenders have committed themselves in coverage. It's an easy way to keep your quarterback upright while also taking easy yardage that the defense gives you. Thomas has a huge arm, and I'm sure he's tempted to throw the ball down the field where he's had lots of success in the past. However, Knowles and Stanford haven't shown an ability to challenge FCS cornerbacks (forget ACC cornerbacks) while the ball is in the air. Loeffler needs for Thomas to show more willingness to take the 4-5 yards when it's available. Maybe then defenses would stop being so conservative with their coverages, which will allow Knowles to get more routes open behind safeties, rather than down the sideline.

The Interceptions

Thomas' first interception was another example of passing on a checkdown route and instead taking a shot down the field against good coverage.

00:03:14–00:03:24

It's first down, and while I respect Thomas's desire to attack the one-on-one coverage versus his speedy receiver, there's no need to. Especially not when you have a playmaker like Coleman sitting in the middle of the field five yards away from the closest defender.

After the game Logan said it wasn't a bad decision, just a bad throw. "I had one-on-one coverage there [on the interceptions]. Sometimes, my pass has to be better and I have to put it more outside, and sometimes we have to go and make a play." He's got a point, theoretically if he had placed this ball on the outside shoulder of Knowles the only way the defender could make a play is by interfering.

Let's look at the situation though, rather than punishing the defense for dropping it's linebackers 10 yards from the line of scrimmage by taking a guaranteed 4-yard gain (potentially larger, if the elusive Coleman could make a FCS linebacker miss in space), Thomas rolled the dice by trying to make a perfect throw to an undersized receiver 50 yards down the field.

Here's the replay of the second interception.

If Thomas makes a perfect throw to the back pylon, then maybe Knowles can make a play on the ball. However, this would require a perfect throw. Thomas can make those throws, but nobody is capable of making them with the frequency he attempts them at.

Logan had a solid pocket, was in no danger of getting sacked, and Knowles was not open. What could have happened then? If he spotted Willie Byrn open across the middle (freeze the video at 00:04), it would have been an easy touchdown. From the opposite end zone (watch between 00:12 - 00:14), it's really obvious that Willie is breaking free from his coverage and there are no defenders to stop a touchdown throw.

A simple lofted toss towards the right side of the end zone and Byrn makes the easy TD catch.

Almost There

The Hokies executed much better in the passing game against the Catamounts than they did against Alabama. That's to be expected though. Alabama has had the best defense in college football over the past couple years, while WCU has had one of the worst in the FCS. The passing attack has improved from game 1 to game 2, as Frank Beamer and Scott Loeffler said it would. However, this is not going to be a powerful passing team during ACC play unless both the wide receivers and Logan Thomas improve their play. The wideouts need to be more dynamic in one-on-one situations and get open. A below average (and that's putting it nicely) FCS secondary only barely looked outclassed by this receiver corps.

Moving forward, Knowles, Stanford, and Coles all have to be able to get more separation from their defenders. They have to be explosive not just when running past their cover men, but explosive when coming out of breaks and powerful when going up for the football. In short, they need to make plays.

Speaking of Coles, he wasn't on the field much on Saturday. My initial reaction was to think that Moorehead might be making a statement to his young players—anyone who isn't being productive isn't going to play. After reading Frank Beamer's postgame statements that he wanted to protect Coles by playing him fewer snaps, "I think we just got to play him less plays and get more out of him per play," I'm even more curious about what his role will be moving forward. D.J. Coles is one of the only players capable of being the athletic down-the-field threat that Thomas so desperately needs, and yet Beamer is talking about limiting his role rather than changing it. The D.J. Coles at H-Back experiment hasn't seemed particularly effective (not in the summer scrimmages or in the Alabama game), and with all the capable running backs that Tech has who can also be used lined up as receiving threats (Coleman, Mangus, Caleb), why not just line Coles up as a normal receiver? That's where he was most effective in the past, go let him do his thing.

Kalvin Cline's emergence as a threat is a big positive to take away from this game, and hopefully he will continue to contribute. If Cline can make an impact in even more packages and plays then Loeffler will have even more flexibility to toy with. If he struggles as a blocker it will keep him sidelined in too many rushing and red zone situations, and those are the scenarios where a matchup with a linebacker is most likely to yield positive results. If Cline is only making an appearance in passing situations, it'll really limit the impact he can have on the offense as a whole.

Lastly, Logan Thomas is the engine that powers the entire passing attack. If Thomas has a great game and is accurate and decisive with the ball, the Hokies will move the ball through the air. If Thomas struggles making the right reads and isn't accurate with the football, the Hokies won't. He is making progress and getting better though, and Saturday showed that he's starting to build a little rapport with his receivers. If that continues, then the Hokies have a shot at being a good offense by the end of the season. If it doesn't, then Frank Beamer will have to once again rely on a great defense and talented tailbacks to get back to a bowl game.

Contact the editor about this post anytime by phone: (703) 646-1931 or mail: 3057 Nutley St Suite 633, Fairfax, Virginia 22031.

Comments

We definitely have a ways to go, but you rightfully pointed out the positives shown both by Logan and the receivers on Saturday.

It's all about The VPISU
VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804. Also go Keydets, Army Black Knights, NY Giants, NY Rangers, and ATL Braves.

Great analysis!!!!!

TN_Hokie

Great write up! I'm hoping by the 2nd half of the Marshall game this O is firing on all cylinders, so for once in a very long time we have both a dominate D and a very capable O.

"Sure, I've been called a xenophobe, but the truth is, I'm not. I honestly just feel that America is the best country and the other countries aren't as good. That used to be called patriotism." Kenny Powers

I'd like for it to at least be firing on 4-5 of 6 cylinders during this ECU game. Although right now our offense is looking more like a fuel-efficient 4-cylinder offense. We're probably never going to have a V10 offense, but I wouldn't mind a nice V6. Loeffler has the ability to give that to us as long as we minimize drops, improve routes, and Thomas improves his decision making. I had a hard time deciding who was at fault on the Knowles and Stanford drops where they got lit up as soon as they caught it. I thought Logan put the ball in the right place (maybe not at the right time) and they had the opportunity to hold it, but they lost it. Unfortunately we were spoiled by guys like Boykin and Coale who would take those hits and hold onto the ball. They will get there eventually.

I think Tech could have a very very good offense, but they'll have to improve recruiting.

That's the one flaw of a pro-style offense. It relies on the OC's ability to find favorable matchups, but if the offense doesn't have explosive personnel then it'll limit the systems effectiveness. Loeffler and Grimes are good enough coaches to field a fantastic offense, if they have the necessary playmakers.

Recruiting matters.

Recruiting definitely matters - See Virginia Tech.

Coaching matters also - See USC and Oklahoma.

Love the analysis. While I was watching the game, I was disappointed at first, though I felt like we were seeing a couple stars in the making with Byrn and Stanford. I also feel like the offense was very pass heavy, but figured they're doing it against an opponent we expected to dominate to work on the pass attack for everyone. I noticed they seemed to be switching out a lot of personnel throughout the entirety of the game (except Logan).

Great analysis, Mason! Logan's two endzone picks reminded me very much of his performance in ECU a couple of years ago where we absolutely beat them up and down the field, but a pick in the endzone made the scoreline look a bit skewed (God that game was boring, and hot, and moonshine drunk). I'm hoping since he threw two endzone picks last week against WCU, he's gotten them out of his system and makes better reads/throws this weekend.

And guys, when we win this week against ECU and then beat UNC and Duke in October, the Hokies will officially annex the State of North Carolina as part of the Virginia Commonwealth, thereby making all previously NC-based teams eligible to vie (and lose) the Commonwealth cup to the Hokies, just like UVa!!

"You know when the Hokies say 'We are Virginia Tech' they're going to mean it."- Lee Corso

The Annexation of North Carolina has begun!

"When you're green, you're growing. When you're ripe, you rot." -Ray Kroc

Honestly, although I enjoy our traditional "pound the rock" offensive philosophy, it was good to see us try to open it up a little bit. I hope we can develop and find ways to be more successful in the passing game.
It has always bothered me over the past 10-12 years to hear my friends down here in Tn laugh about our offense. The "yeah that was a snoozfest tryin' to watch you guys move the ball" and " your offense always ranks in the lower half of FBS schools". What bothers me most is.....they are right!!! It really sucks to have a consistently good defense, and at best, a mediocre offense.
What is it gonna take to get us to the upper tier??? (better recruiting, change in o- philosophy, or just more of an overall commitment) I just want more teams to fear/respect us for our ability to move the ball....................

TN_Hokie

We beat Tennessee recently, though, right?

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

Great analysis as always. I can't believe this website is free. Keep it up guys.

Bucky Hodges is open

The more and more I see Loeffler's offense, the more I'm loving this hire.

Loeffler likes to leave his RB's and TE's in pass protection for a couple of ticks, and then have them leak out once the underneath defenders have committed themselves in coverage.

Good lord that is brilliant. I don't know if that's common or not, but I'm afraid that ACC coaches will be able to figure that out and account for Cline in coverage. On the other hand, that could leave other receivers uncovered.

Great review, Mason! Keep it up :D

In Beamer & Co. We Trust #Livefor32 #DecadeofDominance

It's very common in the NFL, and somewhat common in the SEC (Auburn fan and grad, Dad went to VT and I was born in Blacksburg, so grew up a Hokie).

Anyway, they will be able to account for that when they play man. If a man is on the RB/TE, he can stay and spy the RB/TE and LT if the RB/TE stays in to block the whole time, or move out with the RB/TE when he releases from a block. DC's don't typically do that though, because as soon as the opposing OC sees them do that, they know they have single coverage at least one other place unless they're rushing 3 (I think). Zone coverages can more easily account for this, but if the LB's are moving back with the receivers who are running routes 10+ yards past the line of scrimmage, the underneath dump off to the RB/TE for a few yards is very viable.

Probably way more than that comment warranted, but oh well. I like Loeffler, and am convinced his "failure" at Auburn was the result of Chizik micromanaging instead of Loeffler's incompetence (Auburn's offense was fine in the Clemson game before Chizik got to messing with the offense). The RB/TE coming out of the backfield after blocking for a few ticks is nice. It also allows LT to throw at the RB/TE's feet for an easy incompletion if he's about to get sacked.

FRYE

:\

In Beamer & Co. We Trust #Livefor32 #DecadeofDominance

While WCU is an FCS school, their pass defense was solid. They made good plays that accounted for Logan's 2 INTs, played with correct technique, and did not let our receivers run pass them too often. The also rallied to the ball and tackled well.

Logan needs to recognize the underneath is usually open and hit his check downs, esp. the tail backs coming out of the backfield. Against the smaller WCU guys I would have liked to see JC and Trey catching the ball in space and making a play.

While he won't be showing off his arm, those short throws will raise his completion percentage, move the chains, and loosen up the deep routes. Logan needs to get rid of the Power Forward mentality and realize he's a point guard, at least in this offense.

"When you're green, you're growing. When you're ripe, you rot." -Ray Kroc

I'm just excited to be hearing words like "game plan" and "clever" when talking about our OC. I knew we were lacking at OC, but having Loeffler here now shows that we were severely lacking at OC. I think back to Edmund's TD run against Bama and how Loeffler set that play up and think its amazing when it all reality that's what a real OC is SUPPOSED to do.

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” - David Wilson

"We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

Just imagine if this coach had the athletes from 2004-2011 like Royal, Morgan, Harper, Coale, Boykin at the WR spots and RBs like Ore, Wiliams, Evans, and Wilson.

Viva El Guapo

I think we've got some promising HBs, but the WRs just don't have the physicality of the good old days. Going to need to compensate for that with some great recruiting.

It's all about The VPISU
VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804. Also go Keydets, Army Black Knights, NY Giants, NY Rangers, and ATL Braves.

I try NOT to think of that since it sends me into a deep depression and I start mumbling "imagine what could've been!" and people start looking at me funny.

If we had a competent offense during those years we would have a trophy in the case.

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” - David Wilson

"We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

Imagine if we had these coaches for that talented 2005 Offense to go with that Elite Defense. It hurts just thinking what could have been.

H_O_K_I_E_S-HOKIES!

Proud Member Of The Key Play Community Since January 2012.

Absolutely love these film reviews! I become a more educated fan every time I read a post here at TKP.

In the Alabama film review, you showed an example of a breakdown in Logan's mechanics, where he dropped the ball down near his hip while he was moving around in the pocket. He found an open receiver but couldn't get the ball out quite fast enough. During the WCU game I noticed a few instances where I thought he was doing the same thing. Any thoughts on Logan's mechanics in the WCU game as compared to Bama game? Improvement or not? Thanks.

--
dmcross

I really like the break down of the first deep pass. With the lack of play-making ability of the WRs, this is what VT needs to get a down field passing game. Loeffler will need to continue to find ways for the receiver to get behind the safety but still be an angled route (not straight down field). It is very apparent that Loeffler completely understands how to get his players in a situation to succeed.

It's early, but Kalvin Cline looks like a real playmaker. If he keeps improving, I'm think by ACC competition time, he will be the greatest receiving threat on this team. I imagine Loeffler will find ways of moving him inside and out to get him into mismatches against the defense. Cline and Rogers may be the latest VT diamonds in the rough.

Does anybody else think we should put Chris Mangus in the H-Back/WR position coaches had originally designed for DJ Coles? It seems to make the most sense based on both players' production thus far.

What about Caleb there? I would go for either. Not sold on Coles right now. But I say let the coaches figure it out in practice and trust them to do whats best for the goals of the team.

What's Important Now?
The Lunchpail. The Hammer. BeamerBall.
Deal some damage boys

I think Caleb also has the size and speed to play the position, too. Maybe not from a blocking standpoint, but certainly from a talent and size standpoint.

In Beamer & Co. We Trust #Livefor32 #DecadeofDominance

I would say yes, but coaches just moved Caleb to tailback and have been raving about him there. Coaches also said Mangus to WR was a good move as well, so since he's doing well at RB I figured let him do both and keep Caleb to doing what he's been doing best.

I like Caleb there because he can get involved in the option run game, he has enough wood that he can open something up as a wham blocker, and if he leaks out after a couple of ticks in pass-pro, then catches an easy pass... Boom, there's your playmaker with the ball in his hands and some real estate.

What's Important Now?
The Lunchpail. The Hammer. BeamerBall.
Deal some damage boys

See I think this fits Mangus better because he's shown he's more of an open-field runner, and he has more speed. Caleb runs a 4.7 (at least he did out of high school) and runs into contact better, as seen with the TD up the middle this past Saturday. Mangus' TD was when he got to the edge and had space to work with. Just a personal opinion though.

Why are people so high on Cline after this game? He caught a few wide open passes, most of which were off of the same naked bootleg action, which is a very easy play to make.

The realistic assessment is that he dropped an easy ball in the endzone that would have been a TD, and he showed very little as a run-blocker.

Granted, I'm hopeful that he will be a playmaking option for us at the TE position, but let's not get too excited after he caught a few wide open passes against the stout Western Carolina Catamounts.

I'd say at this point, anyone with hands not made of stone is going to be pretty popular. With Loeffler's offensive strategy, you need to have a TE capable of making some catches. True, the competition wasn't particularly challenging last Saturday, but you have to start somewhere. The loss of Malleck right before the Alabama game must have been a swift kick in the groin to the game plan. If we can get a TE open, that (1) gives Logan an option for short yardage and (2) keeps the defense wary of him such that opportunities open up down field. Combine all of that, and it's a reason for me to be optimistic about Cline.

Dropped TD? Yea, that sucks. But he's really new and the outcome of the game didn't change at all because of it. Does that need to be a catch in the future? Absolutely. I'm willing to cut a kid who has played in all of a dozen or so games in his life some slack at this stage. I have higher expectations of the more senior players.

Because he caught the ball 4 times which is more than Coles and Knowles can say

Well you can't just look at this game in a vacuum.

First this first, dude had a great high school highlight film (Posted here http://www.thekeyplay.com/content/2013/may/30/2013-te-de-kalvin-cline-co...)

When looking at TE prospects, seeing how they work in space is key. An athletic TE with ball skills is a huge weapon and his highschool film showed Cline had a knack for making plays on the ball with it in the air as well as having a good sense of body positioning in the passing game. Tie that in with his natural athleticism and that's a perfect recipe for a great TE.

Secondly, there's great potential for a player with Cline's skill set in Loeffler's system. Loeffler loves him some Tight Ends (don't we all). If Cline CAN be a play-maker, Loeffler will find ways to get him involved in the offense. If Cline lives up to his potential, he could one day be a star in Loeffler's scheme.

Thirdly, I think you are underestimating his performance. He has very little football experience and yet ran a variety of routes well enough to get open. Sure, he dropped a ball in the endzone, but at least he got separation on that route... something the Hokies desperately need more out of their targets. Cline also showed good technique on those bootlegs. He held his block for an appropriate amount of time, then rolled out, made the catch, and got his head turned around and got up field. There are lots of tight ends in CFB that wouldn't have looked nearly as smooth doing the same thing. In fact, some of those TE's are on this football team.

Does Cline deserve to be crowned the next Jeff King? Course not. There is potential there though and considering that the early part of this season will consist of a lot of "There is potential there!" talk, he deserves a shout-out.

Loeffler loves him some Tight Ends (don't we all).

I see what you did there! Turkey leg for you!

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

You mentioned Thomas not checking down. One thing I noticed a lot of in the first half that frustrated me was that the RB would release into the flat and be wide open with miles of green in front of him over and over and over and Thomas never looked his way. I haven't gone back and watched film but that's what I saw from my seats..

"I like to hit a home run early" ~ Whit "knows how to create a Buzz" Babcock