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 Martin 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.