1st Quarter 2nd Guesses: Marshall game

I didn't get a chance to watch the game live this week, so I am probably prejudiced by some of the frustrating reports about the erratic performance of the Hokies this week. After a quick review of the first quarter, I walked away with the following impressions: 1) The defensive line and middle backers are a strength of this team. 2) Logan Thomas has some weaknesses, but the coaching staff is giving him much more responsibility than they gave Tyrod Taylor or Bryan Randall as a first year starter. 3) The offensive line has played better than you think they have, but they still play too high to drive people off the ball. They pick up their assignments, but they don't push thie D line back into the laps of the linebackers and safeties, which keeps them from effectively scraping into the gaps. 4) Marcus Davis has to be the biggest dissappointment on offense. For all his physical gifts, he can't maximize them because he just doesn't get open. 5) David Wilson runs hard, but as I said earlier in the year, his effort coupled with his lack of instinct and vision will result in ball security issues. 6) Delmer's problem isn't mental. He just doesn't have the leg strength to be a d1 punter. 7) The secondary looked disinterested this game. They have to be much tougher physically and much less prone to busting coverages in order to beat Clemson. 3 plays in the last 2 games (Fuller getting beat, Hosley stripping the ball, and Exum getting burnt despite an incomplete) would have been3 TD's for Clemson. I have not even watched the Bonner play yet. First series- Not much to say. Marshall had a non-descript run, a drop, and then Hosley got toasted. I am not sure what he was doing there, but he wasn't jumping the route. It looked like he thought he had safety help. Big time hustle to make up for it and cause the fumble.

First series O- short roll, LT3 doesn't set his feet and almost throws a pick on a short rule. He comes back to Coles on 2nd down on a short stop route. Good throw, but the corner was a mile off. If someone plays cover 2 versus the Hokies to take away that short throw, can Logan beat them throwing down the seams? It looks like either Nosal or Miller got pushed right into LT3's lap on the pass by a blitzing backer. On 3rd and short... it looked like the blocking was fine. The hole was there. Wilson tripped over the back of Phillips legs. Phillips is often too high, but he still turned the defender out. There is no excuse for a starting DI eye TB to not get that first down.

Delmer stinks. It has nothing to do with consistency. He has DIII leg strength. Get the freshman on the field.

2nd series on D- There is JR Collins again from the backside. That doesn't happen unless both defensive tackles have the inside gaps locked down. Edwards and Taylor both look great filling as well. Clemson should be play action and throwing right behind the middle backers to stop them from coming forward so quickly. None of the Hokie opponents have done anything to make Edwards and Taylor cover anybody. 3rd and long, and Chris Hill jumps a slant that was covered and leaves the flat wide open. That is the first bust I have seen Hill make this year. 1st and ten, Collins causes the sack (Gayle cleans up.) Also good penetration by Derrick Hopkins. 2nd and 12, and the Hokies come after Cato. Exum jumps Hosley's guy on the slant, even though Hosley stayed with him, and Cato misses the slot guy who has 20 yards on every orange jersey. That sure looks like an Exum bust. 2 busted coverages drive. That won't get it done against Clemson. 3rd and 12, AHop and Gayle get a decent rush, but Cato looked like a scared freshman. A cool vet stands in there. Punt.

That is a quality sideline reporter. #Gasp.

2nd O series- Toss play on first down. Safeties fly up. Wilson get's tackled. It looks like every line guy blocked their guy. Not much push though. 2nd and 7, nice pocket, and a nice throw from LT3 to Danny Coale. Marcus Davis looked lost on his route, as he was only 3 steps away from Coale. I think he curled in instead of curling out in the zone. He has failed to impress since the opener. 1st and 10, and the Hokies run a nice sprint draw. Wilson finds the hole this time, and then runs through/by the unblocked man. Well blocked, especially by Nosal and Becton, and Wilson does what we should expect more often. 1st and goal, Wilson has what initially looks like a huge hole, but he slowly bounces to the outside (why?) and gets ankle tackled by an unblocked corner, then the ground causes a fumble. I hate to keep harping on this, but Ryan Williams and/or Darren Evans run through that corner and score. Nobody else is within 3 yards. 2nd and goal, again, should have been a touchdown. Marshall blitzes away from the play and the linebacker has a bad angle. Nosal and Becton didn't cut off backside pursuit, and Wilson didn't give much effort to get the scraping backer, who knocked him into Thomas. Ugh. 3rd and goal, Thomas trucks the Marshall DB (yes!) but Andrew Miller whiffed on a stunt, which caused the scamble. Touchdown!

3rd D series- QB scrambles, Tariq Edwards fills for no gain. Again, he is playing spy and doesn't have to cover anyone. Boise would go after both backers in the passing game. D-line is whipping Marshall but the Hopkins brothers have gotten lazy and turned their pads on the pass rush a couple of times, leaving room for a scamble. JR Collins again tackles the dive man while Hopkins stands up the guard. And then on 3rd down, Marshall goes after Edwards and completes the pass, but the back fell down just short of the 1st down line.

3RD O series- nice bubble screen to Coles where the line bails and gets to the second level. The Herd corners are at least playing 10 yards off the ball. 1st down, Coles again on a slant route. Again no pressure and a big cushion. 2nd and short, it looks like the Hokies have the stretch play set, but Eric MartinĀ and Chris Drager both fail to block Curry, who stepped inside with Martin and then scapes to get Wilson for a big loss. Drager went inside, so it looks like Martin has to get that block. On 3rd down, the Herd runs a dog blitz up the middle, which gummed up a pulling Nosal, but Wilson runs to daylight. A great Danny Coale block helped. 1st down, Nice turnout by DeChristopher and Drager to create a nice seam, and Wilson finishes a run with purpose. 2nd and goal, Wilson runs tough again, with a nice lead block by Scales and a nice turn out by Drager. That block by Scales was more impressive than any block by Phillips this year. On the PAT, the right tackle needs to eat some wheaties. That was sad.

4th D series- first down scramble by Gayle, Hosley looks like he is napping and gets beaten badly on a deep comeback route. Fuller gets beat on a similar route to the wide side. 1st down, and JGW gets juked silly by Cato, but Edwards fills to save a bigger play. It looks like the Tech D is letting up a bit. End of the 1st quarter.

Tech's O looks ok. No awful throws by Thomas after the first one. O line was solid. Wilson had some nice runs and some he should have back. Special teams and the secondary really didn't give a good showing of themselves.

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2nd Quarter 2nd Guesses

1st series of the 2nd quarter for the defense. I absolutely love the sideline reporter. Apparently she is an assistant producer on Face the Nation with Bob Schaeffer. 3rd and 4 for Marshall, and they run a designed rollout. JGW does an excellent job of jumping the out route in his short zone on a designed rollout, and Cato is forced backwards by an unblocked JR Collins. He throws back to the wide side out of bounds. FG Marshall, but a good job by the defense tightening down after a poor start to the series.

Kickoff return, and Wilson runs into the back of his blocker despite a huge hole to the left side of the block. I am just shaking my head. Fantastic blocking by the Hokie wedge. 1st and ten, and again the Hokies run the short hitch. If I am a defensive coordinator, I would play cover two ALL DAY LONG and make Thomas beat you on intermediate routes. Coles runs hard after the catch, but he isn't elusive. 2nd and short, Marshall runs the zone play and Jaymes Brooks gets pushed back. There wasn't much there even if he isn't pushed back. 3rd and short, Hokies run the I power. The backside defensive end scrapes down and makes the tackle. Becton and Nosal doubled the defensive tackle and knocked him 3 yards backwards. Either the play design allowed the DE to be unblocked, or Becton should have chipped then end before he doubled the tackle. Oglesby still got the first by sticking his nose in there. 1st and ten, Hokies go play action from their double TE (one wing) look, which is their best running formation. Marshall blitzs (with Andrew Miller getting beat) but Thomas throws a deep ball to Coale in traffic. Coale makes a nice catch, but it looks like Drager and the other WR are wide open, and their are two guys near Coale and 2 more guys within 7 yards. Do ACC safties make LT3 pay for that throw?

I, twins right on 1st and 10, Hokies run the power play to the left (shortside.) Marshall blows the play up. It looks like Marshall has both DT's, a DE, and all three backers from the right guard gap over to the left side of the line. LT3 should have audibled to an off-tackle run off the left side. Hokies were outmanned, and it didn't help that the OL got zero push. Jaymes Brooks was pushed 3 yards backwards and didn't get his head by the Marshall backside DT. 2nd and long, shotgun with two backs, LT3 with a shakey throw to Wilson in the right flat. Wilson makes chicken salad for 5 yards. That was not a good throw, especially when you consider that LT3 was going to Wilson all the way. He never looked downfield. Again, a decent pocket, but I have seen more pressure from the middle than we have normally seen this year. Third and 6 (Hokies keep Drager in on passing downs, and he is going out on routes. Shotgun, 2 WR and a TE left. Throw goes back to Coles to the one WR side on a post. He was interfered with, but it was a hot overthrow. Danny Coale ran a short drag from the slot, using a Drager "pick" to get open just short of the marker. Coles would have been open as well, but it was a tougher throw. 1st and ten, and Eric Martin is wide open on a little out route after criss crossing with the wideout. LT3 throws it late, and behind Martin. Again, good enough against a MAC team, but that throw needs to get there quicker against Clemson. Nice YAC by Martin. I love that O'Cain is using play action much more this year. 1st and goal, great turnout block by Becton and down block by Nosal, and Oglesby finishes the run. THAT IS FOOTBALL. Touchdown Tech.

So far, it looks like the Hokies are doing whatever they want in the passing game. The run blocking hasn't been as sharp, but Marshall is selling out to stop the run.

2nd D series- shotgun, Marshall runs a draw and both Hopkins brothers get push and take away the lanes. The backers again are both there to fill. Gain of 1. 3rd and long, the Hokies give a solid contain rush, and again, the linebacker (this time Taylor) steps in and fills for a sack. Again, it appears that the two backers have no pass responsibility. They are also using a 3 man DL, with JGW staying in the game as a slot guy.

2nd O series- WR screen left. 6 yards. Good block by Davis. 2nd and 4, and the Hokies run a deep zone left. Brooks gets blown up again and the backside. Miller got whipped too, and his guy makes the tackle. Ugly. 3rd and 4, Marshall brings the house. DeChristopher gets beat inside. Wilson throws a nice block, but he has to step to the defender and not be so close to the QB. LT3 makes a nice adjustment and rolls right, but throws off his back foot. The throw was back to the inside, which gave the Marshall defender the chance to get a hand on the pass. Still, the ball hit Davis in the chest. Make the catch. Very nice protection by Lainer and Nosal on the backside. Nosal is playing better.

Demler sucks.

3rd D series-Backup DL is in. JGW with a nice fill, misses the tackle, but with great effort gets back in the play to tackle Van for a loss, with good backside contain by Luther Maddy and Zach McCray. 2nd a long, and both Maddy and Marshall push the guards into the backfield, and Tyrell Wilson cleans up. Two nice plays for the backup DL. 3rd down, no pass rush but good coverage by Hosley on the boundry. Cato throws it out of bounds. His clock was ticking a little fast.

These are the two worst punters I have seen not wearing a Ferrum jersey.

3rd O series- Good blocks, again short hitch route to Davis. Then a nice hard count from LT3. He sure is under center a bunch now even in passing situations. His footwork is getting better slowly but surely. 2nd and 1, nice pass blocking but LT3 doesn't find anyone. Good contain by the Marshall DE. Nice off tackle power play on 3rd and 1. It seems like the Hokies run left much more on short yardage. Via is doing a better job on the mammoth DT for Marshall than Brooks was doing. He doesn't have the size or the slow center of gravity, but he is getting his head in front of Bullock rather than standing up and playing paddy cake. Nosal had a real nice lead block pulling on the play. George George is also blocking well on short yardage. 1st down, beautiful pocket and a nice seam throw to Danny Coale, who makes a nice leaping grab. Again, all three routes were deep. I would like to see a short, intermediate, and deep route on plays to space the field better. Also, Coale is jumping for these balls. Let's hope there isn't a LaRon Landry clone in the ACC. 1st and ten, EYE twins left, and another power play up the middle. Good push on the left side and a tough run by Wilson. Via gets low backside and turns Bullock out. He needs more leg drive at guard, but he will get a look at tackle. Strong block playside versus the eagle weak NT by Nosal. 2nd and 6, the Hokies run a draw. Wilson gets 4 cutting strong side. It looked like backside had more room. 3rd and 1, the NT again lines up eagle weak, and doesn't adjust to motion. Drager gets whipped inside, and both he and the DE collide with Via pulling backside, and the safety comes through unblocked playside. Drager has to get off on the snap count there, and hit the jersey on his line. He barely bumped Curry, even though he had space for a nice downblock. Journell looked alright on that kick.

Final D series- Do I want to watch? Why are they blitzing up 20? Curl route behind the zone linebacker (JWG). Uh oh, the coaches are finally seeing what I see. 2nd down, a short drag right to the soft spot behind the blitzing backer. One broken tackle and its a big play, but nice hustle by Marshall and Maddy to chase down a quick WR from behind. Again, the soft spot is at the hashes about 2 yards behind where the backers line up. Blitz again, and no safety help for Bonner. I have absolutely no clue what Bonner was trying to do there. He lunged at the WR, and was beat before the guy cleared him. I hope our corner depth is better than that.

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

Holy Bajeesus

so detailed! Love it. Sometimes I miss the true mechanics of the game. Thanks!

Great analysis

Wasp, I couldn't agree any more than I do with your list, that I feel needs re-posting:

1) The defensive line and middle backers are a strength of this team.

2) Logan Thomas has some weaknesses, but the coaching staff is giving him much more responsibility than they gave Tyrod Taylor or Bryan Randall as a first year starter.

3) The offensive line has played better than you think they have, but they still play too high to drive people off the ball. They pick up their assignments, but they don't push the D line back into the laps of the linebackers and safeties, which keeps them from effectively scraping into the gaps.

4) Marcus Davis has to be the biggest disappointment on offense. For all his physical gifts, he can't maximize them because he just doesn't get open.

5) David Wilson runs hard, but as I said earlier in the year, his effort coupled with his lack of instinct and vision will result in ball security issues.

6) Demler's problem isn't mental. He just doesn't have the leg strength to be a d1 punter.

7) The secondary looked disinterested this game.

Row Z forever.

from what i remember while watching the game, i agree with all of this except #6. while it very well could be leg strength, i think some of it has to do with his back endurance/pain. i'm sure the writers have overplayed the issues with his back, but try kicking a ball as hard as you can and feel your back muscles tense up. usually i agree with the decisions our coaches make, but in this case they should have taken one look at his issues and told him thank you for trying out. i really hope they're able to sort this out soon, as he isn't getting any better, but our competition is.

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@j3ffress

3rd quarter 2nd guesses

Opening O series- shotgun. Again short curl to Coles, but the Marshall defender jumped the route. Again, that makes me nervous. 2nd down, shotgun trips left, and LT3 mixes it up with a nice short out to Drager. Good pass blocking. 1st and ten, the Hokies go to an offset pistol. Veer dive to Wilson. Nosal was supposed to trap the linebacker, but the LB cut inside his block to tackle Wilson. That is a solid play by the linebacker, and a tough block for Nosal to go flat down the line, turn up to the backer, and get there covering twice as much distance as the quicker defender. 2nd and long, play action again. I can't see the WR's downfield. LT3 has plenty of time, but doesn't pull the trigger. After a short scramble, he throws a fire route to Coles, who was out of bounds. Well blocked, but it troubles me that the safeties are flying up to stop the run, but nobody is open on a good play fake. Slow developing routes. 3rd and long, and again there is a great blitz pickup, but LT3 doesn't pull the trigger. Either nobody is getting open or he is too hesitant. Punt from Coale, and that one had zero hang time. PLAY THE DAMN FRESHMAN!

1st D series- Great penetration by AHop, but solid gap control across the front 4. 2nd and 9: Fuller jumps the route, Cato pumps, and JR Collins gets the sack from behind. I read a bunch about Gayle and this game, but Collins has looked more impressive so far. 3rd and long, pressure by Taylor on a weakside blitz causes an easy interception for Exum. Great series to open the half despite the letdown from the offense being stopped.

2nd O series- Two TE, single back balanced look. LT3 audibles when he reads blitz. Again, a quick out in front of a corner playing 10 yards off. Nice read, but again, can it happen against better teams? 1st and ten, quick pitch to Wilson. George George throws a nice block, but the backside OL can't cut block the LBs to stop the pursuit. Wilson made some nice moves to get 4 yards. 2nd and 7, play action again, and a nice inside curl route to Coale. Nice simple short gain. Wilson gets called for the chop block. As a wing-t lineman, I hate the call, but Wilson has to know that he can't hit a guy low who is still engaged with a lineman. 2nd and 23 and LT3 again goes to an out route against cover 3 with the corner off. This is a little deeper to Coale. 3rd and 14, ugh, bad throw into traffic. Nobody was there. And Journall misses again. Ugh.

2nd D series: Run stop, QB pressure for an incompletion (good coverage and Gayle gets there late.) Third down and Edwards goes into a short zone and flips the Marshall back. Good series.

3rd O series: 1st and 10, single back TE wing, the "bread and butter" single back off tackle play we have seen Tech use extensively since Brandon Ore was in Maroon, and the Hokies get a nice down block from George George to seal the end, and Via pulls to kick out the linebacker. Via may be pushing Brooks for some playing time. 2nd and 4. I, TE right, twins left. Tendencies say power play to the weakside. They run power play to the strong side. So far I have not seen play action from the I with twins. Well blocked and tough running by Wilson. Shotgun 1st and 10 trips left. All deep routes. I'd like to see that play with one guy staying short in combination. Incomplete (nowhere to go.) 2nd and 10, again the bread and butter zone play. This time Via seals the end/OLB and Wilson gets a big run. Also, excellent blocks by DeChristopher and George. 3rd and 2, and they run the same type of off tackle play, but the TE turns the DE out and Via turns up into the hole. The hole is there, but Wilson tries to bounce it and runs right into the back of George George, who is engaged with Curry. This drives me nuts about Wilson. Hit the hole, and get the first down. Poor vision (watch it at 1 hour and 43 minutes into the video and judge for yourself.) Punt. Chik Fil A on Sunday my ass.

Coale was VERY slow getting that punt off.

3rd D series- 1st down, Taylor and Edwards are again covering the flat. Two nice plays to set up a 3rd and 15. Foster blitzes again (why at this point?) and a great throw beats Fuller. Bad defensive play call if you ask me. Not getting into as much detail, but Maddy stood out drawing a holding call. Hokies look suspect against bubble screens with their press coverage. Nice gap control and penetration by Gayle to stop the 3rd and short.

4th O series- 1st and 10, bubble screen left. Nice block by Coale sets up nice YAC for Coles. Brooks in back in this series. Oglesby in for Wilson. Oglesby with a straight dive after an LT3 audible for the 1st down. That may have been a dummy audible. 1st and ten, and the Hokies use the off tackle one back power back to the left. Nice blocking, but Oglesby needs to protect the ball. LT3 with a nice pass underneath to Oglesby (has Wilson caught a pass this year?) after excellent protection. 1st and 10, and another short curl to Coles.

*WATCH FOR O'CAIN TO GO DOUBLE MOVE ON CLEMSON FIRST SERIES!!!!!!! They are beating these short curl routes to death.

End of the 3rd Quarter

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

4th quarter 2nd Guesses

Oglesby with a big run from the shotgun (Hokies have not run much from the shotgun this game), again well blocked. 1st and 10, and Oglesby with a nice cutback after excellent backside blocks by Randall Dunn (GASP) and Nick Becton. 2nd and short, and Oglesby hits the small hole with a purpose and scores a touchdown. Well blocked again, but the hole was small. He may be pushing Wilson for carries after that drive.

I am going to stop at this point. After watching three quarters I have the following observations:

1) This was LT3's best game as a Hokie.
2) The Hokies ran very little of their shotgun veer QB read option series.
3) Hokies beat the short curl routes to death. I would be stunned if Clemson's corners jump the first short curl route. Who do you pick to go out and up?
4) The defensive line was again excellent, as were Taylor and Edwards, but the biggest defensive key will be to see if the Hokies can play single safety man and stop Clemson's running game using only their front 7. If the safeties have to help in the run game, I think the Hokies will have a very tough time stopping play action.
5) Kicker and punter. Fix it. I don't care how. Fix it.

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

If it is Delmer's back, then that is even one more reason why he should not be on the field.

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

that's what the beat writers keep talking about. and i totally agree.

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@j3ffress