FBS Mission Statement:
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Well, no, stop right there. That's not true at all.
You want to know why Miami home games attract literally dozens of Hurricanes fans? This is the reason:
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That's a map of the distance between the University of Miami campus and Sun Life Stadium (or whatever the fuck it's called now). It's 21 fucking miles away. That's seriously like if VT played its home games in Dublin, VA. The NCAA should put Donna Shalala on their Christmas card list, because she succeeded in doing what they couldn't: destroy the Miami football program.
Logan Thomas mentioned Miami's home attendance in an interview this week, which I'm sure will get the 2,000 fans who show up for the game whipped into a frenzy.
Okay, all kidding aside, this game is kind of a big deal, because the winner will...wait for it...be in the driver's seat to represent the Coastal Division in the ACCCG. Yes, friends, the Hokies are still very much alive for a December trip to Charlotte despite the numerous struggles we've endured so far this season. A victory over Miami would put us half a game up on the Canes and would give us the tiebreaker over them. We already own the tiebreaker over Duke...and now I invite you to pause a moment and reflect on the fact that having a tiebreaker over Duke actually factors into the Coastal Division race as we enter November. UNC would normally win the Coastal Division in a walk with the season they're having, but they are ineligible due to the sins of Butch Davis being visited on Larry Fedora. We're half a game up on the shitty Yellow Jackets and own the tiebreaker there, too. And our toughest game left after Miami is against an Atlantic opponent. So chances are whoever wins this game with the Canes will punch a ticket to Charlotte the first Saturday of December.
So what do the Canes bring to the table? Not much. They've lost three in a row. They're averaging about 415 yards per game while giving up about 499. They're 71st in scoring offense at 26.88 ppg. In essence, they suck.
The problem with this game is it's essentially a matchup of weakness vs weakness. The Canes can't defend the run (249.25 ypg surrendered, 119th in the nation -there's only 120 teams). We can't run (157 rushing ypg, 70th in the nation). The Canes are marginally better in pass defense (83rd nationally), and we are marginally better in passing offense (54th nationally). On paper, it's a hell of a matchup.
The breaking point might be that Miami tends to get everything done on offense through the air, putting up over 288 yards per game. And even though we've had a bye week to try to heal up Kyle Fuller's bum shoulder and get the freshmen up to speed on the zone coverages, our secondary is still the weak link in this defensive chain. On the other hand, this might be the game when the defensive front seven finally shows the pass rush we've expected from them all season.
Last season's Miami game was the turning point of the season, when LT finally put it all together and became the quarterback we - or at least I - knew he could be. This year's Miami game will be the game that either salvages the season or dips us fully into the tailspin.
Monday, October 22, 2012
I don't labor under the delusion that this will ever find your desk. I know you don't keep up with the internet ramblings of the more passionate (some would say deranged) faction of your fan base. Shane has made it clear that technology really isn't your thing. But some of this has to be said if only to relieve some of my own cognitive dissonance.
I came to Virginia Tech in 1997. I was not a Virginia Tech fan growing up, nor a college football fan in general. High school football was huge in my hometown and I followed the pro game sporadically, but as far as college ball went I really only knew anything about the national "brands," so to speak. But Lane Stadium immediately hooked me.
There is nothing like Lane Stadium on a fall Saturday. It is an amazing experience. And I watched some of the greatest moments in the history of that stadium unfold on the field. I stood, I screamed, I cheered. And I watched Michael Vick set the world on fire. One of my greatest college memories revolves around me and a group of my friends huddled around the TV in the living room of my apartment, stomach tied in knots as I waited to see if Shayne Graham could save the season with a long field goal against WVU. And as the Miracle in Morgantown unfolded, I will never forget how outside our window Blacksburg just... erupted. Like the whole city rose as one to cheer that victory (and hope) had been snatched from the jaws of defeat. I remember all of us spilling out of the apartment onto the street below to join in the celebration, and the sense of how magical that moment and that season was. It was the sense of being caught up in something amazing, something that the entire rest of the world would look at and immediately covet. It was the sense that we were the envy of the rest of the college football world.
Frank, I don't have that feeling anymore. I haven't had it for a long time.
What made Virginia Tech football special in the late 1990s wasn't elite recruits, fancy schemes, trick plays. It was pure, distilled, unadulterated piss-and-vinegar attitude. It was a dedication to not just a certain way of playing football but a certain way of approaching any challenge, the mindset that we might not be the fastest, biggest, or strongest, but by God we were the MEANEST sons of bitches that you'd ever line up against. We would punch you in the mouth, and when you punched us back we'd laugh at it. We'd throw our absolute best at you regardless of what was going on. We had that proverbial fire in the belly.
In 1994, when Phil Elmassian left the program, you had an important decision to make as to who you wanted to take the reins of the defense and continue the agressive, hardnosed revolution Elmo had begun, and in true Frank Beamer style you stayed in house and promoted Bud Foster to the defensive coordinator position. I doubt at the time you had any idea that you had captured lightning in a bottle. I'm sure the results bolstered your confidence that building a strong, close knit family of positions coaches and coordinators was the best possible way to build a program.
Then in 2001, Rickey Bustle left Virginia Tech to become the head coach of UL-Lafayette. What he left behind was a Virginia Tech offense that had been turned on its ear by the most electrifying athlete to ever play the quarterback position in the NCAA. There was no way of estimating at the time what effect Michael Vick would have on offenses not only of college football but the NFL, but I'm sure you knew that things were going to be different than the old school I-form A-gap offense that Rickey had coordinated for most of his career. And I'm sure that all the ideas Bryan Stinespring was throwing around at the time about multiple offenses with several different looks sounded like the next logical step. You'd had success promoting from within before. At the time, naming Bryan Stinespring the next offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech made all the sense in the world to you, I'm sure.
Frank, you made a mistake.
I know you're not the sort of man who takes kindly to other people telling you you made a mistake, but you made a mistake. And at this point it's clear to literally everyone outside of your coaching brain trust. And your refusal to admit your mistake is beginning to poison the well. I don't know how firmly your finger is on the pulse of Hokie Nation, Frank, but there is a growing angst and apathy in the fan base. This letter isn't to call you out on it. This letter is to explain why.
I know you believe in Bryan Stinespring. You see him work hard, put in the hours, coach up his tight ends and tackles, draw up the game plan, break down the film. You see him put in the work, and you honest believe he's going to turn the corner. But he's had eleven years to turn that corner, Frank. Nobody gets an eleven year learning curve.
Or maybe you think he's given you the offense Virginia Tech has needed. I know that wins and losses are what you're ultimately concerned with, and that you've never cared much about the offensive stats as long as we've got the bigger number on the scoreboard when the final pistol sounds. But so far in 2012 we have more three-and-outs than touchdowns on offense. An offense doesn't have to be sexy when it's paired with an elite defense. Just look at Florida, LSU, and Alabama. But it must be efficient. We're a model of inefficiency under Bryan's leadership. We have been for over a decade.
Frank, I want you to retire with a national championship. I honestly believe you deserve it. And you told me that you were going to go after one with everything you had by putting up that trophy case. I know you don't like talking about that case, but you can't hide from it. You stated the goal. No takebacks allowed.
You will not win a national championship with Bryan Stinespring as your offensive coordinator. He doesn't have it in him, no matter how hard he works. Because when we struggle on offense, Bryan's answer will always be "more," not "better." He will always believe that he's one scouting trip away from having the answer, when the answer has always been and continues to be a rededication to the fundamental elements of what made Virginia Tech a nationally relevant football program. We don't need a new package of plays or a new gimmick wrinkle every offseason. We need a hard nosed, hardcore commitment to learning the fundamentals of our base offense - whatever base offense we choose to run - so well that our players could run our base plays in their sleep. Or in the fourth quarter of a slobberknocker, when they're so beat up and exhausted they could puke.
I'm not trying to tell you what kind of offense to run. That's up to you. And I'm not trying to say that I don't think a multiple, more pro style system like the one Bryan tries to run can't be successful. In fact, I'd rather see us run that type of an O than another flavor of the month spread option. The spread option revolution in college football is about to jump the shark - if it hasn't already. But whatever offense we run, I want to see us run it well. I want an O that operates at the same level of intensity and accountability as our D. I want the Bud Foster of offense. Because if we get that, you get your crystal football. And I desperately want to see you hoist one. Like I said, I think you deserve it.
To put in language you're comfortable with, Frank, it's time to turn up the wick again. And that means making some really tough choices. It means admitting a mistake make eleven years ago. I know you don't want to hear this. I know you're going to say I'm out of whack. But I'm just telling you where the heart of the fans are headed. We're holding you to your promise. We don't expect a national championship every season. Hell, to be honest we're probably going to be okay if you never win one. But right now we don't get the sense that you're even serious about trying.
For the first time since joining the ACC, a conference team has beaten us three games in a row. Clemson hasn't just beaten us, they've owned us. They've put up a bunch of points against us, yes, but in all three losses they've scored below their season average. But their defense has figured out or O and completely shut it down three straight times. And Clemson's defense is god awful, Frank. Since joining the conference, the Hokies have been kings of the ACC. Now there's the sense that the torch is being passed. There's a growing concern that our sun is setting, that the program has peaked and is now on a decline, that Beamerball has become irrelevant.
Take care of the little things and the big things will come. Your words, sir. But right now the little things aren't getting taken care of. On offense we're more interested in the newest gadget or the latest wrinkle instead of lining up eleven tough as nails sons of bitches and playing some by-God Virginia Tech football. Our priorities have gotten out of whack. If we don't get them sorted out then my fear is your name will be spoken in the same breath with Bobby Bowden and Phillip Fulmer, great coaches who rested on their laurels late in their careers and tarnished their legacies.
Refocus. Recommit. Make the tough decisions. And prove assholes like me wrong.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) tweeted at 1:47 PM on Sat, Oct 20, 2012: Frank Beamer has a lot of wins because of defense and special teams. And an empty trophy case because he never turfed his offensive staff. (https://twitter.com/KyleTucker_CJ/status/259727603760517120) Get the official Twitter app at https://twitter.com/download
Friday, October 19, 2012
There is no offensive consistency. Receivers aren't running the routes they should be. They're not in the places they should be. His offensive line is not protected. And I think their offensive scheme, to be quite honest with you, is outdated by 10, 15 years. So I don't think he's getting a whole lot of help around him. I do think the best thing that could happen to him whenever he does come out for the draft is maybe go a little later. Maybe get drafted in the second or third round and not have that pressure to play right away. Because I don't think he's going to be ready to come in and start from a consistency standpoint. Knowing what I know about guys coming out of that program on the offensive side, I don't think that he's going to be ready from a mental standpoint.Couldn't have said it better myself, Todd.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Chad Morris' offense is now better than the one that the Hokies failed twice to contain last season. The 2012 Tigers are averaging about 85 more yards and 8 more points per game than their 2011 counterparts did, and they are racking up these numbers with their best player on offense, Sammy Watkins, having missed half of their games. Watkins will be back and near 100% for this game Saturday.
The Clemson defense, which was really bad last year, is god awful under first year defensive coordinator Brent Venables. The Tigers are giving up over 445 yards per game. I do not expect it to matter. Last season our offense was stopped cold by a bad Clemson defense. This season I expect our offense to be stopped cold by an even worse Clemson defense.
What I see happening is exactly what I saw happen the last two times we played Clemson. Our offense will sputter out of the gate, which will allow the high octane Tigers offense to get an early lead. This will force us into desperation mode, where LT will have to throw into the Clemson secondary, which will use press coverage to mess up our timing routes and get LT out of any sort of rhythm. The problem will snowball into a lopsided loss, all because Bryan Stinespring cannot have his offense ready to go out of the gate.
The only way we win this game is if we force Clemson to play from behind right from the start. That puts the onus on the offense, and our OC will once again fail.
And that's all there is to say.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
So the last three weeks the VT O has averaged 440 yards and 34 points per game. That doesn't count the Knowles kick return TD.
Any way you slice it, those are good numbers.
So what, if anything, does this signify? Turning a corner? All the new starters finally starting to gel? Beating up on weak defenses? Desperation mode from being behind inflating our numbers because we're forced to be more aggressive than O'Cainspring usually likes to play it?
I'm formulating my own opinion, but I'm interested to hear yours.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
For the first quarter, I saw the team I had seen all season. For the last three quarters I saw the team I have wanted to see all season.
I don't know what changed, and I don't care. The last three quarters of this game were fun to watch, and this is the first time I can say that since the Techmo Bowl about the 2012 Hokies. And the best part of all was that it was a complete effort. The defense held Duke to 13 points, just barely over a third of what they had been averaging, and shut them out for the last three quarters. The offense, after completely shitting the bed to open the game, simply motherfucking rolled at will this afternoon.
The largest comeback in VT history. Who the fuck would have thought this 2012 squad had it in them?
We shouldn't let our desire for meaningful change on the offensive staff ever prevent us from enjoying a good performance from the Hokies, lest we become an SEC fan base. Today we saw an energized and enthusiastic Hokies squad flip a switch and bitch slap Duke. That's simply fun to watch, and if you don't enjoy it you might need to step back from VT football for a while and reprioritize. I know, because I've been there myself a few times since graduating.
What we did today shouldn't be overstated. We pwned Duke, which is what we should always do. And in doing so, we probably saved our shot at a bowl game, because 6-6 would have been a tall order with the last five games remaining on our schedule had we lost to the Dookies. Beyond that, this game gives us cause for cautious optimism that we can finish on the plus side of .500. Any further extrapolation from today's performance would be, in my opinion, unwarranted conjecture. All we know for certain after today is that this team can put together solid efforts on both sides of the ball simultaneously.
But for today, for me at least, that is enough.
And one hell of a game from JCC, hereafter referred to as the Burgundy Smurf. (It's mine now.) And Becton-Arkema-Via-Benedict-Painter should be our O line forevermore. Dudes were blowing up the D line for JCC to snake through. Hoping for a speedy return to full health bar for Caleb Farris, though, and a tough break for Andrew Miller, who's now lost for the season with a broken ankle. Depth at center just went critical. Like depth in the secondary type critical. Please get well, Caleb.
Now it's back to reality. Oops there goes gravity.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
So, let's start with the defense.