The Pistol and Live Ammo: Bowling Green Film Review

That sound you heard coming from Blacksburg Saturday was a collective sigh of relief as the Hokies notched a 37-0 shutout and finally exhibited some explosiveness in the running game. There were many positives to point out, including dynamic rushing by the much-maligned running back corps and a bounce-back performance by the secondary, especially veteran Antone Exum. At the same time, my film review will raise many of the concerns we have seen throughout this young season, which leaves doubt in my mind about how the Hokies address these problems when they reach the meat of the ACC schedule.

I will start with the offensive identity and Logan Thomas, and I won't sugar coat it. The entire week, we heard the offense was focused on getting the running game on track. The easiest way to get it going would be to turn the dogs loose on the offensive line by playing up to their size, strength and athleticism. Instead, we saw more of the same early in the game, slow developing runs focused on counter action and trickery rather than physical dominance.

Reading up on Cincinnati

On to the next one, and this week it's a challenge. Cincinnati was near flawless against Pitt, sloppy against Delaware State, but they had both contests locked up early. Over the weekend I did some reading on the Bearcats, here's what I learned.

Wham is a play we should see Cincy run a bunch Saturday. A couple of weeks ago I mistakenly identified as the zone read. The concept is straightforward, and it blends well with their inside and outside zone plays. Down the Drive did a fantastic breakdown. Read their entire post, because only a summary follows here.

Logan Thomas is Metal

After pushing the pile for a one-yard touchdown run near the end of the second quarter, Logan Thomas went to the sideline favoring his right hand.

(Little bit of, "ewwwwww," after the jump. But there are gifs of Logan hamming too.)

That appears to be Logan's fingernail peeled back off of his thumb. He, we, all got lucky it wasn't anything worse. A lot can go wrong, even for someone 6-6, 260, trying to ram through 2,500-plus pounds of flesh. LT3 plays a physical game, and the offense is infinitely better for it. We saw Saturday how Logan grinding between the tackles (then just the threat of it) softened the outside. It's just risky business having the quarterback do the dirty work, but at this point it is necessary because it's outside the skill sets of the tailbacks.

Forgetting what I just wrote, and for good measure, here are gifs of LT3 punishing defenders.

Boom!

Trucked.

Hokies Dominate, Shut Out, Bowling Green 37-0

Here are my gut reactions (expect French's detailed film review on Tuesday), please leave your thoughts below.

After a slow starting first quarter the offense, especially the running game, kicked it into gear and looked focused and crisp. The coaches reevaluating the running back rotation resulted in Tony Gregory getting the ball more, and he didn't disappoint. The speedster led all tailbacks in carries and averaged 6.2 a rush. He looked great getting outside, hitting the funnel, and turning it up field. Coleman, Holmes and Scales all looked much more decisive carrying the ball. They hit the hole quickly and it resulted in big gains. Great blocking by the offensive line and fullbacks helped their cause. Logan Thomas complimented the tailbacks, made much better decisions on the zone read, and was able to expose the heart of the defense.

THE ICEBOX

Logan was a conservative 11 of 26, for 144 yards, 2 TDs and a pick. However, there were a bunch of drops, and he only had one bad decision, a forced throw to Davis that resulted in an interception. He looked extremely sharp in the second quarter, but lost part of his fingernail on a QB-sneak-and-score, which might have affected him the rest of the way.

On a few plays Logan dropped back, stood comfortably in the pocket, but rolled out after he was unable find a target. The receivers need to be more consistent separating.

More than Superficial: Bowling Green

Like many of you, last weekend I traveled through the heart of Nowhere, Maryland to watch Tech play a left for dead Pitt. After two less than dominate wins to start the season I thought the Hokies were poised to have their best game of the season, and I wanted to be there firsthand to see it. Instead, it was a beat down. Pitt was up to the challenge while Tech rolled over back into bed. All I want and expect out of the team this week is for them to bounce back, and show they are getting better.

But, if things get worse, George is to blame.

No, not really, but will Logan Thomas look sharp from the start? He was a difference maker from the Miami game on last season, but in the three games to start 2012 he's played progressively worse.

Adventures on Whiskey Lane: Episode Four

Well...someone had to talk about last week.

Brian and guest co-host Joe welcome French on to the podcast as they discuss the debacle that was Pittsburgh, what could be wrong with Logan Thomas and how awesome Ronny Vandyke can be. They also look ahead to Bowling Green, talk about what they are watching from the Hokies and discuss whether or not another ten win season is possible.

All of that, and more (including a Carter Warley joke) on episode four.

Leave us questions and comments below, because we will read them on the pod in the coming weeks!

MP3 Download link: http://thekeyplay.podomatic.com/enclosure/2012-09-21T07_30_04-07_00.mp3

Six Pick: Week Four

It's week four and the season is coming into focus, for good and bad. It is looking more and more like there are a couple of dominant teams at the top, followed by a whole bunch of others that will beat each another up throughout the season. That's okay because it means chaos from week to week. Matchups, desire, luck and fat little girlfriends are going to decide the record for the other 115 schools even more than usual. By no means do I think Bama, LSU, Oregon and FSU can't slip up to inferior teams and take a bad loss. We've all seen too many "great" teams take one on the chin when they weren't prepared, but as of now, they pass the eyeball test and look above the rest.

It's our turn. "Our" being the Atlantic Coast Conference, the much maligned punch line over the last decade. The two best teams in the ACC are FSU and Clemson, and they get to shine on ABC primetime Saturday night. Let's hope they don't disappoint, the nation wants a good show, not some ugly game full of Ron Cherry and turnovers. Even if you hate both teams and the whole conference solidarity thing, {cough} ESS-EEE-SEE {cough} pisses you off, you have to agree the ACC's reputation and image needs this to go right. I love me some #goacc jokes at "our" expense, but for this night, I want an intense, physical, beautiful football from our foes that shows "our" conference belongs. Is that so bad?

Q&A with FalconBlog

This week I did a Q&A with BJ of FalconBlog. My answers are on his blog. Thanks to BJ for his time, enjoy

TKP: Okay, the Falcon's scoring offense is one of the worst in the country (16.7 ppg). What were the offensive expectations going into the season? Is there any particular reason for these struggles?

O&B: Well, one thing is that when you watch the game on Saturday, you won't be seeing the 116th best offense in the country. You might see the 70th but you aren't going to see the 116th. The team has struggled for a few reasons: pre-snap penalties, dropped passes and missed FGs. You can at least do better on the first two. Anyway, our offensive expectations were to be better than this, and while the running game has been pretty satisfying, we're disappointed with the passing game, especially the conservative playcalling.

TKP: MACtion is it's own little cult fan favorite. Do the Falcons run a spread attack? If so, what kind? If not, what offense do they run?

Bowling Green Football Primer, Photo Edition

This week, the Hokies look to rebound from their loss by taking on Bowling Green State University. The Falcons currently sit at 1-2, but have valuable road expereince in big time environments, as they started the season at the Swamp (a 27-14 defeat).

BGSU is coming off a rough 27-15 rivalry loss to Toledo. The Falcons and the Rockets play for the Battle of I-75 Trophy (sometimes referred to as the Peace Pipe) each year. Unfortunately, the Falcons had not claimed a victory in the series since 2009.

Statistics that will make you sad

Sustaining drives is an important charge for any offense. Among other things, longer drives allow more time for the defense to rest, help to win the all important field position battle, and provide more scoring opportunities. Tech has not done a good job at moving the chains. When I found out the Hokies average just 18.33 first downs a game (94th nationally), I decided to do a little bit of analysis.

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