Mark Leal and the Future of the Quarterback Position

There is an overused football axiom that goes something like: the backup quarterback is always the most popular player on the team. Over the course of the 2013 season, a significant portion of the Virginia Tech fan base clamored for Mark Leal to get an opportunity to play as Logan Thomas went through stretches of turnovers and erratic play. I was vocally opposed to any performance-based benching of Thomas. Leal may have replaced Thomas during the spring game and been slightly more effective, but I didn't feel he had the ability to elevate an offensive unit that was lacking in playmakers this season. The Sun Bowl largely confirmed my opinion, as Leal had some success moving the ball but didn't appear to be confident, made some poor reads on critical plays, and was not a threat in the running game.

That does not mean Mark Leal can't be a serviceable quarterback for the Hokies. I have often compared him to the legendary Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica, whose love of throwing deep balls resulted in his nickname of "The Mad Bomber." For much of 2011 and 2012, it was rare that posted a practice or scrimmage video that did not include a beautiful deep pass. As Leal has matured, he has demonstrated fantastic touch on his passes at all depths when he is not pressured. He has decent mobility and can create plays with his feet, and he is excellent on bootlegs. Against UCLA, I hoped that Loeffler would give Leal the opportunity to throw a deep ball (play-action off a fake jet sweep would have been spectacular.) Let's take a look at his film to see some of his strengths.

The Good


That's the best film publicly available on YouTube of Leal's deep ball skills. Like I said, he throws a pretty deep pass. It's unfortunate there aren't more clips to dissect.

Without having good video of his Mad Bomber throws, let's examine the touch he puts on passes. Perhaps Leal's most impressive throw was an incompletion. In the third quarter, Leal faced a third-and-short with the game still in doubt. Loeffler, instead of using Coles on the fake out and back to a slant route that resulted in so many touchdowns this season, calls a slant-wheel combo with Coles on the wheel route.


Thomas, for all his wonderful skills, often didn't put enough touch on the throw and would overthrow this pass. Leal lays it in perfectly, but Coles bumbles the catch. A top receiver, especially in the red zone, has to make that catch. The throw is about as good as a college quarterback can be expected to make, especially in a pressure situation.

Leal can also put fantastic touch on throws where he doesn't have his feet set perfectly after avoiding pressure. Here, Leal scrambles to buy time for Ryan Malleck to break open for a touchdown.


The route is a designed clear out for Malleck. The flanker runs a crossing route from his alignment tight on the left side of the formation. The tailback goes to the left flat. The cover two corner lets the crossing route flow to the inside linebackers and then jumps the short corner. Malleck chips the defensive end and runs a corner route behind the Cover 2 corner. Leal steps up in the pocket and then moves to the left sideline. Without resetting his feet, Leal floats a beautiful pass in stride to Malleck who runs in for a touchdown.

Finally, Leal is effective in executing the bootleg component of Loeffler and Grimes zone stretch scheme. Leal does a fantastic job of executing a play fake and then hiding the ball while rolling out on the boot. Let's take a look.


Leal executes an effective ball fake that draws both linebackers to the left. He rolls to his right and makes his read. On a bootleg, the read is flat (either the fullback or an H-Back) to back side drag (often a tight end running a drag route, in this case left to right.) Leal identifies that the corner has jumped the H-Back leaking to the flat, so he correctly looks at the drag and hits Zack McCray on a beautiful throw.

Room For Improvement

While Leal has some strong points to his game, he has some weaknesses that cause some concern. Watching the film, three areas where Leal needs to improve are his ability to identify the open man and throw in rhythm, maintaining his mechanics, and most importantly reading defenses. Let's rewind to the spring game.

Here, Loeffler calls an in route-wheel combo. Malleck aligns as a wing, runs to the flat and turns up. Knowles seems to run a deep in route.


Leal targets Knowles, but throws behind him and Knowles is forced to lean back and make a tough catch falling down. If you watch again, you will notice that Leal hesitates before making the throw. The hesitation not only causes the throw to be late, but Leal can't get everything he wants on the throw. Leal hesitates often, and against UCLA, he was sacked several times after holding on to the ball far too long.

Leal's mechanics also break down, especially under pressure. In some circumstances, it is very difficult to notice the breakdowns, especially against man coverage. Let's take a look at one of the standard throws that every college quarterback must be able to make: a curl route to the boundary against man coverage.


Here, Leal identifies the coverage correctly, with D.J. Coles on the boundary one-on-one against off coverage. Leal opens up and throws a nice throw to Coles for a solid game. But, let's look again at Leal's mechanics.

If you freeze the shot before Leal releases the ball, you can see that his left leg is angles wide to the sideline at the beginning of his wind up. This has two effects. First, it means that he isn't throwing weight forward into the throw, and a throw that isn't at full velocity is dangerous on a short curl to the boundary. Second, if the corner jumps the route, Leal will have to take an additional stride to get back into throwing position and turn back to his right, where the other three receivers are running their routes. That extra second can be the difference between a completion and a sack.

Those mechanical breakdowns increase when he faces pressure. On film, Leal has a bad habit of bringing the ball down to his hip out of throwing position and crouching in the pocket when he feels pressure. Not only does he take himself out of position to throw, but he also could be prone to fumbles.

The final and most glaring concern with Leal is his ability to read defenses. I have very little film of Leal playing against zone coverage, as UCLA played a great deal of man once Leal entered the game. But, Leal failed to take advantage of several UCLA alignments where he had a major matchup advantage. Most of you saw my Twitter feed where I went into hysterics on a third down play where Joel Caleb motioned out and had Jordan Zumwalt in man coverage. Leal never looked at him. Rewatching the film only increased my concerns.

Let's take a look at a critical third down pass. Scott Loeffler calls a double slant from twins to the field side, with Chris Mangus rubbing off their route to the flat on the right.

The alignment should key Leal's pre-snap read. A slant route to the inside receiver is sandwiched by the middle linebacker and the defender aligned heads up on the inside receiver. The outside receiver's slant is sandwiched by the defender on the slot and the corner. Leal also must read that if Mangus goes to the flat and the defense is in man coverage, the deep safety is at least ten yards from the line of scrimmage. Worst case, Mangus will catch the ball before the safety can arrive, and best case is that Mangus catches the ball in stride and has space to make the safety miss. With the first down marker close by, this should be an easy opportunity to move the chains.

Instead, he throws the slant to the inside slot receiver.


Against this coverage, it is the most dangerous throw. The middle linebacker is looking directly at the quarterback and only needs to take one step to his left to defend the throw. Leal either didn't read the coverage correctly or determined that he was going to make the quick throw without even considering the defense. That won't work against good football teams.

The failure to identify the weak point in the defense happened several other times. The most egregious error came early in the fourth quarter before UCLA blew the game open. Again, facing a third down, Leal gets man coverage against a five wide formation. Loeffler gets the matchup he wants, with Bryn matched up one on one with Zumwalt, who is also playing seven yards deep. Byrn runs a standard crossing route in front of Zumwalt, who has no help to his left due to a vertical route from Kalvin Cline. Outside of Cline, the Hokies have another deep route (designed to run off any support for Zumwalt). This should be an quick easy throw for a first down. But instead, Leal gets sacked. Why?


This could be an experience issue, but we have seen this play time and again and Loeffler loves this crossing route. It is almost inconceivable that Leal would not jump on that mismatch. More troubling, if you freeze the shot he doesn't even look at Byrn initially.

He is looking right all the way. Is this perhaps the desire to throw the deep ball too strong to make the correct throw? Only Leal may know, but not only does he not look back to Byrn, but notice the position of the football. After taking the snap, he still has the ball down by his hip. He isn't in position to throw. Fast forward a click, and as he starts to look back to the middle of the field, the ball is still far too low.

It didn't help matters that McLaughlin was beaten badly to the inside on the play. But it is still a throw that can be made if Leal takes the hit. Instead, as he tends to do against pressure, he crouches (taking the ball out of throwing position again) and ends up taking a sack to kill the drive. Leal has to do a better job of identifying the defense and not panicking under pressure. His first interception is the kind of play that a young team can't overcome.

The Dagger Interception and Loeffler's Responsibility

Scot Loeffler also has to bear some responsibility for nursing his inexperienced quarterback through a tough situation. HokieNation screamed bloody murder after Leal's second interception, but a second look shows that while Leal should not have thrown the pass, Loeffler may have put him in a bad position.


The Hokies run a rare play from the I formation and go play-action. Demitri Knowles and Josh Stanford cross, with Stanford going deep and running a 15 yard out, while Knowles runs a shorter crossing route. Jordan Zumwalt drops into a zone and drops deep enough to undercut the throw for an easy interception and return. Leal has to see Zumwalt drop into his throwing lane and look for a different alternative (with Zumwalt dropping that deep, Knowles should have been open on the crossing route, but I can't see Knowles on the replay.)


Short of a stumble by Leal in the pocket, this play is identical. Stanford runs the deep out, and this time Zumwalt doesn't drop as deep and Leal puts the ball perfectly into Stanford at the boundary. This is an NFL throw, but, Zumwalt learned his lesson. His job was made easier by Loeffler's frustrating insistence on not using the I formation between the 20's. As I noted often during the season, if the Hokies line up in the I formation between the 20's this season, chances are we were going to see play-action. With the run fake not being credible and seeing the play earlier, this was an easy read for Zumwalt. Leal shouldn't make the throw, but Loeffler shouldn't have put him in the position to make the throw.

I am not sure who the Virginia Tech quarterback will be next season. Leal can be an adequate quarterback, and maybe a good one with improvement in the offseason. At the same time, I fully expect him to face stiff competition. Unlike years past, if Leal wins the job over Andrew Ford, Brendan Motley, Bucky Hodges, and Chris Durkin, it will not be a rubber stamp because of his experience like other position battles. It will be because, for better or worse, he is the Hokies best option.


All we can be sure is that with this coaching staff, the best option will start, even if they're not the most experienced.

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Nice post French.

Bucky Hodges is always open

I feel your frustration on the power I. I still feel Wright should have ran the ball more to soften the lbs some? He was the biggest back we had and he ran it less than 10 times. It will be exciting to actually have qb competition!

I was impressed with Wright and how he did with the limited number of carries he got in the Sun Bowl. I'm a fan of the downhill, up-the-middle style of running he showed.

Anyone know why Loeffler insists on not using the I?

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson

Speculation, but I think this year Loeffler's goal was to tweak his system to match our personnel. I'm not sure we have enough talent to rely heavily on the I.

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For some reason, we didn't practice/run the I formation much this year. I would guess it was because LT was more comfortable in the pistol or shotgun formation only. I would like to see a lot more conventional formations next year.

He had considered it, but just as a Zebra can't change his stripes, there is no "I" in Loeffler

The Dude Abides

He used the I and an ace with an H back and a tight end often at Auburn and Temple. I am not really sure why he didn't use it as often with Edmunds. IF I were a betting man, I'd bet that it had something to do with Logan's comfort level playing under center.

Still, teams saw a pattern. Early in the year, they would line up in the I and have great success throwing down field off play action. Sometimes, it was the only play series that effectively got receivers open beyond 10 yards besides the fake veer dive-skinny post to Coles. But, teams finally figured out (ACC coaches are slow) that I formation between the 20's in play action almost every time. The linebackers stopped biting and dropped, getting them underneath those routes. UCLA got burned once. The second time, Zumwalt recognized it and jumped the play.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

French, do you remember if we used much I during LT's sophomore year? I know they tried to implement a lot of pistol his junior year.

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

We don't love dem Hoos.

Also, this breakdown actually has me much more confident in Leal than I was in the past. I feel like a lot of these issues are fixable, and a result of Loeffler putting most of his attention on Logan.

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson

Thanks for the write-up. I understand what you say about not benching Logan due to performance and the lack of playmakers, I may not entirely agree, but I understand. This analysis, though, make it pretty clear that it's not as cut-and-dry as people want it to be, and that the UCLA performance isn't as much of an indictment of Leal as some people want it to be (which really, it shouldn't be just based on basic logic).

I think my issue was always that Logan wasn't where he should be as a R-SR. Almost all of your critiques of Leal, his mechanics, his footwork issues, holding onto the ball too long, inconsistency under pressure. These were all the exact problems with Logan. The reading defenses thing is probably similar, but if anything three entire seasons of game experience was the difference there. The biggest difference between the two was that Leal isn't a 6-6 250lb battering ram of a human being. But that's what was so frustrating. The differences between the two was largely genetics and that's it. After 3 years of starting experience and 5 years in the sytem, the gap between your R-SR starting QB and your career backup should have been SO MUCH bigger.

So, given all that, and the fact that the offense this year was geared around Logan's specific natural talents, it seemed like there was a self-reinforcing bias here. Why is logan starting? Because he gives us the best chance to win. Why? Because he literally *is* the offense. Why? Because we designed the offense around him. Why? Because he's the starter. It's kind of like an Ouiborous of logic here. I'm still not entirely convinced that Leal, given starter reps for an extended period of time in an offense designed around what he does well would have ended in a much different result than we saw this year. This article only really confirms that for me.

Does that mean I think he's going to start next year? No. I still think it's going to be Ford. I think he's the best passer out of all of them, and I think he's the one who is going to give Loeffler the best chance to run the offense he wants to run for the rest of this grand experiement (i.e. until beamer retires in...2016?). That said, like the end of your piece here, I think either way the choice this season is going to be based on who wins the job in an open comepetition, which is the way it should be.

This analysis, though, make it pretty clear that it's not as cut-and-dry as people want it to be, and that the UCLA performance isn't as much of an indictment of Leal as some people want it to be

Well I disagree... Logan had a QBR in the 40's. Leal's was 4. Not saying Logan is the best, but Leal was far from stellar, and clearly a level below Logan.

I think my issue was always that Logan wasn't where he should be as a R-SR. Almost all of your critiques of Leal, his mechanics, his footwork issues, holding onto the ball too long, inconsistency under pressure. These were all the exact problems with Logan.

I think that is very much the fault of the old coaches...

So, given all that, and the fact that the offense this year was geared around Logan's specific natural talents, it seemed like there was a self-reinforcing bias here. Why is logan starting? Because he gives us the best chance to win. Why? Because he literally *is* the offense. Why? Because we designed the offense around him. Why? Because he's the starter. It's kind of like an Ouiborous of logic here.

Logan was the starter/offense b/c he was a legitimate threat in the run game. Our running backs are not dependable enough to provide balance to our offense by straight up running plays; nearly every rushing play has to have the threat of Logan running. Without the threat of Logan running, our running backs get stuffed easily and our receivers are blanketed by mediocre secondaries.

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Like I said, I hear what you are saying, I just disagree. And I think this analysis only confirms that the situation was a lot more gray than black or white. Hypothetically, if Logan broke his leg in the WCU game and was out for the season and Mark Leal was the starter, forcing Loeffler to abandon the Logan-Specific aspects of his game plans to something you really think that this would have been a much different result than we saw this year? 8-5 against a weak schedule with a Sun bowl loss? You probably do, and that's cool. I don't.

If Logan gets hurt early, they lose to Pitt, GT, and UNC. Duke and ECU were the two games where Logan was really bad throughout. Maybe they beat Duke. 6-7 maybe?

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

What, specifically, was Logan doing against Pitt, GT, and UNC that Leal wouldn't or couldn't have done? Weren't the big praises of LT for those games really that he just didn't turn the ball over? You said that he was the starter because he was the only playmaker on an offense that had no others. Did he make a lot of big plays that turned the tide of those games? Maybe he did, I honestly don't remember.

Do you still think we lose to both BC and Maryland late in the season if Leal has a season of starter practice reps and game experience?

Watch the Pitt film again- Logan was making special throws against absurd pressure. Donald was in his face all game long. Against Georgia Tech, Logan had to serve as a primary running threat (I think we both agree that Leal isn't a threat on read option or the inverted veer.) In both situations, I don't think Leal provides the same level of performance for the reasons highlighted in the film review. I say, with all conviction, that what you saw in the Sun Bowl was not a "rusty" quarterback. He played exactly the same way he played in the two Spring Games I have watched and multiple scrimmages. That is what he is.

And, while BC is a bit up in the air (Logan was under a ton of heat that game), I think Maryland beats the Hokies regardless of the QB. Maryland physically looked like the better team in all facets that day.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Pitt, I'll give you. But would we be running much Read Option/IV if Leal was the QB? It seems to me that like I was saying earlier, that decision was made around exploiting LT's strengths. For example, I don't think we will run much RO/IV next year if Ford is the starter next year.

That said, wouldn't it be fair to assume that an increase in accuracy/precision in the short to medium passing game (assuming that's the one strength that Leal would bring where LT was much shakier) would help to alleviate some of that pressure? Assuming that with real game experience, he would start to hit more of those passes under pressure (perhaps this is too big of an assumption, there is no way to know).

But would we be running much Read Option/IV if Leal was the QB?

No, but if we didn't run the Read Option/IV, we would have an even worse running game than we do now. We would be even more one dimensional and even less offensively effective.

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Maybe, Maybe not. Strikes me like a Post Hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. "The seduction of the Veer" has already been mentioned in this thread, and If I recall, there was a *very good* article arguing in favor of significantly reducing our dependency on the RO/IV later in the season.

Loeffler demonstrated in the Sun bowl that he is more than capable of adjusting his game plan based on personnel. I thought what he was running with Wright and Parker is indicative of this. Even as its efficacy significantly dwindled late in the season, the allure of the RO/IV and LT was too strong because of the chance it could have produced something like that "animal champion" run. But at what point did it beome a crutch, if any?

That's why I don't agree with the notion that we wouldn't have had a run game with no logan and no RO/IV. We would have had one, it would have just been different.

Logan Thomas was our leading rusher in 5 games and has second most rushing yards behind Edmunds. Edmunds was hit or miss all season (not good for a 'workhorse' back).

Another comment I'd like to make: Beamer has used two QBs to run his offense multiple times in his coaching career. If Beamer really thought that Leal offered us a better shot at winning, we would've seen him on the field more.

We will never know if we would have been better off playing Leal (I personally believe our coaches made the right choice). I will side with the QB coach who developed Tebow, Henne and Brady (all great college QBs).

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But at what point did it beome a crutch, if any?

Wanted to add to this discussion after reading Andy Bitter's new blog post:

Logan accounted for 70% of our total offense. Vick barely accounted for 50% in our championship season. Logan was 10% less of our yardage in 2011. I think it's pretty clear that we really leaned on Logan, arguably more than any other player ever before.

Also, in light of Byrn's comments:

"I think next year, well realize just how much he aided our running game and our passing game," Byrn said. "Its tough to run 25 power rushes right up the gut and run over some linebackers and then have to get in the huddle and hear Loefflers pretty complex offense and go through reads, and all of a sudden be a finesse touch passer and everything. I think thats overlooked a lot. I dont think youre going to find too many running back/quarterback hybrids like he is."

I'd like to mention how each of our players backed, defended, and borderline took offense whenever asked about Logan's struggles/status as a starter. They weren't just toting the company line, they really believed it (if they were lying, then these guys all deserve oscars). This alone should be evidence that there isn't much grey area in the Logan/Leal argument.

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Barr, you're exactly right. People seem to completely forget that we weren't exactly blowing people off the line here this year. See Duke and BC games in 3rd/4th-and-short situations. We didn't have a good, consistent blocking TE (look at just how TINY Cline looks in French's running game breakdown), an elite back or outstanding blocking on the edge to give us a shot at breaking big plays. Look at Oregon, for example. Everyone talks about how great their athletes are, but they have some of the best blocking WRs in college football. It's beautiful. Back to my point: maybe the veer game was overused, but to be fair, between the rushing results themselves and the passing game it opened up, I can see why Loeffler was willing to ride it so often.

Are you just making the second man argument against Logan or you believe honestly believe Leal would have won all those games?

1) I think if you have good depth at QB, coupled with good coaching, then the drop from QB1 to QB2 should not necessarily be very high. No matter one is a 3 year starter and the other a career backup. Bama's McElroy to McCarron for example. QB2 was able to step in and take over from where QB1 left off. If you coach a good offense with good talent this should always be the case.

2) If arguing that Leal could have done a better job this season then what specifically did you see in the Sun Bowl that made you think this? I personally was underwhelmed by his performance. Beamer seemed to be as well. I remember the comment from Lefty during the season that he believed Leal "could do anything that Logan can do" but I didn't see it. For getting thrown into the fire he didn't play too terribly but he certainly didn't show that he was ready to take the job.

I think Leal has a chance to be the starter next year, but only slim.

I think that if Leal had a season of game and starter-rep practice experience in an offense not specifically designed around the specific talents of Logan Thomas, then the result would be similar to the one we saw this year.

The interchangability between the back-up and the starter shouldn't be that big if both players have relatively similar skill sets and the offense is agnostic to said skill sets. This was clearly not the case this year, which is why I think it's unfair to use a half of a performance in a bowl game (Against a very good, very motivated, and very physical team) as some sort of grand indictment of Mark Leal's ability as a QB, or some retroactive confirmation on the past. The sample sizes just don't even compare. Logan had some just as bad halves of football this year, even late this year - and the offense was deisgned around him, he's more physically gifted, and he had 3 years of game experience and starter reps.

That's my whole point in a nutshell.

I agree. I don't think the Sun Bowl should be held against Leal. I think it's unfair to him as a player and the dedication he has put in the program being the backup. The unfortunate reality though is it did put him on a relative hot seat. I really hope that Leal gets his chance but I think he needs to be like bottled lightning in the Spring, or else he may get overlooked.

That would be massively depressing for a kid who put in that amount of time but it happens every year.

fans might want the coaches to overlook him if he's not bottled lightning in the spring, but Loeffler will start whoever he thinks is best (out of his incomparably greater experience seeing these kids), regardless of what we think after a bowl game and a couple open scrimmages. I doubt he's on a hot seat now any more so than he was prior to the bowl, from his coach's perspective.

never said I wanted him overlooked. In fact I said I hope he gets his chance. I just said he may get overlooked, not by fans but by coaches, if he doesn't show he is much further along than the freshman coming in. And any transfer that may join.

But I personally have confidence Beamer will give him a fair shake. Despite initially stating:

"I'm disappointed that Mark didn't play better," Beamer said. "I've got a lot of confidence in him. I think there's a lesson in there: be ready to play each and every week. And he did a couple things really nice and really good and made a couple throws that weren't so good. But you've got to be ready to step up."

He has since stated:

Marks the next guy in line here, Beamer said of Leal. He had a couple tough throws. Hell learn from that. ... Thats not a great situation for your backup guy to step into. But Ive got a lot of confidence in Mark. Ive seen him in practice too many times.

Gt- 19-25 225yds 1td 0int
Unc- 19-28 293yds 3td 0int
Pitt- 19-34 roughly 250yds 1td 0int.

Would leal have put those numbers up? Hell no

We don't know that and it isn't worth arguing over.

10 of the 12 teams we played this year were in bowl games at the end of the fact, we are the ONLY bowl team who played against 10 other bowl teams.

I don't think your "8-5 against a weak schedule" argument holds much water

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

yeah, it wasnt exactly murderer's row though

"I promise you I will keep getting back up as long as you keep pushing forward." -Michael Brewer
"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

all bowl teams are not created equal

I will agree with this statement. I'm not saying that we had a tremendously tough schedule. I think it's fair to say we played a majority of our games against competitive teams. Most teams had 3 or 4 games that could be called 'tune-up' types of games. We only had 2 such games..and one of them was a rival (if you can still call it that) which I wouldn't necessarily group in the 'tune-up' category because of the emotional factor.

I'm not trying to paint the picture that we played a top 20 SOS type of schedule, but I would certainly not call our schedule soft.

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

The big difference between the two, despite the flaws of both, is that when pressured, Logan was MUCH more likely to make a play when the defense should/has won than Leal. His physical presence opened up space for other guys. On a team where they need playmakers, there was never a doubt over who should be the starter. Never.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

A fair statment, and I understand even if I disagree to an extent. I can't help but wonder how much of that was due to 3 years of starting level experience, these are things you figure out over time. The sample size when making a "how they react under pressure" evaluation between the two, you have to admit, is very large. There's much more chance for variance in Leal's small sample size.

I stand by my statement that after 3 years of starting the gap between the two in all facets of the job should have been so large that there was absolutely no question at all, and while you think there was, it should have been a lot easier to get consensus on that there there was. I also stand by the notion that if Logan went down with a season -ending injury at any time early this year, that the end result for this team this season would not be that different.

To me, the gap is large enough that I would have made the same choice as Beamer and I wouldn't have thought about it very much. That isn't to say that Logan wasn't flawed. He was. But, unlike a vast majority of the people who were offering opinions about benching Logan, I saw Leal play in person on several occasions, and not one time did the eye test suggest that he should be starting over Logan. Honestly, if they had recruited well I think we would be doing a film review on a different quarterback right now. I don't know if I could name three ACC QB's he would start over. Ultimately I think if he wins the job, it will be more a byproduct of Ford and Motley not being ready to play than some kind of dominant performance by Leal.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I appreciate your opinon. You're the most respected poster/columnist on this site for a reason, and please don't take my disagreement as a sign of disrespect. I absolutely hear what you are saying 100%, even if I don't agree 100%.

My only thing to add at this point is to piggyback and say "if they had recruited well," you would have been doing film review on a different QB all season, including reviewing the back-up.

I think Logan Thomas is a great guy who was put in an unfair situation. I think it was a gigantic gamble playing him as QB, and we did it because we had to (because of poor recruiting). I think with a good to great offensive coaching staff, it very well *could have* worked. I'd say the chances are high. But we didn't have a good offensive coaching staff, and this is what happened.

I think IIWII and it's time to move on. I think (hope, more accurately) that the future is bright. My only worry from a program perspective is that this move was made about 5 years too late. It's hard for me to not think about where we would be right now if the hard (but IMO obvious) decision about the offensive coaching staff was made a few years earlier.

I think with a good to great offensive coaching staff, it very well *could have* worked. I'd say the chances are high. But we didn't have a good offensive coaching staff, and this is what happened.

If you understand this then why do you think Leal, who had the same inferior coaching would have been better? Even if Leal was the starter Leoffler would still have to mold an offense around him because of the questions at WR, RB, TE and OL. Would it be the same offense he designed for Logan? Possibly not, but if all other variables are true then you go with the constant which was Logan.

I respect your opinion but I guess I don't see the basis of your argument.

You don't see the basis of my argument because you don't grasp what I'm actually saying. I have never said, nor implied that Leal would be "Better." I think this is the cause for your confusion, you're replying to what you want me to be saying rather than what I'm actually saying.

In Summary:
- If Leal, through some instance of fate, was forced into starting I think the season's result would be much different.
- A lot of the criticisms of Leal also apply to Logan
- But one of them has 3 years of starting experience
- I'm disappointed that the gap between the two, in light of said years of starting experience isn't bigger
- Because it's not, I don't agree that the "LT should have been the starter all year without a doubt" position is as strong as people want it to be.

That's really it, that's really my only point. I'm arguing that the issue is greyer than people want it to be and have wanted it to be all year. That's all. If you disagree and think it's black and white no questions asked signed sealed delivered, that's cool too. I understand why you feel the way you feel. We just disagree.

You can choose to understand or not understand why I feel the way I feel. But the first step would be understanding *what* I feel.

whoa dude. Settle down. I wasn't being insulting. I'm just trying to understand why you are making the argument. As you say you never said Leal would be "better", just that is would be much different. So possibly much, much worse. Even possibly LOLUVA 2-10 worse.

This is why I said I don't understand your argument. I'm not disagreeing with you that the situation isn't grey, but if Leal isn't demonstrably "Better" (by your own admission) then what I said about choosing the constant should be the correct decision as a coach. Go with the devil you know, Logan not Leal.

You're inferring emotions that aren't there. I understand that it's tough to gather tone from text. I was just trying to be clear since it seemed like you were convinced I was making an argument that I wasn't making.

I really don't think the result of this season would have been that much different with Leal. Certainly not 2-10 different. Our defense was *Way* too good for most of the year for that.

I'm not disagreeing with you that the situation isn't grey,

Awesome, then we agree.

Leal isn't demonstrably "Better" (by your own admission) then what I said about choosing the constant should be the correct decision as a coach. Go with the devil you know, Logan not Leal.

I understand the thought behind this statement. All I have ever argued is that it's not as cut-and-dry of a decision as a lot of people make it out to be. It seems you don't actually disagree with me on this.

Nope. Seems were simpatico

But I don't read French and most of the others as disagreeing with these points either. More that they are specifically stating why the offense had to be run with Logan and a Logan-modeled offensive scheme, because of the issues of the offensive personnel and previously poor coaching/recruiting. I'm not trying to go into those points, rather that I think there is a more logical reason why Logan was playing over Leal. Which I think is the crux of everyone else's points as well.

I have never said, nor implied that Leal would be "Better."

Here's my biggest problem with your argument. If you can't make a solid argument that the backup is better, there's no question you wouldn't bench the starter. As has been said before, Logan was/is flawed and shares a good deal of Leal's shortcomings. However, he also has a lot that Leal doesn't. He has a stronger arm, the ability to stretch the field and the ability to make big-boy throws that require the ball to be on a frozen rope. He is a threat on the IV series and a threat to scramble for decent yardage. He's strong enough to shake off arm tackles in the pocket and stay upright. Overall, the offense was more difficult to defend with Logan on the field. He's the most talented offensive player we had this year and it would've been a horrible idea for the staff not to use him.

If you can't make a solid argument that the backup is better, there's no question you wouldn't bench the starter.

And this is just where we fundamentally disagree, which is fine to me. I think it's a case of circular logic - you're using the ultimate conclusion to change the interpretation of the decision making process, and I just don't agree with that.

"If you can't make a solid case that the back up is better, then you go with the starter."

Absolutely, I agree with this.

"It's no question."

Well, no I don't agree with that. There was a question. If there were no question than this wouldn't even be a discussion topic, and this thread wouldn't have 50+ replies in it. My take is that there indeed *was* the question, the question was there, it was very obvious, and it needed to be asked. Just because the answer to that question was "No, let's ride it out with our 3 year starter" doesn't mean the question never existed.

I don't feel that the answer to the question retroactively elminates the question from existence like Marty McFly's family photo.

Leg for the BTTF reference. I like it. But yes, that question was asked, probably for the last time after the Duke game (let's face it, there was only 1 mistake you can reasonably put on Logan in the BC game, although it was definitely a bad one). My point is that I don't see there ever being a time when I would have said "yeah, might be time for a change now." We all saw that Leal is not immune to bad mistakes, like it seems lots of people in the bench-Logan camp assumed he is. I never once saw a time when I thought Leal gave us a better chance to win than Thomas. When the answer to the same question continues to be "no," eventually you have to stop asking the question.

I think this discussion has pretty much run its course.

I think the notion that the question was asked for the last time with three games left in the season / a player's career pretty much speaks for itself.

Thanks all for the fun discussion, the fact that people can still disagree on this very hot topic and be super civil and cool to each other is what seperates this site from others. Most topics, and especially not this one, are handled as well by the members of other forums.

I get what your saying, and I certainly wasn't in the meetings, but I don't think the question of Leal starting over Logan ever came up in the coaches meetings.

I get that you are not talking about a literal question being asked but if no one actually asked the question literally, is it really a question? Sure we fans can debate anything. I've seen several Pie v Cake debates on TKP as well. Just because its a forum topic doesn't mean it was a necessary one.

It's admittedly kind of a semantic argument.

No worries. I love a good football discussion as much as the next guy. +1 Like I said I was just trying to understand where you were coming from. Anyway, one thing is for sure, there will be plenty of backup QB discussion going forward into 2014 season to keep us occupied.

The other tricky thing about LT is that a good team can stop him from running when they know he's going to run. There was a time (2011? the first half of 2012?) when he could QB-sneak for 2 or 3 yards anytime we really needed it. But once surprise was lost on that tactic, it was no longer effective. Others have posted that his read-option would probably have been more effective overall if he had handed the ball off more. But too many defenses decided they would take away the pitch, and either stop LT short or wear him down with all the heavy hits. Once the read-option became "Logan's going to keep it," it lost much of its effectiveness.

Against those points, I have often found it frustrating that Leal's greatest strength (IMHO) - his ability to throw a pass with touch instead of firing everything 100 mph - happens to line up with Logan's greatest weakness as a passer.

It does, but he has to be able to make that throw under pressure. Especially in 3rd and medium to long when you know the defense will bring a blitz.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

He absolutely does, do you not agree that this is a skill that comes with real in-game experience? You can only do *so much* in practice.

The guys who develop it do so usually serving as a second string QB and facing the pressure that comes with taking snaps behind a 2nd team OL against a much better DL. In scrimmages and spring games, he was pressured often. That experience is there, but he doesn't handle it as well as you would like to see. You want a quarterback to "feel" pressure, but not have it disrupt his throw. For Leal, he feels pressure very well, but he reacts to it by taking his eyes off his receivers down field. You can't have that unless your QB has maximum escapability. Reading the defense, and then standing in and making the throw are my biggest worries, and that part of the Sun Bowl test he bombed, no pun intended. He has two months to improve. If he does win the job, nobody will root harder for him to succeed than me. I just don't see the skill set.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Its what I like about Ford in his film... running for his life, finding open open receivers and delivering an accurate ball.

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'

I don't the 2 game films I saw, under duress I saw him running very, very briefly for his life and getting sacked well behind the line of scrimmage. I mostly saw him completing middle screens and short patterns that went for long yardage after catch -- with a few well-thrown semi-deep balls and a few poorly thrown semi-deep balls.

Yeah from what I've seen of Ford, I wouldn't consider "running for his life" his top skill (understatement). Hopefully with the promising development in the OL, the ability to run for his life won't be a required skill.

Why is logan starting? Because he gives us the best chance to win. Why? Because he literally *is* the offense. Why? Because we designed the offense around him. Why? Because he's the best athlete on the offense.

I think this is a fairer assessment of Loeffler's logic.

Im not sure if people are giving Durkin much of a thought, but in my review of his videos I feel like he is more polished than Ford is at this time. Now that being said I am no expert in reviewing recruit videos and breaking down a qb. But i believe that it will come down to Durkin and Ford as to who our next QB is. French you did a great job again.

Not counting a possible transfer in from Florida. I think the competition next year is going to be decided between Leal and Ford in the spring. I think Durkin's arrival in the fall is going to hamper him too much to be a starter this year. As a result I see Durkin redshirting.

We will go into this in greater detail once Ford is enrolled and Durkin signs his LOI, but when I watch the film, I see Ford as a much more refined product throwing the football. He is very solid with ball handling, is accurate and has great touch. Durkin has a stronger arm, and is a terrific power running threat with enough speed to also threaten the edge on a read option. However, Durkin's mechanics are very erratic at this point. Right now, he is a big, strong, fast athlete who can throw. He isn't a quarterback. It will take some time before his accuracy on short to medium throws out of a misdirection based offense are accurate enough for him to contribute.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

No one seems to want to say, it. But, it's hard for me to not see all the glaring parallels between Durkin and Thomas. Is that a fair statement?

Seems to me that the Ford/Durkin decision (All else being equal, with Ford's January enrollment I don't think it quite is) would come down to if Loeffler wants to continue in this offense that he devised around the strengths of Logan Thomas, or if he wants to move the program in the direction of utilizing a more traditional pocket passer. Is that a fair statement?

This is why I think Leal will get a shot, but will get left in the cold. He's not a pocket passer on the level of Ford, and he's not a power run threat on the level of a Durkin/Thomas. He's a Mark of all trades, master of none.

I've mostly been in disagreement with what you've been saying...but I'll agree with you on Durkin. When I saw his film my immediate thought was that he was recruited because Loeffler saw the power running threat in him that LT had. He could use Durkin in the read option game and run Veer and IV plays with him. I think, as French said a while ago, the "seduction of the Veer" drew Loeffler to Durkin.

also...that last sentence...I see what you did there...

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

I tend to agree, I think we took Durkin because, worse comes to worse, we can run him like a bull.

At one point, I was really excited for Sean Glennon to be the QB because if we were going to succeed, we were going to have to have superior schemes and execute a grown-up offense. Unfortunately, Glennon either couldn't handle pressure or he received too much of it (or both). I see Ford similarly, if we are going to succeed with Drew Ford as our QB, then we are going to have to have a sophisticated enough concept. It won't be the VT gameplan against UVA in 2012.

Newsome absolutely murdered Glennon's QB career.

I think this should read " Newsome absolutely intercepted Glennon's QB career."

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“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

You mean the O'Cainspring Newsome monster.

True Hokies STICK IT IN!!!

STICK IT IN Army of Virginia Tech


At least 80% Newsome. Let's not forget some of Stiney's offenses, before Newsome came around, were top-30 type offenses. Once Newsome arrived, that's when offensive production fell off a cliff.

That didn't have anything to do with Stiney or his "scheme". Those were all the players.

True Hokies STICK IT IN!!!

STICK IT IN Army of Virginia Tech


Mehhhh I'm not going to support Newsome, but I think that oline gave Tyrod a little more effort than they did Glennon.

Twitter me

True, and that really bothered me. They should have given equal effort for both. Glennon had the better arm especially early on. But the lack of protection for even 1.5 seconds killed our passing game.

its important for QB's to build a rapport with their O-line. The QB needs to earn the respect of the guys protecting him..I encountered Sean Glennon a couple of times in passing (he had a class in Randolph..of all places) and he struck me as arrogant and aloof. It could be argued that most QB's are, to some degree, arrogant. They're alpha males and they have to be confident but it wouldn't surprise me if he rubbed the OL the wrong way

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Do you have any thoughts on Motley, I know there isn't much on film on him though. I think the writing is on the wall that Bucky Hodges is probably going to be a TE.

I'm no French, but I was pleasantly surprised (bordering on shocked) by Motley this past fall. I came into the fall expecting to see him move to safety. However, he displayed a really good arm and above average athleticism. I didn't get a great feel for how he read defenses and such (maybe French will have a better idea here), but I was very impressed with his ability to get the ball from point A to point B. He's a guy I'm going to watch very closely in the Spring.

If you are looking for film on Motley, this is pretty much all I can find. He is number 9 (QB at the 59 second mark).

He played a little in the August 17th scrimmage. He looks similar to Logan in the pocket, big and a long windup. But, he moves much better on bootlegs. He threw some absolute ropes on those bootlegs, but they did not use him in any true 3rd and long pass pro type of situations. I think, like Logan, he has the measurables that could make him very good. I don't know how he looks against top competition or under pressure. I do think that people who have not seen him in person are discounting him a bit too early.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

French, I posted recently in another thread that I feel Motley has the best chance to "unseat" Leal this spring/summer. I saw him play twice in HS and once this past season at scrimmage; he seems to have made serious strides since HS as a passer, to compliment his athleticism. My question (s) .. some kids just seem to have that "it" factor. I see that in Motley as well as J Harrison and T McMillan.

1) Do you agree re: Motley, specifically that he has the highest ceiling of current VT qbs, including verbals

2) Having played college ball, what do you think factors in most regarding whether a D1 athlete becomes an impact player? Talent being essentially equal, that is. Smarts, work ethic .. luck/timing?

I hate to even mention this, but if his mechanics can't be corrected, I wonder how open Durkin would be to the possibility of a position change to the defense - say, for instance, to LB?

I think that violates the natural order of things:

TEs move to OL or QB (had to)
DL moves to OL
QBs move to WR or RB

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“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

Everyone knows that kickers tackle better than QBs.

You mispelt "punters." HTH.


If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

especially this one:

A defensive player that is also a kicker? That kid's got BeamerBall written all over him.

Slye is 5'11" 195. Sounds like a Cody Grimm-esque MLB if Foster is that impressed with him.

His kicking highlights look really good too though...maybe he can play both...? No idea how that would play out in terms of practice time, etc.

He's tiny for a whip, let alone a backer or a Mike. Kicker is a good spot for him. With how our coverage units have fared the past couple years, his tackling abilities may be needed there.

Oh, I agree completely. Kid is tiny but has a leg. Was mostly joking when considering him playing LB and K. K is a spot of real need, and maybe he can make a tackle on coverage. He'll be a K when he comes to the program.

FWIW, Cody Grimm is currently listed at 5'11" 200-210 lbs in the NFL. I thought it was an apt comparison, especially with Foster liking him so much (I assume as a LB, but could be as a K).

Grimm also moved from LB to S in the NFL.

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

We don't love dem Hoos.

Durkin hasn't even signed his LOI....he isn't even on campus and we are talking about him moving to LB?
Why don't we give the kid a year to redshirt and let Lefty work with him before we move him to defense?

Are we going to have Trey Edmunds and Durkin as two of our starting LB's?


I'm pretty sure they're talking about the new kicker slye.. Durkin will the be a QB for sure

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

That's a different thread..I think they're referring to this

I hate to even mention this, but if his mechanics can't be corrected, I wonder how open Durkin would be to the possibility of a position change to the defense - say, for instance, to LB?

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Correct...thats what I was referring to. After all we went through with people moving Logan to TE, now Durkin hasn't set foot on campus yet and we are talking about him moving to LB.
Lets give the kid a chance at QB before we discuss position changes.


There is a better chance of Beamer hiring me than there is of Durkin moving to linebacker. He is a quarterback that gives Loeffler the option of running his Urban Meyer offense. Ford is more of an all around quarterback. He can run, but he won't scare the bejesus out of the defense like Durkin will. Durkin just needs some work on his throwing mechanics.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

This just makes me hope even more that the running game gets going. We're going to need it.


(Deleted, replied to wrong post)

Is there anyone else that would like to see our offense run at a faster pace? I like Loeffler's scheme and game plan, but I feel he allows way to much time for shifting people around, motioning, etc. Not talking about a no huddle, but I feel that the longer the offense takes to snap the ball and wait on motions, the longer we allow the defense to adjust.

Just a thought.

“This guy is slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl full of snot!” - Mike Burnop

Loeffler was asked the same question mid-season and if I am not mistaken he said look we have a lot of new faces in there and we have some trouble running the normal stuff why overload them. He also said his offense has the option to hurry up but its under his discretion.. Which basically means when he feels comfortable that the offense knows what its doing and given the QB can audible out of the play if need be.

Ideally I think once we find Our QB within a year or so we can expect to see some hurry up.

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

Maybe, and if Leal is our QB (since he would have been exposed to Loeffler for a full year going into next season) we'll see some faster paced alignments next year. I know his playbook is ten thousand pages (exagerating) so it should be easy to throw in a formation and reduce any 'tendencies' he creates with formations/alignments

“This guy is slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl full of snot!” - Mike Burnop

I actually would love to know exactly how much of the playbook Logan knew to how much Leal knew. Also I really think Loeffler played with what he had. You can't worry too much about next year early on so he had to find what Logan/ supporting cast was good at and go from within his offensive plans.

If you watched last nights game you could see a "loeffler" type pistol formation with a tweak having the TE or H back line up in backfield and a Wr/ JC, Carlis, Mangus type player to run the sweep/fake. That was Auburn's go to play then add in the PA. It looked very familiar to the play we ran in the redzone where Logan faked the sweep and threw it to a wide open coles for the td against GT I believe. I believe french did a review/ key note on this

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

Agree - there were plays that were very Loeffler'esque last night. I bet he studies Malzahn (as will everyone else) in the offseason to see what tweaks he can make the the veer, inverted veer, zone read, etc. Could be very interesting to see a QB that fits Loeffler's style (Ford) take advantage. If there is one thing that Malzahn did well all season it was to play to the strengths of hte players. Loeffler does the same thing.

“This guy is slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl full of snot!” - Mike Burnop

I feel like a lot of the shifting around was trying to confuse defenses because the offense needed to have any advantage it could.

I'm really interested to see what the offense looks like next year, could be very different.

I agree- we're going to give the guys a full off season to study a playbook in which they have already been exposed to - should really help out moving forward into next year.

“This guy is slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl full of snot!” - Mike Burnop

Confuse defenses? I thought it was intended to help LT read the defense -- e.g. if a DB follows the motion man, they're covering man-to-man ...

In the championship game, the no huddle made pretty much won the game for FSU. It easy for the Winston and the O-line to read the Auburn defense. The no huddle offense prevented Auburn D-line and linebackers from shifting and slanting, limiting the blitzing. Loeffler needs to incorporate the no huddle to make it easier for his quarterbacks and O-line.

Not to mention the no huddle is the most fun to happen to football since Beamerball was invented (which is still the most fun of anything)

Agree with both of you - turkey legs all around!

“This guy is slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl full of snot!” - Mike Burnop

Beamerball was fun, wasn't it? Unfortunately, we haven't seen it in about 5 years...I miss it!

I'm not sure why Bucky Hodges is still being discussed as an option at QB. Here's an excerpt from a post from another board that everyone needs to read -

"Was talking with some of our just departed seniors about up and coming players left behind. First guy out of their mouths and unanimous agreement on Bucky Hodges at TE is going to be a major player. "First Round NFL at TE" if he keeps working and improving like he did this past season."

Additionally, from a post several weeks ago, Hodges apparently tweeted that he is now about 6'8".

He will be a MAJOR target next year at TE. With Cline (getting bigger and stronger in the weight room), Malleck (returning from injury), Redman (primarily a blocker), and the incoming Burke (who played very well in a recent All-American post-season game), the future of our TE group looks very bright.

This makes me all kinds of happy to see. TE is going to be a major strength of the team next year and Lefty likes to use his TEs in his offense. This gun be goooood.

Yes for the love of God. I have been dying for this program to start utilizing TEs in the offense for over a decade.

I mean really, we want to be a "run-first, ball-control, smash-mouth" offense, but *not* have TEs as one of, if not the primary recieving threat? How does that even work? Oh wait *checks last decade of offense* it doesn't.

6' effin 8 ??!!?


"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

Sorry, but I'm not linking to another board, especially one that is a pay board.

that's why i asked.. thought it was a pay board, saw the same comment as well

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

I'll probably get in trouble with that pay board, but I thought the information was something this discussion needed.

If I had to guess I'd say you're about to get in trouble with Joe too...

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson

I'll take the blame I kind of baited him into it. I was hoping he would notice that we are not allowed/ frowned upon to post pay stuff. Therefore.... Turkey legs for everyone

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

After 5 minutes of investigating, the post he copied and pasted is an open topic on 247, anyone can view it. Even if it was behind their paywall, you don't have to worry about me or the website getting in trouble. No one interpret the previous sentence as a pass to copy and paste premium material from paysites. The community guidelines explicitly state not to do that. However, 247Sports,, etc... aren't judge, jury, and executioner on the Internet.

Appreciate the response on this issue - thanks.

Heh, if the information you're providing is good enough to share, and it complies with our posting policy here, why not say, I saw this on 247? is centered around good discussion and analysis. We aren't going to break all the news, but the authors here are going to give a unique and well thought out perspective on it. (Also, we're going to break down game film better than anyone else on the Internet.) Both the writers and members link to things elsewhere on the Internet and discuss them daily.

However, let's do our best to share and discuss information from what we believe to be credible sources. (By that I mean, they are vetting and cross checking their information through trusted sources.) A newspaper man like Andy Bitter is credible, analysts at or 247Sports are for the most part credible. McMurphy, Feldman, etc... are credible.

What you copied and pasted by "atrain99" has little or no credibility to me. Perhaps he's right, perhaps he's making shit up, it's unverifiable. In the future, refrain from re-posting things from random message board posters on other websites. And if you do post something that holds water, and abides by our community guidelines, cite the source.

Okay, for the purposes of this site, I'll cite sources in the future, but with all due respect, I'll be the judge as to whether or not the source is credible or not. I've been around Tech football (since 1967) and the Tech message boards (since 1998) long enough to know who posts reliable info (atrain99 for instance), and who's shoveling major amounts of horse manure (too many to list). If I believe the information is credible and comes from a credible source, I'll post it AND cite the source as long as it meets the community guidelines. But, you're the Editor, and it's up to you whether or not you want to delete those posts in the future.

One more comment - I agree with you 100% that Andy Bitter is one of the best journalists in the business and does his very best to check and double-check every detail on the articles he writes. Additionally, unlike his predecessor, he does not display any personal biases. But, there are a number of other so-called "newspapermen" and "newspaperwomen" employed by widely known and respected media outlets out who wouldn't know a fact if it hit them between the eyes. Those people get cited all the time, and we all know their work is worthless unless you print it out and use it for bird-cage liners.

cough cough HD cough cough

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

But, you're the Editor, and it's up to you whether or not you want to delete those posts in the future.

No, that's not what I'm going to do. In addition to making sure this website runs smoothly I have a full time job as well as other obligations. I don't have the time to patrol the message boards for posts to delete all day. (And to credit the people who post on this site, I've only had to delete a handful of posts.)

The discussion on this website isn't going to devolve into "Hey, look what atrain99 (or some other random person on another website posted)". atrain99 or anyone else is more than welcome to come here. If you want to talk about what atrain99 posted, hit the reply button on the website that atrain99 posted it on.

As for your second point, I don't know of that many. Most folks employed by a respected media outlet are going to iterate through their journalistic standards before posting a story because that's what their job depends on. Are there times when they are wrong? Yes, but 99 times out of 100 I'll believe a double sourced story from a major outlet. Now, when they give their opinion on a matter, you might not like what they have to say, but that's a different story.

Over time, so-called "journalistic standards" have produced a mixed bag of results. I tend to lump in plagiarism with dishonesty and personal biases -

Oh, and just to add a couple of names we all know -

Heather Dinich
Doug Doughty

But, but, but...he was listed as a QB coming out of HS. Everyone knows that if the recruiting services have you listed as a QB, that's what you are and you can't possibly be a TE.

Oh wait a minute...maybe it's the other way mistake...


"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson

Haha by the time spring starts Bucky is going to be 7'5. I hope that rumor is true but no one has been able to confirm it really.

My biggest concern with Leal is confirmed with this post. His mechanics breakdown too easily. I noticed this during the game and it was even more prevalent when I re-watched. Unless you are a significant threat in the run game it is very difficult to survive in this program without proper mechanics. If Leal were younger I wouldn't be as concerned but he is a senior with little-to-no in game experience making it a problem that will be tough to correct. He will essentially be a glorified redshirt freshman next year considering he also had to relearn the play book and new coaching schemes. I am looking forward to following his development along with Ford, Durkin and Motley. It will be refreshing to see new faces.

Thanks for the article. I definitely agree with DUFFMAN's comments. I think I read all of the comments here looking for anything relative to this but did not see it previously mentioned-

Why were Leal and LT never on the field at the same time this year? Having two capable QBs on the field would open up the door for so many possibilities- even if it was just LT playing as TE for a play or two. The event itself would force defenses to plan for so many more contingencies. Then, what if LT went in motion on a play (again, even if he was just a decoy?)

The fact that ML would be on the field more, and even possibly make some throws, would have given him ample more prep time and game experience before having to be thrown into a game breaking situation. NOT putting him in before LT was actually knocked out defies all logic, and I was pretty disgusted to hear CFB repeatedly say that he was disappointed ML didn't play better that he would expect- after never having been used other than in scrimmage.


I think, for better or worse, Scot Loeffler was probably trying his best to get LT to the NFL and thus, LT was the sole focus of the offense. I don't agree with that approach, but I don't think that is how Loeffler will operate in the future. He came into a pretty messed up situation and I think he decided he couldn't clean up the whole mess at once. LT was a project for him and Leal fell to the wayside as a result. More likely than not, Loeffler was never impressed by Leal in the first place which is maybe part of the reason he recruited so aggressively at the QB position.

In the future I would like to see back-up QB's more involved during the course of the season so we can avoid situations like the Sun Bowl. I'm hopeful that Loeffler will recognize the need to get back-up QB's some meaningful reps before they need to be thrust into a starting role.

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Loeffler ... came into a pretty messed up situation and I think he decided he couldn't clean up the whole mess at once.

I think that explains a great deal about the 2013 offense, though I might have emphasized "making it his own" over cleaning up a mess.

Isn't there a saying that if you have two QBs that means you don't have a QB? The one thing the offense did have this year was a QB, so playing Leal only made sense in mopping-up situations. Unfortunately we didn't get many of those in 2013.

Not putting Leal in before Logan got hurt defies all logic? We should have played with two QBs at the same time?

For the life of me, I can't think of why any team, let alone us, should do that.


florida tried it in urban's last year. it didnt go well.

"I promise you I will keep getting back up as long as you keep pushing forward." -Michael Brewer
"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

Yeah, I'm with you on that. We had a lack of athleticism and consistency on the outside as it was, let alone wasting a spot on the backup QB.

We did not play well enough during our out of conference games to give Leal a chance to play. If we are up 21 points on Marshall or ECU going into the 4th quarter then Leal would have gotten some quality reps against respectable defenses. Unfortunately... we barely squeaked by both teams. If the first team offense can't score more than 30 points in a game (which we only did once this season against Miami) then your chances of ever seeing the backup QB are really slim. It sucks. I agree with you though. Lefty could have been a little more creative with the personnel (not just Leal) this season.

could have been more complex vs need to be more complex?? Our whole Offense had to learn a playbook on the fly pretty much, why throw more at them then what they can handle. Also I remember hearing in an interview with Bud that they didn't have as much time to practice early in the year due to their schedule.

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

Good point. Creativity and complexity do often go hand in hand. But could you imagine how badass it would have been if lefty were to draw up a short yardage play to get the ball to Derrick Hopkins on a FB dive?? I loved seeing him on the field in goal line sets. It would be a simple wrinkle in the play book and I would bet a week's pay that it would be effective. Just showing my love for #fatguyTDs I guess.

In all seriousness, I am glad the offense had the extra practice time for the bowl game. Spring ball will be interesting and the early part of our schedule for 2014 lays out nicely. I am glad we have a warm up game before heading to Columbus.. opposed to opening on a neutral site against a top 10 team.

A better question would be "why do you almost never see 2 Qbs on the field at the same time" regardless of team, qb depth, or situation? Because it actually opens up few possibilities, has little upside, and has considerable downside.

Let's say, you line up with Leal at QB and LT at TE (because vice versa would be utterly useless). The defense is immediately going to think it's either a gadget play of some sort or a simple pass to LT. The problem is that there is virtually no element of surprise there. Gadget plays work only if there's the element of surprise -- otherwise they're just slow-developing plays that are easy to defend. So the D adjusts by cheating a guy on Thomas...thus making the basic pass play to him a more difficult option as well.

But let's say Loeffler decides to get too clever by half and uses this as a ruse for a RB run. Now you've taken away the threat of the QB running and added a TE that doesn't really know how to block into the equation. Even if the D diverts an extra body toward LT, you essentially lose a blocking hat as well.

Or let's say Loeffler decides to get even more clever and uses LT as a decoy again, but the play is designed for Leal to throw the ball downfield to another receiver besides LT. All you've done then is put the D on it's toes, removed your most valuable playmaker from the play and simply inserted your least best option at QB. Even if it's a completion, it's only one play and you've accomplished little you couldn't have accomplished with LT at QB.

Not to mention that all the while LT has wasted precious practice time lining up at TE and learning how to block -- and reducing his practice time at the position where he is most valuable. All to get one or two plays at QB for Leal.

So pretty much the only time you would try such a thing is when the game is out of reach. But if the game's out of reach, why bother? Just play Leal, run the offense, and don't needlessly risk injury to LT.

The real problem was that VT was unable to get a big enough lead to get Leal any meaningful playing time. This is not new; it has been a problem for VT for years now.

The offensive talent will not improve next season and the talented freshman class will likely not see the field with the exception of a few players. That being said, I fully expect next season to be a rebuilding year. Our only hope is that the offensive line gets better and some of the young players can take over starting roles.

Touchdown Tech - Bill Roth