Editor's Note: Beau brings up a few good points. What's the state of the running game? And where is it going? Is/will there be a feature back? A couple of quick stats, Tech is tied 74th nationally in rushing yards per game (141.50). No Hokie has netted more than 100 yards this season (Holmes is the leader with 94, Coleman second with 54, Marcus Davis third with 48). --Joe
Well, I am sure there are some frustrated Hokies out there who are stopping by looking for answers as to why Virginia Tech looked so pedestrian against a bad, but game, Austin Peay team on Saturday. I think before we dive deep into analysis of the performance, we must understand what this game meant to the Hokie coaching staff.
A long review of the film told me that the coaching staff treated this game like a scrimmage. The Hokies ran a very vanilla offensive set with limited offensive line movement, counter-motion, and almost no read option plays. The defense played long stretches of man to man coverage, with very basic slants and linebacker fills up front. If I were a betting man, the staff goals were:
Playing a football game on four days rest is absurd. The players are not rested, and there's not an adequate amount of time to install a game plan. It's absolutely asinine how the ACC handles the Labor Day games. The schedule comes out some time in January or February, and ... surprise, you're kicking off the season on Monday night! I'm sure the athletic directors know in advance, but how far? This last go around, I think the Techmo Bowl matchup leaked a month or two before the schedule was announced. So around then maybe? I don't know. However, I do know that it's silly that these games aren't scheduled two or three years down the road. Everyone knows the conference schedule for an entire cycle, nothing is a surprise there, so why do the Monday night game have to be? The conference needs to do its commissioners a favor and give them more time, on the order of years, to work around the inconvenience. I realize that the ACC is about as progressive as North Korea, so none of that will actually happen, and maybe there's a good reason that I'm unaware of for why it doesn't. The blame doesn't lye completely with the ACC, ultimately Tech is in charge of its non-conference schedule and it should have been on a bye today. Austin Peay is as favorable a I-AA matchup as there is out there, and it took more than a half for Tech to put them away. Given a full week to rest and prepare, and that's not the case. /end rant
The Box kicks off Pitt week a little early. I have a gut reactions post from Peay typed on my laptop, but I'm still without power, so this is up first.
Remember when Pitt had the worst teams ever and they'd still beat us? That sucked.
The last time Virginia Tech opened the season on a Monday night and played a I-AA team the following Saturday, the Hokies lost to JMU. My apologies for that reminder, but that won't happen again. Austin Peay is not a I-AA powerhouse, moreover they're not a competitive I-AA team. In their preseason poll, the Ohio Valley's coaches and sports information directors predicted the Govs would finish last in the conference. Last week Peay lost to Western Kentucky 10-49. In 2011 they lost at Cincinnati 10-72, and at Memphis (who went 2-10 themselves) 6-27. Wisconsin hung 70 on them in 2010. Peay's won just five of 22 games over the last two seasons.
Austin Peay threw for just 11 yards against WKU (164 total). Peay's QB Jake Ryan has started 25 games and over his career he's completed 292 of 602 passes for 3,202 yards 20 TDs and 37 (!!!) picks.
Peay's trying to replace three veteran starters on the offensive line. The group combined to return 38 career starts, but struggled to protect Jake Ryan against WKU.
Peay runs a 4-2-5 defense.
We're back in Blacksburg for a breakdown of Virginia Tech's 20-17 OT win over Gah _ech. The Hokies had some troubles on offense, but there were some bright spots on defense that keyed the W and a stranglehold on the Coastal.
Brian and I also look forward to Saturday's game with Austin Peay with a little background on why it sounds like every APSU fan chants something you hear from a group of girls trying to avoid an awkward conversation at TOTS.
That and more on Episode two of Adventures on Whiskey Lane.
Leave us comments, suggestions and anything we can do to make it better, because we may just give you a shoutout in the coming weeks.
MP3 Download link: http://thekeyplay.podomatic.com/enclosure/2012-09-05T21_55_59-07_00.mp3
After a breakout 2011 season, Coles was expected to be the top returning receiver for the Hokies in 2012. However, offseason surgery on his PCL slowed him down as he missed spring practice and most of August camp. Re-injuring his knee Monday night against Georgia Tech forced him to shelf the season.
The emergence of Corey Fuller and Demitri Knowles softens the blow a bit, but the loss of a talented player at an already thin position can't be downplayed. Look for true freshman Joshua Stanford to get a lot of work against Austin Peay.
Here's the official release from HokieSports.com.
Virginia Tech senior wide receiver D.J. Coles will undergo an MRI on his knee and will miss the remainder of the 2012 season, as announced Thursday by head athletic trainer Mike Goforth. The Maidens, Va., native had off-season PCL surgery on his right knee, but returned for Monday’s opener against Georgia Tech. He injured the right knee again in the first quarter.
Because Coles has not played in more than 30 percent of this year's season, he will be eligible to apply for a medical hardship waiver at the conclusion of the season. Coles has not redshirted, so provided the medical hardship waiver is granted, he will be eligible to return next year for a fifth season. Goforth says it's almost certain that Coles will be granted the waiver and will return next year.
The Hokies' oppenent on this short week (THANKX WEAVER) are the Governors of Austin Peay State University. For those asking, "Peay" is pronouced with a long 'e.' This has led the student body to adopt one of the more grandiose cheers in intercollegiate sports.
Last season the Governors played two FBS opponents, losing by a combined score of 99-16. Why is this significant? Memphis - widely regarded as the worse team in college footbal in 2011, was one of those two teams. Could this perhaps be the signs of bigger things to come for APSU?
Editor's Note: We're going to try to bring you the very best reviews of the games this season found anywhere online. The embedded YouTube video is the complete game, condensed with all commercials removed courtesy of Dozer. It has been coded to start and stop at the times being referenced. If that doesn't work, the time referenced in the play is listed below. --Joe
Welcome to our first film review of the 2012 season. The Hokies came into their opener against Georgia Tech preaching a new attitude on offense after prominently featuring the no huddle, spread, and pistol in preseason scrimmages. Georgia Tech, with Al Groh's 3-4 defense missing several key cogs and lacking depth, seemed like the perfect opponent for a breakout offensive performance after years of struggling in nationally televised openers. By the third quarter, it seemed as if those lofty aspirations had gone up in smoke as the Hokie offense repeatedly stalled against the Yellow Jacket defense.
Holy short week, you guys. **Rubs eyes, I gotta write what by Wednesday night!?** Even though I feel like a zombie after the Hokies Monday night win, I hope to get a pass for the abbreviated, subpar Six Pick effort. One thing I can't excuse are the poor results of 90% of us last week. This week may not be much better as the lines for these games have given me pause. I only wish these games were a bit more interesting. The good news is this may be the worst week of games on the schedule, so we can get this out of the way early while it's still hot outside. I promise, you'll get a big game, good effort from me next week when business picks up.
So ESPN's College Gameday is headed to College Station, Tx for the Aggies first game as a member of the SEC. This is the equivalent of pity sex and was clearly engineered by SEC boss, Mike Slive. The oddity of this broadcast will be seeing everyone sweat their cojones off while a bunch of guy cheerleaders in white do the hand jive behind Fowler, Corso and Herbstreit. Also, who will ESPN find as their celebrity game picker this week? aTm has limited options, with it either being George H.W. Bush or Ryan Tannehill's wife. Hot sells.
Miami at Kansas State -6.5 12:00 PM FX
Even though this is a short, somewhat obvious post, I felt it was necessary to write. The defense was outstanding against the run, Georgia Tech's bread and butter, Monday night. Their effort was fueled by the Hokies deep defensive line (7 players played more than 30 snaps) that penetrated, created havoc, and held their gaps at the line of scrimmage. It was preserved by a back seven that for the most part cleaned up the wash—any loose ballcarrier. The longest run from scrimmage was just 22 yards.
The Hokies held the Yellow Jackets to 192 yards on the ground. Let's put that into context. Over the Paul Johnson era (2008-11, not including 2012), Georgia Tech accounts for 17 of the top 20 rushing games, including four of the top five, among ACC schools. Over the same timespan nationally, they're tied for second best with Neveda with 9 of the top 100 single game rushing totals (Air Force and Navy each have 10). They have ranked in the top 4 nationally in rushing yards per game each of the last four seasons.
Stealing the 'T' from the Tech Tower is a Georgia Tech tradition that dates back to the 1960s. Students plot to steal the 'T', and if they're successful it's returned during homecoming.
Seemingly harmless, and kind of cool if you ask me. Recently however, filching the 'T' from the Tech Tower has spread to boosting all off the T's around, and off campus.
One of our T's went missing this weekend, and rivalries are fun.
After Georgia Tech took a three point lead with less than a minute to go, I stood hunched over on the bleachers in the East Stands. My mouth remained open, but I was no longer screaming. A day of drinking PBR-limes, RAILs, and bourbon be damned, I was left sober by watching approximately 56 minutes of missed opportunities over the course of the night. With a clear mind I thought the worst —Alabama '09, Boise '10— history was going to repeat itself.
Quick gut reactions to the roller coaster ride tonight in Blacksburg.
Terrific performance up front by the Hokie defensive line. Derrick Hopkins, Luther Maddy (prior to getting banged up) and all four defensive ends were outstanding. That is as well as a Hokie d-Line has played the run against a GT team. Foster had much more confidence in stopping the whole attack, with the DT's shutting down the dive and the outside guys rocking the QB.
Editor's Note: Bumped. This piece got my mind right for Monday night. --Joe
Dozer does it again. Bravo!
Now that I have your attention... This will be a new Friday (or Wednesday) post. I want it to be a quick reading, in-depth set of notes that'll get anyone up to speed for what to watch on game day. For the bigger games, there might be video too.
Brent Benedict and Michael Via will rotate snaps at right guard. Benedict is as strong as a bull, lean, and looked terrific in Virginia Tech's first public scrimmage. However, he struggled in the final scrimmage, then the tried and true Michael Via reappeared into the picture. All along It was obvious Via would rotate in somewhere, and play many meaningful snaps this season, he's too good not to.
It almost seems surreal that, given Virginia Tech's long standing rivalries with Miami and UVA, that over the last 5 years the ACC game which has caused many Hokies the greatest worry has been the Ramblin Wreck of Georgia Tech. Paul Johnson has successfully been able to implement a true flexbone offense in a BCS Conference, and despite a clear drop in his offensive recruiting talent, Johnson has been able to adapt his lesser athletes into a system that works.
A moment of full disclosure, I am a football purist. I believe in the fundamentals, and the premise that repetition and technique can make up for a lack of athleticism. This matchup features a Virginia Tech defense that uses a slanting, gap control model which compensates for lesser athletic ability against a Georgia Tech offense which harkens back to the days of Darryl Royal, where the offensive line veer blocks, coming off low and fast the way many of us were taught in high school.
Adventures on Whiskey Lane. That's right, WE'RE DOING A PODCAST Y'ALL! We're going to be annoyingly cramming kind-of funny jokes and tons of information into your eardrums via the interwebs. Why hasn't this happened already?
I don't know, but Kevin Burke (the Lee Suggs to my Kevin Jones) and I are here to make it right! Tune in every Wednesday for the entire season as we discuss football, bourbon, football, Shane Beamer, Logan Thomas and other things that (sometimes) have to do with sports. So sit back, hope you enjoy, call us idiots if you disagree with whatever we say, because lord knows someone has to keep us in check. Leave us comments, suggestions and anything we can do to make it better, because we're here for you.
And we're BACK! College football has returned, and riding sidecar is the Six Pick. For those unfamiliar, I pick the six TV games that interest me the most each week. I write a bit about each and then I pick the outcome against the spread. The readers are encouraged to discuss the games and pick the outcomes as well in the comment section. We'll do a weekly running tally and the winner at the end of championship week gets to name Joe's first born kid or a night of drinking at Whitlow's on the TKP staff. Now that the formalities are over, let's get it on!
The 8 month offseason is officially over and week 1 is upon us. Checking out old favorites, the new faces, the scheme tweaks and the coaching overhauls, gives me that teenage crush feeling without the braces and awkward stares. Optimism is high at every school, unless in the unlikely event you are Terrapins football fan. There are so many questions that are to be answered in the next four months:
Brace yourselves, y'all. FOOTBALL IS COMING.
Editor's note: Brian did a Q&A with our Georgia Tech friends at From the Rumble Seat. You can read Brian's answers on their site. LilBroey700's answers to Brian's questions are below. -- Joe
TKP: One big knock on the Paul Johnson era (other than the crew neck sweat shirts and hiring Al Groh) has been the team’s lack of performance in games where the defense has had time to prepare for the triple option (primarily in bowl games, where they’re winless). Does that worry you, as Bud Foster has had months to prepare his guys for the triple option?