Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Heisman

Just a quick note before we begin work on the Sugar Bowl preview regarding last night's Heisman presentation. I have belittled the Heisman on this blog quite often, because there have been countless times that the award hasn't gone to the most outstanding player (hell just the past two years it's gone to a player who should have been ineligible in Cam Newton and a RB on the national title team instead of the best defensive tackle that's played college football in 15 years). It's only fair that I give credit when the award finally goes to the right player.

This year, in a chain of events that even I find unbelievable, the Heisman committee made the right choice and awarded the Heisman to Robert Griffin III. If you watched him play at all this year, you would agree. The number of big throws he made in big games, in leading traditional doormat Baylor to their best record in ages, all while playing with essentially a non-existent defense (they were #114 in the nation), deserved to be recognized. There was a point in time 3-4 games into the season when the guy had more touchdowns than INCOMPLETIONS.

And though I think Andrew Luck is going to make a better NFL QB and he can wipe away his tears with $100 bills in April, RGIII was the most outstanding player in college football this year and I wish him the best whether he stays in school for his senior year to try and win it again or comes out in the draft in April.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Shots Fired On Campus; Policeman Shot, One more victim

Please visit for latest information.

Update - 13:47 -
If you have any information regarding this incident, please call the tip line at: 540-231-6411.

Update - 13:55 -
Officer and second person shot and died. During a routine traffic stop in the Cassell Coliseum parking lot, a police officer has been shot by suspect. Suspect took off on foot in the direction of the Cage. Suspect is at large and is potentially armed and dangerous. Shelter in place. Stay indoors.

Update - 14:16 -
No news from campus at this time. Roughly two hours into the incident. Andy Bitter was in the middle of his live chat at the time the incident occurred. Andy Bitter

Reaction by Virginia Tech administration was immediate and swift. Alarms signalling the lockdown were blaring across campus within minutes of the initial incident. Students and faculty were immediately alerted via text, twitter, and the web.

This is an ongoing matter as students prepare for finals which are scheduled to start tomorrow.
Multiple jurisdictions of officers are on site. Virginia State Police has taken over investigation. Police are sweeping building by building. Reports indicated Squires Student Center has been cleared.
Montgomery County Public Schools are also on lockdown. Parents being informed that schools will not be let out on time this afternoon.
Multiple reports of additional shootings are unfounded. Right now, only known shootings are the original two.
A Wahoo just brought up a good point. Unless you are directly affected, try to stay off of so that those that are can get access to the site for information that they need.
Finals for Friday Dec. 9th postponed.
Update - 15:12 -
Virginia Tech spokesperson Mark Owczarski reports that status of suspect is unknown. Information about second victim is still unknown.
Update - 15:56 -
Montgomery County Schools are being dismissed. Expect school buses to arrive home 60 to 90 minutes late.

High schools and middle schools will be dismissed first. Followed by elementary schools. Parents can pick up children in an orderly manner at the schools.
Update - 16:27 -
Press conference starting shortly. Unconfirmed report coming from NBC-Washington that the gunman is the second body found in the Cage.

Virginia Tech Police confirm that a weapon was found near the second body.
From Virginia Tech on Facebook: "Law enforcement agencies have determined there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place. Resume normal activities."
Update - 16:39 -
Confirmed from LEO, suspect is the second victim. Suspect is also suspected of an armed robbery and carjacking in Radford, VA.

Live stream of press conference.
Police not releasing name of slain officer nor information regarding the second victim found in the Cage due to on going investigation.
Suspect was not in the vehicle that was stopped by the officer. According to VA State Police, the suspect "walked up to the officer."
VT ALERT was used 6 times, including within 7-8 minutes of the initial 9-1-1 call.
The press conference is winding down. Campus appears to be safe. Blacksburg Transit has resumed service.

I'm going to sign off for now. I will see what more I can find out and update you as I can. The official word is that campus is now safe and the case is still under investigation and details are not being released as of yet.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

TSF - Final Regular Season

Well, we seem to agree. OSU got snubbed.

Clemson Aftermath - The Review

Now that I've had a few days to take in the highs and lows of the weekend, I feel I'm ready to say my piece about the Clemson game. As MadJay pointed out, we can look back on this game and clearly see that one play defined the entire feel of the game. From that moment on, my entire gut kept saying the Hokies were done for.

The Logan Thomas fumble as it would be, was what it was. However, the thing I keyed on most was his reaction to the play on the sideline. He was frustrated and that frustration carried on to the field not only through Thomas, but others such as David Wilson and Jarrett Boykin and much of the offensive front.

Monday, December 05, 2011

BCS gives up all pretense and drops the "C"

Bear with me my Calm and Beloved Reader, I have a lot to get off my chest here. This weekend took a heavy toll on me. It started with the Hokie loss in the ACC Title game where they didn't play well and got whooped in front of the entire country in primetime. It followed with a Dallas Cowboy loss on Sunday and then a young Hokie basketball team played their worst half of basketball of the season in a 2nd half collapse while hosting Kansas State, and lost that game as well. I've said it before, but it only gets more true - I am getting too old for this sh...tuff.

3 Key Plays - VT vs. Clemson

There were a lot of big plays in this game. Some critical penalties and missed penalties (the pass interference call on Jarrett Boykin was EXACTLY the same type of play that the refs flagged as pass interference on a Clemson defensive back later in the game and in both cases there was no pass interference by either player on the play), a blocked punt that was called roughing the punter, missed horse collar, missed late hit, etc. The Tigers also executed some fantastic plays on offense that were big-time well-run plays. But after watching the game an excruciating second time, I honestly feel deep in my heart this game was won and lost on one play. I'll explain afterwards, since many of you will disagree.

1) 12:03 left in the 1st quarter and the Hokies took over for their first series. First play from scrimmage after all the hype and hubbub and what happens? For the 2nd time this season, a Logan Thomas fumble on the first Hokie offensive play. And the Tigers recovered and went on to score.

There are several reasons I boil the game down to this play. The Tigers came into the ACC Championship game with very low confidence. The Hokies were riding high on a 7 game win streak looking to avenge their only loss. The Tigers got the ball first....and proceeded to get stopped short of midfield. They punted and the Hokies took over. A good first drive for even a FG would have planted the only seeds of doubt the Hokies needed. Hell, even a few first downs and a punt wouldn't have given Clemson the spark it needed to get out of the 4 game funk they had been in.

And what play was it that the fumble occurred on? A read-option. Playcaller Mike O'Cain proceeded to avoid that read-option play like the plague, only using it twice more the entire first half. The read-option was a critical cog in the Hokie offensive machine in the latter part of the season and a bad result on that first play kept them away from it.

As the first half ended 10-10 I really felt like the game was lost when I was watching it the first time. Because Clemson had all they needed to know - they were in the game. As I said in the preview, that confidence was the only thing lacking because they certainly had all the weapons. If you've ever played competitive sports you understand the critical importance of psychology. It affects one's ability to focus and to execute. Good plays feed on themselves and so do bad plays. In fact a sign of great coaching is the ability to convince a team to forget the last play and move on to the next one.

Against Clemson during the regular season, early game mistakes convinced Clemson they belonged in the game, in that type of hostile environment in Lane Stadium. They played with confidence and they had (and have) a ton of great weapons. The result was 23-3. In the ACC title game, this early mistake by the Hokies jolted the Tigers out of their slump and while I'll concede that if the game had been refereed fairly and Jayron Hosley hadn't gotten injured, who knows what would have happened, I will still conclude that if the Hokies had NOT turned that ball over but instead had gone on a good drive, the Hokies would have been ACC champs.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Game Preview - ACC Championship 2011

Life has a funny way of turning out some times. In 2007, I watched in the pouring rain as the the Hokies lost one of the most heartbreaking games I can remember, 14-10 to Boston College. We didn't know it at the time but it ended up keeping the Hokies out of the national title game that year. However, in the postgame locker room, team leader Macho Harris gathered the team around him and said "This is a minor setback for a major comeback". That line - from a Dirty South record by Lil' Keke - was on Macho's iPod at the time and he had listened to it before the game. He turned that line into a mantra for the team and they responded, winning the rest of their games and going to the ACC title game where they faced Boston College. They capped the season by defeating the Eagles in the rematch and Harris' prophetic words came true as the Hokies won the ACC title.

Earlier this year, after the Hokies devastating defeat to the Clemson Tigers in Lane Stadium, they were knocked out of national title contention again. Very painful, life-shortening type of stuff for old men like me. But this time in the postgame locker room, despite the fact that individual players were very emotional, they didn't have the team gathered around them. David Wilson raged and Logan Thomas tried to accept responsibility for the loss. But it wasn't a player who rallied the team, rather it was Coach Beamer who put the team on its current mission. I have never heard Beamer say anything like this to his players but he told them "I promise you, if you will stick together, don't blame this guy, or blame that guy but stick together and I promise you, go write it down, we will get another chance to play them in the ACC Championship game."

Monday, November 28, 2011

One last bonus post

I only post this on TechSuperfans because this was in a game between Marshall and ECU this past weekend and the Hokies played and beat both of them earlier this year. Anyway, prior to this game, the best two catches I ever saw in my life were this catch by Tyrone Prothro 5 years ago and this catch at the 1:45 mark of this video by Charles Rogers 9 years ago.

But on Saturday, I bumped those catches down one spot because this is now the greatest catch I've ever seen.

Game Review - VT vs. Virginia

Thanksgiving doesn't get much better than that does it? Two Hokie wins in basketball and one of the worst smashings in the history of the Virginia Tech-Virginia rivalry as they blanked the Wahoos 38-0 in Charlottesville. It was the first shutout of the season for Coach Foster and Co., the first home shutout for the Cavaliers in DECADES and a proud weekend for Fighting Gobblers everywhere to be sure. Let's get to the meat and potatoes.

3 Key Plays - VT vs. Virginia

1) After going up 7-0, the Hokies were unable to keep the Cavaliers from marching down the field on the Cavs best drive of the day. The Hoos took it 73 yards down to Hokie 7 yd-line where they faced a 4th and 2. Trying to make a statement, Coach London decided to go for it and called the same running play that won the game against Florida State the week before. It was the Hokies who made the statement, instead. LB Jack Tyler who played great football all day, knifed in past the guard and got enough of RB Kevin Parks' leg to knock the back off balance where he was finished off by a contingent of Hokies short of the first down. The Hokie offense didn't do anything with the ball, but the tone for the day had been set. The defending ACC champions had made their point.

2) The Hokies were ahead 14-0 late in the 2nd quarter when the Cavs mounted their 2nd best drive of the day, getting all the way to the Tech 20 yd line. With less than a minute to go in the half, QB Michael Rocco dropped back and Kyle Fuller came on the blitz. Fuller made a spectacular play, getting both hands on the ball and knocking it to the ground and Mr. Everywhere Jack Tyler was there to fall on the loose ball. The UVa threat ended, the Hokies went into halftime with all the momentum.

3) The momentum was evident as the Hokies drove the field on the opening possession of the third quarter. With 11:00 left in the third, RB David Wilson took the handoff and dashed 27 yards into the end zone, delivering a dismissive stiff arm on the UVa safety at the 3 yd line. This was the dagger in the heart for the Cavs as they seemed to lose all their steam and realized the fate that awaited the Commonwealth Cup was a trip back to its 8-yr home in Blacksburg for yet another 365 days.

TSF Poll (through games ending 11/26/11)

Controversy. Is Tech as good as it's #3 ranking in the Coaches Poll. The computers like Oklahoma State better. One could say that OSU has no defense. One could say Tech has beat no one. Clemson and Georgia Tech didn't help Tech's case this pass weekend either.

1 LSU (3) 75
2 Stanford 71
3 Alabama 69
4 Oklahoma State 63
4 Virginia Tech 63
6 Boise State 60
7 Oregon 53
8 Southern Cal 51
9 Houston 50
10 Georgia 47
11 Arkansas 45
11 Michigan State 45
13 South Carolina 39
14 Michigan 38
15 Oklahoma 35
16 Wisconsin 34
17 Kansas State 27
18 Nebraska 20
19 Baylor 19
20 Texas 18
21 Clemson 12
21 Penn State 12
23 West Virginia 10
24 Texas Christian 9
25 Cincinnatti 4
25 Southern Miss 4

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Real quick... I'm glad I don't have to remove that counter to the right for at least another 366 days!

Go Hokies! Beat Clemson!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Commonwealth Cup and More... Much More

Bedlam. The Iron Bowl. The Red River Shootout. The Great Cocktail Party. The Backyard Brawl. Sibling Rivalry. Army-Navy. The Holy War (the Boston College vs. Notre Lame one). Border War (which, by the way, is a football game that has traditions that lead back to an actual war between Missouri and Kansas that started before and led into the Civil War). These rivalries and more are among the reasons why I love college football.

The Commonwealth Cup earns its place among these games as one of the great storied rivalries. The Cavaliers and Hokies have met ninety-two times with the Hokies taking fifty of them. The first of these games took place back before they had the Internet in 1895. Early on, the Cavaliers dominated -- winning the first eight meetings. To be fair, the Virginia Agriculture and Mechanical College Fighting Gobblers were a young squad back then. Only coming into existence three seasons prior, the Gobblers got blanked 38-0 to open that season. [The Cavaliers started playing football in 1888.] Despite the loss, the Gobblers were able to achieve a 4-2 season that year!

I know right! Only six games in a season!? [Later that season the school was renamed and so was the mascot.]

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

TSF Poll (Week ending 11/19)

Upset Saturday has us all scratching our heads. LSU vs Alabama is the obvious choice right now for the national title. I think few would argue that they are the best two teams in the nation and despite it being a rematch it is the right game to play. Unless of course, Arkansas manages to knock of LSU...

Tech Escapes Senior Day Scare

First of, I apologize for the late review. Various factors, including fixing the toilets (yes all of them) in my house before 30 people descend upon my house for Fogo de Turkey (a Tuesday night version of Turkey Day.) So, secondly, I apologize again for this review will be short and sweet.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

3 Key Plays - VT vs. North Carolina

1) At the 2:28 mark of the first quarter, things were looking TERRIBLE for the Hokies. Trailing 7-0, they saw the Tarheels taking a snap on first and goal from the 5 yard line. UNC RB Ryan Houston got the carry, Luther Maddy grabbed his legs and Antone Exum playing from the rover spot for the first time this season, came in high and hit Houston. The ball popped out and Derrick Hopkins fell on it, causing a GINORMOUS swing in momentum which carried the Hokies on the best drive they've had all season - a 95 yard TD drive to tie up the game 7-7. Basically it was a 14 point swing on the fumble and transformed the game.

2) WIth 4:49 left in the 2nd quarter, UNC RB Giovani Bernard took the carry off the left side and ran 11 yards for a first down. It gave him 10 carries for 45 yards at that point and he was badly hurting the Hokies throughout the first half. But this time there was unintentional helmet-to-helmet contact on the play and Bernard left the game with a concussion. The UNC offense would go dormant until the 4th quarter, not scoring a point until there were 7 minutes left in the game.

3) This play is the very definition of the 3 Key Plays segment. One of those plays that you just don't realize at the time how huge it is. With 12:10 left in the game, the Hokies were ahead 24-7, but UNC was driving. The Heels had 2nd and 9 from the Hokie 13 yard line. Kyle Fuller came off the right side on a blitz and popped UNC QB Bryn Renner for a 7 yard loss on the play. The subsequent play on 3rd down was incomplete and UNC kicker Thomas Moore came in to try and 37 yard FG. It fell 2 yards short. If Kyle Fuller doesn't get that sack, the FG would have been long enough. And what was the final margin of victory for Virginia Tech? 3 points. It could very well have been a game-winning sack and it came with 12 minutes left in the game.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Game Preview - VT vs. UNC

This game coming up on Thursday against the Tarheels is an odd game. If the Hokies win, they keep their momentum going, on a Thursday night home game when the crowd will be nuts, and it will put all the pressure on Virginia to have to beat Florida State on Saturday. If they lose.........they can still reach the goal of the ACC title game by beating Virginia the following week no matter what happens in the Virginia-FSU game on Saturday.

Allstate Tailgate Tour

I'm posting this only because it sounds fun and I wish I could be there for it.


WHAT:  The Allstate Tailgate Tour, a unique and interactive fan experience visiting college football stadiums across the country, is heading to Blacksburg this week as the Virginia Tech Hokies take on the North Carolina Tar Heels on Thursday, November 17.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Game Review - VT vs. Georgia Tech

There's a new feeling in the air around Virginia Tech football. Yes, the Hokies beat Georgia Tech 37-26 on Thursday to take a commanding lead in the ACC Coastal Division, but that isn't new territory. After all, the Hokies have either been in position to win or won the Coastal Division every year since joining the ACC in 2004. And every year they've beaten the Yellow Jackets, they've won the Coastal Division. But that new feeling this year? It's OFFENSE.

TSF Poll (Through 11/13/11)

With Boise State and Stanford losing, there was some shake up at the top. We're down to three undefeated teams (2 in AQ conferences.) The Hokies move up two spots with the Tigers close behind. There are still two regular season games to play and each are very important for the Hokies if they wish to ponder the rematch in the ACCCG.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

3 Key Plays - VT vs. Georgia Tech

This was the easiest 3 Key Plays I can ever remember doing. There were dozens of plays made all night long by both teams but the three most important in the outcome of the game were blatantly obvious.

1) After taking over at their own 12-yd line, the Hokies were in the midst of one of their most promising drives of the season. They were in the process of answering a Georgia Tech score that had cut VT's lead to 21-19 and were re-capturing the momentum with several huge third down conversions. And then, at the 7:31 mark of the 3rd quarter, after driving all the way down to the GT 19 yd-line, RB David Wilson took the ball on 1st and 10 and after scooting through a hole, Yellow Jacket LB Julian Burnett got his hand on the football and knocked it out. Georgia Tech recovered and the air came out of the Hokies' sails. Wilson has had a remarkable season but these fumbles can be game changing and he just has to carry that ball tighter to his body when he runs on the inside like that. This fumble led to another GT touchdown which gave them the lead and all the momentum back.

2) After recapturing the momentum, GT had the Hokies pinned deep on a 3rd and 19. Trailing 26-19, things were looking ugly for the Hokies. QB Logan Thomas dropped back at the 3:15 mark of the third quarter and not finding anyone open he took a hit for a sure sack. The game was slipping away. But Logan Thomas didn't give up. He didn't quit driving his legs and fighting the three Yellow Jackets trying to bring him down or take the ball away. Finally as the refs blew the whistle, Yellow Jacket LB Jeremiah Attaochu punched Thomas in the head out of frustration. The scene was eerily reminiscent of J.R. Collins losing his temper and throwing the ball at Jacory Harris in the Miami game, giving the Canes a free first down when they had been stopped. In this case, the personal foul gave the Hokies a first down and they proceeded to drive the field, converting it into points and a lead they would never relinquish. And Attaochu assured himself of a suspension for next week's game.

3) With 11:54 left in the game and VT clinging to a 1 point lead, they faced 4th and 1 from the Georgia Tech 22 yd-line. Yes, the Hokies had just stopped the Jackets on a 4th down play a few minutes earlier but it would be for nothing if they didn't convert here. Logan Thomas, on a QB sneak, DROVE the pile forward for 5 yards and a first down. VT would go on to score a critical touchdown on the drive. Coach Beamer showed a lot of guts, not kicking the 39 yd FG to make it a 4 point game. He really put the entire game on the offensive line and Thomas' shoulders. And those young men delivered.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Triple Option Smoption

Here we go! The battle of the Techs once again has big implications in the ACC title race. Since the formation of the divisions the winner of this game has gone on to represent the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship Game. While neither team can lock it in with a win, the winner will definitely be in the drivers seat.

What's more, both teams will be coming off bye weeks. Both teams will be rested. Georgia Tech is returning some key starters on offense (see Hokies on Defense). In all, this is a big test for the Hokies.

The nation's 2nd best rushing offense vs. the nation's 6th best rushing defense. Not only is a potent offense it's also one that most teams rarely face and have trouble preparing for. Rushing for 328 yards a game, the Yellow Jackets come out with the spread option offense. This is a very intelligent offense that can cause several headaches if executed to the level that Coach Paul Johnson has been able to. Despite slipping two games to Virginia and Miami, the Jackets bounced back knocking off Clemson with 383 yards on the ground. Quarterback Tevin Washington had 176 of those yards -- a Georgia Tech record for a quarterback -- and knocked the Tigers out of contention for the national title.

TSF Poll (through 11/06)

1 LSU (3) 75
2 Oklahoma State 70
3 Alabama 68
3 Stanford 68
5 Boise State 64
6 Oregon 57
7 Arkansas 56
8 Houston 53
9 Virginia Tech 50
10 Clemson 48
11 Oklahoma 46
12 Penn State 45
13 Cincinnati 41
14 Michigan State 28
15 Georgia 23
15 Wisconsin 23
17 South Carolina 22
18 Georgia Tech 21
19 Texas 20
20 Southern Cal 19
21 Michigan 18
21 Nebraska 18
23 Kansas State 17
24 Southern Miss 16
25 Arizona State 5

Thursday, November 03, 2011

TSF Poll (through 10/29)

Clemson's loss dropped them six spots. It really is a shame because they were playing so well. Georgia Tech will be tough next week.
1 Alabama (2) 73
2 LSU 72
3 Oklahoma State (1) 69
4 Stanford 67
5 Boise State 64
6 Michigan 49
6 Nebraska 49
6 Oregon 49
9 Houston 47
10 Virginia Tech 46
11 Arkansas 44
11 Clemson 44
13 Oklahoma 43
13 South Carolina 43
15 Penn State 40
16 Kansas State 36
17 Cincinnati 31
18 Michigan State 21
19 Wisconsin 17
20 Georgia 15
21 Southern Miss 11
22 Southern Cal 10
23 Texas 9
24 Arizona State 8
24 West Virginia 8

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hokies Squeeze Past Duke

Get on the bus and get the [bleep] out of Dodge.

The Hokies managed a victory against the Blue Devils but it wasn't pretty. Turnovers, penalties, and a whole mess of issues should have resulted in a massive defeat, but the Hokies were able to hold on and leave Durham with a 14-10 victory.

This was a game as ugly as it was good as it was bad.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

3 Key Plays - VT vs. Duke

1) Again, early plays in this game set the tone as the Hokies had the ball on 3rd and 10 from the Duke 15 yard line on their opening series. They had intercepted Duke QB Sean Renfree and an early score here would have been just the type of play to knock the belief out of the Blue Devils. Unfortunately WR Marcus Davis, who has been alternatively spectacular and lazy, chose Saturday's game to be lazy. He didn't run his route on this play and Duke safety Matt Daniels who has stood out this season and was particularly phenomenal in this game, was all too happy to step up and intercept the ball on the 2 yd-line returning it 40 yards and ending the Hokie threat. If the Hokies come out this flat against Georgia Tech in two weeks, they will get crushed.

2) The Hokies were protecting a 14-10 lead but Duke had the ball and a 3rd and 5 from the Hokies' 13 yd-line with 12:45 left in the game. Duke found their TE Cooper Helfet out in the flat with an easy path to the first down and maybe more. CB Kyle Fuller came flying up and got low on Helfet, making an huge open field tackle and stopping the Devils 3 yds short of the first down. Duke settled for a 29-yd FG attempt which K Will Snyderwine missed, making Fuller's stop even more huge. It wasn't his best play of the game, however.

3) You guessed it - 4:45 left in the game, Duke down 14-10 has a 4th and 2 from the Hokies 15 yd-line. QB Sean Renfree rolled out on a run-pass option (something I wish Tech would do more on offense), but Kyle Fuller made one of the best plays of the season. He saw the RB was headed to the flat to be the pass option, so he hit him at the line of scrimmage and the back fell down. Fuller was knocked back by the contact but kept his balance and then ran down Renfree and made another huge open field tackle to prevent Renfree from making the first down and essentially preserving the win.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Uh-Oh Cavs Look Dangerous

It looks like the Mike London era may have jump-started itself a bit earlier. Virginia might be a real threat this year.

Mike London was hired as the head coach at Virginia after our all-time favorite Cavalier coach Al Groh was fired at the end of the 2009 season.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Game Preview - VT vs. Duke

This game between the Hokies and the Blue Devils on Saturday is the very definition of a trap game. The Hokies have made it through the first part of their schedule and despite losing tons of different players at various points during the season due to injury (most of whom are on defense) they have made it to this point with a 3-1 record in the conference which puts them on top of the Coastal Division. And next week is a MUCH, MUCH needed bye week where some of the banged up players will get a chance to recharge their batteries as the team gears up for an enormous divisional game against Georgia Tech in Atlanta on a Thursday night.

That combined with the fact that Duke has historically not been very competitive in the ACC makes it far too easy for the Hokies to overlook this week's opponent. And while Duke is the weakest ACC opponent the Hokies will play this season (BC only lost to the Blue Devils because of a fluke miss on a 19 yd-FG attempt), I think we've seen what can happen when the Hokies don't come to play with the necessary concentration and effort. The game-that-won't-be-named from last season was in Lane Stadium and was against an opponent far worse than the Blue Devils. So it's obviously possible for Tech to lose a road game against an ACC opponent. And the only thing that works in Tech's favor this time, as crazy as this sounds, is the injuries.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TSF Poll (Through games ending 10/22/11)

Once again the three of us are split on our number ones. Wisconsin fell seven spots. Look who they're tied with! Michigan State! The team that beat them this past weekend.
1 LSU (1) 73
2 Alabama (1) 72
3 Oklahoma State (1) 68
3 Stanford 68
5 Boise State 61
5 Clemson 61
7 Kansas State 59
8 Virginia Tech 47
9 Oregon 46
10 Michigan State 43
10 Wisconsin 43
12 Arkansas 38
13 Houston 37
14 Michigan 35
14 Nebraska 35
16 Penn State 34
16 South Carolina 34
18 Oklahoma 33
19 USC 22
20 Cincinnati 21
21 Texas A&M 13
22 Georgia 6
23 Illinois 5
23 Texas 5
25 Arizona State 4

Monday, October 24, 2011

Another Slow Start Victory Against Eagles

The Hokies once again found themselves working against themselves. After a stalled drive, Michael Branthover shanked the punt in what can only be accounted for as a freshman mistake. The Eagles took advantage and scored from the 35-yard line in three plays. Thankfully, the defense stood up and did not allow another point until the fourth quarter.

In fact, the defense did not allow a drive for longer than 47 yards causing six punts in a row including two three and outs. The 47 yard drive resulted in an interception by Tariq Edwards. In short, the defense ran a clinic. The Hokies had another game where they held the opponent to few than 100 yards rushing. Chase Rettig managed 13 of 30 for 181 yards but really most of that came on the first and second to last drives -- the two scoring drives.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

3 Key Plays - VT vs. Boston College

1) After doing absolutely nothing with the ball on their first series, the Hokies still had a chance to keep the momentum balanced. Unfortunately, freshman punter Michael Branthover showed that he is, after all, still a freshman. Despite averaging 42 yds/kick coming into the contest, Branthover shanked a 9 yarder off the side of his foot giving BC the ball on the Hokie 30 yd line. The Eagles converted that into a TD, which despite being their only score of the first 55 minutes of the game kept them in it for most of the game. A good punt could have changed the entire complexion as the Eagles just couldn't break the Hokie defense the rest of the way and there's no reason to think they could have moved it 70-80 yards on that first possession either.

2) 3rd and 3 with 12:25 remaining in the 3rd quarter. The Hokies are down 7-6 but have at least shown a little life at the beginning of the 2nd half. QB Logan Thomas runs the option, splits two defenders, makes a perfect pitch to RB David Wilson and Wilson is off to the races. He gets a great block on the edge by Danny Coale and another by Marcus Davis and Wilson breaks a tackle at the 10 yd line to stay in bounds and leap into the endzone giving the Hokies a 13-7 lead they would never relinquish.

3) 1st and 10 at the Hokie 22 yd line, BC is driving in response to the VT score. Only down 13-7, it looks like the Eagles are going to get either a FG or a TD out of this drive, making it a close game yet again. With Hokie defenders dropping like flies due to injury, one man steps into a role he's familiar with. Sr LB Barquell Rivers, a starter on the 2009 squad, filling in for Bruce Taylor now, rushes BC QB Chase Rettig, forcing him into a throw as he takes the hit. Fellow LB Tariq Edwards makes a leaping grab for the interception at the Hokie 11 yd-line. The Hokies would proceed to score on the ensuing drive, essentially putting the game out of reach. A rich reward for Rivers who has fought so hard to overcome a devastating quad injury that took the NFL out of his future. He made a play for his brothers and helped the Hokies get the win.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Boston College Woes Likely To Continue At Tech

Boston College has had a miserable year to date. At 1-5 (0-3), their only win was against an FCS team, Massachusetts. Their first three losses were to teams that have a combined record of 8-10. Their last few losses were to Wake Forest and Clemson.

Boston College is 105th in scoring offense. Statistically, they find themselves in the bottom third of all FBS teams in almost every offensive category. Chase Rettig managed to complete 13 of 20 passes but only for 129 yards in their last game, a loss to Clemson. On the ground they rushed for 126 yards.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tech SuperFans 2011 Poll Debuts

# Team (# first place votes) Pts.
1 Alabama (1) 71
1 LSU (1) 71
3 Wisconsin 67
4 Oklahoma State (1) 66
5 Stanford 63
6 Oklahoma 61
7 Boise State 56
8 Clemson 55
8 Kansas State 55
10 Arkansas 41
11 Oregon 40
11 Virginia Tech 40
13 West Virginia 37
14 Nebraska 34
15 South Carolina 31
16 Michigan 25
16 Michigan State 25
16 Washington 25
19 Georgia Tech 21
20 Penn State 20
21 Houston 16
22 Illinois 11
23 Cincinnati 9
23 Southern Cal 9
25 Auburn 7

Monday, October 17, 2011

Game Review - VT vs. Wake Forest

The Miami game last week was the one of the top 5 Hokie football games I've ever seen. But the Hokies 38-17 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday in Winston Salem was Tech's best performance of the season. The way this entire team played from the 2nd quarter until the end of the game was phenomenal. If they can play at that level the remainder of the season, then competing for an ACC Championship is definitely possible. Unfortunately, they also showed in the first quarter that they are capable of being as flat as a pancake and as unfocused as my 3 yr old. If they play like that, they are also capable of losing the rest of the games on their schedule. But before I go through some of the details of the game, I'd like to highlight a coming of age moment that may not have been plainly obvious at the time how big it was, both in terms of the outcome of the game and maybe even the course of the season.

3 Key Plays - VT vs. Wake Forest

1) 9:52 left in the 2nd quarter. The Hokies were down 10-0. Logan Thomas was 2 for 9 for 21 yards at that point and the Hokies had a total of one first down up to that point in the game. They had the ball in good field position thanks to a rejuvenated punting game and then a stellar stop by a defense down 4 starters due to injury. But on the road, with visions of the Clemson game dancing in their head, the offense needed a play to get going. Facing 2nd and 6 from the Wake 40 yd line, Logan Thomas dropped back and rainbowed a well-thrown deep ball to WR Jarrett Boykin who caught it at the 7 and ran it down to the 1 "smidge" line, dragging a tackler. The Hokies would punch it in to make it 10-7 and the offense was off and running, on the way to 28 unanswered points.

2) 2nd and 7 from the Hokies own 7 yard line with 1:33 left in the third quarter, the Hokies were in danger of letting Wake back into the game. They were deep in their own end and Wake had just scored a touchdown to make the score 28-17 in favor of the Hokies. Similar to the first key play, except to the opposite side of the field, Thomas dropped another well-thrown ball in just over the outstretched hands of the Wake defender to Jarrett Boykin, giving Tech a first down at the 33 yd-line and out of the shadow of their own goal posts. This was the catalyst for one of the greatest drives of Tech's season thus far - a 96 yard drive to go back up 35-17.

3) Wake Forest had a 4th and 17 at the Hokies 42 yd-line with 7:30 left to go in the game. Trying to answer Tech's score with one of their own, QB Tanner Price dropped the ball off to the FB in the flat who was tackled well short of the first down and the Hokie victory was secured.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Game Preview - VT vs. Wake Forest

To any of those Logan Thomas doubters out there, don't worry, I'm not going to say I told you so. There's no time. It's the next game and the offense is going to have to be EN FUEGO again as Dan Patrick used to say, because the defense is a M.A.S.H. unit right now as the Hokies prepare to take on a tremendously improved Wake Forest squad in Winston Salem.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Miami Game Review - Instant Classic

What a game! What a bounce back for Logan Thomas and the offense after a terrible showing against Clemson the previous week. While allowing Miami 35 points the Hokies found a way to win this game 38-35. It became clear towards the end that Miami's gigantic offensive line at a whopping 313 lbs average was causing the Hokies some trouble as Miami was able to run on the Hokies with ease in the late minutes of the game. Antoine Hopkins presence was definitely missed.

The first half of the game was a clinic. Thomas and the offense dominated the Miami defense. The defense was able to contain Lamar Miller to just 20 yards. Miami's only touchdown came after a big play in which Jacory Harris hit Allen Hurns for 41-yards.

3 Key Plays - VT vs. Miami

How epic was this game? Put it this way - our annual open enrollment at work for the various benefits (insurance, dental, etc) is this week. After watching me watch this game against Miami, The Blonde has instructed me to bump up to the next life insurance level. I may also need to add a few things to our house insurance plan in case they "accidentally" get broken. Now, on to the 3 Key Plays.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Game Preview - VT vs. Miami

Coach Frank Beamer has never started a season 0-2 in conference play during his coaching career. That is the most meaningless stat I think I’ve ever read. The number of circumstances that go into one’s own team, the schedule of who you play the first two conference games of any season, injuries (and the list goes on), means that it’s impossible to glean anything useful from that stat and apply it to the game on Saturday against Miami.

What matters against Miami and whether the Hokies will win or not can be determined by considering three areas:

Monday, October 03, 2011

I'm Not Going To Say It... Clemson Review

While Marshall struggled (and I mean struggled badly) in the run game, Cato was able to find open receivers. As Tech opens ACC play against a juggernaut through the air, I fear that the defense will not be up to the challenge.

These were my words when reviewing the Marshal game. Sitting at the tailgate, these words kept echoing in my head. I knew that defensively we'd be challenged. I knew that offensively, despite what MadJay and many of you other SuperFans have been saying, Logan Thomas has not shown much promise.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

3 Key Plays

Don't think that this wasn't still the TerrorDome after last night's game. In the first half, Clemson did what all of it's opponents usually do in that environment - they struggled. And that is always when the Hokies build a lead, get the crowd even more fired up and then during the 2nd half, when the opponent is one-dimensional, the Hokies typically feed off of that and put the game away. That's why all of the Key Plays from the game, happened in the first 25 minutes of the game, because they set the tone the rest of the way.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Game Preview - VT vs. Clemson

Oh my. Oh my goodness. This. Is. A. Big. Game.

This is the level of Miami coming here in 2003 and 2005, Clemson coming to Lane on a Thursday night in 2006, or FSU and Boston College visiting in 2007. Clemson's 2011 squad is every bit as good as those aforementioned teams and except for the final 2 minutes of the Boston College game in 2007 and the Miami game in 2005, every one of those teams came in on this enormous stage and left not only in a loss, but got MANHANDLED by the Hokies. The Boston College ending was the result of a superhuman effort by a Heisman-worthy QB in Matt Ryan. The 2005 Miami game? We'll come back to that later.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meh. Tech Defeats Marshal to Get To 4-0

What can I say about this game? The defense was once again phenomenal against the run. They let their opponents have their obligatory one touchdown. However, they pummeled the run game of a team already struggling in that department. The offense moved the ball well and racked up points quick in the first half, but struggled in the second half only to score once. The special teams story continues to get weirder as Danny Coale came in to punt.

Tech's performance in this 30-10 victory over the Thundering Herd cannot truly reflect on how they might do next week as they open up conference play against the red hot Clemson Tigers. The Hokies got a win in a game where it never was in question. There were some good plays, some bad plays, and definitely some ugly plays.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Narf! Mega Conference Redux

With Brian "Where's the Ice?" on hiatus as he tries to get himself more edumacated, MadJay and I find ourselves in a weird pattern where one of us is doing the review of the previous weekend's game and the review of the upcoming game. That leaves one of us without much responsibility for a week. Knowing us that's just dangerous. If you're thinking what I'm thinking, where are we going to find a duck and hose at this hour?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Game Preview - VT vs. Marshall

This may just be the shortest game preview we've ever done here at TSF. This Marshall team that the Hokies are going to face is the worst team they will play all year. Yes, even worse than Appalachian State - who I still think is a good team that was just overwhelmed by the moment against Tech. I will admit from what I've seen in watching Marshall highlights from games this season, that they have some decent athletes. For example, there is speed in the backfield in true freshman QB Rakeem Cato and RB Tron Martinez along with another true freshman RB Travon Van who was a University of Florida recruit until academics got in the way. Now, now, Hokie Respect prevents us from making any jokes regarding the academic credentials of our esteemed opponent this week. So there will be no comments of any kind about what did the Marshall graduate say to the Virginia Tech graduate? (do you want fries with that?) Ok, I digress.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Game Review - VT vs. Arkansas State

Behind another suffocating effort by the defense and a creatively called (if poorly executed at times) gameplan on offense, the Hokies stifled a FAR tougher than expected opponent - the Arkansas State Red Wolves - 26-7 on Saturday in Blacksburg. But you didn't come here to read that. You already know that. After all, you are a Superfan.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tech Tries to Recover from Mistakes Against Arkansas State

"The big thing is that when we needed to do it, we did it."
- Coach Frank Beamer

In order to get a full preview of what we can expect against Arkansas State this weekend, I could rehash all the penalties. I could talk about how we've all established that this was a fluke and that Beamer will not tolerate any screw ups in practice this week and in next weeks game.

I could rehash the dropped balls, which after skimming the footage from Saturday, I'm starting to be a little more convinced that they were, in fact, drops.

To Coach Bowden...

My hat is off to you sir. Coach Bowden you are a warrior. Over the years, I've gone from hating you to appreciating you as a coach to out right respect for what you mean to college football. Today, with your announcement of being a cancer survivor while continuing to think of nothing but the best for your team, you solidify your place amongst the top reasons why I love college football.

May your cancer remain in remission and may you continue to be an icon in this game we love.

Your truly,
Tech, but more importantly, College Football Super Fan,
Anand "EhhTee" Trivedi

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Penalties; Low Confidence Struggles The Story In Win

I don't know what some folks are talking about. After briefly discussing the game with MadJay and seeing comments from Illinois Hokie, I was expecting to see more dropped balls than orientation day at Carrot Top's Juggling School For The Blind. I just didn't see it.

As a side note, I didn't get to watch the game live but watched it Saturday evening after the awesome Notre Lame loss.

First off, I wish the coverage wasn't pushed back due to the Iowa State and Iowa game going to triple overtime. I missed what I think is three drives plus a bit of the fourth. In those drives, I only noticed two incomplete passes in the play-by-play.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Game Preview - VT vs. East Carolina

My, oh my, what a difference a year makes!!! Going back and watching last year's VT vs. ECU game in preparation for this preview, an entire flood of memories came back. If you haven't fully repressed the horrors, you too may recall where you were sitting as the Hokies prepared to take on East Carolina in 2010. Tech was 0-2 and I was as bad off as I can remember feeling as a Superfan (certainly back to the loss to Cincinnati in 1995).

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Game Review - VT vs. Appalachian State

3 Key Plays will return once ACC season starts, but for now let's take a closer look at the Hokies huge win on Saturday against the Mountaineers of ASU: 66-13.

Perhaps the best way to review this game is to look at the 3 big questions that we asked while wrapping up pre-season camp:

1) Is Mike O'Cain an improvement as the offensive coordinator (whatever you want to call him, that's what he is in practice)?
2) Will the lack of depth at rover, free safety or defensive line rise up and bite VT or will these young players come up to speed quickly?
3) Is Logan Thomas ready to demonstrate what he's shown all offseason - that he is a top-flight QB - or will all this pressure and inexperience get to him?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Preseason is over - Roster Breakdown for Opening Day

[Editor's note: The original post by MadJay had disappeared while EhhTee's post was uploading. Thankfully, I had a backup]

"Dancing days are here again
As the summer evenings grow
I got my flower - I got my power
I got a woman who knows" - Led Zeppelin

Saturday....Hokie football season is upon us on Saturday and I quite simply am beside myself with anticipation. But what self-respecting blog would let the season begin without an in-depth roster breakdown filled with interviews from the coaching staff, highlights of the scrimmages and clever witticisms about each position group? None would. However, since we're no self-respecting blog, you're left with my stale attempts at humor....... and a barely readable summary of the position groups. But cheer up - kickoff is at 12:30 EST on Saturday!!!

Two Words

You know, I started to write this preview of the Hokies season opener against the Appalachian State Mountaineers with the intent of doing a deep analysis of the Mountaineers and the team they're fielding this year and how the Hokies will handle them.

I thought I could talk about dual threat quarterback DeAndre Presley and how he led the team in rushing yards with 1,131 yards and threw for 2,631 yards.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Youth Movement

During Coach Beamer the Elder's current bowl game streak (17 games and counting), the formula has been simple but extremely well-executed - Play some of your starters on special teams, play the toughest sons-of-bitches you could find on defense and have a top-flight strength/conditioning program where your upperclassmen could go from underrated recruit to star player by the time they'd been in the program 2-3 years.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Scrimmage #1 highlights

Scrimmage #2 is underway, but if you want to go ahead and get fired up, watch this.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pre-season camp #1 - The Interpreter

So with all the talk these days about conference realignment and the Miami Hurricanes receiving $10 gazillion in improper benefits from boosters over the past 8 years, I get the sense that the focus isn't as much on the field as I think it needs to be. After all, the season is only two weeks away. This is a young Tech team and we need to look more closely at each position group. So who better to turn to than the VT coaching staff?

After all, I'm sure if you're a Superfan, you've read the countless blog posts, Twitter accounts and news stories that various media hacks have run these past few weeks, and the coaches have offered plenty of soundbytes and lines for those stories. The problem is that the coaching staff has a dialect to their language that can be difficult for normal American English speaking folks to understand. It's kind of like watching any Guy Ritchie movie - sure the British gangsters are speaking English, technically, I guess, but with that dialect, you could barely get every third word.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Virginia Tech In Lockdown

Follow CNN's feed on campus lockdown.

A gunman is reportedly on campus and the administration is taking no chances having learned from the tragedies of April 16th, 2007.

More to follow...

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Hokies Football Eve

Twas the night before football, when all through my house
Not a wink I was sleeping, Googling "big hit Aaron Rouse"
The jerseys were hung by the chimney with care
Knowing that Saint Beamer soon will be there

Yes my Dear and Beloved Reader, it is the eve of a new Virginia Tech Hokies football season. 2011 brings the usual excitements and fears, but this year in particular, the swings of excitement and fear are wider thanks to the many unknowns on this team. The pit of my stomach feels more acidic than usual - both from anticipation and worry. Hello Rolaids my old friend. I've come to see you once again.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Virginia Tech Research Provides Crucial Research on Helmets

Gregg Eastbrook posted this article about how VT's research could and probably will influence every equipment manager in the game, even the NFL.

Another HokieNotes Post

After a scare at West Virginia -- I can't believe I didn't write about that game -- the Hokies continued their march to the national championship game and went up to Philadelphia with an 9-0 record. The previous year, the Temple Owls stunned the Hokies with a major upset. Back then, it was the worst loss in Tech's history as a top 25 team. As of last season, we now all know that is no longer true.

Taken from HokieNotes 01.014 on November 18th, 1999:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In The Year 2000...

Okay, 1999 really.

While we wait for summer practice to begin I thought I'd post a bit of nostalgia. In the next few weeks I'll post little bits of the past. HokieNotes, the original name of TechSuperFans started out as an email to a bunch of die hard fans. From there, it became a newsletter posted first to what was then called but now is called Yahoo!Groups.

I wrote the following passage in HokieNotes Vol 01.006:

Blacksburg Bound
This time tomorrow, I will be a Sharky's Supermug drinking, Record Exchange CD purchasing, Mike's Grill Calzone eating, Drill Field lounging, at the game voice-losing, good-times having, Clemson fan bashing, ESPN ranting, Hokie fool. Hoping to catch a glimpse of something in Vick that will show me why he's been hyped so much.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hokies/Terps at M&T Bank in 2014

It's no secret that two of TSF's writers live in Washington, DC. So it's always a treat to be able to go down to Blacksburg for as many games as possible each year.

That said, one thing we do look forward to is the game in College Park that is to occur every five years as the Hokies and Terps exchange a home-home as part of the rotating inter-divisional schedule.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Alabama Rematch 2013 a Possibility

Kyle Tucker is reporting that the Virginia Tech Athletic Department is currently discussing a potential rematch of the 2009 Chick-fil-A Kickoff in which the Hokies lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Hokies athletic director Jim Weaver has said that he is talking to Alabama and Chick-fil-A to iron out details for the possibility of revisiting the game to start the 2013 season. However, Weaver made certain to point out that these are only discussions at this point.

"It's nothing that's set in stone," said Weaver.

This has started some discussion amongst staffers and loyal SuperFans. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Please Excuse Our Dust...

While TSF is being remodeled. We'll still have the same great commentary. Our look is going through a modernization.

Feel free to let us know what you think during this process.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Some departures from VT football

Two Hokie football players have decided to stop pursuing their football careers at Virginia Tech. LB Quillie Odom and DB Lorenzo Williams are still enrolled at Virginia Tech but they are not going to be playing football this fall.

Quillie Odom was recently identified here on TSF as one of the players that we were most wrong about in our annual recruiting breakdowns. He had all the talent in the world, but unfortunately didn't have the maturity to play linebacker the way that Coach Foster demands (i.e. with intensity and listening to coaching even if the message is being delivered loudly and close to your earhole). He came around last year but at that point was already moved to defensive end where he gave a good effort but just doesn't have the size to play that position and get on the field. We wish Quillie the best and trust that he'll go on to finish his degree and have success.

Lorenzo Williams was one of those players that just couldn't catch a break. Williams had the size and speed to be effective at rover or whip but could never stay on the field long enough before being injured. And every time he came back from injury he would just get hurt again. It would have been great to see what Williams could have done had he stayed healthy, but it was finally a never-healing foot injury that permanently ended his career. Again, we hope Williams goes on to make us proud as Hokies in whatever field he chooses.

Summer practice is 7 weeks away so we'll start getting revved up here at that point. Until then, it's back to the weight room.


Monday, May 09, 2011

A Look Back - Recruiting 2007-2010

Here at TSF we've been doing recruiting class breakdowns internally for years. Starting in February of 2007, we decided to capture those thoughts and put them out for public consumption. It was always an irritating thing for us to see those national recruiting services award "stars" to recruits and rate classes and in some cases, the people doing those evaluations didn't have the background to be doing it. They just relied on what people "in the know" told them about different players and often times awarded stars based on the prestige of the programs that were recruiting them.

Additionally, people subscribe to these recruiting services and rarely are they told how accurate the service is at rating players in RETROSPECT. Where do you go on the internet to get the most accurate predictor of future success of high school football players? The answer is: nowhere. Because rating services can't take into account all the other factors that go into a player's success - their ability to stay out of trouble off the field, their willingness to work hard, the fit of their skill set to the coaching staff they end up playing for, etc.

With that in mind, we don't assign "stars" to the Hokie recruits. We tell you what we see on film and hear from people in the program, just like those services you pay for. The difference is that knowing the coaching staff and the type of player that succeeds in VT's program, we can evaluate film of a player in terms of something in addition to their athletic ability. We consider the current depth chart, the type of offense or defense the player played in high school, how long they've played football, their football IQ, etc. Of course athletic ability still counts for a lot as well.

And now that we've been publishing these predictions for a while, it was suggested (smartly) by a reader, that we take a closer look at how we've done. So what you will see is for each class the percentage of time we were right about a player in that class. If we called for success, the player had to make it into a starting role at some point during their career. If we called for a failure, in order for us to be right, the player had to have never started a single game in their entire career - for any reason. Injury, transfer, or just not being good enough, all were taken into account on both sides of the prediction. For the 2010 class, a success is considered as making the two deep instead of having to have started a game because most of the guys from that class who've already made it into the two-deep will likely start a game at some point in their career. We will leave the 2011 class alone as those players haven't even shown up on campus yet.

Finally, after the percentage accuracy, we will highlight our three biggest misses since we've been doing this (and a miss could be from either side of the coin), as well as our most accurate predictions. So without further ado, here's the breakdown:

Class of 2007 - 67% accurate

Class of 2008 - 69% accurate

Class of 2009 - 55% accurate (assuming the current depth chart holds true for the fall and Cody Journell, James Gayle, Logan Thomas and Tariq Edwards all start)

Class of 2010 - 48% accurate

Three Biggest Misses: (the original write-up on each recruit follows their name).

1) Class of 2010, Skip Hopkins -

"There was great discussion and disagreement within TSF about Hopkins. Just last year, we typed that we couldn't think of a single miss that Coach Cav had in the past 3 recruiting classes. Well, this might be his first in a while. 5'11" 270 lb. defensive tackles don't usually earn scholarships to Virginia Tech. However, back when the Hokies landed Skip’s older brother Antoine (who has turned out to be quite capable) the word on the street was "yep, Antoine is a stud, but you should see his little brother..." And yes, Demetrius Taylor just came off of a very solid senior season at about the same height and weight as Skip. The difference is that Taylor was a converted linebacker who happened to be one of the strongest men to ever play football at Virginia Tech. We’ve read that Skip Hopkins compares favorably to Evan Hailes in the trenches, which is saying something considering the hype behind Hailes' recruitment this year, but the footage on Hopkins doesn’t really seem to show anything more than great athleticism. Hopkins' size and strength just don't seem like they belong at Virginia Tech. Maybe he’ll grow into it. We want to give Coach Cav the benefit of the doubt based on his amazing track record, so just color us confused on this one."

This is what I get for doubting Coach Cav. And to Recruitnik D's credit he was the one who really liked this signing. Hopkins was obviously capable of contributing right away and should be even more of a force this season as a starter.

2) Class of 2008, Quillie Odom -

"One of our favorite players out of the 2007 class, Odom took a year at Hargrave and wow did things change. He became a VERY highly rated recruit due to a stellar campaign at Hargrave and the Hokies are fortunate that Odom has re-commited to Tech because there were some other school pursuing him in the background. We're going to have to use that word again - playmaker. Slightly undersized, Odom is a holy terror with a bloodhound's nose for the ball and the speed and agility to get there quickly. Nothing is surefire in recruiting because of the other off-the-field variables that can affect whether a kid gets the playing time, but Odom looks just about surefire to be in the 2 deep for the Hokies in '09. Coach Bud Foster - who is not known for sending a lot of sunshine up people's tailpipes - offered this tidbit when reviewing Odom's highlight reel - "he's got some of the most impressive tape I've ever seen." Um.... we don't need any further info. Do you? "

All the physical tools but it took him until this point in his career to actually take to coaching and he's plugged in at defensive end where he's too small to be a star. Yes we highlighted the possibility of "off-the-field" variables in the original write-up but we all thought Odom was going to be a bigtime player for Tech and he quite simply wasn't.

3) Class of 2009, Jerrodd Williams -

"It must just get scarier and scarier to be an offensive coordinator in the ACC trying to figure out how they are going to throw the ball on the Hokies. Eddie Whitley and Stephan Virgil look like the next big things at cornerback (Virgil has really already arrived) and in this 2009 class, Williams and Jayron Hosley look to carry on what is fast becoming a direct line to the NFL. Torrian Gray is red-hot right now, both on the recruiting trail and in coaching the secondary and he's the one who landed Williams. So many top corners in high school just get by on being great athletes. Williams is a great athlete who also has a nose for the football. He always seems to be in the right position to make a play on the ball and then he usually does so. Like Hosley, once he has the ball in his hands he has a way of finding the end zone. It's fun to see athletes this talented choosing Virginia Tech over ACC programs like Clemson and UNC."

Well, Williams wasn't fast enough to play corner, didn't want to move to safety and transferred to Clemson. Basically a non-factor from the get-go.

Three Best Picks (ignoring the easy ones like Logan Thomas and Ryan Williams who were so obviously going to be bigtime).

1) Class of 2008 - Dyrell Roberts -

"Playmaker. Put the ball in Roberts' hands and get out the popcorn. Roberts wins the award for most underrated recruit in the class. Think a taller Eddie Royal and you'll understand the potential Roberts has. Coming in to a WR corps losing 4 seniors, Roberts has the physical ability to play as a freshman in the 4 deep. Speed and size are 2 things you can't coach, and Roberts has lots of both. Coale, Terry, Luckett, and Dillard may play well enough to keep a redshirt on Roberts but it doesn't seem likely. Now, this will completely depend on his commitment and dedication to learning the offense and playing his hardest, but just watching his tape, he's breathtaking. He scored from the QB position, RB, WR, and kick returner. A kid like this is one that we hold up to make our annual mockery of the recruiting services that people rely on so greatly. Roberts is a 2 star recruit and Giselle Bundchen has a nice smile. Please."

Until his leg injury in the Georgia Tech game in 2010, Roberts was a playmaker throughout his career in every sense of the word - reverses, kickoff returns, big catches (Nebraska 2009 anybody?). Honestly, Roberts and 2011 WR recruit Robert Lockhart are very similar in that both got no credit because they were under the radar and if they had been spotted by schools like Alabama or LSU they would have been 4-5 star recruits (and unfortunately for Tech probably would have gone to those schools). And though this view may be controversial for some, for Roberts' sake, he ought to take a redshirt in 2011 to get a full recovery from that leg injury. That would allow him to be the senior leader and #1 guy at receiver in the 2012 season. Plus he'd get to mentor the wealth of young WR talent headed to Blacksburg this summer.

2) Class of 2008 - Jake Johnson -

"We bet Jake Johnson reminds Bud Foster of himself when he was younger. This kid is all intensity and he brings a pile of bricks to the football. Fundamentally, however he needs a lot of work. He reaches a lot and makes horse collar and jersey tackles and sometimes on his monster hits he doesn't wrap up. Now in high school that about knocks the RB or QB out, but in college you need to be sound in your tackling. The super-exciting thing about it is that Johnson has the things you can't coach - size, intensity, football instincts. And to address his fundamentals he merely has the best linebacker coach in the country (and we make no reservations about saying that) in Foster to guide that talent into a tackling machine at Virginia Tech. It should be interesting to see where Johnson ends up on the defense. You will hear us say this a lot during this recruiting analysis - sorting out the immense LB talent in this class and the '07 class and getting them into the right positions is a great problem that Coach Foster has."

Probably my favorite write-up. Johnson was the guy that everyone was raving about and he had intensity, no question. But the tape showed the flaws that ended up costing him his starting job and moving him to defensive end (and eventually out of the program). It's surprising he didn't take to Foster's coaching, but from what I heard, he and Foster were too much alike - another aspect we picked up on in this assessment. Goes to show that even a blind squirrel can find an acorn now and again.

3) Class of 2009 - James Gayle

"And now we come to the #1 Most Underrated prospect in the 2009 Class. Gayle was not even covered by most of the recruiting services at all (although Rivals to their credit gave him 3 stars). We hope the recruiting services never notice that if Jim Cavanaugh is recruiting a defensive player, then that player is something special. We said earlier that J.R. Collins is the most ready to take the field at defensive end right now, but James Gayle has the most upside of any of the ends in the '09 class. If Collins reminds us of the solid, productive Orion Martin, Gayle reminds us of the explosive, playmaking Corey Moore and down the road he could be that type of difference maker. Gayle is shot out of a cannon when the ball is snapped, he plays the position violently and with purpose and he demonstrates an uncanny ability to know where the football is going. His speed looks breathtaking, although at 215 lbs he'll need to put on a good 25-30 lbs or more without losing much of that quickness, which sounds like a tough Mike Gentry project. However, if he is able to do so, expect to know James Gayles' name by 2011 at the latest."

We hit two homeruns on this one with the comparison between Collins and Orion Martin and Gayle with Corey Moore. No Gayle hasn't been a starter yet, but by every account he is going to have a monster season barring injury. Usually the spring buzz is about an offensive superstar (think of what we heard when Michael Vick, Tyrod Taylor or Ryan Williams were having their big springs). This time, it's about James Gayle and all the offensive linemen are talking about what a force he is. This is a great legacy as one of the last recruits from Coach Cavanaugh in his long and decorated career of recruiting.

One last accurate prediction I want to throw out there (outlining the past 3 accurate predictions has apparently made me feel full of myself) went against a lot of grain. In 2008 and even up through mid-2009, there were a lot of fans who were unconvinced about the GREATNESS of Tyrod Taylor. Yes, people acknowledged his athleticism, but they questioned whether he would ever be more than Bryan Randall. A good QB and good leader.

From the minute I saw Taylor's performance against LSU, I knew he was a future star and would be better than good. He would be GREAT and I said so. When the coaches tried to redshirt him again in 2008 (and cost the Hokies that game against ECU), I railed against it. Throughout Taylor's career, I have said that he was an NFL talent, struggling to find a place within an incompetent offense and developed by a subpar QB coach. This was my closing point in a post after the 2009 Nebraska Miracle in Blacksburg.

"For all those fans who are saying that the offensive struggles are because Tyrod can't throw the football, let me explain why that is not the case. Sure he had some bad throws on Saturday, there can be no doubt of that. He wishes he had some of those back. But there were several key drops on some good throws and several other stupid formation and holding penalties that nullified very good pass plays. With the game on the line, Taylor's throw to Coale was as he was getting hit by a first round NFL defensive tackle and it travelled 60 yards in the air and couldn't possibly have been thrown more accurately. His play to Roberts, I am telling you for a fact, is a play that probably five quarterbacks in all of Division I-A football could have made. Tyrod Taylor is a physical talent who has had the bad misfortune to play for a terrible offensive coaching staff. He's not being prepared for the next level and I hope you guys can get some sense of how sickening this is for me. There are many things I am not good at (I'm sure we could do an entire series of blog entries on that list) but one thing I can do is gauge football talent. Taylor has a lot of it. Enough to play in the NFL if he were properly coached. It's too bad he's not and on that note……"

Despite those obstacles, he became a 6th round choice of the Ravens and I'm convinced, given a shot, that he can be a starter in that league.

So that wraps up our uhmmmm, wrap-up. Now all you Superfans need to join us as we go hit the weight room in preparation for the start of summer practices in 2 1/2 months. Until then,


Sunday, April 24, 2011

VT Spring Wrap-up

OK, so the plan was to provide you, my Calm and Beloved Reader, with an update each week of spring practice. However, I didn't factor in a huge 10 day vacation to the beach that took up the past two weekends. And while I won't apologize for that (at least not to you; my liver, however, definitely deserves an apology), it has prevented the spring practice updates.

But never fear, I have been keeping up-to-date on all the goings-on of spring through the intertubes, our source in Blacksburg and then this past weekend I was able to listen to the spring game thanks to a link from Recruitnik Dom and have watched the full game via bootleg footage from the stands.

SO with all of that said, please see below the full position-by-position breakdown as we head into the summer.


QB - Logan Thomas has assumed the reins as the team leader and despite being sold on his ridiculous physical skills since he's arrived on campus, what's impressed me the most this spring is how quickly he adapted to the role of team leader. To a man, the other players on offense talk about what a pleasure it is to be in the huddle with this guy and the confidence they have in him. I think a lot of that comes from one play last season - the 3rd and 16 conversion against Miami when Thomas came in cold and delivered an absolute dart to Danny Coale for the first down. So the issue with the QB position isn't Thomas but rather depth. Ju-Ju Clayton has totally lost his confidence once he lost the starting job battle to Thomas and it has opened the door for Mark Leal who has actually looked very good the past few scrimmages. Ricardo Young got hurt and couldn't battle for the #2 spot in the spring, so right now the back-up spot is wide open heading into the fall but as poor as Clayton played, I'd be surprised if it wasn't Leal or Young who gets the nod.

RB - Very few programs could lose two RB's to the NFL and the next season still be set at the position. Virginia Tech is one of them. David Wilson looks every bit the superstar that Ryan Williams/Darren Evans were and Josh Oglesby will provide experience and power in relief. Tony Gregory, once he recovers from his ACL injury (and by his own account he has nearly fully recovered already and wanted to play badly this spring), will provide another home-run threat with game experience off the bench. James Hopper is much better suited to RB than he was at rover, but he is still 4th string material. I'll never understand his recruitment.

WR - This is the deepest position on the team and reminds me of the 2007 squad that had Eddie Royal, Josh Morgan, Justin Harper and Josh Hyman. Jarrett Boykin, DJ Coles, Marcus Davis and Danny Coale provide a huge array of weapons in the passing game, and all are physical blockers on the edge. Marcus Davis in particular earned a lot more playing time in the fall as he has been an absolute force this spring. Dyrell Roberts missed the entire spring with his thigh injury but we already know what he can bring to the table. In fact, if he's not at 100% this fall, he should probably redshirt and be the featured guy in the 2012 season. The 2011 squad would still have EL Smiling and Corey Fuller in reserve and while neither played that well in the spring game, they definitely have potential. Plus Roberts could then serve as mentor to the incredible incoming 2011 class of WR talent.

TE - I highly doubt TE will feature much in the offense early this season. The RB's and WR's are so good, and Chris Drager has a lot of rust to knock off after moving back from defensive end. He is a better blocker and Randall Dunn is a legitimate receiving threat but the fact is that the best TE on the team is taking snaps under center. Jerome Lewis needs to step up this season and prepare to fight for the role in 2012 because there's a lot of TE talent in the 2011 incoming class. Lewis has all the tools but hasn't gotten there mentally yet. The hope here would be that by the end of the season the TE position can figure into the offense but this will definitely be a dropoff from Andre Smith who was NFL caliber last season.

Offensive Line - Finally, FINALLY, the offensive line looks talented, deep and ready to go. They were a mess in the spring game because Coach Beamer always splits them up into two units that don't normally practice together. People wonder why he does that and the answer is that Beamer and his staff don't watch group play in the spring game. They are looking at individual match-ups and battles and they don't want chemistry to cover up physical or fundamental weaknesses that a player might have. It's the same for the linebacker group and defensive secondary. But on offensive line it usually produces some potentially ugly results. That said, in earlier scrimmages, the line really gave Thomas time to throw and cleared some running lanes. Here's the starters (LT Andrew Lanier, LG Greg Nosal - who missed spring due to surgery, C Andrew Miller, RG Jaymes Brooks, RT Blake DeChristopher). And the backups are (LT Nic Becton, LG David Wang, C Michael Via, RG Matt Arkema, RT Vinston Painter). The fact is that Becton, Wang and Via are all essentially #1a instead of 2nd string. Vinston Painter took enormous strides this spring, putting his insane physical frame to good use (except against James Gayle who gets almost his own paragraph in this spring breakdown). And Matt Arkema, who was one of our favorite players from the 2009 class, overtook the more physically imposing Laurence Gibson, because Arkema has been the guy that no one wanted to line up against in Middle Drill. The line is mean, they are strong and they are tough and with that much depth, they can rotate more this fall which means they will be fresh throughout the games, making for what should be an effective 4th quarter running game.


Rover - Antone Exum has found his home. This physical beast has been doing his best Ronnie Lott impression all spring, knocking the snot out of people. He has been out of position more than I would have liked to see and was beaten on a very nice TD pass from Leal to Smiling in the final scrimmage, but I know Coach Gray is in his ear every practice. Not to mention Exum got a ton of playing time in the nickel package last season so he's battle-tested. His backup is probably going to be Lorenzo Williams, but with Williams being so injury prone, it's really a battle between Wiley Brown and incoming freshman Adeboye Aromire. Aromire, you may recall from our recruiting class breakdown was given the chance at corner that he asked for, and then moved to safety as we predicted as he's just not loose enough in the hips for corner. But rover suits him well. Aromire is just a freshman and isn't as physically imposing yet, but he has been very impressive all spring in learning the defense and making plays.

Free Safety - Hard to believe that Bigtime Eddie Whitley is a senior this year. Not much more needs to be said here about Whitley as he is a born leader, and plays incredibly instictively. The defense is in good hands with him making the calls. Depth here is a concern however, as Theron Norman is the backup and he's been out with an injury. Norman played very well when he was in earlier in the spring, enough that they are still calling him #2 headed into the fall, but after Norman the cupboard is bare until the crop of incoming freshmen arrive this summer.

Cornerback - A fascinating development here as Jayron Hosley and Kyle Fuller battle to see who will be the boundary corner (more run support and man-to-man defense) and field corner (more zone and short flat defense). Typically the more experienced star CB plays boundary, but Hosley was just so incredible at field corner last season that Coach Gray swapped boundary and field corner responsibilities back and forth between Fuller and Hosley this spring just to give himself the flexibility to make that decision in the summer. The winner here is Hokie fans because both guys are fast, confident, physical and going to be playing in the League in a few seasons. Detrick Bonner had the breakout spring in the secondary and played amazing in the last scrimmage and the spring game (other than getting beat on a hitch and go by Marcus Davis). The always speedy, but too often out of position, Cris Hill will finish his final season as a backup field corner. He would have started a lot of places but here at DBU he just adds depth to an incredible secondary. And there's a lot more DB talent coming in the fall freshman class as well.

Whip - The play at whip was so poor early last season that Coach Foster had to implement a nickel package to get the pass coverage up to snuff. The result? One of the worst rush defenses in the Bud Foster era. This year Alonzo Tweedy has fully recovered from his groin injury and Jeron Gouviea-Winslow has upped his game to a level that Coach Foster feels comfortable restoring the whip back as a major component of the defense. Neither one is a Cody Grimm, but both are an upgrade from JGW's play at whip last season and I fully expect we'll see a Cam-Martin/Cody-Grimm-like rotation from 2008 at the whip position for the first few games of the season to see if either guy can separate himself as the clear starter. By the way, in the wings are two of the most exciting players on the Hokie defense in a pair of redshirt freshmen (Nick Dew and Dominique Patterson), who I fully expect to be major contributors in 2012. Both get rave reviews from their fellow players but neither has fully grasped the defense enough to see the field this season.

Backer - Lyndell Gibson was an extremely instinctive player, who really understood the Hokie defense. Unfortunately he was also a little too small and a half-step too slow to be a star at the Backer position, rather he was just a solid player. Unfortunately for him, he also had way too many off-the-field problems (I tell people the only reason I didn't play Division I football was because of a drinking problem, but in the case of Gibson it's actually true) and Gibson is gone. Size and speed are not the problem for the two guys who will man the Backer position in 2011 - Tariq Edwards and Telvion Clark. Edwards has been so good that he held onto the starting spot coming out of spring despite the holy terror that Telvion Clark was in the last two scrimmages and the spring game. Edwards is bigger and far faster than Gibson ever was and while not as instinctive, he seems to have worked his ass off in the film room because he's consistently been making the right read. Meanwhile, Clark looks like he just stepped off the set of the film "300". I expect a LOT more out of the Backer position in 2011 then the Hokies got in 2010.

Mike - Mike linebacker is a position of unbelievable depth for the Hokies going into the 2011 season. Starter Bruce Taylor had surgery and missed much of the spring, but he had nothing to prove to anyone after the monster season he had last year. Then Jack Tyler got hurt and missed the rest of the spring. Again, he showed in the ACC Championship game that he can play at this level. In steps 2009 star Barquell Rivers, whose recovery from a torn quad took longer than anyone could have expected. He still isn't all the way back but he showed that he is a) made of some damn strong stuff, b) in it for the team as a true Hokie and c) can actually provide depth at the position this season. Two young stars in the middle are Chase Williams, who looks better suited for Mike than his previous position of Backer with his amazing ability to read a play, and Brian Laiti, who as a redshirt freshman still needs to get bigger and faster, but made some big hits and even an interception in a scrimmage this spring. 2011 means the Hokies are going 5 deep at Mike including a former All-ACC player (Rivers), one who will be All-ACC this year (Taylor), the defensive MVP of the ACC Championship game (Tyler), and two studly redshirt freshmen (Williams and Laiti). It's like the Victoria's Secret catalog of middle linebackers. It's winners on every page. Or something.

Defensive line - Still not enough depth on the defensive line but the starters are absolute studs. The Hopkins brothers (and boy was I wrong about Derrick Hopkins in my 2010 recruiting class breakdown) are an upgrade from John Graves/Kwamaine Battle at tackle and that is seriously saying something because I thought Graves and Battle were total studs. J.R. Collins can also play inside as he did some this spring but what was so neat about that move is that it really lit a flame under him at end. He seemed to somehow grasp the overall scheme much better having played some inside and in 2011 he will start at one defensive end position where he had a monster spring game. But the real revelation (at least to those who don't read TSF) of the spring was James Gayle. Our favorite recruit of the 2009 class has had the light turn on for him and basically became unblockable at the other defensive end position. What's important about this is that when you think of a dominant Hokies' defense you can always name a dominant defensive end. From the days of Cornell Brown to Corey Moore, to Nathaniel Adibi, to Darryl Tapp, to Chris Ellis to Jason Worilds the Hokies had a ferocious pass rush from a guy who an offense had to scheme around. Steven Friday and Chris Drager were both productive and solid at defensive end last year, there's no question, but they weren't game-changers. James Gayle has the ability to be a game-changer and could possibly be the best of the bunch since Darryl Tapp. Blake DeChristopher said that Gayle is tougher to block than any end that BDC faced in 2010 which included Allen Bailey at Miami, Markus White at Florida State and Ryan Winterswyk from Boise State. Whew. The backups unfortunately are another story. Other than Kwamaine Battle who, if fully recovered from his knee injury, will see a lot of playing time in the rotation, the rest of the players are raw and unproven. The 2nd backup tackle will be a huge competion that will include incoming stud recruit Kris Harley, along with Isiaih Hamlette and Dwight Tucker who really haven't shown much this spring and Nick Acree, who is basically a physical monster who unfortunately doesn't always play his technique properly. Coach Wiles isn't going to play a guy he can't count on every play. At defensive end, things look a little better with Duan Perez-Means and Tyrel Wilson, though Wilson only has the position because Zack McCray hasn't had the light go on yet. When it does, McCray will play because he also has unbelievable physical ability. And there is some major talent at defensive end incoming, including 2011 recruit Justin Taylor who was already on campus this spring. Coach Wiles wants to rotate guys a lot and keep them fresh so there's playing time at stake and that's going to inspire all these linemen to fight for it.

Every year we say that the coaches are going to throw some raw meat in the weight room and bar the door (it's a phrase we got from Coach Foster and we love it). But this year the starters already have the physical tools. Sure these players are going to work hard this summer because it's Virginia Tech and the program is known for physical toughness, but this year what's needed in many positions on the roster is more depth. The 2nd stringers need to spend just as much time on film study as they do in the weight room. There are guys like Nick Acree, Zack McCray and Vinston Painter who are physically superior to the guys ahead of them, but the game hasn't slowed down for them yet (although Painter did make huge strides this spring). Players like Dominique Patterson and Nick Dew need to use this summer to learn from the leaders on this team about how to prepare to win. From everything I see on this roster, 2011 looks like it can be a great season for the Hokies but 2012 looks like it could be an absolute monster and a lot of that will be how hard these 2nd stringers push themselves to prepare for game experience this season and reaching their full potential.

One last point - you've read in this spring breakdown about how we hit and missed on a few prospects in our recruiting class summaries. On a suggestion from one of our readers, we will put together a look at all of our recruiting breakdowns and give you the three biggest misses and the three most accurate calls we've made about Hokie recruits in the past 4-5 seasons. Until then,