Five Things For Spring

As it stands right now, there are more uncertainties than givens for this team. For instance, I'm quite confident in the defensive line. I think James Gayle and the gang have the potential to be among the top d-lines nationally. However, there are (depth) concerns in the linebacking corps and secondary. Cody Journell and A.J. Hughes will be the best battery of kicker and punter we've had in quite some time, but will the offense being good enough to play the field position game and consistently score touchdowns?

Spring football never really answers more than a few questions about a team. The same goes for August camp too. We won't really know what we have on our hands until sometime in late September or early October. That, in my opinion, is when the better teams really ramp up and play good football, and those destined to be bad, struggle.

So in my estimation, we're a long ways from knowing how this team will fare on the field. With that said, spring ball is right around the corner, and these are my five most important things I'd like to see the Hokies improve on in order to be serious contenders for Charlotte.

1. Better Offensive Line Play (Duh)

H2Okies Look to Make History by Winning First ACC Championship

Editor's Note: In addition to being a member of our community here, Scott Beard (scottbeardVT, @scobeard) is an alumni and former Swimmer for Virginia Tech (2004-08). While at Tech he was an All-American, 6-Time ACC Champion, ACC Record Holder in the 100 Butterfly, 7-time All-ACC First Team Selection, Team MVP, held 7 team records, and Olympic Trials Qualifier. He now swims once a week and races the old ladies doing water aerobics to relive the glory days. He asked me if he could write about the ACC Swimming Championships, and there was no way I'd say no. Enjoy. --Joe

Last night, the H2Okies began competition at the ACC Championship Meet.

The Virginia Tech swimming and diving program kicked off the first day of the 2013 ACC Men's Swimming and Diving Championships with a silver and bronze medal Wednesday evening at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. The H2Okies shattered school records in the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays.

Excluding diving, leading the ACC after day one is the Florida State with 70 points. The Cavaliers are second with 68 points, while the H2Okies and North Carolina are tied for third with 66. Georgia Tech follows with 54 points and Boston College is sixth with 48. NC State and Duke round out the bottom with 30 and 24, respectively.

The Week That Was: Green vs. Naismith

Okay, usually these columns are fun. They take a look back at the week in sports and give me an opportunity to show all 20 of my readers how well (or poorly) I can make fun of people.

Not today.

I was geared up with a column about things like Miami losing by 15 points to Wake Forest, their worst loss since the Nevin Shapiro regime, NBA guard J.R. Smith asking some girl on Twitter if she "was trying to get the pipe", and the playful war of words between the team of Shane Beamer/Aaron Moorehead/Trey Gresh against Antone Exum.

All of that was coming this week...but not any more. Not when I saw that the Naismith Award revealed its top 30 candidates and that Erick Green was not one of them.

In other words, IT IS ON.

In case you weren't aware (probably because it is one of the least relevant awards of all time) the Naismith Men's College Basketball Player of the Year Award is supposedly given to the best player in college basketball each season. Every year about this time they come out with a list of the top-30 candidates, otherwise known as the players who actually have a chance to win.

Thursday Night Games- A Different Perspective for 2013

Editor's Note: Any argument/discussion worth having requires examination of both sides. Like many of you, I am aggravated there's no Thursday game in Lane, but Hokie Stone wrote a good post that maybe it's not such a bad thing. I thought that it was worth bumping to the front. --Joe

2013 Virginia Tech Football Schedule

Editor's Note: I'm out of town and friend of the site Furrer4Heisman did me a solid and wrote this for y'all. --Joe

After numerous pleas, threats and bribery attempts, the ACC has finally released its 2013 football schedule, a mere four months after the SEC, three months after the Big 12 and a month and a half after the Pac 12. Oh, and the Big Ten? They got their 2013 conference schedule in April ... of 2011.

But, hey, at least we finally have this thing and can start booking hotel rooms and RSVPing or not RSVPing for weddings. Sorry, Ron, but I told you not to get married during football season.

On to the schedule, which sucks.

Aug. 31: Alabama (Georgia Dome)
Sept. 7: Western Carolina
Sept. 14: at East Carolina
Sept. 21: Marshall
Sept. 26: at Georgia Tech (Thursday)
Oct. 5: North Carolina
Oct. 12: Pittsburgh
Oct. 19: Bye Week
Oct. 26: Duke
Nov. 2: at Boston College
Nov. 9: at Miami
Nov. 16: Maryland
Nov. 23: Bye Week
Nov. 30: at Virginia

The date everyone will immediately be up in arms about is playing at Georgia Tech on short rest. I'm really not that concerned about it. If anything, it gives the defense more time to recover after facing 60 minutes of cut blocks, which could be more important than having more time to prepare for the option.

VT 80, FSU 70

So that was fun. Something we certainly haven't been used to for a month (no really, our last win came January 19th). The Hokies ended their 9-game losing streak with a win over Florida State and it was nice to see the players finally rewarded for their work.

Quick thoughts: Tech made 17 of their last 18 attempts from the free throw line. It was interesting to see FSU start to foul with over two minutes remaining in the game. Their plan backfired.

After a very sloppy start, Tech's ball movement was good for the majority of the game. The players were patient and ended up with a lot of open looks. The team shot 50% for the first time in 12 games, and only the 5th time this season.

The Week That Was: Lack of Institutional Control

Usually to start this column I have a humorous anecdote or something major that has happened either to me recently, such as Peter Lalich's Tupac to my Biggie Smalls (kids, ask your parents).

But this week? Nothing. It was just a weird week of random stories that really had no bearing on my life at all. I think this can all chalk up to one thing: senioritis. I have noticed that my level of caring, especially in a scholastic sense, has fallen off a cliff this semester. My production and care has dropped off so much, you can basically call me Rorell Breddie.

(Side note: To put it in perspective, do I know my dad reads this site pretty religiously? Yes. That is my level of caring right now.)

Anyway, I think the karmic gods have come back to bite me in the behind because not only do I not have any awesome stories...well none that don't involve rails or the words "snow beers"...but also my internet cut out almost ALL day yesterday, meaning that I couldn't even email this column to Joe.

Karma is getting me for being lazy...and the worst part is that I don't care at all. Is this what being Matt Leinart is like?

Anyway, here are some of the better stories over the past week:

Duke 88, Virginia Tech 56, Summary

And by summary I mean a minimal amount of words surrounded by pictures, tweets, and stats.

Game Summary:

Duke was able to overcome Virginia Tech's early 4-point lead (1st half, 18:42), and win by 32 points.

Statistical summary:

  • Erick Green 22 points (39.28% of Tech's total points)
  • Seth Curry 22 points
  • Virginia Tech 1-16 (6.3%) 3-Point FGs
  • Duke 12-17 (70.6%) 3-Point FGs

Cassell Guard Chant Effectiveness Summary:

Who's your daddy? *clap, clap, clap-clap-clap*

Coach K's underwear summary:


Dell Curry's Shoe Selection Summary:

Duke Preview

Both Virginia Tech and Duke lost over the weekend, and that's about where their similarities end. Duke is really good, and Virginia so much. The Hokies are trying to end their 8-game losing streak, while the Blue Devils are trying to weather the storm while Ryan Kelly is out, and catch Miami atop the ACC standings.

The top two guys in the race for ACC Player of the Year, Erick Green and Mason Plumlee, (you could easily argue Shane Larkin of Miami too) will face off tonight. Each is having an impressive year, with Erick leading the nation in scoring, and Mason averaging a double-double. If the Hokies want to win, stopping Plumlee will be the top priority.

The senior forward [Plumlee] ranks second in the ACC in both scoring (17.6 ppg) and rebounding (10.4 rpg). He is averaging 6.5 points more than he did last season, and his rebounding average has also increased.

Others might be surprised by how much he has blossomed, but he is not among them.

"I did see it coming," Plumlee said Tuesday in a phone interview. "To have the kind of year that I want to have, and I want to be even better going forward, you have to see it before you do it. So when I would think about it over the summer and in the preseason, I saw myself doing certain things on the court and putting up particular numbers."


We all remember exchanging thoughtless valentines with people we didn't actually love in elementary school. We just scribbled names on the backs and blindly handed them out. My condolences go out to John Swofford's kids. Unfortunately, they'll be handing out the ACC's Valentine's Day cards. Don't believe me? Have a look below, and remember to purchase them at any local retailer where Raycom goods are sold*.

*Expired, third-tier rights were sold.

The Week That Was: Offseason Doldrums

When I started to write this, I was very concerned that there would not be an awesome college football story to lead things off. We are officially in the doldrums between signing day and spring practice, and players getting in trouble is one of the few things that grabs a headline.


That's right, the moment I started writing this column was the exact time the Twitterverse broke the story of four Alabama players getting arrested, three for second-degree robbery and one for the fraudulent use of a debit card.

Obviously the Hokie in me initially hoped that this could somehow give Tech an advantage come August, but after further research I found that when you have a roster full of four-star recruits, it's not hard to replace four freshmen (three of which who barely played last season). After further reading, however, it's simply mind blowing that these guys thought they could get away with it. Alabama football players are the biggest celebrities in Tuscaloosa. That would be like an actor driving drunk in Hollywood, or Lil' Wayne getting caught with pot in New Orleans... Well, you get my point. All are indefinitely suspended.

The Week That Was: Signing Day Craziness

This has been a big week for me.

First off I had a promising interview with a potential future employer. That was cool and all, but Sunday probably took the week. No, I take that back. It DEFINITELY took the week. Why, you ask? Well, the short answer is that I may have a new mortal enemy.

Let me break it down for you in three steps:

  1. The Super Bowl happened: This one is pretty obvious. Biggest game of the year.
  2. CBS broadcast the Super Bowl: Again, pretty obvious. But breaking it down even more, Joe hates CBS and its overhyped shows like Two Broke Girls Who Work For NCIS Hawaii 5.0. Understandable.
  3. I had to make a sarcastic Tweet about Joe's hatred of CBS. See that sarcastic comment below? Well let me run it back again.

Maryland Preview

The Terrapins make their return trip to Blacksburg tonight. The Hokies lost the first meeting in College Park 71-94.

Maryland is 4-5 in conference play, suffering their last 4 losses on the road. This bodes well for the Hokies, who are currently on a 4 game losing skid. Might tonight be the night the team is finally rewarded for the increased effort given as of late? If they want to stop Maryland, they'll have to defend the 3-point line better. Maryland sunk ten 3-pointers the last time out, 3.5 more than the Hokies are allowing per game this season.

Maryland ranks first nationally in rounds (42.6), and second in rebound margin (11.1) with a front court including Alex Len (12.7 PPG, 8.2 REB), a future lottery pick. I expect the Hokies to do the same thing they did last time in the front court and start both Cadarian Raines and Joey van Zegeren. Tech did a great job on the boards then, but if Maryland switches to zone be prepared for Tech to get beat down low.

Signing Day Recap

I wanted to go in-state, so it was between Tech and UVa. I just couldn't see myself waking up every morning at UVa. [...]'13 Signee David Prince

National Signing Day was relatively drama free for Virginia Tech. No commitments flipped, and only one thing did not go according to plan: tailback Drew Harris didn't sign. Mike Barber provided an update to his situation.

Despite performing well academically at Fork Union Military Academy this semester, Harris still has a multiple NCAA clearing house issues relating back to his high school transcript, a source said Wednesday, national signing day.

The source said the issues don't relate to anything at Virginia Tech or Fork Union, but said Harris won't be part of the class the Hokies announce today.

It's possible Harris will have to enroll at a junior college and play there to become eligible.

Harris is obviously someone who can help the team, but whatever circumstances he is dealing with seem like a mess, and now I'm taking a wait and see approach.

2013 Signee Profile: Cequan Jefferson

With Antone Exum's health now a concern, Virginia Tech suddenly has a hole in the secondary that might provide an opportunity for a young player to have immediate impact next season. Kendall Fuller seems best suited to fill in at Exum's spot at boundary, but third corner remains a question, especially with Detrick Bonner desperately needed at free safety. While Donaldven Manning, Donovan Riley, and Davon Tookes have experience, recruiting expert J.C. Shurburtt seems to think that Cequan Jefferson could fill that role.

Initially, Cequan Jefferson was a bit of an unknown quantity when he committed to Virginia Tech (his only offer) early in the 2013 recruiting process. After reading Shurburtt's comments, I decided to take a look for myself. What I found was an incredibly polished defensive back, whose highlights demonstrate the ability to play all three critical techniques for a Virginia Tech cornerback (off-man, inside out press, off-robber) right now. He also has incredibly fluid hips that allow him to be beaten and recover, and a natural aggressive ball-hawking ability that lends itself to playing disguised zones from the field corner position, read the quarterback, and then leave his man to make a play on the football.

2013 Signee Profile: Bucky Hodges

Editor's Note: In order to bring you the best coverage and analysis, we're not just going to post a capsule for every prospect that signs today. Instead, French is going to watch all the film available for each signee, and he is going to write a more comprehensive film review. This is as time intensive as it is in-depth, so expect these posted periodically as spring practice approaches. --Joe

With the hiring of Scot Loeffler, Bucky Hodges would appear to be the quarterback prospect with the best chance to succeed Logan Thomas. Hodges is a prototypical Virginia Tech quarterback. He isn't a prototypical pro-style drop back passer, nor is he a system oriented spread-option QB. Instead, he an athletic quarterback who wants to do most of his damage in the pocket, but is athletic enough to extend plays and still make throws downfield.

Hodges is a physically impressive 6-5, 220-pounds. When I watched film of his play as a junior, I had immediate concerns about his arm strength.

Taking Stock of the Offense

I listened to new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler talk about his offense, then immediately thought about the pieces he'd have to work with.

A summary of his own words of what his offense is all about.

  • Protect and run the Football
  • Balanced Attack
  • "Very multiple", "Big formation movement team"
  • Multiple Personnel Groups
  • Quarterback will run the ball

That sounds a lot like Stinespring's philosophy, even though both he and Loeffler may have tried to accomplish the same goals different ways. Either way, all along Tech's been recruiting players that fit to a multiple, pro-style attack that features a running quarterback, so let's look who is gone, back, and might play a bigger role on offense.

They Gone

These guys saw the field in 2012, but won't be back in 2013. My list is in order of most to least significant loss, but not necessarily decreasing by any real order of magnitude.

VT 60, UNC 72

Welp, that was an extremely frustrating loss. Another hot start and big lead that slowly dwindled away. You can't say the team didn't give effort, though. At no point in the game was I like, "They're not even trying." That's impressive for a noon tipoff on the road. Hopefully it wasn't just because we were playing up to Carolina, and we give that effort for the rest of the year.

Quick thoughts: Everyone is talking about how good our defense was. Honestly, I thought it was pretty similar to previous games, guys were a little more active but UNC flat out missed shots. They had plenty of wide open looks but couldn't get them to fall. I thought this was pretty interesting:

14th Ranked 'Canes Come to Cassell

After last weekend's loss at Clemson, Virginia Tech fell to 2-4 in ACC play. Unfortunately, the schedule isn't getting any easier. The Hokies take on #14 Miami at 9 tonight. If you hadn't already heard, the Hurricanes are pretty darn good. It's their first time being in the top-15 since 2002, and a talented veteran roster has helped them get there.

The Hurricanes have an experienced team with six seniors on the roster, including four starters. That savvy, and the team chemistry that has formed over the years, is a big reason for UM's success. But there is more to it than that, said North Carolina coach Roy Williams, whose team lost at home 68-59 to the Canes earlier this month. UM's talent, he said, is underrated.

"Having veteran players is a tremendous asset, and some people say that's the only reason UM is winning, but the truth is, they're pretty doggone good," Williams said Monday on a teleconference. "You've got [Shane] Larkin and [Durand] Scott in the backcourt, [Kenny] Kadji presents such matchup problems. You go down the line, and they've got all the parts. [Julian] Gamble makes fewer mistakes, and I'm just looking at it from a distance, than almost any of those quote role players. He dunks the ball every chance he gets, plays great defense. ... Bottom line, he's pretty doggone good."