Welcome back, it's week 7 and we are half way through the regular season! I don't know about you, but I am re-energized after last week's thrilling Hokies' win. If only the college football schedule makers shared the enthusiasm and left us a good slate of games this week, all would be perfect. Other than laziness and watching our Hokies play there is nothing keeping me from honey-do lists or fall festivals. In the good old days i.e. before kids, I'd probably hop in the car and visit Wake Forest to see the VT win another. So those of you with nothing tethering you at home ... make the road trip to Winston-Salem and be sure to hit Foothills Brewing for good beer and grub.
This past weekend saw Virginia Tech close out the first half of the season in spectacular fashion. I was at the Miami game sitting in the North End Zone and have to say it was the loudest Lane stadium has ever been. I've watched the YouTube of the final minutes and can't stop smiling especially when the announcer says, "these people are losing their minds", when Enter Sandman comes on again.
It's now time to carry that enthusiasm on the road against Wake Forest. I've personally made the trip twice when I was a student. Both times (2004 and 2006) I had a great trip supporting the Hokies in a friendly away atmosphere. There's even a bit of a Lane experience with Enter Sandman starting the game, albeit their's is highlighted by an evil church official driving a motorcycle on the field, and the decibel level doesn't come close to matching Blacksburg's.
Utilizing the finest video editing technology from the early 90s inspired by the Power Rangers
Perfect Reasons for the Road Trip
Welcome to this edition of my ramblings and other nonsense. I am not going to have the bandwidth to do a deep drill down on the play by play of the game, however I wanted to share some high level observations of the game. First off, it was great to see the Hokie offense deliver a fantastic performance in the most adverse of conditions, however, given the euphoria of the dramatic nature of the win , I have a feeling some of these may rub some folks the wrong way. I want to be positive, but while I was thrilled with the win, there are some things that deeply concern me coming out of the game.
First off though, lets have a little sweet with the sour.
Wake Forest University was founded in 1834 and was named after the town just north of Raleigh where it was originally located (the current main campus is in Winston-Salem). Originally the 'Fighting Baptists' they changed their name to the 'Demon Deacons' after an impressive beat down of Duke in 1923. A student program named the Screamin' Deacons ensures a great turnout at sporting events. For just $15 dollars a season students get access to every game and other items such as shirts. The home of Hellraiser III turned out alumni notable including Arnold Palmer, Carroll O'Conner (Archie Bunker), Ricky Van Veen (Creator of CollegeHumor.com), and Joe Lawson (the guy who came up with the Geico caveman). In order to prevent their quad being rolled two weeks in a row (sucks to be FSU), the Hokies D needs to step up, and so does our tailgate. This week we are going to grill up some black and gold pork tenderloin.
Because it's a celebration.
Wow, what a game.
We finally saw what this group is capable of. Sure, they ran wild on App State, but this was exactly what we've been waiting for since fall camp. There was obviously some dropoff on defense, but I credit a lot of that to losing half of our front four for this game. We didn't get consistent pressure on Jacory, which has been the case this year. I think rotating guys more could help with this.
Otherwise, I feel so happy for the offense. What a way to bounce back after Clemson. I hope it's here to stay.
And, Frank finally pulled the trigger at punter.
Overall, a great Saturday.
1. Antone Exum - He lost the battle on Miami's first touchdown, but I thought that throw was outstanding and Exum was there. Overall, this was his best game of the year. He made great reads and made a lot of good tackles.
2. Josh Oglesby - Didn't see as much action, but when he did he competed well. It's nice to have a reliable alternative to 4.
3. Logan Thomas - What hasn't been said? It was a total coming out party and I'm glad I was there to see it. He did so many great things on Saturday, from loading up and blasting Sean Spence to displaying nice touch and accuracy. If you can, go back and watch the play where he fakes a handoff, rolls out right and hits Davis on the sideline with a laser. What a beautiful play - I hope we see more of it.
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.
- Boring - My top nine teams held steady. Everyone won the games they should. I don't think Oklahoma's
winblowout against Texas justifies them jumping either Alabama or LSU. I still don't know anything about Stanford except they have Luck, their schedule is back-loaded.
- Kansas State - The power towel era is behind them. Bill Snyder's program is rolling once again, and they've beaten some good teams.
- Virginia Tech - If the defense played like they did against wake they'd be ranked higher. That might not happen for a while with G-W done for the year, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th DTs still small and green and Gayle hobbling around. However, I am very much encouraged the offense looks capable of bringing the team back from behind.
- Washington - The Huskies are my last team in. Is anyone else more deserving of the 25th spot?
The Key Play: Week 6
After the Clemson loss, French wrote that we didn't have an identity on offense. At the time it was hard to disagree. And to keep things is perspective Miami was just one, albeit beautifully called and executed, game. However, going into the season that's how I expected the offense to look each week. Our talented receivers spread out Miami's defense. Logan found the open guys on high percentage throws. We ran a heavy dose of zone read to take advantage of Logan's size and Wilson's which loosened up the box. At that point it's pick your poison. The offensive line won't dominate the line of scrimmage every time, or even every other time, like we'd like them to in more pro-style / "I-formation" attack, but in a spread scheme they don't have to. They're quite good at blocking in space, occupying a man long enough for David Wilson to find the crease and spring a play, and they're damn good at pass blocking.
The final four play calls were pretty brilliant, although during the game I went ballistic after the three consecutive runs starting from 1st and 10 at the Miami 28. Let's take a closer look.
1st and 10 Miami 28
Behind a 92 percent completion percentage, 310 yards through the air, another 28 on the ground and 5 touchdowns Logan Thomas just asserted himself as the leader of this team. But stats be damned, no line can measure what that kid just did in Lane this afternoon. Logan struggled mightily against Clemson; everything he could have done wrong against the Tigers he did. Today he brushed the haters' footprints off his back and answered the bell, every single time we needed a score. Let's be cliché for a minute, that takes grit, heart, moxie, balls or some combination thereof.
The live blog will start at 3:15, Box and I (mayhaps Adam too) will be running the show. Before kickoff take a look at:
- the mascot mock
- Kevin's preview
- a look at Miami against Bethune-Cookman and Kansas State
- and this reminder
The console is after the jump.
Who: #21/17 Virginia Tech Hokies (4-1, 0-1 ACC) vs Miami Hurricanes (2-2, 0-1 ACC)
Time: 3:36 PM
TV Coverage: ABC/ESPN (Mike Patrick, Craig James)
Venue: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA (66,233 – Grass)
Series History: Miami leads 17-11
- Last Meeting (2010): Virginia Tech 31, Miami 17
- The Hokies have won two straight, four of the last five, and six of the last eight in the series
- Miami won the first 12 games of the series from 1953-1994, but Virginia Tech has won 11 of the last 16
- When the Hokies are ranked and Miami isn’t, the Hokies are 3-0
- TE Eric Martin – Out (Shoulder)
- DT Antoine Hopkins – Out for Season (ACL)
The Opponent: It’s Miami week, but you couldn’t tell based upon the lack of hype for this game. Entering this two game stretch against Clemson and Miami, I thought the Miami game was more important, and that’s now definitely true based upon what happened last week. Neither Tech nor Miami can afford to go 0-2 in conference with Georgia Tech playing the way they are now.
Did you really need a reminder?
Did you forget about that two-point conversion Ernest Wilford dropped to silence Lane in 2001? You could hear a pin drop. How about the 56 the 'Canes put on us the very next year? Maybe you remember Rocky McIntosh taking up residence in our backfield, and Miami throwing up 27 straight to our dome in 2005? Or Sebastian's foot twisting on the HokieBird's neck in '08? Does the word swagger ring a bell?
I can vividly remember the losses. The wins are a blissful blur; as they should be.
Box's latest handy work from the Mascot Mock.
Sorry about the title - I couldn't resist with all the dumbassery happening on Wall Street - but, what I am about to say just might be more unpopular than the Unpopular Opinion. It's been a long 4 days (due to work kicking me in the junk ... repeatedly) since that fateful night, so only now am I catching up on Hokie Nation's response to the Clemson game.
My reaction to last Saturday?
A resounding Meh. As in, "I don't really care."
Before today the only Miami game I had watched was their Labor Day opener against Maryland. Although it was a 24-32 loss I was impressed with how competitive they were considering they had 9 players, most of which were either starters or on the two-deep, suspended (8 by the NCAA and wide receiver Aldarius Johnson was suspended indefinitely by Al Golden). The 'Canes that played on Labor Day are not the team that will travel to Blacksburg on Saturday, on paper they are much, much better. Aside from defensive end Olivier Vernon, all of their suspended players are eligible; 5 have been playing since the Maryland game.
I wanted to get a better idea of how the Hurricanes looked with a more complete roster so I watched the first half of Miami–Bethune-Cookman and the second half of Miami–Kansas State.
Miami was sloppy in the first half against I-AA Bethune-Cookman. They gave up a lot of big plays, and committed 6 penalties for 41 yards, their only penalties of the game. If the Wildcats don't fumble on the two-yard-line and miss a field goal, they take a 17-14 lead into the half, instead of being down 7-14. Miami would eventually blowout the Wildcats, 45-14.
The week after the first loss is tough. The drive home feels like it takes twice as long. You're tired all day on Sunday from a few too many drinks and 3 hours of yelling. And of course Monday morning at work is never complete without being trolled by coworkers whose teams are more awful than yours. All of that would be easier to swallow if not for that lingering mushroom cloud of bad memories and constant thinking about all of Tech's weaknesses. All that sure makes me feel like writing two nights later, but the show must go on.
The U is located in Coral Gables, Florida about 14 miles south of downtown Miami. The University was founded in 1925, the NCAA most likely investigated later that year. Some notable alumni who aren't athletes are Ray Liotta, Sylvester Stallone, Gene Roddenberry, among others. The city of Miami is home to wonderful weather and an excellent selection of seafood. So I will make fish tacos, even though I know it would be great fun to grill up some ibis.
I just want to start by saying that I am just as pissed as you all are. We can all point to the reasons that the scoreboard said 23-3 after the Clemson game Saturday night, and I could rehash many of them. First, I want to focus on a couple of positives, and then I want to fire some howitzers.
This space has been reserved for talking about individual performances on the field, and I will get to that. But I would be doing myself a disservice by not addressing what seem to be persistent issues with this team.
The play calling on Saturday night was a travesty. We were once again witness to a complete schooling on offense.
I'm fully aware that Logan left much to be desired, but the staff isn't getting him in positions to succeed -- which Clemson seems to do well. Sure, Logan was off on the slant to Boykin that resulted in a pick (albeit a non disastrous one), but that's no reason to shy away from it for the next 30 minutes. There's no intermediate passing game. They're sending three guys out there, two of them are running routes 20 yards down the field. Clemson could have stood still and they would have been covered. What is he supposed to do with the football?
And where are the designed runs for Logan? Early in the game, we had Clemson in a 2nd and 18, and the play call was a designed draw for Boyd, who took it 14 yards, setting up a third and short. While we probably would not have converted a 3rd and 4, we would have at least had a chance. And if it's 3rd and 1, Logan should be going for the dive 100 out of 100 times. I don't even want a fake dive pass. Dives every time. There's your Cam Newton comparison.
The chilled air, rain and wind whipping around Lane Stadium made Saturday's slap across the face sting that much more. It was a sobering wake up call. It was the same as it ever was. That game should have been remembered for the tremendous defensive performance orchestrated by Bud Foster. Freshman sensation Sammy Watkins was a non-factor, Tajh Boyd didn't distinguish himself. In their previous four games Clemson gobbled up yards with ease, Saturday night they had to claw for everything they got. Clemson wanted to run 80 plays, they had to settle for 67. Instead, I'll continue to try to answer the "what ifs" floating around my head.
What if David Wilson hadn't fumbled? What if Nosal hadn't jumped on 3rd and goal? What if Logan's shoulder was one hundred percent, would he have ran more, would we have called more running plays for him, would he have been more accurate? What if Eddie didn't blow his coverage, would it have taken some of the pressure off of the offense? What if Demler could've pinned Clemson deep? What if the offensive line played their last 30 minutes as well as their first 30? What if the offense's game plan was as airtight as the defense's?
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. This week's poll is especially messy.
- Clemson - Beat back-to-back-to-back ranked teams and you're deserving of a top 5 ranking.
- Nebraska - This informative EDSBS the Magazine article sums things up quite nicely.
- Illinois - The fighting Zookers are 5-0, which really is an accomplishment in itself. Who knows how good they really are though. Their next test comes in two weeks against Ohio State.
- Kansas State - Bill Snyder's head in a jar is doing one hell of a job coaching this year.
- South Carolina - Garcia! Slam that beer.
- Arizona State - Quietly making noise in the Pac-12. I like a team that's battle tested and can bounce back from a loss.
- Virginia Tech - There's no offensive identity, and the special teams are a disaster. Bud Foster's tenacious defense is the only thing of merit, and the only reason why they're in this poll.
The Key Play: Week 5