FBS Mission Statement:

We at FBS believe that offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring bears the largest share of the blame for years of sub-par output from some of the most talented players ever to set foot on Worsham Field. We believe the main objective of the VT football program - a national championship - will escape us as long as Stinespring is making the calls. We therefore advocate the improvement of our football program through the replacement of our offensive coordinator.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Heather Dinich Removes Right Foot from Mouth, Inserts Left

As those of you who frequent the FBS blog are aware, we FBSr's are not the biggest Heather Dinich fans. She has a history of defending Stiney's track record and overlooking his deficiencies and inabilities. She seems to enjoy having Stiney around, and has interviewed him on multiple occasions. She fires a few padded questions at him and spends the rest of the time acting like a teenager at a boy band concert.

Well it seems like the hard questions are getting too tough for Dinich to answer. Buried in her most recent Stiney love letter was this little nugget:
Virginia Tech has more depth. The offensive line is more athletic. The receivers will be better. They'll be supercharged at running back, good at fullback, improved at quarterback. All of the pieces are in place for significant offensive improvement. If the Hokies struggle again on offense with this talent-laden roster, then the criticism will be warranted. They're still young, but they should be better, and it's Stinespring's job to make them better. There were plenty of signs this spring of that happening.
Wow! For REAL, Heather? We will then be warranted? Why thank you so much for the whole-hearted endorsement!

Notice that she pretty quickly backtracks by suggesting that this spring has been successful because of Stiney. I would contend that it has been moderately acceptable despite him. With power players such as Ryan Williams and Marcus Davis (both new additions to VT, by the way), I've seen more improvement via recruiting than via coaching.

Case in point, Rashad Carmichael. When a good coach (read: Bud Foster or Torrian Gray) actually works with a mediocre player until they become a standout player, that is called coaching. I fully expected Carmichael to outperform Eddie Whitley - he has a year more of coaching and experience under his belt. In a Bud Foster defense, a year means improvement. In a Bryan Stinespring offense, a year means bupkis.

...Unless we recruit some natural talent to cover Stiney's ass. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Breaking Down the Spring Game: "Stats That Matter" Edition

Not sure why I didn't think to include this in my original breakdown of the spring game, but I'm posting it now. Awhile back I wrote about the stats that matter in college football, and I thought it might be appropriately informative to break down the spring game along those lines.

In a nutshell, my "stats that matter" are:

1. Potential Yardage Percentage (PY%): Total Offense divided by total number of yards the offense could have potentially gained based on the starting position of each drive

2. Red Zone Touchdown Percentage (RZTD%): Percentage of drives inside the Red Zone that resulted in a touchdown

3. Scoring Offense Minus Defensive/Special Teams Scoring (SO): The average number of points the OFFENSE put on the board. Includes field goals and PATs following TDs scored by the offense.

4. Scoring Drives vs. Punts and Turnovers (SD:P/T): Ratio between scoring drives and drives that ended via punt or turnover (includes turnover on downs)

And away we go...

White Team
PY%: 35%
RZTD%: 50%
SO: 7 pts.
SD:P/T: 1:6

Maroon Team
PY%: 44%

RZTD%: 33%
SO: 6 pts.
SD:P/T: 1:5

Bottom line: I like Maroon's PY%. It's not great, but it's an improvement over what we saw all of last year. And I think it's no coincidence that Maroon's PY% is so high and they were the team that had Ryan Williams. White's RZTD% is okay, but you really need to come away with more than one TD for every two trips to the red zone. SO was pathetic for both squads, and SD:P/T looks about like last year. There's a good argument to be made that both those stats were affected by situational playcalling that didn't necessarily mimic what would be called in a live game.

All in all, a mixed bag. Let's see what the numbers look like come autumn.

HokieJayBee - Snippet of a Report from the Spring Game

Hi all, HokieJayBee here. Back at work on Monday morning. Boooooooooooo.

Don't have a ton of time for a post, but I wanted to get something out there real quick. Mrs. HokieJayBee and I made the trip into B'burg this weekend for the spring game. Awesome weekend. I know it's a big recruiting weekend that the school uses - and boy did Hokie Faithful come through. Conservative estimates had 41,000 of us in Lane Stadium. FOR THE SPRING GAME!!!!!!!!

Any rising senior high schoolers there would have to be impressed with the showing for a practice game. Also, 7 former Hokie NFL'ers were there too. HokieJayBee lined up some pictures with Jake Grove, D'angelo Hall, Eric Green, and Chris Ellis downtown Saturday night. All of whom were awesome guys. Very nice, very approachable, good guys. Wished I could have lined up meeting Eddie Royal too, but I have no complaints about the 4 I did meet and have a drink with.

Quick hitters before I have to get off the interwebs and do work......
[1] JuJu Clayton has some learning to do. I have no problems with his arm or touch when he chooses to make a throw. It's the choice itself I had a problem with. In high school, you probably have enough arm to read a defense and see an open guy and throw it to him. In college and beyond, you don't have time to see an open guy. If you see him open, it's already too late. These guys at this level have too much make up speed, too much closing speed. If you see a guy open and make a throw, he'll be covered by the time the ball gets there. He'll need to learn that anticipation. To have a throw in an area where a guy is about to come open. I know we have great DB's and safeties, so he's playing against stiff competition, but he'll need to work on having the ball already on the way to an open(ing) man. That being said, he played fine. For a practice game, it was probably still the largest crowd he's ever played in front of, and there were other agendas at work in the play calling schemes. He didn't appear to ever "freak out" under pressure, which is good. If he has to come into a game this year for any reason, you know the other defense will be blitzing.

[2] The receivers. I think these kids are going to be good. They're all big. And not Gheorghe Muresan clumsy big. They're athletic, good big. They seemed to stick to the routes and *want* it. This is good. We might benefit from having 5 or 6 guys with the caliber of talent to start. I try to stay out of the hype machines, but Marcus Davis looks like a stud in the making. Two notable quick hits: Prince Parker, #87 looks like he could be a force. He's enormous at split end. Dyrell Roberts, apparently he found out how to use the appendages connected to the ends of his arms. He did a lot of Braylen Edwards' imitations last year, I was glad to see his hands at the spring game.

[3] It's hard to make any judgments on Tyrod's day. For one, the play calling isn't "normal". There are certain plays called regardless of down and distance for practice reasons - so the defense you're facing on a certain play call wouldn't be the base defense you'd be normally facing on 2nd and 1, or 3rd and 9, for instance. Secondly, if the defensive player looked at him wrong, they blew the play dead. Tyrod makes his money on broken plays and getting loose. This was curtailed by spring game rules. One thing I did note about Tyrod. There's been a lot of talk about his "hitch" when throws. Last season, I personally never found it to be a problem when he had protection and a pocket, and the play went "normally". I only ever found it to be a problem when he had to make a throw/decision on the move. Which, ironically, as just stated, is a big part of Tyrod's game....his "hitch" from last year affects both the physical aspect of making the throw on the run, and the delay in decision to make said throw while on the run. I saw Tyrod make two distinct throws on the run Saturday, one running right with his arm and one running left against his arm. Both throws were solid, and hitch free. I think we should institute some called plays made to look like Tyrod is scrambling in a busted play, when truly it's called that way. The strong safety and middle linebackers will instinctively cheat with Tyrod and he can hit Greg Boone in the newly-vacated-middle all day if he can make throws on the move like he did Saturday. A couple fake busted plays and 12 yard gains to Boone, suddenly [insert WR name here] is 10 yards behind everybody on the next scramble by TT.

[4] The "duh" statement of the day. Bud Foster's defense looks fine. In the spring, intra-squad, game, you're not going to see any amazingness on D. But I will say that the D looks like what we've come to expect from B F'ing Foster. The DB's looked good, able to leave them on an island as per normal and let the other defenders make plays. One thing I noted in watching a practice game was just to find entirely-huge-oh-no-blown-coverage. There were none. Well coached, in the right place at the right time. Let the system do the work.

[5] And finally, as I stated, I try to stay out of the hype machines. Well, holy motherfugging crap. Four words. Ry an Will iams. WOW. This kid is as advertised. If our coaches can navigate the slippery slope of playing time and first team/second team between Ryan and Darren Evans - we are in for a treat this fall my fellow Hokies. We've had a lot of good RB's come through VT, and I have watched enough football in general to know what I'm seeing in Mr. Williams. There's a lot of backs out there with top end speed, there's a lot of backs out there with amazing shiftiness. He has both. I was most impressed with his first 2-3 steps. He would probably be a good basestealer in baseball. He gets to top end speed in those first 2-3 steps. he also runs through each tackle. There won't be any arm tackles in his future.

[6] Only worry point. Kicking. Missed FG's, meh, it's a practice game. It's the kickoffs that worry me. I do hope the coaches had the kickers reeled in to not get hurt, and/or directed them NOT to kick touchbacks to ensure we had return plays on to practice special teams. Neither kicker got it past the 12 yard line on kickoffs. We can't have opponents getting that good of a head start on every drive.

HokieJayBee out. Stupid work.

Breaking Down the Spring Game

Spring football is in the books, fellow FBSers, and I have just one thing to say:



After all the effort, the development of Ju-Ju Clayton, the elimination of the "hitch," the unleashing of the ten-headed seven-horned beast of the abyss (Ryan Williams, as he is otherwise known), the improvement of the offensive line, and the incessant focus on the passing game and red-zone/goal line situations, we get a combined 20 points out of the spring game?


Okay, now that I got that off my chest, here's some numbers I found interesting. Remember, of course, that the spring game is played with 8 minute quarters, which means the spring game accounts for just a smidgen over 53% of an actual game. If you assume production in the spring game is proportional to production in an actual game (a stretch, I know), then these would be the stats from a full 60-minute contest:


TYROD TAYLOR: 30/62, 353 yards
JU-JU CLAYTON: 8/28, 193 yards

RYAN WILLIAMS: 19 rush/159 yards, 4 rec/124 yards

And, of course, there would be some huge numbers for quite a few of our receivers, but I'm not going to run it into the ground. All in all, the spring game was a situation of putting up huge yardage numbers without a lot of points to show for it. Give credit to the coaching staff, they're still focused on the development of the passing game. Of course, if Tyrod gets a sniff of that many attempts in an actual game, it will be because we're down by 20 and our entire backfield is in the ICU of Montgomery Regional. Also, a sub-50 completion percentage simply isn't going to get it done, but my guess is a good percentage of the 33 attempts Taylor made during the 32 minute scrimmage were passes he would have never attempted (and would have never been called) in an actual game.

Defensively, the question of the day was WHERE THE HELL WAS EDDIE WHITLEY? His name appears nowhere in the results for the spring game, which means he either did not play or literally did nothing in the game. There was no indication Whitley was sitting the spring game out, and I've heard nothing about an injury, so what gives? Anyone with any info, please pass it along.

Rashad Carmichael made up for his absence for much of spring ball by carrying the day defensively for the Maroon team, posting a game-high 6 tackles (5 solo), one of which was for a nine yard loss. Already some bloggers are projecting Rock to nail down the field corner spot, with Eddie Whitley backing up Stephan Virgil at boundary. (That is, of course, if Whitley can be found.) Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Antoine Hopkins also had an impressive day, posting 5 tackles (4 solo), 2 sacks, and a twenty yard fumble return for a touchdown. Hopkins was essentially the only young defender to establish himself in the spring game.

So with the 2009 spring game (and spring football in general) now in the books, what can we extrapolate from it? Not much, really. It seems that the passing game will be a bit shored up this season, but really, could it have gotten much worse from last year? We have a backup QB, but we have no clue as to how he'll react in live game situations. We have an inkling of just how phenomenal Ryan Williams is going to be. And we know that Cody Journell has better hit the ground running this summer, because our kicking game is an absolute mess.

Now we wait for fall practice and the arrival of a fresh wave of Hokies. Leading the charge in the race for immediate playing time will be Logan Thomas and DJ Coles, and I expect to see both of them in on plays this fall. David Wilson, the other jewel of this recruiting class, will no doubt earn his chance in time, but with the spring that Ryan Williams turned in, David might as well stop by the taylor on his way into Blacksburg to be fitted for his redshirt.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Poll Results: Who will earn the starting field corner spot?

Rashad Carmichael came on strong toward the end (interesting, considering his participation in spring ball was negligibile outside of the spring game) but rising sophomore Eddie Whitley is still far and away FBS readers' choice to replace Stephan Virgil at field corner, earning more votes than Rock and Cris Hill combined. We'll have to wait and see if Foster and Beamer buck the trend of going with upperclassmen and give Whitley a shot as the starter.

Thanks to all who voted, and please make sure to vote on our new poll question!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Morning Briefing

Good morning, fellow insomniac FBS faithful.

The IH has been up since 4:00 AM (probably has something to do with going to sleep around quarter of nine last night) and the ol' cognitive wheels have been turning the whole time concerning the upcoming football season. I'm pondering several different things at the moment, and I thought I'd make a post sharing where my head is at.

Ju Ju Clayton seems to be coming right along, and at a quicker pace that even his most ardent supporters could have possibly foreseen. For a redshirt freshman signal caller, Clayton is tossing a lot of TDs in spring ball. Obviously I know that doesn't mean didley when the season starts, but it's still nice to see a QB getting his legs under him so early in his development. This guy might be something special by his senior year.

Also regarding Ju Ju Clayton, there's obviously a fair amount of comparison between him and former Tech QB Bryan Randall. This is no small compliment as Randall, after overcoming a somewhat shaky start, developed into a respected team leader and talented multi-threat QB. Hopefully Ju Ju has a somewhat easier time of it early on in his career than Randall did, but the comparisons have me thinking. Obviously we've all heard of the Tyrod Taylor-Michael Vick comparisons. I leave it up to you, faithful reader, to determine for yourself how accurate those comparisons may be. But my point is this: we have a starting QB with comparisons to Vick and a backup with comparisons to Randall. Bryan Stinespring's most productive season to date came when he had both Randall and a Vick under center (2003). Is there any hope, then, of a Stinespring offense actually doing something worth a damn this season?

Moving past Clayton, Marcus Davis apparently had no trouble transitioning back to his old high school position of wide receiver, making a 32-yard catch for a touchdown (thrown by Clayton) in VT's final mini-scrimmage of the spring. Davis has mad skills. He's also now one of several very tall receivers on the Tech offense, a departure from the norm. We could actually have a four-wide set this fall with Davis, Logan Thomas, DJ Coles, and Prince Parker where no receiver on the field stands below 6'3". That has to add an option for either Tyrod or Clayton in the passing game, knowing that as a last ditch effort they can just heave a high pass and let one of our telephone pole receivers go up and get it.

Moving on, it seems the injury bug is hitting the tailback position especially hard. Prospective third-stringer Josh Oglesby is out of the spring game with an ankle sprain. Starter Darren Evans has a groin strain but looks to play Saturday. And Lord and Savior Ryan Williams apparently has ligament damage in his hand? That can't possibly be good. Has the pin been pulled out of that grenade Billy Hite's always talking about?

And now a few completely random thoughts:

How has Macho Harris's draft stock fallen so far that now he's projected by some to be a 4th or 5th round pick?

With the commitment of
Ryan Shuman's little brother Mark, just another pair in a long, long line of siblings to both play their college ball as a Hokie, I'm wondering if our recruiters should only be looking at multi-child families.

How in the hell can the Cubs manage only one run in two games against the freaking Cincinatti Reds???

That's all for now, FBSers. Until next time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Last Man Sucking: Bryan Stinespring vs. Al Groh

I enjoy patting myself on the back (like I did in my last post) just as much as the next guy, but we've got to face facts: after this Saturday's Spring Game, the FBS blog is going to need some material to keep us all aware and on our toes (not to mention keeping visitors coming).

In the interest of keeping FBS alive and thriving through the off-season, I present to you:

It's a battle for college football suck-premacy! Stinespring vs. Groh! Who sucks more? Who serves as the greater bane to their organization from September to January? Umm... better make that November for Groh. One is the coach who fired his own son, and the other is "like a son" to the coach who should have fired him.

I figured we would put Stiney up against the football rejects of the nation and see who comes out on the bottom. Over the next few weeks, the admins of FBS will post head to head battles, and we will leave it to the FBS faithful to decide who is the lesser of the two evils.

So let's hear it! Give us your arguments against each contender and make 'em stick!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Greatest Find of the Day...

Google search "Fire Bryan" and guess what blog we all know and love shows up first.

Most popular response for a reason.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Breaking Down the Second Full Scrimmage

Full scrimmage number two is in the books, Hokies, and here is an analysis from a man who was 700 miles away from every snap...

To the credit of the coaching staff, a large portion of this scrimmage focused on the weakest of many weak spots on the offense last season: goal line and red zone offense. As might be expected from a Bryan Stinespring offense, there were many field goals kicked in this part of the scrimmage. The good news is that the contenders for the kicking duties did not miss a field goal in the scrimmage, going 4 for 4. The longest of the afternoon was Matt Waldron's 37-yarder, though, so we still don't know for sure if any of the kickers in spring practice have serious distance.

But wait, faithful readers. There's a legitimate glimmer of hope here, as a Virginia Tech offense scored as many touchdowns as field goals inside the red zone during the scrimmage!!!! Three short runs and a 12 yard pass broke the plane during the short-yardage portion of the scrimmage. Now, does this mean our red zone offense looks to be improving, or our red zone defense is suspect? Difficult to ascertain, as the notions of a good Bryan Stinespring offense or a bad Bud Foster defense are equally alien.

Speaking of that 12 yard touchdown pass, it was thrown by Ju Ju Clayton, who looks to be steadily progressing toward earning that number 2 in front of his name on the depth chart. After the scrimmage shifted to a simulated game scenario Clayton managed to go 6 for 7 passing for 58 yards and a touchdown and led a 90 yard scoring drive against the second team defense. This is not to say I'm not worried about the prospect of Tyrod Taylor's backup never having thrown a pass in a game before, but it does indeed seem there might be something to the whispers about this kid.

I certain hope Ju Ju does manage to lock down the backup spot soon so that the offense can look for other ways to utilize Marcus Davis's abilities. Marcus ripped off a 62 yard touchdown run (albeit against the second string defense) for what was unquestionably the day's biggest play. This kid has serious raw talent and potential, but he's nowhere near polished enough at this point to be under center. He certainly does seem to have a bit of that je ne sais quoi that's got everyone so excited about Logan Thomas. It's possible Marcus Davis could be pretty damn good at just about every skill position except quarterback. His time spent trying out for QB might not be wasted, though, as he might be developing some skills that would be of use should the need arise for some trickeration.

I also would like to mention, incurable optimist that I am, that I am getting a little excited about how many touchdown passes we're seeing this spring. Before you bite my heads of here, let me just say up front I know fifty TDs in the spring don't guarantee one in the fall, but it certainly seems that we might be taking the step toward competency in the passing game which, if you honestly look at the numbers, is what killed our offense last year.

And speaking of passing, by all accounts Tyrod's "hitch" is, if not completely gone, at least a non-factor now, having been smoothed out enough that it is not delaying his passes. That may be the best news to come out of spring training.

To end on a downer, there were some injuries during the scrimmage. The one that hurts the worst, both because it was the most serious and because of the position, was the left ankle sprain of offensive guard Jaymes Brooks, which might keep him out the rest of spring practice. Regardless of how much Tyrod develops as a passer and how much our receivers come along, it will all be for not if our offensive line doesn't finally come together as a unit. That will be hard to do if the line misses opportunities to practice together.

Up next, the spring game.

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Follow away, FBS faithful.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 16, 2007

I will remember April 16, 2007 my entire life.

I have been connected to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, or Virginia Tech, since 1971, which was the year I was born. My uncle and aunt moved to Blacksburg, VA; my uncle was hired as a professor in the College of Education and my aunt was hired as a human resource generalist. They closed on their house in Blacksburg, VA on the day I was born. I remember the first family visit to Blacksburg, VA was in 1975... we drove from our home in Illinois and spent Thanksgiving with my uncle (and also caught some Hokie football). My uncle has since retired as an emeritus dean of the college of education, along with my aunt who retired after a long human resources career. Their son, my cousin, received his PhD in Educational Leadership and has admirably served in the State of Virginia public schools for 25 years.

In 1996, I moved to the east coast and began my career in federal public service, the sector in which I am presently employed. I always dreamed that a young man from North Dakota could attend Virginia Tech and was admitted into the nationally ranked graduate public affairs program in 2001... I graduated in 2008 with a Master of Public Administration and hope to enroll in the institution's PhD program in Fall 2009. Also, I have religiously attended Virginia Tech football games from 1975 to the present.

Virginia Tech is a great school... period... when I think of Virginia Tech, I think of great professors, great students, and a great family atmosphere... it's in the Town of Blacksburg, which is about the size of my former hometown of Devils Lake, North Dakota... whoever thought the events of April 16, 2007 could happen in small town in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains? I can't imagine what it would be like to tell the parents of those 33 students that their son or daughter has died... how do you tell a parent that their 18-21 year-old has died? I leave with a heavy heart and my prayers are with all of the victims families... that was a sad day for the Hokie Nation and these feelings don't go away... we will always remember... and we will continue to prevail.

God bless everyone on this day.

My, how times change...

Does anyone remember how not so long ago, one of the biggest knocks against Virginia Tech football was that the Hokies played a weak schedule? I remember hearing a bunch of critics, Nebraska and Tennessee fans for the most part, bash VT during the 1999 miracle run, specifically making reference to a creampuff schedule.

Welcome to 2009. Rivals has released its
12 Must-See Non-Conference Matchups, and VT makes the list twice. Nebraska at VT makes the list at number 7. Oh, and in case you haven't heard, VT opens the season against Alabama (I know there hasn't been much hype over that game or anything) and Rivals puts that contest at the two spot on the list.

The game that beat out Bama/VT for the top spot on the list? USC at Ohio State. Don't ask me. Apparently they think the result will be closer in that one than it was in last year's Buckeye beatdown in Pasadena.

VT is one of only two teams to make the Rivals list twice. The other is Florida State. While I freely admit that I loathe the $eminoles, it's nice to see some roundabout respect for the ACC, even if it only amounts to admitting ACC schools play tough schedules. [CORRECTION:
Oregon also made the list twice. Appologies to the Ducks and thanks to HokieJayBee for the proofread.]

Anyway, making this list twice, coupled with taking a gander at the Hokies'
future schedules really brings the point home that Beamer isn't shying away from the marquee matchups.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Help Write Our Mission Statement

Fellow FBSers, I'm doing a little tweaking to the layout of FBS, trying to give it a little bit sleeker look so that when football season rolls around and once again the forelorn go looking for a place to vent their spleens about Stinespring's ineptitude they will find at FBS a forum that immediately catches their eye and attention.

A lot of it's just purely cosmetic, color schemes to match VT colors and some interesting stuff in the sidebar. But one thing that I think has become really outdated is our blog description at the top, right under the title. For one thing, this blog has now become WAY more than just opinion and analysis by the Hokie Guru (no offense intended, HG, this is still your baby). We have a pretty darn good assortment of contributors here at FBS, and I want to start making the content focus center around the entire body of contributors.

What I want to do is replace the blog description with an honest to God mission statement, a concise description of exactly what our aims are and why we criticize Stinespring. For that, faithful readers, I turn to you. Shoot me some opinions and rough drafts in response. Try to keep it beteen 25-50 words. Please, for the love of God, stay away from anything along the lines of "Stiney SUCKS!!!" Not that it isn't true, but we want to maintain a professional appearance.

I look forward to reading what you fellows have to say about just exactly what we're trying to accomplish here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What a Difference a Full Scrimmage Makes

FBS faithful, I can't believe I'm saying this, but there's hope. Actual, legitimate hope.

First off, Ryan Williams busted an 80 yard touchdown run. He finished the day with 122 yards on only 8 carries. Williams is a beast. A big, mean, hairy, touchdown-scoring beast. I can't wait to watch him in a live game.

Second, the passing game was huge yesterday. Tyrod Taylor went 5 of 10 for 101 yards, including a huge 62 yard bomb to Danny Coale for a TD. Tony Gregory also had a huge day, pulling in two passes for 61 yards and a touchdown of his own. Also encouraging was the fact that Gregory's touchdown reception was thrown by Ju Ju Clayton, who complete 5 passes in 12 attempts 74 yards and a touchdown. Marcus Davis also got some reps and completed 3 of 8 for 62 yards. The only blemish on the passing game was that Clayton threw another pick in the full scrimmage. Hopefully Ju Ju will use the remaining weeks of spring practice working on learning how to better read coverages.

The rushing game was dominated by Williams and his 80 yard TD scamper, but there were other bright spots as well, including Dyrell Roberts managing a 10 yard average on two carries. Again, the IH did not get to see the scrimmage, so I'm not sure if those rushes came on a reverse or what, but it's still encouraging to see.

However, there is room for concern here, Hokies, and surprise surprise, it's on the offensive line. The o-line gave up four sacks during the scrimmage. What the hell is up with the o-line the last few years? Curt Newsome put together an excellent line at JMU before coming over to VT. Is there just something about 1A college ball that Newsome can't adjust to? Granted, you'll have more sacks on a team with a mobile quarterback, just because every QB draw that's stopped for a loss is considered a sack. Still, I think it's reasonable to expect an average below two sacks a game.

All in all, the IH is considerably more optimistic about an offensive turnaround after the first full scrimmage of spring practice than I was after the mini-scrimmage on Wednesday. Hopefully the passing game will continue to develop and the offensive line will be able to gel before the midpoint of the season this year.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Breaking Down the First Mini-Scrimmage

It's early. Very, very early. And we have yet to see a full scrimmage out of spring practice. But we did see a 40-play scrimmage yesterday, and the bottom line so far as the IH is concerned is that there is so far no indication that a huge shift in momentum is forthcoming out of the offense.

Breaking down the stats, it was (predictably) the rushing game that carried the offense. Darren Evans averaged over 9.3 yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor busted a 65 yard TD run. It was not all a field of roses for the rushing game, however, as Ryan Williams, who has been only slightly less hyped than the second coming of Jesus Christ, was held to an average of 1.4 yards per carry accross five touches. Williams had the worst showing of all Tech tailbacks, as Josh Oglesby managed a respectable 4.5 yards per attempt.

It might be a good thing that the rushing game is still there, since the passing game was M.I.A. yesterday. By all accounts the most pressing issue facing VT this season, and the one that will potentially make the biggest difference in whether or not VT will manage to position themselves for a run at the national title, is the development of the passing game. Tech's offensive staff took note and made certain Tyrod Taylor practiced his passing yesterday. Twice. Two times. The number after one and before three. As in, a pair of pass attempts. Dos. Deux. The number it takes to tango.

Glad to see Stinespring and O'Cain have their priorities straight right off the bat.

The development of a backup quarterback remains almost as critical as the development of a passing game, and to the offensive staff's credit Ju Ju Clayton did put up 8 pass attempts yesterday, which is a respectable number in a 40 play scrimmage in which multiple QBs were taking snaps. Clayton managed to hit a Hokie on four of his eight attempts. Unfortunately, though, one of the Hokies he hit was cornerback Eddie Whitley, who returned the pick 61 yards for a defensive score. The final line on Clayton was 3 of 8 for 26 yards and an interception.

Dyrell Roberts led all receivers with two grabs for 16 yards.

Things looked bright on the defensive side, as the Lunch Pail Crew recorded a sack, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery in 40 snaps. A full stat line on the mini-scrimmage was not released, so no word on who lost the fumble or who threw the second pick. For the latter, however, it was probably Marcus Davis, as there was no interception listed on Taylor's line.

We must not fall prey to over-extrapolating on one 40 play scrimmage. However, it is of note that the outcome of this first "scrimmagette" sounds remarkably similar to the sort of output we've seen from spring scrimmages for the last three years. We will probably know considerably more after tomorrow's full scrimmage, but the hope of a massive offensive improvement for the 2009 season does not seem substantiated by what we saw for 40 snaps yesterday.

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