Hokie Tracks Want to Run the Dang Ball

Virginia Tech's tempo, 2016 schedule strength, and a 4-star recruit plans to visit.

[tlopcover.com]

I wrote this post with regularity during TKP's infancy. Longtime TKPers will remember it. If its format is new to you, it's a smorgasbord of links to interesting things I've read (usually about Virginia Tech), commentary, and meta.

Run the dang ball. That's the gist at the forefront of Brad Cornelsen's survey of his offensive philosophy.

"We're going to run the ball and try to set up play action," (Cornelsen) said. "We want to try to move fast. You can line up, be simple, hand off the ball, and mow people down, if you've got the people to do that. Or, if you don't, you have to find a way to get yardage on the ground to give your quarterback a chance to play well.

Shortly after he was hired at Virginia Tech, Scot Loeffler made a similar promise which never fully materialized. Although, Cornelsen inherits a much better situation, not only from a talent perspective (due in part to Loeffler's recruiting efforts), but unlike Loeffler and Frank Beamer, Cornelsen has an existing working relationship with his boss, Justin Fuente. Their familiarity and being on the same page should help ease the offensive transition in Blacksburg.

Crootin'. Expect the Hokies to get a visit from 4-star defensive end Yetur Matos before he commits.

"I gave [Virginia Tech defensive coordinator] Bud Foster my word that we will get down there and see them again and spend some time with them before we move forward with this process," (his father Rob Matos) said.

Matos added that he would like to see his son make an oral commitment in early spring. However, he didn't rule an earlier decision if the timing and circumstances feel right.

"He could decide he wants to do something tomorrow," Matos said. "And as long as I'm good with it, we'll move forward."

If you recall, Matos is one of 2017 prospects fellow 4-star DE TyJuan Garbutt is recruiting to Tech. Both play ball in Fredericksburg, Matos at Chancellor and Garbutt at Riverbend.

Analyzing Virginia Tech's schedule strength. Preliminary projected S&P+ ratings for 2016 were recently released, and Virginia Tech is ranked No. 32. Let's see where the Hokies' 2016 opponents fall, and draw some initial, superficial conclusions.

Date Opponent Location Projected S&P+
9/10/2016 vs. Tennessee Bristol, TN 9th
11/19/2016 at Notre Dame South Bend, IN 11th
10/8/2016 at North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC 27th
10/27/2016 at Pittsburgh (Thursday) Pittsburgh, PA 29th
10/20/2016 Miami (Thursday) Blacksburg, VA 30th
10/15/2016 at Syracuse Syracuse, NY 44th
9/17/2016 Boston College Blacksburg, VA 50th
11/5/2016 at Duke Durham, NC 51st
11/12/2016 Georgia Tech Blacksburg, VA 54th
11/26/2016 Virginia Blacksburg, VA 68th
9/24/2016 East Carolina Blacksburg, VA 78th
9/3/2016 Liberty Blacksburg, VA N/A

Tech will play its four highest rated opponents away from Lane Stadium. Five teams on the schedule are ranked better than the Hokies, three of which are Coastal Division foes. North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Miami and Tech are clustered together from No. 27 through No. 32 which sets the table for an intriguing divisional race. There are few gimme wins.

Torrian Gray bounced from Blacksburg with SEC speed. Fuente provided details to Teel on how Gray's move south went down.

Fuente said that a few days before signing day Gray, a Floridian, informed him of the potential Gators opportunity. Florida coach Jim McElwain called Fuente the night of signing day to confirm the hiring, Fuente said.

"We really didn't know how serious it was before signing day," Fuente said when I asked if prospects had been informed of Gray's possible departure before signing letters of intent. "To say it moved quickly, I think, is an understatement. It got serious quickly. We didn't really talk to anybody about it because we didn't know all that much about it. I didn't feel like we were being disingenuous. ... So we didn't really address it because we really didn't know there was anything to address."

A question from Twitter.

If Tech's 2016 defense drops off from its production last season, then it's gone off the cliff. The Hokies finished No. 59 nationally in scoring defense, the worst during Bud Foster's tenure (previous low was 45th in 2003 and 2000).

However, to your point both Fuente and Cornelsen have said the increased tempo on offense won't come as an extreme detriment to the defense.

"There's a lot of coaches out there that want to lead the country in total offense, no matter what. That's not what I believe in. I believe in trying to win the game," Fuente said during his introductory press conference in November. "...That being said, we want to change the tempo. That doesn't mean we want to go at such a speed that we hang the defensive side of the ball out to dry so to speak...But we do wanna control the tempo. We have been a run the ball first team. We have made big plays through play action pass, moving the pocket and getting the ball on the perimeter. That's what we'll continue to try to do."

"Our philosophy is simply to get the best guys on our team on the field and find the best way to allow them to make plays, so we're going to try to push the tempo," Cornelsen said on national signing day. "Whatever personnel we end up majoring in, we're going to try to push the tempo and put some pressure on the defense. We're not into snapping the ball as fast as we can just to do it, but we're going to push the tempo when we feel like we can and we need to and protect our defense as much as we can and get leads. Try to run the ball to establish control of the tempo."

Furthermore, I'm skeptical Fuente will even be able to kick it into his highest gear this season. He's remarked about the dearth of wide receivers and how it might hamper pace.

Additionally, a better conditioned and deeper (recruiting) roster will mitigate the effects of a quicker paced offense from stamina and quality of personnel perspectives. These are immediate focusses of the Fuente regime.

And finally, The Key Players Club opens its doors soon.

Comments

Perhaps I'm the only one, but I appreciate this returning. Not only do I get a summary of all the information that is out there that I either didn't know about (like how quick Torrian's move to Florida occurred) or didn't have time to read (like the article on Hokiesports about upping the tempo), but it keeps there from being multiple threads regarding these topics. I hope this comes back to a weekly feature, at least during the off-season.

Agreed! Thanks, Joe!

Go Hokies

Now we just need to resurrect Grillin' with Wolf in some form. I loved the opponent-themed tailgating recipes.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

My life has finally calmed down this year, so I am probably bringing it back this season.

"I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them.' So I'm going with God. I'm going with Virginia Tech." Lee Corso Aug 23, 2000

http://www.thekeyplay.com

I don't know what this is, but I'd like to know. Any links to old articles or whatever this is.

"Hokie religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." Han Solo

Grillin with Wolf

A quick use of the search bar at the top of the page came back with 2 pages of results. Here is the 1st

Run to Win. Pass To Score
Josh Jackson on Ricky Walker - β€œβ€œHe is the captain of this team, He’s the leader. He’s the bell cow, the Pail Holder.β€œ

I assumed it wasn't originally on TKP since I've been here awhile and didn't remember it, apparently it happened earlier on in my TKP days before I was on everyday. Thanks for the heads up.

"Hokie religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." Han Solo

Random responses:
- Glad to hear we will get a visit from Matos. May be token, we haven't seemed to be near the top with his recruitment, but better we are going against UNC and PSU instead of Bama and FSU.
- All those S&P+ rankings....and the one that sticks out is Syracuse at #44? Seems like twice too high. And ECU at #78 basically guarantees we will lose that game.
- What's up with TGray's shorts? I can't put my finger on what it is that I hate about them, but they make him look 50, not 40.

It's the length plus tucking his shirt in. Plus the socks don't help. Textbook old man fashion.

Hey there, go easy now. I resemble that remark.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

It's cool. No judgement here.

No worries, mate. I chuckled at his look when I saw the picture. I don't have to worry much, though. My wife would have corrected my wardrobe/presentation before I could have made it out the door.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Thank God for good wives, they save us often from much embarrassment.

True. They also never let us live that embarrassment down when they don't or can't save us from ourselves.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I dress like that just to embarrass my daughter.

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

That belt's tight though

Some people spend their entire life wondering if they made a difference, Marines don't have that problem

- What's up with TGray's shorts? I can't put my finger on what it is that I hate about them, but they make him look 50, not 40.

It's the pleats

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

But they're flat front.

Nice VT kicks though

The Dude Abides

Super glad this is back! Thank you!

February..'96...the steak: ribeye, the whiskey:Lagavulin 16, the lady next to me: a bit**.....

But imma buy one anyway.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

Something had to hook under the edge of the bottle cap.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

Ohh, The Key Players Club. I like it!

Oh man. Hokie Tracks was the best. So pumped to see this return.

Also, didn't at one point we have like a Hokie History thing where French talked about some of the pre-2000s era Hokies? Or am I just dreaming about that? Either way it seems like something cool we could do where once a week we went back and highlighted some former greats in VT History.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

Really like what we have heard about the offense from Fuente and Cornelsen. We've definitely heard "tempo" stressed a lot, and I like a commitment to running the football. I also am not expecting a top 20 offense right off the bat, but it wouldn't surprise me to see us have a very good one as the season goes along. It's refreshing to hear the coaches talk about building the offense around the personnel we have and what they can perform best, rather than work all offseason on something, find out it's not working midway through the season, and have to scratch and claw to get yardage any way possible. I'm thankful for the foundation that Lefty put in place and the talent he left behind, but I think overall what he tried to implement here was a little overly ambitious given the rebuilding job and lack of depth at key spots. Looking forward to seeing how quickly the players adjust to Fuente and Cornelsen's scheme and how the execution improves.

I have a hard time believing loluva is ranked higher than ECU and Liberty...

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
β€œI served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

Beat me to it....Was wondering the same thing.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

New Coach must have bumped them up 10 spots.

After watching what the Panthers did this past year, you can absolutely light up good defenses through the air with a run based offense. Give me a healthy dose of Marshawn, Shai, and Travon, with misdirection behind the LOS with Motley, Lawson, or Jackson, with Bucky, Cline, Ford, and Phillips all either ready for the quick screen, going out for the pass, or ready to set up blocks for the runner... All the while, running the hurry up?

Goodnight, nurse. Have fun stopping that

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

You mean Evans right? ;)

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

Hah! Yeah, completely forgot about him.

Yeesh, we have an embarrassment of riches at QB

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

No love for Evans?? But yes, I agree. I think at least two of the incoming WR class are going to be huge contributors as well (from what the coaches have said, Deablo is a beast, and Denmark has some serious speed). I have a feeling we will see Deon Newsome back out there too, and I think Wiggins remarked that Fuente is fighting for Stroman full time on O. I hope Marshawn will be ready by the fall, but I think Travon and Shai could be a devastating 1-2 punch.

I'd love to see more of Stroman on offense. I felt like there were so many times this season where he ran the jet sweep motion and then no one covered him because he never got the ball. He just stood near the sideline with about ten yards of space around him, but he never got the ball. I think he can be dangerous.

Yeah, if Fuente can find ways to get him the ball in space, he could be great. I remembered hearing he was going to offense full time last year after Pitt, but he basically was just the designated jet sweep guy, then eventually went back to defense. I think they can definitely find a role for him with quick screens and quick crossing routes. Give him a little space, and he could take a 4-5 yard catch to the house.

I don't want to see Strohman on the offense. He is a promising DB and punt returner and shouldn't have too much on his plate. Newsome can fill his role on the sweeps and in the slot and we have 4 freshman incoming receivers

I think Stroman has potential on both sides of the ball and he should go wherever he fits best in the system. To me he seems to fit better on offense. I think his speed gives him so much potential with the ball in his hands or running routes. He certainly did well as a corner, but I think we have better options there.

It will be interesting to see if Shibest can make a good punt returner out of Strohman. He has shown flashes of potential, but his performance last year left room for improvement.

"Our job as coaches is to influence young people's lives for the better in terms of fundamental skills, work ethic, and doing the right thing. Every now and again, a player actually has that effect on the coaching staff." Justin Fuente on Sam Rogers

Stroman told me he would run forward if people stopped using an H in his name.

Lol I actually looked at a post up-thread to make sure I spelled it correctly. Sorry about that, Grehg.

"Our job as coaches is to influence young people's lives for the better in terms of fundamental skills, work ethic, and doing the right thing. Every now and again, a player actually has that effect on the coaching staff." Justin Fuente on Sam Rogers

Very happy that Hokie Tracks is back.

Additionally, I'd like to point out that the picture on the article is not getting near enough love. Well done Joe.

Twitter me

This. That graphic should be winning the Hokie Internet today.

RVA Hokie. Class of 2011.

About that. Somebody fill me in. I saw Questlove posted something similar on Instagram. Apparently he wanted some fried food.

New Kanye album about to drop

Twitter me

The new album also has a reference to having sex with Taylor Swift which is causing major celebrity drama. Not that anyone cares. Aaaaaand I just outed myself as a Talor Swift fan.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

Taylor Swift is amazing and Kanye is an insufferable douche. His recent twitter rants making that ever more obvious.

That's a very liberal use of the word 'amazing'

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

She has written or cowritten almost (or maybe all) all of her songs. Her last 4 albums are excellent from top to bottom: Fearless, Speak Now, Red, and 1989. As someone who has an extensive enjoyment of and diverse taste in music, it's almost impossible for someone who truly loves good music to say she isn't extremely talented with a tremendous understanding of music. There's a lot of reasons people CHOOSE to not like her, that hold no merit in the quality of her songs. In summation, I don't think the use was liberal at all, and a tremendous number of people would agree with me.

My enjoyment of music, while extensive, is mostly as an audience with only a mildly above average understanding of music theory. But I have a significant group of friends who music is their primary passion/career and they all believe she is a tremendous talent and enjoy her work despite their styles often being very different.

What is good music is always in the eyes of the beholder, I have always felt that anyone who called rap a music is laughable. Then again, no one appointed me the god of music.

She's good looking.

___

-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

Did you forget the /s, or are you trying to imply she is not talented? /s

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

It's that grey area of should I just throw it on, or assume enough people are in on the joke?

___

-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

Could be like If You're Reading This It's Too Late or the more used Straight outta Blacksburg.

I don't think TKP is the right demo for that picture but nicely done Joe

yep. Totally went over my head, but I suppose Joe, like Fuente&Co has to try to keep up with the times to draw in new interest. stevebuscemi.gif

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

football and pop culture are far from mutually exclusive

Twitter me

Absolutely but TKP and hip hop culture are pretty far apart as evidenced by gokartmozarts crowd pleasing post.

A long time ago? Jesus Joe way to make me feel old haha but no really I always loved these. I looked at it as a weekly recap thanks again for all you guys do around here

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

"..., move the pocket, ..."

Where was he for this past year's Pitt game. I'm optimistic.

"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. " Rocky B.

Well, collapsing is technically movement so I'd say we moved the pocket against Pitt last year

Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate, and hetzers gonna hetz

after crawling out of my cave and seeing the whole TLOP album cover twitter string I finally understand the article graphic...

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Oh dear lord.... This cover pic is a play on an actual album cover?

I thought Joe was just reusing some old crappy Microsoft Paint template he had created in TKP infancy years.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Torrian's head is big and chest is small. Love is fading.

This was a good post. I like this post. It's a good post.

Bottle opener...hmmm......

Reading that Fredericksburg.com article on Yetur Gross-Matos didn't sound to promising for the good guys as of right now. We've got some work cut out for us in order to be at the top of his (and his dad's) list. He doesn't sound as married to the Commonwealth as Tyjuan is. Idk. Crootin'.

RVA Hokie. Class of 2011.

Keeping in touch with Jordan Williams is even more important now. Kid is a mid 4* now and VT is his dream school we have to close

Keep calm, Gobble on

I didn't know where to post this picture, but the vtfootball snapchat was excellent this morning. About 3-4 minutes of workout footage.

I have 3 favorite teams. VT, Kentucky, and whoever is playing Tennessee.

Loved seeing the kickers out there doing all the drills also.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Joey Slye knows he's gotta keep grinding so he can plow returners into the ground more often.

Damn. Those kids look tired.

Couldn't help but notice the new mobile functionality (scrolling to next new comment and next green comment) and the first member of the key players club. Looks like you've been busy, Joe. Both look awesome.

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

β€œWhen life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

I thought I had broke my iPhone at first. I like these features a lot.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Dittos. This is great!

Here's to the Army and Navy and the battles they have won; here's to America's colors, the colors that never run - Wang Chi

May the wings of liberty never lose a feather. - Jack Burton

Do the new functions work on iPad, and if so, how?

Work on mine. I just touch the buttons and jump to the comments.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

It only works in portrait orientation, not landscape.

Using /s is for cowards.

LOL, never would have thought of that, thanks!

Works both ways on iPhone 4s.

___

-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

I think a good example of what the Memphis offense looked like, is watching the Memphis vs Houston game. Heck you only even really need to watch the first two drives, if we are even half of that offense, I'd be really happy.

You can watch it on Youtube, Houston Vs Memphis 2015

Anecdote about that game. I was playing in a poker tournament in Tunica during it. I had heard that Fuente was on the VT radar, and it was fun to watch the game with a bunch of Memphis folks.

Not a bad thing was said about him, although they were convinced that the only way he would leave was if Stoops went to USC and OU came after him.