Thursday, September 07, 2006




Three Key Plays

1) Following a great Brandon Flowers interception, Sean Glennon uncorks a well thrown 54 yard bomb to Josh Morgan for the game clinching touchdown to make it 14-0. This pass firmed up Glennon's confidence and he played extremely well the entire rest of the game minus one mental mistake.

2) Brandon Pace makes his first field goal attempt of the season in the fourth quarter. This was key just to get Brandon's mind right. Kickers are a strange lot and making his first kick helps him carry over the confidence he was building at the end of last season and confirms the great offseason he had.

3) At the very end of the game, Kory Robertson busts through the line and blocks a Northeastern field goal to preserve the shut-out. Combined with the blocked punt earlier in the game, this validates the hard work on special teams during pre-season practice this year. It also preserved a shut-out to give Bud Foster's defense 12 years in a row with at least one shutout.

Northeastern Game Review

This game went nearly exactly as we at TSF hoped and expected. We called for 30 points at the half, the Hokies had 28. We called for the defense to allow 3 points or less and they got the shutout. All-in-all, it was a textbook defeat of a I-AA opponent. As always, certain things jumped out at me so let's get into it.

The first team offense was very vanilla. No doubt to keep concealed the majority of the playbook from the eyes of Danny Pearman who left this off-season to coach at UNC which is Tech's next opponent. But I must give Bryan Stinespring credit for finally calling some quick receiver and halfback screens. I had nearly given up hope that the Hokies would ever try and develop the pass to the halfback. It was one of my most gigantic arguments against Stinespring being competent. This doesn't bring him all the way back but thank God he finally concluded that maybe 50,000 Hokies could be right and that throwing the ball to the halfback now and again isn't a terrible idea.

The offensive line is as bad as advertised. The loss of probably their best player didn't help. Brandon Frye dislocated his elbow and now there's talk of him being rushed back for the UNC game. I think that's a VERY bad idea. Stupid in fact. The Hokies need Brandon Frye this season. Rushing him back for this game risks his entire year and all the hard work he's put in. He stepped up when Jimmy Martin couldn't play in the Gator Bowl last year, it's Nick Marshman's turn to show that he can do the same thing. PLEASE COACHING STAFF, realize that for the betterment of the entire season, let Frye heal up some more. That being said, when the offensive line needed to move mighty Northeastern off the ball in a few short yardage situations, they couldn't get it done. And Sergio Render made the expected freshman mistakes. Lots of improvement is needed now that ACC play is starting.

Sean Glennon played better than even I thought he would and I expected him to play well. Mastery of the offense, one mental mistake and 220 yards with a few TD's is a tremendous boost for his self-confidence. That will be sorely tested in a hostile environment on Saturday but he seems to be up to the challenge. If the offensive line gives him any time at all, I think he'll play well. Ike Whitaker is a massive talent. He is by no means ready in terms of mastery of the offense or managing the game, but when he learns those things Glennon would have to be playing at a Leinart-like level to keep ahead of Whitaker. Either way, in the long run, the team benefits. Watch as much of Whitaker as you can in his back-up role this season as he is just an exciting player.

Brandon Ore was magnificent and got the few carries I wanted him to get to preserve his health. If he stays healthy, he's the team MVP at the end of this season.

Kam Chancellor is 100% the real deal. Here is a true freshman playing in the first game of the season at a position he just started practicing at this summer. He had two big hits, a fumble recovery and an interception and he would have blocked the punt if Cary Wade hadn't gotten to it first. I know the stat sheet doesn't show the pick, but he made it. I saw the footage on Google video and it's indisputable. For some reason, they ruled it an INT on the field and OVERTURNED it in the replay booth. It's like the Aaron Rouse fumble return against NC State in the first game of last season, which was another instance where the video footage confirmed the correct call on the field of a fumble and somehow the booth overturned the field call. I don't know for certain, but I believe that there has not been a SINGLE CALL that has ever been made in Coach Beamer's favor from the replay booth. That karma has got to swing the other way at some point.

The middle of the field was very soft on defense. The Hokies speed was tremendous on the outside and Adibi and the secondary were flying all over the place like banshees. The defensive tackle play of Barry Booker and Carlton Powell was VERY weak. They couldn't occupy any offensive linemen much less get any penetration into the backfield and that allowed the linemen to get out and block Vince Hall and Aaron Rouse which provided a lot of runs up the middle for Northeastern. The tight end across the middle was another effective play against the Hokie defense. On the good side, the backup tackles - Taco Thompson and Kory Robertson - played much better than the first string and Robertson has even earned some more playing time beginning as soon as this weekend according to the coaching staff. The defense is very fast but they need that line to anchor them this season so someone needs to step up starting this weekend.

Finally. the emphasis on the special teams was obviously for real. Eddie Royal had a big return, the Hokies blocked two kicks and Pace made his field goal. The only weak spot was a bad kick by the backup kicker, Develli, but he won't be attempting many more field goals this season.

Well that's it. It's time for Hokie Nation to pack up and turn Chapel Hill, North Carolina into Blacksburg East.


UNC Preview

The Tarheels haven't made a name for themselves in the arena of football as contenders for a conference title, neither prior to nor after the ACC's expansion. They have, however, pulled off an upset or two any given season if not at least given a powerhouse team a run for their money. Last year, the 'Heels kept the Hokies on their heels until halftime, after which Virginia Tech finally broke the game open into a solid victory. But UNC will be looking to create another one of their spoiler upsets.

For starters, UNC has hired offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti from Fresno State. Remember how they crafted a near defeat of USC last year while the Trojans enjoyed the #1 BCS ranking? Running back Ronnie McGill will most likely serve as the 'Heels focal point on offense, but quarterback Joe Dailey will look to sophomore widereceiver Brooks Foster as well. UNC's offense has an even mix of experience and inexperience with starters including four seniors,three juniors, three sophomores, and one freshman. Foster and McGill were amongst UNC's overachievers during the loss to Rutgers. Foster caught for 120 yards of receiving. UNC will rely on him for most of their passing game. McGill rushed for ninety-four yards over fourteen carries.

On defense, UNC has six of their seven front line returning. The UNC defense will most likely try to take advantage of the inexperience of the Virginia Tech offensive line and also that of Sean Glennon. While Glennon performed well in his debut as the starting quarterback, he didn't have to perform under pressure very much. And one of the few times he did, the play ended with an interception. The UNC defense will most likely make their rush on Glennon the focal point of their strategy. While their line may have some success in containing the running game of Branden Ore (if they manage to improve their missed tackles from the Rutgers loss last week), they will have most of their problems covering in the secondary. Virginia Tech's wide receivers simply have too much ability in Josh Morgan, David Clowney, Eddie Royal, and Josh Hyman.

What this really comes down to is how well Virginia Tech's O-line will perform. Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi will almost certainly do their part to lead the Hokie defense in containing the Tarheel offense. Expect to see Virgina Tech's offensive line look a little disheveled towards the early part of the game given that this will be their first ACC contest of the season and then finding their footing before the end of the first half.

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