TECHSUPERFANS (TM) - THE NEWSLETTER
Well the Hokies came away with a big win in Chapel Hill. Hokie Nation turned out for the game in force and now the team comes back to Lane for a big game against Duke. Before we go in-depth this week, we at TSF would just like to take a minute and acknowledge backup RB George Bell. He isn't dressing out against the Blue Devils and due to the lack of full recovery on the knee injury he suffered as a junior in high school, he is very likely hanging up his cleats. Here is a player that joined the Hokies as a big name recruit back in 2004 and has done everything this coaching staff has asked of him. To a man, the staff says that Bell represents what a Hokie should be. He works hard and always gives his all, and now for the betterment of the rest of his life and his physical health, he has to give up the game he loves. His final carry may have been a fumble, but we'd prefer to remember him for the tough yards and touchdowns he scored despite his injuries over the past several seasons. George Bell will go on to other things outside of football, but we say that Hokie football is better for him having been a part of it. Best wishes young man.
Three Key Plays
1) With the Hokies down 3-0 in the first quarter, Xavier Adibi picks off a Joe Dailey pass and returns it to the 3 yard line. This play set-up the short field for the offense where they got the touchdown and took the steam out of the crowd and the Tar Heels.
2) Josh Morgan busts through the line and blocks a UNC punt setting up yet another short TD run by Branden Ore. This put the Hokies up 14-3 and added an exclamation point to the already clear statements about the return of BeamerBall this season.
3) Brendan Hill returns a Cam Sexton interception 69 yards for the nail-in-the-coffin TD, making the score 28-3. Much of the credit on this play goes to Vince Hall for applying heavy pressure to Sexton and forcing him to throw off his back foot underthrowing his receiver. If Hall doesn't force the bad throw it could have gone for 7 points the other way. Teams are trying to hide from Hall this year and his stats don't show it yet, but this guy is just a phenomenal linebacker.
Game Review - vs. UNC
by Brian "Where's the Ice?"
Sean Glennon took the field for the second time as the Hokies'starting quarterback. For most of the first half he and the VirginiaTech offense produced only seven points with a 1-yard run touchdown by running back Branden Ore. The half seemed like it would progress much like the first half of last year's contest between these two teams. However, the Hokies pulled seven more points away when Branden Ore ran for another 4-yard touchdown. The Hokies went into halftime with a 14-3 lead.
Early in the second half, Ore notched another 3-yard run into the endzone giving the Hokies a 21-3 lead. The defense also chipped in to get the job done on the scoreboard when linebacker Brendan Hill converted an interception into a 69-yard touchdown. Lastly the Hokie offense finished things off in Jeff King style with a 41-yard pass to tight end Greg Boone coming from backup quarterback Ike Whitaker.
In addition to Hill's interception touchdown, the Hokie defense came up with a total of three other interceptions over the course of the entire game which included a 40-yard runback by Xavier Adibi. Virginia Tech's special teams also got the job done with Josh Morgan's blocked punt in true Beamerball fashion.
Overall the Carolina offense didn't perform too poorly considering their ability to move the ball in the air. Quarterbacks Joe Dailey andCam Sexton threw for a combined 179 yards. On several drives they moved the ball deep into Hokie terriroty through the air. Virginia Tech's defense stood strong creating turnovers when they needed them, but Miami and Clemson aren't going to make those kinds of mistakes. They finish their drives. Had Dailey and Sexton not made the mental errors they did under the pressure of the oncoming Hokie defensive linemen, Hokie fans could have seen a very different game unfold. Considering the opponent, I expected Hokie defensive coordinator Bud Foster's squad to contain the UNC offense more so than they did, especially their passing game. On a positive note, this game did bring Virginia Tech fans back to the days when the defense produced as much offense as the actual offense themselves. That's also true Beamerball.
The irony of Carolina's success in the air goes hand-in-hand with Virginia Tech's reliance on their ground game. I don't know if Glennon hasn't grown comfortable with this passing game, but he madel ittle use of Virginia Tech's best offensive weapon, their wide receivers. This led to a measly total of 107 yards of passing againsta UNC defense whose most potent weapon on defense was the ability to stop the run. For Glennon to lead the Hokie offense past the likes of the Hurricanes, Tigers, and Eagles, they cannot run an offense so one-dimensional. Three touchdowns by Branden Ore marks for a great accomplishment, Glennon needs to develop his gametime ability to go to his receivers.
IT’S NOT BASKETBALL
By Anand “EhhTee” Trivedi
BLACKSBURG, VA – The Blue Devils of Duke University (0-2, 0-1) make the two and half hour road trip (two hours if you drive like me) from Durham, NC to “The ‘Burg” on Saturday. The game looks to be another early afternoon – I wish I were napping – sleepers. And yet, in all seriousness, this is a very important game for the Hokies.
The Hokies opened the 2006 season a strong 2-0 but many questions remain. The young offense has struggled early but also shows signs of steady improvement. The 14th ranked team should be able to roll fairly easily over the undersized, slower, and less athletic Blue Devils team who has been struggling even more than the Hokies.
Last season the Hokies rolled over the Devils 45-0. On defense the Hokies allowed Duke a mere 35 yards, the fewest yards allowed ever. The game is scheduled to kickoff at noon on Worsham Field in Lane Stadium.
The offense has struggled to get started in both of the first two games. There have been several false starts, fumbled snaps, and missed assignments. However, keep in mind only three of this year’s offensive starters had started in previous seasons.
Quarterback Sean Glennon #7, So.) is starting to grow comfortable at the helm. He’s beginning to look to third receivers. He’s also learning the ins and outs of the pocket. The schemes he’s been given have been fairly simple thus far. There have been a lot of quick slot passes, screens, and simple 5 or 3 step drops. Unlike some of the recent quarterbacks who had great speed and agility, Glennon will have to rely on his intelligence and awareness in the pocket to make big plays. Thankfully, these are two of his strong suits. In this – one might call it – final prep-game, Glennon will probably be given a chance to try out some of the more complicated plays in the offensive coach Bryan Stinespring’s playbook.
Glennon has to also hit tight end Greg Boone (#8 Fr.) with relative success. Maturing this option is important to give room to the rest of the stellar receiving core to open up for the big play.
Glennon will have to work on his exchanges with both the center Danny McGrath (#69, Sr.) and his two running backs Brandon Ore (#28, So.) and Elan Lewis (#38 So.). There have been numerous fumbles in these exchanges and if this doesn’t tighten up soon, it could cost the Hokies dearly.
Duke’s defense will be the best of the defenses Tech has seen thus far. The Devils allowed only 57 yards on the ground against Wake Forest and 105 yards against Richmond in their two losing efforts. However, Duke has yet to face a running force with the caliber of Tech’s.
Much can’t be said negatively regarding the performance of the defense to date. The backs are covering well and the unit, as a whole, has performed well. Watch for Brandon Flowers (#18, So. CB) to cover Duke’s Jomar Wright (#81, Jr. WR) and Victor Harris (#1, So. CB) to cover Raphael Chestnut (#86, So WR). These two corners should have little trouble with these two starters despite a slight height disadvantage. Wright and Chestnut racked up big yards against Wake Forest, but failed to score the big points.
A spot where the Hokies may need to tighten up is the coverage at the free safety spot. D.J. Parker (#25, Jr. FS) seemed to struggle early with his coverage. Conversely, Aaron Rouse (#36, Sr. SS) seems to be starting on the right foot with an interception in the end-zone in the second quarter against the Tarheels. These are two veteran players, and Parker should bounce back and cover well against Dukes receiving corps.
Blue Devils quarterback Thaddeus Lewis (#9) is a freshman. He started for the Blue Devils against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and played the majority of the game against the Richmond Spiders. Lewis got the start when, Blue Devils head coach Ted Roof's favorite to start, Zack Asack was dismissed from the team due to an honor code violation in one of his classes.
The Blue Devils offensive line is undersized and not fast. The largest of the Duke starting offensive line are two freshmen at guard and tackle. These two are the only two to break the 300 lb mark at 300 and 305 lbs. To compare, the smallest of the Hokie starting offensive line is RT Jr. Duane Brown at 286, but the next smallest is McGrath at 300. The largest, Nick Marshman (#67, So. LT) weighs in at a whopping 354.
The swarming Hokie defensive line will have little trouble with the run blocking and should make Lewis’s time in the pocket shorter than William Hung’s singing career.
Already this season, the Hokies have blocked three kicks in two games. Duke’s loss to Wake Forest came on the heels of a blocked field goal that would have given them the win. The Duke place-kicking will have it’s hands full as Beamer is sure to unleash the Hokies for the blocked kick. This has been key to the Hokies success at scoring as it has either given the Hokies points or valuable field position.
The Hokies on the field weren’t the only ones needing to work out those off-season kinks. The crowd, or the proverbial “twelfth man,” did not show up to play at this season's first home game. The crowd spent most of the game seated and only came alive once the shutout against Division 1-AA opponent Northeastern was threatened. It might have been an early game – the Duke game is at noon, which is even earlier – but it’s important for the crowd to show up. Last year, despite a disappointing loss, I saw the awe in the recruits' eyes and the mouthing of phrases like “Holy smith” and “You’ve got to be shipping me,” (Lip reading is a hobby of mine.) as they walked down Spring Road during “The Walk.”