Press Coverage and The Pin and Pull

It's games like these which remind me why I love college football so much. As I posted here after the game, the Marshall–Virginia Tech matchup was one of the most entertaining games I've watched in a long time. It had everything... blocked punts, a mobile QB scrambling for his life and completing pinpoint throws against great man coverage, great catches, a tipped pass that was caught to tie the game, interceptions, sacks, a long run by Edmunds, the inverted veer, overtime, a blocked game winning field goal, a second overtime, A THIRD OVERTIME! Most importantly, it featured a Hokie victory. I thoroughly enjoyed the game even though my Hokies could have played better. Wins are so hard to come by that if you spend too much time upset that a win wasn't "more convincing", then you can wake up one day and realize you spent your football program's golden years complaining about them, rather than appreciating them.

Marshall is a good football team, I think we can all agree on that now. They aren't elite by any means, but Doc Holliday (what a football coach name!) has built a solid program that is capable of hanging in there against more prestigious football teams. Marshall isn't a laughing stock of a football program anymore, and Rakeem Cato isn't that scared little freshmen he was two years ago when he made the trip to Blacksburg. Cato's mobility caused problems for Tech all day (especially early). He doesn't just hurt you with his feet though, as his short passing accuracy was at times capable of picking apart Tech's press coverage. Despite his playmaking skills, Bud Foster's game plan was able to hold Marshall's high flying attack to just 4.15 yards per play, almost two yards per play less than any of their previous games this season.

Epic Overtime Highlights

Why yes, there is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reference.

With the short week, we're adjusting the schedule a bit. There's no #BUZZCAP for Marshall, but look for a create the caption in the forum.

GIFTORY: Marshall

Because we won a three overtime game against a good football team and we should all be in a good mood. GIFTORY is here. Boom. (Thanks to Bill for nabbing me the video.)

I so desperately wanted this to be a fat guy touchdown. (Note: if one of our fat guys scores a fat guy touchdown the gif of said fat guy touchdown will occupy a prominent place on this website for a long time.)

Beamer Ball is Back

Everything else might have been horrible, but on special teams Hughes was a boss, Kyle Fuller was a boss, and Skip was a boss. We won a three overtime game y'all!

There will be better analysis on Monday. It's now Georgia Tech (hate) week. Let's hug here.

Game Preview: Marshall

By French (hates cheese), Mason (doesn't have a cell phone capable of text messaging), Joe (is helpless without spell check), and joelestra (number cruncher)

Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1) against Marshall Thundering Herd (2-1)

Time: Noon (12:01)
Date: Saturday, September 21, 2013
Place: Blacksburg, Virginia
Stadium: Lane Stadium (65,632)
TV: ESPNU
Radio: Virginia Tech IMG
Spread: Virginia Tech -9
Tickets: Virginia Tech Football Tickets (Sponsored)
Weather: 72 F, 80% Chance of Rain

The Skinny

The Hokies host 2-1 Marshall and are tasked with defending one of the top passing attacks in the country. The Thundering Herd is coming off of a brutal loss to Ohio, where they had three fumbles, an interception, and a multitude of offsides penalties, despite racking up 482 yards. The Hokies are seeking their 700th win in program history, they would be the 15th school in NCAA I-A history to reach that milestone.

A Step Backwards but an Opportunity for Growth

One of the bright spots this young season has been the excellent performance by the offensive line. I was thrilled with their execution and noticeably improved fundamentals. My one reservation was the matchups. Alabama has an elite, very athletic front, but their system requires their defensive line to engage blockers, allowing their linebackers to make plays. Western Carolina was completely out manned. Both teams used a relatively static concept up front designed to occupy blockers.

East Carolina presented a very different challenge. Could the Hokies offensive line be effective against a quick defensive front that is focused more on attacking the gaps and stunting than maintaining gap fits? The Pirates used a 3-man defensive front that they flexed over to the strong side of the offensive line. To the weak side, the "jack" linebacker aligned as a stand-up defensive end. The inside linebackers aligned well off the line of scrimmage. The added distance gave the linebackers a distinct quickness advantage over the offensive linemen trying to get to the second level. To the strong side, the Pirates completed the 3-4 look with an outside linebacker who usually aligned well off the line of scrimmage, almost in a nickel alignment.

"Foe"Rensics: Marshall

Hello. Welcome to this week's installment of "Foe"Rensics where we give you an in depth look at this week's opponent with information sourced mostly from Wikipedia and my imagination. This week we venture into the cheery, sunny climes of a tiny town nestled deep in the mountains of West Virginia; Huntington, the home of Marshall University.

(I'm only going if Radha Mitchell will be there, you guys.)

1. So hey, we didn't lose to East Carolina!

A. We sure gave it our best effort, though, falling just short in the end. But my GOD, our defense...I always thought those James Gayle in a Bane mask posts by Joe were funny but now...I'm not sure it was a joke. Who's our scout team quarterback this year? Can you imagine being him and waking up EVERY DAY knowing Gayle was going to try to de-arm and de-head you?

Weekly Rewind: Week 3

THE FAB FIVE

(My five favorite storylines from last week)

THIS SEASON'S GAME OF THE MILLENNIUM (so far): Man, this thing was fun. Two things were obvious from the opening kick: Johnny Football is better than he was last season, and there was no chance in this world that Alabama was losing that game. Manziel was in ultimate JFF mode, doing whatever he wanted all the while giving Gary Danielson an aneurism. Bama, on the other hand, made the Aggie defense look like they hadn't played together this season. It was such an exciting game with so many storylines that I've decided to write an ending to the inevitable movie script written about this game:

ACT 5 SCENE 2

[After the game, Johnny and A.J. walk through the crowd of players when they spot each other across the field]

A.J.: [whips off his aviator sunglasses to look Johnny in the eyes] {slowly and emotionally} Manziel. You're still dangerous. {smiles} But you can be my wingman anytime.

Passing From The Spread, Triangles, and Adjustments

The Hokies threw the ball all over the field on Saturday, often lining up in a four or even five wide formation to do it. Loeffler was branded as a run-first pro-style play caller, but on a day when his offensive line failed to get much push against a smaller, quicker defensive front, Loeffler resorted to spreading his opponent out to move the ball. It appeared as though Loeffler came into the game wanting to rush the ball early and often, but when the zone rushing scheme failed to fully blossom, Loeffler didn't hesitate to pull a 180. By the time the dust had settled in North Carolina, the Hokies had passed the ball 43 times out of a possible 77 plays, their pass-to-rush ratio being almost identical to ECU's.

For the most part, Loeffler had success with this strategy. Despite throwing the ball so much, the Hokies held onto the ball almost 13 minutes longer than the Pirates did. They also gained 258 yards through the air, and Logan completed 58% of his passes. Thomas still struggled with accuracy at times, but he was sharp on many 3rd-and-long throws. It's been said before, but there is a lot of potential for this passing attack and it's because of the guy under center. He was much better at finding his underneath receivers and not pushing the ball down the field when it wasn't necessary. If the offensive line is able to keep the pressure off of Logan, as Logan gets more comfortable making his reads, Loeffler will find ways to keep the passing attack one step ahead of the opposing defense.

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