Sunday, September 19, 2010

3 Key Plays - VT vs. ECU

1) Trailing 17-7 and with the weight of a 2 game losing streak on their shoulders, the Hokies faced 3rd and 20 from their own 19 yd-line with 13:00 left in the 2nd quarter. As he has done countless times in his career, QB Tyrod Taylor rose above the moment and calmly delivered a strike to WR Jarrett Boykin for a 1st down. Unfortunately, Boykin fumbled (how does a guy with hands that huge fumble the ball so much?) and went right to an ECU player who pounced on it......and then the ball squirted free and TE Andre Smith fell on the ball resulting in a 31 yd-gain for the Hokies and a first down. Tech went on to score to make the game 17-14 but the way the Hokie D played early, it could have easily been 24-7 if that fumble didn't escape the Pirates' grasp. HUGE play.

2) The Pirates recovered a Darren Evans fumble at the beginning of the 3rd quarter and had driven down for a 1st and 10 from the Hokie 13 yd line. Already ahead 24-21, a TD would have been big here for ECU. On that first down play, Pirate RB Jonathan Williams was driven out of bounds by S Davon Morgan for no gain and Williams grabbed Morgan's facemask and dragged him down by it as he went down. Just as on defense, an offensive player cannot pull a defender's facemask. It was a 15 yd penalty and the Hokie defense held the Pirates to a FG keeping the game within striking distance.

3) In the 4th quarter, with 13:30 left in the game and the Hokies ahead 35-27, the Pirates were putting together their one good drive of the 2nd half. From the Hokie 36 yd-line on 1st and 10, QB Dominique Davis dropped back and tried to hit the quick out, but CB Rock Carmichael jumped the route, picked the ball off and then willed himself to the endzone despite getting hit at the 15-yd line. The score put the game out of reach and lit a fire in the Hokie defense which played fantastic the entire 4th quarter to close the game out.


Anonymous said...

Is it time to face the awkward truth that David Wilson is a better back than Darren Evans? Evans is good, no doubt, but DW can be great. When watching the yards he got against ECU, i just don't see Evans getting those. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but i think one of DW's td runs illustrates this really well. There are very few backs that would have scored on that play.

Also, how interesting is this nickel package? Maybe it was just a response to ECU's offensive scheme, but I gotta believe Bud wants to get the best ballers out there and right now our personnel is stronger in the secondary than up front.


MadJay said...

You've made two very interesting observations that look good not only on the surface, but below the surface as well. However, I'd like to look even deeper.

First of all, David Wilson is a very different kind of back than Darren Evans (and Ryan Williams for that matter). To say "better" ignores the value of a guy like Darren Evans who is big and strong and honestly, has the best vision of the three RB's in my opinion. Williams is more explosive/better acceleration and change of direction, and Wilson is faster, but when you need the run to go where the run is supposed to go, Evans is going to get damn near the maximum yards that play is going to get.

That sort of physical running takes its toll on a defense over a game and makes for much more effective running at the end of a game, which we should have seen more of against Boise State. (I'll take Stinespring's Personnel Management for $1000, Alex). So I think there's a lot of value in a back like Evans and I think it's pitiful that it takes an injury to Ryan Williams to get him and Wilson used more in a game. By the way, who had a higher per carry average against ECU? Yes, it was Darren Evans.

Regarding the nickel, I think it's really the best defense VT can put on the field against CERTAIN OFFENSES. Boise State and ECU are two perfect examples of the offenses where you want that lineup on D, and as more teams go to a spread-type offense, you'll start to see the 4-2-5 played more and more, not only at Tech but around the country.

HOWEVER, looking at the Hokies' next 2 opponents, BC and NC State, they need a heavy dose of gap fill. And I just think that Gouviea-Winslow, despite having a piss-poor day against JMU, is better at playing assignment football and bigger and stronger than Eddie Whitley or Antone Exum. If he settles into his fundamentals on tackling, just as you saw many other young players on the Hokie defense do in the 2nd half against ECU, I believe JGW provides the best option at whip against the next two opponents. And I bet Bud will play nickel sparingly the next few weeks unless JGW doesn't improve his tackling (highly doubtful, but possible). Hopefully Tweedy will have recovered enough to play the spot by then.

Anonymous said...

I hear you on the different styles of running back. And I realize that Evans had more yards per carry, but I still think if you could have some perfect experiment where you swapped the plays each one ran that DW would come out ahead. Of course, that's complete conjecture, but DW seems to be on a different level to me.

Now a two back rotation is great as you point out. So this is really a moot point. And when RmfW comes back he'll get his carries and DE will soften up the D as the proverbial 2 in the 1-2 punch. Meanwhile, Wilson will have to return to a limited role in the offense. I don't know that there is anything to be done about this, I just find it a bit uncomfortable.

On last thing about the nickel. Hasn't a hallmark of Bud's D been the versatility of the whip position and the ability to effectively play a 4-2-5 without changing personnel? I'm not as well versed in this as some, but I cannot ever remember seeing this before. I was also surprised by the number of times the Hokies D lined up with three down lineman. It'll be interesting to see what Bud puts on the field for BC.

Illinois Hokie said...

Am I the only one who thinks that Evans hasn't lost a step to his knee injury? He looks to me like he's completely back in 2008 form except for the poor ball security.

Remember that Evans only had 4 games over 100 yards in 2008. He's never been a razzle-dazzle back. He's more of a run-through-you-and-make-you-cry-for-your-mommy back. And to me it looks like that's exactly the kind of running he's been doing so far this year.

I think some people are judging Evans' return against the backdrop of what Ryan Williams accomplished last season.

MadJay said...

Skelator, don't get me wrong, I want DW in the game. And I HATE that it took an injury to RMFW to get him in there. The carries should have been divvied up less tilted towards Williams so that Evans and Wilson had a chance to tote the rock both against Boise State and JMU. I'd also like to see Wilson on the field in the slot receiver position, in the Wildcat, in more of a Percy Harvin role.

The whip is versatile, but if you know it's going to be 80% pass plays, you really probably want someone better in pass coverage against backs and receivers on the field. The hybrid position is more valuable against offenses that are more run/pass balanced because of their versatility.