Maroon-White Game Live Blog

Box is running it, it starts at 4:00. Stay dry my friends.

Maroon-White Rosters

They're hot of the press, but were released as jumbo images so here is the maroon roster, and the white.

In past years the teams have been divided somewhat fair, but not this year. It's straight ones versus twos. I'm extremely happy the starting o-line is on the same team. I've griped before when they've been split up. Now we'll get a truer sense of how they look headed into August. However, it's not the truest sense. While our second team d-line is probably better than some starting units in the ACC, there's no denying that they're a step, albeit a tiny one, behind the starters, particularly at the 4th end and tackle positions. Also, I've heard all spring about quality battles between Painter and Gayle, and I'm disappointed I won't be able to see them go at it firsthand. Personally I prefer starters against starters, backups against backups, because I think it's the highest level of competition.

Identity: The Key to the Spring

Before I get into the key issues I will focus on as I attend my first Hokie spring football game this Saturday, I would like to take a moment to also welcome Brian Marcolini to @TheKeyPlay's staff. I have been very impressed with his first post and he will be an excellent addition to the team.

So, after shooting off my mouth all last week about my concerns about the lack of offensive identity in the offense made worse by adding offensive plays that require a new fundamental skill set to be learned by the offensive line, quarterbacks, and running backs, now the Hokies coaching staff has an opportunity to make me drink a big ole glass of shut the hell up this Saturday. Here are some of the key things I will be looking for in the performance this weekend.

1) Offensive Identity

I exepect that if the Hokies extensively use a pistol and spread package, they should showcase the full array of BASE plays out of each set. I have spent some quite moments this week watching YouTube videos of Nevada's pistol offense, and there are a couple of base plays that I feel the Hokies must establish in order to utilize the set in the heat of the ACC schedule.

What I'm watching for at the Maroon-White Game

Editor's Note: Say hello to our newest writer, Brian Marcolini. He's a junior communications student at Tech. In 2010 he nearly got into a fight sticking up for Grant Noel, and he once fist bumped Deron Washington's mom.

Over the past three weeks, Hokie football has gone into full hype mode. As big of a Tech football addict as I am, I have been able to satisfy my addiction with two spring scrimmages, making me even more amped for this weekend's spring game. Unfortunately for most people making a trip to Blacksburg for a ninety-minute inter-squad scrimmage is virtually impossible (but if you actually could convince your significant other of its value... I highly admire you). However, this year's game will be broadcast on ESPN3.

Whether you're in Lane, or watching online, never fear. Here I am to let you know what you missed over the past two weeks, and what developments I'll be watching through a rail/tailgating induced haze on Saturday.


This is the Pistol

Since its debut this spring, most of us have been intrigued by the Pistol formation. Personally, I'm still haunted by JMU using it as a vessel for their option and power run game during their last trip to Blacksburg. As demonstrated by the Dukes in 2010, it's an extremely effective "modern" formation for many tried and true offensive plays and philosophies.

In Saturday's scrimmage Michael Holmes broke a little counter run out of it for a 60+ yard score. Let's break it down.

LT3 is lined up between center Andrew Miller and Michael Holmes. Dyrell is going to start moving across the formation before the ball is snapped.

Holmes takes a little counter step. At this point, it's extremely hard for the majority of defenders to key where the ball is going. This is more a benefit of the play than the formation. Logan could give the ball to Roberts on the sweep, hand it off to Holmes, or keep it himself.

The threat of Dyrell getting the ball on the sweep is going to hold the backside end (Tyrel Wilson) for an extra second, and prevent him from crashing down the line and making the play.

In the previous frame you can see Nick Becton pull around play side. He smothers Derek DiNardo, the edge is sealed tight.

Second Scrimmage Thoughts

Editor's note: This post started as a thread in the forum, but I bumped it up. StLHokie, mikey4vt, and tonkaberlin were at the scrimmage, and left a ton of excellent information below. Credit to them, and anyone else who posts after them. If you were at the scrimmage, we want to hear from you in the comments!

The Frankinator continued to praise Holmes, who has all but locked up the starting running back job coming out of spring. "He's learning, but when he gets out there, he's running away from people. People can't catch him. He's a big body. He runs with power. I thought he could cut it loose a little more at the line of scrimmage, but overall, I think you've got to be impressed with Michael Holmes."

Associate Head Coach James Johnson Leaves Tech for Clemson

So James Johnson is the second assistant coach, and third member of Seth Greenberg's staff to bounce to another school since the beginning of April. Last Friday, UAB announced the hiring of Rob Ehsan and Jeff Wulbrun (former director of basketball operations) as part of Coach Jerod Haase's new staff. Turnover is becoming the trend at Tech. Johnson is the sixth assistant coach in four years to leave the basketball program.

Money was an issue. Johnson will reportedly make an extra 45-large on top of his current salary of $140,000.

One person close to Johnson said this move to Clemson was purely for monetary reasons and that Johnson is expected to receive a $45,000 increase from his current salary of $140,000. That same source said Johnson was elevated to associate head coach last April and given a raise because new Georgia Tech Coach Brian Gregory had expressed interest in hiring him.

$45,000 isn't anything to sneeze at, but it would be disappointing if that's what came between us and retaining Johnson.