Wild Thing

This Photoshop was inevitable.

"I was really bad when I first got here," Thomas said. "I was throwing high, low, skipping it across the ground. Now they're a little bit more in the strike zone."

O'Cain said Thomas has made "tremendous improvement in all areas" since his first week at the position and the end of this past season.

"He was just wild," O'Cain said, "like a fastball pitcher that sails into the upper backstop every now and then. He's really improved that. He'll still miss one occasionally, but they're close misses. Three yards, or four yards ... you just say to yourself, where in the heck did that come from?"

via: HD

The Logan Thomas to Cam Newton comparisons are premature, but the Logan Thomas to Rick Vaughn comparisons are reasonable and timely.

Germond Oatneal to Leave the Football Program

According to Mark Giannotto of the Washington Post Germond Oatneal has decided to leave the football team. Last fall and spring Oatneal worked as a demon at cornerback on the scout team, and before that at flanker. Even though we're a bit thin in the secondary he wasn't expected to see any significant playing time. However, he was penciled in as the number one name after Nubian Shabazz-Zoser Peak transfered to Texas Tech last summer. It's unclear who will replace him. I'd say the favorites are:

  • George George
  • Jonathan Halfhide
  • Ju-Ju Clayton
  • Adeboye Aromire
  • E.L. Smiling

Best of luck to Germond in whatever he peruses next.

H/T James at Inside the Cassell

Festivus 2011

I decided to watch UVa's Festivus this afternoon. Why? It was on ESPN3 and sometimes you just do things because they're convenient and easy. It looked like you might expect.

What I learned from watching the Blue-Orange Game:

  1. Scott Stadium's grass field that earlier in the day took abuse from rain, sleet and a lacrosse game looked less sloppy than the football team. A missed field goal, interceptions, fumbles, missed blocks, missed tackles essentially dwarfed most positives.
  2. UVa is one quarterback away from competing against Duke.
  3. Watford is green, but you know, #newhoos.
  4. If UVa is going to televise Festivus next year, do away with the kickoffs and punts. The crowd shots were embarrassing.

Final Score: Blue 17 - Orange 7 - Humanity 0

You Too Can Follow VT Women's Soccer Recruiting

Joe and I are excited to share our passion for Virginia Tech women's soccer recruiting and we know you're all interested in how the Class of 2011 is doing. If you live in Northern Virginia, the excitement of the Hokies' future is just outside your doorstep. Several players that are either committed to Tech or on its radar right in the talent-rich 703.

With state soccer playoffs right around the corner, now is the time to get out there and check out what the future of Hokie women's soccer looks like.

Class of 2011

Welcome to The Key Gobbler

Today starts a new chapter for both Joe and I as we move on from our former blogs and dive head-first into our new endeavor. We know that many of you, like us, clamor for Virginia Tech women's soccer recruiting news. Our goal is to make this site your ultimate destination for that news.

However, because this site will be offering content that will be unique and comprehensive, a majority of it will only be available if you subscribe to The Key Gobbler. All posts here will be free for the first month, but we will be switching to a subscription-based model beginning May 1.

There are many ways you can choose to subscribe:

Springapalooza 2011: The Defense

The second part of my spring preview. If you missed my take on the offense, check it out here. Please enjoy.

The Defense

The defensive personal and scheme are anything but cut and dry this season. Right now I'd only feel comfortable penning in Bruce Taylor, Eddie Whitley, Jaryon Hosley and Kyle Fuller as starters. Usually when there's so much up in the air and unsettled it's a bad thing. However, the defensive side of the ball features a lot of talent and depth, most of it just happens to be at linebacker. The depth along the defensive line is great, but there are no studs, yet; the potential is there though. I like the look of the secondary, how can't you really? Jayron is a legit All-American and Kyle Fuller just balls. I think Antone Exum has a lot of potential and he played well in the Nickel, but he's going to have to prove himself at Rover.

Luckily we have the best defensive coordinator in the country putting the pieces of the puzzle together. I'm sure Bud would be the first to say the defense underperformed against elite opponents last season (see: Boise State and Stanford), albeit in a rebuilding year. The reason why Foster is the master of his craft is because he's not afraid to tweak what he's got. Running a heavy dose of Nickel and 3-3-5 might not have been outside of his comfort zone, but it was something pretty foreign for us as fans to watch. I think Bud's willingness in the past to change schemes (the abandonment of the 4-4, etc) is what's led to all the speculation that the defensive philosophy will be going under another makeover. Clearly the Whip backer and Rover are two of the main keys to a defense noted for its adaptability and versatility. Those positions require a unique athlete with the skills of more than just a linebacker or safety respectively.

An Arbitrary Ranking of the Assistant Coaches

And now for something completely different. Virginia Tech made the assistant coaches' 2011 salary information public a couple of days ago, so why not rank them in terms of compensation value, replaceability difficulty, recruiting prowess and by any other subjective criteria you feel is applicable. One is the highest ranking and I'm really only considering what they've done over the ten wins a year era.

Xavier Boyce Arrested Wednesday

Xavier Boyce and his girlfriend Olivia Hutchins, both 20 and of Blacksburg, were arrested on charges related to cruelty and injuries to the girl, Blacksburg police said today.

Police believe the child was injured Jan. 31 at the couple's home in the 1200 block of University City Boulevard, police said. They did not say in what way the child was hurt.

Boyce and Hutchins were released on $5,000 unsecured bonds.

via: http://www.roanoke.com/news/nrv/breaking/wb/281071

Well it looks like we're back in the Fulmer Cup, and this incident most certainly won't help dispel the public perception produced by the SI/CBS College Football and Crime Report published at the beginning of the month.

We will let you know more as we hear it.

Would the Jaguars be Interested in Tyrod?

With spring practice getting ready to start football is almost here again. Like all of you I will be salivating over every big play and worrying about every player that seems like they are nowhere near where they need to be for opening kickoff. Luckily we have the NFL draft to distract us--with Mel Kiper’s promise that he knows exactly what is best for every team. We can watch as he tells us that anyone who dares choose someone not on his big board will be doomed to the Cleveland Browns fate (see Chicago Cubs for example). Like most Hokies, I will be hoping that Tyrod ends up where he will be used as a true quarterback and not left for some last ditch wild cat package or forced into playing wide out for the Raiders.

Springapalooza 2011: The Offense

It's football season again!

/drives to ABC and buys bourbon
//heads to Giant to replenish charcoal and supply of dead filleted and smoked farm animals
///purchases new 55" LCD television

For the next few weeks at least.


This is the second edition of Springapalooza, our all too comprehensive spring preview. Check back next week to read about the defense. Throughout spring for Kevin will have practice updates. And after the Maroon and White Game the BCO will wrap everything up with a neat bow.

The Offense

Adios Amigos

Ralph Wiggum once stated, "Tyrod Taylor not Hokies quarterback, that's umpossible." It's unfortunate for us that's not accurate. Tyrod's graduating and taking his career 7,017 passing yards, 2,187 rushing yards and 67 touchdowns to the NFL where hopefully he'll get his shot at quarterback and not be slotted into some seven win team's Wildcat package. However, replacing Tyrod will prove umpossible. He did it right both on and off the field and he was all about winning, duh.

Hokies' Season Ends with 79-76 Overtime Loss to Wichita State

In what can easily be described as a microcosm of this season, the short-handed Hokies battled throughout but fell in the waning seconds to Wichita State 79-76 in the second round of the NIT. The loss finishes Tech's season at 22-12 and marks the end of the careers of Malcolm Delaney, Jeff Allen, Terrell Bell, and Paul Debnam. This senior class tied the 1985-86 class for the most victories by a class (87) in school history.

Neither team led by more than six the entire game, but things looked bleak as Jeff Allen fouled out with a little more than six minutes remaining in regulation. WSU went on a brief 4-0 run to open up a six-point lead at 63-57. Victor Davila picked up his fourth foul in the process and Paul Debnam checked in with 4:36 to go. Debnam's appearance during meaningful minutes sparked Tech, who went on a 7-0 run to take a 64-63 lead with 2:37 remaining.

With the game tied at 66, Manny Atkins sank a big time three-pointer, but was countered by J.T. Durley with 47 seconds left. After Terrell Bell missed a three-pointer, Joe Ragland missed a floater as time expired to send the game into overtime.

Wichita State Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (22-11, 11-8 ACC) vs Wichita State Shockers (25-8, 14-4 MVC)

When: Sunday, March 20 @ 11:00 a.m.


Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA

The Opponent: After knocking off Bethune-Cookman in the first round of the NIT, the Hokies face an experienced and deep Wichita State squad. The Shockers, out of the Missouri Valley Conference dominated Nebraska 76-49 Wednesday night to advance to the second round in Blacksburg.

The Shockers are 25-8 on the season and don’t have many bad losses. They lost to Connecticut in Maui by four, at San Diego State by 14, twice to Missouri State, and by one to Virginia Commonwealth in the BracketBusters game this year. WSU was shocked (no pun intended) in the MVC Tournament by Indiana State, the eventual tournament champion.

Here’s a look at their starting lineup:

You're Le-Pre-Chan to the Choir

"We're all so pissed about missing the tournament," Deege told me. "Four years in a row. We've been overlooked four years in a row. It's been tough, getting First Four Out four years in a row when teams like VCU and UAB get in with no right whatsoever."

via D.C. Sports Bog

Hokies Cruise Past Bethune-Cookman 79-54

If you missed Wednesday night's NIT game against Bethune-Cookman, all you need to know is that Paul Debnam played...with more than nine minutes to go...in the first half. The Hokies had no problem with the lowly Wildcats of the MEAC, coasting to a 79-54 victory in front of 2,982 at Cassell Coliseum. With the victory, Tech advanced to the second round of the NIT for the fourth consecutive year and will face Wichita State Sunday at 11 a.m. The Shockers dominated Nebraska 76-49 yesterday.

The Hokies hit 10 of their first 11 shots to jump out to a 23-9 lead seven minutes in. Tech would push that lead out to as many as 23 in the first half at 42-19. In all honesty, it wasn't even a fair fight and due to the lack of bench players the Hokies never could really take their starters out. Tech shot 61.3 percent from the field (19 of 31) in the first half.

The second half was much of the same as the Wildcats never got closer than 19 points. Tech eventually expanded its advantage to 32 at 69-37 halfway through the half and coasted down the stretch for the 25-point victory.

Tech ended up shooting 56 percent from the field, with eight of the nine players scoring. Five Hokies registered double figures with Jeff Allen leading the way with 19 points. Malcolm Delaney had 13, Manny Atkins recorded 12, while Erick Green and Terrell Bell accounted for 11 and 10, respectively.

The Chronicles of David Wilson: Winter Break

If one wants to prove that chaos has a schedule, then my winter break routine could be used to attempt to make the argument. After my last exam I'd go hard and blow it out in Blacksburg. The venue was dependent on the year: dorm, apartment party or downtown, but the result was all the same. What looked like a long night would be cut short from overindulgence, libations and greasy-ass food, beers and whatever was cheap followed up usually by a 20-inch Gumby's pizza slathered in ranch dressing. I only rolled on twenties yo. The next morning I'd sell all my books, hop in the car, use the cash to finance my trip home, and haul it north. Once there it was a continuous rotation of eat, sleep, watch football and party. Rinse and repeat until I felt dirty. I'm sure the vast majority of undergrads did and do something similar.

David Wilson does not.

However, after the Orange Bowl David Wilson embarked on a well deserved break, some of which is documented here.

He first decided to visit France for a couple of days, because that's just what intelligent cultured people do. He traveled across Alsace, heard Emmanuel toll at Cathédrale Notre Dame and made his way to Paris.

Of course he just had to climb the Eiffel Tower. I mean, it was there and all. From the top he was able to get as good of a look at the world as the world had of him.

Bethune-Cookman Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (21-11, 11-8 ACC) vs Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (21-12, 13-3 MEAC)

When: Wednesday, March 16 @ 8:00 p.m.


Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA

The Opponent: After a fourth straight year of disappointment on Selection Sunday, the Hokies start their NIT slate against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats of the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference. Woo.

So, you may be asking just who the hell Bethune-Cookman is. Well, the Wildcats are from Daytona Beach, FL and won the regular season MEAC title, but lost to Morgan State in the semifinals of the MEAC tournament. All regular season champions who don’t win their tournament get an automatic bid, so that’s why B-CU is coming to Blacksburg Sunday.

The Wildcats challenged themselves in the out of conference slate by travelling to Arizona, Central Florida, and Baylor. They lost 33, 17, and 44, respectively. B-CU also played the likes of Edward Waters, Florida Christian College, Webber International, Carver Bible, and North Carolina Central. That accounted for six of their wins (they played NC Central twice).

Here’s a look at their starting lineup:

A Belated Happy Birthday to Us

This is a little late, but yesterday we turned one.

I think over the past year The Key Play accomplished everything it initially set out to do, and more.

  • Provide an in depth (un)-biased analysis of Hokie Football.
  • Make jokes, mostly at our own expense.
  • Overreact to every single Bryan Stinespring decision.
  • Overload you with statistics.
  • Have fun.
  • Needle UVA.
  • Breakdown film.

We broke a little bit of news, here, there and there and there and there.