The Week That Was: The Les Miles Zone

After weeks and weeks of speculation, the new offensive staff was finalized and officially announced. On Friday, Scot Loeffler, Jeff Grimes and Aaron Moorehead will ride into Blacksburg like white knights on stallions.

Other than that, it's been a pretty quiet week. I mean, Shane Beamer did troll some people on Twitter, leading me to embark in a twenty-minute mental exercise as to what would happen if Bud Foster had an account. Could you imagine? Some UVA bro tries to troll Foster’s defense on Twitter, which is then followed by Foster’s threats of "total, soul crushing annihilation" while motivating Jack Tyler and Antone Exum to send a season-long message.

Speaking of Exum...

That was at 3 A.M. Monday morning. You know where normal people were at 3 A.M. Monday morning? Sleeping...or sleeping off a night at Big Al's. This man is insane, in such a good way.

That may have been all the news in Blacksburg, but lucky for us the sports world got weird (and awesome) over the past week.

Loeffler, Grimes, and the Future of the Running Game

The staple of Virginia Tech's offense in the Frank Beamer era for over two decades was a bruising running game. While we screamed about Logan Thomas's inaccuracy, the lack of blocking, and playmaking by wide receivers, the complete inability of Virginia Tech to establish a running game was the biggest impediment to winning football games. Virginia Tech had moderate success running off tackle power from the I formation, occasionally got the read option going from the spread, and once in blue moon they got 3 yards on a toss sweep. But, more often than not, the Hokie offensive line went east west, and the running backs went nowhere. The end results were a confused Frank Beamer and 3rd-and-12s.

If the Hokies want to return to dominance in 2013, the first task for new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes will be to establish a cohesive concept for running the football that Virginia Tech lacked last season, and then instill the attitude and fundamentals necessary to dominate using such a philosophy.

The Philosophy

VT 66, WF 65

Summary: With three minutes remaining, the game was tied at 58. How would the Hokies finish? Would we close like last year's team and suffer another close loss? Would we start a new trend of close wins? These thoughts rushed through my head as Wake Forest took two free throws.

With two minutes remaining, Travis McKie drained a three. Cassell went silent as the Demon Deacons called a timeout. How would we respond? Did we have the confidence to come back? That was quickly answered when Jarell Eddie shot from deep without even thinking. Swish. The Hokies were there to play.

The Week That Was: Scot Loeffler and Logan Thomas

Well, the day has finally come. As CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman reported, the Frankinator has hired Scot Loeffler to be his new offensive coordinator. Yep, that Scot Loeffler. The one handed the dumpster fire at Auburn. The one who threw a TOTAL of 198 passes at Temple in 2011 (for comparison, Logan Thomas threw 429 this season).

My three thoughts on the hiring immediately after it happened:

  • Gulp.
  • What does this mean in terms of Thomas' professional decision?
  • How in the hell does Feldman know so many people, on so many different staffs? Was it because he wrote a book with Mike Leach, and now all universities have a fear of being boarded and pirated? Yeah, that must be it. If it happened to Craig James, it could happen to you.

But, after I did my research I started to feel more confident about his hiring.

Logan Thomas Will Return for His Senior Season

Logan Thomas announced today on ESPN College Football Live that he will return for his senior season. Woo! And I need to celebrate for a minute with a GIF.

In October, Thomas had been adamant in his plans to play his senior year in Blacksburg. "I've always told everybody that I'm planning on coming back for my last one," he said.

However, after the Russell Athletic Bowl, he had this to say.

"I can't tell you now," Thomas said when asked whether he would return to Virginia Tech for his senior season. "I have a big decision in front of me either way it goes.

Report: Scot Loeffler is Virginia Tech's new Offensive Coordinator

As first reported by CBSSports' Bruce Feldman, Scot Loeffler has accepted an offer to become offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech.

David Teel reported last Friday (January 11th) that Loeffler was a candidate. On Monday, Mark Giannotto reported Loeffler and former Auburn offensive line coach Jeff Grimes were in Blacksburg meeting with Frank Beamer.

Last season Loeffler began as offensive coordinator at Auburn, and ended up going down with Chizik's sinking ship. The Tigers were ranked 115th nationally in total offense (305.00 yards per game), and 112th in scoring offense (18.67 points per game). These complaints by Auburn fans seem eerily familiar.

Q&A with From The Rumble Seat

I was fortunate enough to exchange questions with Chas Plaisance from the Georgia Tech blog From The Rumble Seat about the game today. We discussed the Jackets year so far, the challeges Erick Green will face, and more. You can see my answers to his questions here. Both teams are looking for their first ACC win. The game is at 2:30 on the Raycom Sports Network.

Virginia Tech's 2013 ACC Schedule

The ACC announced the 2013 football pairings, just home and away games. Tech's schedule is as follows:

Home

Duke
North Carolina
Pitt
Maryland

Away

Georgia Tech
Miami
Virginia
Boston College

With 14 teams, thanks expansion, playing an 8 game conference schedule, thanks Notre Dame, there was bound to be some repeat road trips by all the schools in the conference. Duke will once again come to Lane Stadium, and Tech will travel back to Miami and Boston College.

The games with opponents traveling to the same site as in 2012 are: Duke at Wake Forest; Duke at Virginia Tech; Miami at Duke; Georgia Tech at Clemson; Virginia Tech at Boston College; and Virginia Tech at Miami.

Before this release, I thought Tech would return to Pittsburgh, instead Miami and Georgia Tech end up back together in the home-away rotation.

Though the conference is releasing just the 2013 ACC opponents at this time, this schedule model may be used as the basis for a full, multi-year schedule in the future.

VT 75, BC 86

Quick thoughts: We shot better than them, out rebounded them, and they only made one more 3-pointer than us, so how did we lose?

They scored 29 points off turnovers. We scored ZERO. They had five turnovers and we had 17. We were sloppy with the ball and it cost us the game. Our defense wasn't the best, but when you give a team more opportunities to score, they will take advantage of them.

Boston College scored 42 points in the paint; keep in mind that was a team that predominately shoots threes. I think we miss Victor Davila. Everyone used to give him a hard time, but he was the defensive presence we needed.

The Week That Was: Pep Hamilton and the UMD Debacle

One of the worst times in a student's life is at the end of any given semester. It's not the exams, but rather the waiting after them to finally figure out your final grades.

In terms of the Virginia Tech offseason, this is what it has been like. The period between the Hokies' 13-10 offensive funeral defensive victory over Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl, and the (allegedly) inevitable announcement of a change within the offensive coaching staff has been one of the longest in recent memory.

It was reported Mike O'Cain had been in the running for the Appalachian State gig. During the bowl it broke that Kevin Sherman had allegedly already accepted a job at Purdue. After it, Curt "#FINESSEBLOCKERS" Newsome reportedly has a job waiting for him back at his old stomping grounds at James Madison.

Then, there was nothing. I mean NOTHING. Zero Dark Thirty 2's plot is going to be about the week in which everyone within the program disappeared and didn't even give us a scrap of a rumor.

To say people were starting to get antsy would be the early understatement of this short year, as fans started wearing out the refresh buttons on their computers, staring at a frustratingly blank screen.

And hen there was this:

2012 Game Splits

Brian Fremeau, publisher of the FEI Ratings in college football and writer for Football Outsiders, has posted "game splits" for every game this season athttp://www.bcftoys.com/results/. What are game splits you ask? In short it's a statistical way to break up the total score difference in a game into contributions from the offense, defense, and special teams (in short...let's not get into the statistical details).

Unleash Hell: Defensive Film Review of the Russell Athletic Bowl

From the moment it was clear that the Hokies could not win the ACC Coastal Division title, every game in the 2012 season became a stepping stone to a program-defining moment in the Georgia Dome on August 31st. Making a bowl allowed for 3 weeks of additional practice that could be put towards getting repetitions for young players who would be counted on to contribute next season, and the bowl matchup versus Rutgers stood as an opportunity for Frank Beamer to learn about the makeup of his 2013 roster and coaching staff.

The lessons learned from the Russell Athletic Bowl serve as a microcosm for everything that has frustrated Hokie fans since Ricky Bustle left the program. Bud Foster's defense advanced, utilizing the 4-4 scheme with aggressive blitzing against the run and pass, but he added elements of Dick Lebeau's zone blitz by frequently dropping ends and tackles into coverage, and playing a seemingly more effective fire-zone in behind the blitz. At the same time, the offense seemed to be more of a vaudevillian comic sketch that would have been more appropriate if the theme from Benny Hill was dubbed over the voice of Joe Tessitore.

Brian's Year in Review

Okay here's the deal. Hokie football is over, sending us as a fan base into those terribly uninteresting eight months of the year known as the offseason.

During this time most fans have to take time to do the little things: become reacquainted with family, reintroduce yourself to your children, make up for all of the work that you missed when you were reading betting lines and listening to podcasts. Well, I'm going to make sure—at least for one day a week—that none of that stuff happens.

That's right, a weekly column. Let the procrastination continue.

Every Monday I will have a column that looks back at the prior week, breaking down news and notes from Blacksburg, the college sports world and anything else that needs our attention. It's going to be written differently every single week, basically depending how I feel the day of, throwing consistency to the wind. We all know the strategy... It's how Shane Beamer rotated his running backs this season. I kid... We have fun here.

But before I start tackling whatever ridiculousness is thrown at us in 2013, let's look back at what got us to this point.

January

Happy New Year. Beat Alabama.

I've tried twice to write about this season and failed. I typed about a thousand words of nonsense and was left with a bunch lengthy paragraphs focused on tiny details probably not worth obsessing over. There were introspective questions scattered throughout that I hoped to answer, but were left as out of place transitions.

What has Virginia Tech football become?

Right now, it's a mediocre program. Florida State and Clemson are the cream of the ACC. Tech's fighting, and losing to, UNC and Miami for third place in a conference they, not so long ago, dominated. The 2012 season will be remembered more for (mostly awful) uniform combinations, rather than what happened on the field.

There's an identity crisis in Blacksburg. Tech doesn't bully opposing defenses anymore. Pride and Joy no longer produces momentum shifting blocked kicks. A kamikaze defense that created havoc and forced quarterbacks into making mistakes has been watered down with a safer bend but don't break style of play. Frank Beamer's program isn't broke beyond repair, it's just too focused on everything that didn't make it special.

The truth is hard to swallow, but that's where we're at.

What do you want Virginia Tech football to be?

VT-BYU Recap

Tyler Haws 42 points led BYU's hot shooting, and they defeated the Hokies 97-71.

Thoughts on Recent Struggles: Other teams are hot from behind the arc due to how we start the games defensively. We give up so many open jump shots which let the opponent get into a groove and get confident. This game was no different; BYU shot lights out and put the game out of reach before the first half was over. Tech players MUST find a way to close out and get a hand in the shooters face. Those little things can affect a shooters rhythm and cause them to miss.

Game Day: Russell Athletic Bowl

Consider this post the open thread for today's game. You're invited to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Most of us have been working on a holiday schedule, so after the jump are a bunch tidbits and reads found elsewhere on the Interwebs that you might have missed while on vacation. Before proceeding, Box 'shopped another masterpiece.

Now then, let's continue.

Tech visited the Give Kids the World Village. Also, it should be noted that Martin Scales knows the Macarena.

So you're saying we should win the turnover battle...

SI.com's Andy Staples picked Tech to lose.

Rutgers Football Primer, Photo Edition

A belated "Happy Holidays" to everyone here, as well as an early "Happy New Year." While 2012 may not have unfolded as we fans had imagined, Virginia Tech finds itself in familiar territory: a bowl game. The Hokies will square off in Orlando against an old Big East foe, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers, while one of the oldest programs in the nation, has a fairly small number of program milestones: 1869 (first college football game), 1976 (an undefeated 11-0 season), 2006 (11-2, win over #2 Lousiville). That's it. Really.

Jousting with the Scarlet Knights - Russell Athletic Bowl Preview

Virginia Tech enters bowl season in the unusual position of being 6 and 6 and playing former Big East whipping boy Rutgers. As I said before the Sugar Bowl last year, besides national perception, any bowl game besides the BCS National Championship has been rendered rather meaningless. The benefit comes from the extra practice sessions for Frank Beamer's squad, which (according to Andy Bitter) he has correctly utilized to get meaningful work for young players that will need to produce next season. When Alabama rolls into the Georgia Dome, the Hokies chances of victory will depend heavily on contributions from players like Trey Edmunds (who has wowed the coaches in bowl prep practices based on Beamer's comments), Demetri Knowles, Laurence Gibson, Mark Shuman, Ronny Van Dyke, and the young defensive backs. Hopefully, the rotation for the bowl game makes sure that the non-redshirts get meaningful snaps to prepare for a big 2013.

VT-Bradley Recap

The Hokies had luck on their side tonight in Vegas after a miracle comeback to defeat Bradley 66-65 in their first overtime game of the season.

Pages