"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


(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:


[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.

Defensive Film Review: Trust in Youth

The Hokie defense faced a new challenge this week, combating an East Carolina offense that featured quarterback Shane Carden, almost an 80% passer with 7 touchdowns and no interceptions in two wins against Old Dominion and Florida Atlantic. To combat this foe, Bud Foster used a mix of defensive pressure with a variety of coverage looks, but almost always featuring a press alignment on slot receivers and corners aligned 7-10 yards off the ball.

Perhaps most stunning was Foster's trust of his true freshman defensive backs in one-on-one coverage situations. In 2011's matchup against East Carolina, with an experienced secondary (Hosley, Kyle Fuller, Cris Hill, Antone Exum, and Eddie Whitley), Foster played almost exclusively with two deep safeties and the mike and backer dropping into underneath zones. On Saturday, against a potent offense, Foster placed Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson on islands with limited or no safety help deep, or linebacker help against crossing routes. The results, thanks to the tremendous football acumen of the secondary coupled with a defensive front-seven that engulfed Pirate quarterback Shane Carden, proved to be too much for the Air Raid to defeat.

Let's Hug Here

I'm not sure how we won this game, but we did. There will be better analysis than this during the week. Until then, let's praise Bud. 2-1, have a safe weekend y'all.

Game Preview: East Carolina

By French (he doesn't even own a bench), Mason (burrito manager), Joe (direct your grammar complaints here), and joelestra (stat man)

Virginia Tech Hokies (1-1) against East Carolina Pirates (2-0)

Time: Noon (12:05)
Date: Saturday, September 14, 2013
Place: Greenville, North Carolina
Stadium: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (50,000)
TV: FOX Sports 1
Radio: Virginia Tech IMG
Spread: Virginia Tech -7.5
Tickets: Virginia Tech Football Tickets (Sponsored)
Weather: 60-75 F

The Skinny

The Hokies travel to Greenville for their first nooner of the season. The Pirates are 2-0 with wins over two 0-2 squads. The Hokies have won the last 3 meetings in this series since a stunning 22-27 loss in 2008. This game will be a good test for both the Virginia Tech offense and defense. ECU averages 396.5 yards per game, while Tech is holding opponents to a buck-eighty-four.

Back to Basics: Solid Execution in the Running Game

In Chris Brown's The Essential Smart Football a chapter is devoted to the guru of the zone blocking scheme, former Broncos and Falcons offensive line coach Alex Gibbs. Beyond the fundamentals of running the inside zone and the zone stretch, Gibbs stressed that the offensive line and the running backs were symbiotic. If the running back did not read the correct cutback, it'd look like the offensive line missed a block. If the offensive line missed an assignment, the running back gets stuffed. Accordingly, in Denver, Gibbs coached the team on the play, not just the offensive lineman. Everyone knew what everyone else was doing. Cohesion and timing are required for the zone scheme to be successful.

Weekly Rewind: Week 2

Welcome to the weekly rewind. In this absurdly long weekly column, I cover the most important things that happened each weekend, from awesome performances to the absurdities that occur in the world of college football.


(My five favorite storylines from last week)

Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon go HAM against Notre Dame:These two Wolverines will haunt the Irish's dreams more than a British Nick Saban. Four touchdowns for Gardner, eight catches, 184 yards and three scores for Gallon...the two had a great night. Not only that, but Gardner pulled off the uniform of the year, eviscerating Notre Dame while wearing number 98. I loved the move.