Wednesday, October 22, 2008

3 Key Plays - VT vs. BC

1) The Hokies having just gone up 10-0 at the very beginning of the game have BC pinned in their own end. BC has the ball 1st and 10 on their own 27 and Eagles QB Chris Crane throws a short pass over the middle which Hokie safety Kam Chancellor times perfectly. Chancellor gets his hands on the ball and if he hangs on, the Hokies have a chance to change the entire face of the game and go up 3 scores, effectively making BC one-dimensional (which almost always leads to BeamerBall-type plays). At the very last second, as he turns to run with the ball, Chancellor loses his grip on the ball along with the game-changing momentum it would have created. BC goes on to score a TD on that drive and turned the entire first half back to their favor. Huge play.

2) Macho Harris had just returned a pick for a TD, bringing the Hokies to within 21-17 and 1:30 left in the first half. The Eagles are facing 3rd and 11 at their own 28 yard line and VT is about to head into halftime with all the momentum. Somehow, some way, in some impossible universe, Macho lets Eagles WR Brandon Robinson get behind him and Crane hits him on the run with an excellent deep ball for a 48 yard gain and the Eagles go on to score a TD to make it 28-17 and completely recapture the momentum. What Macho was thinking there on a deep cover 3 (where his only responsibility is to keep everyone on his third of the field in front of him) I couldn't tell you but it was insanely costly.

3) This is really the first time where a Key Play was actually TWO plays together. Obviously this was the 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1 sequence at the very beginning of the 4th quarter. I'll use the "M" word again and say that the momentum had just swung hard back to VT as they recovered a BC fumble on the BC 39 yd line trailing 28-20. 3rd and 1 from the BC 30 yd line and at this point, if you are the offensive coordinator, you know you have two plays to get the 1 yard. You should have already made the decision IF the Hokies don't convert here, you are going for it on 4th down and 1. I have no problem with a run from Hokie RB Darren Evans on either down. He is a big back and yes the entire stadium knows he is getting the ball, but giving it to him on either 3rd or 4th down isn't a bad idea because he is good. What murders my soul is that we didn't try anything else (either we didn't have a good play prepared during the week, or what, I couldn't tell you) on either of the other downs. A QB sneak, a play action fake roll-out which would have been the most wide open play in the history of football, considering how much BC expected a run, any other type of play on just ONE of the downs, would have led to a conversion. I don't ask for Boise State levels of creativity on offense, but in bigtime college football, the notion of just lining up and running it with your RB, twice in a row trying to gain 1 yard when the entire defense, which has spent the entire week studying your short yardage running game (and knows it from years past as well), puts everyone up on the line, man coverage on your outside guy, and jumps the running play, is just crazy. It flat out isn't acceptable, UNLESS, of course, if you take it upon yourself to call those runs consecutively like that and you have prepared the team to the level that they out-execute the opponent and you convert anyway. That would be fine, but that isn't what happened. What happened was guys falling down and poor execution AND zero creativity. That two play sequence was a microcosm of the offense the entire game, and frankly, the entire season.

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