Securing the Edge: TEs in the Blocking Scheme

Last month, I wrote a detailed film review about the inner workings of the o-line's zone blocking scheme. I detailed some of the critical fundamental techniques required for success, including a flat first step towards the sideline, doubling the down defender, and the "four-four technique" that allows a blocker to slide off a double team and get to the next defender. I also attempted to demonstrate how the zone blocking scheme requires critical contributions from the tight ends, H-Backs, and fullbacks in order to account for backside pursuit. Success comes from every player blocking their assigned gap, and maintaining that block to keep the defender moving east-west. Without the blocks from skill position players, it becomes impossible to handle extra defenders cheating up to play the run, as Mason Naumman discussed last week.

The tight end position featured an intense competition this spring. Scot Loeffler utilizes two and three tight end sets with regularity, and in his system, the tight ends must be able to execute three basic blocks:

  • Standard Zone Block
  • Double To Second Level
  • Scoop Block

Zone Block

ACC Baseball Tourney Pool Play Recap

With the 3-2 victory over Georgia Tech, the Hokies have secured themselves a spot in their first ever ACC Championship game! Sweeping the competition in Pool B, Pete Hughes' squad will play for the title on Sunday at 1:00. The game can be watched (on a full size television) on ESPN2.

Pitcher of the Week:

Brad Markey (VT, RHP): 8.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, BB, 10 K; Stellar performances by the starting pitchers propelled the Hokies tournament run. Joe Mantiply and Devin Burke each had great outings, but Markey's was one for the ages. Coming just two outs short of a complete game, Markey tied his career high with 10 strikeouts on the night, but had to be pulled after getting into a little trouble in the ninth. The Florida State offense average 6.6 runs per game, but Markey has held them to 4 in 17.1 innings pitched this season.

Position Player of the Week:

Chad Pinder (VT, SS/3B): 6 for 11, 3 HR, 2B, 8 RBI; Probably one of the most obvious choices I've ever had to make for this award, Pinder's talent was on full display this week in Durham. Wednesday's game against UVA showed just how well rounded of a player Pinder is, going 3 for 5 with 2 HR, 6 RBI. He followed up that performance with a 2 for 4 outing on Thursday, and went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly and another homer on Friday's pool play finale.

Wednesday: Hokies 10, Cavaliers 1

100 Days Until #BEATBAMA

Right now I'm holding ticket number 74 and the deli is NOW SERVING 55. Be right back, I'm going to grab a Diet Coke, do a few laps around the store, gawk at the people cashing in their beer cans for nickels, and play some scratch-off tickets. 100 days is almost a manageable wait. When the weather cools in October, I always regret hurrying along summer. I enjoy the hell out of golf, sipping cocktails on a rooftop, and BBQs, but they're a small sacrifice to the god of the fall.

In my head, I keep thinking about what Tech needs to do to win, and right now my conclusions are based off the game in 2009. That contest will have very little to do with the outcome on 8/31, but it's fun to play what if. I walked out of The Dome that night thinking the Hokies were in arms reach of Alabama. A couple of fourth quarter stops by the defense, and a few more first downs by the offense and the Maroon and Orange might have preempted The Tide's dynasty.

None of us have forgotten Ryan Williams' 32-yard touchdown run, or his strength to punch it in from the one-yard-line.

ACC Baseball Tournament Preview

Editor's Note: Aidan's been writing and keeping us updated on HokieBall for the second half of the season. Enjoy this ACC Tournament preview he wrote. --Joe

The ACC Baseball Tournament starts today and finishes Sunday, and for the first time since 2010 Tech will be making a postseason appearance. Arguably the best baseball conference in the country, the 8 team field for this weekend's tournament boasts 6 teams ranked in the Baseball America Top 25, promising a great weekend of baseball in Durham.

Perspective on Loeffler's Tenure at Auburn

Editor's Note: Mason Naumann (Hokiefan591988) is the newest member of our team, please welcome him aboard. --Joe

The happiest day of my life is when I found out that I had been accepted into Virginia Tech. Attending this glorious institution is as important a tradition in my family as our burnt cinnamon rolls Christmas morning. (Seriously though, how hard is it to not burn cinnamon rolls? Yet every year...) My Grandfather graduated in 1954 with a bachelors, earning a masters a year later. His love for all things Hokie was infectious, and rubbed off on the entire family. My father and uncle attended Virginia Tech, as did multiple cousins, a sister, and myself. I loved everything about my time spent at Tech and I still live in Blacksburg.

Film Vault: The Untouchables

I stumbled on this GameDay segment on The Untouchables while sifting through HokieTapes' massive film collection.

0:00 - Remember when we called him "Baby Face" Fowler? No?

0:15 - "Kindred programs..." I can't tell you how many emails I received from Texas A&M fans who wanted Virginia Tech to come to the SEC with them, and be their divisional rival. After Maryland left for the Big Ten, one followed up with me to say, "you missed your chance."

0:39 - R. C. Slocum. That's all.

Bread and Butter: The Bootleg

As I wrote in my review of the running attack, I anticipate that most of the Virginia Tech rushing offense will come from inside and outside zone stretch plays to both the strong and weak side. Critical to the success of the stretch play is the ability to create seams in the back side pursuit of the defense for the tailback to cutback. Defensive ends and outside linebackers have success by crashing inside to fill those cutback lanes. The offensive chess match requires the base run plays to have counters built in that force those defenders to stay at home.

The best tool at Scot Loeffler's disposal for doing so is the basic bootleg play. The bootleg is a fake handoff with the quarterback turning his back to the line of scrimmage and then rolling away from the run action. The most used route combination for bootlegs has the receiver nearest to where the quarterback rolls, often the fullback or the H-Back away from the run action, run a short out route to the flat. The tight end or wide receiver on the run side drags against the grain of the defense mirroring the quarterback's rollout.

Spring Look In: Pittsburgh

Since the Frank Beamer era, Pitt has been a familiar opponent of the Hokies. Beginning this season, the Virginia Tech–Pittsburgh series will continue on a permanent basis as conference and division foes. Second-year head coach Paul Chryst and The Panthers will look to improve on an up-and-down 2012 campaign that included 6 wins, a bowl appearance, near upset of Notre Dame, inexplicable loss to Youngstown State, and dominating win against Virginia Tech.

In his first season, Chryst inherited a capable quarterback, Tino Sunseri, and talented backfield, Ray Graham and freshman sensation Rushel Shell. None of the three will return in 2013. Sunseri and Graham were seniors, and Shell had California dreams (transfered to UCLA) after friction with the coaching staff.

Shell's decision — based partially on coaches' criticisms of Shell — reached a critical stage March 22 when he was hurt and pulled himself from practice

The College Football League?

When Nick Saban talks, people listen. A mic consistently in the face is a byproduct of winning national championship rings for half his fingers. (That is correct by 3rd grade standards, when we all were giddy to learn the thumb technically wasn't a finger. Or by Alabama standards, where they awarded Saban a commemorative 5th ring for the thumb.)

As your may or may not know, the Big Ten is working toward eliminating I-AA games from its team's schedules. Saban was asked his thoughts on the Southeastern Conference possibly doing the same eventually.

"I'm for five conferences — everybody playing everybody in those five conferences," the Alabama coach said Thursday night before speaking at a Crimson Caravan stop. "That's what I'm for, so it might be 70 teams, and everybody's got to play 'em. …"

Seventy is a number that's divided evenly by 5. Of the five power conferences, the SEC, B1G, and ACC have, or will soon have, 14 full-time members. The Big 12 is chilling with 10 and the Pac-12 doesn't dig misnomers. These are probably the leagues Saban is talking about, and perhaps in his scenario the latter two move to 14 teams (14 * 5 = 70).

Home and Home series with Michigan

Editor's Note: Thanks to 757Hokey for starting this thread in the forum. --Joe

The following is from the official release.

Virginia Tech and the University of Michigan announced Thursday that they have agreed to a home-and-home football series that will be played during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The agreement calls for the Hokies and Wolverines to play in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Sept. 19, 2020, and meet the following season in Blacksburg on Sept. 11, 2021.

Spring Look In: North Carolina

Offensively last season, North Carolina was a juggernaut. The Heels set school records for points per game (40.6), and total points (487). Those marks were good enough for second in the ACC, and eighth nationally in scoring offense. Larry Fedora wants to dictate tempo, stress a defense, and run 80-85 plays a game. Regarding the spring game, Fedora said, "Offensively, I thought our tempo was just very, very average, to say the least. I didn't think there was anything special about it." Although, he basically said the same thing after the 2012 spring game.

Accurate passer Bryn Renner (65.40% in 2012) returns for his final go-around with 25 career starts under his belt. Renner completed 16 of 27 passes for 216 yards, 3 touchdowns, and a pick during UNC's spring game. Before that, Renner was so-so in the team's final scrimmage leading up to the spring game, "Renner had three overthrows on open guys and was picked off twice. He looked good on timing routes and made a couple of pretty throws in tough situations — e.g. dropping that one in to Davis."

2013 Spring Game: The Progression of the Passing Game

The most heavily scrutinized Virginia Tech player when the Hokies take the field against Alabama on August 31st will be quarterback Logan Thomas. Logan suffered through a debilitating 2012 campaign where he took a physical pounding, never fully established trust with his receivers outside of Corey Fuller, and completely lost the touch and accuracy that made him look like a bonafide first day NFL draft pick towards the end of the 2011 season. Scot Loeffler was tasked not only with re-establishing the Virginia Tech lunch pail mentality on the offensive side of the football, but also rebuilding Logan Thomas as a quarterback.

Those efforts produced mixed results in the spring. In two scrimmages, Thomas had some struggles in the face of a heavy pass rush and a limited playbook. In one scrimmage, he looked dynamite throwing deep skinny posts, fades, and bootlegs. The spring game, against the back up secondary and basic defenses, appeared to be a vehicle to give Logan a dominant performance and build confidence for the build up to the Tide.

Travon McMillian Commits to Virginia Tech

Travon McMillian gave his verbal pledge to the Hokies during a press conference at his high school, C. D. Hylton in Woodbridge, this afternoon (via McMillian visited the Hokies for both junior day and the spring game. Travon plays quarterback, however both Rivals and 247 both list him as an athlete. At the beginning of April, he named his top 5 as: Virginia Tech, Virginia, California, Stanford and Georgia Tech. The 6-0, 190-pound junior picked Virginia Tech over Georgia Tech and Cal, and he held other offers from Auburn, N.C. State, UNC, and UVa among other schools.

This is what McMillian told WaPo's Preston Williams last Friday about the recruiting process.

"I talked to my parents about it and a lot of new schools are coming in," McMillian said. "I feel like those three schools give me the best academics and football. That's why I want to make my decision now. I don't think I should wait.

2013 Spring Game: Offensive Line Film Review

Run the football. Those three words will define the 2013 Virginia Tech season. The Hokies will win if they can run the ball effectively over 30 times a game. Running the football will set up play action, and play action will give the Hokies the opportunity for big gains. Running the football will allow the defense to be aggressive on limited snaps, rather than being forced to stay on the field for long stretches. Running the football will lead to victories. I made the trek down interstate 81 for one reason. I wanted to see the Hokies run the football.

Perhaps for me, nothing was more disappointing than the inability of the offense to run the football against the second- and third-team defensive groupings. I didn't expect them to be a well-oiled machine. It requires strict adherence to simple blocking rules, but with that simplicity comes a feel that can only be developed through experience. What is the precise moment when you should peel off a down linemen to go to the second level? These things take time. Nevertheless, when your top five offensive linemen go against your 6th-12th best defensive linemen, you expect the top offensive line to win those battles. Why didn't it happen on Saturday?

Losing The Spring Game: A Naked Eye French on The Bench

I am really at a loss for words folks. The Hokie Spring Game format was designed to reinvigorate the fan base as an electric demonstration of power. The first team defense would run roughshod over the second team offense, and the offense was loaded up with every potential contributor and would light up what amounted to the 3rd team defense with the exception of the linebackers and corners, sendings the faithful home happy and selling the remaining season tickets for a weak home schedule.

Gut Reactions: Maroon (Orange)-White Game

Editor's Note: If you remember these posts from during the season, these are my initial thoughts of what I just watched without the benefit of film. French will most likely have a film review completed by the end of the week. Until then, leave your thoughts below. --Joe

Like during the 2012 season, Logan Thomas was inconsistent Saturday afternoon. Overall, 16 for 29 (55%) for 214 yards is serviceable, but his 3 interceptions were all bad decisions. (Although Josh Stanford took the blame for both pick-sixes.) An offense that wants to play it close to the vest by running the ball, can't afford turnovers. On many plays, Thomas fixated on a single receiver instead of working through his progressions, and he threw a fast ball that should have been a touch pass to Holmes out of the backfield. After hearing and reading about how sharp LT3 looked in the second open scrimmage, it's disappointing to watch him struggle in front of fans looking for encouragement.

It wasn't all bad, he tossed some pretty balls too, the big gainer to Stanford comes to mind. I still believe Thomas has the physical tools, and I'm hopeful that as he continues to work on his own and with Loeffler this summer he will improve.

C.J. Reavis Commits to Virginia Tech

As reported by, 4-star recruit C.J. Reavis has given his verbal pledge to the Hokies. The 6-2, 200-pound safety picked the Hokies over Tennessee. He held additional offers from Virginia, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Wisconsin, among many more. Yeah, his recruitment really exploded over the last few months. Tech's Thomas Dale connection, and the tireless effort of Shane Beamer helped the Hokies' cause here.

Here's what he told Jason Stamm after committing.

"It feels great to be a Hokie," Reavis text messaged "Like it's a dream come true. I've always wanted to play football on a big stage and win championships & what better way to do that than in your home state."

Here's what his coach Kevin Tucker said on April 8th.

"I'm getting phone calls every day," Tucker said.

Tennessee and Vanderbilt also recently made offers. Reavis' list includes Ohio State, Michigan, Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Maryland and Georgia Tech.

Maroon (Orange)-White Game Talking Points

On Saturday the glorious day known as Spring Game will be here. Spring Game Day is a day of warm weather foolishness, drunken debauchery and hopefully a little football...and that's just for the alumni.

Spring Game day is a holiday unlike any other, signifying the start of a new football season while somberly reminding you that actual football isn't here another four months and change. While that is a depressing thought, on Saturday the helmets will crash, touchdowns will (hopefully) be scored and the parking lots will be littered with more beer cans, liquor bottles and boxes of wine than at a joint party thrown by Marshall Henderson and Johnny Manziel.

While this weekend will be mostly fun and games, and by games I mean corn hole in BOTS (Bottom of the Stairs...if you get it, you get it), it will also be a significant measure of progress made by the team in the past month or so. Every single position group has questions of some sort, and will be looked for to answer the call of the coaches.

We've talked a lot about the new coaches, so I won't say much more than this: it will be a different type of Tech team on the sideline this season, and hopefully that will be noticeable from the stands on Saturday.

Your ACC Football/Game of Thrones Mashup

Editor's Note: Bumped to the front because I love this show (haven't read the books) and it's an amazing effort by Wartooh.

Season Three of Game of Thrones is well underway and the Virginia Tech Spring Game is this Saturday. Let's stretch some analogies! As the ACC expands its ranks to 14 teams this season, we find more than a few parallels.

House Targaryen - Virginia Tech

Words: Fire and Bud

French on the Bench: Progress is Slow, But Sure

We are now over two weeks into the new era of Virginia Tech football, and the changes in identity that we hoped to see are starting to take. At the same time, reading the comments here and on social media, there seems to be an some apprehension about the continued struggles to run the football, especially in the red zone. I have spent the last two weeks reviewing what little bit of film I have access to, reading commentary from the beat writers, posters here, and speaking on the phone with people who attended the scrimmage whose football acumen I respect. I want to share some of the observations I have had and perhaps touch on some things that have not received much ink over the last two weeks.

Unleashing Hell- The Bud Foster Defense