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.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chick-Fil-A Bowl Open Thread

Hokies, use this post as an open thread for your in-game comments.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

JWill0911 is back... only on FBS!!!

With this sweet ass video on Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Williams (GO HOKIES!!):



MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Merry Christmas from FBS


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to our readers from all of us at FBS.

Thanks again for all of your support.

GO HOKIES!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Virgil Ineligible for Chick Fil A Bowl


Senior starting cornerback Stephan Virgil has been ruled academically ineligible for the Chick Fil A Bowl against Tennessee on December 31st. He has had trouble with classes in the past and during spring practice before his junior year, Virgil only practiced on Saturdays to focus on school the rest of the week. He remained eligible that season. This season Virgil has six tackles for loss, one sack, two fumble returns and one interception. He missed two games this season after a knee injury making a tackle in the last play of the Alabama season opener. NFLDraftScout.com projects Virgil as a 4th-5th round pick in the draft.

UPDATE: According to the Virginia Pilot, the Hokies are expected to start Eddie Whitley in place of Virgil. Cris Hill will likely share time with Whitley. The Richmond Times Dispatch, however, is reporting that Torrian Gray has said Virgil's replacement will be either Cris Hill or Jayron Hosley, depending on how they perform in practice.

UPDATE UPDATE: Beamer has said Jayron Hosley and Cris Hill will split time in place of Virgil.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Every Hokie Can Breathe A Little Easier--Foster Signs 5 Year Extension


The Roanoke Times and Washington Post are reporting that Bud Foster and Virginia Tech have finalized a deal on a 5 year contract extension that includes an annuity that will only be paid if Foster remains at Virginia Tech through the 2014 season. The details should be officially announced after the Chick Fil A Bowl. Foster's current base salary is $402,000 per year plus bonuses, which will remain unchanged in the new contract besides the annuity. Gobbler Country makes the point that this annuity must be a decent sum of money as Foster has said someone would have to pay him "a lot of money" to leave Virginia Tech. Foster is also quoted as saying this deal is "making it worth my while to stay."

Foster has recently received calls from the head coaches at schools including Georgia, Florida, and Florida State regarding open coordinator positions. Yes, Urban Meyer has come after our Bud Foster. Georgia's Mark Richt even had an offer on the table. Foster previously interviewed for the head coaching position at Clemson that Dabo Swinney eventually filled and has recently expressed interest in the head coaching position at Memphis. In 2007, Steve Spurrier offered him the DC position at South Carolina. Foster has said, "Coach Beamer has been extremely good to me and I want to ride this thing out with him." Athletic director Jim Weaver also remarked of the deal, "We just felt very strongly that if Bud's going to be a defensive coordinator, there's no need for him to be a defensive coordinator any place other than Virginia Tech." Foster indicated that in order for him to leave Virginia Tech, it would have to be "the right head coaching job." Foster has previously said that if he left for a head coaching position, he would prefer it to be at a BCS school.

Every Hokie can be happy that it looks like Bud will be here for a while. Now if only Stinespring will leave for that Richmond gig (or anything else, really)...

EDIT: Looks like Stiney didn't get the Richmond job.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Taste of FBS After Stiney: Roy Williams to Take Ball, Go Home...

At UNC's trouncing of Presbyterian yesterday, UNC head coach Roy Williams looked like the worst person in the building. He had a Presbyterian fan ejected from the game for a comment that is as inappropriate as it is raucous and offensive:
"Hey Deon, don't miss it!"
The college basketball world must be reeling from such a bitter tongue-lashi... wait. "Hey Deon, don't miss?" Are you kidding me? That's the comment that sent you over the edge, Roy-boy? Did you forget that your team plays in the ACC? We have some of the most venomous basketball fans in college sports. We put up with the Cameron Crazies year after year. We're also well known for maliciously attacking any player who has ever had the gall to display any above-average level of talent:

Or even a school that threatens to break out of a slump:

I just can't believe that such a tame comment would get someone escorted out of a game. Either the Presby fan said something worse, or Roy Williams is about to get an earful from opposing fans for the rest of the season.

Anyone want to go to the VT @ UNC game? I've got some fun t-shirt and/or sign ideas...

Friday, December 11, 2009

OH MY GOD MY PANCREAS HURTS

.....I'm laughing so hard. So in the article right below me, with the link to the scoop about Bryan maybe-talking-to-possibly-getting-interviewed-oh-my-God-please-hire-him-at-UR, one of the comments to the post links to a Rivals board for UR. I read it. It's pretty funny stuff.

Then I read this:
""I don't think Stinesspring is coming but he is the OC and #2 asst. coach of a top five program in the country. Why would we be upset about that?? Because some Hokie fans don't like him?? Someone close to Tech's program told me once that Foster gets all of the publicity but the real unsung hero of that program is Stinesspring, he is an organized, detail-guy that is a great recruiter. Tech dominates the ACC and are all about winning chamionpships, thats okay with me.""

LOLOLOLOL. Stop. Seriously. Stop. It hurts. You're going to give me an asthma attack. And I don't have asthma. OH MY GOD, the "real unsung hero". LOLOLOLOL.

Who was this guy's "someone close to Tech's program"? Was it........Bryan Stinespring?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

God, I hope this is true...

http://www.footballcoachscoop.com/Scoop.html


Richmond:

Our sources close to the situation tells us that UR Athletic Director Jim Miller is going to talk with Virginia Tech Offensive Coordinator, Bryan Stinespring.


This could solve our problem in a positive way! Go Richmond!

December 10, 2009, 5 PM EST Update - The story is picking up steam (and it looks like Mike O'Cain bowed out of the Richmond job)... David Teel has reported on the Stiney and O'Cain elements of this story.



The holiday gift of a lifetime.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Regular Season Review

PART II: GRADING BRYAN STINESPRING

One thing we did a little differently this season as compared to last here at FBS was include a weekly poll where you, faithful reader, could express your own opinion and give your own feedback about Stinespring's performance within very specific, rigidly set parameters.

The "Grade Stiney's performance" poll was very popular, and I personally enjoyed reading comments explaining why a particular person had given Stiney a particular grade that week, and what would have had to happen for Stiney to ever earn a higher grade. Some weeks the poll was hotter than others, with the very first poll of the season following the Alabama game getting well over 1000 responses. Others limped their way to a couple of hundred clicks. Obviously there wasn't quite so much activity following a Hokies win with good offensive production. (I think I heard a few crickets chirp around here following the BC game.)

The "grade Stiney" setup was pretty straightforward. We used VT's gradepoint scale (which is somewhat unconventional among collegiate scales, using the +/- system), and converted each week's poll results to the nearest letter grade. We then averaged all the games played so far into Stiney's season average.

The results are in: Stiney got a C-.

A f--king C-? Are you f--king kidding me??? Bryan Stinespring is a slightly below average offensive coordinator?

Something just didn't smell right, as evidenced by the fact that in this weeks poll, asking if Stinespring had earned his retention, about 90% of respondents answered in the negative. But if Stinespring really were only slightly below average, cutting ties could potentially do more harm than good. There are a lot of average-to-slightly-subpar OCs out there, and it would be difficult to lure a top tier OC to be third fiddle in Blacksburg. In truth, if we really did have an average to slightly below average OC, I think I'd be thrilled.

But I think I might have discovered the error of my logic.

As we went along the season keeping tabs on Stiney's grade, we weighted all twelve games equally. The Marshall game had exactly as much grading weight as Alabama. Maryland as much as Miami. Virginia as much as Nebraska. And that quite simply isn't accurate. Some games are bigger than others. While in general I think it's true that conference games carry more weight than non-conference games, Alabama and Nebraska were more critical games than NC State and Maryland. And even within conference play not all things are equal. Who would argue that Georgia Tech was not a bigger game than Duke?

So how do we weigh a game's significance in the grading scale? It's important to remember that what we were asking poll respondents to grade was Stinespring's performance, not the offense's performance. It can sometimes be difficult to extricate one from the other, but in general I tend to follow this maxim: if a team wins without having to alter their initial strategy and gameplan, credit for that victory is shared somewhat evenly by the players and the coordinator; if a team has to alter strategy and gameplan to win, more credit goes to the coordinator. Put another way: the more evenly matched two teams are in terms of talent, the more credit the coordinator deserves for the win.

Looking at it that way, I'd argue this season could be broken into three categories: games where VT was evenly matched or at a slight disadvantage, games where VT held a slight to moderate advantage, and games where VT had the clear advantage. It shakes down like this:

Even to Slight Disadvantage
Alabama
Nebraska
Georgia Tech

Slight to Moderate Advantage
Miami
UNC
Boston College
East Carolina

Clear Advantage
Marshall
Duke
Maryland
NC State
Virginia

And Stinespring's performance when we break it down this way:

Even to Slight Disadvantage: F (0.3 GPA)
Slight to Moderate Advantage: C (1.9 GPA)
Clear Advantage: C+ (2.3 GPA)

When playcalling was most critical, Stinespring performed worst. In other words, when he had to do his job, he couldn't. But he sure made up for it by beating up on overmatched teams. With that sort of track record, Stiney'd be a perfect fit on Pete Carroll's coaching staff this season.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Al Groh era is way, way over.

There will be much talk of what I've come to call "Hokievolmageddon," but we should pause a moment appreciate that the University of Virginia has replaced every Hokie's favorite Cav head coach with an actually good football coach that Hokies are probably going to grow to hate.

Mike London was the head coach of the Richmond Spiders, who won the 1AA national championship last year and made it back to the semifinals (What?!? College football playoffs?!?) this year. He has NFL experience (which admittedly didn't work out so well for Al Groh), and has been a positions coach at Boston College.

And worse than just being fundamentally sound, London has deep recruiting roots in the state of Virginia. Before taking the reigns at Richmond, London was a positions coach at William and Mary. He's a Virginia guy, with inroads to a lot of the state's high school talent. And recruiting is high on London's list of priorities for UVA. Perhaps the most notable quote from his introductory news conference was, "We have to recapture the state of Virginia."

VT flourished while Groh was at the helm of UVA because Al came accross as cranky and distant. Even when berating a ref he came accross more like someone sending back a bottle of wine. London, meanwhile, is described as passionate, dedicated, approachable, and hands-on.

And now to connect the dots. Virginia Tech suffers from what I would call a "deficiency of strategy" at the OC position. It takes the best talent available in Virginia and a few key out of state commitments to run a semi-successful offense. If UVA starts competing with VT consistently for the top talent in the state then the Hokies either have to seriously step up their out of state recruiting (which will not happen with Beamer in charge - that's not a knock; Beamer admittedly prefers focusing his recruiting efforts primarily in-state) or see a return to bottom of the barrel rankings for total or scoring offense.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's Official--Tennessee in the Chick Fil A Bowl

It's been announced that Virginia Tech is going to play Tennessee in the Chick Fil A [Peach] Bowl in what will be the Hokies' third trip to Atlanta this season and second game in the Georgia Dome against an SEC team. The game is set for 7:30pm on December 31st. Tennessee is 7-5 with losses to UCLA, #1 Florida, Auburn, #2 Alabama, and Ole Miss.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Regular Season Review

The 2009 Virginia Tech football regular season is in the books.

One tear.

And while it might be wise to wait for VT's bowl game to be played before reviewing the season, since bowl games count toward team record and player stats, I'm not going to. Mostly because I need something to talk about over the next month, and also because we're not exactly certain how Frank Beamer and the VT coaching staff will approach the bowl game this season. By Frank's own admission there's a history of considering the bowl game a "treat" for the players, a reward for a season well played. There's traditionally not been as much intensity in practices and players are encouraged to enjoy the trip to the bowl game's host city (within reason). That all changed last season, as Coach Beamer took it upon himself to get the BCS chip off the ACC's shoulder and took the bowl preparation a little more seriously.

This year the pressure to represent the conference well in BCS play won't be present, which means the team might go back to the "vacation" mentality concerning the bowl game. However, this game represents the mythical, mystical 10th win of the season, which is the only attainable goal left for VT after failing to play for either a BCS or ACC championship. So the "business trip" mindset might carry over from last year.

Not knowing how the coaches will approach the bowl game, I feel it's okay to sit back and review the 2009 season. I don't think we're really going to learn anything new about the team after 12 games, and if there was some secret wrinkle or ace in the hole we probably would have played it against Georgia Tech.

So over the next month up until the bowl game I'll be trying to crank out at least one post a week analysing the regular season. This, of course, will be

PART ONE: WHAT WE LEARNED



1.) RYAN WILLIAMS PISSES EXCELLENCE

We all groaned with collective despair in late summer as Darren Evans went down with a torn ACL. The Hokies' leading rusher from '08 and freshman rushing record holder would be out for the whole season.

Then the season started and we all had to ask, "Do you think Evans could convert to fullback?"

Ryan Williams destroyed Darren Evans' freshman rushing record and needs 111 yards (17 less than his per-game average) in VT's bowl game to break Kevin Jones' all time rushing record at Tech. It's fair to say that RMFW is the "best" running back we've ever had at VT, and that is saying a lot. By "best" I don't simply mean he has the most raw talent. Kevin Jones had a boatload of talent (though I think R-Dub has more, as difficult as it is to quantify talent), but the thing that Williams has that puts him on top of the mountain is that he elevates the play of everyone around him. He's cocky, sure, but he's not arrogant. He just exudes enthusiasm and confidence, and players around him seem to feed off it.

He is, perhaps, the Corey Moore of the offense. And we've never really had one of those.

For all his accolades, Williams does have room for improvement in his sophomore season. His yardage numbers leave nothing to be desired, but fumbles became an issue late in the season and he is well aware of it. If Williams works on ball control in the offseason and manages to find a tighter grip on the ball without sacrificing any of his characteristic elusiveness...

The offense has always needed a symbol to rally around like the defense's lunch pail. I think a Heisman trophy would do nicely, don't you?


2. TYROD TAYLOR CAN BE AN EFFICIENT, IF NOT PARTICULARLY ACCURATE, PASSER


The formula to determine pass efficiency in NCAA football is slightly less involved than Schroedinger's equations, but if we give the stat any weight at all then it probably means something that Tyrod Taylor finished the regular season ranked 15th nationally in passing efficiency. His 9.3 yards per attempt has him tied for 2nd in the nation. His 13 TD passes are exactly one less than he managed to throw his first two seasons combined, and his 4 picks are one more than he threw in his freshman year - when he attempted 92 fewer passes. Down the stretch he managed 101 consecutive pass attempts without throwing a pick.

So Tyrod's developing nicely into a passing threat, and he has learned to use his mobility to buy time to throw rather than try to break off a run as soon as the pocket collapses. That's probably why he managed to play 12 games without sustaining a serious injury, something we all assumed was hopeless before the season.

But for the high passer rating and the good TD:INT ratio, Taylor's completion percentage actually dropped 1.5 points from last season. Tyrod still hasn't completed over 60% of his passes in any of his three seasons, but the fact that his TD vs INT numbers improved so dramatically from last season shows that he's learned how to put the ball where either his receiver will come down with it, or no one will.


3.) WE DO HAVE A RECEIVING CORPS AFTER ALL

Last season Jarrett Boykin led the team with 441 receiving yards. In the process of racking those yards up, Meathooks managed to find the endzone twice.

Boykin again led the team in yardage, but this go-round he hauled in 715 yards' worth of receptions. That's not jaw-dropping by any stretch of the imagination, but it's also the first time VT has had a receiver with over 700 receiving yards since 2003.

And Boykin was not a one-man show. Danny Coale, last season's receptions leader, grabbed 29 passes for 572 yards. Three wide receivers caught at least 20 passes, and wideouts came down with 11 of Tyrod's 13 TD passes, a marked improvement over 2008.

The biggest contribution the wide receivers made to the team this year was their ability to stretch the field, which became easier to do as the season wore on and opponents stacked more and more defenders into the box to contain RMFW. Boykin and Coale finished the regular season averaging 19.9 and 19.7 yards per catch respectively, which is good for 9th and 11th in the nation. It's the first time a Hokie receiver averaging at least 2 receptions per game has had over 19 yards per catch since Andre Davis averaged an insane 27.5 in 1999, and so far as I can tell (I can only find stats back to the '95 season) it's probably the first time two Hokies have accomplished the same feat simultaneously.

Dyrell Roberts, who hasn't had a seamless transition to wide receiver but seems to be coming along at the position, doesn't qualify for the leader board on yards per catch because he's averaging fewer than 1.875 receptions per game (he's three catches short). But if he made the cut, Roberts' 17.7 yards per catch would be good for a tie for 27th nationally.


4.) QUESTIONING BUD FOSTER WILL RESULT IN BEING EATEN BY BUD FOSTER

Total Defense National Rank: 13th
Scoring Defense National Rank: 11th

And the 15.75 points per game Foster's defense gave up this season are actually 0.96 fewer points than last year's 9th ranked scoring defense surrendered.

F--k you and your talk of a "down" year.

In 2009 we learned yet again that Bud Foster is a bad, bad man. Bud Foster could coach the High Techs into a top-25 defense. Bud Foster taught Chuck Norris how to make a fist.

But seriously, there were some rough spots with the 2009 Lunch Pail Crew. For one thing, they yielded over 138 rushing yards per game, which ranks 54th nationally. While I don't have the spreadsheet in front of me, I'd be willing to wager a tidy sum that the bulk of those rushing yards came late in games where VT was losing the time of possession battle rather badly (Alabama, Nebraska, Georgia Tech), and if this is true it's more a sign of lack of depth than poor coaching or missed assignments. But it's still a blemish on the record.

But the biggest problem with the defense all year, to me at least, seemed to be the struggles of the defense on 3rd down. A Bud Foster defense usually salivates over 3rd downs, but it seemed this year time after time team after team picked apart our defense on 3rd down, sustaining their drive and keeping our defense on the field for another set. This would prove especially problematic in our three loses, further fatiguing an already belaguered defense worn out by losing the ToP battle. I scoured the internet to find how many 3rd downs the Hokie D faced this year vs. how many they allowed to be converted, but football stat websites, like all sports stat sites in general, are heavily dominated by offensive stats. If anyone knows of such a site, please pass it along. I'd guarantee the Hokies allowed more third downs to be converted this year than they have in quite a while.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hokie Smokey Showdown

The Knoxville News-Sentinel is reporting that the Chick-fil-a Bowl selection committee has decided on a Virginia Tech/Tennessee matchup. Tennessee has apparently slid from the Outback Bowl to the Chick-fil-a Bowl due to the Outback suddenly warming to Auburn, who promised to sell more tickets (bit of a no-no in the SEC) and who also beat Tennessee when the two teams met in Knoxville this season.

This is far from official. Virginia Tech still remains under consideration for an at-large BCS bowl berth. The Chick-fil-a Bowl cannot invite VT until the BCS releases the Hokies from consideration (which is actually expected to happen any day now). The Chick-fil-a Bowl gets first crack at all non-BCS ACC teams, though, so accepting the invitation if and when it comes is a no-brainer.

On the SEC side of things it's a little trickier. If it's true that the Outback selection committee really does have its sights on Auburn that means it's stepping outside of its affiliated division in the SEC. While the Outback Bowl would automatically get first selection of all remaining SEC East teams after BCS and Capital One Bowl selection, if the Outback picks an SEC West team it must wait for the Cotton Bowl selection (which has SEC West affiliation) before sending its invitation.

The logic here is straightforward, if a little involved:
  1. Florida and Alabama both get BCS bowls
  2. Capital One bowl selects LSU
  3. Cotton Bowl selects Ole Miss (Colonel Reb, however, has to catch the game on TV.)
  4. Outback Bowl crosses over to SEC West, selects Auburn
  5. Chick-fil-a Bowl selects from all remaining SEC teams

The field of SEC teams is pretty homogenous at this point. We have Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Arkansas all at 7-5. If the selection was based on merit alone, the Vols and Bulldogs are the only two teams without a losing conference record, and Tennessee beat Georgia.

But to be honest, Tennessee is the smart pick without even looking at records. For two teams that have played each other exactly once since World War II, there's quite a bit of hostility between Vols and Hokies, almost at rivarly-level. Part of this is that the two campuses are only 235 miles apart and the two states do (technically) border each other. Another part is the inherent SEC/ACC standoffishness. There has always been interest in the Vols and Hokies getting together on a regular basis, so much so that in 2005 Bruton Smith, owner of the 150,000 seat Bristol Motor Speedway offered the two schools $20 million apiece to participate in what would have undoubtedly become the highest-attended college football game in history (a proposal, coincidentally, that Virginia Tech showed a high degree of interest in, but that the University of Tennessee essentially ignored, killing the deal). While it looks like a regular-season UT/VT rivalry might never happen, when these two teams get together it's sure to be a spirited affair with massive fan base mobilization. And the Chick-fil-a Bowl knows that.

So if it's true that the Outback Bowl is interested in Auburn - the lynchpin in this whole scenario - then get ready to hear this in Blacksburg several times a day for the next month:


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