FBS Mission Statement:
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
The questions, to start with, are the sort of standard, unimaginative schlock you'd expect from Dinich (or any random local sports reporter throughout the Commonwealth, really). But some of Stinespring's responses are telling. Here's a few exchanges that caught the IH's eye, and what I think of them.
Dinich: What's your take on the priority for the offense this spring?
BS: The first priority for us this spring is to make sure our mindset is, are we approaching this thing like we're just going to be a year older next fall or are we going to be a year older and a year better? I think that's the key. Older is one aspect of it, but with the success we had towards the end of the year, do we feel like we arrived? Because we haven't. We improved, but we haven't arrived. We're not as good as we can be, and that's the ultimate goal, to chase after how good you can be.What are we to make of this circuitous, meandering response by Stiney, other than that he's been hanging around with Frank Beamer for too long? Well, for one thing, Stiney starts of the interview right on the money with an admission that last year's offense failed to play up to their potential. No small portion of this was questionable play calling, but to be fair there was some measure, especially early on, of players simply not playing at the level of which they were capable. This is especially true of the receiving corps, but the lesson can be applied essentially all over the offense. The only player on offense who was solid from start to finish was Darren Evans.
Dinich: Do you think you'll be able to do more this year because the guys are a bit more experienced?
BS: We were pleased with the way we played down the stretch. It wasn't consistent throughout the year. [...] We could be in a run play-action game, we could be in a spread, some option, we could be in a three, four-receiver game, but it's how well we do those things. How we execute, how much better we perform it, we can build on that part of it. There are certainly things our receivers need to make. [...] I think our players understood if they concentrated and focused to make sure they were doing everything they could within their ability at that point in time we performed and we performed well down the stretch. We've just got to carry that over.
Notice here that both Stinespring and Dinich are continuing to focus on last year's squad's lack of experience as the primary reason for lack of performance. We get our first mention of play calling and scheme from Stinespring, but he passes off the failures of his schizophrenic playbook on a lack of performance by the players. There's definitely an argument to be made that the receivers took longer than expected to step up, but Stinespring here simply brushes off the fact that he's just called his offense a "run, play action, spread option 3-to-4 receiver set." At some point does someone (probably someone smarter than Heather Dinich) stand up and say that you simply can't try to do all that on one college offense?
Note here that I'm completely skipping the question regarding the excitement surrounding Ryan Williams. Everyone already knows how excited Hokie Nation is about Williams, and wasting time in an interview with Stiney on such fluff is inexcusable. It would have been much more insightful to ask Stiney about if and how he plans to use Logan Thomas next year, since the buzz surrounding him is still fairly new.
I'm also skipping the drivel about how early Stinespring started studying film on Alabama.
Dinich: What's the state of your offensive line? How do they look going into the spring?
BS: [After lamenting the loss of Ryan Shuman.] We feel like in some regards, we're in good shape going into the spring. There's a couple of depth questions, but there always are. We feel pretty good about it. When you've got four starters coming back who played in the Orange Bowl, and played well for you down the stretch. They went from a Boston College game in Chestnut Hill to four or five weeks later in a championship game. You marveled at how far they had come along. When you've got four of the five back, and the guys that have started some games, it gives you at least an optimistic approach to how good this group can be.
No mention here that last year the offensive line gave up 3 sacks per game, on average. No mention that the offensive line has been one of the weakest of many weak spots on the offense. Even the wording of the question is noticeably neutral, even conversational, as though Dinich wants to draw no attention to the fact that there might indeed be something wrong with the way the line is being coached.
Dinich: You guys win ACC titles like it's nothing ...
BS: [...]The system and the way that we approach things, from recruiting, to coaching and practice, what the expectations are. They're all understood and you just continuously work towards that. It's a hungry football team. It's a staff that stays very competitive in terms of meeting our goals. We understand what we're trying to accomplish. Our goal is to go to a bowl game. Our goal is to win an ACC championship. And every day that you go to work you continuously work towards that. The fact you've won one, or had a chance to win a Big East championship, or gone to a BCS game, that doesn't calm anything. It only strokes the fire.
That starts with coach Beamer. His competitive mode is as high as I've ever seen. And I've competed against him in everything from golf to racquetball, and horseshoes to understand the competitive mode he has. That carries over to all of us.Here is where the IH left his seat to pace off his rage for a while. If Stinespring were nearly as competitive as Beamer he'd have resigned by now. Stinespring cannot reconcile saying he's goal-oriented in his job with putting up such terrible numbers the last three years. What sort of goals are you accomplishing, Bryan? It certainly isn't anything related to offensive statistics. And it apparently has nothing to do with making sure the offense contributes its fair share in victories. Actually, the IH is dying to know exactly what these mysterious goals of Bryan Stinespring's are, so we would all know once and for all what measuring stick he uses to judge his offenses. Because by all rational measurements, they simply don't stack up.
Dinich: But are you guys ready to take the next step? The national title?
BS: [...]To have those things happen, to talk about them in March, February ... talking about it in March and February doesn't do any good. It's what we do in March and February, April, May, June and July. When it gets right down to it, you've got to play lights out. You've got to stay as healthy as you can, and every now and then the ball has got to bounce your way. We'll talk about that some other time. The very first thing to do is make sure that when we start in September that we're not just a year older, but we're a year better and we've approached it from that standpoint. Then we'll see how things go. The goal is to win the first one, and get the second one. [...] I promise you that's what it is. Anything less than that and you're setting yourself up for failure.
And here Stinespring does a 180, taking me from screaming at him through my monitor to agreeing with him. One of my favorite lines from Frank Beamer is that during the 1999 season they didn't try to go 11-0, they tried to go 1-0 eleven times. The focus Stinespring is advocating is, I believe, the correct one to get a team into position for a national championship. You take things one game, series, and play at a time. This is what's so infuriating about Stinespring, at least to me. He seems to think about things the right way, focus on things the right way, but then things fall apart as soon as he starts calling the plays. I think the problem is that for all his preaching about staying focused, building on previous success, and not looking ahead, Stinespring inevitably overthinks things. Instead of taking a game one play at a time, he tries to map out the entire game before the first snap. There's a reason why his playcalling late in the FSU game, when Cory Holt was in, is generally considered his best of the season, and that's because he was completely unprepared for it. It was off the cuff, shooting from the hip play calling.
In the end, though, the whole interview leaves a bad taste in my mouth, specifically because there's no mea culpa, no hint that Stinespring takes any measure of responsibility for what his offenses have done and failed to do the past three seasons. Indeed, there's not a hint in his responses to suggest that there has even been anything wrong. I don't know if it's denial or ego, but my respect for Bryan Stinespring would grow immensely if he would ever just admit that thing's haven't gone the way he had hoped since the start of the 2006 season.
Of course, it would take an interview from an entirely more talented journalist than Heather Dinich to get Stinespring to come out of his shell and talk frankly and earnestly about the state of the Hokie offense. I think we can chalk up this entire interview as an exchange of ideas between two people who are not very good at their respective jobs.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The IH is humbled, honored, and a little amused that I actually conned my way into an admin position here at FBS. Effusive and sincere thanks to the Hokie Guru for feeling that I am worthy to assist the cause in such a high post.
Now, my question to you, gentle reader, is this: where are we taking this thing of our? On my other blog I somewhat jokingly call FBS a "social movement." As far as that goes, we admittedly have about as much drive and initiative as a NORML meeting at 4:21. So far this has been more of a safe haven for those "in the know" about Stinespring to vent their spleens to sympathetic ears. That, in fact, is specifically what attracted me to FBS in the first place. But, my friends, it seems as though we have found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a vicious cycle, one in which Bud Foster's defense perpetually bails out Stinespring's offense just enough to get us into serious contention for yet another conference title and another 10+ win season. The problem therein is that without offensive contribution we will never win it all.
For Stinespring to be exposed to the masses, one of two things must first happen: either the public must be informed by those of us that realize Stinespring hasn't contributed to our great run since joining the ACC (and, in fact, has probably held us back from multiple BCS championship game appearances), or they will find out on their own if/when Bud Foster departs for a head coaching job elsewhere and Virginia Tech football enters a long and bitter dark ages. We are simply too close to that elusive crystal football to risk waiting for the latter option.
So, anyway, before I ramble too long here's the deal:
I don't want to completely change FBS, because it's a great forum to vent. I'm just asking, as I step into this co-admin role, do we want to do more? Is there a common interest here in getting proactive? My knee-jerk reaction is to say, "Of course!" Then again, actually taking the lead in steering the conversation about Stinespring's lack of production would take a commitment of both time and *gasp* money. And to be honest, I can't blame anyone for having reservations about taking on an additional obligation from FBS on top of what's already on your plate in your daily life.
Just give me some feedback here, FBS brethren (and any sistren who might be out there, too). Do we want to press this t-shirt thing hard? Do we want to take a look at maybe running some classified ads, or if the money's there maybe even some quarter or half-page ads in the Collegiate Times and Roanoke Times? Or do we want to keep this primarily a forum?
Monday, March 9, 2009
Roll TideJeff WhiteMar 08, 2009
CHARLOTTESVILLE – Mike Groh wasn’t out
of football for long. The former U.Va. offensive coordinator has accepted a
position at the University of Alabama, where his boss is Nick Saban.
Virginia coach Al Groh, a former colleague of Saban, announced in early
December that three of his assistants, including Mike, the older of his two
sons, would not return in 2009. The younger Groh later tried unsuccessfully to
land the head job at Towson, which competes in the NCAA’s Football Championship
Alabama has yet to announce Groh’s hiring, but I’m told he’s
technically a graduate assistant at the Southeastern Conference school, though
his responsibilities figure to be greater than those of a typical G.A. Groh will
receive his salary from U.Va. this year, so he can afford to work for low wages
Groh, 37, is a former standout quarterback for the Cavaliers.
He spent eight seasons on his father’s staff at Virginia, the final three as
Alabama opens the season against Virginia Tech, of
Points I'm chuckling at:
*he got another job?
*he went from OC of a division 1 school to a full-out loser at a bigger school?
*UVA is still paying him?
*wait, I'm not laughing. Anyone see this as a way to pawn off BStines? We'll pay him for one extra year, you hire him to __________.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
He brings up some new/modified ways to look at statistics in his latest installment. And it's not pretty for one Bryan Stinesuck. I'll past my comment to him here, for those of you who would refuse to click off this page and onto his.
He suggests 4 new stats to judge an OC.
 Yards gained versus the potential yards they could have gained
 Red Zone TD percentage, taking out the FGs
 Total Scoring minus defensive scores [Foster no carry Stiney no more]
 A new grading ratio, good:bad. TD's and FG's : Punts and Turnovers
I took a nice little sample of teams. Three to be exact, to paint a picture of how bad VT's offense was last year, using your handy new grading criteria. They will show you what you need to see.
I took Oklahoma as the good data outlier. I kept our beloved Hokies as the bad data outlier. And I needed a control sample. So if OU is #1 offense, and we're #101, I looked around #50. According to offensive rankings I was using [total scoring on ESPN], the "U" was #50. Note: you can't plead uncontested without the "U". Well, since we played UMiami, I didn't want to use an opponent that wasn't a common opponent with the other two teams in comparison. So, right there at #50b was Pittsburgh. Not only were they perfect for comparison because neither OU or VT played them - but we all had a common outside opponent in Cinci. PERFECT for a little fun with statistics.
Ok. First off I need to give credit where it is due. I admit to using each team's page on ESPN, as each game write up yields a link to a drive summary [which a little copy and pasting and excel fun later, I can easily decipher IH's new potential yardage % stat]. I also need to point everyone to the mother of all informational sites. www.cfbstats.com HOLY CRAP. Find it, learn it, use it, love it. A little number crunching here and there, process of elimination type math to take out some defensive scoring and kicking, etc. - and this site is everything you'll ever need to win any argument.
Ok, so on to the stats. For all three teams in this comparison. I took the drive by drive stats at face value. I didn't eliminate any end-of-game drives, or end-of-half drives, or overtime drives. For the potential yardage calculation, it's simply for EVERY drive of the year, how many yards they got on the drive, over the yards they could've gotten on that drive -- no other qualifications. All three teams had end of game and half drives, or late turn-over-on-downs - but who am I to review more than 3 months later and say that they weren't trying to drive, regardless of final score. Not my place to judge stats, just publish.
Oklahoma, #1 ranked national offense. Total yards gained on O, 7670 yards out of a possible 12050 yards potential. OU = 63.65% of their potential offense.
Pittsburgh, #50ish ranked national offense. Total yards gained on O, 4642 yards out of a possible 11305 yards potential. UP = 41.06% of their potential offense.
Stinesuck's Hokies, #101 ranked national offense. Total yards gained on O, 4248 yards out of a possible 11202 yards potential. VT = 37.92% of their potential offense.
Yuck. Less than 38% of potential yards available....
Onto Red Zone TD%, read: not 'red zone scoring' like you'll see on many stat sites, which include the number of times 'scored' in the red zone, not TD's. FG's no good for this stat. To get this stat I took the red zone scoring listed already for the teams, and subtracted out all FG's shorter than 39 yards. FG's shorter than 39 yards would be kicked inside the 22-yard-line. Close enough for our calcs here = red zone.
Oklahoma, #1 ranked national offense. Total redzone offense, 78-84, with 7 FG's of shorter than 39 yards. OU = 71 for 84, or 84.52% RZTD%.
Pittsburgh, #50ish ranked national offense. Total redzone offense, 41-45, with 14 FG's of shorter than 39 yards. UP = 27 for 45, or 60.00% RZTD%.
Stinesuck's Hokies, #101 ranked national offense. Total redzone offense, 43-58, with 17 FG's of shorter than 39 yards. VT = 26 for 58, or 44.83% RZTD%.
Yuck^2. 45% Red Zone TD's??? I could shit from the rafters in Cassell onto random pages from the playbook scattered on the court below and call a better game inside the 20.
Next on IH's list is Scoring Offense Minus Defensive Scoring.
Oklahoma, #1 ranked national offense. Total scoring, 716 points, minus 2 for a safety, minus 21 for three defensive TD's, and minus 2 for a defensive 2-point conversion return = 691 offensive points. Divided by 14 games = 49.36 points per game for OU.
Pittsburgh, #50ish ranked national offense. Total scoring, 352 points, minus 21 for three defensive TD's = 331 offensive points. Divided by 13 games = 25.46 points per game for UP.
Stinesuck's Hokies, #101 ranked national offense. Total scoring, 309 points, minus 2 for a safety, minus 35 for five defensive TD's, and minus 2 for a defensive 2-point conversion return = 270 offensive points. Divided by 14 games = 19.29 points per game for VT.
Yuck^3. Less than 20 points per game scoring....no more claiming this "X number of seasons with 10 wins" crap was a team effort. Bud Foster for president.
And finally, onto Scoring Drives vs. Punts and Turnovers. For this stat, I only included offensive scoring drives. No O coordinator getting credit for a DB pick 6.
Oklahoma, #1 ranked national offense. 96 offensive touchdowns, 8 FG's = 104 scoring drives. 11 turn overs lost, 54 punts = 65 punts and turnovers. So OU had 1.6 good drives for every 1 bad drive.
Pittsburgh, #50ish ranked national offense. 39 offensive touchdowns, 20 FG's = 59 scoring drives. 27 turn overs lost, 63 punts = 90 punts and turnovers. So UP had 0.6555 good drives for every 1 bad drive.
Stinesuck's Hokies, #101 ranked national offense. 29 offensive touchdowns, 23 FG's = 52 scoring drives. 20 turn overs lost, 72 punts = 92 punts and turnovers. So VT had 0.5652 good drives for every 1 bad drive....or nearly a 2:1 ratio of bad drives to good.....
So, what has my math fun this afternoon told us?
 Hokiejaybee has too much time on his hands.
 I've never heard it called "time", but whatever it is I'm wiping it off my hands.
 Illinois Hokie is right. Throwing out standard crap cookie cutter statistics doesn't make BStines look better, but worse.
 No more can Beamer and Hite, and any other Stinespring apologists, use random offensive stats to defend him. Take out BFoster's defensive scoring [and short drives set up by the Def [which affects the potential yardage stat here]] - and Stinesuck looks worse.
Pre-emptive message to other math heads. Yes, I know this was a small sample. But the snapshot does IH's sentiment justice. Our O last year was BAD. Real BAD.
Stat that jumps out the most. 72 punts. Seventy-two punts. Over 5 punts a game.....with WKU and Furman and Duke, etc. on the schedule......over 5, five, cinco, cinq, V, FIVE, over 5 punts a game.....