Again this season I'll be a SB Nation BlogPoll voter. The BlogPoll voting philosophy encourages transparency and scrutiny. Each Monday I'll post my ballot along with some bullet points explaining my reasonings for my not so obvious rankings. It's your job to keep me honest, and looking sane. I welcome your feedback telling me what I screwed up and how to fix it.
My preseason poll is after the jump.
billdozervt just impregnated the site.
For the last eight months I've been obsessively clinging to scraps; staying on top of recruiting, watching spring practice, analyzing depth charts and reading practice reports. It's game week now, and it's a relief for me to let the minutia of the offseason go and watch it fade away behind me. No sooner after it disappeared did I feverishly reach out with both hands to grab onto the season ahead. I didn't want to let it to slip on by and miss the ride.
I'm sure some of you can relate.
These next fifteen weeks are the most important fifteen weeks since the ones at the beginning of September 2010, and the fifteen weeks that will proceed September 2012. Watching, following and obsessing over our Hokies will no doubt be a frustrating, humbling, satisfying, suspenseful and entertaining trek this fall. It always is. This is a new team full of familiar faces and I'm most excited to see what kind of dynamic develops.
Our consistency during our tenure in the ACC has yielded excellence and success. It's also made for some boring Saturdays, even some of the losses became predictable. We knew how Stiney was going to call a series, we knew Tyrod would dazzle us, we knew Bud would get it done, we knew we were the team to beat in the ACC, but we'd only teased being elite.
One of the many reoccurring story lines during camp this August was which freshman and true freshman would dress, fill out the two-deep and possibly play. Friday night The Key Play.com reported Michael Via injured his ACL. The extent of that injury is still unknown. The Hokies 70 man dress roster was released today and it goes a long way to clearing up muddy water.
True freshman Boye Aromire, Caleb Farris, Kyshoen Jarrett, Luther Maddy, Ryan Malleck, Corey Marshall and Dadi Nicolas are all on dress the roster and redshirt freshman Matt Arkema, Riley Beiro, Detrick Bonner, Nick Dew, Derek DiNardo, Daniel Dyer, Joe St. Germain, Trey Gresh, Jonathan Halfhide, Mark Leal, Zack McCray, Duan Perez-Means and Chase Williams join them. Michael Via is not on the dress roster and is listed as injured. It's also worth noting Via underwent reconstructive knee surgery after an injury in the spring of 2009.
From all reports Via played pretty well filling in at right tackle for Blake DeChristopher these last couple of weeks. Via would have provided solid depth behind DeChristopher and center Andrew Miller. Now the Hokies are forced to rely on two unproven backups, right tackle Vinston Painter and center Caleb Farris. A deep offensive line was supposed to be a position of strength going into the season, injuries are doing their best to object.
Heated rivalry games fueled by fiery fan bases are one of the great things about college football. If you can't take some ribbing about your team in stride you are probably better off not being a fan. It's less than a week to the start of the season, a perfect time to stoke the fire. I'll start by going in on the team that was the greatest rival to VT when I was in school, and is currently the biggest dumpster fire in the college sports world right now.
Miami aka "da U"
When I think of Miami I can't help but think of the song "Wanksta". "Damn Miami, in the 80s you were the man homie, what the F' happened to you?" I know the typical Miami refrain is to point to the fact that they have won national titles and even won one in 2001, but that was a decade and two fired coaches ago. Miami's last real hopes of a national title died at Lane Stadium in the fall of 2003 when the Hokies beat down the #2 team in the nation 31-7. With all of Miami's pride and history they closed the Orange Bowl by getting crushed by UVA. With all their swagger they have only a single bowl win in the last 5 years, which was by 1 point against Nevada. Program wise Miami is located in a very talent rich area and has a national presence so even despite outdated facilities, poor attendance, athletic department running in the red, rampant cheating, and lack of recent success they have been a formidable foe and a great rivalry game.
With all the prostitutes, strippers, and boat trips no wonder Miami didn't win; they must've been exhausted.
The recent news of allegations against Miami is the biggest topic besides expansion in college football right now. There are a litany of troublesome accusations including prostitutes, money for injuring opposing players, cash giveaways to recruits, and even an abortion. The Miami transfers have allegedly been squealing to maintain eligibility and even though the main informant is a felon there is a lot of documentation to develop a good case with no one stepping up to prove his accusations false. Miami probably deserves the death penalty if allegations are true but it's not the right thing to do, and even though I have a strong dislike for them, I don't want it to happen. Miami getting the death penalty would be horrible for the ACC, our scheduling, and even the city of Miami's economy, besides the NCAA doesn't have the balls to do it. I would love to see Miami heavily sanctioned with loss of scholarships and bowl game privileges for 5 years.
The Hokies held their final scrimmage of August yesterday. It was not open to the public. Here's the complete report from HokieSports.com.
Defensive end James Gayle had a monster scrimmage, recording four sacks as the Hokies held the final scrimmage of preseason practice at Lane Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The scrimmage ended on a sore note for head coach Frank Beamer, who took an inadvertent elbow from quarterback Logan Thomas right above his left eye. Thomas started celebrating after throwing a touchdown pass on the final play of the scrimmage, and unintentionally hit Beamer, drawing blood. Tech's head coach headed for the training room and received four stitches.
"I didn't mean to do it," Thomas said. "After I did it, I turned around and saw his papers on the ground and saw the blood. I was thinking, ‘Oh, my.' I apologized to him. He didn't say anything, so I hope he's not mad."
Gayle, a redshirt sophomore from Hampton, Va., was the bigger story in the scrimmage. He finished with six tackles — four sacks and two other tackles for a loss. Behind him, Tech's first-team defense recorded eight sacks in the scrimmage.
"I messed up on the first couple of plays and sometimes it's something small that sets you off," Gayle said. "That kind of set me off.
"I feel like our defensive front four is going to be at the top in the ACC when it comes to sacks. All of our guys are athletic and fast, and I see us getting a lot more sacks than we did last year."
Tech's first-team units did not face each other in the scrimmage. The Hokies' scored four touchdowns, with three of those coming against the second-team defense.
David Wilson, who rushed for 36 yards on five carries, scored on a 14-yard run, while fellow tailback Michael Holmes scored on a 4-yard run. Thomas threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Danny Coale on the final play of the scrimmage.
Tech's first-team defense allowed just one score. Backup quarterback Mark Leal threw a swing pass to Daniel Dyer, who went 40 yards for a touchdown.
Thomas completed 15 of 23 for 140 yards and the one touchdown. Perhaps more importantly, he did not throw an interception.
"That's how you win games — don't turn the ball over and create turnovers," Thomas said. "My job is not to throw picks, so I was really happy with that today."
Leal completed 8 of 18 for 160 yards and a touchdown. He, too, did not throw an interception. Tony Gregory led all rushers with 40 yards on four carries, and Jarrett Boykin led all receivers with five catches for 44 yards. Marcus Davis and Coale caught three passes each.
Tech's other scoring came on two field goals. Cody Journell missed a 43-yarder, but atoned by hitting a 35-yarder. Justin Myer made a 36-yarder.
Telvion Clark led all tacklers with nine (5 solo). Jack Tyler, James Hopper, Luther Maddy and Antone Exum finished with five each.
What stands out more to me than the accolades describing what reads like a crisp scrimmage is the fact that the starters played against the reserves the entire way. So take it with a grain of salt. The kicking game is still entirely too inconsistent, and you'd have to believe right now punts would be the call over long field goal attempts. There are 48 seconds of highlights available as well as an interview with Coach Stinespring. Mark Leal throws a tiz-ight spiral, and what nice gentle touch on LT3's touchdown pass to Coale. Stiney noted poor execution by the first team o-line in 3rd down situations, and the scrimmage was bumped up to Wednesday from Saturday to give the team two more days to focus on the Appalachian State game plan.
We interrupt everybody's excitement about being 10 days away from Hokie football for a little roundball news...
The ACC announced its' 2011-2012 basketball slate this afternoon, culminating with the ACC Tournament, this year held at Phillips Arena in Atlanta from March 8-11. The Hokies have 32 games on the docket, including a potential 24 televised contests, 17 of which could end up on one of the ESPN Family of Networks. Here's some quick hits about the schedule:
For the kid that directs the Marching Virginias, catches rabbits, has 50 ties, scales Cassell Coliseum, backflips on the sidelines, and eats Chick-fil-A on Sundays this is what kind of car I'd expect him to drive.
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for SouthernPigskin.com outlining that season's ultimate ACC roadtrip. This year for The Key Play I am resurrecting it. The king of college fooball roadtrips ... well college football in general is the SEC. RV's fill the lots for games at every school, and usually by mid week for the biggest games. Literally a rolling family of love/hate. Their fans are Livin' the Dream, so why not me?
In my mind in order for it to be accomplished for me, I imagine there was an alternate dimension like Phineas and Ferb. In that dimension I am a trust fund baby, in my mid twenties and do not have a receding hairline. I've left my house to the butler and packed my important belongings (a toothbrush, my cornhole set, 2 pair of jeans, a small collection Virgina Tech and brewery shirts and hats) into a Clubhouse Tailagate like Airstream. Hook that bullet up to my truck and hit the road for the fall. I do wonder if I can get it in a dark gun metal sheen, as an ode to the lunchpail. Of course I would need a first and second mate to accompany me on this journey, i.e. drag me back to the airstream from drinking, debauchery and potentially jail.
Like a good many of you who will begin your college career's today I was an out-of-state student. I was probably playing with Micro Machines when Druck hit a streaking Holmes for the go-ahead touchdown in '95, and I didn't start following the Hokies closely until I considered Virginia Tech as a college choice in '991. I saw the Hokies paste Connecticut in my first game at Lane. Like any other "first" I had no idea how to handle myself. I didn't smuggle in any airplane bottles of bourbon, I sat in the west stands, and didn't care to do the Hokie Pokie.
After four year's and twenty-plus football games, I kind of found my way. Here's what I learned.
photographer: Steve Tatum
1) There are no assigned seats in the North End Zone. Yes, your ticket stub may seem as if it indicates a specific place for you to sit2, but it in fact does not. Why? Because you must stand the entire time. If you're lucky to obtain tickets in the NEZ the only place you will sit over the course of a game is on a toilet seat at halftime. And in Lane Stadium, I wouldn't recommend that. Why do you have to stand the entire game? There are two reasons actually.
Foremost, more people can cram into the NEZ that way; turn those shoulders yo. It's a given that people will make their way from other sections of Lane to sit in the NEZ, because the NEZ is the best place to watch the game. That's just a fact, and it needs no explanation.
Additionally, you can be louder while standing, and your main purpose for being in Lane is to be loud when necessary (see 5). Boston College fans aren't loud, they have to pump artificial noise into Alumni Stadium. That's why I mock them when I see them wearing their beloved "SuperFan" shirts. Being loud leads to awesome things, like Kellen Winslow Jr. totally flipping his shit in 2003 and Clemson fans throwing empty airplane bottles at Tommy Bowden in 2006. Semi-scientific explanation: you can stomp the bleachers harder and project your voice better while standing.
Editor's Note: Bumped to the front because it's flat out fantastic analysis.
The scrimmage started at 11:00 AM and lasted 96 plays. The Hokies will hold their final, closed, scrimmage on Wednesday. Again I wasn't able to make it down to the 'Burg ($172 hotel room!), but followed along closely via #Hokies on Twitter and updates and video from HokieSports.com.
Thoughts on the Frankinator's remarks and the highlights.
- Beamer is still looking for consistency in the kicking game. Even though he had an average afternoon Cody Journel will be the starting kicker. Scott Demler had, "good height" and will be the starting punter. Even though Beamer mentioned him as an option, Danny Coale didn't punt at all. It was fun while it lasted, RIP #Coale4Punter.
- The coaches are still searching to fill the two-deep along the defensive line and in the defensive secondary.
- James Gayle made a tremendous play to force Oglesby's fumble. He fought down into the line, pushed, who I believe to be George George, into the hole, and helped pop the ball out. Also, great awareness by Kyle Fuller to scoop and score.
- I really like David Wilson's patience when he's carrying the ball. From everything I've seen, that includes today's touchdown run, he's doing a great job or letting his blocks set up, then accelerating once he's hit the hole.
- Why isn't anyone covering DRAGERBOMB? To his credit that score looked entirely too easy.
Here's Charles Robinson's Yahoo! report Renegade Miami football booster spells out illicit benefits to players.
For no reason in particular here's a picture of David Wilson's whip.
Previewed. CBSSports.com senior writer Brett McMurphy thinks the Hokies will "roll" through their soft schedule. I really want to describe Tech's schedule as idiotproof, but come on, it's college football, so manageable is more fair. Four winnable non-conference games to ease Logan Thomas and an inexperienced platoon of defensive reserves into the ACC schedule sets up for success. Bill Connelly's examination of Tech is as thorough as a physical, honest and fair. I suggest you read the entire preview. College Football Matrix concludes there's a better chance for teams to pull an upset against Tech at Lane than in their own home.
The STRAIGHTBURNER has switched positions from flanker to split end. Duly noted. I read that as, Dyrell has a better chance getting playing time over Coles than Davis. The positions are quite similar, the frequency at which each run specific routes is a notable difference. Some statistics to chew on, Boykin, Coale, Roberts and Davis caught 29%, 22%, 16% and 4% of completions in 2009, and 25%, 19.5% 10.5% 9.5% in 2010 respectively. What do you think the breakdown will be like this season?
Hokies trainer Mike Goforth announced backup defensive tackle Kwamaine Battle will miss the 2011 season*. Battle tore the ACL of his left knee during Tech's scrimmage Saturday. It's the same injury he suffered against James Madison last season. As of yesterday it was thought the injury was only a minor sprain. Battle is a senior, but he can appeal the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.
I feel horrible for Kwamaine. I know first hand, well wrist, the time and effort it takes to recover from a torn ligament (and a bunch of broken bones), and my only goal was to swing a golf club again. Battle worked himself into football shape in less than a year. Many well wishes for a speedy recovery Kwamaine.
Where does that leave the defensive line without any proven backups at tackle? Redshirt junior Isaiah Hamlette and true freshman Luther Maddy are on the two-deep. Hamlette is a monster, our biggest defensive lineman listed at 6-5 291. It's hard for a big body like that to be quick enough and have the proper techniques, chief among them playing low, to be successful attacking gaps in our scheme. Although, Collin Carroll described Hamlette as being "quick as a hiccup" and said he "showed great burst and got great penetration".
Editor's note: embedded image and bumped to front.
Found the Comic Book app for my iPad. I'm a nerd so Ive already dabbled. Here's a first attempt. Hopefully more to come!