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, September 29, 2009

Maintaining the focus

First of all, hats off to Bryan Stinespring. He called unquestionably the game of his career against Miami. If he replicates that performance consistently, this blog will cease to exist.

Which brings us to...

 




 
Virginia Tech had no business beating Duke last year, and was lucky not to have an embarrassment on the order of the 1998 homecoming debacle. Bryan Stinespring needs to prove that he can adjust when things aren't clicking. Things didn't click against Duke last year, and it took a pick-six to seal the deal against the bottom-feeder of the ACC.

Tyrod will no doubt be chomping at the bit to exorcise some of his 2008 demons against Duke, but Stiney too should be motivated to prove that last season's matchup was a fluke.

Let's keep the focus exactly where it should be: the next Virginia Tech game.

Back on Topic - our boy Bryan

You guys crack me up! It's been 4 weeks!!!!! Remember, in recent years, the undefeated teams are *not* the norm. In fact, the teams there at the end, pretty much always have losses now, to include some teams in the final game with 2 losses.

Teams not to forget about, and we're ahead of them! Houston? Blasphemy I know, but a 1-loss Notre-f$cking-Dame? More blasphemy, but a 1-loss Ohio State?

The only thing we can do is win our games, and win them convincingly (read: not 16-15 on last second passes with a horribly called game until the final 90 seconds).

To Jonesy's statement about liking the BCS as is > playoffs, he's crazy :P. But his point about it makes more than one game per weekend exciting to watch, that's a valid point. Only I think with a playoff system, we'd all be watching just the same and the "controversy" would be at spots 8-9 or 16-17 depending on how big the final bracket was - but there would still be other exciting games to watch.

It was an excellently written post, and well thought out and well researched. But for week 4, back on task to our namesake, one Bryan Stinespring.

After these past three days of eating crow myself and reading Dinich, Mandell, [insert *ANY* other national pundit here, God I wish Herbstreit wrote a weekly column!] all eat crow too on the predicted outcome of the Miami game - I have to upgrade Bryan from Stinesuck to Stine-mediocre-now-prove-it-more-than-once.

Post your comments in the comments to this post, what do we need to see from Bryan and company this weekend to stay appeased and satiated?

I personally say a little less than Marshall is acceptable as Duke *should* be able to out recruit Marshall on D. I need: 350 rushing, 150 passing, no turnovers. 42-13 VT.

Monday, September 28, 2009

How Virginia Tech Gets to the National Championship (Revised)



The Illinois Hokie did one of these at the beginning of the season (The Path to Pasadena) but his was contingent upon us beating Alabama. A quote from that post: “If you're reading this post after the Bama game and we lost, quit reading now. Seriously. It'll just depress you. Now that we’re four weeks into the season and we’ve managed to climb to #6, a spot higher than our preseason ranking when the IH wrote that original post, we once again have a shot at the NC. We would be in a much better position if we had beaten Alabama, obviously, but we made a good showing in that game and it’s still possible that we get a national championship berth. Here’s how it happens:
First off, we’re assuming we win out from here on. To quote the IH, If you're reading this post after [another loss], quit reading now. Seriously. It'll just depress you. Also, we just need to get to #2, not #1. Our main concern at this point is just getting into the game. That being said, here is the current ranking of the top 6 in the AP and USA Today Polls:



In addition to winning out, we obviously need the teams ahead of us to lose. Notice that out of those five teams, THREE are all in the same conference—the SEC. This means that they each have a chance to beat up on each other to our benefit.

Here is LSU’s upcoming schedule:


The Tigers have to play four (currently) ranked teams, including Florida and Alabama. They might get a loss as early as this weekend against #18 Georgia on the road. With this schedule I think we can assume at least one loss. If they don’t lose then that means they’ve beaten both Florida and Alabama. I’m hoping LSU does lose, though, because that would pretty much guarantee we jump them. Beating Alabama and Florida would move LSU up but might not necessarily drop those teams below us. The best possible scenario would be for LSU to lose to Georgia and drop a decent amount in the rankings and then come back to beat Florida and/or Alabama. That could be enough to move LSU back up to just behind us while also knocking Florida/Alabama out of the top 5. Don’t bet on that scenario actually happening though.

The next of our SEC teams is Alabama. Here’s their schedule:

At first this schedule doesn’t look too tough. Bama only has two (currently) ranked opponents in #21 Mississippi and #4 LSU, both of which Bama is completely capable of beating. The Ole Miss game is on the road, though, which should be noted. Personally I think Bama wins out on this schedule. But not so fast! Let’s not forget what happened last year—Bama had to meet Florida in the SEC championship. I think we all remember how that turned out—Bama got its first loss of the season…and then its second loss against Utah. That loss against Florida dropped Alabama from #1 to #4. At this point in the season we should be in the top 5 (assuming an LSU loss). Alabama, if they win out until this point, should be in the top 3. If we win the ACC championship convincingly and Alabama loses, we have a good shot at moving ahead of them.
That’s with a little help from the third SEC team, Florida:

I think Florida will go undefeated, however I wouldn’t be surprised if they do get one loss on the season. If they get that loss it will most likely be against Alabama in the SEC championship. Next most likely is against either LSU or Georgia. Tebow’s recent concussion probably shouldn’t be much of a factor against LSU given Florida’s bye week that happened to occur at the most clutch time possible in the Gators’ season.


Now we come to our two wildcards: Texas and Boise State.
Boise State:

Boise State is not in a BCS conference so I really don’t see them making it to the national championship, even if they win out. They’re schedule from here on out is so easy that I’m not going to post it. It’s safe to assume they finish undefeated. Maybe one of the night games at Tulsa, Louisiana Tech, or Utah State will be too much for Boise State to handle but I’m not betting on it. If they do lose one of those games, rock on. If they don’t, hopefully we jump them just based on our strength of schedule. I don’t see the voters putting a non-BCS school in the national championship (remember Utah?). Again, convincing wins will help us make jumps. More games like we had against Miami would be great, especially if the ACC teams we play are ranked at the time. Boise State just isn't ready for the NC and won't be until at least next year when they have a better non-conference schedule (cough us cough).
Texas:

The Longhorns might be the toughest team to overcome. They’re schedule isn’t easy, but they should be expected to win all of these games:

I’m praying that Oklahoma actually loses to Texas (preferably a close loss, but just so OU doesn’t jump us). I’m then praying that Texas goes on to lose at Oklahoma State or even against Kansas. Hopefully both. The key is for teams ahead of us to lose, but not to someone ranked only slightly behind Virginia Tech.


So, after all that, here is the schedule of important games as far as Hokies are concerned (rankings are obviously as of week 4):



10/3/09 #4 LSU at #18 Georgia

10/10/09 #4 LSU at #1 Florida
#3 Bama at #21 Mississippi
10/17/09 #8 Oklahoma at #2 Texas
10/31/09 #18 Georgia at #1 Florida

#2 Texas at #14 Oklahoma State
11/7/09 #4 LSU at #3 Alabama
11/21/09 #18 Kansas at #2 Texas

SEC Championship:

#1 Florida vs. #3 Alabama*
*This game is not set in stone, it is just the most likely as I see it. It is still possible that this match up might be between Florida and LSU. Hell, it might even be Georgia against Alabama/LSU.


How it all happens:

Of the games listed, we need LSU and Bama to lose. One of them will have to lose because they play each other. They both will (probably) play Florida, and both will probably lose. Hopefully this is enough to drop both of them just below the Hokies. Again, we need big losses from those two teams and at the same time, big wins for the Hokies. Computer rankings can be our friend.
Now that LSU and Alabama are out of the way, we need to jump Boise State and Texas (we’re assuming Florida remains at #1 the whole season). We desperately need a Texas loss unless by some stroke of luck the SEC beats itself up and we manage to wind up ahead of LSU, Bama, AND Florida. This isn’t likely. I’ll take a Texas loss at Oklahoma State or Kansas (or anywhere else) but preferably NOT against Oklahoma (unless Oklahoma loses to Miami and is ranked lower than 8th when they play Texas). Again, all of this is based on the week 4 rankings.
If Texas also manages to lose, we very well may find ourselves with no one to worry about except Florida and Boise State. This is where Boise State becomes last year’s Utah. It will be difficult because we are currently ranked behind them, but a near loss for Boise State could do it for us. If the rankings end up as #1 Florida, #2 Boise State, and #3 Virginia Tech I really believe the voters will try and move Boise State down. It’s the glass ceiling that non-BCS schools face. If that happens, as well as everything else I’ve described, Virginia Tech has a solid shot at sneaking up into that #2 spot.


Also to be considered:

I am aware that it is WAY too early in the season to speculate on the rankings at the end of the season. I expect to update these scenarios as the rankings change, assuming Virginia Tech keeps this win streak alive. I am also aware that I’ve probably completely missed some scenarios or aspects of the scenarios that I've described. Point out my errors or post your theories in the comments. I wish I had some sort of flow chart to show all the possibilities


EDIT: Something else that's been brought to my attention--the possibility of Oklahoma losing to Miami. This probably drops Oklahoma far enough down the rankings that they could then beat Texas without jumping us. It would also make the ACC look good by giving Miami a good non-con win, which could then make us look even better for having beaten Miami.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Was it Stiney, the Rain or a Phantom OC?

Like HJB, I braved the elements through 4 quarters (and about 3 hours of tailgating) to see our Hokies own the Hurricanes. From first kick to last tick we not only held the Miami offense to just 209 total yards and 7 points, but also showcased a solid offense with flourishes of brilliance. While I agree with the general consensus that this was a very well-called game, I know better than to forgive years of failures after a day of success.

The way I see it, one of three factors contributed to our sudden offensive potency:

1) Bryan Stinespring has finally figured out how to utilize the talent we have. It's hard to believe that it could take anyone this long to understand what kind of offense we should be running based on our current roster. Stiney's not just anyone, though. I could actually buy in to the idea that he might take this long. I list this as my first option because I honestly hope this is the truth. The FBS Blog was formed with the idea that it would shut down (or at least change name/purpose) if Bryan Stinespring was fired, or if we turn around offensively. I will stick by that if this is the case, but I would tend to believe it's not.

2) The rain forced Stiney to all but abandon the pass in his gameplan. I believe this to be the most likely reason for our offensive performance this week. With clear skies, I can see Stiney trying to put together another "balanced" offensive attack, still trying to work Tyrod like a pocket passer (a la - vs. Alabama and vs. Nebraska). Billy Hite has said he doesn't like overworking tailbacks, and Ryan Williams carried 34 times this weekend - a whole carry short of Hite's limit. Take away the rain and I bet that number drops, and the number of pass plays rises. While I agree with Hite's policy, I think we are underutilizing David Wilson and Josh Oglesby. I don't think either saw the field for an entire series until the 4th quarter. How about we split some of Williams' carries between those two over the course of the second half and not just the final quarter?

3) Someone else was calling the shots. There was a suspiciously un-Stiney-like air about our strategy this past Saturday. Previously missing plays like the tight end fade and the shovel pass worked their way into our scheme, and our overall gameplan, while not necessarily innovative, was intelligent and thoughtfully put together. It lacked the useless passes to the flats and the unnecessary long-bombs that seem to lock TT in the pocket. Tyrod was seemingly more willing to get out from behind the line with the numerous draw plays (some not so intentional, but still effective). It's not unheard of for Stiney to warm the bench while someone else makes the calls. Various sources have suggested that former QB's coach Kevin Rogers, not Stiney, was responsible for our sudden offensive production during the final 1.5 quarters of the 2005 ACC Championship game. Rogers has since departed, but Billy Hite, Mike O'Cain, Curt Newsome, Kevin Sherman or even Frank Beamer himself could have been pulling the strings during the game. I think this scenario is unlikely, but I can't rule it out.

Regardless of which reason it was, there will be only one way to be sure: Stiney has to do it again - and not against just anyone (*cough*duke*cough*). He needs to recreate this plan for BC and Georgia Tech. If and when we see that happen, I might lean back on the criticism, but until then, he's still a turd, albeit a newly shiny one.

WOW

I've never been more than happy to stand in almost 2 inches of rain for a little over 3 hours. What a beat down. Swagger my arse. What a great game, all around.

Credit needs to be given where credit is due. Stinespring called a great game, utilizing strengths and some misdirection. And most of all, for me, let Tyrod be Tyrod. If he gets hurt, he gets hurt. But we need him to be that kind of player..........all the time.

When I got up in the morning and saw the weather, saw the rain - I knew we had a shot. And Fosterfense and Beamerball didn't disappoint.

I would love to be wrong about Bryan, and I would love to post like this every Sunday. Great work Bryan - I can't complain.

Our national offensive ranking is up to 78th for yards/game - but more importantly up to 44th for points/game - averaging over 30 points per! With Fosterfense and Beamerball, we can win out if we're putting up 30 every week.

No let down this week. It's just Duke, right? We need to keep our chip and not fall prey to our own "swagger".

We were wrong, but we were right...

You were wrong... you were right. ~ Five for Fighting, "Easy Tonight"
I'll admit that I was wrong, but it was because I was right. This is going to be a much more delightful version of the good, the bad, and the ugly than last week's version. Overall, Miami came in with a chip on their shoulder, and we knocked them out, just like in 2003. I would say that ESPN would regret going to Penn State, but I guess they knew something we didn't (Penn State was over-overrated, whereas Iowa was merely overrated).

Most of the stories already are focusing on things like: Miami is too young and let the ranking go to their head, Miami will rebound and is still confident, and Miami this/Miami that. Well, I'm here to tell you it's time to pay attention to the Hokies, but you already knew that.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Open Thread: Miami (on message board)

The open thread for the Miami game can be found on the message board.

T-Shirts...

Looks like a passionate FBS'r beat us to the punch on the T-Shirts! Check them out:


Available at the Miami game this weekend! Email proud2beahokie@yahoo.com to find out how to get one one...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A couple of good quotes from the normally underwhelming Heather Dinich

Normally, Heather Dinich (espn.com's ACC blogger) is, in my opinion, not a good sportswriter. She's a great information aggregator, and she proffers awesome links and news, but she just cannot take the information and make conclusions about it. To wit: in reporting that the Maryland-Virginia Tech game is sold out, she neglected to report the fact that it's probably mostly Hokies fans selling that game out (at the time probably anticipating Darren Evans breaking his own rushing yards record), instead spinning it as the excitement of Maryland fans for the season to come. There are numerous other examples of her missing the story, but we'll stop there.

While I still think that she usually misses the point, she's in danger of disabusing me of that notion after two good tidbits about the Hokies this week.

(nb: these are going to be depressing)

First:
Seven of Virginia Tech’s 10 touchdowns came against Marshall. If you exclude the Marshall game, in which the Hokies piled up 605 yards of total offense, Virginia Tech is averaging 216.5 yards of total offense and 20 points per game. By comparison, Virginia is last in the ACC with 278.3 yards per game and 20.7 points.
Next, in her what to watch for in the ACC column in week 4:
How many times Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Williams carry the ball. It’s been one of the offense’s biggest strengths, but it also functioned in limited capacity against Nebraska. Virginia Tech’s passing offense is 106th in the nation, and the passing efficiency is 93rd. And yet Taylor has thrown the ball 63 times so far and run 26 this season. Williams is one of the top running backs in the country, yet had six carries in the second half last Saturday.
When a two-bit sports blogger who rarely figures things out sees things much clearer than Beamer, it's time for Stiney to go.

Seriously.

PS, if you missed it, my Miami game preview is here.

PPS I also have a full top-25 preview here.

This post was cross-posted at Adjusting the Cup.

EVERYONE WRITE A LETTER

Hey all my fellow FBS'ers.

I'd like you to look at this link. HERE.

And I think it's time we all start writing some letters. Weaver, Beamer, Stinespring. Hit all of them.

HokieJayBee VTAF donation 2009: $1000 (1 game is 1/12th of this)
4 Alabama Tickets: $312
Atlanta/Alabama Trip: ~$1200

Someone owes me some cash. I'll take a check. At least get me back for every yard of offense you got against Alabama. $155 should help offset some of my travel and hotel costs for the Miami game this weekend.

NOTE: Beat Miami this week and the Alabama game debt is forgiven.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hype and Performance

Virginia Tech football is pretty accustomed to hitting the hype hurdle throughout the season. We start with hopes of the big title game but immediately gun for the top ACC spot and respectable Bowl bid after that. Currently were hovering at the cusp of that ACC title race and BCS bowl bid with our match up this week. Two teams in the same coastal division ranked fairly close to one another within the top 15 assuredly musters quite a bit of buzz.

One would think that more pressure would fall on the home team here, but almost luckily it is not. Yes, luckily. Number 11 ranked Virginia Tech is the underdog, at home no less, continuously being called the lesser team (thanks to our friend Stinespring) by the likes of ESPN, blogs, critics, the list goes on. As much as we hate to admit it we all deep down can see in our current state that this is the truth. Mark Whipple and Jacory Harris are making a respectable duo. However, as snipits of the "U" are flashed on screen with tie-ins of Harris' possible Heisman candidacy probe the media we are slightly rising forward. Virginia Tech and Miami's rivalry are at a dead heat over the last 18 games at 9-9. Considering both teams being ranked gives the same type of standstill. Back in 2003 #2 ranked Miami came to Lane only to be embarrassed 31-7 losing all hopes of a Title. Then again we meet in 2005 with Tech heading closer to the 'ship only to be beaten 7-27.

All signs point to a grudge match and in both aforementioned instances the victor was the underdog. Now, does this mean we're sure a victory? No, it merely shows somewhat that both teams have some difficulty handling bigger amounts of hype.

How should Stinespring capitalize on this and send the canes packing? Embarrass them. We all know Tech needs to show an improved offense but can't agree on what type. some say more option but weve seen how that pans out. Others point at a better ground attack, but yet again im sure Miami will stack the box. What needs be done but we will probably not see is multiple looks. Ditch the option and wildcat for the most part. Let Tyrod get comfortable in the pocket with swing passes, cross routes, flat outs, etc. With 2 safeties deep in many of Miami's looks a 81 yarder to danny coale is unlikely. Instead run Williams out, catch it for 3 and hit the ground running for another 10 in the middle. Tech is pretty bad afteer the catch in most cases due to the nature and length of throw. Something inversely that Miami does well with the likes of Benjamin and Hankerson. Hit the ground running and keep up that T.O.P. that wins the game. That or the D tires out in the 3rd.

Stiney's Fan Club

Obviously a few of you have noticed that on this week's "Grade Stiney's performance" question, our beloved OC has managed to somehow garner himself over 140 "A" votes.


What was more interesting, they pretty much all hit within a couple of hours on Monday morning. So of course there were some rumors flying around. Were employees in the athletics department being instructed to rig the vote for one of their own? Were the players on offense rallying around their beloved hug-meister?


Well, no, it turns out this was not, in fact, an inside job. Most if not all the A votes were a result of a post on The Sabre, a site dedicated to University of Virginia athletics. (You can tell it's a UVA site by the pretentious French spelling.)


Let's pause here for a moment, people.


The only people who give Stinespring a top mark - his biggest supporters - are wahoos. Not his own staff. Not his own players. No one in the New River Valley.


Wahoos.


That's gotta make a man feel good inside.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The FBS Message Board

We're starting something new here at FBS.


The increased traffic on our site since the kickoff of the 2009 season has been overwhelming. Our deepest and most heartfelt thanks to anyone who takes time out of their day to read and participate in what we do here.


Obviously there's a lot of people who have a lot to say about the performance of our offensive coordinator, and so we are launching The Official FBS Message Board.


Consider it your safe haven to vent whatever's on your mind about the state of VT football. It doesn't necessarily have to be related to Bryan Stinespring, though something tells me the majority of posts will be.


Post. Troll. Flame. And be merry.

The Season Going Forward

First of all I wanted to introduce myself, GOPHokie. I am a 24 year old VT grad that lives in the Harrisonburg area. I have been a lifelong VT football fan, and have seen or heard almost every game since the early 1990s. I am also a Hokie Club member and know various others (at various donor levels) and hope to bring these viewpoints to the blog. For those of you Democrats out there, I am sure we can all agree removing Stiney from the OC position is a bi-partisan effort.

On to the subject at hand:


Obviously everyone is very concerned with our team following yesterday's come-from-behind scare vs Nebraska. I do echo hokiej88's sentiments that a 2005 Miami redux could be in our future. After all, we played a virtually perfect game from an ancillary standpoint (i.e. no turnovers and/or big/stupid penalties, great fan atmosphere, etc) and still won on one of the biggest plays of the past few years in the last minute of the game. We still played relatively good defense (we are always a bend not break D), and special teams was average. We found once again that a passing game is required before we can be successful against equal competition, no matter how good our RBs are.



The Ugliest of VT's Ugly Wins

Let's face it fellow Hokies, VT is famous nationally for winning ugly and we were very lucky yesterday to win that game. Had Nebraska not had that blown coverage late in the game and Tyrod, Danny Coale and Dyrell Roberts were not able to make big plays for us that was a loss. Instead of calling our style of play "ugly" like outside observers call our wins, we call it Beamerball because it emphasizes defense and special teams and it gives us pride. That type of thinking also basically gives our offense a free pass and I am tired of it! I am also tired of the excuses when it is clear to everyone our offense is really, really ugly and that starts at the top and trickles down. I don't know how the rest of you feel, but I am 100% tired of winning ugly every game. I would like to win some more balanced games where the offense, defense and special teams contribute more equally. Is it too much to ask for the offense to flat out dominate against a good team once in awhile? We always play it so close to the vest that our margin for error in terms of winning is so slim the better our competition is. We dominate teams that are not as big and as fast as us physically, but when we play teams where our size and our speed do not give us a huge advantage and things are even physically, that's where you need better coaching to help a team win. I really think our players on offense are fine and this might be the most talent on that side of the ball VT has ever assembled. However, there is a coaching problem and I am not just talking about Stiney anymore. Since Kevin Rogers left, there has been a dramatic drop off in year over year improvement in our QBs. In the investment world, when the management of a company promises to make improvements and the improvements do not materialize, it is called "putting lipstick on a pig."

Well, that's Bryan Stinespring's offense folks. It's a pig with lipstick on it and it's just plain ugly and I am sick and tired of watching it play around in Lane Stadium! We actually need an offense capable of consistently getting first downs. I think I would settle for that right about now. We might have Tyrod, Ryan Williams, and others occasionally overcome the ineptitude of the playcalling (which only shows you no one in college football does less with more than dear ole Stiney), in game adjustments and the design of the scheme itself, but we are going to have to continue to win games in ugly fashions like this going forward until there are changes made on offense. Wouldn't it be nice if the offense actually made more than a handful of first downs instead of 3 and out after 3 and out? O'Cain is a horrible coach. I have not seen the improvement in Tyrod's passing game that I was expecting. It is amazing that Beamer was allowed to bail him out of retirement and give him a 6 figure salary every yr for not producing any results at QB. Add in the fact that O'Cain does not recruit well and you have a double negative whammy.

VT's chances of winning the ACC are in even more jeopardy now than I thought. If VT plays anything like it did against Nebraska next week against Miami, we are going to have a Miami 2005 game on our hands where we lay an absolute egg at home and they stomp on us. If I was Miami next week, I would put 8-9 defenders in the box to stop the run and blitz to keep Tyrod in the pocket, play straightup man coverage with the corners jamming our WRs at the LOS and dare Tyrod to beat me with his arm. The way our offense is setup right now, that's not possible. I really hate to say it, but I think we are looking at a train wreck coming up next week of Miami 2005 proportions in Lane Stadium. I hope I am wrong, but Stiney and his offense are consistently bad....

The Heart Attack Hokies

Somehow we just managed to squeak out a win against Nebraska.

It wasn't because of Stiney.

I would venture to say it was on the shoulders of our defense, special teams, and the sheer talent on our offense. We won when they plays were obvious, and that takes talent. Tyrod played great for 2 minutes, and we won because he made plays. We didn't have great passing numbers, but Tyrod was hitting a lot of guys in the hands, so I have a hard time holding it against him.

In the open thread, I saw a few people comparing TT to Glennon, and I just want to go on record and say that Glennon was not a bad QB. He was a horrible leader, and he didn't have speed to mention, but as a drop back QB, he was decent. TT has better feet, he is a better leader, and he has more talent to throw to at WR. He SHOULD be more successful than Glennon was, and yet Stiney's gameplan has people comparing him to a lesser QB.

If the rest of the season looks like this, though, I think I need to do some cardio to prepare my heart...

Dear Coach Beamer

Hey Frank;
I wanted to write you today to tell you that we forgive you. We don’t care what it is, we forgive you.

Whatever Bryan has pictures of you doing, or whatever knowledge he has of something from your past, we forgive you. Whether it was a jaunt with a co-ed there in Blacksburg? Something from Vegas from a trip? An “experimental phase” during the trip to San Francisco when we played Air Force in the bowl game? You cheated on your SATs? Pictures of extracurricular activities at Woodstock? You were the other shooter on the grassy knoll?

We don’t care. We love you Frank. We don’t care about whatever Bryan has that he’s holding over your head. We promise you, that no matter what it is that he’s blackmailing you with, we won’t be angry with you. It’s ok for you to go ahead and let him go. I know you think it’s a personal risk for you, that he’ll try and drag your name through the dirt with some scandalous news. But I promise you, we’ll protect you. We’ll defend you.

We’ll always take your side. I know, I know. You’re worried about where he might land. “What if he lands a job in the ACC and we have to play against him every year!?!? How will Bud be able to stop him?”, you say. It’s just a risk we’ll have to take. I’m pretty sure that after the dust settles from the scandal that he tries to unleash on you for letting him go, he’ll just slink away in obscurity. I know he was trying to get signed on at Random House Publishing for editing their encyclopedia sets, but they unfortunately claimed he was too drab and repetitive. Yeah, I don’t get it either!

It’ll seem like a tough time for you to deal with all the news cameras and reporters asking you personal questions – but we will never fade from supporting you. We promise. We promise, in advance with this letter, that we will not sway in our support for you. No matter what Bryan tries to ruin you with, after you let him go, it will not keep us from continuing to support you!

Your friends;
The Hokies

If It meant Stinespring would be demoted from OC and O'Cain would be fired as QB coach

This is going to be a really, really short blog, I promise! Would you as VT fans be willing to sacrifice one game against Miami if it meant that our offense had a chance to improve greatly next yr with new coaches (Stiney demoted and O'Cain fired)? Lose a battle in order to win the war type of debate/argument here folks... Is it worth some short term pain for a long term gain?? Life is tough and complicated and people often cannot have shot term gain and long term gain. There is always a give and take in life because sacrifice for anything worthwile should be involved... I think I would at this point just to see us have a chance to actually get better in the long term. This team and program have peaked with its current offensive coaching. Time to try something and someone different even if that means taking a risk and bringing in someone relatively unknown or unproven at this level of college football to be our OC and hopefully also our QB coach. Hopefully, they would have a better, more complete resume than Stiney when he was promoted to OC....

A question...

... what game were the 140+ people who gave Stiney an A watching? (see poll to the upper-right) Seriously, which game? Did you live in a coverage area that didn't get VT-Nebraska and just watch the highlights on SportsCenter? Are you just so happy that we, for once, did the last second comeback thing and so you had to give him an A and disregard the first 58 minutes of the game?

That's all I had to ask. You may proceed with your gloom and doom predictions for this week. I already have mine posted...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Greetings, and I hope to bid Stiney farewell

Greetings everyone. I am a Hokie Alum going to law school at the University of Alabama: yes, I wore the correct colors to the game in Atlanta, and I left dejected. I am one of the primary authors at Adjusting the Cup, with Joe, and if you'd like to read our (pre-FBS) Bryan Stinespring related rants, here is a comprehensive link, and here and here are two indicative posts. I'm not necessarily advocating firing Stinespring. The man is a great recruiter, and he wasn't horrible as an offensive line coach: our rushing offense suffered when he moved out of that position in 2005. However, he has been Peter Principled, and he needs to be demoted back to offensive line coach. If the choice is between him being off the staff or him remaining as OC, I'll take his departure any day of the week. I just don't think it's necessary. That's where I'm coming from. I'd like to thank the Hokie Guru for inviting me, and I will do my best not to blemish this amazing site with my horrendous writing. Oh, and I'll do my best to keep my posts f-word free, but I cannot guarantee it will happen, especially if I'm quoting my pre-FBS language, as I did once in this post. But c'mon, I used it in reference to Notre Dame, and if you can't curse at them, when can you curse?

In the second time in as many weeks Virginia Tech will not be the site of GameDay, even though they clearly deserve it.

Stiney's Journal: 9/20/09

Dear Dia...umm journal:
I'm very happy today as it's one more above ground and I still have my job. No, i'm nowhere closer to being the dairy farmer i've always dreamed but this coaching job gives somewhat of a thrill until Dad lets me take over the reins. Whew! speaking of which, what a close one. I mean, I dont think anyone really knows it yet but I have exactly no idea what i'm doing out there. Unfortunately the Idiots guide to football has run its course from my high school coaching days and i'm left with few options here. For the Alabama game I tried watching tape as Pappy Beamer requested only to find how boooorring it really is! What are holes? More importantly, if Tyrod is such a big shot then why didn't he just follow the plays I copied from last years Orange Bowl? The only tape that really sat well with me was remember the Titans, what a darn good movie. I feel like we lost just like they did. 1yard in the movie is like 10 points in real life. Speaking of movies, if the movie We are Marshall didn't tell me at the end how much they sucked I probably wouldn't have used a coin to decide on either a run or pass play from my flip chart. Boy is that Ryan kid fast. I stopped flipping after the first big play however and let the other kid, Wilson is it? do the same thing.
Yesterday however was a different story. I worked my but off all last week playing NCAA. I fired up my PS2 and started going at it for hours at a time. Frank saw the sweat and tears between my runs for more game fuel. In the end it worked out as it always does for me in NCAA 2003. When in doubt air it out. Can you believe Tryod connected with Danny Coale for 81 yards in one play with 1:11 on the clock? Probably my proudest moment. Well, as always thanks for listening and I hope next week is just as great because i'm adding something new. People say I can't visualize the field. I'll show them after I bring out my old G.I. Joe collection to make formations in the living room. Snake Eyes is definitely my star Wide Out. Thanks again! gotta go, the wife's making sloppy joe's again.

ESPN Game Day Not Coming to Blacksburg

Just saw this on www.vtplayback.com--It looks like ESPN Game Day will NOT be coming to Blacksburg for the Miami game on Saturday. Where might they be going instead, you ask? To #5 Penn State to watch them take on unranked Iowa. They passed up an opportunity to cover #9 Miami at #11 Virginia Tech in a game that could have huge implications for the ACC's coastal division. Oh, wait, I forgot--the rest of the country doesn't care about the ACC. Apparently Lee Corso cited their reasoning in not coming as the forecast for a chance of rain in Blacksburg on Saturday. He said that he just doesn't want to risk the chance of any lightning strikes. Just kidding. I do expect them to do a decent amount of previewing the VT-Miami game on Game Day, however, but it's just not the same as actually having them here. If you are a Hokie that's going to be anywhere near Penn State on Saturday, get yourself there for Game Day with a big Virginia Tech sign. The Iowa-Penn State game will start at 8pm Eastern time, so we Hokies will have a chance to watch it after our game ends and root for an Iowa upset win to shake up the rankings a bit.


(For those of you that didn't quite get that lightning strike joke, read this CT article)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The ACC Test Begins

Virginia Tech's Offense better step-up for ACC play.

Let's face it. Once VT lost to Alabama, VT immediately started playing for ACC-title/BCS At-Large consideration.

Sagarin's Current Rankings (By Team):
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt09.htm

I realize Sagarin's rankings are not the end-all be-all. But they are one of the BCS computers, they are unbiased (compared to human voters); which means these rankings are ruthlessly honest. Especially when it comes to handicapping games.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

HOOO-LEE SHIT

That was one HELL of a game (and by game, I mean the last three minutes or so). Big Tony already summed the game up a little bit so I'm just posting to draw attention to a few things I noticed today:

1. Danny Coale is sick. And I'm not just saying that because of his one game-changing play today. He has a knack for making big plays. Even when Tyrod doesn't make a good pass, Coale usually seems to salvage it. Whenever I watch one of his plays it seems like he comes out of nowhere to make a snag and he definitely did that today, going one on one with the corner. I think he's underutilized as a receiver but he was there when we needed him today.

2. Bo Pelini was wrong. Yes, the fans at Lane Stadium are not on the field, however we definitely had a 12th man today. Lane was particularly loud and it showed. Nebraska had a good chance at scoring a touchdown and what happened? Numerous penalties in a row. I haven't watched a replay of the game yet, but I believe after a holding call they had at least two false starts. They went from the red zone practically back to midfield all on penalties. That silent snap count didn't work out too well for them today.

3. While we're on the subject of fans... Nebraska has some great fans too. This is my third football season as a student and I can't remember seeing more fans of the opposing team at Lane before. They actually reminded me of Hokie fans in the way they travel. I wasn't even bothered by their numbers, though, because they were not at all hostile from what I saw. Even after the game, they didn't even look upset. Some of them even stopped to tell me, "that was a good game!"

4. The north endzone chanted "Fire Bryan Stinespring!!!" Seriously. Maybe not the whole endzone, but I definitely heard it and it wasn't just one or two guys trying to start it. That's what really made my day.

OPEN THREAD - Nebraska

Post your in-game thoughts and opinions here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

This ain't the same old ACC...

Anyone who watched Miami pimp slap Georgia Tech, the consensus pick to be VT's primary challenger to the ACC crown this season, should realize that Miami is on the uptick, and so, perhaps, is the ACC as a whole.

Sure, the opening weekend was a bit of a slap to the face for the conference, but last week the ACC went 9-1, Duke even got a road win, and in general the conference got things moving in the right direction. This week if VT shucks the Cornhuskers and F$U can knock BYU right out of their Mormon underwear (look it up) then the ACC will - finally - get some national recognition. The talking heads might even start saying it's becoming the conference everyone thought it would be when Miami, BC, and VT came over.

The problem therein, potentially, is that VT's formula for success the past two years might well not work under a new-look ACC, an ACC with offenses to match or at least compliment the defenses. The '07 and '08 conference titles were won not so much by putting the competition away as simply outlasting them. If Miami is truly resurgent and the conference on the whole is on the upswing that means that a Bud Foster defense might not be enough to clinch the Coastal, let alone the ACC. The Lunch Pail Crew might hold opponents to 17 points a game, but that means VT would have to put up 18 to win.

In other words, if the ACC as a whole find some offense, that means the Hokie offense will have to contribute if VT is to win the conference.

Make no mistake, this offense can contribute. I'll go out on a limb here and say that this is hands down the most talented offense that's every taken the field under Frank Beamer. Of course, it comes down to how you use that talent. Against lesser foes (read: "Marshall") you just let your talent go crazy and make plays in space. But when you're matched evenly, talent for talent (read: "Alabama") then the offensive coordinator has to quickly find what works, abandon what doesn't, make adjustments on the fly, and in general establish a game plan that allows your talent to outsmart/outperform/outlast their talent.

We have seen that Bryan Stinespring is at least capable of letting his talent dictate the game when facing an overmatched opponent. What remains to be seen - for the past 8 years - is if he has the ability, the ingenuity, and the strategery to outsmart a defensive coordinator.

Any defensive coordinator.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Moving Past Marshall

“It’s going to help us a lot. They’re going have to put more people in the box and we’re going to throw the football. That’s the game plan— to try to stretch the field and of course try to get the running game going. It’s going [to open] up some holes for the passing game.” -- Tyrod Taylor on how the Marshall game opens up the offense going forward.
"Anyone who says you have to establish the run before you can do anything is fooling themselves. They’re living in the deep dark past. It’s just not the way the game’s played now." -- Bill Walsh of the LA Times

So...which is it?

Well, before we all jump on board the official "this game has changed" bandwagon, remember that it was common knowledge three seasons ago that the triple option was dead and would never be successful in 1-A college football again. It's also common knowledge that the spread option is the greatest development ever in college football, and its implementation will garner immediate success for any team.

Georgia Tech is considered VT's biggest competitor for the ACC title and Virginia will be lucky to win three games this season.

For all the hooting and hollering about the game being different, the truth is it isn't so much the game that has changed dramatically (though it certainly has changed significantly) but more along the lines of how college football is covered has changed. College football has always been big. No argument there. But it's never been this big. Quasi-NFL big. $42.35 million over 9 years big. And whenever media attention increases exponentially, the need for storylines increases exponentially. Also, the amount of blowhards pontificating on what's being covered increases exponentially as well.

The truth is, VT's offense has always needed the run to support the pass. This is especially true now more than ever with Curt Newsome as our offensive line coach. That's not a knock against Newsome. It's simply appreciating the fact that Curt Newsome's strength is coaching a run-blocking line. It's what he did at JMU, and it's what he's doing at VT. But when it comes to holding off the pass rush, Newsome's line just can't seem to get it done.

Does that mean Curt Newsome should be fired? No. It means the OC should design a game plan that plays to the strengths of the offense and minimizes and/or conceals its weaknesses. And the way to do that with the type of players VT has on offense is to establish the threat of the run on every down. That certainly means running it quite a bit right off the bat, but it means a lot more than that.

It means developing a serious play action arsenal, one good enough to make the linebacker spying on Tyrod bite most of the time.

It also means there's a need to develop more than the one bunk screen pass that has never been reliable and never will be.

And since Newsome's line seems ill equipped to pick up the pass rush, it might be a good idea to roll the pocket just to give Tyrod, who obviously doesn't have much of a problem throwing on the run, a few extra seconds to find an open receiver downfield.

So the crux of the matter is this: our junior QB fully grasps that the 605 yard, 6 touchdown can of whoop ass the offense opened up on Marshall can be the blueprint for success the offense uses for the rest of the year. If Tech comes out on O the rest of the season the way they did starting with the third series against the Herd then there is serious potential for the offense to contribute to victory for the first time in a long time.

Tyrod understands this. What remains to be seen is whether or not Bryan Stinespring does.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who Replaces Bryan Stinespring?

My buddy Joe W. recently sent in a quasi mailbag question to my blog….and it’s a very good one.

I read your special post on FBS, and I admit I don't read that blog as much as yours… Since you are more knowledgeable of coaches and what not ... who would you replace B.S. with? Keeping in mind VT's defensive-minded, run-first, philosophy. Oh and budget, can't bring in someone who is going to be paid more than say ... Bud Foster.

Great question. And as a guy that was once an administrator in college athletics… I think I have a few solid answers for you.

One of the things you learn as a college administrator is that you always have a short list of people that you would hire if Coach X were to leave, retire, or you chose to move in another direction. And when you interview coaches, you ask THEM about their short list of assistant coaches. Everyone does it… at least you should. Nothing against the current person you have, but you can’t pretend that Coach X is going to be around forever and lead you to the promise land without wanting a raise, or something you just can’t provide.

In THIS particular case… the Offensive Coordinator position at Virginia Tech… in theory it would be Frank Beemer’s call. But I can tell you this. As a guy who worked for two athletic directors that played football, they are going to have a giant say in a prominent football hire…especially one that would pay in the quarter million dollar salary range. Athletic directors that played football have a giant interest in that sport and while it’s up to the head coach, the AD might have a big nudge here or there. This won’t be something that’s new to the head coach.

This is the TYPE of background I would be looking for. Someone…
- That has ties to the Virginia (ish) area
- That has had success at a program, doesn’t matter the size of the program, if you can call a game in 1-AA, you can call one in 1-A… I’ve seen this for a fact.
- That will accept a salary of around 250k and as much as 300k. (which means I’m not going to get into a bidding war for someone)
- That is a good person. Virginia Tech is a family. I’m not bringing in hot head.
- Is willing to accept that he’s 3rd fiddle, BUT will in essence be the “head coach…of the offense”. Frank, Bud, THEN you. That’s how it is, and is going to be for a while too.

Ok, all that being said, this would be my short list if I’m Frank Beemer/Jim Weaver in Bryan Stinespring’s replacement.

#5: Mike Bajakian- Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach, Central Michigan
Why? He’s young, he’s on the fast track to being a big time offensive coordinator. He’s leading a high powered offense in the MAC… putting up a lot of points, and if you watch a Central Michigan game, you see they’re creative on offensive to the point that keeps defenses honest (just ask Michigan State). He spent time at a big powerhouse program (Michigan), he’s been given the reigns at Central Michigan… and doing a great job. This is the kind of candidate that gets plucked by a BCS school in the next couple years.

#4: Major Applewhite- Assistant Head Coach- Running Backs, Texas
He’s not the offensive coordinator at Texas, and I doubt he would leave unless it was for the right job… but Virginia Tech isn’t exactly like taking a chance for the OC job at Duke or something. He’s been an offensive coordinator before…but never been somewhere that you’d feel THAT comfortable in his long term loyalty to a program not named Texas. BUT… and huge BUT, he knows offense. He’s basically been a coach for 10 years, even when he was in college he was basically another coach. He’s a the football equivalent of a gym rat. Just a football junkie, the kind of guy you want around your program. He wouldn’t be a Hokie for life, but maybe 5-6 years…I’m fine with that.

#3: Jeff Durden, Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach- James Madison
He’s a local guy. He probably comes cheap. I imagine he would LOVE to be the OC at Virginia Tech (and there is value to that). He’s had tremendous success at JMU… using 2nd/3rd rate athletes. He’s very familiar with the area, and in theory, if you retain Stinespring as a line coach, this would be a perfect 1-2 duo. Stinespring coaching the line, Durden coaching the backs… and calling plays. Check out his bio.

#2: Mike Faragalli, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach, Richmond Spiders
He’s the leader of the #1 FCS team in the country. He’s been an OC at Bowling Green, a head coach in the CFL, and someone that I think would be very comfortable in being a #3 guy… and more then capable of being the “head coach of the offense.” If you notice, everywhere he goes his offenses do pretty damn well. He looks like a guy that just isn’t head coach material… but give him an offense, and he’s your guy. Once again, I’m a giant believer that if you can call plays and coach up players in 1-AA/FCS, you can do it at a bigger program, and you sure as hell can be successful. I’ve seen both defensive coordinators and OC’s have success, some people are born with it… Stiney isn’t.

#1: Bill Legg, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach, Florida International University
If he my CLEAR CUT #1? No way, I’d take any of these 5 guys… but I like Legg the most. I like his background. I like that he’s produced NFL guys in the very recent past. I like that he has local history with the area. I like that he’s older and most likely doesn’t have as big of an ego. He’s at FIU… and most likely doing his time before a bigger school comes knocking. He’s familiar with putting together a high powered offense in potential inclement weather… he did it at Purdue… and he sure as hell could do it in Blacksburg.

So that’d be my list… I think all of these guys are REAL candidates… I’m not asking for the wildcat, I’m not asking for a spread offense, I’m asking for someone who understands play calling, understands what it’s like to be the man, and can lead one side of the ball. All 5 of these guys could very well be that guy for Virginia Tech.

Freudian Slips Are Funny

So I was talking with my wife and mom the other day, and I think I’ve discovered why our offensive coaches are having problems.

We were discussing why I hate, and I mean HATE, Notre Dame, and to a lesser extent, Ohio State. It came up because I had a great weekend with the VT dismantling of Marshall, combined with the Notre Dame and Ohio State losses. I’m not going to get into it here, and waste your time reading, whether you agree with my hatred or not, why I hate them. But the point is, hate them or not, in today’s college football world, with the media, polls, computers, strength of schedules, [insert 10 more variables here] – as a VT fan – you have to root against Notre Dame, BYU, Utah, TCU, Boise State, non-USC Pac-10, Ohio State or Penn State (I personally choose to root against OSU), and non-Cincinnati Big East. Please tell me I don’t have to explain why.

My wife and mother are probably the most knowledgeable football minded women I know. [all due respect to the football girl, but alas I do not know you]. I’m not bragging on them, they must get it, as least through osmosis and constantly hearing my blabber, from me. I’m just saying it’s not a one-sided conversation between us.


The conversation varied from reasoning for rooting against them, to my mother acquiescing to rooting against Notre Dame because of poll reasons, but for her mainly because “Charlie Weis is a cocky foul mouthed jerk” (not my words). My wife contradicted that, although Charlie is not a model citizen on the sidelines or at press conferences, to the point of reprimands from the cardinals/bishops/[insert Catholic head of campus word here], he is a good person off the field and has donated much of his own money and time to a camp for children with special needs – inspired by his own daughter’s needs. This makes him palatable as a person off the field, but I still hate Notre Dame.

Anyways,…….my wife then did agree, after remembering the 60 Minutes special on Charlie, that he is pretty brash and sure cusses a lot. That if he were on Beamer’s staff he would be paying fines often since Frank doesn’t want them cussing.

And Freud stepped in between my brain and my tongue and helped me figure out why our offensive coaches have been having problems. I said, “yeah, Frank does fine them for coaching doesn’t he?”

Wonder how often Bryan’s been fined?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Politically Correct Response:

Kudos to the Virginia Tech Football Team, the players and coaches, for a great game on Saturday against Marshall. It was one of our best offensive outputs, in both points scored and yardage gained. In fact, I believe it was our 5th best yardage performance, ever.

There is nothing negative that came out of this game that I can find to say about Bryan Stinespring. He formulated a game plan, and it worked. We were able to control the line of scrimmage and rushed the ball seemingly at will. Hopefully, the theory to run to set up the pass is one that we will stick to in future games.

Most of all, it showed us potential. The potential of these blue chip recruits. The potential of our athletes in space. Bryan, keep it up! You might have done yourself in for FUTURE criticism. Because now we’ve seen you do it!

Trust me, we don’t want to have a website like this one you’re reading right here. We are, after all, Hokies and we want to win, and win by 42 EVERY week.

As we revel in our top ~60 offensive ranking, by yardage, and top ~25 offensive ranking, by points – I only urge all Hokie fans to temper their gung-ho attitude for a few simple reasons:
*it was, after all, Marshall, out of C-USA.
*they are ranked over 100th in total defense (yes, now, partially due in part to the 606 we dropped on them).
*we had on average 40 pounds on them across our offensive line versus their defensive line counterpart.
*there were many instances of broken tackles, and total-field-reversals that I fear won’t fly against a tougher/faster opponent.
*we played a top 5 rated defense in Alabama, a 100+ rated defense in Marshall. Neither of which are good gauges on our offense, thus far, because of the severe swings in production. As luck would have it, we are provided with an immediate measuring stick. Nebraska comes into town with the #50 rated defense.
*mid-game adjustments were needed against Alabama, and not made successfully. The game-plan against Marshall worked so well, we didn’t need adjustments. So we haven’t seen this learning curve yet.
*let’s talk next Monday?

Some anecdotal and otherwise useless thoughts for your week:
*Billy Hite called us smart.

*Billy, we’re not disgruntled about *this* offense, against this *Marshall* defense.
*But alas, one good game does not a season make, keep it up!
*Although many people (me) feel that our team is better set up to run first to set up the pass and open up lanes for Tyrod to pass, or run himself – the occasional first down pass (read: play action *after* the run has been established) is a great idea. One note, it DOESN’T HAVE TO BE > 25 YARDS! 8 yard outs, crosses, hooks, screens, etc. – open up the defense just as much and can be just as successful. Our first couple drives against Marshall had a fair share of early down, long incompletions.
*Let’s build Tyrod’s confidence. I can’t believe I’m about to type this. What happened to the triple WR on one side, immediate bubble screen to one of those three WR’s and let him make a move while the other two block?
*Our blitz pick-up seems to be having a problem (against both ‘bama and Marshall) with the delayed blitz, from the outside. Outside LB or safety/CB let’s his DT occupy the OT, sees which way the OT pushes him, and then picks his spot. It’s been killing us repeatedly, from the outside. Note this in practice to the RB’s for pick-up, and to Tyrod that unless he wants to do that blindside-spin-move every time, consider heading out between our guards, or……or…………or……………call a bootleg-right-throw-back-screen-left. Touchdown Williams.
*that being said about Tyrod heading out between the guards, I know does not have the safety of the sideline built in. This is ok. Tyrod should spend a day with the baseball team. Running doesn’t mean you have to take a hit. Take 3 yards and slide! 2nd and 7 is much prettier than 2nd and 15 trying to stay in the pocket and make something happen.

And finally:
*did anyone else see the Sportscenter highlights from late Saturday night or early Sunday morning? One highlight from our game. One. Not the punt return. Not Williams or Wilson going off. Not a Tyrod TD pass. One highlight. The Marshall RB’s 61 yard TD. Sportscenter anchor, “and despite this run by Marshall, Virginia Tech easily handled them 52-10. Now back to Columbus…..”


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