Loeffler, The Quarterback, and the Running Game

Michael Vick, Bryan Randall, Marcus Vick, Tyrod Taylor, Logan Thomas. Virginia Tech has had a string of mobile quarterbacks over the past decade and a half. Michael Vick burst onto the scene back in '99, and transformed the way that college football utilized mobile quarterbacks forever. Scot Loeffler in his own words describing his offense (emphasis mine), "...it's really a pro-style offense, that's multiple, with the ability to run the quarterback, and I think you got to do some of that in college football now." Programs like West Virginia, Florida, Nevada, and Oregon have revolutionized the way that offenses highlight the strengths of their dual-threat signal callers. The success of these programs prove that mobile quarterbacks aren't a trend, they aren't a fad, and they aren't going anywhere. I can say this with certainty because football is, at its heart, a numbers game.

Change the Math

Film Vault: GameDay VT-Miami 2003

I had fun watching and writing this the last time, so I decided to do it again. I hope you enjoy reading and reminiscing. Happy Friday y'all!

Even though GameDay was in Oklahoma for Bedlam, a lot of the show was dedicated to a memorable matchup in Blacksburg.

Be sure to check out Hokietapes massive film collection.

0:00–1:10 - I really miss that intro. Bring it back ESPN.

1:28 - Survival Saturday! (What's the job title for the person who has to come up with all of these weekend catch phrases?)

1:31 - A reminder about the whoopin' we took in Morgantown the previous game. If I knew the tour bus was stopping there on our trip down memory lane, I wouldn't have bought tickets. I thought Kevin Jones would have a career day in the snake pit against the 'Eers. Instead, Tech got out gained by 199 yards on the ground. That doesn't happen often for the Hokies, lopsided rushing totals, but when it does, the losses are branded into your brain.

2:04 - Not one SEC team among the lot, my how times have changed.

Alabama's 3-4 Defense: D-Line Basics

Over the course of the summer, I will be examining the matchups and schemes of the Hokies' opponents, and no scheme presents more conundrums and challenges than Nick Saban's NFL-style 3-4 defense. Saban comes from the Bill Parcells/Bill Belichick coaching tree, and brings an NFL-esque attention to detail that is unparalleled in college football. Yes, Alabama has talent, but the true genius of Nick Saban (besides his ability to represent strong the Lollipop Guild) is to ensure that his talent executes the scheme.

Several years ago, Smart Football posted an excerpt from Saban's LSU playbook. While the post has been lost in a sea of bytes, Saban's own words on his defensive philosophy live on (via Pats Propaganda).

[Our] philosophy on first and second down is to stop the run and play good zone pass defense. We will occasionally play man-to-man and blitz in this situation. On third down, we will primarily play man-to-man and mix-in some zone and blitzes. We will rush four or more players versus the pass about ninety-percent of the time.

QB Andrew Ford Commits to Virginia Tech

Pennsylvania quarterback Andrew Ford verbally committed to Virginia Tech this afternoon.

Ford is 6-3, 190-pounds, rated a 4-star by 247Sports, and a 3-star prospect by Rivals.com. I asked French what he thought about Ford and this is what he told me:

Da'Shawn Hand Eliminates the Hokies

Mike Farrell of Rivals.com announced Hand's top-3 this morning.

Throughout the entire recruiting process, Hand has been adamant about Bud Foster being his favorite coach, so most Hokies and recruiting analysts felt extremely good about Virginia Tech's chances to land him. Early on Hand stated he wanted to pursue a degree in engineering, but his academic interests changed not too long ago, and that might be a reason why the Hokies sit on the outside looking in.

Priority Partner Scheduling in the ACC

The negative effect an eight game ACC schedule had on a 14-team league became crystal clear last week when the ACC announced the football rotating crossover opponents through 2024. Eight conference games worked well with 12 teams. Teams in opposite divisions would play each other at least once every 4 years, visit and host each other every 5. Moving forward, the ACC is intent on preserving a primary crossover game as well as rotation in which, "Each ACC school will play all of their rotating crossover opponents twice during the 12-year rotation, once at home and once on the road, but not consecutively."

Andy Bitter put it into context nicely.

I've tweeted the numbers before, but they bear repeating: from now until 2024, the end of this ACC scheduling cycle, Virginia Tech will play Florida State, Clemson and Louisville five times. It will play East Carolina, a non-ACC member, seven times between 2014 and 2020.

Jaylen Bradshaw Commits To Virginia Tech

According to SportsWar's (TSL) Chris Horne, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake) wide receiver Jaylen Bradshaw made it official and verballed to the Hokies this evening.

Bradshaw earned a Virginia Tech offer after camping in Blacksburg last Sunday.

Class of 2014 wide receiver Jaylen Bradshaw landed his first BCS offer on Sunday when the Hokies offered. The 6-1 175 pound wide out with the sub 4.5 speed is highly regarded as one of the best wide outs in the rising senior class locally. Until now, Jaylen held five offers, but the Tech offer has the potential to trump them all. Bradshaw picked up offers from Old Dominion, Campbell, Charlotte, Towson, and UMass this Spring.

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 HokieSports.com 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."