Well, I’m back from Hot-lanta. It was a great weekend, great fun. I see there’s been a ton of postings on this blog and others like it. I’ve read it all. I’ve written my own piece 34 times. I’ve re-written it. I’ve tweaked it. I’ve spiced it up. I’ve toned it down. I’ve poured my heart out, re-read it, deleted it, and re-written it again. And again. And again.
I told myself I wasn’t going to write yet. I was going to wait on the Marshall game, and let everyone else speak their minds on the Alabama game. I definitely wasn’t going to write on Sunday or Monday. I needed to let it all settle in. I was just going to wait. But I can’t hold it in, not anymore, not until after the Marshall game like I thought I could.
Now, I must caveat this whole thing. I feel the same as you, in fact probably stronger. I hate Bryan Stinespring, as my offensive coordinator. I think he’s horrible, at portions of THAT job. Now, I understand that being an offensive coordinator is not just one thing. There’s planning, coaching, formations, play-calling, recruiting, etc. He is apparently a great recruiter, our best. Hell, he must be. If he can walk into a blue-chipper’s living room and convince them to come play “offense” (my term, used loosely) for us, then he must be able to sell ice to Eskimos. But for other portions of that job, game-planning, formations, play-calling, and his worst failure, making ADJUSTMENTS mid-game when said game-plan, formations, and play-calling are not working – well, he sucks. He’s in over his head. He’s not a top tier, top 10, major college offensive coordinator. He’s just not. He might be vital to VT success, but his role needs to change.
Before I get into the meat of my article, I must say a couple quick things.
 Bryan himself, Billy Hite, Mike O’Cain, Coach Beamer, and now Seth Greenberg in their defense? -- STOP MAKING EXCUSES. Just stop. Excuses are what 9 year olds make as to why they spilled the chocolate milk all over your nice couch. Excuses are not what major, Division 1, high level, top tier, coaches make – day in day out, week in week out, year in year out. G*D D*MN, I don’t want to hear one more time how young we are, how inexperienced we are, how whatever we are, how difficult it is to coach, how difficult it is to game plan, how difficult it is to adjust. Those are excuses! Excuses for your failures. THIS IS YOUR JOB. Your job is to coach this offense to victories, to move the ball, to score points, to not give up the ball in bad situations, to hold on to the ball and let your defense rest longer than 14 seconds. This is college football. You get new people every year. You lose key people every year. You are inherently guaranteed a rolling stock of players every 4 years, no matter what. There will always be young, inexperienced, first time starters. ALWAYS. It is your job to get them ready. It is YOUR job. Your paid employment position. Did we hear one word from Saban or any Alabama supporters how young they were at QB (first time starter, Tyrod’s age) or inexperienced they were on the OL (3 new starters at a new position) or lost their best RB to the NFL? Nope. Coaches got them ready. They played. They looked better prepared than our offense.
 Tied to #1 here. Have some accountability. You should be ashamed of yourself. Blaming these kids for mistakes. “missed some assignments”, “missed some blocks”, “bad pass”, “bad read”, “penalties at the wrong times”, “weren’t prepared”. You should be ashamed of yourselves. These are kids. Kids, taught to play a game by YOU. They should be prepared beyond the shadow of a doubt, by YOUR teachings. Their missed blocks, missed assignments, bad reads, etc. – are a direct reflection on YOU. These kids are robots, muscle memory machines. In a game situation, when A happens, they do B. But if C happens, they adjust to D. And so on. These muscle memories and automatic reactions are learned in practice over and over and over again. And they should be made ready for ANY situation. Maybe you all should watch a video of a real man, coach Mike Gundy at OK State take on a reporter who wanted to call out a certain player for a certain mistake. Mike gets it. It was HIS fault that the player was put in a position to make mistakes, and his fault that the player was not prepared for a situation that came up. And he took the blame for it and told the reporter to do the same. Maybe you all should watch this video before every press conference where you dare to step to the microphone and throw your own players under the bus. I’m ashamed to be a VT alumni, athletic fund donator, season ticket holder, and fan - to see and hear you throwing your own kids under the bus. ASHAMED.
Now, on to the meat of my post. I’m just so down, I don’t even want to write. It’s like, we all knew how bad it was going to be, how much Alabama was going to expose our offseason hype fallacies. And now it’s true and we just have these blog outlets to try and spew some more stats. Did any of us actually think, truly feel we had a shot to be an improved offense? Well, anyways…….
*Atlanta. Don’t know about the surrounding areas that have gotten a bad name in recent times. But the heart of the city. The friendly and helpful police. The roads and traffic organization. The Georgia Dome. The parking set-up. The whole thing. Chic-fil-a. The whole experience. A+
*Alabama fans. Parking lot etiquette. Tailgating and sharing. General fun atmosphere. Good people. No problems whatsoever. I do have one comment that Alabama, having a longer and more illustrious history than us, definitely had “older money”. A generally older tailgating crowd. Not a bad thing. Just an anecdotal point, at least from the yellow RV lot.
*Our return game. Although they gave the ball up twice, this portion of our game was definitely still in the positive for the night. Mr. Roberts, welcome to the big time.
*Speaking of Mr. Roberts, in general we got to see a couple glimpses of him and Mr. Williams in space. Athletes in space. Blue-chip 5 star recruits with the ball in their hands in space, good things happen. If only we had more ways to get them the ball in space……. Oh wait, leading us to…..
*Seriously WTFBBQ? Our play calling is bad. Worse than bad. Atrocious. I’m typing this in Microsoft Word and I just right clicked atrocious so I could say that Stinespring’s play calling is terrible, awful, horrible, and 17 other words that end in the “ull” sound. We run the same 8 plays out of the same 3 formations. I don’t mean that like we have some bread and butter. I mean it, like seriously. We run 8 plays, over and over and over again. Well, not really that many “and over and over” ‘s - since we only ran 51 offensive plays all game anyways. Seriously though, to bite off of another poster, I think Bryan needs to log into a Madden 2010 game and just see how many plays a team *COULD* run. How many different formations are possible, and then how many plays are available in each. Division 1 college football plays Madden, we’re stuck with a Super Techmo Bowl playbook (and no Bo Jackson).
*I don’t think it affected the outcome of the game, directly. (read: I’m not going to really whine here as much as I might want to) But it was a shame that the officials were from the SEC and it ended up appearing to matter at times. Last year they were ACC officials for ‘bama / Clemson in this same game. But it didn’t matter because there weren’t enough close calls to remove the mudhole the Tide had already put in the Tigers. This year, questionable calls on an intentional grounding call (I’d love to see if TT was being clutched at the time of the attempted throw, thus removing momentum from the throw and it came a couple yards short of the line of scrimmage), a pass interference call (friendly call for J. Jones), non-calls on two Jason Worilds being held (I know there’s probably more but I can remember two very specific two-point-take-downs that were noticeable from the upper deck), and also the non-ejection of a player who pushed a referee (you threw the flag for him hitting you, so you noticed him, yet didn’t eject him?) – all just leave a little sour taste in my mouth. Not that they changed the game, and I’m sure Alabama fans could name some plays the other way, but keep in mind for all VT fans these calls (or non calls) don’t even come up in post-game conversations if there were neutral officials.
*I hated seeing our defense gassed. I know they were out there for 37 minutes (to 23 minutes for Stiney’s guys). Really, 23 minutes? Anyways, I hated seeing them gassed, played their hearts out all game, and then some. And the general sense on Sportscenter, and general fandom conversations I’ve been in since the game are laying blame on the defense for the 4th quarter. I’m not so disillusioned and have Bud Foster on so much of a pedestal that I don’t think anything is ever their fault – but I can sure as hell see the forest for the trees that we corralled a top 5 team’s offense for plenty over half the game and kept in it. I just hate, for them, for Bud, that anyone outside of our culture here would see that game, or heaven forbid only see highlights on TV, and think that our defense was weak in the secondary in the 4th quarter or the reason for the final deficit.
*Time outs called out of our offensive huddle. Really? REALLY? One of them was even out of our offensive huddle after a TV timeout for change of possession…..seriously? How unprepared are you? The whole time Alabama just had the ball, and then they punted, and then there was 3 minutes of TV timeout – wasn’t enough for you to get a play call and your offense ready? For a shocking, shocking, down and distance, of………….wait for it………………1st down and 10………….
*How bad is it? How bad is the state of affairs?......that our Athletic Director (here I mean Jim Weaver) and our (other) Athletic Director/Head Coach change the format of the weekly call in show for Hokie Football….I mean really, afraid more Jason-from-Arlington’s might call in? This, to me, is the admission of guilt, the shameful avoidance of a possible tough question. I really think it’s a (expletive deleted)-move by our athletic department. <-- That word rhymes with “wussy”. Beamer wants to challenge us to “know more about football” than Bryan Stinespring. He wants to challenge us to come to his office for a football challenge if we don’t like Bryan. He wants to call us out for negative speak on Bryan. Then he goes and closes the call in lines for his call in show??? So that other apologists can be his screeners of questions submitted via the internet prior to being asked by Bill Roth???? I’ll lay personal 5:1 odds that Billy Hite and Bryan himself are on the internet-question-screening-team. If only Bud were on the screening team and accidentally let a couple get through…..
And now for two ugly truths that some of us don’t want to read:
*If we all go look in the mirror and ask ourselves about “firing” Bryan Stinespring, we know that Beamer won’t do it. And, that if, for some moon-and-sun-start-going-backwards impossible phenomenon, he were to relinquish Bryan of his duties, it won’t be midseason. As much as we want Bryan out, we know it won’t happen midseason. It would only happen postseason. And now, brace yourselves. What would it take for even Beamer and Weaver to make a move? They’ve proven, that even with 101st and 107th rated offenses, they won’t do it. Not with 10 win seasons, squeaked out ACC championships because of tie-breaker rule #7 in the Coastal, and BCS appearances – and thank Jesus finally a bowl win. So, we know they won’t do it after that kind of “successful” season. So, are you braced? What would it take? 6-6? 5-7? 4-8? How bad would it have to get for Beamer to admit a change might be necessary? And would one year at that level be enough? I can hear Hite now, “well golllldarn, we won 10 straight for 5 years, we were due for a down year, ya hear?” So, are you ready to endure a year like that, or years, for there to be a change? Or was that “thud” I just heard all of us subconsciously falling into the assimilated single brain of Hokie fandom – that we’re satiated with the peak that we are at now. And we don’t want to endure that bad of a year(s) for change to occur?
* I spent my weekend travels for the Alabama game down to Atlanta with my wife and son, and two friends of mine. They’re older alumni than I am, and in fact in better standing with the VTAF. They’ve been donating longer, and more, than I. They gave me some different outlooks on the whole football situation. I also spent a small chunk of time at a “high falootin” tailgate on Saturday. I won’t name names here, but let’s just say there were plenty of former players and coaches from football, current coaches of other sports, and plenty PLENTY PLENTY of big money donators. The big money. The multiple-commas-in the checks donators. Of course no one at the tailgate knew who I was. Read: I’m a nobody in the VTAF donating scene compared to them, but also to mean they didn’t know a FBS writer was in their midst. I will shamelessly admit that FBS and other “hate” groups were the topic of discussion. But not in a good way. Not like, you just read that, and thought, “Sweet!!! We’re making waves! We can make a difference!!”. Our website and others like it came up in a manner of how much time we’re wasting. We’ll never get a change. And how little and miniscule we are.
You know the whole analogy about American taxes, that ~1% of Americans pay over ~99% of the taxes. That we, the normal person, have no idea the immense numbers up for discussion on changing American policy or with the lobbyists. Let’s just say it’s not that far off up the ladder at VT, or with the VTAF. Let’s just say that for a plan like they did at FSU for Jeff Bowden to work, you HAVE to get some of the BIG money involved. BIG MONEY. We all can’t stop donating to VTAF. You’d hurt the non-profitable sports. You’d hurt lacrosse and volleyball and golf. You wouldn’t hurt football. So we can’t stop donating. We can earmark our next year donations to say, “If Bryan Stinespring is still the offensive coordinator, do not allow any of my donations to go to football”. And all of us combined, not just readers here, but all of us combined, unless one of the ~10 very specific donators did that, would mean nothing. Nothing. Let’s say there are 10,000 people who donate regularly to the VTAF. That means that all of us 9,990 added up, are not equal to those top 10. See analogy above, American taxes. (you think a $50 million basketball facility came out of the general VTAF? I’m just saying. You, me, we’re nobodies.)
And here inlies the ugly truth. Those ~10 donators. They’re old money. They’re old VT. They’re from the days of BAD football. BAD BAD BAD records. No bowls. No wins. Run middle run middle run middle punt. Right now, the past ~decade – these guys and gals couldn’t be happier. We beat UVA commonly (I mean so does William and Mary, but hey), we win enough games to qualify for a bowl, we’re nationally ranked, we’re………….on…………………television, “Virginia Tech” are words heard on Sportscenter, we play on New Year’s or later, etc. etc. etc. These people are super peachy happy. They’re loving life. Beamer and Stinespring are Gods.
It’s these people we have to get to notice. It’s these people that you can’t spout stats at. 70th, 80th, 90th, 99th, 101st, 107th - 37 minutes vs 23 minutes – 8 plays, 3 formations – all this stuff – useless to someone that lived in the doldrums so long and now thinks we’re great. We’ve got to get someone from this high to ask Mr. Weaver and Mr. Beamer – how bad does it have to get for there to be a change to the coaching staff? All statistics aside, do you think we can win a National Championship with Stinespring as our Offensive Coordinator?
I like the ideas of the grass roots, tee-shirts, newspaper ads, flyers, call-in shows. But we have to get bigger, BIGGER. There’s ~10 people we need to somehow get to notice. Ideas?