And Exhale

That was a back and forth game for 35 minutes. Then Zo and Erick Green hit back-to-back threes that spurred a 9 point run which broke a 52-all tie. The Hokies were up 61-52 with 2:21 left. I thought it was over. Jarell Eddie did too.

I see you, I see you at 2x zoom.

But it wasn't. Of course not, that's not this season or team. Close games are their thing. They either figure a way to scrap and fight out of a deficit to the finish, or implode.

Clemson did the only thing they could and pressured. They forced turnovers. They raised my blood pressure, made my chocolate milk less enjoyable. The Hokies gave them a hand and fouled. Seth's reaction to Doe-Doe's foul while trying to rebound a missed free-throw said it all, "This shit's happening again?"

With how the season had gone, I laughed too.

Now it seemed the pooch being screwed was merely a formality.

I'm glad I was wrong. The Hokies banged home five of their final six free-throws to seal the victory. We usually don't do that. Wins in a one and done situation build confidence.

Three more Ws for an improbable tournament berth. Duke tomorrow, let's go!

Spring Football: Boston College, Duke, Cincinnati and Miami

The Hokies don't begin spring practice until March 28, but other teams on their schedule have been pitching around the oblong. Here's a look at their opponents that are already popping pads.

Boston College

Start: Feb. 18
Game: March 31

Montel Harris re-aggravated his left knee injury after BC's first spring practice. He's being held out for the rest of spring, a move that seems more precautionary than anything.

The Eagles have a brand new offensive coaching staff, so getting the new system installed is the highest priority.

Hokies Have a New Look Secondary this Spring

Andy Bitter caught up with Torrian Gray who dropped some knowledge regarding the starting secondary this spring, a move "that gives us our best four."

Antone Exum will move from rover to corner. That's a bit of a shock to me. In my mind, Exum staying at rover was the one given in the defensive backfield. Bud Foster had confirmed as much back in February.

"At the safety spot when we looked at our cut-ups, when 'Tone was just able to go out and play, he was unbelievable," Gray said. "When things moved around for him, sometimes it slowed him down. We just want to kind of see if he can do it, 'Hey, you're out here on No. 1 and just play ball.'

"We think it's something worth looking into to see what he can give us out there."

"I'm trying to free your mind, Neo." -- Morpheus

Questions That I Hope Are Answered During Spring Ball

1. Will Vinston Painter step up?

Tackle Vinston Painter is 6-6 303. He was a 4-star recruit. He benches 430, cleans 336, front squats 500 and runs a 4.8 40. Physically, I don't think you could want anything more in an offensive lineman. However, the senior has yet to earn meaningful playing time. If Painter can get it together to have a Cris Hill like final season, it would go a long way to solidifying the depth along the o-line.

2. How will the abundance of D-line talent be used?

Defensive line is arguably the deepest position on the roster. Tackles Derrick Hopkins, Luther Maddy, Corey Marshall and Antoine Hopkins along with ends James Gayle, J.R. Collins, Tyrel Wilson and Zack McCray round out an athletic and battle tested two-deep. The coaches are also very high on Dadi Nicolas and Kris Harley who redshirted at end and tackle respectively in 2011. However, they all can't be on the field at once.

Hokie Tracks are on the run in Hampton

Mike O'Cain talked to Andy Bitter. O'Cain divulges two really good nuggets of info here.

There is a philosophical approach that we have to our offense in the context of this team. You know, we're not just an offense going out trying to score every time. Now, obviously that is your goal. It's an offense going out there, compatible with our defense and our special teams and working to win the game. So sometimes that affects how you call the plays, if that makes sense. It's not just going out there and haphazardly ... that has some effect.

That's not passing the buck, that's BeamerBall. Beamer wants sustained scoring drives so on the sidelines his defense is resting and the opposing offense is twiddling their thumbs. With a stingy defense field goals are just as valuable as touchdowns. Winning the field position battle is of the upmost importance, and that's why the inconsistency at punter last year was detrimental to our success. We don't want to do anything too high-risk to fall behind the sticks. It's methodical and boring, but the formula yields wins.

More info than you'll ever need to know on the 2012 Virginia Tech Baseball Team

As basketball season winds down, and before football season starts up, lets focus on HokieBall.  The 2011 Hokie baseball team finished 30-25, 11-19 in ACC play, 5th out of 6 in the Coastal (ahead of Duke) and 9th overall in the ACC.  The Hokies look to improve upon last season, and will do so behind a much more experienced pitching staff.

The 2012 squad is 7-2 with wins over Bradley (2), Kennesaw State, West Virginia, Coastal Carolina, Iowa and High Point.  The 2 losses were to Kennesaw State and George Mason (c'mon guys).  Through the first 9 games the pitching staff has carried the team with a 2.62 ERA.  The bats and gloves need to wake up in order to improve upon last year's record.  Stars Andrew Rash and Ronnie Shaban have returned, and players such as Chad Pinder and Tyler Horan look to be primed for breakout years.

2012 Virginia Tech Football Schedule, Hokies-Georgia Tech on Labor Day Evening

The delays are over, and the schedule is finally here (complete ACC helmet schedule is here).

Sept 3 Ga Tech (Monday)
Sept 8 Austin Peay
Sept 15 at Pitt
Sept 22 Bowling Green
Sept 29 Cincy (Washington DC)
Oct 6 at UNC
Oct 13 Duke
Oct 20 at Clemson
Nov 1 at Miami (Thursday)
Nov 8 Florida State (Thursday)
Nov 17 at Boston College
Nov 24 UVA

Our opponents in 2012 will be much tougher than those we faced in 2011. Last season we didn't play a single non-ACC BCS opponent during the regular season. This year we play two: Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, neither of which will be in Lane. Also, Wake Forest rotates off of the schedule and Florida State comes on. So we play the two best Atlantic Division teams.

Hosting Georgia Tech Labor Day weeked to start the season is an obvious luxury. We'll be able to prep to defend the option during spring ball and August. It's also fortunate that we play North Carolina in the first half of the season. The 'Heels are very talented, and return Bryn Renner behind a veteran offensive line, but it will take them some time to learn the intricacies of Larry Fedora's spread. Playing Duke the week before Clemson is a bonus too.

Wilson Wows at Combine

David Wilson, Danny Coale and Jarret Boykin each worked out in front of NFL coaches, scouts and general managers Sunday at the NFL combine. Wilson had the most impressive day of the trio. The low point of his afternoon, and that's relative to an otherwise outstanding day, was posting a 4.49 40-yard-dash time (7th best among running backs). Many Hokies were expecting faster, Wilson ran a 4.29 40 last February during winter max testing. But keep in mind, that was clocked on a Tech watch, and speed coming out of a sprinter's stance doesn't accurately model speed in full pads on a football field. With that said, Wilson had the highest vertical jump of all the running backs (second overall), a freakish 41 inches. Wilson was also top among backs in the broad jump. He leapt 132 inches, 9 better than the next closest back and only an inch less than the top jump of the day. Enough numbers, he also passed the eye test of the experts.

"More I read and look at all these numbers, David Wilson absolutely blew up the Combine. Can downplay that, but he's a really good back too." -- Evan Silva, PFT

A To Date Basketball Summary

Editor's Note: The basketball season has been defined by close games. Tech is 5-8 in four-or-less point games. What could have been... An accurate summary of the highs, lows and what's to follow below. For the hell of it, let's go beat Duke. -- Joe

Virginia Tech is now 5-8 in games decided by four points or less, and for the fifth time in the past six contests the Hokies saw their fate determined on the final possession.

Countdown: 192

Today is Friday, it's the end of February, the ACC schedule still hasn't dropped, and spring ball is a long month away. Right now, aside from recruiting and attrition, there's not much football to be talked about.

The time honored tradition of appending a football to one's crotch as if to say, "come get some," is glorious in grayscale. Picture is via TheBurgs

The Hokies were 4-1 in 1894. They started the season off 4-0, shutting out Emory & Henry, Roanoke College and St. Albans both home and on the road. Their season ended with a 6-10 loss against VMI. That's your history lesson for the day.

If you've been lurking or are new around here, come by and say hello. Consider this an open-thread to talk about whatever is on your minds.

There are 192 days left until kickoff.