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."
— Taft Coghill Jr. (@tcoghilljr) February 10, 2016
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.
|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|
|9/24/2016||East Carolina||Blacksburg, VA||78th|
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."
— Torrian Gray (@togray14) July 17, 2015
A question from Twitter.
— Garrett Page (@gpage89) February 12, 2016
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.