ZOMBIE TURKEYS

Ten win seasons have become both an accomplishment and a crutch. No other program during the BCS-era has been more consistently great than Virginia Tech. As fans, myself included, we've been spoiled by winning. To the contrary, each season we watch excellence slip through Tech's grasp, whether it's a letdown game, busted coverage, or couple of missed blocks. It's maddening when August hopes are blown away by a September breeze before the October chill even hits. It's more frustrating when we're essentially told by Beamer Co. we should be happy with what we have, even though there's an empty trophy case in its offices.

Realistically, this wasn't the season the Hokies would contend for a national championship. Most preseason polls had Tech ranked outside the top 15, the overwhelming favorite to win the ACC was Florida State. Lack of depth in the secondary, a talented, but unproven receiving corps, and the proper distribution of carries among a medley of fresh-faced tailbacks were just some of the roster challenges Tech faced in August. Injuries to two returning starters, D.J. Coles and Tariq Edwards, complicated matters.

North Carolina Football Primer, Photo Edition

So. About last week. That Cinicinnati outcome was...disappointing. Fortunately for us fans, a new week and a new opponents awaits. Nothing eases the sting of losing quite like the possibility of victory. Back to conference opponents! Back to work! #goacc

This week, the Hokies hit the road and head south to Chapel Hill to face the Tar Heels. Like Tech fans, the Carolina Faithful have had to deal with adversity, albeit those distractions being off-the-field. Recently the announcement that Chancellor Holden Thorp will resign this coming June, in repsonse to allegations of academic dishonesty involving a number of student athletes and the African Studies academic program.

Q&A with Michael Felder

This week I spoke with UNC alum and former defensive back Michael Felder. He's the national college football lead writer at Bleacher Report, and of In The Bleachers podcast fame. I think I may have found someone who is just cynical about their team as I am. We discussed the new Fedora spread, Carolina blowing out bad teams, Bryn Renner and how the Hokies will attack this defense.

TKP: So it seems as if this game may just be between two middle of the pack ACC teams. Both have come off at least one (in UNC's case, 2) crushing losses. What is your general opinion of the first five games of the Larry Fedora regime thus far? How has the team transitioned to the spread?

Felder: I think things have gone about the way that anyone with an ounce of brain in their head would have expected. Blow out bad teams, tough game against middling teams and lose to good teams. They lost the tough game against a middling team but it could have gone either way. For the people who thought UNC was somehow going to be undefeated going into this game they didn't realize the myriad of issues this team has.

Adventures on Whiskey Lane: Episode Six

Kevin and Brian lament over the Cincinnati loss. Brian speaks with longtime Daily Press columnist David Teel, about the current mindset of the team, and what the future holds. (Via the miracle of technology, Teel goes robot voice for a bit.) The boys talk a little about UNC.

All that and more on this weeks episode of Adventures on Whiskey Lane!

MP3 Download link: http://thekeyplay.podomatic.com/enclosure/2012-10-03T19_39_15-07_00.mp3

Six Pick: Week Six

Back again for another go at it, hopefully the results are better for the home team. I love college football, even when the schedule looks bad like last week, the games produce. This week there are no such issues. Now that it's October, the non-conference portion of the schedule has faded away into league play. These tilts always mean the most*, but not every week is like this one, as I'm sure the "Separation Saturday" tag will be generously applied. Many favorites for conference championships will have emerged by late Saturday night. Led by the SEC, who have 4 of their 5 top 10 teams squaring off. Make time to sloth on the sofa folks, you aren't going anywhere. Gameday watch for week 6 shows that the World Wide Leader will be in Columbia, South Carolina. In order to be the man, you gotta beat the man ... that's the only way to keep ESPN out of the Southeast.

Cincinnati Offensive Film Review: Close Only Counts

I stated my emotional reaction to the Cincinnati game in Joe's epic "All I Have To Say" column on Saturday night. The offensive identity issue has presented itself as a long term issue, and, barring a complete cultural change in the program, it is an issue that will continue to self-correct in sputters and gaps. While I may not be a fan of the spread/pistol system, I want to be 100% clear that I think any offensive system can succeed with outstanding execution, 100% player buy-in, and a play caller who understands how to use the system. And, regardless of the system, be it from the shotgun or lining up in the straight T, any offense is better when the offensive line kicks ass.

I tried to go into the film review with an open mind. Watching the film, I came up with the following conclusions. Some may surprise you, others may not.

An Open Letter

Sunday, September 30, 2012, 12:42 AM

Dear students of Virginia Tech,

I'm sitting on a futon that isn't mine, somewhere in Arlington (though I'm still not quite sure where), staring at a blinking cursor for 10 minutes, trying to figure out what to say. After driving for four hours through an abysmal rain, I attended a thoroughly overpriced game at FedEx Field, only to watch my Hokies...no, our Hokies blow another game.

Earlier tonight, Joe did a very wonderful job summing up how mediocre this team actually is. Make no mistake...it's not a good team (and for any of you completely blinded by homerism/freshmanism please watch 'Bama or Oregon, then get back to me). But do you know what? I'm glad.

I've said this privately to an assortment of people close to me; the student section sucks. It's not even a secret anymore. It's been apparent to people going to games for over a year that the students are the worst fans in the building.

0-10

Bumped to the front. Leaving the stadium I mumbled I was done with neutral site games, but I know I'll be at the next BCS game, and in Atlanta next year. I think Vince sums up how a lot of HokieNation feels in his piece. --Joe

Over the last 13 years I have travelled with the Hokies to 10 neutral site games: 5 bowl games and 5 regular season games. All ten times the Hokies came away with loss. That's 3 Sugar Bowls (Florida State, Auburn, Michigan), 1 Orange Bowl (Kansas), and 1 Chick-fil-A Bowl (Georgia). That's also 3 trips to FedEx Field (Southern Cal, Boise State, Cincinnati), 1 trip to Charlotte (East Carolina), and 1 trip to Atlanta (Alabama).

Do the Harley Mash

Kris Harley's interception, off a tipped ball popped up by Bruce Taylor, that set up Tech's first touchdown Saturday was a terrific play. It was a blend of effort and athleticism by both Bruce and Kris. Taylor covered the short zone perfectly, Harley didn't give up on the play after leaping to bat the ball down at the line of scrimmage. The turnover jump-started the offense, and Harley's reaction fired up the crowd.

I got excited when it happened, and I made the gif because I needed a pick me up this evening. If we're going to overcome adversity, and be competitive during conference play, passion plays like that one will need to supplement talent and depth.

All I have to say

In middle school I had a gym teacher named Mr. Young. Mr. Young was lanky tall, white as chalk, and almost made it in the NBA. The rumor among students was he played against Larry Bird. When it got too cold for class to be outside, we moved inside and played basketball. Every year we'd get a 60 second crash course in hoops. We'd be seated on the bleachers and Mr. Young would stretch his arms out, ball between his hands, and say, "Boys, this is a basketball." Looking back, I'm sure he thought he was hot shit. He'd continue, "You dribble the ball," then he'd dribble, "You shoot the ball," then he'd shoot. He probably spotted up 15-or-so shots, nailed 'em all, ... and you get the idea.

Virginia Tech is 3-2, 0-2 against Big East teams. Reminder, we play in the ACC, but much like the basketball, you are what you are. This is not a good football team. Personally, I overestimated how good we'd be. My optimism got the best of me in spring and the preseason; I glossed over the loss of a lot of talent. It's evident after five games last year's reserves and some fresh-faced freshman weren't ready to step up. I also thought the coaches would be able to successfully modernize the offense. The two big changes this offseason: 1) pistol, 2) pre-snap motion. We use the pistol to throw the ball more than we do to facilitate quick-hitting rushes. The movement before the snap has looked nothing but sloppy, and has lost more in penalty yards than its gained in matchup advantages.

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