Gut Reactions: Florida State

I wanted to write and post something Friday morning after I re-watched the game, but a noon checkout, ride up I-81, and a couple of runs to the train station delayed things. A warning, these are really high level thoughts, and nothing particularly intuitive. I had a 45 minute call with French while I was on the interstate, and to put it mildly, I'm really looking forward to reading his film review.

I thought that was a very entertaining football game that was defined by good football plays more than mistakes. Statistically, FSU is a top-3 team nationally, their roster is stocked with 4- and 5-star talent, and Tech hung with them the entire game. After watching Thursday, then again Friday morning, I couldn't help to think that if we played with that much intensity all season, we would have no more than two losses right now.

I thought Logan Thomas played a gutsy game. Pass protection was an issue, and he took a bunch of hits. However, he never seemed timid in the pocket, and he looked for contact running downfield. He made NFL throws, like the ones leading up to and including the touchdown toss to Corey Fuller. However, some of his decision making left me with my hands up and mouth open. His ceiling is high. This is really subjective, but he looked like more of a leader on the sideline, talking to the offensive players, keeping their heads in the game. We need him to own the team next season.

Six Pick: Week Eleven

Welcome to Week 11 and the home stretch. The season has flown by, even if Tech has 3 seasons worth of losses. This will be brief and hastily put together Six Pick due to me being extremely busy in my personal life. However, I am not so busy that I can't make a trip to Blacksburg and back later this week. Go Hokies. I know this season has been a disappointment, but don't give up on this team or this sport, it always can't be our year. Celebrate others success, unless it's the dirty neers or hoos or Canes or Noles or Vols or ... never mind, watch to see if everything burns.

I have little to add this week, so I thought an offering to the Football Gods would suffice. At first I was thinking of offering a VT cheerleader or coed, then I thought about #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING, but the Gods don't want physical beauty, they want heart and something real, that signifies Virginia Tech football. The Lunchpail. To current students, this must a thing only seen on tshirts or foamed hats, but not so long ago, this meant something. Here is hoping it means something again, very soon.

Saturday, 11/10/2012

Northwestern at Michigan -10.5 12:00 pm ESPN

A Night Game in Lane

Editor's Note: Edited and bumped to the front. Let's sack up and blow our lungs out in the Terror Dome tomorrow night.

After the loss to Miami, I didn’t know what to write about. There was no ACC championship hope, no ten win season. Everything was gone. I was planning on writing about how a big matchup against Florida State could help us get to 10 wins; how we were going to be playing in Charlotte; how this was a big Thursday night matchup against FSU. All of that is gone. Pretty much all hopes for this season are gone. People have given up, and rightfully so. So why am I writing? I’m writing because I remembered we still have a Thursday night game in Lane Stadium.

Adventures on Whiskey Lane: Episode Ten

This week on Adventures on Whiskey Lane, Kevin returns after a brief hurricane hiatus and chats with Brian briefly about Miami and Florida State. With the season winding down and only pride to play for, both guys discuss future prospects for Tech, both this season and next. Plus, what podcast at this point of the season would be complete without coaching change chatter? Brian provides some exclusive insight on what could happen.

All of that and more on Episode 10 (!) of AOWL.

MP3 Download link: http://thekeyplay.podomatic.com/enclosure/2012-11-06T18_22_04-08_00.mp3

Moving Forward to an Uncertain Future

A public service announcement for Frank Beamer and Jim Weaver: The moment you placed the empty national championship trophy case in your facility, the stakes were raised. No longer was the status quo, as unlikely as it is for a program in the heart of rural Virginia with no history of being nationally relevant, acceptable. A conference championship like 1995, a season remembered by older Hokie fans like me as a magical season, now means a guffaw and "I don't want to fly to Miami." The bar is higher, and you moved it with that trophy case. Unfortunately, this program is trending in the wrong direction. Virginia Tech used to win with a dominant defense, great special teams, and a ball control offense that played like a bully and limited mistakes. Offenses are catching up to the defense. Special teams have been in shambles for several seasons. The offense lacks any identity, other than being the team that struggling defenses circle on their schedule to get back on track.

Florida State Football Primer, Photo Edition

FLORIDA STATE. THURSDAY NIGHT. LANE STADIUM. WHO'S EXCITED?

The Seminoles march into Blacksburg ranked #10 in the nation, boasting the number three scoring offense, defense, and best total defense in the nation. STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS BEFORE.

The 'Noles only blemish this season was a loss at NC State, where their potent offense was shut out the entire second half.

Dating back to the Hokies first season in the ACC (2004), Tech has scored 12 touchdowns against the Seminoles, approximately all by Danny Coale.

Rationalizing our Mediocrity

Over different points of the season, we've suggested reasons on this site for Tech's struggles. A few in no particular order are: injuries to an already inexperienced secondary, offensive coaches struggling to grasp a foreign scheme seemingly over their heads, said scheme putting players in a position to fail, a randomly generated tailback rotation, and loafing among others. But what do any of us here really know.

The coaches are trying to figure out this mystery too, and some of them sound as baffled as we are.

Coaches have mentioned failed execution as being the biggest reason for the offense's -- and really the team's -- struggles this season. But they're having a tough time putting their finger on why that's the case. "You can't," O'Cain said. "If you did, you'd get it corrected right now and it'd be over. Sometimes the ball bounces right and sometimes it doesn't. And if you start saying, well it's this or this or this or this, then it sounds like you're making excuses."

Gut Reactions: Miami

I was going to write something last night, but I decided to go to bed after reading the following stats.

  • Tech out gained Miami by 74 yards (421-347), and ran 24 more plays.
  • Tech held the ball almost ten minutes more than Miami (34:21-25:49).
  • Miami converted only 1 of 12 attempts on third down.
  • Tech lost by 18 points.

Statistically dominating everywhere but the scoreboard has become and unwelcome trend. In order to get a better understanding of why we lost, I re-watched the game this morning. (The beatings will continue until morale improves, right?)

I thought the defense followed up their spectacular effort at Clemson with another terrific performance. Two special teams miscues left them to defend a short field in the first quarter, and they couldn't keep Miami out of the end zone. However, they forced 6 three-and-outs that the offense couldn't take advantage of. They dominated the second-half allowing just 10 points, 3 of which came in garbage time. It wasn't vintage Virginia Tech defense, but it was more than enough for a win.

I thought the d-line controlled the line of scrimmage. Even though they were unable to sack Morris they kept rather consistent pressure on him. Exum was targeted all night, and outside of being turned around in the end zone because of a terrific throw by Morris, and later biting on a double move, he really held his own.

It was an extremely sloppy game.

It's All About The U

Update: Use this as the open thread for the game tonight. See you guys on the flip side. Go Hokies! --Joe

Tonight's game against Miami will likely decide the ACC Coastal. In the ACC era, Tech's been a terrific road team. Coming into the season the Hokies held the record for consecutive true road games won (juking the stats a bit, but still impressive). However, this season they haven't won a game away from Lane.

I traveled to Pitt and Cincinnati. Both stadiums were missing something. People for sure, but also that familiar but indescribable ambience swirling around a college football game. Something like a cocktail of noise, sweat, and excitement splashed on your face as soon as you look down at the field from your seat. Either way, good teams are able to focus solely on taking care of business. Tech couldn't at the beginning of the year, can they do so tonight in another poorly attended college game shoehorned into a pro stadium?

Miami Football Primer, Photo Edition

It has been quite an eventful two weeks, has it not? First and foremost, my thoughts go out to everyone in the Northeast dealing with Sandy. This one's for you.

Appropriately, Hokies-Canes falls the day after Halloween; this season has been scary for both teams, who each sit at 4-4. Bet I know what Kellen Winslow will be this year...

Not only is Halloween this week, but we are also reaching the climax of election season for the Presidential race. Interestingly, POTUS spoke at the University of Miami earlier this month.

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