And It Begins-Alabama

It’s time. The memory of the Whatever it was Called Bowl where the Hokies celebrated a barely win over once jokey Big East Rutgers has faded. The losses have faded (except maybe that Pitt game. That one really sucked).

A new day has dawned. A new season is upon us. The Hokies have new coaches, one of whom, Aaron Moorehead,bears a startling resemblance to a skinny Vince Vaughn. (And I just googled him to make sure I was spelling the name right and he was born in 1980. He’s younger than me. I’m officially older than really old dirt).

And he agrees with me!  I’m so positive that this was in response to me……

We have to play Alabama again, most of the players I’ve heard of either are hurt and out for the season, have been dismissed from the team or have transferred. I’m going to have to watch with a players guide as a reference. In fact, I was woken up last night by my phone informing me that JC Coleman (sprained ankles) will not play. Awesomeness. 

The outcome of the game probably isn’t going to be pretty. But you know what? I don’t even care. I’m just so darn excited that FOOTBALL season is starting.

I’ve got a new Hokie shirt, I’ve changed my ringtone to the VT fight song and taken my phone off vibrate. I’ve changed my home screen wallpaper to the old school logo. I am listening only to “Enter Sandman” until 5:30 today. I’m ready.

No excuses. No explanations. Win. Go Hokies.

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A sad, sad state of affairs-Clemson

Well, guys, it’s official. We’re just really not a very good football team.

Sigh.

Rehashing it won’t help, so I won’t. Except to say a few things, like,  WTF was anyone thinking with that ridiculous 4th quarter “trick” play? Had our offensive guru’s forgotten that we were losing the game? Isn’t down by two scores, less than 10 minutes left time to break in a little hurry up offense? That was ill, ill, ill advised, my friends. VT is running perhaps the slowest hurry up I’ve ever seen. And the strangest. Down by 14? Let’s run the ball. A lot. Despite the fact that our tailbacks are averaging 1.6 yards per carry.  Maybe they’ll catch fire.

I didn’t want to think this game was even winnable. It was almost a dirty tease coming out and scoring immediately. Getting everyone’s hopes up for the inevitable let-down. But there were so many points where this game could have been winnable. How’s this for a stat? VT outgained the Tigers 406 yds to 253 and LOST by 21 points.

The decision to go for it on 4th down in field goal range. Yes, I get the needing as many points as possible. I do. But what did the Hokies end up with? None. Lots of effort for very little reward. Kinda why I don’t eat crab legs. Poor officiating, but I’m not even heading down that twisty path.  Poor, poor field position. Turnovers. Bad offensive execution. The decision to go from a slow developing offensive plan to one that was actually inert.

Wait, didn’t I say I wasn’t going to rehash?

Well, there’s still four games to go guys. 2 more wins and we’re bowl eligible! (Who would have ever thought that would be a question)? Wonder if they still have that Walnut Bowl….

Next up, Miami. I’d predict something, but I really have no idea. I guess we’ll see. I won’t give up, because Hokies aren’t allowed to do that, but I’m tired, guys. We all are.

 

 

Moving on in mediocrity-Cincinnati

Um, we’re just not a very good football team, ya’ll.

It makes me sad to say it. But, it’s true. And I know this to be true NOT EVEN HAVING WATCHED the game on Saturday. Yep, I didn’t watch it. I was with my daughter at a church group function, so I taped it, and got updates from ESPN ScoreCenter on my phone. And I could tell just by reading the updates at each quarter and each score that we’re just not very good. Scoreless in the first quarter. 2 Cincinnati field goals. Finally, a VT touchdown, not from the offense but set up by a defensive interception. A back and forth second half where it was apparent that the Hokies were trying to get some offense going 2 quarters too late, while the defense was starting to give up yardage. Then, at 1:49, a VT score. Up 24-20. Less than two minutes left.  I start refreshing my phone every minute. 1st and 10. 2nd and 10. 3rd and 10. Great. We’re going to snatch a victory out of defeat or whatever. Then, touchdown, Cincy. What?????? You can’t play a little defense for a minute and a half? How does someone get behind you with less than a minute left to play?

I deleted the game, so I won’t ever know. And I’m okay with that. I didn’t really need to see this game anyway. I’ve seen it at least half a dozen times over the years. We all have. And we wonder about how to take the step forward, to where the elite teams live. We tell ourselves that next year will be that year.  Then, it isn’t. And it isn’t the next year either.

For those keeping score,the Hokies could still pull out an ACC title this year. I doubt it, but it’s still out there, and the vaunted 10 win season would still be intact. But did anyone see Clemson and FSU play? They aren’t even playing the same game the Hokies are playing right now. They have speed, versatility, a Plan. Coaches who are going to do whatever it takes to keep the program moving ahead. Not backward. They have fire. VT? Not so much.

Tech Sideline talked about this season seeming kind of like 2003 and I had also been thinking along those lines. As disappointing a season as that was (and it was really disappointing because of the vast talent VT had that just went to waste), it opened the door to at least some defensive changes. And those changes helped  opene the door to the 10 win seasons that we can’t stop talking about and pointing to and saying that as long as we win 10 games a season we’re a-ok, right?

This team isn’t as talented as the 2003 team was. Our superstars maybe aren’t quite the superstars we thought they were. This team will be fortunate to end up in the Diamond Walnut San Fran bowl. (Do they even still have that anymore? Shrug.) But maybe that’s okay. Maybe falling down a little will help us get back up and head in the right direction.

I wish I knew what to write next. I keep writing things and then deleting them, then replacing them with something else, and deleting that too. It’s bad now, guys. Where will we go from here? And how long before we just don’t care anymore?

I want to care. I don’t want to hit “delete” on my DVR without even a flicker of doubt. I don’t want to miss a game.I look forward to football season all year.  But I’m tired of being disappointed. We all are.

So we head to UNC this week where the outcome could be just about anything. Here’s hoping someone lights a really hot fire under some people. Let’s get to it. No excuses. No explanations. Believe.

Time for Bowling Green

You’re either growing or you’re dying. There ain’t no third direction.

(I read that this morning on The North End Zone).

I don’t really know anything about Bowling Green as a football program. I know they are a MAC school, I know they give up something like 400 yards of offense per game which sounds like it should be a good thing for this year’s anemic offense, but is no guarantee of anything, and it would be terribly embarrassing to lose to them.

Wait. We’ve already done embarrassed. At least, I hope we have. I hope we are so embarrassed that the team that takes the field tomorrow looks absolutely nothing like the team I watched last week. If we’re not embarrassed, then it’s time to go ahead and get rid of this thing for good:

Or maybe we should get rid of it anyway, and just start playing freaking football. Playing like we mean it, not just playing for 10 win seasons and invitations to bowls that will inevitably be lost in heartbreaking fashion. Playing like winners. Every time. Every game. Because it matters. Because nobody wants to be pushed around the field anymore. Because everyone is tired of having the same old tired seasons.

And that’s my preview. I’ll be there tomorrow, wearing my (pink) camouflage VT hat, because for some reason girls can’t wear regular camo. Don’t get me started. That’s a post for a whole other blog.

So let’s go. No excuses. No explanations. Believe. WIN

Do you want to be good or do you want to be great? (Again)

(I’ve written this post too many freaking times.)

 “We’re your arch nemesis-es. You may’ve beaten us this time, Slayer. But next time… Umm… next time…

So. Who’s excited about adding Pittsburgh back into the schedule?

First off, I love Virginia Tech. I loved them when they were losing to UVA. I loved them when MV7 was leading them to the National Championship. I loved them when ego and selfishness blew up an insanely talented 2003 team. I loved them when a scrappy Bryan Randall showed the ACC why VT was going to be king in 2004. I loved them while losing to Florida State, to USC, to Alabama, to Boise State, to JMU and I loved them yesterday while losing to Pittsburgh. But yesterday, that was just bad.

Bad, bad, bad. Bad offensively. Bad defensively. It started badly and ended worse. The “ranked” team looked overmatched from the first play, and it never got any better. Interceptions, bad, bad passes. Poor tackling. I don’t even know which finger to point at who.

I’m tired of 10 win seasons but losses to teams that shouldn’t happen. I’m tired of hearing the same old platitudes. I’m tired of being so disappointed. I love this team. I love these guys. They deserve better. I know it’s a long season. I know that the Hokies could come back (and probably will) and run off a big string of victories. There’s still an ACC championship to strive for. But I’m still tired.

I haven’t given up. I’ll be back next week, and every week. I’ll never give up. I’m a Hokie and we don’t do that. We get back up and punch the next guys right in the neck. But I’m still tired.

Best thing I saw all day today though:

The only good thing to come out of this game was the following headline, “Logan Thomas falls on, injures Wang.”  from VT Hokie Fans

Now that’s funny.

Things to do before playing Pittsburgh

Well, the Hokies are now two games into the season, and although not much can be inferred from Saturday’s game with (against?) the Governors, I have a quick list of things that would be nice for VT to acquire before beginning to play the real teams.

  1. A running game. VT has yet to produce anything akin to a running game in these first two games, even against a clearly inferior opponent in Austin P. In fact, the leading Hokie rusher in that game? WR Marcus Davis. Yeah. With 48 yards. Which actually came on just two plays. So. I’m not all in a panic just yet, because I know that we’ve all gotten spoiled with the flashy backs of the past few years, but I’d be super happy with a slow and steady wins the race Darren Evans/Cedric Humes type right now. Let’s get it started, huh, let’s get in started in here, okay?
  2. Better success on 3rd/4th and shorts. Remember last year when we called these “3rd and Logan’s”? There was a reason for that and I’m starting to forget why. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t gotten weaker and easier to bring down since last season, so this needs to change and quick.
  3. Lower and more accurate passes. Or, just pass more to Corey Fuller. He can catch anything. Love the Fuller family. Love, love, love.
  4. I was going to add another one, but honestly folks, that’s all I’ve got. I’m not going to get all nit picky this early. The season is young, my friends, and so is this team. They will get older. They will get better.

I hear Pittsburgh is really terrible this year. Looks like they lost to Youngstown State and Cincy kinda by a lot. This may or may not be an advantage. Remember in 2003 when they were just god-awful and beat us anyway? That really sucked. Man, that season was terrible.

But that’s not gonna happen this year. Nope, nope, nope. Looking forward to an early start in front of my television watching the Hokies on ESPNU. Which for some reason is still not in HD in my area and I hate that.

It’s almost game day. So, let’s go, Hokies. No excuses. No explanations. Believe.

Clutch When It Counts-GT recap

Gratuitous photo of me at the game

Wow. That was some game, huh? Equal parts like watching paint dry (funny story here: I told my youngest daughter that something boring was the equivalent of watching paint dry and she wanted to try it-) and feeling so euphoric it was like someone told me Friday Night Lights was back for another season. The gamut of emotions. Not the gauntlet in case you mix those two words up, as people are prone to do.

So here’s what I thought about the game, in short quick bullets, because that’s about all I’m really capable of. If you want details, you probably aren’t reading this in the first place, amiright?

  • LT looked pretty awful (more on this later), except for the very beginning and the very end. In between, lousy crap. Passes that went either way over the heads of receivers or landed just at their feet. Although, to be fair, some of those passes may have been caught if Marcus Davis wasn’t perhaps the laziest route runner since Randy Moss or my Football Son when he has a stitch in his side.
  • The defense was tight. Tight, tight, tight. I heard that GT has led the nation in rushing yards per game for the last I can’t remember how many years, averaging 300 yds per game. Averaging. This game? 192. Last year against VT, when the game didn’t make me bite off all my fingernails, they ran for 243. Color me impressed. This unit is going to be super duper special.
  • I didn’t think the O-line was as awful as I’d anticipated. I don’t remember but one LT sack, although there may be another one I’m forgetting.
  • Our tailback situation will straighten itself out. Although neither Michael Holmes nor JC Coleman looked like Ryan Williams or David Wilson, they didn’t run badly. To me, they seemed to be the victims of unimaginative play calling more so than just not any good.
  • And while we’re on play-calling: Good Lordy. That third quarter was literally (and I’m using this in the literal sense) painful to watch. It was an exercise in ineptness that I haven’t seen since, well, I guess the last season that Stiney was truly at the helm. You know, one season of decent offense really spoils a person, doesn’t it?
  • But the strangest playcalling of all I reserve for the inexplicable twice in a row dump off pass to TE Ryan Malleck when we were trying to win the freaking game for craps sake. Really? Really really? Who thought that was going to send us charging into the end zone?

Gobbler Country wrote in their recap that this game had much in common with the 2009 Nebraska game which started off promisingly for the Hokie offense and was then unwatchable until the last 1:25 when it became the stuff of magical legend.

And that’s what got me thinking: would you rather have someone who was consistently a really good player, but not able to necessarily win the game for you, and in fact sometimes loses the game for you with poor decision making (and I’m thinking here of someone like Tony Romo, since I spent a lot of time in the car today listening to the Cowboys/Giants game being rehashed by everyone on ESPN radio). Romo is a really good quarterback. Stats will bear that out time and time again. But stats will also tell you this–for the most part (and last night’s NFL game was an exception) he can’t win it when it counts.

My point here? Logan Thomas is going to improve. His throws are going to get better. He is going to get more comfortable with his backs and more willing to use them like he used David Wilson. Thomas won’t look at the end of the season the way he looked on Monday night. But, he is clutch when it counts. CWIC. Last year against Miami. Monday night against Georgia Tech. Even some other games last year when the Hokies (surprise) started off slow and had to play from behind. When it matters, he’s there for you. And maybe that’s enough.

So as for Saturday’s game, I can only say this.

Courtesy of The Key Play

It’s a short week of practice. Who cares? Get out there and beat the Peay out of someone.

Sorry. That was just bad.

Let’s go. No excuses. No explanations. Believe.