Week 8 BlogPoll Ballot

My full poll is after the jump. As always I need you guys to keep me in check. So leave your opinions, thoughts and suggestions in the comments and I'll adjust the poll as necessary.

  • Oklahoma, Wisconsin - How far should they drop? I know Oklahoma's resume isn't as impressive with Florida State, Texas and Mizzou struggling, but based on their talent I still think they are the best one loss team in the country. Up until Saturday the Badgers played no one and beat everyone, save Nebraska. So I am not holding a last second loss via a once-a-season Hail Mary touchdown against them.
  • Michigan State - They might be too high. I conveniently swept the beat down they took earlier in the year from a more and more average looking Irish under the rug. Two of their biggest wins at Ohio State and against Wisconsin were squeakers.
  • The Cocks - They drop two spots after beating the bye week; poll-itics.
  • West Virginia - Am I being too hard after their loss in the Dome?
  • Who's missing - The bottom five are a mess. If you can make an argument for a team not ranked that you think should be there I am all ears.

Post Game Ranting: A Quick Game Overview

Well, that was certainly interesting wasn't it fellow Hokie fans? I have not had a chance yet to review the game film, but after watching the Hokies 30-14 win over Boston College yesterday, I wanted to share some quick observations as they stand fresh in my mind before I watch the film and find out that I am all wrong.

Bruce Taylor will Have Season-Ending Surgery Tuesday

The Key Play.com was greeted by an unpleasant email from a source informing us Bruce Taylor will have season-ending surgery on his foot that he injured in the third quarter against Boston College on Saturday. Our source was unable to confirm the severity of the injury or the rumor that it is a Lisfranc sprain.

Bruce Taylor's 2011 Stats

Tackles Sacks Pass
QB Hurries
Ast Solo Asst
Ast Solo Yards
32 21 6 4 36 2 4 27 0 3

Taylor led the Hokies with 53 tackles. His leadership and presence anchoring the defense at Mike linebacker cannot be represented by a statistic, nor be overvalued. He will be greatly missed.

Barquell Rivers, who suffered and has been working to return to form from a ruptured quadriceps tendon in 2010, relieved Taylor and shined on the field. Look for Rivers to be Taylor's permanent replacement. And if you're keeping track at home Bruce is our 3rd starting defender sidelined for the season (G-W, A. Hopkins).

Well wishes for a speedy recovery Bruce.


Box gone ham.

Unfortunately, there's no fancy live blog this week because no one will be around to moderate it. Box, Kevin and I will be at the game, the BCO has #BeerControlFather duties, and Adam is in Chi Town eating at The Wiener's Circle. I didn't want to leave you guys high and dry though. Post your pre-game, in game, and postgame comments and thoughts here. If you don't already have one, you'll need an account to post. The ship is yours, treat her right.

Boston College Preview

Who: #16/T14 Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1, 2-1 ACC) vs Boston College Eagles (1-5, 0-3 ACC)

Time: 3:00 PM

TV Coverage: RSN (Rich Waltz, Keith Jones, Jenn Hildreth)

Venue: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA (66,233 – Grass)

Series History: Virginia Tech leads 13-6

  • Last Meeting (2010): Virginia Tech 19, Boston College 0
  • The Hokies have won the last three meetings between the two, dating back to the 2008 ACC Championship
  • Boston College has scored in just three of the last 14 quarters against the Hokies
  • In 2009, Boston College had 3 yards of offense in the first half in a 48-14 loss

Injury Report

  • WR E.L. Smiling – Out for Season (wrist)
  • OL Mark Shuman – Out (knee/ankle)
  • TE Eric Martin – Out (shoulder)
  • OL David Wang – Out (foot)
  • CB Jayron Hosley – Doubtful (hamstring)

The Opponent: The Hokies return home for Homecoming to face the M*A*S*H unit known as Boston College. The Eagles enter Saturday’s contest at 1-5 and have faced a rash of injuries to critical players, making Virginia Tech’s injury problems seem minute. BC has lost five starters to injury and an additional two players left the team.

High Level Offensive Review of Wake Forest Game

This week, I spent most of my film review focused on the defensive line troubles that plagued the Hokies against Miami, but I did watch one live speed review of most of the offensive series. Using the themes we have discussed in the past, I will give my high level impressions of the Hokie offense this week.

Six Pick: Week Eight

It's week eight and currently there are ten unbeaten teams left. That means hand wringing about what happens when 5 of these teams are unscathed at season's end. Really!?! Get back to me in mid November, until then lets just watch these teams beat each other and wait for the annual "Shock the World Saturday" to redefine expectations. This could be that week because it's another so-so lot of games. Makes me wish I was going to Blacksburg to tailgate and watch BC vs VT. Instead, I'll suffer through the games for you, hoping for upsets so I can troll other fans on Twitter.

Mock Interview: An Eagle Eye on Boston College

Editor's Note: Bumped to the front because this week we're having fun making a lot of stuff up.

Early this week I made the way up to Chestnut Hill to get a glimpse into the hearts and minds of Coach Spaziani along with a player or two. Some of the highlights are below:

Coach Spaz, may I call you Spaz? It just rolls easier off the tongue. Looking down the barrel of a 1-5 start where do you think your team has to go from here? What keys for success have you used to inspire your squad?

1st Quarter Second Guesses: Focus on the Defensive Line (Wake Forest)

After the defensive line debacle versus Miami, I took the opportunity to examine how the depleted Hokie defensive line performed against Wake Forest. With the Hokies schedule including pro-style power I running teams like UNC and UVA, as well as a wishbone Georgia Tech team, developing backup defensive linemen who can not only fill in for injured guys now, but who can also play important snaps late in the season, is crucial for Virginia Tech to win the ACC this year.
1st Quarter:
1st defensive series:
1st and 10- bootleg, defensive line flows, the whip apparently has bootleg responsibilities. Good coverage by Exum.

The Virginia Letters

Sitting at Virginia's football game-week press conference this afternoon, I was surprised to hear Associated Press reporter Hank Kurz ask defensive end Jake Snyder if he'd heard how U.Va. had recently sent letters to football recruits that basically said by the time they read the letter U.Va. will have already beaten Georgia Tech.

Snyder said he hadn't heard about it. I immediately went to Kurz and inquired about where he'd gotten the info about the alleged letters to recruits. He said U.Va. defensive coordinator Jim Reid told him after the Georgia Tech game the Cavaliers had sent out the letters.

Sounds like a pretty reputable source to me, but I'll try to get further confirmation. Either way, that's the kind of sexy line in a love letter to a recruit that makes a prospect take notice, especially if a program can back it up like U.Va. did with Saturday's 24-21 win against No. 12 Georgia Tech.

via: http://weblogs.dailypress.com/sports/college/accblog/2011/10/virginia_shows_confidence_in_r.html

This isn't the first time Virginia has passed along a letter to a recruit, far from it. In fact, snail-mail communication with prospective players is a practice that began under Al Groh, and is continued by disciple Mike London. A The Key Play.com investigation has obtained copies of correspondence through the years.



You're going to have to sell yourself a little bit better son. Are you worth that scholarship? I've seen a lot of other players move better than you and they can make all the open field tackles too. How are you going to separate yourself from the pack for me?

I'm still not convinced,

Virginia Head Coach Al Groh

Grillin' With Wolf: Clambake

Boston College is a private school that was established in 1863 in Chestnut Hill, MA. The campus is in a historical district just 6 miles west of downtown Boston. Outside of Doug Flutie and Matt Ryan what more can be said about the Eagles in football? Well, we could make fun of the fact that they pump in music to the stadium to make up for the lack luster fans, or maybe their current 1-5 record. Like most of you I despise Boston College for some strange reason (and most Boston sports for that matter). Though I must say that alumni such as Leonard Nemoy, Joe Mullen, Brian Leetch, and Jack Ryan (even if he is fictional) quells some of my hate.

What can I do to remove that vile taste BC put in my mouth on October 2007? Replace it with a mouth watering clambake.

A traditional clambake is cooked in a pit dug on a beach with hot stones, but we are not able to recreate that in the parking lot. We are also not able to walk along the beach and gather the necessary seaweed and seawater either, so we have to live without that as well. However, I will give you an easy way to make a modified clambake right on your own charcoal grill.


BCS Primer - Week 1 of the BCS Standings

The season's first BCS rankings have been released, and I figure if TheKeyPlay.com has any chance to become a dominant force in the college football blogosphere it's about time for us to start talking about bowl games and who's going to square off in the BCS Championship Game.  Let's face it: it's mid-October, we're halfway through the college football season, and the Hokies are bowl-eligible for their 19th straight year.  We're late to the game!  ESPN.com has had their bowl projections going since ... well, I think they've had them since January.

Week 7 BlogPoll Ballot

My full poll is after the jump. As always I'm going to rely on y'all to keep me in check so leave your opinions, thoughts and suggestions in the comments and I'll adjust the poll as necessary.

  • Oklahoma State - It's splitting hairs but I like the Pokes' resume a tad better than Boise's right now.
  • Virginia Tech - Another marvelous game by Logan Thomas. He quickly put a slow start behind him and the defense had an impressive outing despite numerous injuries.
  • Michigan State - I had been undervaluing little brother because I couldn't get over Notre Dame tooling on them, and them struggling so much against Ohio State. The offense leaves something to be desired, but their defense dominated Michigan. As a Hokie, I have to respect that.
  • Georgia Tech - Once again Tevin Washington is throwing the ball like I'd expect a Paul Johnson quarterback to. That's not a good thing. He's 12/39, for 255 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 3 picks against NC State, Maryland and UVa.

Wake Forest Roll Call

Like the coaching staff complimented itself and the players for, I did not panic after quarter 1.

It was frustrating to watch, but you just had this feeling that everything was going to correct itself. And it did. Logan found his touch. The line popped open some holes. The defense started to get good pressure. It was fun to watch.

The big concern of the night was the D-line and I thought the young guys answered the bell. Let's talk specifics:

1. Antone Exum - As I hoped, he's getting better. I like where this is heading.

2. Josh Oglesby - Not a ton of running room for him on Saturday, but he ran tough with what he had.

3. Logan Thomas - I'm trying not to get too excited here, but he's making it difficult. I think we're seeing a special talent develop. By no means do I think he's arrived. The first quarter is proof of that, both in decision making and touch. However, he settled in, made some beautiful throws and went through his read progression nicely. And with the ball in his hands, he's going to do work. I swear, if we ever get to 3rd-and-1 and do not make it because we didn't sneak, I'm going to fire a coach myself.

4. David Wilson - He's out-pacing Ryan Williams' 1,655-yard season. That stat is better than any compliment I could give for Saturday night's effort.

Sunday Reminder

Editor's note: I'm still traveling and away from the computer dealing with the consequences of back-to-back open bars. There will be multiple posts analyzing our domination of Wake coming. Until then, how about them Hokies? And this below. Please chime in with your thoughts, especially if you went to the game. --Joe

Wake Forest Live Blog

I'll be attending a wedding today (I know, believe me I know) so I'm watching on my iPhone. Eric's running the ship here. It should be a good game. It's on ESPN3, if you don't get ESPN3 then VTPhreak probably has you covered. Let's go!

HokieV's Quick Hits before Wake

I haven't had a chance to write full a reaction to our win over Miami - mainly due to a busy work week, but partly because I'm working on a post on the upcoming BCS standings for TKP's readers on Sunday.

So, I'd like to at least follow-up last week's win over Miami by putting some of my thoughts down to paper.

Q&A with Blogger so Dear

I exchanged questions and answers with RAJohnston of Blogger So Dear to share some insights into tomorrow's game. Everything seems spot on except his assumption that Blacksburg rednecks ride choppers, we roll on raised Wranglers with fat tires and Super Duty F-350's. My answers can be found here. Many thanks to RA for joining us.

What's the contingency plan if running back Josh Harris can't play? Will it come to that?

Right now its looking like Jroc isnt going to be able to go. Coach Grobe said last night on his radio show that he would be an emergency back only. That leaved senior Brandon Pendergrass as the starter. He has seen a fair amount of time in the past, and has gotten around 40 carries already this year. Not sure if it is some gamesmanship by Grobie or not, but he doesn't usually mess around with the injury reports. Harris did not practice this week and was in sweats talking with coaches and trainers on Wednesday when I went out there. Usually, if you don't practice, you don't play. That being said, it would not surprise me at all if the coaches did try him on a series or two early to see if he can be effective at all.