Monday, January 16, 2006


VOLUME 006 ISSUE 016 (2006.01.16)

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The Next Step
Rap Sheet and Redemption

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Another Season Gone

Another season has passed giving Hokies fans a series of ups and downs that accompany any College Football season. We, the TSF staff, would like to thank you once again for reading our rants, raves, opinions, and sarcasm. Without you, the, "Calm and Beloved Reader," as "Mad" Jay puts it, we would have no TSF. See you next season.

-The TSF Staff


The Next Step
by "Mad" Jay

"The Next Step" is my theme for Virginia Tech football 2006. The program has already taken two huge steps this year and it's only 1 week old – 1) Winning the Gator Bowl against a much tougher Louisville team than I expected. 2) Dismissing Marcus Vick from the football team. Let's examine these two steps and then evaluate what the next big steps are.

First of all, let's give a lot of credit to the Louisville Cardinals for playing so hard without two of their best players (QB Brian Brohm and DT Montavious Stanley). The backup QB was Hunter Cant(throw)well. Despite his terrible inaccuracy, this kid has enough heart for two QB's. He left it all on the field in an effort that I couldn't help but admire.

The Hokies were flat at the beginning of yet another big game – a characteristic that is developing into a habit and one that just has to come to an end. If the coaching staff can't get these players ready to go at the beginning of games, it will not be possible to win a national title. There are too many opportunities to slip-up during the course of a season. Now having said that, let me point out a player that gave his all the entire game and who I look to as an anchor on the offensive line next season – Brandon Frye.

For perspective, recall that I said that Elvis Dumervil was the best defensive end in the country last season in college football. Fortunately, Brandon Frye went up against two guys near Dumervil's level in practice every day – Darryl Tapp and Chris Ellis. Frye established himself as a presence limiting Dumervil to no sacks and two tackles in the Gator Bowl - an absolutely inspirational performance by an offensive lineman making his first start.

The team rediscovered its identity one quarter sooner than it did in the ACC Championship and by coming to play in the third quarter and playing very hard to close out the Cardinals, they ended up with a satisfying victory. This kind of win also was made more impressive by the fact that the secondary was without Jimmy Williams at corner from the first quarter on due to his ejection for bumping an official. Brandon Flowers made one of the smartest plays I've seen a DB make when he knocked down a pass at the 5 yard line on 4 th down instead of intercepting it which saved Tech about 35 yards in field position.

Players like Chris Ellis, Vince Hall, Roland Minor and Brandon Flowers all showed why next year's defense doesn't look to drop off much, if at all, from this year's national best.

So the next step in terms of the team was taken with this Gator Bowl win.

Regarding Marcus Vick's dismissal from the team this is another step towards the ultimate goal of winning a national title. I was on the phone with my good friend Dom the Italian Christmas Donkey shortly after the infamous Stomp (where, if you didn't see it, Vick intentionally stepped on the back of Elvis Dumervil's leg following a tackle of Vick). We both agreed Vick needed to be benched the remainder of the game. The program has since taken heat as having "too much swagger" and players that play "past the whistle". These are comments I've seen on sports shows and they sicken me. That type of behavior does not belong in the Hokie football program, it has not been what Virginia Tech football has stood for, for as long as I've been a fan, and now the media is trying to associate the Hokies with schools like Miami and Florida State. All because Vick couldn't keep his temper.

Following this in-game event, it was revealed that Marcus had also recently been arrested for driving on a suspended license. The combination of these two transgressions along with his checkered past made dismissal from the football team the obvious choice. I believe it to be true that Virginia Tech will be a better football TEAM without Marcus Vick, the greatest passer in Hokie history, taking the snaps next season.

How can I say that? Because a team takes on the persona of its leaders. As the starting QB, Vick's actions spoke louder than his words. Despite having unbelievable talent and ability, like his older brother, Marcus was without the class and poise of Michael. Where Michael was at his best in big games, Marcus was not. And I know that Michael was a competitor but I never saw him take a dirty shot at any player in a game. Quarterbacks lead their team in a variety of different ways, one no better than the other, but they all have one thing in common – they garner respect. A player who loses his cool and takes a dirty shot at a defenseless player is not going to have the respect of his teammates or coaches.

Sean Glennon, Cory Holt and Ike Whitaker are going to wage a whale of a battle for the starting QB position this spring and I am excited about it. I think Whitaker with his mobility vs. Glennon with his accuracy should be fun to watch and Holt seems to be a mixture of the two. Don't get me wrong.- I still think there will be some dropoff in QB play because Vick was a phenom at the position, but in terms of leadership there is definitely an opportunity for an upgrade.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in terms of Michael Vick's public and private relationship with the school in light of how his brother was disciplined. I hope it continues to be strong. But even more importantly, I think the Hokies positioned themselves well on the recruiting front. The example of discipline set here plays well in mom's living room. We'll see just how well when the Hokies take the next step for 2006 2 weeks from now – Signing Day.



Rap Sheet and Redemption
by Brian "Where's the Ice?"

Sept 2, 2003: suspension from one game by head coach Frank Beamer for an undisclosed reason

May 14, 2004: convicted of three misdemeanors for giving alcohol to underage girls

July 8, 2004: charged with reckless driving at 86 mph, 21 mph above the posted speed, in a vehicle that stunk of marijuana

Dec 17, 2005: pulled over for speeding and arrested for driving on a suspended license

Jan 2, 2006: stomps on the calf of Louisville Cardinal's defensive end Elvis Dumervil during the Gator Bowl

Jan 9, 2006: warrant issued for arrest for brandishing a firearm in a fast food restaurant parking lot

If you've read or listened to the news over the past few days, these headlines only serve as dark reminders of the conduct of an ex-Hokie quarterback named Marcus Vick. This list doesn't include everything, but it provides us with highlights of some trying times in Hokie

At the end of last year's season, I wrote an article about why I considered Bryan Randall my favorite quarterback ever to come through the Hokie Football Program. That reason has two components of the the utmost simplicity: he exceeded every expectation at his position and more importantly he showed us as fans how character counts. Marcus Vick has taken us as students and alumni of this university in the opposite direction from that, and rather than looking onward with a team poised to make itself a strong contender for a national title next season, the Hokies now have questions looming about whether their football program
will have an upcoming rebuilding season or a contender season.

Over the past several weeks, Vick has made some choices that have sent his career and his life on a roller coaster of uncertainty. After several blown second chances, he now faces a legal situation that could severely compromise his ability to reach the NFL. Even prior to his December '05 conduct, he really still needed another year of development at the college level. He needed and still needs it at the mental and gameplaying level, but that won't happen as a rookie in the NFL. Now, with all of his recent conduct, any NFL coach with his head not screwed on sideways knows that developing and mentoring Marcus Vick will not
proceed smoothly or possibly even at all. If Vick wants to play in NFL, he'll need to find a way to overcome this.

All in all, I still believe Marcus Vick to have a good personality at heart. I think that a lot of expectation, criticism, ridicule, and taunting got to him, and he reacted immaturely. He has more growing up ahead of him, some of that growing up I thought he already had behind him much earlier in this season, but clearly not. His actions will cost him, but he still has time to redeem himself in the NFL so long as a few legal matters do not proceed too unfavorably with respect to Vick. If he does reach the NFL, he will have to work twice as hard and with a much higher level of patience to make the prime of his career the best he can achieve.

To present himself as redeemable to the NFL, Vick must first clean up his behavior and then overcompensate. If the court sentences him to 80 hours of community service, he should do 120. If a stranger taunts him for his past behavior, he should look back and smile. And if his number comes up in the NFL draft, he should initiate a promise to that program that his character will not turn into that of his past and it will only make the team proud to have him as a member.

Virginia Tech's response to Marcus Vick's conduct gives me some feeling of comfort in a standard which my alma mater should achieve. I support the school's decision to dismiss him from the team on principle alone. That said, I also believe Vick can change from Darth Vader to Anakin Skywalker. I do hope to watch him play on Sunday sometime in the future. Marcus Vick, TSF wishes you the best.


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


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