Tech Tidbits: Oscar Bradburn, Quote Machine (Oh, and an ECU Preview Too)

The Hokies' new punter gives quite the interview, and forecasting the depth behind Andrew Motuapuaka at mike.

[Mark Umansky]

Look, I've got a lot to say about what went wrong against Delaware, what to expect against ECU, the Tavante Beckett suspension and more.

But rather than boring you with all that first, let's just get right to the good stuff.

Inject this tweet straight into my veins. If you're telling me we've managed to replace A.J. Hughes with not only a good punter, but a great quote, I will be over the moon.

Let's hope Justin Fuente, James Shibest and company let Oscar keep being a little weird. Wyatt Teller seems to be on strict orders not to say anything interesting these days, and we deserve someone with fun quotes every once in awhile.

Now, onto business.

Next Man Up at Mike

By now, you've all seen the news that LB Tavante Beckett is suspended from the team indefinitely. Now, the question is what that means for the future.

For the moment, at least, it seems as if the coaches aren't counting him out of their plans entirely.

But Foster deferred to Fuente for the final say Tuesday, and without knowing what prompted Beckett's suspension, it's impossible to know how realistic it is to expect him back — before you ask: yes, I've checked the Montgomery County court records, and no, Beckett's name hasn't popped up there.

So, we have to do a little guess work about what the future holds at the mike linebacker position. Beckett certainly factored into any discussion about who should spell Andrew Motuapuaka (even though he didn't play terribly much in the Hokies' first two games) and even replace him at mike someday.

As you might expect, Foster says Sean Huelskamp is the number two guy behind Motuapuaka right now (and he even told reporters that he's playing both mike and backer in practice right now, which is at least a mild surprise).

"We do have some young guys that are in position to play, particularly Rayshard Ashby at the mike spot," Foster said, via Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times. "I really like him. I like his football IQ. I like how he plays. He really performed well in our scrimmages and he's playing right now with the idea that he can play and be ready to play as we move forward in the future. And I think you'll see more potential play out of Dylan Rivers, who really hasn't gotten in a ballgame as of yet. But I think we're kind of bringing him along with the idea that he's going to be thrown into the fire here sooner than later, probably. But I think we're going to go ahead and look at potentially him on special teams too."

None of that is particularly noteworthy, though it is interesting that Foster add that Beckett's absence is "not necessarily" something that will factor into his future plans at mike. I've speculated before that Rivers might be the best fit at the backer spot, but perhaps if Rivers gets in on the action at mike some this year (and Beckett doesn't return to the team) then his future lies there instead.

For now, I suppose all we can do is knock on wood and hope Moto stays healthy. No disrespect to Huelskamp and Ashby, but neither has what I'd call overwhelming size, and I'd certainly prefer Motuapuaka's experience in that role while the team sorts out the Beckett situation.

Long Live Vinny Mihota, Defensive Tackle

Well, consider those Vinny Mihota-to-DT rumors not just alive, but quite well, with Foster addressing his starting defensive end's brief slide inside.

"He's probably our third best tackle when it's all said and done," Foster told reporters. "I think he was very active and productive whether he was at end or tackle."

Yikes. Foster added that Jarrod Hewitt was improved and "could be the next guy," but also "we are still going with that backup part by committee." He shouted out Xavier Burke and Darius Fullwood, and called Jimmy Taylor trustworthy yet "rugged," so clearly there is work left to be done here.

I wonder how much of Mihota spending time at DT was just a function of the opponent (no shots at Delaware, but a zero is a zero scoreboard-wise) and the team wanting to see if Mihota would indeed be a viable option there if worst comes to worst, or if this is a real sign that we're going to see him on the inside going forward.

If it's the latter, then perhaps this is a big old wake-up call to Tech's backup DTs (and a sign of confidence in the backup DEs, with Emmanuel Belmar, Houshun Gaines and Ray Minor all earning snaps against the Blue Hens).

Only time will tell (and with ECU's struggles, we may need to keep an eye on this for more than just next week for answers).

Running Back Rotation Meditations

I thought about devoting a little extra space to a look at ECU, but others on the beat have handled that ably — long story short, it's never great when you fire your defensive coordinator and are playing two quarterbacks (one of whom is injured), no matter how many nice things the coaches say about them.

Instead, I'll pause for a moment to highlight how the Hokies managed their running back rotation a bit against Delaware, because the stat sheet certainly stood out to me upon closer examination (and a few days removed from the frustrations of the game, ACC Network-related and otherwise).

It's not exactly shocking that Travon McMillian and Steven Peoples only accounted for seven of the team's 28 carries, considering the opponent and some of Peoples' issues in pass protection, which French detailed.

Instead, it's worth noting that Deshawn McClease only earned three carries (for a whopping seven yards) while true freshman Jalen Holston picked up eight for 32. That made him the team's rushing leader — though that figure comes with the huge caveats that all of those carries came in the fourth quarter, and all but one came on the team's final drive to run out the clock.

But after McClease's early flashes of brilliance against West Virginia, it's worth highlighting that Fuente clearly still envisions Holston playing some sort of role this season.

It'll be tough for all four running backs to consistently find a role in the offense, and maybe this is simply a chance to get Holston ready for a bigger role next year. But I remain intrigued by just how the freshman might fit into the mix this year, and if the team can avoid its very long history of road struggles against ECU, perhaps we'll have another opportunity to see Holston at work this Saturday.

I leave you with a little more BRADBURN, who I'm imagining said this in the thickest Australian accent possible.

Comments

I'm still wanting to know how good Oscar is at the jump pass.

Something tells me we might find out in about 2.5 weeks....

Just joined The Key Players Club. Gotta say, best decision of my life. It's made me a better person. Women want me. Men want to be me.
Of course the extra game film breakdowns are nice, too. Now if I can just figure out how to use this bottle opener...

"The workhorse again... OOOOOHHHHHHH... Terrell Skinner just got flattened!"

One of us... One of us... Welcome!

-Semper Primus

Williams was the thumper that fit best in this system right up to his injury. Houston may be able to fit that hole with continued opportunity

Welcome to the best club on earth! Well at least on the VT portion of this planet!

SCHokie

What'll Bradburn do if he has to make a tackle on a returner? "I'll deck him straight away. I'll put him on his ass."

Awwesome!

Where is Lawson?!

Australians hit each other like this without pads and helmets, I think Bradburn will do fine in the tackling department.

Where did you get this photo? I went on a bachelor party (bunch of Hokies/EXs) to Nawlins 4 years ago and we did an air boat ride with a bald guy who looks just like that guy. He jumped in the water and started feeding marshmallows to alligators, then grabbing them, spinning them around his head and threw them through the air. I have a very similar photo I took myself.

Don't remember the guide's name but he said he was the second ranked gator wrestler in the country behind some other guy in Florida. He even had a baby one in a cooler that we passed around. He was prepping to go to the world crocodile wrestling championship in Australia.

I'm all about doing crazy, mildly dangerous shit and he could have been bullshitting us for all I know, but that was unreal watching him swimming around and trying to attract them to him. Other guides showed up and were trying to attract the gators to their air boats with chicken tied to fishing line. We got the better experience I'd say...

My pix....

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Sounds cool! I pulled it from google images.

Where is Lawson?!

Looks like it is the same guy. Did a reverse lookup, and the image originates from USAToday back in 2014

Contributor Jessica Fazende snapped this photo of tour guide and alligator wrestler Paul Phillips in Lafitte, La.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Thanks! That led me to look him up and found this video below. Definitely the same guy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdoCJ1aAtR8

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

My favorite Bradburn quote (instagram caption of one of his punts with WVU bench in the background):
"Me with a crowd of people from WV and somehow I'm the most retarded looking"

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

It's definitely the accent and hair but he reminds of Beck.

Looks like Beamerball is gonna be outrageous fun this year.

Here lies It's a Stroman Jersey I Swear, surpassed in life by no one because he intercepted it.

Scottie Montgomery thinks having an Aussie kicker gets you Fulmer Cup points.

Scottie Montgomery still posts in the wrong thread.

___

-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

One thing I learned during my freshman year in Blacksburg, is that if you have an Australian or Scottish accent, the girls line up at your door. I'm hoping all that attention doesn't throw our boy off his game.

so I'll ask- how exactly did you learn this?

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinsku, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

He learned it because nobody was waiting in his line.

WINNER WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER.

You know its going to happen! Some chick is going to throw some stuff at him, get inside his head and control his every move. Hell that what is going on with Slye!/s

Where is Lawson?!

Erp, wrong kicker

The Dude Abides

Nope Slye's problem now. Bradburn's in the future.

Where is Lawson?!

Welcome to the last 45 years of my life.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

The number of fucks not given by our punter has a striking similarity of the number of fucks not given by that Australian teenager several years back.

That guy is a legend

HAHAHA I knew it! As soon as I heard the quote I knew it would have been delivered epic. This kid is my new favorite kid. Like, some days he's probably just wif his mates and havin a look at Lane and he might fancy a hokie club at westen but your lad Slye, who's an absolute ledge and the archbishop of banterbury would be like 'let's have a cheeky nandos instead' and he thinks 'Top, let's smash it'

Well G'Daye Mate, Let's put another Shrimp on the Barbie!

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO


Could it be that Slye's kicking issues are a result of working with a new holder?
Photo credit to Matt Gentry/Roanoke Times

New holder, and if I'm not mistaken new long snapper too. That changes everything up. Found out recently it's actually the long snappers duty to get it to consistently spin right where the holder just has to rotate the same way every time. They warm up and see where the ball rotation ends up and the holder moves forward or backwards accordingly.

"Facyson is a baller."
-CFB

Every kicker is different, but way too much lean on that and if that's the 50 yard line it should really be tilted back a bit, not forwards. Still kind of shocked they got a dude who's never played football before to hold kicks.

I agree. The question I have is do we have anyone on the team with holding experience though?

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

I bleed orange and maroon.

I thought Click held before.

Oh, great!! I guess the clipboard is just gonna hold itself then???

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

it should really be tilted back a bit, not forwards

The ball actually needs to be leaning forward, not back. The prime spot for contacting the ball is a little bit underneath the middle and tilting the ball the forward makes it easier for the kicker to make contact in the best spot.

I think that is pretty common in college with limited practice time for the punter to be the holder. The specialists spend a lot of practice time on their own. If you get a skill guy to do it, you end up taking practice reps from them else where.

That's a good point, I figured there was a good reason

That is shocking to me, also. Punters aren't automatically the holder of choice, or at least shouldn't be. I held as a DB in high school, and when I broke my collarbone senior year, we had to use our backup holder, and our kicker started shanking his kicks. I convinced the doc to let me come back early (in a non-contact capacity, obviously) just to hold. What I conveniently forgot to tell the doc that we liked to run a lot of fakes, so that was fun, rolling out to pass on a fake and avoiding contact.

So needless to say, some of Slye's kicking woes could be related to the quality of the holding that he's getting. Didn't Shayne Graham come to Tech on the condition that he could bring his high school holder (Caleb Hurd) with him to be his personal holder? Holding is certainly an unappreciated skill, to say the least.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

"..because anytime you go upside a man's head, or a woman's, they have a tendency to blink their eyes.." - Deacon Jones

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

I bleed orange and maroon.

So is Fullwood just not ready yet? He was supposed to be a decent prospect/recruit correct?

I've heard he's just been really stiff and they are trying to get him to loosen up a bit. The good news is that he plays hard.

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

Classic

Sounds like he needs a couple shots of Wild Turkey before kickoff. That will loosen him up a bit. I don't get it, he was a 4-star recruit, right? Although being from Gilman, a Baltimore prep power, his ability could have been a little overrated. I was hoping he would have made an impact be now.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

"..because anytime you go upside a man's head, or a woman's, they have a tendency to blink their eyes.." - Deacon Jones

I wonder if we saw Holston at the end because we knew were going to run out the clock and were not asking for pass protection?

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Well, he is following in the footsteps of another punter that can put 'em on their ass. Did anyone show Oscar this clip?

This is the one I tried to request for Power Hour v2.0

Now they would call that targeting. Could you imagine? On the punter?

Kind of like the unnecessary roughness on the QB call.

We put the K in Kwality

They absolutely wouldn't call that targeting...

Nowhere near the head of the return man and absolutely did not launch, heck the return man ran into him. Biggest mistake of his career other than going to Miami.

wrong head-to-head contact.

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!