#BEATBAMA Dot GIF

I asked our resident GIF maven VTBox if he would make us something fun for the 4th of July week(end). He didn't disappoint.

Please note, Sansa is taller than Saban, so the scale is a bit off here.

Have a great time celebrating America this weekend y'all. Please know how to safely handle fireworks and return with all your fingers intact. Do discuss any plans below or America related homerism below.

Billy Ray Mitchell Commits to Virginia Tech

The Hokies nab another New Jersey prospect and offensive linemen. Coach Grimes is on a roll. Billy Ray Mitchell announced his commitment to Virginia Tech.

HokieHaven.com, spoke with the 6-4 285-pound offensive lineman this afternoon.

Mitchell, who cancelled an unofficial visit to Wisconsin he had planned for the weekend, called the Virginia Tech staff this afternoon to commit, becoming commitment No. 13 for the 2014 class.

Grimes' Recruiting Blueprint

Last week, Jeff Grimes landed New Jersey offensive lineman Tyrell Smith. Previously, the Hokies received a commitment from Eric Gallo from Holland, Pennsylvania. There has also been significant buzz around the Hokies possibly landing Billy Ray Mitchell from Paramus, New Jersey. Hokie fans might be a bit salty that Grimes has not been able to land any high profile offensive line recruits, but these under the radar prospects fit the profile of what Grimes needs to execute his system.

As we have discussed several times since Frank Beamer turned over his offensive staff, Grimes' system is a zone blocking scheme, which requires athleticism, lateral movement, leg drive, motor to stay engaged as a primary blocker, and a natural instinct for timing to engage and then release double team blocks on down linemen to get to the second level. Big and nasty isn't enough, but being quick, nasty, with tremendous reach is the ideal prototype for a Jeff Grimes offensive lineman.

The Book on Erick Green

It's a weird time for Tech fans.

No, not because we are struggling through that awkward phase of emptiness in the sporting calendar with no games or practices. Not because we've been obsessing over the decisions of 17-year-olds for the past month, and have been absolutely devastated when their decisions don't go our way. It's because the NBA Draft is tomorrow, and Tech fans finally have a reason to care.

In case you forgot...or had it electrocuted from memory...basketball is a sport, in fact a sport that the Hokies were not very good at. Erick Green however, was the exception. Think about what it would be like if Leo Dicaprio was in the newest Adam Sandler movie. If De Niro starred in Police Academy 7. If Russell Crowe had a part in the new Superma....oh wait. You get my point.

Green was the lone bright spot in a season of negativity and blowout losses. He won ACC Player of the Year, was first team All-ACC, a third team AP All-American selection, and now he has the chance to be the first Hokie taken in the first round of the draft since 1986.

Tyrell Smith Commits to Virginia Tech

The Hokies have landed their second verbal pledge in as many days. Tonight, it's offensive lineman (guard) Tyrell Smith (6-5, 255 per Andy Bitter) from powerhouse program Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey. 247Sports ranks Smith as a 3-star prospect, while Rivals.com rates him as a 2-star recruit.

Todderick Hunt of NJ.com wrote a nice feature on Smith last December.

"I'm best at run blocking, especially when we run inside zone plays. When I have to block down on an inside lineman, it's going to be a mismatch for him."

Smith, who claims a 315-pound bench press and 500 pound squat, can't wait to get back to football. Since the season ended, he has been working to improve his body for the rigors of the upcoming season.

Loeffler, The Quarterback, and the Running Game

Michael Vick, Bryan Randall, Marcus Vick, Tyrod Taylor, Logan Thomas. Virginia Tech has had a string of mobile quarterbacks over the past decade and a half. Michael Vick burst onto the scene back in '99, and transformed the way that college football utilized mobile quarterbacks forever. Scot Loeffler in his own words describing his offense (emphasis mine), "...it's really a pro-style offense, that's multiple, with the ability to run the quarterback, and I think you got to do some of that in college football now." Programs like West Virginia, Florida, Nevada, and Oregon have revolutionized the way that offenses highlight the strengths of their dual-threat signal callers. The success of these programs prove that mobile quarterbacks aren't a trend, they aren't a fad, and they aren't going anywhere. I can say this with certainty because football is, at its heart, a numbers game.

Change the Math

Film Vault: GameDay VT-Miami 2003

I had fun watching and writing this the last time, so I decided to do it again. I hope you enjoy reading and reminiscing. Happy Friday y'all!

Even though GameDay was in Oklahoma for Bedlam, a lot of the show was dedicated to a memorable matchup in Blacksburg.

Be sure to check out Hokietapes massive film collection.

0:00–1:10 - I really miss that intro. Bring it back ESPN.

1:28 - Survival Saturday! (What's the job title for the person who has to come up with all of these weekend catch phrases?)

1:31 - A reminder about the whoopin' we took in Morgantown the previous game. If I knew the tour bus was stopping there on our trip down memory lane, I wouldn't have bought tickets. I thought Kevin Jones would have a career day in the snake pit against the 'Eers. Instead, Tech got out gained by 199 yards on the ground. That doesn't happen often for the Hokies, lopsided rushing totals, but when it does, the losses are branded into your brain.

2:04 - Not one SEC team among the lot, my how times have changed.

Alabama's 3-4 Defense: D-Line Basics

Over the course of the summer, I will be examining the matchups and schemes of the Hokies' opponents, and no scheme presents more conundrums and challenges than Nick Saban's NFL-style 3-4 defense. Saban comes from the Bill Parcells/Bill Belichick coaching tree, and brings an NFL-esque attention to detail that is unparalleled in college football. Yes, Alabama has talent, but the true genius of Nick Saban (besides his ability to represent strong the Lollipop Guild) is to ensure that his talent executes the scheme.

Several years ago, Smart Football posted an excerpt from Saban's LSU playbook. While the post has been lost in a sea of bytes, Saban's own words on his defensive philosophy live on (via Pats Propaganda).

[Our] philosophy on first and second down is to stop the run and play good zone pass defense. We will occasionally play man-to-man and blitz in this situation. On third down, we will primarily play man-to-man and mix-in some zone and blitzes. We will rush four or more players versus the pass about ninety-percent of the time.

QB Andrew Ford Commits to Virginia Tech

Pennsylvania quarterback Andrew Ford verbally committed to Virginia Tech this afternoon.

Ford is 6-3, 190-pounds, rated a 4-star by 247Sports, and a 3-star prospect by Rivals.com. I asked French what he thought about Ford and this is what he told me:

Da'Shawn Hand Eliminates the Hokies

Mike Farrell of Rivals.com announced Hand's top-3 this morning.

Throughout the entire recruiting process, Hand has been adamant about Bud Foster being his favorite coach, so most Hokies and recruiting analysts felt extremely good about Virginia Tech's chances to land him. Early on Hand stated he wanted to pursue a degree in engineering, but his academic interests changed not too long ago, and that might be a reason why the Hokies sit on the outside looking in.

Priority Partner Scheduling in the ACC

The negative effect an eight game ACC schedule had on a 14-team league became crystal clear last week when the ACC announced the football rotating crossover opponents through 2024. Eight conference games worked well with 12 teams. Teams in opposite divisions would play each other at least once every 4 years, visit and host each other every 5. Moving forward, the ACC is intent on preserving a primary crossover game as well as rotation in which, "Each ACC school will play all of their rotating crossover opponents twice during the 12-year rotation, once at home and once on the road, but not consecutively."

Andy Bitter put it into context nicely.

I've tweeted the numbers before, but they bear repeating: from now until 2024, the end of this ACC scheduling cycle, Virginia Tech will play Florida State, Clemson and Louisville five times. It will play East Carolina, a non-ACC member, seven times between 2014 and 2020.

Jaylen Bradshaw Commits To Virginia Tech

According to SportsWar's (TSL) Chris Horne, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake) wide receiver Jaylen Bradshaw made it official and verballed to the Hokies this evening.

Bradshaw earned a Virginia Tech offer after camping in Blacksburg last Sunday.

Class of 2014 wide receiver Jaylen Bradshaw landed his first BCS offer on Sunday when the Hokies offered. The 6-1 175 pound wide out with the sub 4.5 speed is highly regarded as one of the best wide outs in the rising senior class locally. Until now, Jaylen held five offers, but the Tech offer has the potential to trump them all. Bradshaw picked up offers from Old Dominion, Campbell, Charlotte, Towson, and UMass this Spring.

Securing the Edge: TEs in the Blocking Scheme

Last month, I wrote a detailed film review about the inner workings of the o-line's zone blocking scheme. I detailed some of the critical fundamental techniques required for success, including a flat first step towards the sideline, doubling the down defender, and the "four-four technique" that allows a blocker to slide off a double team and get to the next defender. I also attempted to demonstrate how the zone blocking scheme requires critical contributions from the tight ends, H-Backs, and fullbacks in order to account for backside pursuit. Success comes from every player blocking their assigned gap, and maintaining that block to keep the defender moving east-west. Without the blocks from skill position players, it becomes impossible to handle extra defenders cheating up to play the run, as Mason Naumman discussed last week.

The tight end position featured an intense competition this spring. Scot Loeffler utilizes two and three tight end sets with regularity, and in his system, the tight ends must be able to execute three basic blocks:

  • Standard Zone Block
  • Double To Second Level
  • Scoop Block

Zone Block

ACC Baseball Tourney Pool Play Recap

With the 3-2 victory over Georgia Tech, the Hokies have secured themselves a spot in their first ever ACC Championship game! Sweeping the competition in Pool B, Pete Hughes' squad will play for the title on Sunday at 1:00. The game can be watched (on a full size television) on ESPN2.

Pitcher of the Week:

Brad Markey (VT, RHP): 8.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, BB, 10 K; Stellar performances by the starting pitchers propelled the Hokies tournament run. Joe Mantiply and Devin Burke each had great outings, but Markey's was one for the ages. Coming just two outs short of a complete game, Markey tied his career high with 10 strikeouts on the night, but had to be pulled after getting into a little trouble in the ninth. The Florida State offense average 6.6 runs per game, but Markey has held them to 4 in 17.1 innings pitched this season.

Position Player of the Week:

Chad Pinder (VT, SS/3B): 6 for 11, 3 HR, 2B, 8 RBI; Probably one of the most obvious choices I've ever had to make for this award, Pinder's talent was on full display this week in Durham. Wednesday's game against UVA showed just how well rounded of a player Pinder is, going 3 for 5 with 2 HR, 6 RBI. He followed up that performance with a 2 for 4 outing on Thursday, and went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly and another homer on Friday's pool play finale.

Wednesday: Hokies 10, Cavaliers 1

100 Days Until #BEATBAMA

Right now I'm holding ticket number 74 and the deli is NOW SERVING 55. Be right back, I'm going to grab a Diet Coke, do a few laps around the store, gawk at the people cashing in their beer cans for nickels, and play some scratch-off tickets. 100 days is almost a manageable wait. When the weather cools in October, I always regret hurrying along summer. I enjoy the hell out of golf, sipping cocktails on a rooftop, and BBQs, but they're a small sacrifice to the god of the fall.

In my head, I keep thinking about what Tech needs to do to win, and right now my conclusions are based off the game in 2009. That contest will have very little to do with the outcome on 8/31, but it's fun to play what if. I walked out of The Dome that night thinking the Hokies were in arms reach of Alabama. A couple of fourth quarter stops by the defense, and a few more first downs by the offense and the Maroon and Orange might have preempted The Tide's dynasty.

None of us have forgotten Ryan Williams' 32-yard touchdown run, or his strength to punch it in from the one-yard-line.

ACC Baseball Tournament Preview

Editor's Note: Aidan's been writing and keeping us updated on HokieBall for the second half of the season. Enjoy this ACC Tournament preview he wrote. --Joe

The ACC Baseball Tournament starts today and finishes Sunday, and for the first time since 2010 Tech will be making a postseason appearance. Arguably the best baseball conference in the country, the 8 team field for this weekend's tournament boasts 6 teams ranked in the Baseball America Top 25, promising a great weekend of baseball in Durham.

Perspective on Loeffler's Tenure at Auburn

Editor's Note: Mason Naumann (Hokiefan591988) is the newest member of our team, please welcome him aboard. --Joe

The happiest day of my life is when I found out that I had been accepted into Virginia Tech. Attending this glorious institution is as important a tradition in my family as our burnt cinnamon rolls Christmas morning. (Seriously though, how hard is it to not burn cinnamon rolls? Yet every year...) My Grandfather graduated in 1954 with a bachelors, earning a masters a year later. His love for all things Hokie was infectious, and rubbed off on the entire family. My father and uncle attended Virginia Tech, as did multiple cousins, a sister, and myself. I loved everything about my time spent at Tech and I still live in Blacksburg.

Film Vault: The Untouchables

I stumbled on this GameDay segment on The Untouchables while sifting through HokieTapes' massive film collection.

0:00 - Remember when we called him "Baby Face" Fowler? No?

0:15 - "Kindred programs..." I can't tell you how many emails I received from Texas A&M fans who wanted Virginia Tech to come to the SEC with them, and be their divisional rival. After Maryland left for the Big Ten, one followed up with me to say, "you missed your chance."

0:39 - R. C. Slocum. That's all.

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