FBS Mission Statement:
Monday, November 30, 2009
Like oral sex and Seinfeld, all good things must come to an end. We will truly, deeply, painfully miss seeing Al Groh on the opposing sideline, his appearance shifting from grumpy to confused and back again as the game wore on, but always looking genuinely uncomfortable in a sweatshirt.
Al, you and UVA were a perfect fit. Together you did more for Virginia Tech football than perhaps even Frank Beamer. Those days are gone now, but we will cherish the memory of them forever.
God bless, Al. Remember, Febreze gets out the smell of Brie and now that you don't live in Charlottesville anymore it's okay to drink...well, anything, really, without extending your pinky.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
To say the least, my trip to Charlottesville was interesting. Before we get into the game recap and opinions, I figured that I should share my experience among Mr. Jefferson's most devout followers. I'm going to go through a timestamp format explaining how the day went. Times are approximate since I wasn't exactly staring at a watch through the game. I'll lead this off with a disclaimer. I never had any desire to attend the University of Virginia. I did not apply, and with good reason. My thought process entering college was that I'd be spending four years of my life there, not just studying, but living. I chose my school based upon academic merit as well as personality, and I fell in love with the friendly environment in Blacksburg, so if you feel like talking about my inferiority complex with regards to this rivalry, save your breath. I have friends that attended UVA, and some of them do not fit the mold that I describe in this post. I am just making general observations about Charlottesville here.
10:00 am- Attach VT flag in car window, load up and head down route 29.
10:30 am- Listen to Enter Sandman for the fifth time.
12:15 pm- Arrive at John Paul Jones Arena, park for free (nice).
12:45 pm- Head downtown, go to Subway with friends (one Tech, two UVA)
1:30 pm- Start the long walk towards the stadium, begin chanting "Save Al Groh" as we pass every UVA tailgate (read: wine and cheese party).
1:55 pm- Arrive at Scott Stadium, continue aforementioned chant. Told to "eat a salad" by an extremely clever Wahoo trying to make a fat joke. Ask if I had to attend UVA law to understand the joke.
2:10 pm- Walk down "the hill" and take a spot about 15 feet above the field. Can't see jack from that angle.
2:11-3:00 pm- Tweet "smells like pretention here," get berated by my wife's aunt for my harsh nature and inferiority complex. Guess where she pursued her undergraduate degree...Stand on the sloppy mess of a student section, wonder why fans aren't showing up.
3:01-3:20 pm- Realize that the bowtie/blazer stereotype is true. Never seen so many fans NOT wear actual fan gear...this feels like Hampden Sydney.
3:21 pm- Senior Day starts, Hoos don't even clap for their players.
3:25 pm- Adventures of CavMan Begins. Floofy Creepy-Looking Pirate Kicks Hokie Bird into a Butterball factory. Awfully clever.
3:30 pm- Zombie Nation...Lamest. Intro. Ever. Also realize that they mic their band. Jokes.
3:35 pm- Realize we suck against running QBs. Jameel Sewell is still classless. Scream "Happy New Year" after they sing the Good Ol' Song. Vomit a little.
3:45 pm- Worship the ground Danny Coale walks on, laugh at stupid Wahoos mocking us. Point Stupid Wahoo towards sign that reads "William and Mary BEAT YOU."
3:50 pm- Get in Faux-Argument with Tech friend about which team is better, UVA's chess team or tennis team.
4:30 pm- Tired of the student section. Standing on a steep-ass hill isn't fun, especially when you feel like you're going to slip at a moment's notice. Decide to head up to our seats in the UVA Alumni section.
4:31-4:44 pm- Deal with the logistical nightmare that is Scott Stadium. Corridors are not nearly wide enough. Walk by a display of "Bowl Success." Wonder aloud why they didn't include the MPC Computer Bowl.
4:45 pm- Take our seats among UVA alumni. Tech woman in front of us says "thank God you're sitting here." Young son smiles. Warns us that guy sitting next to us (not there at this point) is "extremely rude." Awesome.
4:50 pm- UVA woman next to us tells us we are classless hicks, says we can go to hell. Jason and I haven't opened our mouths yet at this point. Tell her "I'll be respectful if she will." She scoffs in a snootalicious manner.
5:00 pm- UVA woman asks where we got our tickets. She gets mad when I tell her I bought them from a UVA alumnus. I tell her "no UVA people wanted to come watch your team, so he sold them to me." She fumes.
5:10 pm- Danny Coale catches beautiful pass (pre-Tyrod INT), as we stand, UVA guy walks past. As he goes, he screams "F*** You" at me (literally two inches between noses). Wipe spit off, tell him to chill out. He says "F*** You Hokie" in response. Dude looks like he beats his wife.
5:15 pm- After some more F Bombs, UVA guy asks me why Tech fans show up to this game and not our own in Blacksburg. I ask him what planet he's been living on.
5:16 pm- Woman chimes in with "Once we have a coach and a team, we'll beat your f***ing asses." I compliment her on her accurate assessment of their athletic program.
5:18 pm- Tech goes up 21-13, anger sets in among locals...F Bombs ensue.
5:18:30 pm- Tech woman politely asks UVA people to stop cussing in her son's ear.
5:18:45 pm- UVA guy tells her to "F*** off" and that they're in his house. Calls her an effing bitch. VT husband stands up and threatens to pummel UVA dude.
5:20 pm- After holding UVA dude back, security comes, whole section rats out UVA dude. Karma prevails.
5:25 pm- Greg Boone drops pass and hurts leg. UVA woman cheers and says "haha I hope he broke his leg!!!!!" I finally give in and call her classless.
5:30 pm- Game secured by Ryan Williams, head over to hang out with Marching Virginians.
5:50 pm- Let's Go Hokies erupts in Scott Stadium, my heart is warmed.
6:00-6:20 pm- Walk back to friend's apartment screaming things like "this is a lovely CAMPUS and you have beautiful QUADS. Is this where Seniors live?"
7:00 pm- Begin long drive home with satisfied smile.
Needless to say, most of the Wahoos were OK although a little snotty. There are always bad apples in the bunch, and our neighbors took the cake yesterday. Anyway the game was a blast, and it was certainly more fun mocking UVA fans than Maryland fans since UVA fans actually seem to care.
As for the game, there's not a ton to say. It was an awesome second half effort by both lines, and you have to give credit to Bryan Stinespring. He called a VERY good game. Tyrod wasn't super accurate, but his receivers came up with some amazing catches and made him look great at points. I'm going to follow the marching orders given out by The North Endzone, and declare that Ryan Williams will never be referred to as "Ryan Williams" on this blog again. He will only be discussed as RMFW from here until the end of time. If you don't get that, just leave. 183 yards and four touchdowns puts RMFW within 111 yards of Kevin Jones 1,647 yard record (2003) for total rushing yards in a season. It's incredible that this guy is a freshman. Danny Coale had the game of his life with six catches and 135 yards yesterday. Some of his catches were incredible, and his hands are every bit as reliable as Jarrett Boykin's. That's scary. Jason Worilds is still a beast as well.
Overall, it always feels good to beat your rival. I'd say that day was an even greater success considering that I have a new deep-seeded, personal hatred for the UVA faithful. Six-years-worth of tears taste sooooooooooooooooo good.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
I’ll state that both the Hokie friends I spent the NCST game/weekend with, and the Pokie co-worker, are all neutral to Stinespring. They’re not pro-Stinespring, but they’re pro-continuity. More anti-rocking-the-boat if you will. I can defend the Pokie here at work, as he’s only roughly followed the Hokies for the 3 years his son has been at school. So to see 99th, 101st ranked offenses become 60th ranked – I guess he sees a marked improvement. As for my friend I spent the weekend with, he’s more involved in the Hokie Club and has a couple high up connections closer to the coaches than I, to include some intimate connections in the recruiting world, specifically this region of VA. He’s in agreement with the suckiness that is Bryan’s body of work as OC…….but is on the team that says no matter what OC you bring in here you’ll see the same shackles from Beamer. So why not keep the continuity since even if we brought Mike Leach to OC in here we’d still have the same complaints? Shrug, we talked a lot on our up-and-back on Saturday trip from Hampton Roads to B’burg and back.
[Side Note here, when I told my friend that hypothetically we had to have a change. Had to. That hypothetically the biggest big wig donators demanded Beamer make a change, what he thought it would be. He gave two answers:
 coaching/skills angle: He said he thought Bryan and Newsome would share O Line and TE coaching duties, that we’d lose O’Cain from QB coach and hire a new QB coach to also OC. This is where I prayed for Kevin Rogers and he laughed at me. From coaching Brett Favre for big $ to coaching Tyrod Taylor?
 recruiting angle: He said he thought we’d lose Hite, who doesn’t recruit at all. Now, this is the biggest stretch of anti-Frank-loyalty, that he’d lose the long time guy Hite. But that if the pressure from above was purely based on recruiting efforts we’d lose Hite. And hire in a new RB coach to OC.
Notice neither of those solutions involve the total loss of Bryan from the team. I don’t know what this means. We bounce back and forth a lot around here about Bryan’s performance as OC versus what-we’re-told-about-high-value-in-recruiting. I respect my friend’s opinions a lot and we have a lot of good in depth discussions on everything Hokie. To hear his two hypothetical situations both keep Bryan on staff tells me a lot about his value – JUST NOT AS OC, or more specifically NOT AS PLAYCALLER. But I digress…]
Back to the story at hand. So I was kind of preparing a post in my head after this weekend’s discussions with these people. Then I read Kyle Tucker’s latest piece after our pasting of NCST, where he specifically calls us out with his again public love of Bryan, and I decided I’d go ahead and post.
Some points I just have to make (none of these are at any single person or argument, just a culmination of my head this weekend into today):
*One year “upward” for Bryan does not erase 7 downward.
*Laughable that 60th ranked on O (note still technically in bottom half of 119 teams) is a reason to support a guy.
*You have to view the body of work. The higher scoring average offense, and the 60th ranked total offense is not representative of a even season throughout. We BLEW OUT Marshall, BC, Maryland, NC State and fell on our face when we needed him versus GT and UNC.
*Meaning, just as all the pro-Stiney people get mad at us for trying to lynch Bryan after GT and UNC, it goes both ways brother, you can’t call for his Sainthood after two good games against Maryland and NCState.
-Please note GT and UNC are ranked 7th and 24th. Maryland and NCState couldn’t combine their records to be a bowl eligible team. Where are you when we NEED you?
*Stop using Bud Foster’s “down” year in defense of Bryan.
-The three games we lost “because of Bud” as they say, the defense was on the field for 37, 38, and 36 minutes of the 60 minute game. Man, a couple less 3-and-outs Bryan, and Bud’s guys are a little different in the 4th quarters of those games? I’m just using T.O.P. here, not even the theory that the GT and UNC second halves are drastically different in their play calling if we capitalized on the opportunities in the first half of those games. And Bud could have pigeon holed them in the second half.
-Oh, and in Bud’s “down” year, he’s only brought a 13th ranked defense to the table (both in scoring and total D).
*Why did we open it up so much against NCState? Why did the O show glimmers of hope that there is a play caller up there? Why so late in the year? Why does it take senior day to try stuff?
*And finally, stop using the word “execution”. Just stop.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Simmer down there, hotfoot.
Bryan Stinespring has called two games against the Wolfpack in his lustrious (I suppose that would be the opposite of illustrious, right?) career. The results?
2005: 232 yards, 20 points, W
2004: 192 yards, 16 points, L
It should be noted that these were not untalented VT squads. The 2004 Hokies had a senior Bryan Randall under center, while the 2005 model had a socially rehabilitated (so we thought) Marcus Vick taking snaps. Both teams had single-game rushing record holder Mike Imoh at tailback, and the full bevy of wide receiver targets in Eddie Royal, Josh Morgan, and David Clowney.
(PERSONAL ASIDE: If you want proof positive that Stinespring completely squandered the NFL-caliber talents of Eddie Royal, look no further than the 2005 NC State game. Royal's line in the game: 1 catch for -3 yards.)
These also weren't particularly good NC State teams, either. The Wolfpack finished 5-6 (3-5) in 2004, and were a nominally improved 7-5 (3-5) in 2005.
So I'm not predicting the upset by any means (knock on wood for the seniors), but I am certainly saying that if there's a way to fuck up the last home game of the year for the seniors, Bryan Stinespring has proven capable of finding it.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
One of my favorites is the 1999 Spike Jonze cult classic Being John Malkovich, in which John Cusack's character, a financially strapped aspiring puppeteer (not many directors have the balls to helm a flick with a protagonist like that) finds a doorway in an office building that leads directly into the psyche of John Malkovich.
I really, really which I could find a door like that, one that would let me know for just a few precious minutes what goes through Frank Beamer's head.
There's been some grumbling lately about Fancy Gap Frank, both here at FBS and on other VT message boards. It seems like a few disgruntled Hokies are making a logical (or illogical, as the case may be) leap. Bryan Stinespring might be the thorn in the side of Hokie fans, so the argument seems to go, but the blame of Stinespring being on staff falls in the lap of Frank Beamer. Frank's the head honcho, after all. He signs the checks (okay, not really) so ultimately the buck stops on Frank's desk.
Okay, admittedly, there's some veracity to that argument. But it's where that train of thought goes from here that is unsettling to me. I've personally come across the following claims from upset Hokie fans at least once, often multiple times:
- Frank Beamer "doesn't care anymore"
- Beamer's primary concern is keeping his friends in high-paying coaching positions
- Frank's just doing it for a paycheck now
- Frank's so conservative on offense this is the best any OC could do
- Frank should retire
Just to be clear, it's my official position, and the position of FBS as a whole, that each one of these claims is completely bunk.
Going one by one, the idea that Frank Beamer "doesn't care anymore," (and that is a direct quote I found on a VT message board) is simply preposterous. Frank Beamer is Virginia Tech football, and he wants VT to be a national football powerhouse. If you question Frank's commitment to VT, you're a sorry excuse of a Hokie.
As for keeping his friends in high-paying coaching positions, it's public knowledge that each time Frank Beamer has renegotiated his contract it's always involved raises for all of his positions coaches and coordinators. That's one of the things I respect about Beamer the most: he looks out for his staff. As for the notion that he cares more about that than winning, again, if you really believe that, you're a sorry excuse of a Hokie. Beamer protects his staff because he really thinks he has the right people in the right positions.
As for Frank just doing it for a paycheck, if you believe that, don't read this blog anymore. I wash my hands of you.
Now, as for Frank being conservative on offense...no debate. Frank will never let a Texas Tech-like, high flying offense be installed at VT under his watch, and he has a valid reason. Frank knows, as any football Illuminati should know, that almost without exception a high octane offense tends to dominate any team that runs it. In other words, there's a reason why Texas Tech hasn't won a national championship under Mike Leach: they're one-dimensional and their defense sucks. Gunning offenses usually take the full attention of both the head coach and the offensive coordinator to install and maintain, leaving the defensive coordinator to fend for himself, usually without the resources (read: "payroll for positions coaches") of the offense. But conservative offense does not equal bad offense. Florida has dominated college football with a very run-heavy offense. (Tim Tebow has never had a 300 yard passing game.) Georgia Tech has positioned themselves as the new team to beat in the ACC despite essentially never passing it. Ohio State owns the Big Ten despite having an offense even more vanilla than VT's. And lest we forget, Frank Beamer and his conservative ways had offensive success prior to the hire of Bryan Stinespring, and even put up good numbers during Stinespring's first four years (while Kevin Rogers was on staff).
As for claims that Frank Beamer should retire, that's pretty much up to Frank Beamer. Frank could call it quits after this season and know his legacy is secure. He could also coach another ten years. Frank just turned 63 years old, which puts him in a very unusual and very flexible position regarding his career. He would definitely be justified in deciding it was time to work on his golf game, and he'd know he'd be leaving the program in good hands with Bud Foster. But 63 isn't nearly geriatric in the circle of uber-successful college coaches. Bobby Bowden is 80. JoePa is 82. Bill Snyder just came out of retirement to resume the head coaching spot at Kansas State at age 70. So it's no exaggeration that Frank Beamer could be doing this 15 years from now, and if he is then more power to him. He's already synonymous with Virginia Tech football, so as long as he's enjoying his job and remains successful at it, who's going to tell him it's time to hang it up?
I get the frustration. Believe me, I get it. And more than once I've found myself headed down the "isn't Frank really the one responsible" train of though a few times. And while yes, technically it is ultimately Frank's decision to keep Stinespring on staff, one needs to keep a sense of perspective before nailing Frank to the cross over it. Remember that Frank's career at VT was founded on a healthy does of patience. It took Frank six years to post better than six wins in any season as head coach, and Frank had more than a few people calling for his own head before finally getting it turned around. Frank Beamer is old school; he genuinely believes that the way to find success in football is establishing solid fundamentals and waiting for everything else to click. It's also nothing for him to wait out a few (or more than a few) rough seasons if he thinks the fundamentals are sound. And that, really, is the crux of the problem: Frank Beamer believes Bryan Stinespring's fundamentals are sound. Don't ask me why. I don't know. But for whatever reason Beamer believes the dropoff Stinespring has suffered after the 2005 season is not the direct effect of Kevin Rogers leaving the program. He thinks Stinespring can do this job, and he honestly believes that, given enough time, Stinespring will bounce back. And post numbers as good as or better than his offenses posted from '02 to '05.
That's why this blog exists. Not to bitch and moan for the sake of bitching and moaning. Not to call Bryan Stinespring a bunch of nasty names. Our purpose is to be the voice of reason, so to speak, and to present as cogent an argument as we can that Bryan Stinespring, for all of his hard work and effort, lacks the skills necessary to be successful at his position. Because once Frank Beamer's got your back he's always going to have your back.
Frank's got Stiney's back, and the only way we're going to see a change at OC is if there's enough public outcry that not even Frank Beamer can circle the wagons tightly enough.
My bad. I feel like I sounded like a bitter Florida State fan calling for Bobby Bowden's head in my last post. The point I was trying to make - and failed miserably making - was that Frank Beamer's loyalty to Bryan Stinespring was (and still is) a huge problem standing in the way of our program becoming one of the programs that's mentioned in the Florida/Texas/USC/Oklahoma/LSU rarefied air.
Here are a few things I would like to clarify:
1) Beamer has earned the right to stay at the helm of the Hokies for as long as he wants. And then some. He made this program what it is, and it was a program that used to lose to Cincinnati on Homecoming and lost 77-6 to Alabama back when Bear Bryant scheduled us as a cupcake team.
2) Bryan Stinespring is hands-down, statistically the worst offensive coordinator to both: a) coach for the better part of a decade, and b) not be related by blood to the head coach.
3) Since I've been at Virginia Tech, I've seen quite a few great players. My first "game" was the Corso lightning game. I've seen both Vick brothers pull off some of the most ridiculous plays that one has ever seen in a football game, Kevin Jones run hundreds of yards laterally before breaking a 50 yard run to the end zone, Lee Suggs, Andre Davis score 3 TDs in 6 minutes, Eddie Royal out-athlete every other player on the field, Macho Harris, D-Hall, Ernest Wilford make up dropping a 2-point with two years of phenomenal play, and countless other offensive players who have become NFL stars. So I say this without hesitation and knowing full well the gravity of what it means: Ryan Williams is the most naturally talented player I have seen in my time as a Hokie, and if an offensive coordinator cannot score 35 points a game with RW as the anchor and Tyrod Taylor and our talented bevvy of receivers, it's time to quit and just start letting the PlayStation pick the game for you.
4) Bud Foster will not stay around forever. He's already interested in the Memphis job, and by the end of the year, Maryland, Virginia, Louisville, and Colorado will probably all be open, if Bud decides that he is waiting for a BCS-AQ job. There is an outside chance that Arizona State or Texas A&M will be open, and if Brian Kelly keeps flying high, Cincinnati may be an open position, too. While there are capable people who can take over for him, they are not he. By not replacing Stinespring, Beamer is squandering a narrowing window of opportunity to fill the empty trophy case in the Merriman Athletic Center. I've seen that trophy case, and it's glorious. It needs to be filled.
5) Seriously, I don't want Frank Beamer fired/muzzled/retired/whatevered, and if I came off as saying that mea culpa mea culpa mea culpa. But I continue to stand by (what I wanted to be my) original assertion: Beamer is the head coach, and ultimately, as the CEO of the program, at some point, when faced with 8 years of struggling returns from the VP of Offense, if he keeps him around, it starts being his fault. So, while Stinespring is the ultimate problem, Frank's refusal to relieve Stiney of his offensive play-calling and scheme-making duties ultimately starts to fall on Frank. Maybe not after 3 or 4 years, but when you get to 8 years of steadily declining offense...
Frank Beamer is not the problem, but Frank's refusal to reassign Bryan Stinespring's offensive coordinator duties to someone else who can handle it is the problem.
PS My bad.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I've heard some criticism about the Hokies' inability to convert red zone appearances into touchdowns in the second half, but I think that argument is bunk. The first half was more than enough proof that Maryland could not stop whatever the Hokies wanted to do on offense, and Beamer could have hung 60 points on Maryland if he had wanted to. What people need to understand is that Frank is never going to do that to Ralph Friedgen. There's way too much history between those two, and their friendship is way too strong - and Frank Beamer is just simply too decent a guy - to run up the score to the point of humiliation.
So if we can't really hang all the red zone field goals on Stinespring, there's really not much to criticize Stinespring for in this game. Except, of course, for what might well have been the single worst call we've endured from Stiney all season. At the 11:34 mark of the 4th quarter with the game completely in hand VT faced 1st and 10 from their own 1 yard line. Stinespring, who had found success all day with the pass, seemed to miss the memo on where we were on the field and that the focus of the game had shifted to clock control. Bryan called a pass play from our own end zone, and the inevitable blitz by the Terrapins shredded the offensive line and forced a fumble which was recovered in the end zone for a Terps touchdown. With that one mind-bogglingly stupid call Stinespring managed to triple the Hokies' points allowed in the game.
But the biggest indictment of Stiney came not from the Maryland game on Saturday, but from Durham, NC, where Georgia Tech scored 49 unanswered points to throttle the Duke Blue Devils and clench the Coastal Division crown. VT is now officially an also-ran in the ACC. VT - with the best running back in the ACC and perhaps all of college football, with a vastly improved receiving corps, with a quarterback touting a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio - misses out on an opportunity to defend its conference championship.
Because this season Bud Foster is fielding a top-20 defense instead of a top-10 defense.
Forget any thoughts of national championships. With Stinespring calling plays for the offense, it takes the best defense in college football to give us a chance to play for the championship of our own conference.
How can there be any question that this guy needs to go?
Post your in-game thoughts and opinions here, won't you?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
For the past several years, Virginia Tech fans have been extremely concerned about the prospect of losing defensive coordinator Bud Foster to a head coaching job. Earlier today, the Washington Post broke news that Foster is interested in the University of Memphis vacancy (Tommy West was fired Monday). Like previous seasons, Hokie Nation has begun crafting doomsday scenarios that might or might not come into play. However, over these past few seasons that have seen Foster flirt with Clemson, NC State, Illinois and South Carolina, nobody seems to want to discuss what WILL happen when Foster leaves Blacksburg for good.Keep in mind that Frank Beamer is 63 years young. Beamer has stated publicly that he has several years left before he wants to hang up the clipboard. Bud Foster is no spring chicken himself (he turned 50 in July), and the window of opportunity might be closing on the long-time Hokie great. Foster has long stated that he wants a Big Six, BCS conference job rather than being forced to build a mid-major into a power. Unfortunately, various athletic directors have chosen people with direct head coaching experience over Foster. This leads me to believe that Bud is reevaluating his stance, and considering any FBS situation that could be favorable. The guy has coached five consecutive top ten defenses (nationally), and in this “down year,” he’s managed to produce the 23rd best defense (on yardage) as well as the 21st scoring defense in the country. Not too shabby. Hokie fans need to come to terms that there will not be a succession plan for the four-time Broyles Award nominee, and that Bud’s days in Blacksburg are probably coming to a close.
However, we must have faith that Ol’ Bud doesn’t plan on leaving Beamer high-and-dry. There’s a good possibility that he might take an assistant or two with him to the school of his choosing, but I expect that he’ll do his best to leave the program in good hands after he’s gone. Beamer is notorious for being loyal to his current staff, and I believe that it’s highly unlikely that he will look outside the program to replace Foster. That being said, let’s take a look at the current staff and examine who the best candidate will be to succeed Bud as Virginia Tech’s defensive coordinator.
Jim Cavanaugh- Defensive Assistant, Whips and Rovers
Cavanaugh has been an assistant under Foster since the 1996 season, and is entering his eighth as Tech’s recruiting coordinator. Coach Cavanaugh has done a great job of both bringing in and developing talent for Frank Beamer’s program. He recruited the likes of Michael Vick, the Adibi brothers, Macho Harris, Bryan Randall and Chris Ellis among others. Along with the big names, he has worked with players with less notoriety and turned them into defensive mainstays for the Hokies. Aaron Rouse, James Anderson, Pierson Prioleau, Cam Martin and Cody Grimm all entered the program as question marks and developed into explosive, reliable players for Cavanaugh. In particular, Grimm has been developed into one of the most disruptive defenders in the last 20 years for the Hokies.
Pros: Considering that Cavanaugh coaches two positions that require high football IQ, he’s got a great knowledge of Foster’s system, and in particular, his blitzing schemes. He’s a proven motivator, and has gotten maximum efforts from his players over the years. If we’re looking for someone with significant experience and intelligence, Cavanaugh provides a great deal of both. He has been a part of ten conference championships, and has learned from some of the best in Lou Holtz, Bobby Ross, and now Frank Beamer.
Cons: We all know that a great recruiter does not necessarily transition into a great coordinator (Stinespring). Cavanaugh is the oldest member of Foster’s defensive staff, and it’s hard to say how long he’ll be willing to stay around. Virginia Tech’s program has been a picture of stability over the last fifteen seasons, and I believe Beamer will be looking for someone that expects to coach in Blacksburg for a long time.
Charley Wiles- Defensive Line Coach
Wiles has been on the Virginia Tech staff since 1996, and has been known for developing a crop of disruptive, yet undersized defensive linemen throughout his tenure. He can claim the likes of Corey Moore, Darryl Tapp, Chris Ellis, Orion Martin, and now Jason Worilds as his outstanding performers. Wiles units have been consistently strong, even without ideal size. His players are typically known for their work ethic and speed, which are both nurtured under his tutelage. He makes the most out of developing relatively small guys with big hearts and consistent motors.
Pros: Wiles has developed players to the tops of the college football world. His players have probably been most nationally-recognized during their careers IN college, but not necessarily in the NFL. Eighteen of Wiles' former defensive linemen have earned all-conference honors, and been named All-Americans five times. This is a direct result of playing with smaller players. However, Wiles also teaches his ends impeccable technique and timing, which are two very valuable assets to a defensive coach. He knows Foster's system inside and out, and isn't too old to stick around at Tech long after Foster leaves (he's 45). He also follows in the same mold as Foster, because he's a former player under Beamer, and was an All-American at the Division 1-AA level himself.
Cons: The likelihood of Wiles sticking around if Bud leaves is lower than a guy like Cavanaugh, mostly because he and Foster are close friends. There have been whispers that Wiles would leave Blacksburg with Foster and become his defensive coordinator. He's also a guy that has stayed in the same position for thirteen years. Is that extreme loyalty, or is there a reason nobody's tried to pluck him away?
Torrian Gray- Defensive Backs Coach
Gray is the greenest member of Foster's staff, serving in his fourth season in 2009. He is a former player under Foster, and was a standout at rover and free safety. While Gray has not accumulated as much experience as his fellow staff members, he's considered a rising star in the program, and has experience on the NFL level as well. He led one of the best defensive secondaries in the country in his two years at UConn, and coached for two years with the Chicago Bears, where he worked under Lovie Smith and with a group of the leagues most respected defensive minds.
Pros: As previously mentioned, Gray is considered a rising star in the coaching world. He's been largely successful in several programs, and he's transitioned smoothly from position-to-position. He's produced several high-caliber players in his first several years in Blacksburg, and helped make Brandon Flowers into an unstoppable force at the boundary corner position. Flowers has praised Gray for his enthusiasm and knowledge in making him one of the most successful corners in Virginia Tech history. His defensive backs are known for their ability to generate turnovers and their tenacity. He seems to be working his magic with another former "unknown" in Rock Carmichael. He earns the respect of his players quickly, and is more than willing to defend them in public forums.
Cons: Gray is only 35, and only has nine years of professional experience. He has never had to take on a lead role with a defensive staff (unlike Cavanaugh as recruiting coordinator, and Wiles as a co-defensive coordinator at Murray), and might be a little too inexperienced and fiery to carry out Beamer's plans to a 'T.' He's also been known as to cater a little too much to his players' egos, and hasn't been able to instill the best discipline in his DBs at times (e.g. Kam Chancellor). Most would argue that Gray would need to see an increased role in defensive playcalling or scheming before he's ready to step up as a coordinator.
Once you consider all of the options available within the program, it's easy to see that there are capable coaches that could take the reigns from Foster. However, I believe that Wiles will follow Bud to his new school, which leaves Gray and Cavanaugh. In that scenario, Beamer will probably keep Cavanaugh in his recruiter's role, and promote Gray, even though he has less experience. I would consider Cav to be the safe choice, but Gray to have greater potential. I think that Beamer and Foster see the promise with Gray, and it would be a big statement for the future of the program. If Gray is successful in taking over for Foster, he could keep the Hokie defense at a high level for years to come.
What do you think about the succession situation? Should we promote one of these three guys or look outside the program? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
1) A shot at a National Championship.
2) A shot at an ACC Championship.
3) A shot at a 6th consecutive 10-win season.
4) Our dignity as a football powerhouse.
Don't go read here if you don't want to think of the absolute worst possibility of something else Bryan and his offenses could cost us.
Although, after carrying Bryan around all these years, his back must be tired. I guess I don't blame him a bit.
Monday, November 9, 2009
The player played at VT sometime during the Stinespring OC era. He was at VT for his entire college football career. I will not tell you which side of the ball he played on, but let's just say this player said that former players on both sides of the ball agree with this player's assessments of certain coaches. In fact, the player made it seem like this was a consensus agreement about our offensive coaching staff. He spoke freely, but since I am an honest guy, I told him I blog for this website and he agreed to still speak to me and answer my questions as long as I did not publicly name him [for political reasons and for wrath of Beamer]. I am going to keep my word to him. The following is a paraphrase of the 5+ minute conversation I had with him. I did not have a tape recorder with me because I was not expecting to run into him and I am not a reporter like I said. I am not sure he would have agreed to be recorded anyways. I am just going to paraphrase my questions and his responses. This was a total surprise what he said to me in response to some of my questions and you will be very interested in what he had to say. Tell me if any of this sounds familiar and if you have heard some of this stuff anywhere before?
Me: I write for the FBS website. Do you read the website? I heard from some reliable sources some former players do read the website. I know the Football Offices and Athletic Dept monitor the website to try and improve Stinespring's PR, but it is hard to try and argue against the facts and the statistics...
Anonymous Player: Hahaha. Yes, I am aware of the site. Yes, I do read the website. So do other former players. We talk about the website sometimes. We think you guys are dead on and you guys do quality work on there. I think it is funny because you guys are all just preaching to the choir about our offense. Lots of us [former VT players] agree with you guys, but we are not allowed to admit that publicly [give an interview to the press/media about it] because it would upset Beamer. There is a lot of politics involved in our football program even after we graduate. It is not smart to upset the boss.
Me: Have you been watching the last few games [I was referencing more the GT and UNC losses than the ECU game]? What do you think about the offense and more specifically about Stinespring? I think Stinespring lost us both of those games with his predictable playcalling, poorly designed gameplan and lack of in game adjustments. I think we lost both games in the first half by doing nothing on offense with good field position. What is your opinion on Stinespring and the offense?
Anonymous Player: Hahaha. Again, you are just preaching to the choir about the problems with our offense, man. The problem is the coaching. We have great talent now on offense. There needs to be changes to basically every coach on the offense. The offense has no chance of improving until coaching changes are made. I am convinced of this and so are many of us [former VT players]. Even if there are weaknesses in the players, a good coach would be able to scheme and gameplan around it. The coaches do not use all of the players properly or put them in a position to succeed by playing to their strengths. What happened in those games didn't surprise me in the least. Fans really have no idea just how clueless Stinespring is. Some of you guys think you do, but it is worse than you think. He is in way, way, way over his head as an OC. I am not even sure he could be a good OC in high school. We thought he would get better each yr as an OC just learning from his mistakes, going to coaching clinics, etc. al, but that didn't happen. From just watching the games on tv, he actually seems even more confused now. He's really just clueless and nothing is going to change that.
Me: What do you think specifically about the QB coach, O'Cain?
Anonymous Player: I watched Sean Glennon in practice under Kevin Rogers and he looked real good and seemed to be destined for great seasons. To me at least, he looked like a different player than his last yr or two under O'Cain. He was a lot more confident and he was improving everyday in practice under Rogers. O'Cain is no Kevin Rogers. Let's leave it at that...
Me: Fair enough. Do you have anything else to say?
Anonymous Player: Yea. Tell your other Hokie fans that read this that the offense will not improve at all like everyone expects until coaching changes are made. We could add lots more talent and it would continue to be wasted on offense as long as the same offensive coaches are on the staff. The problem is 100% coaching. We [former players] also agree that execution is not the problem. It is very tough to successfully execute a play when the opposing defense knows exactly what is coming. They can cheat to stop it. We also agree with you guys that blaming the players for not executing has to stop. It is a cop out by the coaches. But, Beamer will not hold him [Stiney] accountable for the offense or Beamer would have made coaching changes already.
Me: Do you think there will be any coaching changes at season's end on offense even if we lost all of the remaining games this season?
Anonymous Player: Nope. Beamer is loyal to a fault. Those are his guys.
Me: So has our program peaked then? Can the program improve on its past successes in your opinion?
Anonymous Player: Yes, I think so [about our program peaking]. The offense will not improve until coaching changes are made. The last few yrs is as good as it is going to get until offensive coaching changes are made. The rest of the ACC appears to be catching up so future ACC Championships are not guaranteed if he [Beamer] keeps the coaching staff entirely intact. Even if we bring in unbelievable talent on offense, it will most likely be wasted like it has for yrs now under Stinespring.
[End of Interview]
Our website is spreading the word! We are the voice of truth! We are reaching our intended audience slowly but surely! The best part about this is we can speak our minds and not worry about the ramifications of political backlash from Beamer or the football offices or the threat of having our press passes revoked if we speak our minds in public like some other journalists do! The ESPN pre game love fest for Stinespring by Jessie Palmer and Craig James in studio right before the ECU game was no doubt engineered by our AD and football office PR departments. It was as if they were handed a script and told to read that exact garbage and outright lies about Stiney's greatness word for word!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
In other words, it's over. Which is nothing short of criminal.
If I had to take a guess, I'd say that VT will fall to the Gator Bowl, with the Chick-fil-a Bowl snatching up Miami ahead of the Hokies. If that's true, then the ACC's top three bowl selections will go to Coastal teams, which would seem to imply that this year the ACC has managed to go from being a horrible conference to a conference with one horrible division.
Meanwhile, with the remainder of VT's opponents having a combined 9-18 record the chances of VT rounding out the regular season are fair to middling, which means the Hokies' bowl game would be for that mythical 10th win, just like last year. Unlike last year, however, it will be in a fair less prestigious bowl.
Despite the fact that it would no doubt be used in an attempt to justify not making changes to the coaching staff, I would like to see the Hokies get into double digits in the win column one more time. I think Frank Beamer puts a bit too much emphasis on that particular goal, but I still appreciate that no matter what conference you play in, 10 wins in a season of 1A college football is damn hard to achieve, and that we've done it so consistently with a lobotomized chimp as our OC is nothing short of miraculous. There are those who say they secretly hope for an implosion of the football team because they feel it would affect a shakeup of the offensive coaching staff, but no matter how much I loathe Stinespring's playcalling I find myself simply incapable of canoeing down that particular river. As HJB pointed out so eloquently a while back, we're all Hokies, and the fact that I criticize the (in)ability of our OC doesn't mean I don't bleed orange and maroon.
Still, it's re-goddam-diculous we're settling for a second-tier bowl game this season, with this team, and these offensive players. This is the most talented offense VT has fielded. Period. No qualifiers on that statement. But we won't so much as sniff a conference title.
On a slightly related note, our anti-Stiney t-shirts make a great Christmas or Hannukah gift.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Today, I went to post a comment on his latest post, and realized I've hit the peak of my blogging career. I'm blacklisted!
FBS T-shirts here.
Sixteen Goddam Points.
We managed to score more than 16 points with Sean Glennon under center to open the 2007 season, in the most frustrating game I've personally witnessed in Lane Stadium. We managed to score more than 16 points last year when we lost to them. This is the fewest points a VT offense has managed to hang on ECU since a 10-14 loss in 1989. VT was 6-4-1 in 1989. And that, my fellow FBS'ers, for lack of a better word, is bullshit.
Racking up yards is a sign of talent on a football team. VT rolled for 379 over the Pirates, which isn't horrible, but most of those yards came in chunks from playmakers (read that as "Ryan Williams") making plays in space. But perhaps the best indicator of an offensive coordinator's ability is how the team performs in the red zone, where space is limited and scheme and playcalling become more essential to punching the ball in. An ongoing theme this season has been as the field gets shorter, the offense gets worse. Prior to the ECU game, VT had a red zone TD percentage of 57.69, which ranks 66th in the nation. For a sense of comparison, that sandwiches VT between Louisiana-Monroe and Florida International. In other words, Bryan Stinespring would be a great fit in the Sun Belt Conference.
For three consecutive games Bryan Stinespring has managed to put fewer points on the board than in the previous game. At this rate we should be short-side running, lateral passing, poorly disguised screening, 3rd and bombing our way to less than a touchdown a game by the end of the season.
That's a whole lot of lack of execution.
FBS T-Shirts here.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
*our kickoffs only make it to the 15? frank, work on this.
*i didn't mind tonight's playcalling mix [the run:pass ratio]. and i actually liked the ratio of run-outsides:run-middles when run plays were chosen. so, i can't whine about the quantity of run middles that were called. but they came in bunches. too many instances where it seemed it was two run middles in a row.
*and stop running to the short side of the field. seriously. you're cutting out 15 yards of space for ry will to utilize.
*i still don't like the amount of time tyrod is taking in the pocket on some passing plays. obviously there's a chance here to only blame tyrod for taking too long or always thinking he can escape any situation. but i also feel like, because it seems it was happening on EVERY pass play, that there's something lacking on the coaching end [Stinespring and O'cain]. does the release from the coaches have to be given earlier, is he on a "don't run unless it's a called QB run" rule? or, maybe he just needs to develop his internal clock a little more, which is also something that can be aided by coaching. maybe practice some long developing pocket plays at practice?
*OH MY MOTHERF*CKING GOD. stop calling the horizontal pass to a WR. that play call is a great play call to catch the D offguard or punish a corner that is giving too much cushion repeatedly. IT IS NOT A STAPLE OF A PASSING GAME. after they figure it out, and they always do, it's best case a three yard gain. but more likely to get to a possible pick-six situation when they start to read it. the risk versus reward for that play is not a profitable situation.
*looky looky, near pick on that play. STOP CALLING THAT PLAY. would it kill you to call a pump and go?
*hi. my name is quick slant. our WR's are faster, and taller, than most team's CB's. and really faster and bigger than ECU's CB's. quick slant on 3rd and 4 Bryan, quick slant.
*i remember this one time, we had a position on our team, it was called the "tight end" i think. those were the days. it was this wicked position that would sometimes stay in and block, and sometimes fake like he was blocking but really run out into the pass pattern and catch passes. it was wicked tricky. especially if the tight end on your team is bigger and/or faster than the other team's line backers. i wish we had one of those guys.
*lou holtz called tyrod at one point, "tyroude tyler". lou holtz for prethident everybody, vote now.
*bed time for me. 16-3. wow. hammered 'em.
FBS T-shirts here.
........is that we're all Hokies too. Staunch supporters. We're not actually rooting for VT to lose, just so that we can say, "Fire Bryan Stinespring". We sure as hell want to win, and want to win badly, and want to win big. And we want GT to lose to Wake, and we want to somehow backdoor our way into another ACC-CG, and we want to win that, and we want to win the Orange Bowl [this is where I'd normally type, "despite Stinespring's efforts" or something like that]. But the point is, we're all still Hokies too, rooting for the team now, and looking for a better tomorrow. Can we agree to disagree on the manner in which we get to that better tomorrow, at least on the offensive coordinatorship to get there?
So, I want to join everyone together here in the one common theme we all have if you're on this site, whether writing, reading, agreeing, disagreeing, WHATEVER. There's a game tonight. And I want to win. And I want to win by 60.
Pick up the pace Bryan. Channel your inner-Miami-game, or your inner-BC-game.
FBS T-shirts here.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
FBS T-Shirts here.
Either way. To Kyle, I appreciate the press in your blog directly attributed to me, but my accusations were unfounded and just some gentle poking on my part. To all those who took my writing to believe that I had direct and concrete knowledge that Kyle is on the take at VT - I apologize if I came across as such. I'm just gibbing Kyle for being soft. Dammit, see, I did it again.
In regards to Kyle's latest response, with some direct responses to me, I offer the following:
It's an admitted "down" year for Bud Foster's defense. Why, we're young/inexperienced? We're off? We're not executing? Illegal blocking by our opponents? [insert any excuse here, I don't care] - the point is that they're just excuses, or reasons, viable or not. The point is that we are having a down year on defense. Because zomgwtfbbq?!?!? We're not the #1 defense in the land? We're not in the top 10 defense in the land? Oh my God what will we do????!?!
Ummmmmm, Kyle, have you seen the total defensive rankings? And have you seen the scoring defensive rankings? In this horrible horrible "down" year on defense - Bud and company are ranked 29th in the nation in both total defensive ranking and in scoring defensive ranking. 29th. Twenty-ninth. 29th out of 119 teams. His down year. His down year he's still better than 90 teams.
In this "down" year, Bud is having an "ok" year. Still in the top 25% of national defenses. Wow, that's a pretty damn good down year. The D is giving up 19.3 points per game. Are you serious? Not even 2o points per game? And we dare say something negative about this guy?
Now let's look at the opposite. One Bryan Stinespring. Who has ranked offenses consistently on the decline, to include the last three seasons being ranked 99th or worse. 99th or worse out of those same 119 teams. And we're supposed to jump at the chance to pat him on the back for an "improvement" this year? With all the talent we have on that side of the ball?
He's "improved" to being ranked 73rd right now. 73rd in total offense. Still on the bottom half of 119 teams. Seventy-third. Top tier coaching?
Let's look at the "good". We're currently sitting at 34th in scoring offense. Not bad, we can't complain too much there. Unless you drop out the 52 we dropped on Marshall and divide by 7 games instead of 8. We're ranked 55th in scoring offense. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Still in the top 50%. Is it that bad around here that we're celebrating this? Come on guy!
And now, jumping away from national rankings and stats/game, I still offer you two reasons why Bud Foster gets a pass and Bryan does not.
 Bud Foster's undermanned, young, inexperienced, undersized [again insert any excuse the coaches use, I don't care which] defense has played their damn hearts out. But guess what, sometimes they get tired. Like in our losses when they're on the field for 37 minutes against Alabama, 38 minutes against GT, and 36 minutes against UNC. Note that all game-losing, back-breaking drives given up were late in these time of possession games.....Seriously.....maybe if the offense [and here I mean coaching] could get a couple first downs here or there. Or even successfully run the clock, when that's the admitted game plan, maybe just maybe - that defense could get more than one sip of Hokie-ade and more than 50 seconds of air. And beyond that, because I want to think that our guys are in the best shape of their life and could handle a sub-optimal time of possession battle. But, beyond that, one thing lost in their limited sideline time while the offense fails, it isn't the lack of drink or breath - it's the lack of time available for the defensive coaches to coach, to make adjustments, to help fix things. So the coaches are coaching and adjusting on the fly, because, "crap, we're punting again? get back out there boys!".
 And the biggest reason Bud might get a "pass", even though I don't think it's necessary to use the terminology pass when his unit is ranked 29th in a "down" year......and Bryan doesn't get a pass.
He's earned it.
FBS T-shirts here.
I'm posting here because I wanted to respond to Kyle Tucker on his knee-jerk article and his reprimanding of anyone who wants to talk bad about Stinespring. So, here is the response I want to give to Kyle Tucker if his website offered more than 750 characters in response, or if his direct e-mail address were available on his blog site. Kyle, if you read here, I predict you do, please feel free to contact me through the gmail system. Otherwise, everyone, this is my response to Kyle Tucker.
Kyle, Kyle, Kyle;
Your shortsightedness on the Bryan Stinespring issue is disheartening, considering someone in your position in the industry you work in. Not to mention your former stance on the issue until you were reprimanded by Beamer and Weaver, with the threat of losing your press pass? Your switch midway through last season from Stinespring-detractor to supporter was sudden and swift. We can only assume what occurred. And now, we’re supposed to trust your writings to have all of the integrity of a reporter who writes the true side of every story? Or we’re supposed to just take your flip flop in stride, and not think that *you* are the one reacting in a knee jerk fashion?
You accuse the current anti-Stinespring sentiment to be knee-jerk. That is ludicrous. You yourself were part of a negative Stinespring campaign over the past two seasons. If you really, really, REALLY think that the anti-Stinespring movement is rising up *only* due to the recent loss at GT and at home versus UNC – then you’re REALLY not paying attention and that’s why I said your shortsightedness is disheartening.
The most recent two games, with failed offense and an inability to take advantage of beneficial field position, are not the sole proprietors of an anti-Stinespring movement. They are, however, simply additional FACTS that continue to support our cause. FACTS, you see, not OPINIONS, like numbers, rankings, and statistics. FACTS that prove his inability to coach a respectable offense, over and over and over again. This isn’t a 3-year hiatus from formerly good coaching; this isn’t a bump in the road. This isn’t a knee jerk reaction to two bad games. This is building frustration from years, seasons, and tens of thousands of my personal dollars paying his salary – that have us fed up. Yes, I am taking the literal position that I pay his salary. As a graduate of Virginia Tech, who paid four years tuition and four years for my athletic card – and then a Hokie Club member since 1999 and consecutive year donator to the VTAF – and season ticket holder since 2000 – with him being a state employee at a state university – yes, I’m taking the literal stance that I pay his salary. I am not getting my money’s worth.
I ask you Kyle Tucker, if you were one of 119 writers for a paper (or collection of papers, like if there like an association of press people, see what I did there?), and you had been at your job for 8 years – no comment on whether or not you were qualified to even take over said job 8 years ago. And each year, you got worse at your job. And you were rated by statistics (page views, articles to receive high marks, something that could be measured) to be getting worse. And now, for the last three years, you were so bad that you were rated 99th or worse out of those 119 reporters. And every single year, your statistics got worse; you continually trended in the negative direction.
Would you expect your employer to continue to maintain your employment? Would you expect to continually have your contract renewed, and your income to increase from the $220,000 range to the $240,000 range to the $260,000 range? Would you expect to continue to keep your job based purely on the merits of your loyalty and friendship to your boss? Or would you expect your employer to take steps to find a better replacement for you that is better at that job. I work in Project Management. I can tell you, that when times are tough, companies have to make decisions they don’t like. People are moved, people are cut, contracts are removed with vendors, subcontractors who don’t perform are let go, even if you’re friends and loyal to them. It’s business. And I’m sorry, but major college football, to crest the next level, is business. It’s not a family thing anymore. If we want to surpass previous performance and expectations – we have to start at the top – and there needs to be a culture change to become a *major* college football power. That culture change is for winning, at all costs, means to an end, and sometimes that means letting a friend go. Sometimes that means pulling a friend aside and having the shoulder and neck muscles to say, “Friend, you know I love you, but you’re just not cut out to do this job. You’re just not at a point where we can move forward with you at this job.”
The standard response from Frank Beamer, Billy Hite, and Jim Weaver is always that we’re winning 10 games a year, we’re one of only three teams to have won 10 games for what, five years, in a row now? We’re “just like” and “comparable” to USC and Texas because of this? NO. In recent years, Texas and USC have gotten to hoist a certain crystal football. Why? Because they have the coaches to get it done. And they wouldn’t put up with the horrendous offensive statistics that we do. Look yourself in the mirror and don’t lie here, you truly honestly think the likes of Pete Carroll, Mack Brown, Urban Meyer – would put up with the meager offensive statistics for as long as Frank has. Nay nay I say. In major college football, you get two, maybe three years of a bad hiatus, and you’re out. You don’t get eight years, all trending downward.
I can tell you that we all love Frank Beamer immensely and he has a lifetime pass with us. That pass does not automatically transfer to his subordinates. He has to make a decision, that might hurt loyalty or friendship, which is better for the program. The program, the university, the history of the team, the future of the team – are more important that being “disloyal” one time. It’s unfortunate, but this is business.
Yes, the fliers are a tad immature. Yes, the websites use the word “fire”. Yes, these are tactics to draw attention. I’m sure someone in your position in your industry understands the act of drawing attention to get someone to read the meat of your message. I personally don’t think Bryan should be fired, totally from everything to do with VT football. I don’t think he should not be a part of the Hokies, nor be able to take any credit for their recent success. Win as a team, lose as a team. But, to take our step to the next level, to being a major college football team, we need an offense that can consistently even be ranked in the top half of the nation. And it’s unfortunate, but we need to step back and man-up and have the realization come to fruition, that this cannot happen with Bryan calling the shots on offense.
He’s apparently a helluva recruiter, and a great team coach, a player’s coach. All the players love him (to the point of man-hugging). All of this is good. This is someone you want around your team. But none of these facts make him a valid choice to be your offensive coordinator. None of these facts make him a good offensive scheme creator, or playcaller. How about head recruiter and offensive line coach? Bring in a new coordinator to run the offense. Yes, I realize this means I just cut Newsome, but his line has been getting beat in the trenches too. Newsome is apparently not the recruiter that Bryan is, so he would be the final cut since the number of assistant coaches is limited by the NCAA. (side note: Jim Weaver, I’ll triple my donation for the next 10 years if you hire Kevin Rogers to come back and coach the QBs and become offensive coordinator – Miami tried to hire him last year away from the Vikings but he declined it and they hired Whipple.)
It’s time to man up coaches. It’s time to stop throwing your players under the bus for not executing. It’s time to stop making young and inexperienced excuses. The inexperience is in the offensive coaching booth, not on the field. It’s college football, you’re on a constant revamp of talent, at least at each position every 3 to 4 years, right? It’s not like a cyclical drop or rise in talent to age/experience ratio is a surprise, right? If a once a four-year term with a dip in age and experience is a surprise to a coach, well then I guess he’s coaching at the wrong level of football. You can’t, use this as an excuse, never. You coach through it. I know someone who does, Bud Foster.
These are 18-22 year old kids. They are muscle memory machines. They need to be coached. They are robots. When A happens, I do B. When C happens, I do D. The players not executing is a projection of the coaches. Yes, Ryan Williams fumbled. It was a physical mistake. It happens. I’m not going to say it cost us the UNC game because we should have been downing the ball at that point up 13 because we should have scored 20 in the first half. Yes, Tyrod took some sacks on long developing pass plays. Maybe a mental mistake, maybe a coaching decree to not run, stay in the pocket as long as possible. Either way, coaching problem – your ~20 year old kid wasn’t prepared for a situation. Your fault. You see, you can’t blame Ryan Williams, or Tyrod Taylor, or any other player – because it’s a system, it’s a team, and the fault lies at the top. Quick, name a player who fumbled and cost us a game or one that stayed in the pocket too long in 2003, or 2005, or 2007. Can’t do it. You know why? That was just a kid, that was just a different muscle memory robot, you forgot their name. But I can tell you the name of the offensive coach that didn’t coach him and put him in a position to win, he somehow still has his job.
Over the years when I couldn’t get into Blacksburg for a game, or for away games, I watch them on TV. And yes, we have to sit through broadcasts to include Andre Ware and Jesse Palmer doing our games. Andre Ware, bless his heart and his Heisman Trophy, can’t count to seven or spell “coordinator”, yet somehow ESPN game him a job and lets him do Division 1 games. Even he can predict our offensive plays. He then piles on with enthusiasm when the defense clearly predicted it as well and stopped us for a 3-yard loss. Last week, due to work restraints, I couldn’t travel in for the UNC game. I had to pleasure of watching it on ESPN. That idiot bachelor guy, Jesse Palmer, in one stretch of jokingly-attempting to playcall a couple of our offensive series based on formation, down, and distance – went 80%. He went 8 for 10 predicting our plays. Don’t you think highly paid defensive coordinators of other teams can figure this out with all the game tape too? How must Ryan Williams feel when he gets the ball from Tyrod and there’s 9 guys in his grill, because they all knew exactly where the ball was going.
We run the same six plays out of the same three formations. All day, every day. It’s tiresome. It’s like Super Techmo Bowl from the original Nintendo system, but worse. On that game, there were actually eight plays to choose from. And some of those included misdirection. Or making a play look like another play you run, but doing something different. Don’t we have a playbook with hundreds of plays?
All the critics demand is a variety in playcalling. Turn past page 2 of the playbook on a regular basis. Use the top 10 talent we recruit. The NFL talent. Note: a variety in playcalling is not run middle, run middle, run middle, run middle, run middle, run middle, run middle, run Wild Turkey reverse thrown back double flee flicker. That one odd call does not mean variety. We want a mix up of runs and passes. Change the ratio of runs and passes. Run when you normally pass. Pass when you normally run. Pass in the red zone. Seriously, pass in the red zone.
Call a variety of plays. Call short passes across the middle on first down to the tight end. Call screen passes. Call wide receiver double move routes. Call option plays with someone like Tyrod at the helm. Call some runs delayed, draws, to the same gap you ran a blast a few plays prior. And most of all, for the love of God, call more plays to the wide side of the field and let our talent get in space and make plays. When you run plays to the short side of the field (to include reverses?!?!?!?!??!), any advantage you gained in trickery when they didn’t expect you to run to the short side of the field is immediately lost because there’s a 12th defender over there named sideline.
Just be willing to vary it. And secondly, be willing to admit your plan from Wednesday’s practice isn’t working, and you need to make an adjustment. Week in, week out, we have better talent across the board at every position than our opponents (save certain players on Alabama, Miami, and Nebraska – pretty much all season) – but we can’t score on them because our players are put in disadvantageous positions by the coaches. Even if we’re bigger, better, faster – the other team can stop us if they know where we’re going. Just ask Butch Davis last week, who told the ESPN sideline reporter that they’d be fine on D in the second half because they knew what 4 plays we were running. How embarrassing.
I think what’s lost in all this is that none of us are trying to take any credit away from Bryan for the past successes. Win as a team, lose as a team. But, those successes could have been more, I feel. What if once over the past 8 years, with our top 10 defenses, we sprinkled in one top 25 offense? I don’t think we’d be celebrating a 10 win season. I think we’d be celebrating a 13 win season. I think we’d be celebrating a different bowl berth. So, going forward, I fear we’ve seen the glass ceiling.
With Bryan at the offensive helm, we’ve seen the best he has to offer. And I’m tired of waiting for it to improve. Eight years is plenty of time. So we’ve seen as high as we’ll get. We’ll win 10 games, maybe tiebreaker our way to an ACC championship game. Maybe win that. Get to a BCS game. Maybe win that. Maybe. Not this year. Even though this team is more talented on offense than any of the past 7. And we’re not even going to do that this year.
I am steadily growing in anger at the situation, not knee-jerking to two bad games. I am steadily coming to the realization that Beamer and Weaver are satiated. And I am steadily considering my donation level for the coming future, if Stinespring is retained at the current capacity.
We’re not that trendy new jump-start program any more. We’re not that friendly loyal team that Beamer built from farm boys and mountain men. We’re not sneaking up on people any more with Beamerball. In fact we’re trending downward to the laughing stock of a team that is overrated every year. “They’re not that good, just wait until October.” If we want to take the step to the next level, it needs to start at the top. In the booth. The guy with the headset on who looks flabbergasted and out of place like someone just asked him to spell the square root of disestablishmentarianism.
FBS T-shirts here.
A Football History Lesson Beamer and Stinespring Need to Both Learn: How a Pass is really just an extended handoff and is just as effective as a run
Then, something or rather someone unpredictable came along that would change the game of football forever. In fact, every modern football offense is derived in one form or another from this one man's genius offense. Simply put, this one man completely changed the way everyone at any level of football looked at offense. He is the main reason, in my opinion at least, that the game of football has evolved into the game we now see on our televisions or in person every Saturday and Sunday. Who is that man you ask? That man is Bill Walsh and he is the father of modern football. He changed the way the game is coached and played and he made it fun and exciting to watch (unlike our offense which is no fun at all to watch really).
What did Walsh do that was so special? Well, he completely changed the way people think about offense. I am speaking complete and total change of the status quo ( I am not going to give Al Davis any credit at all for any of these changes to offense although it is kind of funny to watch the Raiders still attempt to run the same offense today they ran in the 1960s) as in philosophy on down and distance, attacking a defense's weaknesses, etc. Walsh broke a lot of conceptions that Frank Beamer still has about offense (Beamer started coaching in 1972). The type of conceptions that caused VT to score ZERO first half points last Thurs night at home against UNC in an attempt to establish the run and control the clock via time of possession. The type of conceptions that did not allow Stinespring to attack UNC's weaknesses on defense and to take what the defense was willing to give our offense. Beamer's offensive philosophies still date back to past the 1980s before football was modernized and I want to clue Beamer, Stiney and other readers of this website on all of the great things about offense they are missing out on. If Beamer's offensive philosophy were more modern, Beamer would respect exactly how Bill Walsh changed the game of football permanently and would be applying the wisdom Bill Walsh taught every football coach as he rose up the coaching ranks in college and the pros during his time on Earth to eventually becoming head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Walsh won 3 championships before retiring as their head coach using his unique style of offense to attack, paralzye and pound his teams' opponents into submission. For those less familiar with football, I am talking about what has become known as the West Coast offense. In case it is not obvious, I am a HUGE fan.
Let me summarize the West Coast Offense for all of you who are not familiar with it and then apply its strengths to VT's offensive weaknesses and you will see the pieces fitting into the puzzle as I try to form this great mental picture for everyone about exactly why, in my opinion, VT should be running the West Coast Offense and why Beamer and Stiney did not learn anything whatsoever from the last 20-30 yrs of football history and what offensive philosophy is successful and what is not. (Hint Frank and Stiney it ain't yours!)
For those of you not familiar, the West Coast Offense is an attacking offense. The offense is designed to attack the opposing defense's weaknesses whatever they may be until the defense makes an adjustment. If the defense does not adjust to what the offense is doing, the offense is capable of scoring a ton of touchdowns, taking lots of time off the clock and producing big plays all while keeping turnovers to a minimum. If you watch Super Bowl highlights of the 1980s 49ers Championship teams you will know exactly what I am talking about. The precision and coordination with which they dissected their opponents and destroyed them was amazing and unbelievable. How would such an offense be capable of scoring so many points without turning the ball over a lot? Because the offense is also predicated on ball control, but unlike the conventional way of controlling the ball via the run only (Beamer's preferred and sometimes only choice), the West Coast Offense was designed by Bill Walsh to allow the offense to attack the field vertically and horizontally with the pass and to control the ball and time of possession with a short, precision passing game as well as mixing in the run to keep the defense honest and on its heels not knowing what would come next. While untimately, the West Coast Offense's goal is to achieve a relative balance of run and pass, the philosophy is if the defense is forcing you to be unbalanced towards run or pass to win than so be it as long as you win and produce points with minimal turnovers all while accomplishing the other objectives I already stated! The passing game was built on precision timing, precision route running and precision accuracy by the QB. Unlike our offense, the West Coast Offense was designed to force the opposing defense to cover every single eligible receiver on the field at the time, including the rb, te and fb, because anyone was a threat to catch the ball on any play. The offense was also designed to get the ball in space into a play maker's hands and allow them to produce lots of yards after the catch. Imagine if we threw the ball to RW 5+ times a game and gave him the ball out in space! What is the difference if you control the clock and move the chains with the run or the pass as long as first downs are gotten and touchdowns are scored? I don't see any difference but, unfortunately, Beamer does!
The reason I am even talking about the West Coast Offense on this website is because I firmly believe VT has all of the physical pieces in place to effectively run a college version of the West Coast Offense successfully. Minus a good playcalling OC (buh bye Stiney) who can attack the opposing defense's weaknesses and make adjustments to what the defense is doing and a head coach willing to upgrade our offense into the last few decades of modern football as well as switch to a more balanced offense that some games would mean we would have to pass a lot more than we would run. The offense would still be able to control the ball ( a short pass for 4-5 yds is just as good as a run for 4-5 yds), but more than anything else the West Coast Offense would allow us to use our current offensive player's natural athletic abilities more (it would keep all of the rb, te and wr involved in the passing game every game), get our playmakers the ball in space and a chance for good yards after the catch (more big plays) and it would allow for Tyrod to do more of what he does best and we would run more bootlegs and rollouts for him where he is given quick, precision passes or the run/pass option to tuck it and run for some yds (Steve Young did this).
Also, switching to the West Coast Offense would allow our athletic, but undersized OL to actually play to its strengths and block out in space on screens, pull on traps, etc instead of having to play to its weaknesses and try to block bigger and strong DLs like those of UNC, Miami, Clemson and FSU. Most importantly, it would allow us to attack the defense's weaknesses and we would not be so predictable anymore as in Butch Davis giving a halftime interview stating our offense ran approximately the exact same 4 plays in the first half and no adjustments to his defense were necessary. One of the best things about the West Coast Offense is that it is great at taking what the defense gives it, exploiting that weakness and going from there. If they stack the box, fine, we'll attack the edges of the field with the pass, we'll use misdirection on bootlegs, rollouts and screens. If they play the pass, and keep the safeties deep to protect against the deep ball, we'll run because we have a numbers advantage up front now. In my humble opinion, this is the type of creativity, adjustment making ability and willingness to attack and exploit our offense is missing. We already have an attacking defense. If we switched to the West Coast Offense, we would stop under utilizing our offensive talent plus our offensive players would be more ready for the pros. It is no mistake that Eddie Royal thrived last yr in Mike Shanahan's version of the West Coast Offense. Mike Shanahan saw exactly what I and many of you saw; that Eddie should have been given the ball more out in space on offense and that he was misused here at VT.
I will now get down off of my soap box because the history lesson is indeed over. I hope you enjoyed it! Hopefully one of Beamer and/or Stiney's trolls in the Athletic Dept who are monitoring this website will read this and will tell them what I just said! You can tell them I also ordered my Fire Stiney t shirt and that I will be wearing it around my gym here in Northern VA where I workout with many others Hokies. Our numbers will grow. Frank, if you don't want a Bobby and Jeff Bowden like situation, it is best to do something about the offense SOON! Ask Bobby about his legacy down in Tallahassee, and you'll receive another history lesson and another warning about history repeating itself from those who don't learn from it!