The Offense is Throwing the Kitchen Sink at Foster and his Defense

I found the following two quotes from Bud Foster to the media rather telling. The first is from last Thursday, the second is from yesterday.

"We're seeing it all from our offense right now, my credit goes to those guys what they're doing too ... I mean, we're seeing it all. That's going to be good for us as we prepare for a season, but you know obviously we got to catch up right now for everything, but they're making progress."

"Our offense is giving us every ... We've seen everything we're going to see next fall, if maybe not more, and our kids' heads were spinning, but I think we're slowly catching up."

This is not me pushing the panic button. The most pessimistic among us might read those quotes and be worried that Bud's young defense is, for lack of a better word, "behind" an offense searching for a quarterback, shuffling its o-line around, and identifying a pecking order at tailback. We're used to the defense dominating the offense in April and August—that's our comfort zone.

However, as a devout believer of "In Foster I trust", in Foster I trust. Foster also said last night, "I like our first group, I think we're really flying around doing some good things right there." Bud's a straight shooter.

I cited Bud because it's more evidence indicating Loeffler's offense this fall will be varied. Shortly after he was hired by Tech, Loeffler described his scheme to Bill Roth as, "A pro-style offense, that's multiple, with the ability to run the quarterback." Already this spring Bucky Hodges has lined up in the Wild Turkey (who may be keeping the seat warm for Chris Durkin), the offense has run an up-tempo no huddle, and there's been a variety of running plays (veer, zone, power, speed option) practiced. French and Mason have already hammered my next point home, but it's more clear Loeffler's lean on Logan game plans we saw last fall were out of necessity, not preference.

Last spring was a 1000-level intro class for the offense. As Willie Byrn put it, "It was hard to even call it a spring, because we had to work on our huddle the first day." The subject matter is different this April. Any offense that can spar with Foster and stay on its feet is enrolled in graduate studies.

Loeffler said the following to ESPN.com's Heather Dinich last May, "I've run this offense, the West Coast system, many many years, and whenever you can establish a foundation, you can build and add during the season and it's never-ending. You can keep adding and deleting. It's a good system."

The initial upfront investment to pay for the steep learning curve of Loeffler's scheme is seemingly paying off. Actions and wins in real games speak louder than words, so we won't be able to truly determine if the offense is progressing until after the season. However, it appears Loeffler's true offensive vision will become a reality this fall. I'm ready to see what that looks like and how it fares.

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Comments

Its good for a change to see offense making progress and ahead of defense. I remember last spring game when the defense was totally dominant with our starting QB throwing multiple INTs. A good team needs both sides of the ball functioning at a high level to win championships!

I'm so excited for this season already. Me and my hardcore football friends agree that our win total may be similar to last season, but it will be a much more fun team to watch. More big plays and offensive creativity, just probably inconsistent for one more season.

I can think of at least 2 games from last season that would be wins with some more offensive prowess. If any of this comes to pass, I can't see how we only get the same 8 wins this coming season. I predict at least 9. Our schedule is not much different than last years from a difficulty perspective.

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I have a really funny mental image right now of Lefty throwing a literal kitchen sink at Foster.

I picture Lefty pulling the sink off the wall and heaving it a Foster, with his mind. Then Foster catches it in mid air and crushes it to dust with his bare hands.

Then they have a German belly laugh, hug and then walk out of the room.

We put the K in Kwality

I'm glad to see that Bud has even noticed.

Now, if Bud had said, "Yeah, they're lining up a bunch of different formations, but we're good on defense because they never get themselves to the line of scrimmage", then I'd be worried.

Sounds like things are starting to come together with the offense, and the last few weeks of practice make me feel like a lot of young talent is getting a chance to make an impression.

Previously, our OC's idea of a "Multiple" offense was sort of like a barber who says "I can do all kinds of hairstyles, because I've got me lots of clipper attachments, some razors and big-boy scissors."

Consequently, we had the game-day equivalent of this:

bad hair

It is increasingly sounding like Lefty's expertise is going to keep us looking composed in most every situation.

cooking

If we arent top 25 preseason in 2016 and 2017 I will be disappointed..... our offense could be BETTER than our def by then. Now wouldn't that be strange.

When was the last time our offense was statistically better than our defense?

You'd have to go all the back to the Vick era when the offense was better than the defense.

The defense (especially the run defense) was terrible in 2010.

Viva El Guapo

Taken from cfbstats.com

2013
Total Offense: 102
Total Defense: 4

2012
Total Offense: 83
Total Defense: 18

2011
Total Offense: 35
Total Defense: 10

2010
Total Offense: 41
Total Defense: 52

2009
Total Offense: 49
Total Defense: 12

2008
Total Offense: 103
Total Defense: 7

2007
Total Offense: 100
Total Defense: 4

Yeah. There's only 4 top-10 defenses in that 7 year stretch. He must be hurtin'. I feel bad, too

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Deal some damage boys

What is this blasphemy of which you speak?!!!

ChicagoHokie

For the teams and fans sake, I wouldn't mind if for once the offense had to carry the defense to start the year.

Good to hear!

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Loeffler uses more tactics and schemes than any other offensive coordinator I'm familiar with, with the exception of one. Take the QB run package out of spread formations for example. Loeffler used Veer, inverted veer, triple option veer, inverted veer with jet motion, zone read, quarterback power, and this spring he's showing speed option. That's literally every QB run tactic that I know of. And he also has all the counters for those looks installed as well, so if a defense over reacts he can punish them.

An offensive coordinator that uses a playbook that diverse runs the risk of sacrificing execution for variety. Loeffler will enjoy the benefits of having all those tactical tools at his disposal during the season but the staff will have to work twice as hard to make sure the players are being fundamentally sound.

The best thing about having a multiple offense is you can maximize the talent on your roster. You can go recruit the best athletes and not worry if they'll fit into your scheme... because your scheme will mold to their skill sets. Paul Johnson can't go recruit a small but quick wide receiver because he wouldn't be able to execute Johnson's blocking requirements. Loeffler can offer a scholarship to any wide receiver he pleases.

The only offense that is as willing to embrace as many tactics as Loeffler, was Boise State's offense under Chris Petersen.

Last week in practice, I watched them run a series of plays using Bucky as a shovel pass option as the QB ran a speed option. Then on top of that there was a sweep, speed option and a counter all out of the same basic play. Lefty just had to make sure Bucky hit the A gap hard enough (instead of drifting outside) and make sure the skill guys took the right angles. Up front, it was all the same.

Amazing. It's unreal the amount of variety he's putting into the playbook. All of those plays are perfect complements to the zone read, so I wonder if we'll see a fair amount of that this fall.

BTW, are these practices open to the public?

Yeah, it looked awesome, and it didn't take long for the players to pick it up. As for the practices being open.... technically no... I fear I may have said too much.

Thanks for the update. It's always great to have a true insider. Sounds like he is driliing the Gregory Guard. They can march in a lot of formations, but can they fight? The qustion is do we have a few operatives from Seal Team 6? A few angry men on a mission.

The qustion is do we have a few operatives from Seal Team 6? A few angry men on a mission.

Marshawn Williams. Saw his eyes at the end of one of his runs last Thursday. People say a lot that bruising backs will look for someone to hit. Marshawn looked for someone to hit. And then hit him (Bonner). On top of that, Stanford likes to get after it in the blocking game, and once his mind stops slowing him down, Teller will be an absolute Terror on the OLine.

I remember Florida using a play similar that that with Tebow and Hernandez a lot

#TouchdownTech

Question Mason:

You mentioned it wouldn't be worth burning a redshirt on Durkin just for Wild Turkey plays. Would Loefler consider using Durkin as the Tebow to Motley/Leal/Brewer's Chris Leak?

RealDiehl

You mentioned it wouldn't be worth burning a redshirt on Durkin just for Wild Turkey plays.

Actually I think it could be possible to burn the redshirt, if Durkin is effective at it. It'd be a great way to get him on the field and contributing... and if Ford redshirts it'd be a good way to stagger our QB eligibility years. Also, if the quarterback play isn't amazing, there's no reason not to bring him on if he can contribute. Bringing Durkin on as a change of pace quarterback could work.

I'm just not sure if Durkin is explosive enough to contribute right away. I'll have to see what he looks like in person before I'd be able to comment on the wisdom of burning that redshirt opportunity

With all the positive reports on Bucky Hodges it would seem like a waste not to get him on the field some with the wild turkey especially since he's been practicing it this fall. To me if Bucky was just a placeholder I it feels as if his practice time would be better spent practicing at TE where he's only played a couple of months.

I hope Durkin redshirts so he has as much time as he needs to get his mechanics right.

The only offense that is as willing to embrace as many tactics as Loeffler, was Boise State's offense under Chris Petersen.

Oh thank goodness. I was reading this whole paragraph thinking, "Please don't say Bryan Stinespring...please don't say Bryan Stinespring..."

Under Stiney they appeared to have lots of different tricks, it just didn't look they practiced any of them before a game.

If by "lots of different tricks" you mean he would run the same screen pass on the opposite side of the field then yes I agree with this.

And then O'Cain added his own wrinkle in there turning that screen pass into a double pass. Wasn't that a great play guys?!?!

Yup, this is what I was getting at. Ol' Stiney had multiples of multiples but apparently no multiplication tables.

Don't forget Stiney trying to out-trick the defense and running the same play up the middle to get stuffed all three times. Maybe he thought that the defense would think "there is no way they are going to run that play another time...." I hate being able to call the plays before they were ran. If I can call them in my limited football knowledge then imagine what someone who gets paid 6 figures to defend against it can do. Having nightmares now.

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

...or the way we started every game with a deep pass. 2nd and 10.

We put the K in Kwality

Yes, I can hear his thought process now:

"Hmmm. Maybe I should design a play for negative yardage. They'll never expect that..."

The infamous play-action sack to set up the punt team. Classic.

Pretty sure Stiney designed the butt fumble but it was stolen by the Jets....got this from "sources" (twitter)

VTMidge-Andrew Shields

I feel like now is the time to point out, installing an offense, and designing and building a playbook is just part of the deal. Play calling is the part that requires a special talent, that the jury is still out on for Loeffler. Calling plays effectively throughout a game (and week to week) to set up the defense and keep them on their heels is just as important as the scheme you're running. We don't know if Loeffler is any good at that side of things yet.

Calling plays effectively throughout a game (and week to week) to set up the defense and keep them on their heels is just as important as the scheme you're running.

Hate to disagree, but play calling is one of the most overrated aspects of being an offensive coordinator. Truth be told, almost all of the play calling decisions have been made before the team even arrives at the stadium. The coordinator has a list of plays he wants to call on 1st and 10, a separate list for 2nd and 5, another for 3rd and 15.

Even the adjustments are planned for pre-game. For example... let's say VT is playing a defense that has been using a lot of bump and run recently and the staff plans accordingly. If on Saturday they realize the opponent is now using a lot of Cover-2 instead, they already have a contingency plan. The staff will have already discussed what route combinations and run plays they like against the cover-2 scheme, and will switch up tactics. The difference between a good play caller and a bad one isn't a "feel for the game" like tv analysts like to say, the real difference is merely preparation. And often times, better players.

The only real exception to this are coordinators who run really unique schemes (like Paul Johnson, maybe Oregon's offense too) because they don't have film of their opponent playing against their type of offense. They don't really know what to expect of their opponent and will have to adjust on the fly.

Does play calling matter? Of course. But it's not this mythical skill that a lot of tv commentators make it out to be. Creating an offensive system, installing that system, getting your players to use the right technique, creating a healthy environment for players to grow in, keeping players focused on the task at hand... that's what separates good offensive coordinators from ineffective ones. Being able to recruit talented individuals helps too.

Game plan should be Miami game from last year.

Repeat 12 or 13 times during the season.

the counter statement if you are a R.A.T.T is that if the offense has shown it all...then it does not have a lot to show. You would think It could not show it all in such a limited time if it was very diverse.

So Stinespring had that s*** planned out well in advance? And no one cried foul?

In all seriousness, great post!

Something's brewing in Blacksburg...

can you imagine how much better the defense will be if we can get control of the clock on the offensive side?

We hear a lot about the offense simulating for the defense. To what extent is there a scout defense that has to learn/know every form of defense that the offfense might see? Is that saved for August or game week?

(don't mean for this question to sound completely clueless, not sure how to ask it)

I would assume that for the most part the focus is on having all players learn and practice Tech's schemes on both offense and defense. They probably won't be doing any scout team work for other teams until the week or two before the first game. I obviously don't know this for sure, Foster might very well use a few days in the Spring to put in some of the stuff for Gah Tech for example, but I would think that Spring and early part of Fall camp are focused more on fundamentals and less on specific opponents.

Good stuff, looking forward to watching a real offensive again. Sounds like the defense is behind right now but this will help them down the road. Especially @ Ohio State.

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It seems like the defense did not only throw the kitchen sink back at the offense, it threw the whole house at them. Its whole story when everything is live. Let it be a lesson for the growing offense!

It's Diabolical!!

But Hokie fans will be:

Pain is Temporary
Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever
Let's Go Hokies!!

Judging from the reaction by many to the last scrimmage, they might have to throw the bathroom sink as well

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"People who like to brag about how smart they are, are never as smart as they claim." - Colin Cowherd