2014 Spring Football: Day One Notes and Quotes

After reading and digesting what the coaches and players had to say, this is what stood out to me.

Last year's troubles with the kicking game are well documented, so it's no surprise identifying a reliable field goal kicker is a priority. "We went through several there last year and didn't make enough of them, so we're going to really put a lot of emphasis on that particular area," Frank Beamer said on a teleconference.

It seems as if the special teams guru has introduced a new practice technique to develop consistency under pressure this spring.

Additionally, the Frankinator dropped this hint on his teleconference regarding fourth string tight end Bucky Hodges, "I think we're going to keep him in there on some of the packages from a quarterback standpoint too." So either Tech's definitely running the Wild Turkey and it's going to work so well no surprise is necessary, or Frank's hoping opponent's devote time to stopping it. Maybe it's both!

Linebacker Chase Williams on whether or not finding a renewed toughness has been a point of emphasis for this team, "We got together and decided it was time to get back to the championship caliber defense, the championship caliber offense that Virginia Tech has had. I think the guys really bought in. We're going to show some toughness this year."

It's encouraging that Williams, a fifth-year senior who has waited for his opportunity to earn playing time, seems to have stepped into a leadership roll. Tech will have to depend on young linebackers this season and in 2015. It bodes well that Williams can set the tone for this year and the future.

Stacy Searels is the new offensive line coach, but he'll use the same methodology to identify his starting five, open competition.

"Basically, the thing we are looking to accomplish this spring is finding five guys that we can depend on to be a cohesive unit. We are going to play the five best guys, regardless. There are some guys who have played a lot more than others who should have a huge advantage of keeping their slot, but there is not one position that there won't be competition ... there is not one position secure. What I want to see most of all this spring is guys playing with tremendous effort, but also understanding all the schemes and techniques for us to be successful. We want to have a group of five guys that want to be known for being the toughest bunch in this league, and it will all start on day one of spring ball."

The jury, at least the one deliberating in the courtroom of my mind, is still out on Searels. I'm extremely antsy to see his unit perform. However, he has said all the right things.

If you head to Lane for one of the open scrimmages (4/5 at 3:00 PM, 4/12 at 11:00 AM, and 4/19 at 11:00 AM), unlike last spring you may see the offense run something other than inside zone right, or left. Willie Byrn explained to reporters that getting up to speed would be faster in year two of Loeffler's offense.

"Last spring, it was hard to even call it a spring, just because we had to work on our huddle the first day. Today, we're working on run plays and some base pass things, but it's much better. We're going to get a lot more work done.

"There's just a different energy I think. Last year we were all kind of, not timid, but we were what's going to happen this spring, how's it going to be, what do we expect. Now we know the intensity we have to come in with. I think we kind of matched the coaches' intensity today. Execution's obviously a different thing, but the effort I think was there."

Comments

"That damn Wario"- Donkey Kong

Viva El Guapo

So excited about football being back...sort of.

“I hope that they’re not going to have big eyes and pee down their legs so to speak,” -- Bud Foster

The more I read about the spring workouts, the less I feel like this team will regress without Logan and some of the departures on defense.

Really glad to see Chase finally getting his chance too. Would like to see him be really steady like Tyler was the past couple of seasons.

The comment that left an impression on me, regarding Leal: "...he's a better quarterback than what he showed against UCLA. That game was a situation where he wasn't as ready as he needed to be to play." (Beamer, quoting from memory). As a fan, as a former player, and as a skeptic, this quote says a lot; not about his skill level, per se, but a strike against his professionalism. He was the backup QB. It is your job to be prepared to play, when your number is called. I understand he had become complacent sitting behind LT3, but c'mon, buddy...your education is being fronted by the University, so that you'd be ready to go in these situations! I was embarrassed by his play last year, but even more so, disappointed in his lack of mental preparedness. I'm sure, based on quotes given all offseason by Beamer and Lefty, that this has burned a level of trust they had in him. The job is there for the taking, may the best man win.

Eat your vegetables.

Let's hope that this different energy Byrn is talking about can translate to more touchdowns being scored this season. We need more points from the offense and the special teams this year. GO HOKIES!

"the championship caliber offense that Virginia Tech has had"

Michael Vick is coming back to play?

Let's not forget that even under Stiney, before that-guy-who-stole-his-salary-for-seven-years showed up, VT consistently had top 50, even top 25 offenses. The second that one asshat showed up, the offense immediately tanked. Yes, there were some talent issues, some youth, etc. But those issues should have been fixed in a year or two, or three maximum. Instead, things got worse. In my mind, there is one person -and one person only - who is responsible for holding this program back. And it's on Frank for keeping him around for too long. I'm not bitter....

VT consistently had top 50, even top 25 offenses.

Consistent is a strong word...if you look at the trend over the last 10 years or so, there isn't one. We've been all over the map. Pretty good in 05. Bottomed out in 08. Pretty good in 2009 and 2010. Been sliding ever since (Last year might've been the worst offensive team, statistically, VT has had in the BCS era). You can plot pretty much any offensive performance metric over the last 10-11 years (all I can find data for), and it's just a bunch of spikes everywhere with no discernable trends at all whatsoever. For every top 25 offense we've had, there's a year where we didn't break the top 100.

This doesn't really have much to do with your larger point, which I don't necessarily dispute. I'd just looked at the numbers recently and thought I'd share what I found. We did have some good offenses under Stiney, but there just hasn't been any consistency at all.

Not the bagman VT deserves, but the bagman VT needs right now.

I would also argue that in the last decade or so the success of our offense can be attributed more to the pure athleticism of the players than the scheme or coaching. Tyrod's best plays were broken plays. David Wilson is a freak of nature. Ryan Williams is probably the best running back I've seen in the last 7 years or so...

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

I believe he's referencing that our offensive production struggled incredibly after Newsome showed up. No guarantee on Wikipedia's accuracy, but the numbers are much better through 2005 (before Newsome). Here is Stinespring's Wikipedia page.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

I'm not disagreeing with him..just adding to it. Yes Newsome was a huge problem, but he wasn't the ONLY problem

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

Absolutely a fair point.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

That was exactly my point - our biggest issues were post-Newsome, with 2007-'12 being very up and down, to say the least. And no, he wasn't the only problem, but, IMHO, he was by far the biggest. Stinespring proved to be at least a competent coordinator and O'Cain was a mediocre QB coach, but Newsome had zero business being on a 1-A coaching staff. Are our new offensive coaches upgrades over the old ones across the board? You bet (and Stiney as TE Coach/Recruiting coordinator is quite an upgrade over the old Stiney too).

I think you also had to grade O'Cain as a bad to mediocre depending on the year. Glennon never got better under his guidance, and Tyrod used to credit working out with his HS coaches for why he got better.

Does anybody really doubt that Newsome was a bigger issue than Stiney?

I'd keep in mind, too, that over the past decade, it would seem that offense has seen a major turn for the better nation wide (or defenses overall are worse?).

When the differences in the top 20-30 offenses range around 50-75 yards and about 10 points, versus that being the difference between the top 5 offenses, the landscape has changed somehow.