Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Moving Forward

*** Maryland ***

November 19, 2004, Herma Beamer passed away leaving Hokies’ head coach Frank Beamer with the dilemma of whether to coach Thursday night’s game or not. Her words to him to coach the team and win before the UNC game when first hospitalized helped Beamer make that decision.

Hokie team captains Jared Mazzetta, Bryan Randall, Mikal Baaqee, and Jim Davis all elected for the team to wear “H” decals on their helmets in honor of Coach Beamer’s mother. The team came out hard, strong, and fast.

Family tragedy didn’t come as the only matter contributing to the emotion of this game for Beamer, but also that he’d face his longtime friend and Coach of the Terrapins, Ralf Friedgen. With all the contributing factors that made this game a very different one in mood for all Hokie sports fans, they played the game and…

…Beamer coached the Hokies to a 55-6 dismantling of the Maryland Terrapins.

This game ended in the first five minutes of play, but I have to give Maryland credit for giving the Hokies a push out of the starting gate. Five turnovers won’t happen in Virgina Tech’s favor against Virginia and Miami. But, even without that, I still think the Hokies would have dominated the Terrapins, maybe not with as many points on the board, but nonetheless, I still believe they would have.

They made good use of all the runningbacks, and in a much needed way. Michael Imoh’s hamstring pull serves as an example why no team should deliberately rely on one player to fill the role of a position, unless quarterback. We all remember how that went last year, right?

And that serves as a good lead into my next point: why did Beamer take so long to get the second string of players into the game? One offensive possession after the turn of the half would have made a perfect opportunity to get some of the less experienced players on the field. I think Beamer hesitated to long to do this.

All in all, the Hokies looked excellent in form. They used their tight ends for passing. Jared Mazzetta and Jeff King really gave the Hokie offense a lot of potency as an alternative to the running game or passing to Virgina Tech’s developing wide receivers.

*** Virginia ***

On to this week’s contest, the Hokies will most likely take the fields with a slightly less than healthy Mike Imoh. I think Hokie offence should plan to rely on Mazzetta and King more so than they have in the games leading up to the one against Maryland. Imoh will probably get a few carries, but the offense will also need to turn to a combination of Cedric Humes and Justin Hamilton for rushing.

When it comes to the Cavalier offense, the Hokies will find themselves up against a great deal of firepower. Alvin Pearman and Wali Lundy have a combined rushing total of 1638 yards so far this season. Heath Miller, Michael McGrew and Alvin Pearman have a combined receiving yardage of 1106. QB Marques Hagans has completed 1751 yards in passing. So how does a Hokie defense contain them? They have to maintain balance in all aspects of their defense. If UVA gets a slow start with their running game, they can very easily fall back on their passing game, and vise versa.

The defensive line has to get Hagans consistently. The number of sacks will play a key part in the success of Hokie defense. Also, Virginia Tech’s corners and safeties can’t get caught taking too many risks. They need to emphasize on containment and denial through good coverage rather than looking for the interception. Taking risks of gaining interceptions worked well against Maryland and other ACC teams, but it won’t work against Virginia.

This game happens over the Thanksgiving holiday, so get some Turkey, plop down on the sofa, but don’t let the tryptophane take you out of this one. It should make for a good game.

*** A Glance at the Top Ten ***

Last Week's Predictions

7 Michigan vs. Ohio State
Prediction: Michigan over OSU by 14
Outcome: Michigan 21, *OSU 37

13 Wisconsin vs. 18 Iowa
Prediction: Iowa over Wisconsin by 9
Outcome: Wisconsin 7 *Iowa 30

Florida vs. 8 FSU
Prediction: FSU over Florida by 27
Outcome: FSU 13, *Florida 20

3 Auburn vs. Alabama
Precition: Auburn over Alabama by 10
Outcome: *Auburn 21, Alabama 13

12 Miami (7-2) vs. Wake Forest (4-5)
Prediction: Wake Forest over Miami by 6
Outcome: Wake Forest 7, *Miami 52

This Week's Top-10 Predictions

Cincinnati vs. 8 Louisville
Cincinnati has a good team, so I expect a good game here, but Louisville deserves their ranking.
Prediction: Louisville over Cincinnati by 13

10 Boise State vs. Nevada
Prediction: Boise State over Nevada by 27

Georgia Tech vs. 7 Georgia
Prediction: Georgia over Georgia Tech by 20

22 Texas A&M 5 Texas
As one of the biggest rivalries in College Football, a prediction on this game really makes for a hard choice. Texas has played strongly all year, and I think they have a little bit more firepower. Playing at home will also give Texas a more of an edge
Prediction: Texas over Texas A&M by 16

Notre Dave vs. 1 USC
USC definitely has the better team, but unlike other years, I don't write off Notre Dame so easily. They've demonstrated the ability to play with the top teams. I think the Fighting Irish could take this if a few key plays go their way, but I don't stack the odds in their favor.
Prediction: USC over Notre Dame by 17

Top 10 Rankings
Rank "Where's the Ice" ESPN/Coaches AP BCS
1 Auburn USC USC USC
2 Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma
3 USC Auburn Auburn Auburn
4 Texas California California California
5 California Texas Utah Texas
6 Utah Utah Texas Utah
7 Tennessee Georgia Louisville Boise State
8 Georgia Louisville Georgia Georgia
9 Louisville Miami Miami Miami
10 Miami Boise State Boise State Louisville

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