Wednesday, November 03, 2004


by Mad Jay

A coach's job is to get his or team into position to win a game. Through running challenging in-week practice and preparation, to film study, to calling the game - this is the task of a coach. The offensive coaching staff did everything it could to try and LOSE last week's game against Georgia Tech.

This is the maddest I have been in a victory since the Hokies beat Temple last year when the Owls missed an extra point. Last Thursday night the preparation was obviously there and the short passes early in the game were exactly what I prescribed. They set-up the late deep passes that burned the blitz and led Virginia Tech to victory. So why would I be so mad, asks my Calm and Beloved Reader? It's simple - the players made the plays to win the game in SPITE of some horrific pre-Halloween game management by Brian Stinespring and Frank Beamer.

Brian Stinespring is offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. It's not too hard to read between the lines if you're on the offensive line, when Stinespring chooses to go for it on 4th and 1 yard from the opponent's 21 yard line - AND THE PLAY IS A TOSS SWEEP?!? It says a
little something to the field goal kicker as well. In a scoreless defensive struggle, kicking the field goal from the 21 yard line with the ACC's leading field goal kicker may have been just too damn obvious.

But then it SCREAMS lack of confidence in the offensive line AND Justin Hamilton when given a 2nd and goal from the opponent's 1 yard line the play call is the same toss sweep to Mike Imoh again. Both toss sweeps are for 7-10 yard losses.These are play calls that you just can't make. You learn these basics in JUNIOR VARSITY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL. And I swear that the team feels the effects of these play calls. If you watched the offensive linemen storm off the field after that fiasco on the goal line, you saw a lot of helmet tossing and hurt pride.

But the coup de grace was the play calling after Roland Minor's first of two very nice interceptions. If I was epileptic, I would have a had a damn seizure when I saw the play call on 3rd down with two and a half minutes remaining. It was was an attempted pass in the flat to our tight end. First of all, the tight end would have caught the ball 10 yards away from the first down; if you do call a pass play there, then go for the first down! But how do you call a pass play with the opponent out of timeouts? I damn near got sick to my stomach. These type of play calls usually decide games and we, as fans, are damn lucky to have a defense that makes plays, and preserves victories. For the record, that is three games this year closed out by the defense making a play to win.

Speaking of defense, Bud Foster provided the perfect counterpoint, of course. His defense adapted and adjusted and after giving up two touchdowns off of turnovers, the Hokies held the Yellow Jackets to 136 yards and 6 points. Bryan Randall made some phenomenal runs and throws and the players never gave up. There's a lot to be proud of in that victory.

But make no mistake - the next two opponents for Virginia Tech are North Carolina and Maryland who just beat the #3 and #5 teams in the country respectively on Saturday. Now that the Hokies have done the hard part and learned how to beat the blitz, the coaches have to make certain not to take away any opportunities to win these football games. The players play too hard to do that to them. If that's not motivation enough for the coaches, well then they need to remember that it's their JOB, for goodness sake!!!

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