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 TechSideline.com). 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 Rivals.com, 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 Rivals.com Jason Stamm after committing.

"It feels great to be a Hokie," Reavis text messaged HokieHaven.com. "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