3-0

USA, USA, USA via @zegolf

The Arkansas State offensive gameplan seemed very similar to the one we intended to execute against ECU. However, the coaches weren't forced to scrap the pass in favor of the run. We came out throwing Saturday, 33 times in all, 9 of 12 times to start a series. Logan had a good game. He completed 63% of his passes, only 8-yards shy of 300 with a couple of scores and picks. He made some great throws and bad decisions, but at the end of the day it was a big step forward.

I'm learning it's a lot easier to be critical of what we're trying to do on offense while it's happening. I see the big picture clearer after I watch the game a second time. I liked how O'Cain mixed in some screens, kept an almost 50-50 balance of run pass (33-40) and controlled the clock for more than 36 minutes. I thought the running game lacked an inside presence though. We still need to be able to run against a crowded box, because we won't be able to run to the sideline everytime against faster defenses like Clemson and Miami. I still believe Thomas is going to be the guy doing the majority of the dirty work between the tackles, and the option game is the best vehicle for that. There was less of that against Arkansas State than ECU, perhaps because the game was in hand for the majority of the sixty minutes.

Three games into the season and a young defense looks like a group of wily veterans. After the slow start last year, I was worried it would take this unit some time to mature. They've been pretty spectacular out of the gate. Defensively the game reminded me of the Orange Bowl against Cincinatti. We made a mistake, got behind, then held our ground for the rest of the afternoon. We didn't put on a clinic like against ECU, but considering Arkansas State has better skill players a shutout for 48 minutes is damn impressive.

Here are some specifics that caught my attention while rewatching the game.

Week 3 BlogPoll Ballot

My full poll is after the jump. As always I'm going to rely on y'all to keep me in check so leave your opinions, thoughts and suggestions in the comments and I'll adjust the poll as necessary.

  • LSU \ Oklahoma \ Alabama - All can make a claim for the number one spot.
  • West Virginia - The 'Eers get bumped down after almost collapsing against Maryland. As most of you pointed out last week, I had them too high. If they beat LSU, they'll be in my top 5. /shivers
  • Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina - Three ACC newcomers, all are 3-0. Tajh Boyd looked like the best quarterback in the ACC yesterday. He can spin it, and led scoring drive after drive against Auburn putting a slow starting first-half behind him. Georgia Tech's offense is throwing up NCAA '11 type numbers. North Carolina... Well, they did beat Rutgers. Yay? Should I put Auburn back in the poll or do wins against Virginia, Rutgers and a I-AA qualify Carolina over them?
  • Florida State - They played Oklahoma close, even tying the game late behind the arm of backup quarterback Clint Trickett. I came away impressed with the FSU defense, I can't say as much about their offense. Regardless of who played QB for the 'Noles the offense would have struggled. FSU-Clemson this Saturday will be very telling.
  • Texas - They got out west and beat UCLA and I drop them a spot. I had overvalued them last week.

Arkansas State Preview

Who: #13 Virginia Tech Hokies (2-0, 0-0 ACC) vs Arkansas State Red Wolves (1-1, 0-0 Sun Belt)

Time: 4:08 PM

TV Coverage: Regional Sports Network (Mike Hogewood, John Bunting, Sammy Linebaugh)

Venue: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA (66,233 — Grass)

Series History: Virginia Tech leads 3-0

  • Last Meeting (2002): Virginia Tech 63, Arkansas State 7
  • Tech has outscored A-State 147-14 in three games between the squads.
  • This is the first meeting between the two schools with Arkansas State being the Red Wolves. They were the Indians until 2008.

Injury Report

  • OL David Wang – Out (foot)
  • TE Eric Martin – Probable (shoulder)

The Opponent

Arkansas State enters Saturday's contest coming off a 47-3 thumping of Memphis last weekend after falling 33-15 in the season opener at Illinois. The Red Wolves are under the direction of first year head coach Hugh Freeze, who was A-State's offensive coordinator last year. Freeze has just two years of head coaching experience, both at NAIA Lambuth University.

This team is senior-laden, with 15 senior starters speckling the roster. However, that stat is a bit deceiving as a majority of ASU's roster is juniors and seniors that have transferred from junior colleges.

On Offense

Their Last Dance: Arkansas State

For college football teams last impressions are the ones that matter most. These are notes, observations and food for thought on our opponents' last game.

Arkansas State found the perfect beat against Memphis last Saturday. The Red Wolves put an old-fashioned on the Tigers, a 47-3 rout that saw Mephis outgained by 442 yards, a margin that could have been even greater had Arkansas State played their starters the entire game. But, BREAKING, Mephis is a terrible team.

--For the third week in a row Tech will play against a variation of the spread. Arkansas State's offense was explosive. They are currently T-21st nationally with 33 plays gaining 10+ yards, and T-7th with 7 plays gaining 30+ yards.

--It's a fast-paced offense with a lot of no huddle and calling plays from the line of scrimmage.

--There were pistol sets too!

--Redshirt freshman running back (Rivals 3-star) Frankie Jackson was very good. He's got take-it-to-the-house speed, but he'll also lower the shoulder and take on a defender. He trucked at least two Tigers. ASU made it a priority to get him the ball in space: zone reads, pitches and lot's of swing passes.

--Arkansas State's kick coverage wasn't very good. There were a lot of arm tackles, and players getting out of their lanes.

Six Pick: Week Three

Last week did not disappoint, more quality matchups equaled more quality finishes. Imagine that. The weekend culminated at 11:30pm with a last second Michigan touchdown to beat Notre Dame in an all-time thriller. This week looks a lot like last week featuring 10+ quality games and a huge primetime matchup to boot. There is a very heavy southern presence, 9 of 12 teams are from the SEC or ACC. I just hope the ACC teams can prove they belong and get some conference respect back. Our conference can't perpetually be ass can it?

When you hear Brent Musburger say, "You are looking live at Doak Campbell Stadium ..." with the noise of 82k strong behind him, you know it's a big game. Brent can sometimes mail it in, but for big games, he almost always brings it. We'll get his focused attention throughout as it features no. 1 Oklahoma and no. 5 Florida State at 8pm Saturday night. The Sooners make the return trip to Tallahassee and are sure to be greeted by a loud, electric and lubed up crowd pumped full of Seminole-Backness. The Noles took a whooping in Norman last season, so they'll be looking for payback. This game has the makings of great theater, so even if you hate both teams, watch the game. The winner clears their biggest BCS Championship game hurdle.

Thursday, September 15th

East Carolina Roll Call

Obviously the coaches didn't throw a ton of players out there this week. And I didn't notice several guys, so I assume it was mostly special teams duty.

I liked how physical the team played. Our running backs embodied it, as did the offensive line for much of the game. But the mistakes were painful.

Let's look at the roster.

1. Antone Exum - Does anyone else think he plays fast and tough? He's going to get better at being in position earlier to make plays the longer he's on the field.

2. Josh Oglesby - Not enough people are talking about his performance. It's not easy to run near the goal line and he made several key plays. He's an important part of this backfield. He's best when he picks a lane and heads downfield. Not dancing. Again, beast performance on Saturday.

3. Logan Thomas - So much to say, but let me limit it to this: The key thing to watch is improvement. He is coming off his first road start. We saw Tyrod develop into a great QB. We need to watch for the same with Logan. And we're asking him to do a lot, more than I think we asked Tyrod in his second year. Here's a Tyrod stat line from Week 3 as a sophomore, in a 20-17 win over Georgia Tech in Lane: 9-14 for 38 yards. He averaged 3.4 yards per completion. But he rushed for 74 and a touchdown. LT3 can make plays when he's running with the rock. I want to see a healthy dose of him trucking people come Week 5.

Grillin' With Wolf: Arkansas State Baby Back Ribs

Arkansas State is the second largest college in Arkansas and is located on Crowley's Ridge in Jonesboro. ASU was founded as an agricultural school in 1909 and changed names multiple times finally settling on their current name in 1933. The Red Wolves, who are part of Sun Belt, finished 4-8 last year. ASU has put a lot of players in the NFL such as Ray Brown, Tyrell Johnson, Ken Jones, Ron Meeks, and Elbert Shelley. What comes to mind when you think of Arkansas? Barbeque should. Arkansas BBQ may not be as well known as NC, TN, TX, or KS, but is that because of the food or the people? Rex Nelson wrote an interesting article with his view that Arkansas BBQ is not often spoken of because the people of the state are modest.. Arkansas barbeque is almost always pork and is a mix between sauce and rub. So here is my interpretation of Arkansas baby back ribs.

Ingredients

Film Study: BBQ-Scented Potpourri

After re-watching the ECU game, I feel a lot better now about the team going forward than I did Saturday afternoon. Watching the game live wasn't easy on my eyes. The penalties, turnovers, special teams gaffs and little mistakes added up and overshadowed what was otherwise a clinic in power football supported by a tremendous defensive performance. We controlled the clock for 37:22, rushed for 241 yards, held ECU to 112 total yards and only won by seven points. We spotted ECU 92 yards on penalties, turned the ball over twice, only threw for 91 yards, got lucky ECU dropped some balls, missed a gimme field goal, shanked some punts and won by seven points. There's a very thin line separating wins and losses, and I'm happy as hell we're on the right side of it.

This week's film study won't have a theme, but will be a hodgepodge of things that caught my attention.

East Carolina Game Review (Focus on the Front 7)

Okay folks, lets not press the panic button yet. Yes, the Hokie offense struggled against a weak East Carolina defense, but the score of this game really should have been at least 26-10. I think this team shows a lot of promise, but there is vast room for improvement.

Before I focus on the critical, I would like to note some positives about the game.

Defensive line

Week 2 BlogPoll Ballot

My full poll is after the jump. As always I'm going to rely on y'all to keep me in check so leave your opinions, thoughts and suggestions in the comments and I'll adjust the poll as necessary.

  • LSU or Alabama - Last week you guys convinced me LSU should be in top slot, and for right now I'm leaving them there, but an argument can be made that Alabama deserves it. Both the Tide and Tigers have blown out lesser competition and strangled a top 25 opponent. I believe Oregon is better than PSU, but LSU won what was essentially a home game while Alabama did their dirty work on the road.
  • Texas - I have them higher than most. They're talented, but they don't have an identity. There may be a quarterback controversy developing, starter Garrett Gilbert was yanked for a rotation of underclassmen-- Case McCoy and David Ash. It wasn't a sexy win, but they beat what I believe to be a pretty good BYU and like him or not (I don't), Mack Brown is a damn good head coach.
  • Auburn - They took every punch Mississippi State threw and stood tall in end. They don't have Cam Newton, but they still have Michael Dyer, an under appreciated running back.
  • Michigan St. - Meh.

2-0


Any time LT3 runs someone over, it's getting GIFed.

Hey, do you guys remember this time last year when we were 0-2? That sucked. Thankfully it's 2011 and we're 2-0. An ugly, ain't no winning second prize in a beauty contest 2-0, but that's our record an I'm thankful for it. The Frankinator always says the biggest improvement comes between week one and two and right now I'm not buying it. Well...

The defense held ECU to 112 total yards (compared to 361 yards last season) and picked off a pass (that should have been a pair of passes). The defense straight hammed, and it's a relief to know we can once again bumble around on offense and win a game because the defense is there to get our back. Bud's ain't fooling around like last season.

Logan Thomas: 8/20 91 yards a pick and 11 carries for 66 yards.

/decreases Hype-O-Meter

ECU Live Blog

The live blog starts at 3:30. Eric will be moderating and approving your comments in between parenting, so hang in there if you don't see yourself showing up. #BeerControlFather I'll be there via Joe-mobile. Go Hokies!

East Carolina Preview

Who: #11 Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0, 0-0 ACC) @ East Carolina Pirates (0-1, 0-0 Conference USA)

Time: 3:40 PM

TV Coverage: Fox Sports Net (Ron Thulin, JC Pearson, Jeremy Bloom)

Venue: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC (50,000 – Grass)

Series History: Virginia Tech leads 11-5

  • Last Meeting (2010): Virginia Tech 49, East Carolina 27
  • This is Virginia Tech's first true "road" non-conference game since a 16-3 victory in Greenville in 2009
  • The Hokies are 4-2 all-time at East Carolina, including three straight victories dating back to 1994
  • Tech has won 9 of the last 10 meetings with ECU, with the only loss being the season opener in Charlotte in 2008
  • Since 1994, VT has won 14 consecutive true "road" games in the state of North Carolina

Injury Report

  • FS Theron Norman – Probable (shoulder)
  • LB Telvion Clark – Probable (ankle)
  • WR D.J. Coles – Probable (shoulder)
  • OL Michael Via – Probable (knee)

The Opponent: The East Carolina Pirates open their home slate with a visit from Virginia Tech Saturday in Greenville. The Pirates are coming off a 56-37 loss to South Carolina in Charlotte last Saturday, a game in which they held a 17-0 lead in the second quarter.

Hokie Tracks Are Heading to Greenville

Are you hazy on just what-in-the-hell ECU's Air Raid offense is all about? Then checkout this piece from the TKP archives.

The Air Raid aerial philosophy is like a polished playground attack. There's not an overwhelming amount of passing plays. Rather, the same plays are ran out of many different formations. It also stresses quality, through repetition at practice, over quantity. Receivers work short routes over the middle of the field and to the sidelines trying to feel out and settle in space, and there's always an option to push it deep. Simply put the receivers try to get open and make a play. How our linebackers defend the short routes is going to be something to keep an eye on.

The chillest offensive line in the country?

This isn't a new or lofty request, a bunch of SEC schools provide scooters for the players to cruise around on. I've seen Georgia and Florida players riding them first hand. I'm not sure what Jaymes means by "carts", but I can only assume it's either golf carts riding on chromed out eights, go karts, or co-eds with broad shoulders. Whatever it may be just keep in mind that recruits like shiny things.

Six Pick: Week Two

That felt gooooood. Let's do another 14 more weeks. The shock (ongoing conference expansion) and awe (Maryland's uniforms) certainly kept Twitter abuzz for week one. This week I hope it's more about close games like the TCU-Baylor classic. Luckily, over the horizon are a large number of high quality games, so keep your eyes up and clicker close. To those paying attention, Notre Dame vs Michigan and South Carolina vs Georgia did not make this week's cut. The Irish and dawgs have to earn the right to make the Six Pick again. Though the Michigan throwback compilation by Adidas is almost badass enough to garner that spot.

Well my weekend plans are up in the air. As of this past Monday, I was Los Angeles bound for work. Using some marriage capital, I got the OK to head out a day early to catch Utah vs USC in the Coliseum. I am not going to lie, I was pretty geeked to see the legendary Coliseum and bum some fantastic West Coast IPAs in the parking lot. All sadly is for naught, as someone on the left coast dropped the ball. That does leave me with time and opportunity to go to ECU to see the Hokies take on the Pirates. Though there is a let down if you consider I am trading L.A. for Greenville. I've been to Greenville multiple times, visiting (getting torqued) family and friends who were attending ECU. This gives me some insight for my fellow Hokies heading down for the game. Go to B's BBQ, this is not a suggestion. It's a hole in the wall, where they have no time for websites or even telephones, they are all about pork and fried chicken. That 10 minutes added to the front end of your trip is well worth it as they are the best Eastern Carolina BBQ in town. Have thick skin, the Pirate fans are a faithful, delusional and enthusiastic bunch, some who will surely spit some anger your direction. Look with amusement, then carry on. Also, if scalping tickets, do not buy seats in the upper deck, those seats stank, I'd rather watch at a bar.

Offensive Line Review: Vs Appy State

One negative yet consistent theme for Hokie football throughout the 2000's has been weak early season offensive line play. That theme has stayed true regardless of changes from the I formation gap concepts of the 90's and early 2000's to the zone blocking schematic used today, and we have seen inconsistency early in seasons from both veteran groups and newcomers. I think most Hokie fans have come to expect early season offensive struggles, no matter how promising the outlook for the season.

App State Roll Call

We saw a lot of players, young and old, take the field during Saturday's drubbing. Because Tech isn't an elite team, I considered talking to Foster about getting some work in at Whip -- but it was too hot outside.

Even though I didn't get any good reps in on Saturday, I decided to talk about those who did -- all of them.

Obviously, it wasn't easy to come up with something for everyone who played against App State, but I at least typed a word in for each player.

1. Antone Exum - Exum didn't play a mistake-free game, but he made a lot of good plays, including setting the tempo early by hopping on that fumble. The beautiful thing about him is that he's good and I think he's going to get better and better.

2. Josh Oglesby - It was nice to see Josh get 10 carries. He had some tough yards and a touchdown. You have to love the effort on the 3rd-and-3 carry, when he looked up, saw nothing but defenders, reversed field and powered his way to a first down.

3. Logan Thomas - Almost everything has been said about LT3. His touch was off, but nothing to worry about. A little more air on some of his deep balls and I'll want Tech to go vertical every play. The thing I noticed most was his patience -- oh, and him trucking their safety for a first down.

Grillin' With Wolf: Parrot Wings

East Carolina University situated in Greenville, North Carolina is home to this week's opponent, the Pirates. Notable former students include Chris Johnson, Sandra Bullock, the guy who founded Golden Corral, James Maynard, wrestling owner Vince McMahon, and one of my favorite authors, Rick Atkinson. For our swashbuckling neighbors, we are going to make some "Parrot Wings". They pair great with 20-yard gains by David Wilson. I will be making mine in the true Buffalo style with 1/2 Frank's RedHot, 1/2 butter, and only served with blue cheese, but I will offer you guys some alternatives to try.

Ingredients

  • Whole chicken wings
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Blue Cheese
  • Butter
  • Frank's RedHot

Directions

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