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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
This week Brian and Kevin talk about the Bowling Green game, Bud Foster's spread defense, RONNY VANDYKE, Tony Gregory...?, and Kevin's one week suspension for the violation of company rules. They preview Cincinnati, express concern and hesitation about their speed, and how interesting this weekend's game will be.
All that and more on this weeks episode of Adventures on Whiskey Lane!
MP3 Download link: http://thekeyplay.podomatic.com/enclosure/2012-09-27T15_28_29-07_00.mp3
According to JC Shurburtt, running back/athlete Daniel Reid committed to Virginia Tech this evening. Reid held offers from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and USF (his finalist along with Tech) among others.
Here's a good feature on Reid from the Chesterfield Observer.
"It's like he's gliding – big, long strides and great hips," Tucker described.
Combing speed, toughness and elusiveness, he rambled for 215 yards vs. Matoaca, 190 vs. Colonial Heights and 187 vs. Meadowbrook in Dale's district-clinching victory.
"I think of myself as a slasher," said Reid. "The big thing, though, is vision – seeing the field … vision is the difference between a 15- yard gain and getting into the end zone."
Thomas Dale coach Kevin Tucker compared him favorably to Ken Oxendine.
This week I talked with Matt from the Cincinnati blog Down The Drive. I learner a lot of things, including that thier team is scary (even though their quarterback's name is Munchie), and...arguably more terrifying...not afraid of the Hokies one bit.
Thanks to Matt for his time, and hopefully I'll see all y'all in DC!
TKP: Well it's been a little while, hasn't it? The last time the Hokies and Bearcats met was in the Orange Bowl, Tony Pike and Brian Kelly lead a Bearcat team to their first BCS bowl. How has Butch Jones handled taking over for Kelly post undefeated regular season, and do you see more BCS bids in the near future?
#GoodJobGoodEffort this week, college football. I thought week two would draw the least interest, not even close. I couldn't even get out of the month of September without being completely wrong. That's not to say the games should be ignored, there will be close games and likely upsets, which always seems to happen in lesser weeks likes this. Forgive me for this brief Six Pick, I am using this week to recharge the batteries and save my best effort for October and November. OK, I'm being lazy.
This is a great weekend to get chores done while keeping an eye on your phone or TV. However, it's even better to travel to a game. Say one outside your Nation's capital where tickets cost less than two beers at a bar. Hey College Gameday, I see you, I wonder how it feels for them to finally leave the South? I'm sure they'd rather be in Athens, Ga and I can't blame them. Enjoy the atmosphere East Lansing, because it looks like Columbus and Ann Arbor will be ESPN's B1G destinations the next few seasons. Tech fans fully understand what it's like not being a sexy location for the worldwide leader, so hopefully something memorable, like a Corso F-bomb, happens.
Baylor at West Virginia -12.5 12:00 pm FX