Solid Verbal Virginia Tech Preview

Nothing groundbreaking, but I thought it was good listen. VT talk is from 39:55 to 47:25

On Brent Pry:

Brent Pry, my boy comes down from Penn state. I love the hire. How could I not? Brent pry is pure masculinity. Dan, from the beard to the hair, to the pants that are apparently a little too tight. The rugged outsider, Very rugged, very outside. There is a mountain man, quality to Brent pry that if you've ever driven the I 81 corridor at Western Virginia it'll play there...

On our outlook for the season:

The real issue is the roster and also the schedule... if I'm a tech fan this year is about the drive for six. Pretend you're Illinois put on your Illinois hat. If only for a fleeting moment, this is a drive for six year. If you are a Virginia tech fan, if you make a bowl game, wow, That'd be amazing. Hopefully you find some young guys that you can build around that you can, that, that you can pop into the starting rotation and moving forward. Those are the folks then that become the pillars for your team. That's the goal.

On the roster:

First off, Virginia tech lost... their quarterback, lead running back, top two receivers, a tight end and three NFL linemen... That's just on offense. That's a lot to replace.

And then secondly, this is something I said back in may. I've been reading a lot about guys moving positions, changing positions. And of course, whenever you read these previews, whether it's The Athletic or really anywhere, everybody puts a very positive sunshine spin on that. We felt that maybe his skillset would be better used over here. Sure.

Now this is a direct result of Justin Fuente not recruiting. They're doing this because they have to not because they want to, and that's a problem.... Brent Pry is doing this because he has to, he has to fill out a depth chart. He has to fill out a roster. He has to fill out a starting rotation on both sides here. So he doesn't wanna do this. He has to do this. That's not a good thing that doesn't bode well for the talent level on this roster. And again, it's a result of, Fuente and the recruiting operation. And I like Justin Fuente. We had him on the show, but he didn't do a good enough job on that side.

Transcript from PodScribe (but I pulled specific quotes).

They go on to talk about how this defense could be goood given the experience at Linebacker, but the offense has so many question marks, it could be ugly.

The UVA preview starts right after ours finishes. Pretty interesting to see how they're such a foil to us; we'll be a grind-it-out defensive team this year; they'll be an offensive juggernaut with a defense thinner than toilet paper.

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Comments

I listened this morning. I know they have all the teams to preview and do their previews using a lot of generalities but Ty being a PSU grad I was pretty aligned with what they mentioned on the pod. I also think 6 wins would be a heck of a season considering the shuffling of players all over the place and it scares me to see how much Kool-Aid some fans seem to have drunk already.

Also thanks for including the timestamp. I had to scroll through them talking about Pitt, Miami, and UNC before I got to our preview.

"Now Miami wants to talk about it." *Cue Enter Sandman*

I love hearing discussions about VT football in August. Even if some of it is a bitter pill.

I think that's a solid outsider preview, but I would disagree that justifying some of the position changes are "sunshine spin" attempts. I think particularly on defense you're talking about a very different system where Pry has a few spots that require a notably different body type and athletic skillset at those positions. The SAM LB, for example, is not a direct analogue to the nickelwhip we used previously. Moving different body types and skillsets into that position was necessary, rather than something that requires a spin. Moving Keli Lawson back to defense was more of a "thank god" move rather than something that needed a spin... he was at receiver, despite every single projection I saw for him coming out of high school was absolutely stoked about his potential on the defensive side of the ball in the modern game.

tldr; The underlying roster issues are correctly identified as a result of poor recruiting and roster management. They nailed that. I disagree that most of the notable position changes are desperation moves to fill out the depth chart. There's probably a couple of those.

Would be easy enough to look at how many position changes there are, and assessing them one-by-one.

But the fact that there are any of those sort of makes it a valid point about recruiting and roster management.

Lawson from WR to SAM
Conner from Nickel to FS (not sure that sticks)
Jenkins from FS to SAM
Stroman played both field and boundary safety in the spring game.
Howard from RB to nickel (replacing the SAM)
Matheny played boundary safety, MIKE and SAM at different points.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Conner from Nickel to FS (not sure that sticks)

I'll try to find it and share it, but unless someone else is practicing in a #1 maroon jersey, Conner was prepping with the SAMs and being coached by Quinn in an Instagram video.
EDIT: Found it and I think I got this wrong. There's a brief clip with Conner, but it's tough to tell if this was a general defense thing or SAM/Nickel specific.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

Hmmmm... that certainly adds some context to my next season preview article that is coming.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I could be wrong. Tough to tell if this a SAM only drill or not with Conner practicing ripping away from a guy against Lawson. Could've been a special teams drill or something.
https://www.instagram.com/reel/CgpVbtiA3r6/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

Just throwing this out there- the SAM is the whip circa 2009. Same job, same deal. Just a different term. Keonta Jenkins has to be a better version of Alonzo Tweedy.

There are going to be square pegs in round holes, no doubt. But when you watched Penn State under Pry, he had lots of square pegs and had to adjust. Jaquan Brisker was a JUCO guy and wasn't good in coverage, but he was really good aroun the LOS. So, Pry put him at rover and kept him buzzing around the LOS. Jesse Lukata was a backup mike that ended up as a starting DE, but would have moved back to MIKE if there was an injury. Pry flipped his corners (boundary and field) some games, and some games they stayed on the right and left side all game. Pry didn't have the traditional 6-5 260 DE who could generate rush, so he found Etikebe in the transfer market, a small twitchy guy who had that one unique skill and put it in position to shine.

The problem is the rot. Does Pry have enough of those uniquely skilled guys on defense to fit the needs he has? There are a handful of guys who can at least be great at one thing that he can get something out of them. I just don't know if he has enough. (Spolier)- I expect big things out of Tisdale, Jenkins, and Peoples. I have major worries about corner, DL (depth), and MIKE, and across the board on offense.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Agreed on the 2000's era whip/SAM comparison. That positioned shifted into what was basically just a nickel corner/safety body that we felt was a capable tackler (Mook, Conner, whichever Fuller brother was healthy), which was consistent with what most of college football was doing to combat the spread. I am very impressed/interested in how much base Pry was able to successfully play in the modern game.

Watching the spring game and seeing all the corners on islands felt good to see ... until the WRs blew right by them

One of those two TDs was more Conner's fault than the corner.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

100% it was, but there were lots of islands with a whole lot of ocean that I hope can get Cleaned up

"No Tweedy! Its WHIP!"
-Cornell Brown

but the offense has so many question marks, it could be ugly

this has been true since Tyrod left

Onward and upward

The sad thing is... it shouldn't have been an issue in 2020 and 2021, because we should have been confidently returning Hendon Hooker as the unquestioned starter with Tre, Tayvion, James Mitchell, etc. Khalil Herbert then Blackshear.

That's the puzzling thing about Fuente. He started out recruiting well, but he sucked at holding on to talented players.

And he sure didn't know how to utilize his Hooker.

And the talented guys who stayed at RB and WR never got any better (Turner cough Robinson cough)

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

yeah, totally agree. No secret that the previous coaches, particularly on offense, had no f***ing clue what they were doing. It is almost criminal. But, yeah, I haven't really felt good about our offense since 2016. And the further we get from 2016, the more obvious it becomes that the success of that offense was almost entirely attributable to the players (Evans, Ford, Hodges, Phillips) rather than any coaching.

I have no idea what to expect from this next batch of coaches but I really hope they're more competent than the last coaches. Just when I think it can't possibly get worse, it does. (I thought Stinespring was rock bottom. Then Loeffler said, 'hold my beer spider 2 Y banana' and I was convinced that there was no way but up from there. Then Cornelsen introduced us to new levels of low. It terrifies me to think how it could get worse)

Onward and upward

I think a basic, old-school Power-I could be extremely effective if executed correctly. It'd be boring as hell to watch for anyone that wasn't a student of the game, but that's where our identity was established in the early bowl years.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

It could be effective, but would it be able to keep up with other teams' higher-powered offenses? Especially with the big question marks we have about our own defense?

Back in the day, the Power I worked for us because we could mash you on both sides of the ball. I don't know if we could still do that in year 1 of Pry.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

There's almost no way the offensive staff will be worse than the CornFu offense.

I haven't really felt good about our offense since 2016

Same, and even in 2016 (I could probably find receipts if I searched hard enough) the Syracuse and Georgia Tech games gave me some early worries about just how easy it was to completely derail our offense by taking away a couple bread and butter concepts from our offense on early downs... and neither of those defenses were very good. I seem to remember French pointing out this concern as well during one of his film reviews, probably the one for GT or Syracuse as mentioned above. Additionally, both of those games it took us until deep into the 2nd half to make adjustments. By the GT game of 2017 I was leading the charge of our "numbers against P5 competition on offense."

So while I think we shouldn't have had so many question marks in 2020 and 2021 in terms of personnel, I was already thoroughly out on our offensive coaching staff by that time anyway.

Even in 2016, we were getting off to slow starts. Remember the bowl game against Arkansas, I think they scored 28 unanswered points in the first half, then we scored 35 in the second to win. I think we slow-started Clemson too, otherwise that could have been a different outcome.

So yeah, we scored a lot of points and beat a lot of people, but almost every game was a slow start. I do remember one year where the offensive scheme was good, and we either scored touchdowns that were called back or got a ton of yards. One was where an offensive lineman was downfield, on the opposite side of the field so it wouldn't have even mattered. So there was some good scheming.

I think the big problem was Corny can scheme, he just has no idea how to identify players that can make his scheme work, and as if that wasn't bad enough, he couldn't adapt to the players he did have.

Before the first fumble, the offense against Tennessee was one of the best scheme performances I have ever seen. The use of playcalling to keep the Vols chasing ghosts, the timing, the pacing. It was magical. I had beautiful music in my head.

And then it went up in smoke. The scheme wasn't the issue. The inability to call it in a sensible way, not allowing plays that looked like options to be actual options, and make adjustments in the passing game to adapt to the defensive coverage absolutely killed the team. And it didn't help that while the coaches did nothing to get better, key players never elevated their own game to make more plays even when the defense knew what was coming.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Absolutely fair. Maybe my use of "scheme" wasn't right. I think he had some plays that worked, just didn't call them at the right times, he maybe got lucky when/where he called them. Definitely couldn't adjust to what defenses were giving him. And yeah, player development seemed to be nonexistent. Based on how Tre played as a freshman, I would have expected him to be All-ACC by his junior year. Granted, some of that was coaches not developing him, some was QB abilities, and some was play calling.

I guess I just saw some plays that succeeded incredibly, so seemed like there was maybe more potential to succeed than what we saw, Corny just rarely seemed to implement the plays in the right "context" in games most of the time. And, as others have pointed out, seemed like "scared" play calling. All around frustrating regardless. And really hoping this new coaching staff will perform WAY better.

And some was his refusal to put in the work to get better. For all Fuente's faults, Turner refusing to spend time working to strengthen his frame wasn't one of them.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Ah, I must not have been TKP'ing hard enough - I hadn't heard he wasn't putting in that effort. Unless that was part of an indictment of the past S&C program.

I mean if I was seeing a trainer and wasn't getting any stronger, I'd stop going and probably try to figure something out on my own. Not saying that's what happened, but it seems like we've all been critical of the past S&C staff, so not sure if it's a possibility.

Stinespring lacked imagination and was totally predictable.

Loeffler was overly complicated, so his stuff often didn't work, because the execution wasn't there. The players just couldn't execute quickly enough before getting pummeled by an average defense.

Cornelsen tried to be totally unpredictable to the point where he refused to do the thing that was obviously working, or insisted on doing what wasn't during games. Combined with pushing out our top-tier players.

Stay tuned for the next episode of "Can we have an offense, please?"

I went to a bowl game very near Mexico where Lefty was working with Calvin Klein and Deon Newsome at WR. Having said that, yes a cross between him and Stiney might have worked well. People also forget that Stiney put some decent offenses on the field when he had talent. His issue was trying to run I formation at a time when Urban Meyer and Rich Rod were putting up 50 points spreading the field. Hard to recruit to an "old school" offense- which is what Beamer wanted. Corny just stunk. Look at our production in ACC games (teams that know us) after halftime. Horrid. Couldn't adjust, couldn't come up with a more imaginative game plan. Also he called plays scared. He would run a QB power on 3rd and 8 in a tie game- often. That is simply scared football. sucked.

Stiney's biggest issue was in-game coaching (awful play calling at times) and the fact that Curt Newsome was his OL coach for so long.

Is coronavirus over yet?

The funny thing is - as I've learned more about analytics, and changed the way I like to judge the success of an offense (or defense for that matter) - Stinespring actually had some damn good offenses. Going off SP+, he had a top10 offense in 2009, a top 15 offense in 2010, and two other top 25 offenses.

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Stinespring also recruited well - I'm sure that helped. For a long time, I thought his offenses were good despite him. The players just balled out. Evans, Williams, Wilson, Taylor, Thomas, etc...And they did so against, if we're honest, not exactly top tier competition.

Against LSU in 2007, one of the best defenses, we burned Taylor's redshirt and he scored our only TD on a QB run. After that, we scored 30+ points seven times for the remainder of the season, including 5 games where we scored 40+. Was our offense really good? Or was our competition really bad?

When we faced actually good defenses (LSU, BC) we were awful (a combined 17 points against those two). And none of the teams we scored 40+ against had defenses you'd write home about (W&M, Clemson*, Duke, FSU, Miami)

*Clemson's defense was the best we faced of the teams we trounced but that was a game in which we had 21 points off defense and special teams (Pick 6, PR TD, KR TD)

Onward and upward

First of all, SP+ does adjust for strength of opponent (for what it's worth).

Secondly, our 2007 offense was NOT one of the good ones. Looking back at the numbers, only 2009, 2010, and 2011 were that good (12, 12, 27) so I definitely misremembered in my previous post. Every other season he was outside of the top 50. So you may be correct - Tyrod made Stiney look great.

Interestingly/sadly enough, we've only had 5 top 50 offenses per SP+ since 2006 - 2009 (12th), 2010 (12th), 2011 (27th), 2016 (39th), 2020 (20th). In each of those seasons, we had QB who wasn't just mobile, but could make big plays on the move.

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I think we also had really good running backs, too (maybe not in 2016 - can't remember who our RB was back then).

Jerod Evans

Trevon McMillian and Marshawn Williams were RB1/2. Trevon didn't like getting benched for fumbles (understandable - I never agreed with that strategy) so he transfered. Marshawn had to medically retire if I recall correctly.

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I'd do some bad things to have the running game we had from essentially 2000-2011. We just couldn't capitalize on it and build a consistent passing game around it. Some of that was roster decisions e.g. Bud had first dibs on 2-way players. Some was recruiting shortfalls. But a lot of it was really Beamer's philosophy: If the other team only scores 3 points, then you just need 7. He wasn't a risk taker and he built his program around the idea that defense and special teams won games. That means winning the field position and turnover battles. I think Stiney takes a lot of heat for that. Like a lot of things, as a program, we were late to the party on the changing landscape of college football.

Gobble Till You Wobble

Regarding stinespring and bud- bud did get the cream of the crop. Stinespring was running a system that cfb wanted . I think we will see more of this game planning with the new regime. Control of the line, the ball and the clock will be the staples of this new regime.

I thought Stinespring was rock bottom. Then Loeffler said, 'hold my beer spider 2 Y banana' and I was convinced that there was no way but up from there. Then Cornelsen introduced us to new levels of low. It terrifies me to think how it could get worse

Cannot leg this enough. All the offensive offenses have made me slow to trust. It's a shame, too, because it's out of character as a Hokie fan, but I really love offensive, air it out type football. I want what I can't have I guess

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Braxton Burmeister, Ryan Willis, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

Honestly I think we significantly upgraded the QB room. We are pretty loaded at TE which will be a staple of this offense, and we did lose Tre and Tayvion at WR, but I think between Smith, Blue, Gosnell (upperclassman group) and the younger nucleus of Lofton, Jones, Bradshaw, Dallan Wright, etc. we are more than capable of having at least production by committee and possibly some breakouts among the younger guys. OL is thin but we have a solid starting group and one of the best OL coaches in the country. Need to stay healthy there. Plus an an intriguing offensive brain trust between Bowen, Glenn, and Rudolph. Am I crazy to think we will not be god awful on O?

no, you're not crazy to think we won't be god awful. But, thrice bitten....

Onward and upward

"Honestly I think we significantly upgraded the QB room" Great understatement. I would have to add the upgrade in the coaching staff, since CornFu chose the 91st ranked QB in the country over the 11th ranked (Hooker). In retrospect I often think we could have had better QBs if we had picked two guys off the nearest barstools instead of CornFu, but when I think that I contemplate what we paid them and the pain level goes so high I have to go do something else.........so I am out of here.

The LewDew, Professional Golf Bum

Fuente was a terrible recruiter. Everyone made excuses for him, used made up stats like " 80% of the 4 stars VT has ever signed were under Fuente"- lol, and made up metrics like "other P5 offers", trotted out the lame "well Bud will be retiring within the next 15 years, so its hard to recruit defense" .. nonsense to justify his horrible recruiting. He signed zero impact DTs, zero decent HS running backs, a bunch of poorly scouted WRs, etc. Terrible recruiter. No sugar coat. That's why he is not coaching here any longer.

He wasn't good at evaluating an Offensive Coordinator either.

I'm not convinced yet that Virginia will be an offensive juggernaut again since they are replacing their entire o-line.

Agree. Elliott will put a "decent" offense on the field though. And Armstrong is a leader/competitor.. and the rare good QB in the coastal recently. I like VT in lane though

Biggest question mark for me is Armstrong's health. Mendenhall liked to run his QBs in to the ground. That team falls apart if Armstrong gets hurt so Elliot has to do a better job.

It's Time to go to Work

FWIW, Juggernnaut was definitely my word, not theirs

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They lost some good weapons too. Jelani Woods, who was a freak athlete and a matchup nightmare, is gone. They also lost two of their top three running backs. Isn't Kemp gone too? I just don't see them pushing people around and being an unstoppable offense. They shouldn't be able to move the ball on the ground unless it's Armstrong scrambling. I also don't see him staying healthy all season given what he's going to be tasked to do and the line he's behind.

Unfortunately Billy "the mouth" Kemp is back again this year as is Davis and Wicks, so they will likely have a solid WR corps particularly with Armstrong slinging the rock. I don't recall them ever running the ball effectively the last few years, so it will actually be interesting if Elliott attempts to reintroduce that aspect of football to "the grounds".

Meh, Kemp has never done anything against VT. Who cares about him?

Didn't he shit himself? That's gotta count as doing something against us, right?

I'm here for the memes, I just stay for the football.

Tech's goals against UVA this year, win the game, and make Kemp shit himself - again.

They had to rebuild their entire OL (DL too?) they had a pretty big exodus at the end of the season there didn't take to well to throwing to OTs I guess

(add if applicable) /s

Maybe they didn't think they were good enough receivers...

Virginia tech is not worth watching unless you're a Hokie fan and maybe they're even less worth watching if you're a Hokie fan. Virginia's worth watching because Brennan Armstrong is one of the most exciting players. Keeton Thompson, one of the most versatile exciting receivers in the country.

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

I mean, it's completely true lol

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Which is why it hurts.

The UVA preview starts right after ours finishes. Pretty interesting to see how they're such a foil to us; we'll be a grind-it-out defensive team this year; they'll be an offensive juggernaut with a defense thinner than toilet paper.

I think our offense could be better than last year just based on coaching and game planning. Wells can sling. We have a blend of experience and raw talent on the OL. Thomas could be a breakout RB and then we have some change of pace there. WR is young and raw but we have Blue, Smith, and Lofton. I think Gallo could be a Jason Witten type guy who catches it for 8-12 yards, secures the ball and hopes the defense misses the tackle but moves the chains.
The major losses are the OL, Turner and Robinson. Mitchell is a big loss but he was out almost all of last year anyway.

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

Those OL losses will hurt. I don't think the fan base fully appreciated how good Lecitus Smith was.

You guys know my feelings about Hoffman, but at least the coach had confidence that he would be a tone setter and he gave them a guy who could slide out to guard if needed.

Tenuta was a very serviceable left tackle. I expect Clements to be where Tenuta was last year this season. I am scared to death of Silas being a left tackle. I would almost consider flipping Clements and Silas if Clements was comfortable doing it.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Isn't that all big1G maryland xfer taking hoffmans place?

From the pictures and videos out so far from the first two days of camp, it looks like the players put in a ton of work in the strength and conditioning program. Everyone looks way bigger, even some of the younger players look absolutely massive. King also looks like he added a ton of mass, he looks really great.

Big question, do our WRs legs still look like this?

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Hey now. I did not give you permission to share that.

πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

To be the man you gotta beat the man!

You beat me to that joke πŸ˜‚

I mean, the only part shared was the bottom third of the original photo.

2022 Season Challenge: Wrasslin'
Previous Challenges: Star Wars (2019), Marvel (2020), Batman (2021)

Deon Sanders says "always take the guy with the skinny calves".

He's right.

I mean, Fu's first receivers coach did wonders with this guy...

Edit: This was half tongue-in-cheek by me, but I think there is a point to be made. Obviously, Devonta Smith was a borderline 4/5* guy who went to Bama, but he's still a 160 receiver at best in the NFL.

I think you gamble on talent with guys who look like that. Tre and Tayvion could have been those guys. I don't know how much bigger they'd have gotten with a real S&C coach but it wouldn't have hurt. Also, I don't think Jafar was as much a problem considering he at least has a job this season.

Yep, I share this sentiment uniroinically. The Tre Turner weight complaints wouldn't exist if we had been cooking on offense. Receiver is by far the position where I care the least about "skinny legs" being an issue. There are plenty of elite receivers in any given year who are relatively slight through the legs.

It appears our former S&C guys have been working with Deontay Wilder

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

yo! I think my forearms might be bigger than his lower legs (and I'm not that big a dude..)

Onward and upward