Hokie Tracks are Switching Positions

BeamerBall.com announced Duan Perez-Means is switching positions from defensive end to tight end. Not including the Sugar Bowl he played just 50 snaps at end and had 8 total tackles (6 assisted, 2 solo). I thought he played well enough when he got on the field, but there's a logjam at end. Both 2011 starters, James Gayle and J.R. Collins, return this season. Zack McCray, Tyrel Wilson and possibly Corey Marshall will compete for a spot on the two-deep. The move was at Duan's request, unlike the coaches asking Chris Drager to switch last season. He played tight end in high school, and got some work on the scout team last season. Based on how much they played in 2011, Eric Martin and George George look to be the top two tight ends heading into spring. Randall Dunn, Ryan Malleck and now Perez-Means will push them for playing time.


So yeah, how much are we going to miss Coale?

Looking on to 2012, Defense Set to Dominate

There's nothing that can be done about Coale's reversed catch (I will go to my grave knowing it was a catch). Virginia Tech missed another opportunity to win a big non-conference game . Even so, last season has a lot of positives to build on starting with the defense that performed well all year despite numerous injuries and dominated Michigan in the Sugar Bowl.

Return of the Lunch Pail Defense

In 2010, the defense benefitted from 32 turnovers (8th nationally) which helped hide the flaws of a D that ranked just 52nd nationally. An elite defense doesn't depend on turnovers. The Hokies needed to do better. The return of a top defense would be the key to a successful 2011. Foster's gang responded and delivered another top ten D. Next year's team has the potential to improve on that.

James Gayle is hungry.

A look into a few defensive categories and how the 2011 VT defense ranked nationally:

Introducing the Virginia Tech Class of 2016

National Signing Day has come and gone. Despite Jawand Blue accepting Miami's last minute scholarship offer, and Korren Kirven deciding to head to Tuscaloosa, a place where he'll be able to achieve his goals, the Hokies closed strong, something the coaching staff struggled to do in previous years. They inked a class of 28 players including seven All-Americans (most since '07).

Ken Ekanem, after announcing he'd sign with Virginia Tech (via). There might be a four-spot on defense and offense these next few seasons.

Scoring output worst of Seth Greenberg era

I've been pondering our offensive woes this season, and wanted to compare this season's scoring to past seasons under Seth Greenberg.  While some of the numbers aren't drastically different, so far this season is the worst overall - I'm sure you're shocked.

In the below spreadsheet I listed the past 9 seasons and included team scoring, our 4 leading scorers each season, their contributions to scoring, and the percentages of their contributions against the team total.  I also included the final four teams from the last 3 seasons as a comparison.

No. 7 Duke "Preview"

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (12-9, 1-5 ACC) vs Duke Blue Devilss (18-3, 5-1 ACC)

When: Thursday, February 2 @ 7:00 p.m.

TV: ESPN (Mike Patrick, Len Elmore, Jeannine Edwards)

Where: Cassell Coliseum (9.847), Blacksburg, VA

Thanks to some technical difficulties on my end, my previously-written Duke preview disappeared last night. So, in lieu of a typical preview for this game, I'm using this space as a place for us fans to gather and talk about this team. After this weekend, we'll be halfway through the ACC slate, and Tech could be 3-5 and on the upswing or sadly, as bad as 1-7 and talking about whether the NIT is even a possibility at this point.

This is a defining weekend for our basketball team. And it all starts with the team that we earned our defining moment against last year. Our guys came out and showed just how well they could be if everything went right. Duke provided us with what is possibly the best day in the history of Virginia Tech basketball. Sure, it's a bit different this year with College Gameday not being in town, but this still could be a shining moment against an otherwise bleak backdrop.

National Signing Day, Primer Recap

This is certainly neither Frank Beamer nor Al Golden's first rodeo. Nothing should ever really come as a shock on National Signing Day. Let's be real, we're talking about 17 or 18 year olds making (what might be) their first major life decision. Sometimes, recruits change their minds. Sometimes - as in Jawand Blue's case - they decide to go to Miami instead of Virginia Tech. That's cool, and I wish him the best of luck. 

Then Al Golden decided to open his mouth

OH REALLY? That's cute. Let's talk about when this happened:

Quick Reaction and Analysis of a Wild National Signing Day

National Signing Day certainly turned into a festival atmosphere for Hokie fans, with tons of positives coupled with some negatives to give both the most ardent homer and the most disaffected crumudgeon plenty to talk about.

The Hokies were able to secure two of their top three remaining targets in multi-talented athlete Joel Caleb and bruising defensive end prospect Ken Ekanem. Meanwhile, Koren Kirven disappointed Hokie fans by joining Nick Saban's NFL machine down in Tuscaloosa. Finally, the Hokie blogosphere and twitterverse went crazy as MARGINAL linebacker prospect Ja Wand Blue decommitted and headed down to the Harvard of the South in Coral Gables.


Tomorrow is National Signing Day. Who's excited?

These guys, as I'm sure every other high school senior about to sign a National Letter of Intent, are. There won't be many surprises tomorrow. Beamer Co. has received verbal commitments from 27 players, two of which: J.C. Coleman and Donaldven Manning have enrolled early. Jawand Blue, who committed to Tech back in July, continues to be recruited hard by his home state Hurricanes.

Three-star OLB Jawand Blue of Boca Raton, Fla., will find out Tuesday if he'll get a scholarship offer from Miami, according to Canesport.com. Blue, 6-0, 215, is committed to Virgina Tech but has been courted by coach Al Golden and his staff in recent weeks and hosted Miami's coaches at his high school last week.

As expected, Blue took his official visit to Tech last weekend, but no one can say for sure what a high school kid will do.

Three uncommitted targets remain for the Hokies: Korren Kirven, Joel Caleb, and Ken Ekanem.

Where will Hokie Tracks sign on Wednesday?

Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. Tech target Joel Caleb was unanimously voted as the top recruit from the Richmond Metro area.

"He's a great athlete. An elite athlete," one coach said. "He has size, speed — all those things. I think he's clearly the No. 1."

Another coach added, "He has great explosion and acceleration. He can run away from people."

If the receiver picks the Hokies on Wednesday, Tech will sign 4 of the 5 on the T-D's 2012 A-List. Caleb is 90% sure of where he'll end up. The Hokies are relentlessly pursuing defensive tackle Korren Kirven, who made his official visit to Tech this past weekend, but so are Alabama and Tennessee.

He made an official visit to Alabama last weekend. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley visited Brookville on Monday to make a final plea with the player, and Alabama coach Nick Saban was in Lynchburg on Wednesday to put in a final word for the Crimson Tide.

Maryland Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (12-8, 1-4 ACC) @ Maryland Terrapins (12-7, 2-3 ACC)

When: Saturday, January 28 @ 2:30 p.m.

TV: ACC Network (Tim Brantt and Mike Gminski)

Where: Comcast Center (17,950), College Park, MD

The Opponent: Fresh off another excruciatingly close loss to a big-name non-conference foe, the Hokies jump back into league play with a trip to Maryland. The Terps are under the direction of first-year head coach Mark Turgeon, who came to UMD after four years (and four NCAA Appearances) at Texas A&M.

Maryland was a rather large question mark in that people don’t really know what to expect after the resignation of Gary Williams after last season. And in some cases, they really are still an unknown. This game can be viewed almost as another non-conference game because the Hokies have never faced a Mark Turgeon-run team. This won’t be the same Maryland team as the last 20 years or so.

This year’s edition of the Terps are currently on a three-game losing streak to Florida State, Temple, and Duke and are 2-3 overall in the conference. This team has shown potential (78-71 win over Notre Dame), but has had some questionable losses (89-63 to Iona). The Terps are rather young, with 10 of the 15 players on their roster being freshmen or sophomores.

Here’s a look at their projected starting lineup:

Hokie Prospect Review: Trey Edmunds/Woody Baron

Top of the weekend to you fellow Hokie fans. We are knee deep into recruiting season, and as always, it is time to get excited about the new faces of the Hokie program. Today, I have watched some video on two commitments for the Hokies next season, Trey Edmunds and Woody Baron.

Trey Edmunds

Edmunds is a 6'2 210 linebacker/running back from Dan River High School in Ringgold, Virginia. With a deep running back class already committed, the Hokies are projecting Edmunds to play linebacker, by most accounts at the backer position. Edmunds was a Parade All-American whose production from both sides of the ball was outstanding (similar to Darren Evans, who was a 3 star recruit but was also a Parade All American. Edmunds is ranked as a 4 star by Rivals.

Virginia Tech to open the season against Georgia Tech on Labor Day

The Hive is reporting Georgia Tech will open the season against Virginia Tech.

The Jackets will play their first game on Labor Day at Virginia Tech.

Over the last few weeks we had been hearing rumors that this was a possibility. We've followed-up The Hive's initial report with one our trusted sources who says it is a done deal.

We reached out to the ACC for an official response, and if/when we receive a reply it'll be posted here. Edit: this is the response we received via email from Michael Kelly Associate Commissioner (Broadcasting/Communications/Football), "The 2012 ACC Football Schedule is under development and nothing is confirmed until its official release. Any speculation prior to official release is premature since there are so many factors beyond our control and since dates frequently change."

What does everyone think about the game?

BYU Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (12-7, 1-4 ACC) vs Brigham Young Cougars (17-5, 6-2 West Coast)

When: Wednesday, January 25 @ 7:00 p.m.

TV: ESPN3 (Walter Storholt and Stephen Binder)

Where: Cassell Coliseum (9,847), Blacksburg, VA

The Opponent: The Hokies finally got the ACC monkey off their back with a beautiful (to some eyes) 47-45 win over the Wahoos in Charlottesville on Sunday. Now, Tech looks to end non-conference play on a positive note with a victory over a BYU squad that is in its first year in the West Coast Conference.

BYU made a name for itself over the past couple years thanks to phenom Jimmer Fredette, but he’s since joined the NBA. This year’s Cougars squad has brought about a bit of rebuilding while also banking on some returning talent. That being said, this team hung tough with nationally-ranked Baylor and St. Mary’s before losing and they’re third in the WCC behind St. Mary’s (19-2, 8-0) and Gonzaga (16-3, 6-1). After this game, BYU has St. Mary’s and Gonzaga at home, so this is obviously a pivotal stretch for them.

Here’s a look at their revamped lineup:

What Do These Two Wide Receivers Have In Common? Nothing. And Everything.

*Bear with me here; I'm not sure if this is just me trying to come to terms with Sunday's kick in the nuts.

As football fans we are subjected to the phrase "window of opportunity" perhaps more than we should be. It's one of the intangibles of the game; we know it is there, yet we don't know when it will - methaphorically - close. It just happens. As fans, there is little we can do to stop this metaphorical window shutting, with the exception of continuing to be fans. 

Hokies Down #15/17 UVA 47-45

The Hokies finally did it, on their fifth try they won an ACC game. To top it off, they beat a ranked Virginia. In a game where scoring was at a premium and defense was abundant, the Hokies did what it took to win, and fixed some of the mistakes that had been plaguing the team to start conference play. Even though the Hokies did get outrebounded 25-29, there was a tenacity on the boards that had not been present to this point in the season. If the team can keep that kind of intensity, then the Hokies will be okay going forward. The same goes for boxing out, as the players were actually clearing space out under the basket, and what a joy it was to watch.

Hokie Tracks Won 47-45.

Andy Bitter interviewed the Frankinator, asked some tough questions, and it seemed a little "chippy" at times. Read the entire thing, but here's what caught my eye: Beamer returned his $75,000 bowl bonus, the staff is focused on recruiting, like everyone else he thought Coale made the catch, and he knows the special teams need to be fixed. Most importantly, he's softened his stance on playing after only five days rest.

Overall, though, would you been opposed to playing that kind of game with such short rest before the following week?

"The one thing that I think that you want is for the game to be at home. When you're the visiting team and you're not getting in here until early the next day and trying to get ready for another game, time-wise it hurts and rest-wise it hurts. And if you're going to do something like that, you want that next game at home."

I've heard nothing factual to back up this claim, but I expect us to play on Labor Day, and then against Austin Peay the following Saturday.

There's a long fucking time until football.

Normally I know who's making the hit, and I have a good idea of the context of the play. This guy, I don't know who this guy is. I don't know who I am. It's appropriate.

I love Virginia Tech football. I hate that I try to say the right things about Virginia Tech football. But this guy, 44, this guy is what I want us to be. Look at this guy. He's evil. He's gigantic. He doesn't give a fuck. The no-name motherfucker comes into your house and just takes what he wants. Look at him. This guy has a smile that should do twenty to life. He's laughing at everyone. He presides over bodies to the ground. Cleats up.

There's a long ass two-hundred plus days until football.

I don't know how we're going to get by. I don't know how I'm getting by. Then I look at this picture. I just smell football. I smell that monochrome grass there. It's sharp, fresh cut and stings my nose. The fans are anonymously important. That's football.

I see everything I love and hate about football right here. Beating Cincinnati, losing to Michigan. Beating the Noles, losing to the Noles, Tyrod Taylor prancing into the end zone like he's a one man ballet on an open stage, David Wilson losing twenty yards on a carry and eating Chick-fil-A on Sunday. Frank Beamer getting his.

#15 UVA Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (11-7, 0-4) @ #15/17 Virginia Cavaliers (15-2, 2-1)

When: Sunday, January 22 @ 6:00 p.m.

TV: ESPNU (Jon Sciambi, Hubert Davis, Allison Williams)

Where: John Paul Jones Arena (15,219), Charlottesville, VA

The Opponent: Well we saw about 22 minutes of good, fun, high-energy basketball on Thursday night. Then UNC went on a 26-2 run. Let’s hope we see more of the first 22 minutes the rest of the season as opposed to the final 18 minutes.

This game, however, is going to be drastically different. UVA’s game plan is to slow the game down to a snail’s pace and play defense for 35 seconds. They don’t want to score 70 points a game. They want to score 55 and hold you to under 50. That’s Tony Bennett’s game plan, and so far this year, it’s worked. The Cavs have held opponents to less than 50 points in seven games, and less than 40 points three times, including last time out in a 70-38 win over Georgia Tech.

It’s annoyingly slow to some people, especially when you look at how fast a team like UNC plays. But, it works. Only two teams have scored at least 60 this year, one being Seattle (in Washington), and the other being Duke, who scored just 61. This is the second-best defense in terms of points per game allowed in the NATION. Sounds great for our sputtering offense huh?

Here’s a look at their starting five: