"Foe"Rensics: Bye Week LOLUVA

Hello. Normally during "Foe"Rensics we take an in depth look at this week's opponents. Sorry to say (and I really hope I'm not the one breaking this to anyone because I hate causing sadness) but we're on a bye this week, meaning Saturday will be cold, gray and empty for many of us. That also means we have no opponent to "Foe"Rensize, so this week we're using our investigative skills to INVENT THE FUTURE.

Not too long ago, it was brought to my attention that some folks to the northeast of us were having a bit of fun at our wide variety of helmets and uniforms. I know, I know, it's pretty awful being looked upon favorably by the uniform and helmet suppliers enough that they help make possible these abominations that are good recruiting tools, honor the military, honor the community and contribute to charities (like here, here, here, here, and here). But luckily, not every fan base has to put up with stuff like this. While even programs such as Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio), and Wyoming1 have sunken to the sad, unsightly realm of customized helmets, some of the more honorable, history-laden programs have chosen not to sell themselves so cheaply.

Breaking Bud

Since I began the French on the Bench series, I have discussed certain concepts and rules that Bud Foster follows regardless of the opponent.

  1. The corners flip-flop. The boundary corner goes to the short side of the field, and the field corner goes to the wide side of the field. If there is not a wide receiver to the boundary, the boundary corner aligns on the outside shoulder of the tackle or closest eligible receiver.
  2. In a 4-4 look, the rover aligns to the passing strength of the formation and the free safety away from the passing strength.
  3. In the 46 look, the backer goes to the passing strength and lines up on the line of scrimmage. The rover replaces the backer as a strong side inside linebacker. The whip stays aligned away from the passing strength.
  4. In the 4-2-5 with the whip in, the whip plays to the field side and the rover plays to the boundary.
  5. In nickel, the nickel covers the slot receiver to the wide side of the field. The rover covers the slot to the boundary side.

#goacc Power Rankings: Week 7

Well, it finally happened. The day that everyone from John Swofford to Mark Warner was hoping would arrive for the last 10 years did: the ACC is a relevant national conference.

I'll get to that, but for now let's cherish in the part that doesn't make the ACC nationally relevant, also known as everyone outside of the top three. Just for kicks, with the news of the Battle at Bristol, I added in a location that would be the dream neutral-site game for each team.

Diagnosing the Running Game

The Hokies continued their winning ways. They were victorious again on Saturday, beating the pesky Pittsburgh Panthers. The defense dominated and the Hokies offense did just enough. Logan Thomas had another solid game, passing for 239 yards with zero turnovers. He also had good success on third down, helping Tech convert 8 of 19 opportunities. The Hokies struggled getting into the end zone, despite venturing into Panther territory multiple times, and once again the running game never got going.

After the game, like many fans, I was disappointed with the rushing attack. With maybe the country's best defense, Loeffler's group needs to be able to run the ball. It's not necessary for the offense to drop 40 points a game, but it does need to score when in the red zone, avoid three-and-outs, and milk the clock when holding a lead. The short passing game isn't going to be consistent enough to accomplish those goals. Thomas has had success in long passing situations the past few games, but being in 3rd-and-long because the ground game isn't working isn't a good formula for success. If the Hokies can improve their ground game, this team will turn into true ACC contenders.

The Offensive Line To Blame?

Whenever an offense struggles to run the ball the first reaction everyone has is to blame the offensive line. And why not? Historically, the teams with the best offensive lines have the best rushing attacks. Those guys up front have one job, and that's to keep defenders off of the guy holding the football. If the runner can't get a yard past the line of scrimmage without running into a tackler, most of the time the offensive line failed to do their job. However, after watching the game multiple times it became evident that the line can improve, but wasn't solely responsible for the poor rushing display.

Who's Your Dadi?

Against Pitt, Dadi Nicolas tied with Jack Tyler for a team high 7 tackles, and he led the Hokies outright with 3 sacks. Nicolas lined up in his traditional defensive end position, and at Whip. The latter was the latest twist by Bud Foster to his dominant defense filled with versatile playmakers. After the game Frank Beamer said of Nicolas, "He's a talented guy and we're moving him around there, getting him to pass rush from different positions, and he showed up there." Beamer continued, "He's a force back there, and got a real talent for rushing the quarterback." Indeed.

I rewatched the game on Sunday focussing only on Dadi, and by my count he played 16 snaps at Whip when subbed in for Josh Trimble, and 11 at end when spelling J.R. Collins.

On Saturday Dadi made plenty of highlight plays to "Ooh" and "Aah" over, like this one for instance.

Redemption Against Pitt

I love this team, their passion, and lunch pail mentality so much. We are 6-1 guys, and bowl eligible in the second week of October. If at any point during the bye week you forget how nasty, hungry, and tough this team is, just watch the video below.

Q&A with Pitt Blather

Here's a little something extra this week. I exchanged questions and answers with Chas of Pitt Blather, which he has been running independently since August, 2003 *applause*. His answers to my questions are below. My answers to his questions will be on his site tomorrow (or when he posts them).

1. What are two things the Hokies must do on Saturday in order to defeat the Panthers? (I hope that questions lends itself to two answers other than score more points.) You may also read this question as, what are Pitt's two biggest weaknesses?

On defense, they have to get pressure on the quarterback. Whether with a normal rush or a blitz. That is the big thing. If Savage is not getting time, he is not going to be able to get the ball downfield to Devin Street and Tyler Boyd. Pitt has had success running the ball, but the scoring and driving is keyed by Savage getting the ball a good 20 yards out to the receivers.

On offense, there are two possibilities -- or just do both and watch the chaos. The first is to let Logan Thomas run. Pitt struggles against mobile quarterbacks. I'm not talking triple-option, rarely throwing QBs. I mean the quarterbacks that can pass the ball but are also as likely to pull it down and run. Duke was really good at doing that.

The other thing, is to go no-huddle. Pitt likes to do a lot of substituting on defense. Rotating guys in and out. No-huddle throws that off. The defense gets shaky and discipline quickly evaporates. Even Virginia found some offensive success when they quickened the pace. (Of course, the Hoos pure incompetence on offense meant that they couldn't go no-huddle for more than 2-3 plays before they abruptly stopped and gave Pitt's defense a chance to regroup.)

Virginia Tech to Play Tennessee At Bristol in 2016

I can confirm a report from Bruce Feldman that Virginia Tech will play Tennessee at Bristol Motor Speedway, The Last Great Colosseum, in 2016. Because of the night race the weekend before Labor Day Weekend, don't expect the game to be Labor Day, rather the second weekend of the season.

Because of their media rights, expect Tennessee to be listed as the home team to assist with better access to a broadcast window through the SEC deal(s).

If the scoring pylon is removed, and the football field is setup right in the middle of the infield of the track, then they can add bleachers right around the field and then fill the Bristol Motor Speedway bowl, which seats approximately 160,000. The potential is there to shatter Michigan's attendance record.

Big news! What does everyone think?

"Foe"Rensics: Pittsburgh

Hello. Welcome to this week's installment of "Foe"Rensics, where we try to share information many people don't know about this week's football opponent1. Pittsburgh is a proud city (also known locally as MelonCarnegieHeinzville) with a strong industrial tradition that produces some blue collar football players. Frankly, they were idiots not to hire Bud Foster and bring the Lunchpail D north the 47 times they've changed head coaches in the last ten years. But, one school's stupidity is another's gain, I guess.

#goacc Power Rankings: Week 6

Obviously the biggest story of this week transcended the sports world. The government shutdown has been weighing on the minds of many. That's why this week I decided to commemorate the shut down in my own little #goacc way, by thinking about what each coach would do with their time if they had been furloughed.

Let's get to the rankings, shall we?

The Dave Shinskie Division

(Dregs of the conference)

14. Virginia (2-3, LW: L 48-27 vs Ball State): It's come to this, and what a long, strange trip it's been. Just over a month ago, the Cavaliers beat BYU to start the season and had a few (but not many) people thinking that they were better than expected. Now? I'm starting to wonder if there was any assistant coach/babysitter in the entire country that could help the travesty that is Mike London's ability to actually...you know...coach football.

What Mike London would do if furloughed: London would form a volunteer police department. It would initially be the best volunteer police force in the country due to his ability to recruit new members, but would fall apart after five weeks due to a lack of direction and organization. It would end in a mutiny and London going on a rogue-cop spree.

A Critical Win: UNC Film Review

I'll start this week's film review with an admission. I did not watch the Hokies beat the Tar Heels live. I listened to the game on AM radio as I took my family to the Outer Banks for a week of fishing and boiled shrimp. As I listened to Bill Roth's and Mike Burnop's call, I felt many of the same emotions that HokieNation was feeling on Saturday: elation as the offense clicked on all cylinders early; hint of worry as the defense didn't seem quite as dominant as expected against a quarterback making his first start; frustration with the Hokies inability to ice the football game in the 3rd quarter as well as the lack of rushing yards. I went to the film to look for answers, at the same time, when I reviewed my Twitter timeline after enjoying a good dinner in Kitty Hawk, I was surprised at how dissatisfied many seemed to be with the win. UNC beat the stuffing out of the Hokies last season, and to turn around and get a convincing win after the physical pounding of the Georgia Tech game makes this a huge victory. Yes, there is room for improvement, but the film clearly indicates that Virginia Tech dominated this football game and the coaching staff and the fan base should be thrilled with how the team continues to improve.

Blocking and the Running Game: Stats Do Lie

A quick look at the stat sheet, the Hokies only netted 48 yards on 34 carries for a putrid 1.4 yards per carry. As a result, the natives got restless, and I read numerous complaints about the offensive line. I expected the film to reflect a major regression by the offensive line, but instead I quickly saw that the Virginia Tech offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage. Based on my rewatch, there were only three complete busts from the offensive line through the entire game (one on pass protection) and when keyed in on individual matchups, every Hokie offensive lineman was physically dominant.

A True Multiple Offense

Designing a game plan to stop the Hokies offense must be a nightmare. Scott Loeffler's unit has shown so many different formations, personnel groupings, and schemes that it's impossible for a defensive coordinator to know what's going to happen on any given play. A tight end, fullback, and running back all come in to the game? The Hokies can line up with five wide, or in a diamond pistol formation, or under center. Loeffler said he wanted to run a multiple offense, well there's no doubt that he's established multiple ways to move the ball. He's also played a crucial role in helping Frank Beamer add five more wins to his already impressive career total.

Everyone knows that Frank Beamer (and Loeffler and Grimes) want to run the ball. For the past decade every defensive coordinator that rolled into Blacksburg to oppose Tech had one goal, stop the run at whatever cost. Almost any success Virginia Tech has had rushing the ball this season has been from a spread formation, so it shouldn't be a surprise that UNC focused on stopping the run from the pistol and shotgun early. What was a little surprising though was the game plan Loeffler had to defeat that tactic.

4-star DT Ricky Walker Commits to Virginia Tech

Ricky Walker made a verbal pledge to the Hokies today during his official visit to Virginia Tech. Walker is a 6-2, 275 pound defensive tackle from Bethel High in Hampton, Virginia (where James Gayle played his high school ball), and both Rivals.com and 247Sports rank him a 4-star prospect. In 10 games last season he had 70 tackles, 11 sacks, and earned first-team all-Peninsula District and all-Eastern Region as a two-way player (DT and guard).


I really enjoy D.J. Coles making celebrity touchdown catches. He shows up on the red carpet, baby.

Let's hug, and high five, here.

Game Preview: North Carolina

By French (#TeamPie), Mason (recently bought an iPhone 4s), Joe (#TeamCake), and joelestra (number cruncher)

Virginia Tech Hokies (4-1, 1-0) against North Carolina Tar Heels (1-3, 0-1)

Time: 12:30 PM
Date: Saturday, October 5, 2013
Place: Blacksburg, Virginia
Stadium: Lane Stadium (65,632)
TV: ACC Network
Radio: Virginia Tech IMG
Spread: Virginia Tech -7.5
Weather: 55-80, Clear

The Skinny

Virginia Tech is 7-2 against North Carolina in ACC games. The Hokies suffered that second loss last season. In 2012, the Tar Heels won at home 48-34. UNC out rushed Tech by nearly 300 yards (339 to 40). This week Frank Beamer has repeatedly used the word "pounded" to describe what the Heels did to his Hokies last season.


Well, needless to say the computers were wrong last week! Let's hope they're not wrong this week though, as they are universally in agreement that VT should win this game:

"Foe"Rensics: North Carolina

Hello. Welcome back to "Foe"Rensics, where we dive inside the heads of our opponents every week to understand what makes their football program tick. This week we were planning on doing a hat themed preview since North Carolinians are very fond of hats but you run out of jokes after "fedora" and "bowler", turns out. So, without further ado, let's all take a trip to Chapel Hill and get to your questions!