Hokie Tracks Get Previewed

For no reason in particular here's a picture of David Wilson's whip.


via @Bwoolwine

Previewed. CBSSports.com senior writer Brett McMurphy thinks the Hokies will "roll" through their soft schedule. I really want to describe Tech's schedule as idiotproof, but come on, it's college football, so manageable is more fair. Four winnable non-conference games to ease Logan Thomas and an inexperienced platoon of defensive reserves into the ACC schedule sets up for success. Bill Connelly's examination of Tech is as thorough as a physical, honest and fair. I suggest you read the entire preview. College Football Matrix concludes there's a better chance for teams to pull an upset against Tech at Lane than in their own home.

Backup wideout Xavier Boyce will transfer to Norfolk State.

The STRAIGHTBURNER has switched positions from flanker to split end. Duly noted. I read that as, Dyrell has a better chance getting playing time over Coles than Davis. The positions are quite similar, the frequency at which each run specific routes is a notable difference. Some statistics to chew on, Boykin, Coale, Roberts and Davis caught 29%, 22%, 16% and 4% of completions in 2009, and 25%, 19.5% 10.5% 9.5% in 2010 respectively. What do you think the breakdown will be like this season?

Kwamaine Battle Will Miss the 2011 Season

Hokies trainer Mike Goforth announced backup defensive tackle Kwamaine Battle will miss the 2011 season*. Battle tore the ACL of his left knee during Tech's scrimmage Saturday. It's the same injury he suffered against James Madison last season. As of yesterday it was thought the injury was only a minor sprain. Battle is a senior, but he can appeal the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.

I feel horrible for Kwamaine. I know first hand, well wrist, the time and effort it takes to recover from a torn ligament (and a bunch of broken bones), and my only goal was to swing a golf club again. Battle worked himself into football shape in less than a year. Many well wishes for a speedy recovery Kwamaine.

Where does that leave the defensive line without any proven backups at tackle? Redshirt junior Isaiah Hamlette and true freshman Luther Maddy are on the two-deep. Hamlette is a monster, our biggest defensive lineman listed at 6-5 291. It's hard for a big body like that to be quick enough and have the proper techniques, chief among them playing low, to be successful attacking gaps in our scheme. Although, Collin Carroll described Hamlette as being "quick as a hiccup" and said he "showed great burst and got great penetration".

David Wilson Cruises for 57 Yards in Tech's First Scrimmage


via @markumansky

Unfortunately I couldn't make it to Blacksburg today, but I was able to keep up with the scrimmage via Twitter (@VT_Football, @RaleighHokie, @HokiesJournal, @NormWood and #Hokies), live stats and video on HokieSports.com.

Thoughts on the Highlights

  • What a block by Martin Scales on Bruce Taylor to spring Tony Gregory for nine yards.
  • Beautiful blocking on David Wilson's 22 yard scamper. Drager pulled around backside to kick out the end, Brooks pulled and sealed off at the second level, backer. David Wilson did all the rest. It's a lofty comparison, but Wilson on that run he reminded me of Adrian Peterson, his re-acceleration after taking a hit was unbelievably quick.
  • ZOMG, we're rolling the quarterback out of the pocket! What great touch on LT3's pass to Drager, contrast that with the zip he put on the ball to MD7.
  • LT3's interception to Dyrell was way under thrown. Growing pains to be expected all season.

Notable Tweets

These Tweets caught my eye, and here's what I think.

Blake DeChristopher, get well, get well soon, we wish you to get well.

Ricardo Young is Transfering

Wednesday afternoon sources told TKP that Ricardo Young was transferring. Eric noted as much on his Twitter account, as did I.

We didn't know where he intended on going, or when an official announcement was happening, just that he was moving on.

Fast forward to today. BeamerBall.com made an announcement that Young would miss Tech's first open scrimmage on Saturday because of "personal reasons".

If Offered, We Should AcSECpt, Part II

If Offered, We Should AcSECpt, I wrote that column last summer and still believe it's in Tech's best interest to be part of any SEC expansion plans. This SEC is home to the last six national champions, prestigious bowl tie-ins, is building a national digital network and has an insanely lucrative television contract. From the outside looking in, it seems as if Texas A&M's bags are packed and the Aggies are walking out the Big 12's front door. Common sense would dictate they'll need a running mate, or posse of three, to even out the SEC's numbers. Virginia Tech is rumored to be among a handful of schools (Florida State, Missouri, Oklahoma,) the SEC is interested in joining A&M.

Obviously the cart has been put in front of the horse. Texas A&M hasn't publicly stated any intentions, and last year it seemed likely they'd leave the Big 12 for the SEC, until they didn't.

Hokies are decisively split on whether or not to accept an SEC offer. I've already wrote we should jump at an SEC offer, today I'll argue against why we should stay in the ACC.

Who To Blame?

During Frank Beamer's tenure Virginia Tech football has been synonymous with consistency. Ten win seasons, Wild Turkey at tailgates, Bud Foster snarling on the sidelines, and fans blaming Bryan Stinespring for any, and, everything that's gone wrong.

"Defense gave up 3 scores in the first quarter... Stiney better score fifty!"

"Ugh, a fumble and blocked punt... Come on now Stiney!"

Unfortunately, this season Tech's favorite, and most convenient whipping boy will no longer be in charge of calling plays. Oh no! Now who do we blame when the shit hits the fan...? (Don't let anyone fool you, this is an important question.)

Who: Curt Newsome
Plausibility: 7/10
Rational: As of late the offensive line has either underperformed or taken too many games to execute at a high level relative to their potential. Any offense and team is only going to go as far as their offensive line.
Verdict: Casual fans really have no idea what a Curt Newsome is, nor would they want to carry an insurance policy on one once they found out what it was.

Improvement Needed on 3rd-and-1

Third-and-one. Time to put that Farmhouse steak dinner to use and win the line of scrimmage.

Short distance third downs are one of the more exciting and important plays for an offense. The first goal of creating such opportunities has been achieved, but it's a lost cause if the chains aren't moved.

Because it's such a critical down, I went back and took at look at last year's performance on 3rd-and-1.

Hokie Tracks Are All Smiles

25 More Days... via VTPhreak4evr

Rivals.com ranks the Hokies 12th in their 120 countdown. They echo HokieJoe3's modest and reasonable expectations for Logan Thomas.

Thomas has garnered all sorts of hype, and his size and athleticism have even resulted in some comparisons to Cam Newton. But no reasonable fan should expect Thomas to replicate Taylor's 2010 season, let alone Newton's Heisman-winning campaign.

Rivals preview isn't hurrying the next Hype-O-Meter off the presses (or exported out of Photoshop as it were). I'll be happy if Logan just mitigates rookie mistakes and takes command of the huddle.

Virginia Tech had 32 takeaways and only 13 giveaways last season to lead the nation in turnover margin. It will be interesting to see if the Hokies take care of the ball equally well this season now that they are inexperienced in their backfield.

Positive turnover margin (+2 BC, +2 NC State, 0 WF, +1 Duke, 0 GT, +6 UNC, +5 Miami, +1 UVa, +2 FSU), that's how Tech overcame the shortcomings of a young and average-at-best defense last season to win the ACC. The ball never bounces the same way twice, so I'm not banking on us leading the nation again.

Nick Acree Moved to Offensive Line

As reported by Hokies long snapper Collin Carroll, Nick Acree is now an offensive lineman.

Here's what defensive line coach Charley Wiles had to say last week about Acree to Kyle Tucker.

Not ready. Not reliable enough, not a consistent enough performer. Not a very instinctive football player right now. Kind of a robot. Tries to apply everything you’re saying literally. I mean, play a little bit. Everything isn't going to work exactly like we say it. We’re trying to coach you, but there comes a point where you've got to play. Right now, coming out of spring and what I saw today ... I don’t see a guy who's instinctive enough right now. If we can get two years out of Nick somewhere through this process, I would call it a win.

As of right now, that two years won't be at defensive tackle.

Hokies Football Media Day

Coach Beamer, Jayron Hosley, Eddie Whitley, Logan Thomas and David Wilson answered the media's questions and discussed their thoughts on the upcoming season today. Here are my notes, quotes and opinions from their Q&A session.


Bling-Bling!

The Frankinator

- On coaching his 25th year at Virginia Tech Beamer said he's "very fortunate". He notes a patient administration when he first started, upgraded facilities and great coaches that have been part of the program.

- The hiring of Shane and Cornell haven't changed the staff's dynamic. "We've got two more guys in the room with a great future and then I got the two guys in the room that I rely on heavily in Cav and Billy. If anything we've got more good people here at Virginia Tech."

- Beamer wanted Shane to get out and move to different stops while young, "the security in this business is knowing people."

- Describing Boykin, "He works hard, he doesn't say much, but he's productive. And he's a great, great kid and that's the kind we like hanging around here. He's very businesslike."

- On Dyrell being listed as a first-team kick returner, "I think Dyrell is fine... as explosive as ever."

- Beamer thinks Logan has a lot of the same qualities as Tyrod, "smart, he's competitive, he works hard, very natural leader, great character, lot of the same things as Tyrod, except he's four inches taller and I think that helps him on some throws, being able to see down the middle of the field better, and get the ball over, to people on screens and delays." "The thing he doesn't have is experience... and experience is a wonderful thing, and when you don't have it he's got to play through some stuff."

- "When I first started here, I was just trying to get to the next week." "I just thought we'd always be successful at Virginia Tech."

- Regarding Martin Scales being tied with Joey Phillips on the depth chart at fullback, "he's tough, he's athletic, very aggressive, again a guy that doesn't say a lot, but great kid and he's productive on the field."

- On knowing that LT3 would be the next quarterback, "beneficial to our whole football team, settles us down and full speed ahead."

- On David Wilson embracing his role as featured tailback, "all indications are he's looking forward to it, so far in the first few practices he hasn't slowed down yet, he moves fast, gets around the facilities here fast, the whole deal. I said at media day, the more times we give the ball to David, the more times we're going to realize what a tremendous player this guy is. He's got speed, he's got strength, and he's got power, and he's a great kid."

- When Beamer first saw Thomas in his office he thought he'd be an H-Back, albeit a big H-Back. Then he and Stinespring saw him play, and thought he could be a quarterback. "Just like Tyrod was the right kind of guy to lead your football team, Logan is the right kind of guy to lead your football team."

- Beamer didn't really bat an eye about Wilson starting at tailback and kickoff returner, cited Jayron being a special player starting at corner and punt returner last year. Special teams are the quickest way to win a football game.

- Beamer felt Logan's best chance at the NFL was at quarterback and that's how he "sold" him on the change.

- "Big and gaudy is how we like 'em." Beamer describing his 2010 ACC Championship Ring.

- Beamer really likes the depth on the offensive line, close to having a two-deep line. Beamer really likes center Andrew Miller, "when you're a great wrassler, you're usually a pretty good football player. Understands leverage and he's got balance."

- About Twitter, Beamer puffed up in his chair, threw his shoulders back and lifted his head, "Do you think I'm on Twitter?" He's not going to eliminate Twitter like other coaches, rather educate the players.

- Justin Meyer is talented, tremendous leg, but he has trouble hitting the ball in the same spot every time and his constancy suffers because of it.

BREAKING: FOOTBALL IS BEING PRACTICED.

Virginia Tech started football practice yesterday at 5:00 PM. It's happening.

The Frankinator is getting the boys fired up. Bud's chewin' on some food for thought. Stiney's not coordinating the offense and LT3 is in the middle of it all. Kickoff is that much closer, 29 days away you guys.

The following quotes from Coach Beamer, Wiles and O'Cain were transcribed by Hokiesports.com: VT Football Camp Confidential unless otherwise noted.

Coach Beamer:

"Well, the way it's set-up, NCAA-wise, you go in shorts for two days, shoulder pads for two days, then full pads for a day. The biggest thing that I want to get squared away is our kickers, right now. I think some back-ups on defensive line, some back-ups in our secondary, who is going to be our six receivers that we are going to go with. Those are the things that we need to go get settled on. For the most part, we know who should be our starters. It would be nice if some of these younger guys could come in here, back-up and have a positive effect on the team."

The task of naming his starting kickers sounds like it's a blocker on Beamer's mental Gantt chart. It's the first thing he's mentioned needed to be done in every interview he's given going back to spring. Journell and Coale have to be the odds-on-favorites to win the kicking and punting jobs respectively. Beamer said as much to Kyle Tucker.

Beamer said after practice that wide receiver Danny Coale's summertime tweaks to his punting technique have helped and that he looked good today and remains the leader to win the starting job. Crazy, right? Beamer also said Cody Journell still looks like the guy who'll win Tech's field goal gig.

Six receivers? Consider that our 5th and 6th receivers last season, D.J. Coles and Austin Fuller, only caught a combined seven balls all of last season. Perhaps Beamer's looking to spread out the offense a bit more.

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