#20 FSU Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (14-11, 3-7) @ #20 Florida State Seminoles (17-7, 8-2)

When: Thursday, February 16 @ 7:00 p.m.

TV: ESPN2 (Mike Patrick, Len Elmore, and Jeannine Edwards)

Where: Donald Tucker Center (12,200), Tallahassee, FL

Well, we're down to the final three weeks of the ACC season, and barring a miraculous turnaround, the Hokies seem destined for a sub-.500 ACC finish down the stretch. Things have been tough for Tech and the NIT seems like a probable destination (AD Jim Weaver said Tech would decline invites to the CBI or CIT-read more here), but I doubt a No. 1 seed is in Tech's future. Heck, who knows if we even make the NIT at this point.

So the goal in these last couple weeks comes down to developing talent and getting the younger guys minutes and experience for the next couple seasons. That's going to be tough to do tonight as the Hokies travel to Florida State, one of the hottest teams in the ACC. The last time these two met, both were looking to avoid 0-2 holes in conference play. FSU won the game 63-59 and has since won seven of eight, while the wheels fell off Tech's wagon by losing five of the next six.

Support the Bass Fishing Team

The Bass Fishing Team at Virginia Tech is a student run organization. Like any other student organization the total of their bankroll depends on the generosity of others. Team president Jody White asked me if I could help spread the word for their upcoming 1st Annual Fundraising Open. I was happy to oblige.

The complete release is as follows.

The Virginia Tech Bass Fishing Team is excited to present their first annual Smith Mountain Lake Open. It will be held March 4th in conjunction with Angler's Choice Marine. Angler's Choice Marine has been running high quality tournaments across Virginia since 2007 and is the leading bass boat dealer in the state. Virginia Tech Bass Fishing Team Vice President Pat Snellings says "we are excited to partner with Angler's Choice for this tournament; it should be a great opportunity for both sides and a lot of fun for all who participate."

The tournament will be a team format with a $100 entry fee per team. There will also be a raffle with prizes from JB Custom Rods, Keel Shield, Stick Jacket Fishing Rod Covers and, maybe more! Event t-shirts will be available at the tournament!

For more information you can go to www.hokiebass.com or find the Virginia Tech Bass Fishing Team on Facebook or Google Plus.

You can contact the Virginia Tech Bass Fishing Team President Jody White at jody4212 [AT] vt.edu.

Let's Talk about the Defense

Bud Foster is candid. He doesn't mince words with coachspeak, or vagueness. When he talks, I'm all ears. Andy Bitter posted an interview with Bud (links are here for parts 1 and 2) and it goes a long way to figuring out what next year's defense will look like. It's very informative, so read both parts.

The most intriguing part of the conversation is about the secondary. The front-seven is experienced and everyone kind of knows what that group is going to look like. Although, Foster does divulge Chase Williams might move back to Mike to backup Jack Tyler while BRUUUUUUUUCE is out. Plus, Dadi Nicolas, Justin Taylor and Kris Harley look to be factors along the d-line. But, those guys will most likely be second or third string players. The defensive backfield needs to replace starters Jayron Hosley and Eddie Whitley while figuring out what the hell to do with Kyle Fuller. (It goes without saying, the latter is a good problem to have.)

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY HOKIES

It doesn't matter if you're celebrating the Halmark holiday (and I hope MRSTKP doesn't read that) or singles awareness day, you can have some fun. To show how much we love you all for reading us and being part of our community, here are some Valentines from us to you.

Hokie Tracks are Trotting Around the ACC

Waiting on you Florida State. The 'Noles are still trying to fill the vacant spot on their schedule left by West Virginia. The Cousins paid three-fifty large to back out of their trip to Tallahassee because they didn't want to play a challenging non-conference game in addition to nine Big 12 league games. It's assumed that once FSU finds their replacement the ACC will release the schedule. However, there's the slim possibility Syracuse and/or Pitt pony up $20M and make a last second attempt to leave the Big East for the ACC in 2012. That could delay the schedule more.

Miami Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (13-10, 2-6 ACC) @ Miami Hurricanes (14-7, 5-3 ACC)

When: Thursday, February 9 @ 9:00 p.m.

TV: ESPN2 (Mike Patrick, Len Elmore, Jeannine Edwards)

Where: BankUnited Center (7,000), Coral Gables, FL

Halfway through the ACC slate, the Hokies head to Miami for a showdown with the red-hot Hurricanes. Obviously, Tech had a tough first 8 games in conference, but the Hokies have a chance to move up the standings with some critical contests starting tonight in Coral Gables.

Tech got its second conference win of the year over Clemson on Saturday, holding on for dear life in the final minute for a 67-65 win. Doe-Doe finally broke out of his slump with a 12-point performance, his best since the end of December. Tech is now a perfect 8-0 in games where Finney-Smith reaches double digits, but the Hokies are 1-8 when he makes 0 or 1 shots in a game. Sadly, there's been more games where Finney has been held without a made shot than when he's reached double figures. Yes, he's just a freshman, but the Hokies are in dire need of secondary scoring. Erick Green will get his 12-19 per game, but the rest is really a question mark. Will Davila show up? Will Eddie hit his 3's? It's all question marks outside of Green. That alone is why Tech has struggled in late-game situations. There's only one option to shoot and the defense knows it.

Animal Champion Warrior Legend.

Watch these.

Every time I read or listen to Daniel Rodriguez's story, whether it's by Dan Rather, himself or someone else, I'm left speechless.

In high school my teammates and I used to call ourselves Animal Champion Warrior Legends. I'm still not sure how to exactly define that phrase. At the time we thought it was a fitting description for a focused team of undersized kids who trained year-round at all hours of the day to win a state championship.

As I've gotten older, and learned more about the world and some of the extraordinary people in it, that phrase pops into my head when no other combination of words will do. For me, it's begun to define winners in life, rather than just those on the field. Daniel Rodriguez is a decorated war hero with more Bronze Stars than Rivals' stars who's also trying to live a dream and play football. He is an ACWL.

***

Hokie Tracks are Switching Positions

BeamerBall.com announced Duan Perez-Means is switching positions from defensive end to tight end. Not including the Sugar Bowl he played just 50 snaps at end and had 8 total tackles (6 assisted, 2 solo). I thought he played well enough when he got on the field, but there's a logjam at end. Both 2011 starters, James Gayle and J.R. Collins, return this season. Zack McCray, Tyrel Wilson and possibly Corey Marshall will compete for a spot on the two-deep. The move was at Duan's request, unlike the coaches asking Chris Drager to switch last season. He played tight end in high school, and got some work on the scout team last season. Based on how much they played in 2011, Eric Martin and George George look to be the top two tight ends heading into spring. Randall Dunn, Ryan Malleck and now Perez-Means will push them for playing time.

#ALLDANNYCOALEEVERYTHING

So yeah, how much are we going to miss Coale?

Looking on to 2012, Defense Set to Dominate

There's nothing that can be done about Coale's reversed catch (I will go to my grave knowing it was a catch). Virginia Tech missed another opportunity to win a big non-conference game . Even so, last season has a lot of positives to build on starting with the defense that performed well all year despite numerous injuries and dominated Michigan in the Sugar Bowl.

Return of the Lunch Pail Defense

In 2010, the defense benefitted from 32 turnovers (8th nationally) which helped hide the flaws of a D that ranked just 52nd nationally. An elite defense doesn't depend on turnovers. The Hokies needed to do better. The return of a top defense would be the key to a successful 2011. Foster's gang responded and delivered another top ten D. Next year's team has the potential to improve on that.

James Gayle is hungry.

A look into a few defensive categories and how the 2011 VT defense ranked nationally:

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