Full Circle: Reviewing the Hokies' 22-28 Loss to Georgia Tech

3,400-word, 8-play film review of how absence of offensive synergy and defensive breakdowns cost Virginia Tech down in Atlanta.

[Cory Hancock]

During the summer of 2016, hope for the resurgence of the Virginia Tech football program rested on Justin Fuente's ability to assemble an offense to complement Bud Foster's track record of strong defenses. As I studied Fuente's offensive schemes before his inaugural season, two things stood out. First was how the offensive play calling was symbiotic. Fuente and Brad Cornelsen would establish a series of potential options that would force the defense to defend the entire field on identical keys. This symbiotic nature kept defenses off guard and often mitigated the significant talent differential that Memphis regularly faced. The second unique element was how every offensive player seemed to be selling out on every play, regardless of if they were the actual ball carrier.

This combination kept defenses on their heels and forced tentative mistakes that Memphis turned into big plays. Those big plays, coupled with great special teams, produced win after win in games which I didn't feel like Memphis dominated. Yet, I was surprised by the number of points they had scored.

In this type of system, all facets need to click in order to win. The threat of the quarterback run opens things up for the tailback. Establishing the jet sweep with the tailback as a lead blocker sucks up defensive backs so the tailback can leak out on a wheel route. The slant route forces defenses to play inside leverage, which opens up the fade and vice versa.

When the offense can't force the defense to defend the entire field, it becomes predictable and easy to defend. Right now, the lack of a quarterback run threat from Josh Jackson allows defenses to crash an extra unblocked defender against Tech's tailbacks, and those tailbacks don't have the speed, size, strength, or wiggle to consistently win those one-on-one battles. On the outside, the Hokies have demonstrated the ability to have success with slant routes. However, defenses are flooding the area in between the hash marks regularly enough that the slants are not always open. Meanwhile, Miami DC Manny Diaz and Georgia Tech DC Ted Roof DARED Josh Jackson and the Hokies' receivers to beat them vertically, and the Hokies were unable to make them pay. Because the running game isn't good enough to sustain drives, Cornelsen attempted to jump the gun and use complex play-action passing (that is slow to develop) to generate big plays. As result, tackles Kyle Chung and Parker Osterloh were put on islands against talented speed rushers which hammered Jackson. After taking a pounding, Jackson began to look at the pass rush and miss open receivers. As one element of the offense fails, another domino falls, and Tech's offense grinds to a halt.

A Case Study: The Quarterback Run and Inside Zone

In 2016, Jerod Evans generated a large number of big plays on quarterback keepers off of inside zone read and split zone read action.

As I wrote last year, the inside zone runs, which didn't generate huge amounts of yardage on the give, were critical in conditioning the defensive edge player to crash on the dive against the tailback so Evans could rumble around the edge.

This season, defenses are crashing the dive with regularity because defensive coordinators do not believe Jackson can hurt them on the keeper. When backup QB A.J. Bush entered the game, the Yellow Jackets took a very different approach. Let's examine how Georgia Tech was defending Jackson on a read option versus how Georgia Tech defended Bush.

On this third-and-four with Jackson in the game, the Hokies are running an inside zone read. Defensive end Antonio Simmons (No. 93) crashes hard on the dive by Jalen Holston.

At the moment that Simmons commits to the dive, two of Georgia Tech's defenders (widest to the field-side) are in man to man coverage with their back to Jackson. The third defender, SS Corey Griffin (No. 14), should be accounted for by Sean Savoy.

The way Georgia Tech has aligned, their closest free hitter to Jackson is free safety A.J. Gray (No. 5). Gray almost mirrored Jackson's position on the field. Although, Jackson has the advantage of knowing where the ball is going and Gray does not. With Simmons crashing, and Gray in centerfield, a competent read option quarterback should be able to get to the edge for 4 yards and the first down.

Georgia Tech does not believe Jackson can beat them, and the execution of the play dooms the chances of finding out they are right. Jackson attempts to make the correct read and can't extricate the ball from Holston's mesh point. The combination block of Wyatt Teller and Eric Gallo doesn't get any movement against defensive tackle Brentavious Glanton (No. 97). This leaves linebacker Victor Alexander (No. 9) unblocked in the hole. Even if Holston holds onto the ball, Georgia Tech has two unblocked defenders — Alexander and Simmons — in reasonable proximity to make a play at or near the line of scrimmage. Proper blocking execution would account for Alexander. A viable run threat by the quarterback would occupy Simmons to give Holston a chance. If Simmons still crashed, the quarterback would keep and get the first down going around the edge.

Now, let's look how Georgia Tech defends the same concept when Bush is in the game.

Defensive end Anree Saint-Amour (No. 94) doesn't crash hard on the dive. Instead, he widens and turns on the quarterback (Bush). Travon McMillian is allowed to run downhill into the bubble created by Gallo's down block against slanting DT Antwan Owens (No. 89). Bush ties up the extra defender.

Sadly, that 4-yard McMillian gain is also indicative of the struggles of the offensive line in recent weeks. Teller and Osterloh combo on the Glanton, who as a 1-technique slants into the B-gap. Teller does a good job of turning Glanton's pads. However, Osterloh does not get his head and left shoulder inside of Glanton to seal him away from the running lane. Glanton is able to trip up McMillian.

There has been a ton of criticism of Vance Vice. Besides the poor execution of the combination blocks, this play is indicative of what I believe is a fair critique. When Teller releases the double team, he climbs to Alexander aligned as the middle linebacker. When Teller reaches Alexander, Teller's feet stop, his butt drops, and he looks like he is setting up to pass block. Alexander keeps out of arm's reach and McMillian runs right into him. An aggressive block from Teller blows the hole open if McMillian can keep his balance.

This is not an issue of Teller regressing. The Hokies' linemen consistently use this posture to square up and block passively when run blocking in space instead of being on their toes and running through the defender. Memphis did the same thing. Outside of draw plays, I have yet to hear a reason why the coaching staff feels this is a more effective way to create a running lane. There was tons of howling about Georgia Tech and their repeated chop blocks during the game (and several times they should have been flagged). However, watch the film closely, their offensive line did not regularly utilize cut blocks. They block on their toes, get good position, and use outstanding leg drive. Were the Hokies to block like that on running plays, even without top notch tailbacks, the difference in production would be staggering. Georgia Tech doesn't have elite recruits on their offensive line. Note how, on this quarterback keeper off the trap fake/counter option, that aggressive blocking with proper angles completely caves in the left side of the Hokies' defense.

Symbiotic Play Calling Generates Big Plays for the Yellow Jackets

While the Hokies' offense struggled, Paul Johnson proved to be more effective than Fuente and Cornelsen at designing and executing a synergistic offensive game plan. The Yellow Jackets almost completely abandoned the triple option for long stretches of the game. Instead, Johnson relied on mixing together vicious traps, a speed sweep, and the quarterback keeper off counter option action . The common thread was speed motion by one of the A-backs (wingback for our new readers; the B-back is the fullback in common lexicon). Georgia Tech showed similar looks time after time. Once the Hokies' secondary got conditioned to those looks, they forgot their keys, anticipated the motion, and got caught out of position.

Let's begin with the trap play.

Right A-back Clinton Lynch (No. 22) motions left. At the snap, left guard Parker Braun (No. 75) pulls from the left side back to the right side. Right guard Will Bryan (No. 70) blocks down on Andrew Motuapuaka to leave Tim Settle unblocked. Settle moves upfield and Braun blindsides him. Center Kenny Cooper (No. 55) seals Ricky Walker. A bubble is created inside.

After the handoff, quarterback Taquon Marshall reverses out to show counter option and the A-backs follow suit. That fake backfield action occupies Trevon Hill and Anthony Shegog. B-back KirVonte Benson (No. 30) slips through the bubble. With Motuapuaka sealed inside and Shegog fixated on the quarterback, Benson has tons of room and gains 21 yards.

The combination of Walker and Settle blew up enough of the traps and counter option runs to put Georgia Tech into some bad down and distance situations, and early in the game the Yellow Jackets struggled to overcome them. Most of those stops were byproducts of Foster loading the B-gaps and blitzing with Shegog and Tremaine Edmunds. When Georgia Tech started running the speed sweep, it significantly limited the Hokies' ability to blitz their outside linebackers to stop the trap. The trap plays started to pop free once the speed sweep was established. The speed sweep also set up Georgia Tech's first long touchdown pass.

The speed sweep is a quick pitch off of the speed motion. Georgia Tech had most of their success running the speed sweep to the field from the flexbone formation. Take this speed sweep on 1st-and-10. Lead A-back Qua Searcy (No. 1) kicks out corner (Greg Stroman). Wide receiver Ricky Jeune (No. 2) cracks down on the whip linebacker (Shegog). Right tackle Will Bryan (No. 70) pulls and leads up on the safety (Terrell Edmunds), and the back-side covered linemen scoop and cut the pursuit defenders.

Functionally, this play serves the same purpose as the Hokies' jet sweep. The jet sweep is a consistent solid ground-gainer that doesn't generate big plays. However, as the defense starts to anticipate the sweep when they see the jet motion, it opens up the inside zone and quarterback dive off inverted veer. For Johnson's Yellow Jackets, the speed sweep creates even more space for the fullback trap and belly dives because when the defense starts to see the speed motion, they forget their keys and run wide to the sweep. The trap then acts much like a quick hitting counter play. If the speed sweep is working, often you will see a trap burst for big yardage because all you need is two decent blocks on the tackles and the linebacker has vacated the space.

Once both the trap and the sweep are established, a defense anticipating those plays is now much more prone to get caught out of position on play-action. The Hokies' defense started to guess, and the Yellow Jacket's offense made them pay.

Let's examine both of Georgia Tech's long touchdown completions. Georgia Tech again aligns in the flexbone. A-back J.J. Green (No. 28), speed motions from right to left. Marshall takes the snap and reverses out to show pitch to Green.

Free safety Terrell Edmunds anticipates the quick pitch and widens out to support on the speed sweep. Marshall pulls the fake pitch in, takes a half roll, and sets to throw. Edmunds should be keying wide receiver Brad Stewart (No. 83). If Stewart cracks on Anthony Shegog, Edmunds should come up and fill the alley between Shegog and Greg Stroman's force technique. If Stewart free releases, Edmunds should sink into a deep half.

There is no crack block from Stewart and Edmunds still inexplicably widens out. Stewart breaks to the post, and Marshall leads him perfectly. This is as easy a touchdown as Georgia Tech will score all year. If Edmunds reads his keys instead of anticipating the play, he would be square with Stewart and in much better position to react on the post. (However, even if he reads his keys correctly, Edmunds still doesn't have inside leverage help on the post.)

The defensive call itself is baffling. It is third-and-18, yet Tech is still in Cover 2. Georgia Tech's best passing plays use vertical/wheel route combinations to the same side. It's perplexing why the Hokies would have only one deep safety to each half of the field on a third-and-long situation to combat that tendency.

The Hokies regained a 22-21 lead after Stroman took a terrible throw from Marshall 24 yards to the house. The lead didn't last long. After a trap play went for three yards, Georgia Tech faked the quarterback keeper off counter option. And this time Johnson added a little twist that further confused the defense.

The Yellow Jackets lineup in an unbalanced line to the left, with their leading wide receiver Ricky Jeune aligned as the tackle/last man on the LOS to the right. Reynolds (at Rover) may not have recognized the unbalanced look. However, Jeune's alignment should've been a big red flag that foul play was afoot.

This time, the Hokies appear to be in quarters coverage. The boundary corner (Stroman) would key on any receiver releasing to the outside. If the outside receiver shows block, Stroman comes up in support. The rover (Reynolds) has to key the inside receiver. If he shows block, Reynolds has to come up and support. If he doesn't show block, Reynolds has to pick him up in coverage.

Georgia Tech runs vertical routes to the field side, and both Terrell Edmunds and Facyson turn and run when receivers free release into their zone. Reynolds (who was playing a new position) doesn't read his keys. If Jeune steps inside and chips Tremaine Edmunds or Vinny Mihota, Reynolds needs to fill the alley. Jeune doesn't even hesitate to fake a block. He is running vertically and Reynolds is watching the motion, not his keys. Marshall sets his feet and lofts an easy completion to Jeune. Once again, Georgia Tech capitalized on the same strategy which made Fuente's offense at Memphis so good. Johnson schemed the defense to ignore their keys and run themselves out of position to generate a chunk gain (80-yard touchdown).

Full Circle: The Final Play

Virginia Tech's final offensive play was a perfect metaphor for the entire game. As a fan, the deep post to Cam Phillips was a ludicrous low percentage chance to take with the offense only one-yard away from a first down, with a minute left, and two timeouts. For a student of the game, the play call was a microcosm of everything that went right for Georgia Tech, and everything that went wrong for Fuente and his staff not only Saturday, but most of the season.

Cornelsen showed the same jet sweep action that's featured on the inverted veer, Tech's bread and butter short yardage play. The jet sweep to Savoy was the most consistent running play for the Hokies all season. It was again effective against Georgia Tech, Savoy accumulated 32 yards and a touchdown on three jet sweep carries. Yet, for some reason Cornelsen didn't dial it up often.

The lack of repetition hurt the Hokies on the final play. Prior to a timeout, Georgia Tech showed press man-to-man with no centerfield safety. When the Hokies returned from the timeout, Georgia Tech showed the same look. CB Lance Austin (No. 17) motioned across with Savoy to indicate Georgia Tech was in man-to-man, and it was likely that nine or ten defenders would be in the box. Jackson and Cornelsen had the matchup they wanted — Cam Phillips one-on-one with redshirt freshman CB Ajani Kerr (No. 38) on a post route with no safety help.

Compare this to Georgia Tech's first big passing touchdown. Conceptually, the play design is the same for both teams — get sweep action to move the defense laterally and throw against the grain deep. Though the Yellow Jackets established the sweep as a credible threat, and the Yellow Jackets call the play against zone coverage where the deep safeties are looking into the backfield and have both pass and run responsibility. The Hokies' safety bit.

On the Hokies' pass attempt, Virginia Tech has not established that they can beat Georgia Tech vertically. Given the Hokies tendency to run inverted veer or jet sweep on key short yardage situations, they commit nine defenders in the box and dare the Hokies to go over the top. Kerr is in man-to-man all the way, even when Phillips shows a better block fake than we saw from Jeune and Stewart. With no safety help and the box loaded, Cornelsen takes his shot. Phillips can't shake loose. Jackson throws it in the only place where Kerr can deflect the ball. The Hokies lose a game that they probably were lucky to have a chance to win in the first place.

After seeing the film, the calls in a different situation were not terrible. Georgia Tech had the box loaded on fourth down. Eric Kumah had a one-on-one with the defensive back completely turned around on third down and Jackson threw it too far out of bounds. Phillips was one-on-one with a redshirt freshman. Those matchups, when you struggle to run consistently, look very attractive.

Yet, as an offensive coordinator, you know that your quarterback and receivers have not been able to deliver that catch all game long. It was a huge gamble, and it didn't pay off.

The Hokies now face their first two-game losing streak of the Fuente era. Prior to the season, I expected a three-loss campaign, and at 7-3 the Hokies face Pitt and Virginia. Pitt is woefully inconsistent and struggles to maintain a consistent passing attack. However, the Panthers are going to press just like Miami and Georgia Tech and force the Hokies to win vertically. Tailback Darrin Hall might be the best tailback the Hokies have faced since Justin Crawford, and quarterback Ben DiNucci ran for 83 yards against North Carolina. UVA is mercurial. They have some offensive and defensive talent, and I am sure will deliver their best effort to end their Commonwealth Cup domination.

Virginia Tech needs to find an identity on offense, and build off it. A vertical threat isn't going to emerge from out of thin air. If Jackson is the starter — and until Bush demonstrates he can execute the passing game, Jackson needs to remain the starter — the running game isn't going to be aided by the quarterback occupying a defender. Cornelsen and the offense have to find a way to get their aggression and rhythm back without those options creating space. Without sustaining some kind of success, this young group is going to learn some difficult lessons, and the coaching staff will burn up a lot of the positive vibes they banked during their honeymoon season in Blacksburg.

Comments

We are definitely lacking an offense. Our defense and special teams have helped to control the bleeding in games we've lost and have even been more productive in some cases.

Guess, as the saying goes, maybe next year we'll be National Champions.

BUT WE BETTER NOT LOSE THAT COMMONWEALTH CUP!

get some dum-dums!

Thanks, as always, for the review French!

I guess the head scratcher for me is this...

If the threat of a QB run bread is the butter of this offense, then why is Bush not the starting QB? I'm guessing he cannot throw the ball as well as JJ, but he is a QB, and I have to imagine that he can be a 1 read guy like Evans was last season (not to suggest he would put up similar numbers). If the offense really can't do much, and it's clear that it cannot, without the treat of the QB run, why wouldn't that (a 'mobile' QB) be the foundation of the decision as to who the QB is?

This is not a knock or JJ, or the coaches here, and this is certainly not me suggesting what should happen... Just a serious question about the decision making process and the foundation of the offense.

Is coronavirus over yet?

Like I said, everything is symbiotic. The passing game threat keeps safeties back. The QB run occupies one/two backside pursuit defenders. The same run action for multiple possible ball carriers keeps the defense on their toes. Remove any one, and it messes everything else up.

Based on what I have seen of Bush, coupled with the fact that he has not been given a chance to play where he is also getting to operate the full playbook, indicates that he is worse than Jackson at incorporating the deep ball, slants, etc. Jackson, for all his struggles, still didn't turn the ball over and they had every opportunity to win the game. I would assume that the staff doesn't think Bush can throw enough while protecting the ball to compliment what he adds to the run game.

Note, Bush has completed a very high percentage of passes this year. But, almost every one has been on some kind of play action RPO where his ability to run opens the field up. Honestly, and this isn't a knock on Jackson, I'd like to see Bush get a little run. If they are going to do it though, it can't be as a wildcat. Either he comes in and runs "the Evans playbook" to it's fullest extent or you go with Jackson and make adjustments. (More base running, get your OL on their toes. Less misdirection. Sack up.)

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Have we seen Bush throw a fade? Was that him with the beautiful fade to Denmark vs. UNC?

Throwing the fade when it is garbage time and UNC has 8 in the box to stop the run is VERY different from throwing a nice dig route to the wide side of the field against zone coverage on a 3rd and 9 in a clutch situation.

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All of this makes me REALLY wish Jerod Evans came back for his senior year.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Based on their practice squad and injured/waived status's I am guessing Evan, Ford and Bucky all wish they had come back...

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“I served in the United States Navy"

Out of the three of Evans, Ford, and Bucky, I thought we'd miss Evans the least...I was mistaken.

With that being said, I wonder what's the likelihood of Hooker having a legit shot of taking the QB1 job next year considering how dependent it appears Fuente's offense is on more of a dual threat player under center.

I still say Ford. Ford would make Jackson look much better on some of these vertical throws.

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I want to puke.

Even when you get skunked; fishing never lets you down. 🎣

For me, as much as the offense drives me nuts, the fact that Georgia Tech beat VT basically running two series (they did some veer but gave it to the BBack on the dive most of the time, they also ran a tiny bit of belly)- the jet sweep with the reverse off of it and the trap with the counter option (and play pass off of it.)

One thing I noticed after the draft of this review was complete was that, if the back dived on the same side the motion was going to, it was almost always the counter option/trap (something VT was doing was keeping CPJ from running the regular triple option to the motion.) When the dive was away from the motion (ie, the left A-Back motions to the right, and the B-Back dives on the left side) it was either a quick pitch or that quick reverse to Cottrell.

The difference was that GT ran those two series in a symbiotic way so the defense was reacting instead of reading their keys, AND most importantly, their OL blocked VT's entire defense right into the ground. Yes, sometimes they cut (and I found numerous examples of what should have been called chop blocks." BUT, most of their blocks were good blocks where the OL took the proper angle, got their head in the right position, got under the defenders pads, and had terrific leg drive. Georgia Tech blocks the same way every OL was taught to block for decades before "pass blocking running plays" became en vogue. (I doubt OL coaches teach it with that terminology. Yet, that is what it looks like.

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I know one play that drew some ire on social media was the toss sweep in the 4th Q where Trevon Hill got hurt. It was a cut block (backside scoop) but was completely legal and beautifully executed. That who play is a textbook on how offensive lines should block a sweep play, especially how to properly scoop a covered lineman.

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it seems, from the replay, that the block did hit Hill above the knee, but then there's secondary contact as he falls on Trevon's ankle effectively shoestring tackling him. Is that really not something that should be called?

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)..

Nope. A chop block is when another blocker is engaged high. That was a legal block.

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

I get that. I'm not saying it's a chop block. I am asking if tackling a defender by his ankle is some sort of holding call, even if it's accidental after a legal block.

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)..

Nobody is calling it a chop block. It was clipping. Hill was moving down the LOS outside the tackle box, facing the sideline and #71 dived at the back of his legs. If that is a legal block the rule needs to be changed tomorrow.

edit: here is the video link from the article above:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhH0Ld6OcNA

Clips are legal "inside the box." Because of the sweep, the tackle box moves. It isn't "hash to hash."

Unless the rule has changed. Again, legal block. If I am #71, that is exactly what I try to do.

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

I have never heard anything about the tackle box moving. In fact the tackle box is defined as a set distance on either side of the ball. Someone on one of these sites posted a below-the-knees blocking FAQ for officials, I'll have to dig up that link and post it here.

It had something about cut blocks inside the tackle box can come from any direction - but only inside the tackle box and only from players who start inside the tackle box. Once the ball carrier leaves the tackle box there's no longer any from the side or from the back cut blocks allowed anywhere on the field.

IMO nobody should be allowed to cut from the side or the back at all, ever. It's ridiculous.

I just looked it up. The rules allow blocking below the waist within 7 yards either side of the center at the line of scrimmage. It also allows it if it is in the tackle box when behind the line of scrimmage as French mentioned. It is illegal once it is a change of possession or if it does not follow those two previous rules I stated above.

Yep, which is why the illegal block on Wyatt Teller vs Tennessee was such horseshit. It was five yards from the LOS and dead center in the middle of the field.

Both are legal blocks. Call them distasteful or whatever. But legal.

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I hate, hate, hate playing GT and that knee-killing scheme.

The issue is that it's not as easy to legislate out of the game as we'd like. If you mandate that all blocking below the waist/backside blocking is illegal even in the tackle box, you're going to have one of two big problems.

One outcome is that DTs will be able to slant and/or turn their hips up on one side or the other of their blockers and get penetration all day long (because the OL will have to disengage once the DT rotates) and running the ball (hell, running an offense in general) will become impossible.

Or, you will have an enforcement nightmare and more of the outcome in the hands of the refs as they attempt to figure out when that action crosses some invisible judgment threshold into penalty country, a la holding. The last thing we need is another set of judgments like holding calls.

Either one is bad, worse than playing GT. Being able to come at guys low and from behind is somehow critical to line play. And yet, what GT does just feels wrong. I don't know how to fix that bullshit.

(ETA just soapboxing here, not trying to tell you, French, something about trench play that you don't know)

(EATA looks like a good clarifying discussion downthread as well)

I don't understand what you mean by the tackle box moving. By my understanding the tackle box is established on the snap and is the space between the tackles at that time. If the tackles move after the snap it doesn't move the tackle box.

this is the one in the video above correct? (the speed sweep) I don't think I can agree with you at all on that. it looks like trevon was blatantly clipped and I thought the same thing when I saw it live. the only excuse I could give for there not being a flag was maybe they thought trevon was already going down because he was grabbing his hammy and there for didn't think he was clipped?

looks like someone beat me to the question. thanks for the explanation.

curious about trevons stance on that play? is that normal? it look like he took a counter step and he was lined up almost like a LB the whole thing looks off from the start.

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Cornelsen showed the same jet sweep action that's featured on the inverted veer, Tech's bread and butter short yardage play. The jet sweep to Savoy was the most consistent running play for the Hokies all season. It was again effective against Georgia Tech, Savoy accumulated 32 yards and a touchdown on three jet sweep carries. Yet, for some reason Cornelsen didn't dial it up often.

So, do you think that the final offensive play call would have been a better had we used the jet sweep more frequently earlier in the game?

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Establish it better, yes. Something where the corner might be influenced a bit.

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i felt there was no rhythm in the play calling in the last 3 games. I was pretty close to the field for the Duke game and I could see that players on offense were just not settled in, something seemed off. Overall I think Cornelson needs to get back to what worked early on which was run to the outside, fake to get receivers open, setup plays in sequence. Right now it looks like we thrown it on first down and then all of a sudden run a goal line dive for 1 yard and then throw a fade into double coverage on 3rd and 9 which usually leads to Josh throwing the ball away.

I'm not seeing the slant as much, no come back routes, i'm seeing lesser jet sweeps

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I wonder if this is a result of the coaching staff pushing too much? For much of the season we have come out flat in the first half, only to light it up the second. I wonder if in an attempt to start faster, we're sacrificing our ability to set things up the way Cornelson is comfortable in doing?

Its probably more likely that opposing D-coordinators have 10 games of video on our offense and know what we are capable of. Early in the season the disparity in talent allowed us to do more things and our over the top threats were a little more credible. But when we didn't hit them and the opposing D's got better, team's stopped respecting the threat, making our other plays more difficult to execute.

Exactly! Outside of WVU we have only beaten FBS teams with a now sub .500 record.

I was so interested in our 3rd down performance I ran numbers for every third down in this game.

On 3rd and 5 or less we ran 57% of the time and converted 42% of time with a 50% success rate on runs and 33.3% success rate on passes.

On 3rd and greater than 5 we passed 88% of the time and converted 25% of them with a 0% success rate on runs and a 29% success rate passes.

Given these numbers it makes sense GT loads the box and also that we would throw. Is the purpose of influencing the corner with the jet fake to get a second one on one matchup?

Wondering about a comparison, passing game wise between Bush and Evans.... Could argue that they are essentially equal in terms of throw and run game (may get more in the run game from Bush with his explosiveness) If he can just protect the football and make the simpler throws he sure looks like the best option to generate some production.

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'

Just remember, we know what kind of QB Fuente wants, and yet Jackson is continuing to play. That should be a red flag for folks.

I don't think Bush is good enough, have not thought it based on film or what I saw in the spring. The UNC game gave me some pause, but either he isn't doing it in practice or he is prone to turn it over.

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

What do you think happens between Jackson, Hooker, Patterson & the KU transfer next year?

Can we be effective with JJ and the OL and Rbs that we have

Someone on another thread (no idea how credible they are) said he's an interception machine in practice. To me that would make a lot of sense because it's pretty obvious the coaches don't trust him to throw the ball when the game isn't already put away.

I've heard this too

- "And now Miami wants to talk about it..."

Do you see a possibility of Bush changing positions next year? He looks like a near NFL-caliber athlete on the field (reminds me of Josh Doctson how he cuts/runs), just not a QB.

As much as I miss Evans I really wish Mot had had another year of eligibility. I would have absolutely loved for him to get a chance In this offense to do something special.

Using /s is for cowards.

How GT doesn't go undefeated every year is mind boggling. That offense is impossible to defend when you only see it once a year. I guess they make enough of their own mistakes to wind up 7-5 every year.

Some teams just flat athlete them. Their defense has been bad against just about everyone besides VT for a long time. Plus, that offense is prone to turnovers. Prior to the last two seasons, it seemed like GT had 2-3 fumbles a game. This year, the INT was the only turnover.

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

GT's defense played pretty good on the road in Miami and Clemson this year.

Leonard. Duh.

This is the most talented group I have seen recently. Good at corner, Austin at safety, quick DEs, and LB. I am not sure how Tennessee, given how crappy their linebacker has been the last two years, let that No. 51 kid (a Knoxville native) get away. He and No. 9 are very mobile linebackers with good instincts.

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

Austin is a real nice player...heavy shoulder, and the Griffin kid moves on a swivel.

Definitely good defense this year. In spite of Ted Roof.

Oh, and there should NOT be any discussion of benching Jackson this week. Pitt's linebackers are terrible in coverage, and their corners have regressed this year. The slant and stuff over the middle is going to be there all day, right in Jackson's wheelhouse. I'm with you on that pop pass. If we don't see Keane up the middle for 20 yds, I'm going to stab myself in the thigh with my remote.

Leonard. Duh.

How GT doesn't go undefeated every year is mind boggling.

  • They lost to Tennessee in overtime after giving up a 2TD lead (their kicker was injured and missed 2 FG's though, so it never 'should've' gone to over time).
  • They also blew a one score lead to Miami in the fourth qtr largely in part due to a miracle 4th down conversion
  • They lost to UVA by 3 points as the clock ran out. I didn't watch this game, but judging from the box score, looks like the defense failed, giving up two scores in each of the last three quarters.
  • They were dominated by the Clemson defense, and could only muster a single TD in garbage time.

They're a lot closer to 9-1 than we are. Their defense is decent, and their QB is (In my opinion) the best QB they've had for their system since Nesbitt. They have the top 40 defense (according to S&P) - give them a decent kicker and a top 20 defense, and I really think they're a top 5-10 team. I'm honestly surprised more teams don't run the option/wishbone.

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Good points. And the reason more teams don't run that offense is that blue chip, 5 star recruits want to play in the NFL. So if you want to sign Sam Darnold and run the triple option, you are out of luck. Percy Harvin is not going to go play wingback on an option team. None of the WRs at Oklahoma State are going to sign with a team that throws 5 times a game. THAT is why more teams don't run the option. But it's perfect for GT- they can get enough 2-3 star athletes in the south to make it work.

I think GT's issue with recruiting is more of PJ/GT issue (PJ is 'old school' or an asshole, depending on how you look at it, and, at a high level, GT doesn't treat their athletes the same way most schools do) rather than a system issue. PJ has proven that he can send WR's to the NFL (Hill, Thomas). To run the option, you don't need a QB like Sam Darnold, a 3 star with very quick feet and an okay arm will do fine (see Taquon). Obviously, you don't need 5 star lineman, and probably want small, faster guys to begin with.

EDIT: TL;DR - I think a team who runs the triple option could land good recruits at offensive skill positions if the coach wasn't a douche like PJ, and was at a school that actually cared about football.

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That's my point. If you want to sign Devyn Ford, you better not run the triple option. Sure fire pro's won't sign there- the offense is antiquated and no NFL team runs it. He can sign 2-3 stars all day long, that wasn't what I was saying. There is a reason their classes are always 50th

Their QB had the worst game I have seen him play. Every time he dropped back I thought he was going to run crazy on QB draws. Instead, VT didn't get much pressure (a first vs GT) and he killed VT over the top.

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

I only watched the game once, only partially doing slow-mo. But I saw numerous incidents of chop blocks executed and intimated. Cut blocking is a staple of Georgia Tech.

As I've gotten older I know a few old football players. Some of whom played line and escaped without any of the major knee and ankle injuries. They are pretty much all looking at knee replacement surgeries.

Wish I were more motivated to go back and cut up some of this tape, but I've got too much more important stuff on my plate.

For me, Paul Johnson and Georgia Tech are an example of why these guys need to get paid. That or we need to get rid of coaches who teach these techniques. The value of an education in no way compensates for what happens to these guys in old age. We should all have the thrill of playing. Playing. With our children. Because of coaches like this, guys are trading a CFB experience for stuff that matters far more.

The ACC should run Paul Johnson out of town. Georgia Tech should run Paul Johnson out of town. We should be taking these cut blocks personally and retaliating. JMHO

I thought we've been sending annual GT tape to the ACC. Would be interesting to FOIA those if possible. For all teams submissions to the ACC office. Some lawyer should take this up and scare the crap out of GT and ACC officials. Run that m'fer out of town.

Cut blocking - legal. By definition, a cut block is a block below the waist. It is legal, and should be legal.

Chop block- illegal. A chop block a block below the waist on a play engaged up high. By my count, I caught 6 that were not called, one that was called. Every one I caught was on Settle, Walker, or Motuapuaka.

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A block below the waist from the the side or behind is illegal though, correct? There were definitely a few that looked to be in this area of illegal/dangerous blocking.

By rule, on that block he is engaged. Again, my perception, the block on Hill is legal. If that is a VT guy throwing that block, I give him a trophy and defend him all day. That is how I wish our guys would block. Get your head across the outside hip pad, and if you can't, cut him. That is how we were taught.

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

Any block in the back is illegal, high or low.

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

I've seen you make the statement that a cut block is and should be legal a few times. (usually around this time of year when we're all bitching and whining about playing the Bees) I've never played or coached organized football and don't have your depth of knowledge or experience on the subject, so I'd love to hear your opinion on why they're a good/valid/necessary blocking technique. With all the recent posturing from the football powers-that-be about making player safety a higher priority, why isn't cut-blocking something they should consider removing from the game? From my (admittedly ignorant) point of view, it seems like lunging at a players legs or knees is begging for injury. What value do cut blocks add to the game that outweighs the injury potential?

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

A couple of years ago they made the definition more narrow. Now its a chop block if both offensive players initiate contact. If the defensive player initiates contact then its not.

Examples
1. At snap, the C angles to hit the DT high before moving to the LB, at the same time the DT moves forward and the G hits the DT low. That's a chop block.

2. At snap, the C goes straight to the LB, at the same time the DT moves towards the C and makes contact; the G hits the DT low. That's not a chop block. A few years ago that was also a chop block.

(unfortunately the NCAA site's rulebook download is offline so I can't check if the rule was changed again in the past couple of years)

Thank you. If I was in a rules committee meeting, I would argue that the defender is ALWAYS trying to not initiate contact, even when initiating contact. Hahahaha.

If the NCAA really had an issue with this, it would be a simple fix. No blocks below the thigh, and it would be reviewable. And, I would absolutely hate that football product if the rule was adopted.

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

I like cut blocking for the game. I also believe the rules are sufficiently unclear to allow what is clear "clipping" to me. NCAA Rules committee should remove the sections making clipping legal under certain conditions. I.E. It should always be illegal, and review-able (like targeting), to block a guy in the back, and it should be an eject-able offense to do so below the waist.

JMHO

“I remember Lee Corso's car didn't get out of the parking lot.” -cFB
TKPC #666 ...man that was long wait...

I suppose the question is why would you hate it? As someone that's played what makes that technique valuable to you?

Simple geometry. Blocking is about blocking angles. As an offensive lineman, you are often asked to move your body twice the distance of the defender despite the defender having a shorter distance to travel and usually being more athletic than you. Your advantage is that you know where the ball is going and they don't.

If I am a left tackle and a run is going right, I am usually going to be asked to scoop a three technique- ie a defensive tackle aligned on the outside eye of the left guard. He is closer to the ball than I am. So, when he feels the guard scooping (or pulling to the right), he is going to flow the same direction. I have to give ground and race in a semi-circle all the way in front of him and cut him off or (if I am lucky enough to make contact) I will drive him right into the intended hole of the running back.

Or, if I can at least get my head on his right hip, I can cut him. Let me tell you from experience, the first scenario is only successful if A) I have a RB that can read the flow and cut back behind me- rare except for the very best in college football B) the 3 tech is incredibly slow/tired/ or anticipating a counter C) I have Wyatt Teller level talent and athleticism or D) the center blocks back (which usually means a linebacker will be unblocked.

From a technique perspective, cutting is what you see good zone teams do consistently, like the 90's Broncos under Alex Gibbs. Also, go back and watch veer teams in the 70s block (Oklahoma under Switzer as an example.)

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

Thans French. I learn so much from you. OL has to be one of the most complex positions on the field.

Unfortuneately Johnson's crap works in the ACC. If you told me he would last 10 years in this league running the triple option I would have said you were nuts. But it "works" and GT is content with 7-8 wins every year. So VT is stuck with this guy in our division until he decides to retire- and as competitive as he is, that won't be any time soon. the only way that changes is if he goes 2-10 in back to back years...which aint happening with that damn option.

I doubt the ACC has any authority to run CPJ out of town officially, but I think there could be a way to make coaching his techniques so unbearable that he quits or changes his way. There has to be a way to make referees flag these chop blocks more consistently. I see two possibilities:
1. The conference or the NCAA could change the replay rules to make clearly dangerous penalties that are missed by the officials reviewable by coach's challenge (chop blocks, roughing the QB, targeting, etc.) If the coaching staff sees a chop block, but the ref does not, he can throw the red hankie (does that still exist?) to demand a video review. He should have to be specific. i.e. I saw #57 and #53 chop block #94 there. Then allow the refs to review the video and see if it actually occurred. If coach is wrong, he loses his ability to challenge any more plays for the rest of the game.
2. Treat chop blocks more like targeting, in that it's automatically reviewed by the replay booth whenever that penalty is called. That way, the referees are more likely to throw the flag when they think they see it but aren't sure. They'll know that the replay boot will be able to step in and reverse the call if the flag was unwarranted.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

Great article. Still shaking my head at what could have been.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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French, fab job as always and really a commendable effort considering that this game was damn near un-watchable -- much less the fact that you had to watch it in such high detail to provide us this A+ analysis.

I have two questions for you:

1. Earlier in the season, we've seen some RPO's where Jackson steps towards the line like he's gonna run but then passes over the top to a RB or TE or WR that leaked out behind the second level. As noted, GT was putting no less than 26 LBs (HYPERBOLE) within a yard of the LOS. I believe this play could have burned their asses while also providing JJ the ability to make a relatively easy throw. My question, therefore, is why didn't we try this play? [Note: I was at the game in the corner where Mook got the TD off the pick six, so we might've actually tried this play but I never saw it because it seemed like the entire game was on the opposite side of the field.]

2. Pretend you're Fuente for a minute. You have Teller, Gallo, and Chung graduating after this season. With three games remaining (and I totally realize that UVA is one of those 3 games), would you just say "screw it" and start Jackson, Hoyt, Smith, and Plantin at OL just to get them experience for next year? I love Teller as much as the next guy, and think that all the upperclassmen on the OL have earned their spots, but would you say damn the present to get those young guys (who will likely all be starters next year) more experience?

I'ma hang up and listen to ya. Roll damn hokies

"You know when the Hokies say 'We are Virginia Tech' they're going to mean it."- Lee Corso

Pretend you're Fuente for a minute. You have Teller, Gallo, and Chung graduating after this season. With three games remaining (and I totally realize that UVA is one of those 3 games), would you just say "screw it" and start Jackson, Hoyt, Smith, and Plantin at OL just to get them experience for next year?

Yanking your seniors with 3 games to go doesn't sound like the best way to endear yourself to the team or recruits.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

yeah that would essentially be tanking, which is just dumb and a terrible move for the team. That would tell everyone else "As soon as we're not in the running for the Coastal I'm not playing the seniors any more so we can get experience for next year."

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

1) I have been waiting on them to run the fake QB dive, pop pass to Keene all season, and I can't explain why it hasn't happened. Against the defense on 4th down, it would have been a great call. Change Phillips route to a go route and run both, with Phillips as the second option.

2) I think there is a balance between player development. Screwing over seniors doesn't play well with other players. At the same time, playing the best guy always resonates with the locker room, and playing a senior who clearly isn't as good can sometimes cause a problem. To me, Tyrell Smith has a legitimate case to play over Kyle Chung (Smith lost is position due to injury, and is longer and more mobile.) TJ Jackson can't necessarily make that claim versus Osterloh. I called for him to play merely because I thought he could handle speed rushers better and Miami/GT had good edge speed. UVA does as well. I may be in the minority, but I think Gallo has been much better this season than last season. I wouldn't sit him or Teller.

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

No, because none of us were born the last time VT had 10 OL on the team- a legit 2 deep OL that could get lined up right, much less win games. If Jackson was ready, he would be playing LT instead of Osterloh with a bad back. Smith seemed ready to go, but he doesn't get much time at all. Also it can't be coaching style or coincidence that Newsome, Searles, and Vice all detest substituting on the OL- it has to be lack of ready bodies- a theme at VT for over a decade.

I detest substituting on the OL. In the system I played in, you had to get chemistry- which for me was timing and even more importantly, being able to hear the correct call in the midst of 20 guys all screaming at the same time.

The issue is solved with one simple mantra- play the best players. I think Smith is the best player. Jackson is a R-FR who played next to zero football. He is a project. Even with Parker's troubles, that is a tough argument to sell. But, the one thing we know that Jackson does well is pass protect. Does he protect well enough to offset whatever those other weaknesses that are keeping him off the field are? I guess not. Osterloh and Pfaff should have been the battle at right guard (and Pfaff has been pretty good.) Chung played admirably early in the year, but at this point he is outgunned. If Smith isn't practicing as well as Chung, then I guess they have to stick with Chung. But, if the issue is playing a senior over a younger player, that just doesn't hold water with me. Smith was better in the spring, and was the starter until he got hurt. If he is the best player, get him on the field.

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

With every ounce of respect I can muster, Chung has never looked like a great OT or even above average college lineman to me. Too smallish/short, no power. But he is the best we have, IIWII. Recruiting is the issue here- not enough raw bodies at the end of the dreadful Newsome years and Searles didn't do much better. His fab 5 turned out to be a Fab 1.5 Gallo and maybe Smith. Need to do better there in recruiting, IMO

*psst* Fab Five/Fab 1.5 was Grimes, not Searles.

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

Just realized Searles is coaching at the U SMH.

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I'd like to think if we had held on to grimes for more than a year those players may have developed into something.

At least we can line up correctly and not have false starts like the last days of CFB. Step in the right direction at a snails pace.

Substitution infractions left and right

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

It looked like Hill played that toss in "Clip2" very well but dude grabbed his foot. I remember screaming at the TV when that happened in the game. Looked like a loss or minimal gain until that happened.

What do you think, if there is any, is the solution to simplify the win condition for our offense? I mean, in theory it sounds great to make the defense have to defend everything. But when that doesn't work, what can we change? Different or more complex route combinations to take advantage of JJ's accuracy? More Bush to run veer and read options?

1) Smith for Chung at right tackle. It is time.
2) More effective base running game. Get rid of some of the misdirection. Get your OL coming off the ball and use more quick hitters. Jet sweep off that action.
3) When VT gets that inside leverage man coverage outside, instead of go routes, throw to the back shoulder. That should loosen up the coverage taking away the slant routes.
4) More quick screens like we saw to Phillips on the last drive. If the WRs don't block well enough, put in guys who will. Every day in the film room, the message should be if you don't win that battle, you won't be on the field next year.

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

A lot of footage of back shoulder passes on the VT Football snapchat today...

French awesome article as always. Can you speak more to #2. I don't see the game as well as you do but I have a feeling that when dealing with P5 talent misdirection isn't as effective because the upper level players are faster, more disciplined, stronger and potentially smarter than your average G5 player. Linebackers typically line up any where from 4 - 7 yards from the LOS. Most P5 linebackers should run a sub 5s 40. That means they are in the backfield in under 1 second if lined up tight to the LOS. Don't you have to black and win a physical battle or two at some point?

That last throw is baffling in terms of placement and body position.. He has space to step in and put it out in front of Cam towards the opposite goalpost. A good play call in terms of best player on freshman but poor execution of a heave and hope..

French, why have we not seen the Hback slip pass all year? You'd think it would be shown once or twice by now considering our lack of big plays and many teams play man v man we'd have some spots to hit it?

As I said above, I have no idea why we haven't seen it other than Jackson isn't scaring defenses with his running ability on inverted veer. It pretty much would only work on a 3rd and very short situation, and then it would be very high risk.

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

Thanks French. Sounds like we should try to pouch GTs OL coach.

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

“When 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

or even poach him.

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)..

No I meant it, pouch him

Image result for put in the pouch gif

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

“When 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

Dumb question time:
Look at clip 2 (the speed sweep example). Around the 10 second mark, you can see their #71 fall down and and grab or swipe at Trevon Hill's foot (our #94) to trip him. Trevon appeared to be in position for an easy TFL. Is this legal?

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

I am 18 years removed from being subjected to NCAA rules. I think that is a good block unless there is a camera angle where he throws his arms and bends them in a deliberate attempt to trip. When you throw a cut block, you are throwing your arms. If you don't grab and he trips on your arms, that is legal in the world where I was taught. Again, I say this without having looked at the rulebook since I played.

I have watched that play at least 50 times. To me, as an OL coach I give that a gold star. I just hate that it hurt the team I am rooting for.

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

Like I said above, that is textbook clipping. You cannot cut block someone from behind

yeah not sure how that's not a flag of some sort... Hill's backside is towards O line and he clips him from behind? I get he made contact earlier but the KO blow is low and towards the back of the leg/knee once they're disengaged. Watching it multiple times even looks like Bud is hollering about the block once it happens then once again when ref blows his whistle..

So, the college officials will call it based on the full engagement of the block. When 71 makes original contact, it is with his left shoulder. The left side of his helmet is on the right thigh pad of Hill. As you can see here, his head is in front of Hill's right leg and he is already lunging. This is a legal block.

When Hill starts to pull away, 71 has already left his feet and his head stays in front until his belly is on the ground. Now, if you show me a clip where his right arm swats at Hill's leg and takes him down, it is a trip and illegal.

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

the OL hit what he was aiming for, imo

In this type of system, all facets need to click in order to win. The threat of the quarterback run opens things up for the tailback. Establishing the jet sweep with the tailback as a lead blocker sucks up defensive backs so the tailback can leak out on a wheel route. The slant route forces defenses to play inside leverage, which opens up the fade and vice versa.

When the offense can't force the defense to defend the entire field, it becomes predictable and easy to defend. Right now, the lack of a quarterback run threat from Josh Jackson allows defenses to crash an extra unblocked defender against Tech's tailbacks, and those tailbacks don't have the speed, size, strength, or wiggle to consistently win those one-on-one battles.

I defer to your expertise here. When I look at Fuente's offensive success at Memphis, Paxton Lynch does not strike me as a run threat. His rushing numbers at Memphis are almost identical to what JJ has posted this year, except for a bizarre spike in rushing TDS in 2014 without any accompanying increase in YPC. (That tells me the QB keeper was probably their preferred goal line play that year, if I had to guess.)

You've studied tape on Memphis. Did opposing defenses just respect a run threat from Lynch more than defenses are respecting it from JJ? And if so, why?

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

Lynch was a much better runner than people realize. Their OL may have been worse at pass protection than this group, and there were a ton of plays where if that first read was not there, Lynch played the role of Tyrod and scrambled to get WRs open. Those produced negative runs. Fuente was HEAVILY reliant on Lynch to be his power back, and he was outstanding as a powerful short yardage runner on QB power off jet sweep action and inverted veers. While Lynch and Jackson have similar speed, Lynch was much quicker at getting his first step to the line of scrimmage.

That being said, Memphis did not run much of the split zone read (with the QB running around the edge- see Evans TDs vs Miami and ND) that VT has used the last two seasons. I doubt Lynch would scare anyone like that. He was VERY similar to Logan Thomas in terms of how he ran.

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

Lynch highlights. Note how the ball is in position where his WRs can make a play on it when there isn't safety help. Also note how quickly he makes decisions and gets the ball out.

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

4:40 mark starts with some of his running plays

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

Play at the 5:12 mark is a 4th down and 1 call. It also looks like the same type of play as the 2 point conversion attempt under center. When the QB and TE execute it is a great call.

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

Play at 5:35 is a variation of the same pass that McMillian had a big play on back on Saturday

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

is it safe to say that this was a one read system for lynch most times as well? in the highlights above man does he get the ball out quickly after the fake on most of the play action plays, like he knows exactly where he wants to go with the football. ive heard a lot of people saying Jackson is holding the ball. what is the hold up? I have a hard time believing that Memphis WRs against ole miss were "winning one on one match ups" like we constantly hear about our WRs not be able to do. lynch is just decisive and the action prior to the throws along with the route combos allow for the WRs to get a step.

twitter @smithey_daniel
head scout BSP scouting specializing in north florida/ southern GA highschool football scouting

his ball placement is MUCH better then JJ but that is something josh can improve on.

edit: although this is a highlight video so its only going to show the good throws

twitter @smithey_daniel
head scout BSP scouting specializing in north florida/ southern GA highschool football scouting

Yep- first round draft pick and an upperclassman getting ready to go to the NFL against bad defenses versus a redshirt freshman. Like I said, it makes me a little ill that my column feels like a knock on Jackson. He is a freshman. It is not his performance (which has tons of room for improvement, again FRESHMAN), it is how his skillset matches to the offense that poses long term challenges.

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

Holy shit, French. Dropping knowledge bombs like a boss. I get it now. Completely different elements in the run game with Lynch. The stats being similar is just coincidence.

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

Lynch was a damn good power runner. Fuente relied on him heavily.

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

Any chance that the run blocking you wrote about is enforced for the purpose of RPO's. Meaning to keep the defense guessing if its a Pass or Run, we execute a passive run blocking scheme?

What's
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Possible, but to me, you can be aggressive and block low and hard without going downfield. An official won't throw a flag if you are engaged with a defender and driving him a yard or two downfield on a pass. The play with Teller, that is an inside zone read. If the LB is there, it means he is reading run. Chop him down.

To me, a big failing in the offense is on some of the quick throws, the OL has to "P-Hole block" ie aggressively block low so the defender gets their hands down. Or, you could just say "hit them in the nuts."

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

French, do you think its safe to say that JJ will be starting next season? Fuente groomed Lynch and stuck it out with him, but it seems he has the running ability that is desired to get this offense going. JJ, is an average runner, and it seems like the recruits like Hooker, and Patterson are better fit to take off and run when needed.

What's
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I think there is upside to JJ's running. First, he's tentative. When he just goes, he seems to be okay. Secondly, he needs to hit the gym to withstand those between the tackles hits and, hopefully, pick up just a little bit of quickness. Finally, Andy Dalton wasn't a great runner but he was crafty. He would scramble for 8 yards and get down. He would be decisive on the Inverted Veer and get his yards when they were there.

Agree JJ's biggest weakness is just not being decisive in just making the decision to take the ball. There are ways around that, such as running the play and making a QB keeper from the start. That way at least the defense has to respect it.

What's
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I keep coming to the TKP to read this article, but then I open it up, and I just cannot stomach it yet. I am looking forward to reading it, but I'm just not ready.

French, I almost always default to your thoughts, but there is just something that doesn't feel right with some of the legal cut blocks GT uses. I fully recognize that they are legal, but the number of people that came off the field because of a helmet or intentional shoulder to the knee / planted leg just doesn't sit well with me. Settle came off the field twice.

The fact that a defender may have to get off the ground to allow the flexibility to avoid injury as a disruption to defense or pursuit might find a lesser parallel in that targeting never used to exist. It is a rough game, but the direction the game has been headed is to make injury more accidental, and less intentional.

I can't imagine that ACC coaches would both in press conferences and repeatedly on an anonymous basis complain only because it gives them fits. There very well may be plenty out of frustration, but at some point there needs to be recognition that coaches want their players healthy.

Of the coach names that come up as the most liked and respected among many of the CFB journalists I follow, I repeatedly hear David Cutcliffe's name. If you recall, he is the one that went after GT about this a few years back.

http://acc.blogs.starnewsonline.com/38137/38137/

I just think while the cut block is legal, perhaps we can level set over time whether the rules around it should continued to be improved, which I understand could become nuanced and difficult to enforce.

Interested in your thoughts.

@hokie_rd

Then the NCAA has to make blocking below the waist illegal. Period. If not, there is WAY too much gray area to have any kind of definitive call (as this thread demonstrates.) As of today, that is a legal block (when the block started, the GT RG had his earhole on Trevon's right thigh pad) unless when Hill comes off the official determines that the RG stuck his arm out and intentionally tripped Hill. I don't see that on the film.

Maybe I am old. But, that is exactly how we were taught to block running a wing T. While I was rarely in a situation as a guard where I needed to reach a 7 tech, I did have to reach 5 techs and if we didn't have a roll it call (pin and pull) with the tackle, that is exactly how I would block him. Bucket step. Left ear on his right thigh pad. If you can't work around (which is next to impossible) drive into the thigh and hip and work your way down.

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

Yeah, it certainly gets to a difficult gray area, just frustrating to see guys limping off the field. Thanks for the thoughts.

@hokie_rd

Sorry French but Coach Vance has to go. He is in over his head at this level. More so than the lack of experienced skill players the lack of improvement in the O-line has crippled the Tech offense against equal or better talented teams. Plus look at the O-line recruiting. Tech will not compete with the ACC's better teams without a significant upgrade in line talent.

I am not defending Vice at all. I don't like the things he is teaching. Recruiting-wise, I just don't think this staff, from top down, puts much value into putting resources into top OL. They identify guys who have the frames and the athleticism to stay engaged on blocks and look to develop them. Those guys (Aiden Brown, Lecitus Smith, Silas Dznasi) are almost complete unknowns at this point. Every guy targeted this year fits the exact same mold (and I think the guard from Georgia, Harris, will be one hell of a player.)

I disagree vehemently with the teaching technique (which I assume is taught because it gets used repeatedly by all players) and the lack of volume of targets. In my opinion, the only OL coach I liked since I started writing for this site was Grimes, and apparently he didn't endear himself because I seem to be the only person who shares that opinion.

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

I think we all loved Grimes as a coach, but screw him! He bolted for LSU after 1 season.

What's
Important
Now

Really hate the lack of aggressiveness in run blocking. Especially with how NCAA refs police blocking past the 3 yards on RPOs I don't see the reason to have the passive blocking.

I wonder how Todd Washington would be as an OL coach. He seems to have the personality to recruit and has a lot of experience coaching OL in the NFL.

If VT holds onto McFadden and could gets a guy like Culver. Along with Darrisaw and Harris I think it could be the best OL recruiting class VT has had.

doesn't an increase in talent often come with difficulty in finding 11 players who are "selling out on every play"? I recall this being a challenge once "talent" improved after Michael Vick.

Is it just me or does JJ seem to throw off his back foot even when it is not necessary... Take the last throw.. step up in the pocket, put some air under it and its a TD..

French - What play would you have called on 4th and 1 at the end of the game? Knowing what we could and could not do based on the flow of the game. I don't think we could have ran for it with 9 guys in the box - with our backs and OL at least.

Realizing this question is for French and I know much less than he does, but my 2 cents anyway...

why not call the fake jet-sweep with the wheel route to McMillan that worked well earlier in the game? It puts that play-side LB in an impossible position - attack the LOS to stop Savoy on the jet-sweep, or cover Travon out of the backfield? We ran it earlier in the game, Travon faked like he was going to block then ran right by the LB for a wide open huge gain (probably our longest gain of the whole game if I remember correctly). And have everyone else in max protect. This also solves Fuente's problem of not having to drive down the field cause it would go for a big play if not a TD.

I think it's a higher percentage play then the post to Cam, even tho I do like the Cam vs freshman matchup, but this would have been better I think because it uses a playfake to potentially get someone wide open, rather than throwing a jump ball.

Also, I don't know if this is even in the playbook, but why not both? Travon fakes the block and runs the wheel route, and Cam runs the post, and you tell JJ that if Travon isn't WIDE open then you throw to Cam. But most likely, Travon would be wide open I think, no way the LB can react quickly enough in coverage considering he'd need to play very aggressively to stop the jet-sweep when all we need is 1 yard.

It would have been a good call, but that is also a difficult catch for a running back unless very wide open.

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

Regarding the Fake Jet Sweep mentioned in the first couple paragraphs, check out Alabama run this counter play to perfection.

It's. Just. Beautiful.

I said before the season began than I think the loss of Farley would cost us 1-3 games. Granted we don't know for sure that Farley would have been a sure-handed deep threat but the potential was there and he appeared to show it in his limited time in the spring.

This game and potentially the UM game are exactly what I was talking about. Folks on TSL said, "No one player other than the QB is that important," but I beg to differ. Much different season with even one viable outside threat, even if all he does is run simple streak routes.

OLine still has to be able to block long enough for a deep threat to work. Watching the past few weeks we can barely block long enough for 8-10 yard routes. On top of that QB then has to at least give his guy a chance to make a play by throwing the ball.

O Line hasn't done a great job of blocking so QB is throwing off his back foot knowing he's going to take a hit, WR not winning 1v1 battles and our run game has been poor. Would not be shocked to see every team we play from here on out stack the back go 1v1 on the outside and make Jackson/WR's beat up.

No matter how good your hands are, you can't catch a ball that is 3 yards too long.

On one hand, part of me feels like the inconsistency on offense has been due to Jackson being a rFreshman. On the option read to Holston, JJ should have kept the ball and could have easily gotten the first down. As the season has progressed, it seems that teams have figured out how to defend our offense & he hasn't adjusted. Jackson not progressing coupled with inexperience at WR (tons of dropped balls) has been a major factor in our recent struggles. I think next season Jackson & our WRs will be much better in these types of games.

On the other hand, I feel like the offensive play calling in recent weeks hasn't done him any favors. The play calling in the first half of the season was way less predictable. Cornelson called plays that put Jackson in better situations, which was a huge part of our 6-0 start (albeit outside of WVU, 5 of those wins was against a much lower quality opponent). I thought after our first loss (to a very good Clemson team) we would be a force to reckon with. After the Clemson loss our offense has been much more inconsistent. We may have blown teams out, but a lot of that success was due to ST & Defense picking up the slack vs inferior teams. If we had played Clemson, Miami, & GT consecutively, the outcomes may have been different.

Ultimately, it's difficult to put all the blame on Jackson/Cornelson. We win as a team & we lose as a team. Were way ahead of schedule with Fuente being in his second year. We should be grateful that we have the opportunity to get to 10 wins for a second straight. Hopefully we can get back on track this week & finish the season 3-0.

Pre-marital sex will blow your mothers fake legs off her porch

(those who were frequents at Sharkeys from 2006-2008 will understand this epic graffiti by the first urinal)

at the risk of wearing out my welcome, losing Nijman has been a big, big deal.

the increased sacks, hits, and pressures have impacted Jackson's decision making and accuracy, and the trickle down from that goes all the way to planning, strategies, and play calls by the coaches.

He wasn't playing his best, but his mobility in pass protection has been missed.

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