Brian Fremeau, publisher of the FEI Ratings in college football and writer for Football Outsiders, has posted "game splits" for every game this season athttp://www.bcftoys.com/results/. What are game splits you ask? In short it's a statistical way to break up the total score difference in a game into contributions from the offense, defense, and special teams (in short...let's not get into the statistical details).
From the moment it was clear that the Hokies could not win the ACC Coastal Division title, every game in the 2012 season became a stepping stone to a program-defining moment in the Georgia Dome on August 31st. Making a bowl allowed for 3 weeks of additional practice that could be put towards getting repetitions for young players who would be counted on to contribute next season, and the bowl matchup versus Rutgers stood as an opportunity for Frank Beamer to learn about the makeup of his 2013 roster and coaching staff.
The lessons learned from the Russell Athletic Bowl serve as a microcosm for everything that has frustrated Hokie fans since Ricky Bustle left the program. Bud Foster's defense advanced, utilizing the 4-4 scheme with aggressive blitzing against the run and pass, but he added elements of Dick Lebeau's zone blitz by frequently dropping ends and tackles into coverage, and playing a seemingly more effective fire-zone in behind the blitz. At the same time, the offense seemed to be more of a vaudevillian comic sketch that would have been more appropriate if the theme from Benny Hill was dubbed over the voice of Joe Tessitore.
Okay here's the deal. Hokie football is over, sending us as a fan base into those terribly uninteresting eight months of the year known as the offseason.
During this time most fans have to take time to do the little things: become reacquainted with family, reintroduce yourself to your children, make up for all of the work that you missed when you were reading betting lines and listening to podcasts. Well, I'm going to make sure—at least for one day a week—that none of that stuff happens.
That's right, a weekly column. Let the procrastination continue.
Every Monday I will have a column that looks back at the prior week, breaking down news and notes from Blacksburg, the college sports world and anything else that needs our attention. It's going to be written differently every single week, basically depending how I feel the day of, throwing consistency to the wind. We all know the strategy... It's how Shane Beamer rotated his running backs this season. I kid... We have fun here.
But before I start tackling whatever ridiculousness is thrown at us in 2013, let's look back at what got us to this point.
I've tried twice to write about this season and failed. I typed about a thousand words of nonsense and was left with a bunch lengthy paragraphs focused on tiny details probably not worth obsessing over. There were introspective questions scattered throughout that I hoped to answer, but were left as out of place transitions.
What has Virginia Tech football become?
Right now, it's a mediocre program. Florida State and Clemson are the cream of the ACC. Tech's fighting, and losing to, UNC and Miami for third place in a conference they, not so long ago, dominated. The 2012 season will be remembered more for (mostly awful) uniform combinations, rather than what happened on the field.
There's an identity crisis in Blacksburg. Tech doesn't bully opposing defenses anymore. Pride and Joy no longer produces momentum shifting blocked kicks. A kamikaze defense that created havoc and forced quarterbacks into making mistakes has been watered down with a safer bend but don't break style of play. Frank Beamer's program isn't broke beyond repair, it's just too focused on everything that didn't make it special.
The truth is hard to swallow, but that's where we're at.
What do you want Virginia Tech football to be?
Tyler Haws 42 points led BYU's hot shooting, and they defeated the Hokies 97-71.
Thoughts on Recent Struggles: Other teams are hot from behind the arc due to how we start the games defensively. We give up so many open jump shots which let the opponent get into a groove and get confident. This game was no different; BYU shot lights out and put the game out of reach before the first half was over. Tech players MUST find a way to close out and get a hand in the shooters face. Those little things can affect a shooters rhythm and cause them to miss.
Consider this post the open thread for today's game. You're invited to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Most of us have been working on a holiday schedule, so after the jump are a bunch tidbits and reads found elsewhere on the Interwebs that you might have missed while on vacation. Before proceeding, Box 'shopped another masterpiece.
Now then, let's continue.
Tech visited the Give Kids the World Village. Also, it should be noted that Martin Scales knows the Macarena.
So you're saying we should win the turnover battle...
Bowl fact: Va. Tech and Rutgers combined to go 12-0 when they finished w/ a positive turnover margin, and 0-8 when they finished in the red.— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) December 28, 2012
SI.com's Andy Staples picked Tech to lose.
A belated "Happy Holidays" to everyone here, as well as an early "Happy New Year." While 2012 may not have unfolded as we fans had imagined, Virginia Tech finds itself in familiar territory: a bowl game. The Hokies will square off in Orlando against an old Big East foe, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers, while one of the oldest programs in the nation, has a fairly small number of program milestones: 1869 (first college football game), 1976 (an undefeated 11-0 season), 2006 (11-2, win over #2 Lousiville). That's it. Really.
Virginia Tech enters bowl season in the unusual position of being 6 and 6 and playing former Big East whipping boy Rutgers. As I said before the Sugar Bowl last year, besides national perception, any bowl game besides the BCS National Championship has been rendered rather meaningless. The benefit comes from the extra practice sessions for Frank Beamer's squad, which (according to Andy Bitter) he has correctly utilized to get meaningful work for young players that will need to produce next season. When Alabama rolls into the Georgia Dome, the Hokies chances of victory will depend heavily on contributions from players like Trey Edmunds (who has wowed the coaches in bowl prep practices based on Beamer's comments), Demetri Knowles, Laurence Gibson, Mark Shuman, Ronny Van Dyke, and the young defensive backs. Hopefully, the rotation for the bowl game makes sure that the non-redshirts get meaningful snaps to prepare for a big 2013.
The Hokies had luck on their side tonight in Vegas after a miracle comeback to defeat Bradley 66-65 in their first overtime game of the season.
According to JC Shurburtt, National Recruiting Director for 247Sports, offensive lineman Jonathan McLaughlin switched his commitment from ECU to Virginia Tech. Rivals.com rated him as a 3-star offensive tackle. He spent this year prepping at Fork Union. According to Andy Bitter, he'll try to enroll in January. However, if he isn't approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse, he'll return to Fork Union and enroll in June. He's the fourth linemen to join Tech's 2013 class (Braxton Pfaff, Parker Osterloh, Kyle Chung).
Here are his highlights from his senior year in high school (Mauldin, SC).
A few things jumped out at me when I watched his film. He pulled a bunch (from the back side), and handled himself in space. He quickly located the defender and either suffocated them or drove them out of the play. He had active feet in pass protection. He stepped into the bucket, and kept his feet chopping. He put a lot of defenders on their butt. I am sure French will add something more substantial than that.
The Frankinator is out on the trail taking care of business.