About Us

The Key Play is an independent and credentialed online publication that covers Virginia Tech athletics. It's also the internet community where Hokies hang out outside of Lane Stadium. Thekeyplay.com was launched in March of 2010, and is now a property of Orange and Maroon Media, LLC. Orange and Maroon Media, LLC began conducting business in March 2013. The Key Play was issued press credentials by both Virginia Tech and the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014. Thekeyplay.com features insightful coverage from unique voices, film analysis, advanced statistical analysis, up-to-date news, humor and interviews with high school recruits and coaches. Articles, a sophisticated software platform, and an intelligent community of members and commenters are what sets Thekeyplay.com apart from the competition.

The Key Play publishes in-depth news and analysis. It also hosts a forum and community of thousands of Hokies who post, comment and vote on the day's Virginia Tech and sports topics.

Articles published by The Key Play have been recognized and referenced by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, USA Today, SB Nation and other media outlets.

Sponsorships are available for businesses that wish to reach a large audience of Hokies. Individuals can join The Key Players Club to access Exclusive Content and financially Support The Key Play.

Publisher and Owner

Joe Lanza

As far as my eyes are concerned, maroon and orange are the two most beautiful colors in the world. I love, to the point of an unhealthy obsession, Virginia Tech football. I also enjoy RAILS from TOTS and the No. 5 from Sub Station II.


Jonathan French (french60wasp)

Jonathan French develops game film reviews and recruit analysis for The Key Play. After lettering in football for three years at Division III Emory & Henry under the tutelage of legendary Coach Fred Selfe, French left the world of football for the world of government relations. Despite this, film study remains his passion, and he works tirelessly to help fellow fans understand the game better. He currently resides in Northern Virginia where he works for a healthcare non-profit. When he isn't talking, about football, his passions include saltwater fishing and New York Rangers hockey.

Brian Marcolini

Hi, my name's Brian and I am attempting to write and talk about sports for a living. Joe brought me on when I was a junior at Tech and I've been writing open letters and providing #HOTTAKES ever since. Currently, I work as a producer for ESPN Blacksburg meaning that I've made the transition from student to townie (not trying to brag, but people at Sharkey's know me).

Shelton Moss (SheltonMoss21)

I'm Shelton and I've been a writer at The Key Play since November of 2021. I write about Hokie sports from an analytical perspective, but I also do in-depth feature stories on various topics pertaining to Virginia Tech athletics. If you love numbers, I'm your guy. If you love El Rodeo in Blacksburg, I'm also your guy.

I graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 with a degree in Sports Media and Analytics, under the tutelage of the one and only Bill Roth. Currently I work at Radford University as an athletics communications assistant.

Audio and Video

Billy Berlin (BilldozerVT)

Former VT Track star, class of 2009. After graduating, I developed an obsession for hype trailers as it was the only thing that could keep me sane during the off season. After deciding to make a few myself, I quickly became obsessed. I now have a media center in my house dedicated to recording, editing, and warehousing every game. GIFs, Memes, and Videos are what I do best.

I currently reside in Minnesota with my wife and one-year-old daughter.



A 2002 graduate from Pamplin in BIT. Denied my shot at football glory due to the coaching staff's fear of unleashing a Fuller upon a college football field with no way of knowing the level of havoc it would wreak on opponents. Luckily, Vincent and the younger boys were deemed as acceptable risks. Currently spending my days doing mild-mannered data analysis work and my weekends smoking pork butts like Kyle Fuller smoked Vad Lee. #TeamVinegarSauce. #TeamIceCream. No, I am not Austin Fuller.


Joel Smith (joelestra)

After attending a small, private Division III engineering school for four years whose football team's stadium, attendance, and quality were all a step down from my high school in Georgia, I needed a grad school that would give me a real football experience...thus I found myself at Virginia Tech for a graduate degree in Statistics in 2002 and 2003.

My favorite game experiences as a student were from 2003. First we had a visit from Texas A&M, and a hurricane was coming so college football games were being cancelled all over the mid-Atlantic but VT decided not to cancel. A friend and I walked to the stadium in pouring rain that never let up and watched us dominate them, running 47 times and throwing 13. A few weeks later we were upset by West Virginia, dropping us from #3 to #10. A week later I walked from Foxridge to the stadium to tailgate before #2 Miami, and on the way we asked a random guy what the score would be...he replied with something crazy like 40-7 Hokies. A few hours later VT's defensive line destroyed Miami en route to a 31-7 win in a stadium that's louder than any other I've ever heard.


Mark Umansky

Mark is a 2011 and 2013 graduate of Virginia Tech, earning a bachelor's and a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering. During his time at Virginia Tech he also photographed for the student newspaper, The Collegiate Times, where he won several Virginia Press Association awards for sports photography. He now works in Blacksburg and is lucky enough to still live within walking distance of Lane Stadium and the rest of campus.