A Schematic Reboot?

When Scot Loeffler was hired it was understood by all that he was going to bring smash mouth football back to Blacksburg. Loeffler was going to focus on running the ball in between the tackles, something Frank Beamer teams were supposed to do. After all, Loeffler and his offensive line coach Jeff Grimes had had an offense at Auburn that had success running the ball from pro-style formations. Surely they would be able to duplicate those results here at Virginia Tech!

We all know how that story ended. The offense never did have any success running the ball despite the coaching staff's best intentions. Even when the team did run the ball well it did so out of spread formations, reading unblocked defenders instead of running them over. Is this the new schematic normal in Blacksburg?

2015 DT Eric Whitehead Talks Virginia Tech Visit

I caught up with Lawrence Central (Indianapolis, Indiana) defensive tackle Eric Whitehead about his recruitment. The 6-1.5, 295 pound 2015 cycle prospect visited Virginia Tech for the first time on Saturday and went home with a scholarship offer. How did Eric feel about the offer? "I was speechless. I didn't know what to say."

Defensive Line Note: Vinny Mihota to get Reps at DT

According to the latest interview with Bud Foster on Hokiesports.com, Vince Mihota will get reps inside to back up Luther Maddy as the No. 2, three-technique defensive tackle.

"We're also going to probably look at Vinny Mihota some inside," Foster said in the interview while discussing depth along the defensive line.

Foster's initial stream of consciousness suggested that this is a short term move, necessitated by "class conflicts" with guys who may miss some practice time (I am guessing that would be Wade Hansen). He also said it gives the Hokie defensive staff an opportunity to get Mihota more reps and time on the field for evaluation.

Interestingly though, Foster finished the thought with, "He's going to grow into that [defensive tackle] position when it's all said and done."

Brandon Facyson to Miss the Remainder of Spring Practice

The glass half full take is Donovan Riley, Chuck Clark, and Der'Woun Greene will get more much needed reps.

The glass half empty take is NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Seriously though, like with Kyshoen Jarrett, it's best to err on the side of caution. The secondary will be the strength of the defense, and Facyson's ball hawking game is an enormous asset fore that unit.

2014 Spring Football: Day One Notes and Quotes

After reading and digesting what the coaches and players had to say, this is what stood out to me.

Last year's troubles with the kicking game are well documented, so it's no surprise identifying a reliable field goal kicker is a priority. "We went through several there last year and didn't make enough of them, so we're going to really put a lot of emphasis on that particular area," Frank Beamer said on a teleconference.

It seems as if the special teams guru has introduced a new practice technique to develop consistency under pressure this spring.

QB Nick Johns Waits on a Hokies Offer

Usually each weekday morning Leesburg, Virginia resident Nick Johns travels about an hour-and-fifteen minutes to Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC. "It's a tough commute, but you get used to it."

Yesterday However, the 2015 quarterback took a trip to Blacksburg, his first since visiting for the Maryland game last season. Nick told me he has scholarship offers from Maryland, Virginia, and N.C. State, but Virginia Tech has not offered as of yet.

"I'm still waiting [on an offer from Tech], I was kind of expecting one today.

"Coach Loeffler came to watch me throw about a month ago, Coach Loeffler and Coach Moorehead. He said he was impressed. He wanted to get me down to school, and he wanted to pick my brain apart and see what I knew, see what I need to work on, and see how I had been coached up these past 3 years. I thought I impressed him a lot, our relationship is going to continue, and hopefully I pick one up soon."

Position Battles and What to Watch for Prior to the First Spring Practice

Here we go folks. Spring football kicks off today with a 4:30-6:30 PM practice. There's an air of excitement around the Hokies. The hires of Whit Babcock and Buzz Williams have energized a fan base that has been in a state of malaise due to the perception that Virginia Tech athletics were stagnant. With additional resources being devoted to recruiting staff, and a gorgeous, state of the art indoor practice facility on the way, the only thing that could derail forward momentum would be a mediocre football season.

To the casual observer, a blah year is certainly a possibility. The Hokies have major question marks at quarterback, running back, defensive line, and linebacker. While the candidates to fill those positions are talented, none have game experience.

Yesterday, Hokiesports.com released the initial spring football depth chart. There were few surprises. However, the depth chart hints at story lines to watch this spring.

Talking Recruiting with 2015 DT Darvin Taylor

Like last recruiting cycle, there's elite defensive line talent in the Commonwealth of Virginia for 2015. Six-foot-three, 295-pound, Thomas Dale defensive tackle, tight end, and right tackle Darvin Taylor is a blue chip prospect that the Hokies are trying to land to bolster the interior of their defensive line. As of right now, Darvin has 19 scholarship offers and according to his father, Darvin L. Taylor, he's visited nine different colleges over the past year-and-a-half, including visiting Tech 3 or 4 times. Darvin and his family plan on visiting Tennessee, Clemson, and Virginia Tech this spring/summer before he commits.

Darvin told me last Friday he'll chose to play in a, "Place that kind of feels like home ... a place that I could see myself living for four to five years."

Additionally he's looking to play for a position coach that's, "More like a father figure, not like a friend." Someone he can trust.

Hokies 2.0

By now everyone has been energized by the buzz emanating from the rebooted athletic department. OK, almost everyone has.

The following quote was part of Whit Babcock's opening statement from his press conference last Monday.

"We are prepared, within reason, to invest for a favorable return. Sometimes you have to spend to acquire talent in this profession and we're prepared to do so if it's the right person and right fit. We won't spend frivolously, but we must be aggressive if this opportunity presents itself."

It's evident he's a man of his word.

An Open Letter to Buzz Williams

Dear Buzz,

Wait, is that too casual? Mr. Williams? Coach? Dad? I'll call you whatever you prefer to go by, as long as you promise to actually show up and coach the Virginia Tech basketball team.

Forgive me if I sound a little skeptical, it's just that four days ago I was drafting a column that detailed realistic candidates for the men's basketball vacancy (a list that you were not a part of), and you took the job a day later. Did you kill a piece chock full of jokes about Mick Cronin's Napoleon Complex? Yes, but let's not get off on the wrong foot. I'm not mad that I had to scratch the column, it just still doesn't seem real that you actually agreed to coach the Hokies.

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