Thursday, October 27, 2005


VOLUME 006 ISSUE 009 (2005.10.27)

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Game Review - vs. Maryland
Three Key Plays
Rants & Raves - For #1 and #2 to Fall
ACC Standings
Hokie Trivia

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3 Key Plays
by "Mad" Jay

1) James Anderson intercepts a Maryland pass
deep in Hokie territory to kill a Terrapin drive
in the first quarter. Trailing on the road is a
recipe for disaster, and Anderson, who has been
playing so incredibly well this season and still
being overshadowed by Hall and Adibi, stepped up
and made a great pick to keep the game scoreless.

2) Vince Hall gets a personal foul called against
him on a 3rd down play in the second quarter where
the Hokies have the Terrapins stopped. The call
keeps the drive alive for Maryland and they kick a
field goal to make the game 7-3. These become the
first points scored off turnovers against Tech the
entire season, and they wouldn't have happened
without this mental breakdown by Hall. This is key
because in combination with two personal fouls on
Maryland's sole TD drive at the end of the game it
gives Bud Foster the ammunition to drive home the
importance of mental toughness. Without these silly
mistakes, Tech pitches the shutout. Against a better
team, these silly mistakes could be much more costly.

3) Following three consecutive drives where he had
thrown an interception in the third quarter, Marcus
Vick throws a perfect 6 yard pass to Jesse Allen out
of his own end zone on 2nd and 10 and then rushes for
11 yards on 3rd and 4 to kickstart a 99 yard drive
that would make the score 21-3. These were almost all
runs, but Vick calmly ran the offense despite those
three straight interceptions. QB Coach Kevin Rogers
can work on the interceptions with Vick, but that
type of poise and leadership on a drive when the game
was still very much in doubt, is an example of what
Marcus is truly capable of.


Game Review - vs. Maryland
by "Mad" Jay

In every championship season there is at least one game where
the eventual championship team doesn't play up to it's best and
still comes away with a win. A team needs a few lucky ball
bounces or referee calls during a season. I don't begrudge them
this. Someone has to win and sometimes destiny appears to play
a role. Virginia Tech's game against Maryland was NOT this game
for the Hokies. But make no mistake, with the weaknesses I saw
in the Tech coaching and some of the mental errors the players
made, the close game is still coming.

The first quarter of last Thursday's game was a very good battle
between two hard-hitting teams. James Anderson's KEY pick on the
Hokie 12 yard line killed Maryland's deepest penetration of the
game until garbage time at the end of the game and the Hokies and
Terrapins slugged their way to a 0-0 score at the beginning of
the 2nd quarter. From there, Vick took the game over with his arm
and his legs. He put together an 80 yard scoring drive to take
the lead 7-0. He then threw a 48 yard pass to Clowney to the
Maryland 7 yard line and had a TD run on 3rd and goal taken away
by the fact that instant replay wasn't used. Vick stretched the
ball across the plane of the goal line on a play that would have
been on every highlight reel across the nation if it would have
been officiated correctly. Instead the ball was ruled down at the
one yard line, and wasn't reviewed. WHAT EXACTLY IS INSTANT

So faced with 4th and goal, on the road, in the second quarter,
up only 7-0, Beamer made the right choice and kicked the field
goal to put the team up by two scores and take the crowd out of
it. No? Actually you are right, Beamer decided to be an idiot and
made a terrible decision to go for the TD. Fortunately,
Stinespring demonstrating his full understanding of the game, and
remembering all of this writer's insults from last season when he
called toss sweep plays on two 4th and shorts against Georgia
Tech, he decided to just punch the ball in up the middle. And he
had the big backs Branden Ore and George Bell in the game to do
it. No? Omigod you are right, he had little Mike Imoh in the game
to try and dive in.Imoh fumbled and Maryland recovered and drove
the ball back down the field and scored a field goal!!!!

Now I can swear to you that I did not second guess either of these
decisions - you can ask The Blonde - I was jumping up and down and
screaming at the TV when Beamer decided to go for it, at what an
indefensible call this was. When I saw Mike Imoh in the game, I
started foaming at the mouth and running around. And when I saw the
play call was to run Imoh up the middle and Imoh fumbled, I started
having convulsions and damn near swallowed my tongue and choked to

But don't lose sight of the fact that Vick was able to lead the
team BACK down the field to answer the field goal. He had the Hokies
at the 1 yard line with first and goal. Again MIKE IMOH WAS IN THE
GAME!! To make matters worse, on third down (after a failed QB
sneak and a fumbled handoff) Imoh caught a pass out in the flat with
7 seconds left and didn't get out of bounds to stop the clock! I
didn't see the subsequent rushed field goal attempt that apparently
ricocheted off the upright leaving the Hokies with no points,
because I was out in our backyard drinking from our dog's water dish
and howling at the moon.

I have preached here before, and now I ask you to turn your hymnals
to page 432 - "Be Thou My Helper In The Strife". You see, coaches are
supposed to put their teams in positions to win the game, not be
obstacles to winning the game. If Tech is up 21-3, and it is the 4th
quarter, and they are at home, I can see going for a TD on 4th and
goal from the 1 yard line. Going for it up only 7-0, in the second
quarter, on the road means Beamer was an obstacle to his team's
chances of winning. Stinespring, by having little Mike Imoh in the
game on the goal line when you have a stud bigger back named Branden
Ore on the sideline is hurting his team's chance of winning. By not
coaching Mike Imoh to get out of bounds with 7 seconds left on the
clock at the end of the first half so that the field goal unit can
come on the field in an orderly manner, Billy Hite was hurting his
team's chances of winning.

I would have been disappointed in the players if Tech comes out of those
two situations with field goals instead of touchdowns, but I would have
given credit to Maryland's defense and moved on. This is a bigger point,
because it speaks to the coaches. Tech came away with no field goals,
no nothing, and against better teams (Boston College anyone?) that can
DEFINITELY be the difference between winning and losing. The coaches
need to come away from this game with a renewed commitment to goal line
offense. Let's move on.

The third quarter opened with a bang as Vick, apparently unfazed by the
debacle at the end of the first half, led the team on a TD drive capped
by Mike Imoh's TD run. I still disagree with Imoh being in there, but
give him credit for running his heart out to score from 2 yards out.
The Hokies were up 14-3. And then the craziness ensued.

Just as analyst Kirk Herbstreit predicted, Justin Hamilton made a pick
on Maryland's ensuing drive. The Hokies are famous for scoring points
in spurts with help from the defense and special teams. but Vick entered
a weird zone and threw the first of three consecutive drive-killing
interceptions to give the ball right back to Maryland. To Bud Foster's
credit the defense gave up exactly zero points from these three
interceptions. The defense in the second half was flat-out inspirational
(minus the stupid personal fouls at the very end). But let's break down
Marcus' three picks for just a second. After all he had thrown only two
all season.

First pick - using terrible fundamentals, Vick threw a lame duck off his
back foot and the ball hung up there for an easy interception. Vick made
the right read but didn't set himself and tossed a badly underthrown ball.
Rogers will chew on his ass for this one, and Vick knows better anyway. I
highly doubt we will see another pick like this the rest of the season.

Second pick - Vick made a poor read and didn't see D'Qwell Jackson
(Maryland's All-American linebacker) drop into coverage. He threw the ball
right to Jackson. It didn't look as bad upon review because Vick did look
the safety off, but I think he expected Jackson to be on a pass rush, not
back in coverage. Marcus prides himself on reading a defense and I imagine
he will spend even more time in the film room now. We're all human and
this could have just been a simple mistake.

Third pick - Worst pick of the night. Vick threw a pass on an inside route
too tall for TE Jeff King (which means it was VERY high) and it was
deflected into the Maryland DB's hands. This bothered me because it was
like the pick he threw against Marshall. Even if Jeff King (or in the
Marshall game, Josh Morgan) climbs the ladder to make a very tough catch,
he is exposed to a dangerously big hit from a safety. Vick was set in the
pocket, he wasn't under a lot of pressure, he just threw the ball too high.
On an outside route, a high throw is a safe throw. On the inside routes,
he has to keep that ball low or else injuries or interceptions can happen.
I imagine this is the pass he will put a lot of reps into this week during
practice. I couldn't see his body position clearly from the TV camera angle
but he may not be stepping into this throw as much as he needs to be.

After the third pick ended with zero Maryland points, Vick calmly led the
team on a 99 yard drive, including a KEY 11-yard QB draw on 3rd and 4 from
his own 7 yard line. With the way the Hokie defense was playing, this drive
iced the game at 21-3. But I would be remiss if I did not mention Branden
Ore in the 4th quarter. As if the coaches need any more proof that this
player is ready to contribute, all they need to do is watch his film from
the 4th quarter against Maryland.

Branden Ore changed the face of the running game when he came in. He ran
6 consecutive times on the final scoring drive to make the score 28-3.
The Terrapins knew he was coming and they couldn't stop him. On one play
he beat two Maryland players (one of them completely unblocked) to get a
first down. This is the type of gamebreaker that the Hokies need to truly
threaten the top teams and make the offense two-dimensional. Ore needs to
see meaningful snaps in the rest of the Hokies' games this season.
Rushing Cedric Humes back into action from his broken arm is more than
unnecessary. It is unfair to Humes, because, when he does return, I want
to see him contribute at the level he was at earlier this season as well
as not re-injure himself. And it is unfair to the team, because Ore has
shown the ability to take the running game to another level.

Listen closely folks, the Hokies are a top 5 team because they have good
talent. They do not have the all-around talent of a Texas or USC, but the
hallmark of the Hokies is taking care of the ball, taking it away from
their opponents and not making stupid penalties. Against Maryland, the
Hokies were awakening the ghosts of Ronyell Whitaker and Maurice DeShazo,
with personal fouls and turnovers. They just need to show the mental focus
and toughness from last year, and the talent of this year's team can take
them even farther. The coaches just need to make sure they give the team
the best chance to win possible. The Maryland game has made me nervous,
but I am excited about being at the Thursday night game against Boston
College and watching the improvements made from last week to this week.



Rants & Raves - For #1 and #2 to Fall
by Brian "Where's the Ice?"

What will it take for #1 USC or #2 Texas to fall from their
current BCS rankings? This exists as part of the unavoidable
road to a Virginia Tech appearance in the Rose Bowl, this
season's national title game. Of course that pesky part of
Virginia Tech going [insert U-word here] for the season also
looms, but that probably won't matter if Texas or USC don't
lose. So in this piece I'll break down the games that I think
present the best odds of that happening, although I have very
reserved optimism that it actually will. Not to mention, I
really don't think the Hokies deserve their number 3 BCS
ranking this week. If Maryland caught a missed pass and a
questionable call didn't go the Hokies' way, fans could have
quite easily witnessed a Maryland 14-0 lead at the half of
that game.

USC vs. California, 10/29

California has all the firepower to beat USC. USC has a
better team, but if California uses its assets well enough,
the Golden Bears could have what it takes to storm the gates
of Troy.

On offense Cal will not try to focus on any of the USC
defensive weaknesses; they don't have any. Instead, Cal will
just try to do what they have done well this season so far:
running, running, running. Tailbacks Justin Forsett and
Marshawn Lynch have compiled a total of 867 and 653 yards,
respectively. In addition to their rushing, Cal also has
a pair of strong receivers in DeSean Jackson and Robert
Jordan, who have amassed 397 and 375 yards in receiving this

So what should Cal do in their quest to unseat USC from the
numero uno spot? They should take advantage of USC's typcial
slow offensive start. USC tends to put their scoring off
until late in the game like a second semester Senior puts
off a term paper. If Cal can get out front early, and I
mean way out front, they could hang on to just barely contain
the USC fourth quarter offense.

Texas at Texas A&M, 11/25

Texas A&M in recent years has bounced between the high end of
mediocrity and the low end of good. This season doesn't tell
too different a story for them. In all likelihood, the
Longhorns will drop the hammer on the Aggies with a decisive
win, but I don't want to count Texas A&M out of the game yet.

First, and foremost, this game makes an annual, traditional
rivalry. This rivalry compares to that of Virginia Tech vs.
West Virginia or Virginia Tech vs. Virginia. If one team had
a lossless season and the other team had a winless season up
until this game, both teams would still come out of the gate
at full throttle. And the Aggies will do just that. Heart
over talent could win this game for them.

The simple mathematics of this contest, however, lend very
little support to the Aggies. Texas' passing protection just
buries the needle on A&M's. The Longhorns have produced nearly
double the defense the Aggies have so far this season. For
rushing defense, the numbers have some similarity, but Texas
still wins out in this stat by more than 100 yards.

As far as offense, the two teams have performed very
similarly. Texas wins out in most of the categories, but not
by much.

The real question mark here lies in the defense, and nobody
beats a top ten team without a formidable defense. So as long
as A&M crowns themselves with the conference's worst defense,
Hokie fans shouldn't hold their breath for too long that this
upset will happen

USC vs. UCLA, 12/3

I still favor USC in this match up, but out of all the chances
for the current number one or number two to fall, I think this
game has the best odds. Their game against Arizona State could
give them a win that propels them into the enthusiastic state
in which they need to play to beat USC, but at the same time a
loss could spiral them into a downtrodden mood of defeat. And
should the game of USC vs. Arizona State still lay ahead, I'd
cite that contest on this list too. ASU has what it takes to
beat USC, they just didn't come through with the W. UCLA has
an offense that nips right at the heels of the Trojans in stats.
While their defensive stats trail a little farther behind, they
have an ability to make a surprise impact on the USC offense.
The USC offense gets most of its yardage in one-shot big plays,
very inconsistent. If the UCLA defense can stop the big plays
that USC has executed this season, they will win.

To go into some more detail, USC has produced %30 more passing
offense than rushing. UCLA has performed better in their passing
defensive than that of their rushing, ranking as second in the
conference in that stat. If UCLA can, not necessarily shut down,
but contain the USC passing game, they will walk away from the
contest as the victors. UCLA has allowed very few passing plays
where the opposing offense gained thirty-five yards or more. USC
makes most of their big gains with Matt Lienart's long throws.

No, I haven't forgotten about a Heisman candidate named Reggie Bush. How
do you disable a Trojan when he has several weapons? You take away one
of his weapons forcing him to rely primarily on the other. The Bruins
must take the Trojan's spear forcing him to rely on his sword such that
they know his next move. [Editor's Note: You can read more about Sun
Tzu's strategies in his excellent book "The Art of War".]

Reggie Bush will put numbers in the rushing yards category as well as
points on the scoreboard. UCLA will need to adopt a strategy that
involves limiting the extent to which he can run, not eliminating him as
a factor. In that attempt they will not succeed. The key to limiting
Bush's running ability lies in making him their only reliable offensive
asset. To do that, UCLA must take away the long yardage passing asset
that the Trojans posses by closely marking the receivers.

UCLA's offense trails USC's significantly in individual stats except for
the one that matters most, points on the board. There, UCLA finishes a
close second to USC in the conference. What does that mean? They finish
their drives by getting the ball in the paint and through the uprights.
That matters big time, and that indicates that UCLA has the offensive
firepower to stand toe to toe with that of USC's.

UCLA has its largest weakness in rushing defense, and they can't
expect to suddenly improve upon that when Reggie Bush carries the ball.
UCLA will need to produce some big time offense to win this game, no
doubt, but they have the ability to do that, even against USC. The
question lies in their defensive strategy and their ability to execute


Last, but not least, you may notice that Texas actually rose to number
one in the BCS this week by gaining only two points in the computer
poll. Virginia Tech has its toughest opponents ahead on its schedule:
Boston College and Miami. And that doesn't count the ACC championship
in Jacksonville. The College Football world expects Florida State to
represent the Atlantic Division in this game, but don't count Boston
College out of that race either.

So what relevance do these facts hold? It could give the Hokies a bump
in the polls as well. Nonetheless, should Virginia Tech continue its
road to an unbeaten season and victory in Jacksonville, especially
against the Seminoles, that would only strengthen the Hokies' chances
of gaining enough points to pass Texas or USC without either of those
schools losing. Not likely, but it could happen.


ACC Standings

Florida State 4-1 6-1
Boston College 3-1 6-1
Maryland 2-2 4-3
Clemson 2-3 4-3
Wake Forest 2-3 3-5
NC State 1-4 2-4

Virginia Tech 4-0 7-0
Miami 2-1 5-1
North Carolina 2-1 3-3
Georgia Tech 2-2 4-2
Virginia 2-3 4-3
Duke 0-5 1-7



|AP |USA Today |BCS |TSF
1|USC |USC |Texas |USC (2)
2|Texas |Texas |USC |Texas (1)
3|Virgnia Tech |Virginia Tech |Virginia Tech |Alabama
4|Georgia |Georgia |Georgia |Virginia Tech
5|Alabama |Alabama |Alabama |UCLA
6|Miami |Miami |UCLA |Georia
7|LSU |LSU |Miami |Miami
8|UCLA |UCLA |LSU |Notre Dame
9|Notre Dame |Florida State |Penn State |LSU
10|Florida State |Notre Dame |Florida State |Boston College
11|Penn State |Boston College|Oregon |Penn State
12|Ohio State |Penn State |Wisconsin |Florida State
13|Boston College|Ohio State |Ohio State |Wisconsin
14|Oregon |Oregon |Boston College|West Virginia
15|Wisconsin |Wisconsin |Notre Dame |Oregon
16|Florida |Texas Tech |Texas Tech |Texas Tech
17|Texas Tech |West Virginia |West Virginia |Northwestern
18|West Virginia |Florida |TCU |Ohio State
19|Auburn |Auburn |Florida |Aubrn
20|TCU |TCU |Minnesota |California
21|Northwestern |California |Northwestern |Florida
22|Fresno State |Minnesota |Aurburn |TCU
23|Tennessee |Northwestern |California |Minnesota
24|California |Fresno State |Colorado |UTEP
25|Michigan |Tennessee |Michigan |Michigan


"Mad" Jason Oakley
Anand "EhhTee" Trivedi
Brian "Where's The Ice?" Wrenn


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