Improvement Needed on 3rd-and-1

Third-and-one. Time to put that Farmhouse steak dinner to use and win the line of scrimmage.

Short distance third downs are one of the more exciting and important plays for an offense. The first goal of creating such opportunities has been achieved, but it's a lost cause if the chains aren't moved.

Because it's such a critical down, I went back and took at look at last year's performance on 3rd-and-1.

Hokie Tracks Are All Smiles

25 More Days... via VTPhreak4evr ranks the Hokies 12th in their 120 countdown. They echo HokieJoe3's modest and reasonable expectations for Logan Thomas.

Thomas has garnered all sorts of hype, and his size and athleticism have even resulted in some comparisons to Cam Newton. But no reasonable fan should expect Thomas to replicate Taylor's 2010 season, let alone Newton's Heisman-winning campaign.

Rivals preview isn't hurrying the next Hype-O-Meter off the presses (or exported out of Photoshop as it were). I'll be happy if Logan just mitigates rookie mistakes and takes command of the huddle.

Virginia Tech had 32 takeaways and only 13 giveaways last season to lead the nation in turnover margin. It will be interesting to see if the Hokies take care of the ball equally well this season now that they are inexperienced in their backfield.

Positive turnover margin (+2 BC, +2 NC State, 0 WF, +1 Duke, 0 GT, +6 UNC, +5 Miami, +1 UVa, +2 FSU), that's how Tech overcame the shortcomings of a young and average-at-best defense last season to win the ACC. The ball never bounces the same way twice, so I'm not banking on us leading the nation again.

Nick Acree Moved to Offensive Line

As reported by Hokies long snapper Collin Carroll, Nick Acree is now an offensive lineman.

Here's what defensive line coach Charley Wiles had to say last week about Acree to Kyle Tucker.

Not ready. Not reliable enough, not a consistent enough performer. Not a very instinctive football player right now. Kind of a robot. Tries to apply everything you’re saying literally. I mean, play a little bit. Everything isn't going to work exactly like we say it. We’re trying to coach you, but there comes a point where you've got to play. Right now, coming out of spring and what I saw today ... I don’t see a guy who's instinctive enough right now. If we can get two years out of Nick somewhere through this process, I would call it a win.

As of right now, that two years won't be at defensive tackle.

Hokies Football Media Day

Coach Beamer, Jayron Hosley, Eddie Whitley, Logan Thomas and David Wilson answered the media's questions and discussed their thoughts on the upcoming season today. Here are my notes, quotes and opinions from their Q&A session.


The Frankinator

- On coaching his 25th year at Virginia Tech Beamer said he's "very fortunate". He notes a patient administration when he first started, upgraded facilities and great coaches that have been part of the program.

- The hiring of Shane and Cornell haven't changed the staff's dynamic. "We've got two more guys in the room with a great future and then I got the two guys in the room that I rely on heavily in Cav and Billy. If anything we've got more good people here at Virginia Tech."

- Beamer wanted Shane to get out and move to different stops while young, "the security in this business is knowing people."

- Describing Boykin, "He works hard, he doesn't say much, but he's productive. And he's a great, great kid and that's the kind we like hanging around here. He's very businesslike."

- On Dyrell being listed as a first-team kick returner, "I think Dyrell is fine... as explosive as ever."

- Beamer thinks Logan has a lot of the same qualities as Tyrod, "smart, he's competitive, he works hard, very natural leader, great character, lot of the same things as Tyrod, except he's four inches taller and I think that helps him on some throws, being able to see down the middle of the field better, and get the ball over, to people on screens and delays." "The thing he doesn't have is experience... and experience is a wonderful thing, and when you don't have it he's got to play through some stuff."

- "When I first started here, I was just trying to get to the next week." "I just thought we'd always be successful at Virginia Tech."

- Regarding Martin Scales being tied with Joey Phillips on the depth chart at fullback, "he's tough, he's athletic, very aggressive, again a guy that doesn't say a lot, but great kid and he's productive on the field."

- On knowing that LT3 would be the next quarterback, "beneficial to our whole football team, settles us down and full speed ahead."

- On David Wilson embracing his role as featured tailback, "all indications are he's looking forward to it, so far in the first few practices he hasn't slowed down yet, he moves fast, gets around the facilities here fast, the whole deal. I said at media day, the more times we give the ball to David, the more times we're going to realize what a tremendous player this guy is. He's got speed, he's got strength, and he's got power, and he's a great kid."

- When Beamer first saw Thomas in his office he thought he'd be an H-Back, albeit a big H-Back. Then he and Stinespring saw him play, and thought he could be a quarterback. "Just like Tyrod was the right kind of guy to lead your football team, Logan is the right kind of guy to lead your football team."

- Beamer didn't really bat an eye about Wilson starting at tailback and kickoff returner, cited Jayron being a special player starting at corner and punt returner last year. Special teams are the quickest way to win a football game.

- Beamer felt Logan's best chance at the NFL was at quarterback and that's how he "sold" him on the change.

- "Big and gaudy is how we like 'em." Beamer describing his 2010 ACC Championship Ring.

- Beamer really likes the depth on the offensive line, close to having a two-deep line. Beamer really likes center Andrew Miller, "when you're a great wrassler, you're usually a pretty good football player. Understands leverage and he's got balance."

- About Twitter, Beamer puffed up in his chair, threw his shoulders back and lifted his head, "Do you think I'm on Twitter?" He's not going to eliminate Twitter like other coaches, rather educate the players.

- Justin Meyer is talented, tremendous leg, but he has trouble hitting the ball in the same spot every time and his constancy suffers because of it.


Virginia Tech started football practice yesterday at 5:00 PM. It's happening.

The Frankinator is getting the boys fired up. Bud's chewin' on some food for thought. Stiney's not coordinating the offense and LT3 is in the middle of it all. Kickoff is that much closer, 29 days away you guys.

The following quotes from Coach Beamer, Wiles and O'Cain were transcribed by VT Football Camp Confidential unless otherwise noted.

Coach Beamer:

"Well, the way it's set-up, NCAA-wise, you go in shorts for two days, shoulder pads for two days, then full pads for a day. The biggest thing that I want to get squared away is our kickers, right now. I think some back-ups on defensive line, some back-ups in our secondary, who is going to be our six receivers that we are going to go with. Those are the things that we need to go get settled on. For the most part, we know who should be our starters. It would be nice if some of these younger guys could come in here, back-up and have a positive effect on the team."

The task of naming his starting kickers sounds like it's a blocker on Beamer's mental Gantt chart. It's the first thing he's mentioned needed to be done in every interview he's given going back to spring. Journell and Coale have to be the odds-on-favorites to win the kicking and punting jobs respectively. Beamer said as much to Kyle Tucker.

Beamer said after practice that wide receiver Danny Coale's summertime tweaks to his punting technique have helped and that he looked good today and remains the leader to win the starting job. Crazy, right? Beamer also said Cody Journell still looks like the guy who'll win Tech's field goal gig.

Six receivers? Consider that our 5th and 6th receivers last season, D.J. Coles and Austin Fuller, only caught a combined seven balls all of last season. Perhaps Beamer's looking to spread out the offense a bit more.

Hokies To Watch This Fall Camp

As camp starts today, we're waiting for so many questions to be answered. This year seems so different, doesn't it? Last year's camp had one of the most celebrated Virginia Tech players of all time leading our offense. We had the utmost confidence in our 1,600+ yard running back. We had John Graves, who was the latest installment of Bud Foster's defense personified. Those are the kind of guys that had you feeling at ease when you thought about leadership and production.

The next generation of those cornerstones are taking the field today, and we have a pretty good idea of who they are, but it's not 100%. Nothing is 100% right now.

And that's why today is so exciting. Logan Thomas takes over as QB1. David Wilson takes control of the backfield. Jayron Hosely is going to show us how agile he is on ESPN Sports Science.

But, again, there are so many questions to be answered the next 30 days.

Here are some Hokies we should be keeping an eye on this month, as their development could pay big dividends this fall:

Hokies 13th in Preseason Coaches Poll

Florida State and Virginia Tech are the only two ACC teams ranked. Miami (49), UNC (14), Clemson(7), N.C. State (4), Georgia Tech (1) all received votes. Based on their schedule I think Miami has a chanced to be ranked in the bottom quarter of the poll by the time they head north to Blacksburg. What do you guys think, is 13th too high, too low or just about right?

Aug. 4, 2011 - preseason poll

Rank Team (first-place
2010 record Points Final 2010 ranking
1. Oklahoma
12-2 1,454 6
2. Alabama
10-3 1,414 11
3. Oregon
12-1 1,309 3
4. LSU
11-2 1,296 8t


Analyzing the 2011 Roster

Players reported today to get measured and weighed before the start of August practice tomorrow. What follows after the jump is a before and after comparison of their measurements, some notes and some breaking transfer news.

Orange Pants in 2011?

Last year we learned what our 2010 Nike Pro Combat uniforms would look like when I saw them on display at a Dick's Sporting Goods in Fairfax, VA days before the official announcement.

And now here's a picture of orange pants on display in Charlotte via @brooksaker.

Oh please let these be paired with the orange helmets.

My guess, without any confirmed information is we'll see Antone Exum and the rest of the team rocking those pants at some point this season.

Hokie Tracks Have Impressed Peter King

NFL-Hokies. As of right now Tyrod Taylor is taking all the second team QB snaps for the Ravens. He's impressed both offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and longtime coffee critic / NFL writer Peter King.

Cameron said. "This kid is special and you guys that have watched him play [at Virginia Tech], you guys have seen him play more than I have, but you saw the practice. We have got a heck of a young quarterback. It is asking a lot out of him, but right now, we're getting him ready to play."

Roc Carmichael and Ryan Williams signed their NFL contracts last weekend. Saturday Roc signed a four-year, $2.43 million contract that included a $397,088 signing bonus, and Sunday Williams inked for four years, $5.007 million, including a $2.14 million signing bonus.

Suspended wide receiver Xavier Boyce was indicted on felony child-endangerment charges.

Boyce and his girlfriend, Angela Hutchins, were arrested on March 23 after an investigation by Blacksburg police. It was initiated by a call from the Department of Social Services when Boyce's infant child suffered internal head injuries on Jan. 31.

The charges against Hutchins, the child's mother, have been dropped. Boyce, a fourth-year junior, could face up to five years in prison if convicted of the Class 6 felony.

I'm going to reserve my opinions until after the legal process resolves itself, but if it means anything the first thing I did in my NCAA '12 dynasty was cut Boyce.

Blake DeChristopher Reportedly Out 4-6 Weeks

If you were following along this morning, you caught rumblings that preseason All-ACC tackle Blake DeChristopher suffered a pectoral injury. At the time the extent of the damage or how long he'd be out for was unknown. Later in the morning noted DeChristopher would be out two weeks and left guard Greg Nosal isn't 100% ready to practice, still recovering from his offseason shoulder surgery.

HokieSports released an update this afternoon stating DeChristopher would be out 4-6 weeks.

I don't want to speculate on the reason for the confusion between two sites that should be on the same page, but it seems like the injury is a little more severe than was thought before noon.

If the offensive line is going to be successful this season they need DeChristopher and Nosal healthy. DeChristopher has 37 career starts, 22 in a row, and is referred to as "the leader of a veteran line", in the media guide. Nosal started every game last year, over 800 snaps in his career, including one with a nub for a pinky finger. In my opinion these are our toughest and best two offensive linemen.

What To Do With DJ Coles?

Those of you who logged on to this morning were greeted with a positional breakdown of the coaches' biggest concerns heading into fall camp this week.

Pretty standard stuff. I won't reveal too much, as I'm worried Greg Roberts' smooth question-asking abilities will haunt my dreams. What I will reveal is that every position has its usual football concerns: depth, injuries, experience, etc.

Well, every position but one: Wide receiver.

Preseason Position Grades

The Hokies begin preseason practice on Thursday. Aside from the games themselves, August camp is when we learn the most about the players on the team. A the end of camp we'll know how good or bad we are from listening to the coaches, reading practice reports and watching the scrimmages.

But how do we stand right now? Here's my modest attempt at ranking each position. For the most part, I'm trying to avoid the hype and positive prognostications and evaluate each positional unit based on actual on-the-field evidence as the average sum of its parts. Experience and depth matter the most.

Quarterbacks: C+

The quarterbacks are all talented, have wowed us in practice, but have very little actual game experience. The unknown scares me. It's perfectly acceptable to be impressed by freakish athleticism and dominance in exhibitions. However, quarterbacks proves their worth by how they perform in games, under pressure while taking it in the chops.

Fullbacks: B-

Joey Phillips proved he could open holes during goal line situations last year. He'll be fine handling the starting duties this season. Martin Scales adds the necessary depth.

Tailbacks: B+

The BCO's All 20-Year-Team

From Drop Box


The other day, I was curiously* thinking about NFL free agency and in some roundabout way it got me to thinking, about the Hokies ... and my All-Hokie team. Over the last twenty years (since my freshman year in 1991) what would my perfect Hokie starting lineup look like? All of the guys on my team are all conference, but they aren't necessarily the best during that time, just my favorites.

Let me just say it pained me to leave off the following players, I loved all of these guys:
Tyrod Taylor, Jim Druckenmiller, Lee Suggs, Jarret Ferguson, Bryan Still, Antonio Davis, Cornell Brown, John Engleberger, Jim Davis, Jonathan Lewis, Jamel Smith, Xavier Adibi, George Del Ricco, Macho Harris, Ike Charlton, Aaron Rouse and Torrian Gray, but they just didn't quite make the cut. You might as well call these guys my second team!

Without further ado my 20-Year-Team ...

Hokie Tracks Are Following Danny Coale, Quantum Punter

His name is Alston, not Bruce.

"We went up for Junior Day and there were all these people talking to him," Brooks said. "People he didn't know were just coming up and saying, 'This is Bruce Smith's son.' They were being real nice to him, and they'd never met him. He seemed, not annoyed, but uncomfortable."

"A lot of people think I picked Tech just because my dad went there," said Alston, who said he didn't consider family history as a positive or negative. "They showed me the most interest from the start. They sent me handwritten notes. When I was at their camp, I really liked the coaches."

Motivated kid, hall of fame lineage, size and athleticism-- I have to believe we're getting one hell of a "late bloomer".

Jayron Hosley will follow Tyrod and be the second Hokie to be featured on ESPN's "Sports Science".

The segment on Hosley will focus on his speed, reaction time and vision in reading a quarterback, all traits that helped him lead the nation in interceptions last season.

Queue up the Hosley highlights.

Wiz's Boarding Pass, interesting track selection, I would have went with Rick Ross' The Boss.

Fun For Every 'Hoo in Your House!

Virginia football is now available in Valpak! That's right VALPAK, along with other fine retailers and services such as: KLEEN N' TEAM, CLOVER LAWN SALON; RT 250 CROZET, The Great Frame Up, FABIO'S NY PIZZA GREENE RUCKERSVILLE and DRS. RICE & RICE DENTISTRY; RT 250.

BeerControl's biggest scoop to date? I think so.

Starting at $72 and slowly declining to free-for-Hoo-ever-will-come-watch-us-in-November values! Act now, ACT NOW!

*In other news, Virginia Tech season tickets are sold out for the 12th-consecutive season.