FBS Mission Statement:
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Maybe. Ga Tech (read: Gay Tech) has just hired former UVa head coach Al Groh as defensive coordinator. While he didn't get much respect from readers of this blog while he was at UVa, he does know the 3-4 defense quite well.
Heather sure seems to think this is a great thing for GT.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Over the course of the season Mike O'Cain took almost as much criticism around here as Stiney did, and that's saying something. I never quite got onboard the anti-O'Cain train, personally. Yes, he ushered Sean Glennon through his fiasco of a career, but lost in all of that turmoil was the fact that O'Cain began his career immediately following the dismissal of Marcus Vick and his first order of business as QB coach was picking up the pieces. It wasn't an ideal way to start a new job.
Tyrod Taylor was not the immediate success that some had dreamed of, but under O'Cain's guidance he took the step this season from athlete playing quarterback to athletic quarterback. Last year Tyrod scrambled for whatever yardage he could get when the pocket collapsed. This year Tyrod scrambled to buy his receivers time to get open downfield. This change in focus and style allowed Tyrod to accomplish what no one believed possible before the season, staring 13 games without sustaining a major injury.
O'Cain doesn't get the highest mark here because Tyrod is still a work in progress. Tyrod's passes still have a tendency to float, which can often turn touchdowns into field goals. (See the end of the first half in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.) For all Tyrod's improvement, he also has yet to come close to completing 60% of his passes.
I have never personally witnessed as dramatic an improvement at any one position from one season to the next in Blacksburg as I witnessed among the wide receivers this year. Granted pretty much all of our receivers were freshmen last season and some improvement is expected just from having a year of experience under your belt, but our top three receivers (Boykin, Coale, and Roberts) all improved on their 2008 yardage by more than 50%. This season wasn't just a step forward for the receiving corps, it was a major stride.
After four years at VT Sherman has already worked with names like Josh Morgan and Eddie Royal, both emerging stars in the NFL. He seems to have Boykin, Coale, and Roberts poised to post better numbers in their Tech careers than either Morgan or Royal. We should probably keep an eye on underclassmen Xavier Boyce and Marcus Davis. If those two come along as quickly and play as sharply as their predicessors then Kevin Sherman will have established himself as one of the better wide receivers coaches in the college game.
Billy Hite is an A forever as a running backs coach in my book. There are some other areas in which Hite isn't at the top of his game (i.e., recruiting), but when it comes to churning out quality tailback after quality tailback, year after year, there are few better at the highest level of college football than Hite. Anyone who can include the names Oxendine, Stith, Suggs, Jones, Evans, and now Ryan Marcus Frederick Williams (that's what RMFW stands for, right?) on his resume of players coached... wins.
It's difficult to nail down just exactly how much effort Hite had to expend this season with a talent like Williams taking the hand offs, but Coach Hite also had the unenviable position of preparing a freshman back to be the starter two seasons in a row. The fact that both situations resulted in a tailback breaking VT's freshman rushing record – and in the latter case, the all time rushing record – speaks both to Hite's ability as a running backs coach and the quality of recruits that VT is able to sign from having a coach like Billy Hite on the staff.
Curt Newsome, Offensive Line
For three years we all groaned at the play of our offensive line, watching Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor take sack after sack as opponents' blitzes shredded VT's blocks. Every new season began with the promise that this season the line would show improvement, and every new season then proceeded to look discomfortingly like the last season. This story repeated itself again this year, as the O-line was abused first by Alabama and then again by Nebraska two weeks later.
But around week four, the line actually started to gel a little bit. At least when it came to run blocking, the O-line was solid, breaking open substantial holes for RMFW to run through on his way to the single season school rushing record. Of course it helps that Williams sheds tackles like a dog sheds fur, but there's a reason why the first thing Williams did when he found out he owned the record was give a man hug to his offensive linemen. He knew they'd done their job, which allowed him to do his.
The story's a bit less cheerful when it comes to the pass rush. The sacks allowed per game did go down, from 3.0 in 2008 to 2.38 this year, but VT once again finished firmly in the bottom half of the nation. Once again Newsome's line had difficulty maintaining the pocket, though it is some small comfort that this season presented the least trouble since Newsome came to Tech. This time around the preseason talk of an improved offensive line was at least to some degree correct, but allowing your quarterback to hit eat it more than twice in one game is both unacceptable and dangerous.
Bryan Stinespring, Tight Ends
This is Stinespring's grade strictly on how he performed his duties as tight ends coach, and bears no reflection on his performance as offensive coordinator.
This grade was extremely difficult to assign, because the tight ends basically showed us nothing all season. That being said, we know there's talent at the tight end spot, starting with Greg Boone. But the tight ends never got it going in '09, being utilized primarily as blockers for RMFW's march into the record books. Make of that what you will. Some people complained ardently about the absence of the tight ends from the passing game, but I personally never lost much sleep over it. It's hard to get worked up over your tight ends not catching passing, for me at least, when your top two wide receivers finish with better than 20 yards per catch.
It was a disappointing year for the tight ends, but only inasmuch as they had become accustomed to being the primary targets in the passing game. The fact that Tyrod is aiming for his receivers downfield rather than his tight ends in the flat is less of an indictment on the tight ends as it is evidence that the passing game under Tyrod Taylor has finally started to come along.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
First, Mike Hamilton (AD) is an idiot. He looks dumber than dogshit after getting rid of Phil Fulmer and then leasing Lane Kiffin and company. If you hold (i.e., hire) a snake, then why are you surprised when it bites you?
Sidenote: After the basketball player fiasco and this situation, I don't look for Mike Hamilton to continue to be AD for UTK for much longer.
Second, I don't blame Lane Kiffin. He is getting paid more to do less. He is in an easier conference, he is closer to home, he is in a big city (more recruits), he is near the beach, he is in a less-hostile athletic environment (i.e., Knoxville has UT, the mountains, and the world's fastest computer; whereas, LA has the Lakers, Clippers, Dodgers, etc.). To be blunt; USC has Snoop Dogg, UT has Smokey the Dog.
Third, I do blame the system. But what can you do? Athletics and academics don't mix - but for some reason they still pay these idiots to continue with this experiment. (I've covered this on another blog before, but basically it all comes down to money.)
Fourth, I think the UTK shortlist includes Muschamp and Cutcliffe (Current Duke coach, former UT Assistant under Fulmer), Chavis (Current LSU Defensive Coordinator, former UT Assistant). The key here is hiring someone who will stick around (at least until UTK fires them). Rumors also include Air Force’s Troy Calhoun, Ole Miss’ Houston Nutt, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy and Connecticut’s Randy Edsall.
Fifth, I think Mike Hamilton better watch out for Fulmer. Fulmer may be AD at UTK pretty soon.
Sixth, *haha*. [Yes, that has been posted before.]
Lastly, I think UTK will survive. Lane Kiffin wasn't the best choice last year, and it was only going to get worse. At least UT recouped $800,000 and looks like the "good guy" (albeit the dumb guy) in this transaction.
Joe W. has an undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech and graduate degrees from Virginia Tech and Penn State. He now teaches at a state flagship school in Knoxville, TN. This article is cross-posted on his blog AdjustingTheCup.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Vol fans and University of Tennessee students seem to be taking the news in stride.
I'm going to take this opportunity to say, yes, the Virginia Tech football program has its problems. We also have a coaching staff, however, that is completely and unquestionably committed to the program and its students, and one of the classiest, most stand-up head coaches in the college game.
Tennessee, up until today at least, had an ass clown running a three ring circus.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Click here for material more twilight zone than Heather Dinich saying something Pro-Hokie.
With this turn of events, we will only operate this website for the remainder of our pre-paid contract with blogspot.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
2009: 95th (183.9 yards/game)
2008: 112th (129.1 yards/game)
2009--RMFW: 5th (127.31 yards/game)
2009—Tyrod Taylor: NR (28.46 yards/game)
2008--Darren Evans: 36th (90.36 yards/game)
2008--Tyrod Taylor: 78th (61.5 yards/game)
2009--Tyrod Taylor: 73rd (177.8 yards/game, 2311 total)
2008--Tyrod Taylor: NR (86.3 yards/game, 1036 total)
2008: Sean Glennon (82.6 yards/game, 743 total)
Some quick observations:
Our offense was better this year. A lot better. We went from 103rd in total offense to not just the top half, but the top 50, coming in at 49th place in the nation. Was that thanks to Stiney? Maybe a little, but it was mostly thanks to our offensive talent.
Last year Darren Evans was the real deal at tailback. RMFW came in this year after Evans’ injury and was more than the real deal. He was “Jesus in Cleats,” as has been said on this blog in the past. He has a legitimate shot at the Heisman next season and is probably the best chance it has of going to yet another sophomore. He took our rushing offense from a respectable 35th to 14th with 127 yards per game, up from 90 yards per game that Darren Evans had last year. Be afraid of these guys together next year, expect at least a top 10 rushing offense.
The rushing was good last year, though. What really changed this year was Virginia Tech’s passing game. Tyrod threw for 2311 yards in 2009, as opposed to 1036 in 2008 (plus Glennon’s 743). That’s 532 yards more in 2009 than he and Glennon combined for in 2008. Tyrod’s numbers this season were due not only to his improvement as a passer, but the receiving corps improving with a year of experience. This boosted passing game also allowed Tyrod to scramble and rush less, which probably saved him from an ankle injury we all expected to come at some point during the season. He rushed for 33 yards per game less this season (370 total) than ’08 (738 total) but more than made up for them in passing.
So how did Stiney do this season? Personally, I think our offense was running on pure talent, not strategy. We need both. Last year defenses knew what was coming and it was just a matter of whether or not they could stop it. The difference is that this year they usually couldn’t stop it. Total offense finished in the top 50 out of 120. Was that enough? It is a huge improvement, but with this talent should we have been in the top 25? Top 10? Or are you happy with how the offense did end up? Comment with your opinions, I want feedback!
All stats taken from cfbstats.com
Friday, January 8, 2010
In other news :( Jason Worilds declared for the draft. With the other losses on D, I was hoping he'd stay for his senior year, but selfishly. I am a huge proponent of getting the money and securing a future for you and your family if the opportunity presents itself - so I don't blame him at all. Especially if he has a draft committee, review team telling him he's a first day pick.
[note: not an agent telling him sweet-nothings, he hasn't hired one yet] Soooooo, it's not some agent sweet talking him out, I hope. And, I don't know all the rules, but maybe he's leaving a loop-hole to still return by not hiring one?
Friday, January 1, 2010
1.) JuJu Clayton is the second coming of Cory Holt.
Close the book on Clayton's first season of play for the Hokies. His stat line: 5 games played, 3 rushes for -13 yards, 1 of 5 passing for 80 yards and a touchdown. JuJu's picture should replace the homosexual lumberjack on Brawny paper towels, because he's just that good at mopping up.
It would be one thing if we kept our starter late in the game because of a close contest, but by and large in '09 the margin of victory was sizeable for VT. You got the sense that it really wasn't so much to get him snaps as it was the coaching staff finally admitting that the game was so well in hand that it would be inexcusable to risk an injury to Tyrod.
Clayton's role as headset model was pretty much decided in fall practice, when he was locked in a heated battle for backup QB with true freshman Logan Thomas - a contest that came down to the wire and resulted in JuJu getting the nod and LT getting a redshirt. But that shouldn't be contstrued as a victory for Clayton. As a redshirt, with a year watching and learning the system, JuJu should have put the contest for second string away in the first practice with LT. The longer the competition lasted, the more apparent it became that LT is in the driver's seat to be Tyrod's successor.
2.) Freshmen are apparently invisible to the national sporting press.
RMFW broke VT's all time rushing record with 1,655 yards. He finished tied for 3rd in the nation for rushing touchdowns. Pitt's Dion Lewis rushed for 144 more yards than Williams (though he had a lower yards per rush average and 4 fewer touchdowns). Both are in the top 5 nationally in both total yardage and rushing attempts, pending the outcomes of bowls yet to be played. Pending the results of the BCSNCG, both could finish with more total yards and more touchdowns than Heisman winner Mark Ingram, even though Ingram would have played one more game than either RMFW or Lewis.
Neither Williams nor Lewis were invited to New York. Neither are first-team All-Americans.
3.) Ryan Williams might be good enough to make Stinespring stick with the run.
Do you really think with that first half Stinespring would have come out running with Branden Ore or Darren Evans after halftime? It took Jesus in cleats to do it, but Stinespring might finally trust the rush.
4.) Our backfield is reaching critical mass.
There are unsubstantiated rumors that Darren Evans is already running full speed. Ryan Williams just set a record for setting the most records. Josh Oglesby has proven that he can get the tough yards, whether you need two or eight. David Wilson can pole vault without a pole.
We can't possibly get more than three of them on the field at the same time, and then only if Stinespring is willing to develop a wishbone package.
Someone's gotta be the odd man out, but who?