There is an overused football axiom that goes something like: the backup quarterback is always the most popular player on the team. Over the course of the 2013 season, a significant portion of the Virginia Tech fan base clamored for Mark Leal to get an opportunity to play as Logan Thomas went through stretches of turnovers and erratic play. I was vocally opposed to any performance-based benching of Thomas. Leal may have replaced Thomas during the spring game and been slightly more effective, but I didn't feel he had the ability to elevate an offensive unit that was lacking in playmakers this season. The Sun Bowl largely confirmed my opinion, as Leal had some success moving the ball but didn't appear to be confident, made some poor reads on critical plays, and was not a threat in the running game.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Fuller,
Your kids are awesome. Really, really awesome. You already know this...you wear Mom and Dad goggles every day and there is very little that could change how highly you regard your children. Your four sons have been beloved by HokieNation since the moment they set foot on campus, and even earlier in Kendall's case. Each of them have engineered key moments in Tech football history; from Vinnie's blocked kick return against the Cousins in 2004 to Kendall's three picks against Duke, the Fullers have already left an indelible imprint on Hokie history.
Less than a week after the Sun Bowl and Attrition Season is already underway. Virginia Tech has granted defensive tackle Kris Harley his release according to Mike Barber, beat writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. According to Barber, Harley didn't travel to El Paso with the team.
This is the first of several commentaries and film reviews associated with the Sun Bowl and the resulting state of the Hokie football program. I had a pretty solid vision for what I would be writing about after the game, until Mark May and Lou Holtz decided to shoot off their mouth about the state of the program. For those of you who may have missed it, or have not read Joe's response, here is the ESPN segment again.
I don't have many thoughts on the Sun Bowl. Tech trailed 10-14 at the start of the fourth quarter in a game where Logan Thomas got knocked out early in the second quarter. Keeping it close for that long was a mini miracle in itself. Then the wheels fell off.
Although you had to almost expect the game to get out of hand once Thomas exited. (The irrational fan voice in my head screaming, "We'll pull this out!," is never silenced though). And that's not an indictment of Leal's play or potential either. Scot Loeffler designed Tech's offense around Logan's unique skill set. Meanwhile, Leal took backup reps all season. It's unreasonable to expect Leal, or any other backup quarterback, to step into that situation against a good team and keep it competitive.
"Animal Champion" is the highest compliment I can give any football player. Logan's earned it with every hit he's taken and delivered over the last 3 years.
His status for the second half is up in the air.
Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4, 5-3) at UCLA Bruins (9-3, 6-3)
Time: 2:15 PM ET / Noon:15 MT
Date: Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Place: El Paso, Texas
Stadium: Sun Bowl Stadium (51,500)
Radio: Virginia Tech IMG
Spread: Virginia Tech +7.5
Weather: 57 F, Sunny
In an effort not to repeat what's previously been posted, this preview will be a summary, and will be brief.
The UCLA Bruins had an excellent 2013 season, but if a weakness stood out to me when I watched film of their games, it was offensive line play. Due to attrition and injuries, the Bruins were often featuring three true freshmen on the offensive line (Caleb Benenoch, Scott Quessenberry and Alex Redmond). Each played well enough for true freshmen, but with inexperience comes breakdowns in pass protection and short yardage running situations. The Bruins were plagued with those breakdowns early and often this season. Also, with their spread offensive sets and the use of an H-Back, the Bruins lacked a true tight end to utilize as a blocker in short yardage, and UCLA's top two running backs are both scat back types that check in at less than 200 pounds.
As those struggles mounted, Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone turned to their young, talented defense for a solution to challenges in short yardage situations. Mazzone developed a series of running packages featuring talented freshmen Myles Jack and Eddie Vanderdoes at tailback; senior defensive end Cassius Marsh and sophomore defensive end Brandon Willis at tight end; and defensive end Keenan Graham and linebacker Jordan Zumwalt both aligned as offset fullbacks. Mazzone debuted this Power I formation in short yardage situations against the Arizona Wildcats, and it became a staple of UCLA's offense over the last four regular season games.
Hello. Today, on a very special "Bowl"rensics, we take a deep look inside our opponents in the previously covered Sun Bowl in lovely, previously covered El Paso, Texas. The last opponent forced to deal with two Fullers at one time (at least for the foreseeable future) are the Bruins from UCLA.
Virginia Tech men's basketball coach James Johnson released a statement on HokieSports.com.
Virginia Tech head basketball coach James Johnson has announced that Marquis Rankin has elected to leave the Virginia Tech men's basketball team, effective immediately.
"I completely support Marquis on his decision, " Johnson said. "He is an outstanding young man who had to make a difficult choice and I know that he took the time to make sure it was the correct decision. While we will miss not having him on the team, I am very happy that he has decided to stay at Virginia Tech and work towards his ultimate goal of a degree from our University."