Category Archives: Previews

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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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

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.

Georgia Tech. And, start jumping.

 

I mean it. Right now. Start jumping. I can hardly stand to wait the next 24 hours. It’s football time, baby! Fin-a freaking-ly. (See what I did there? Made up a whole new word).

And, to make things even more exciting, it’s a MUST WIN. Historically, the Hokies have opened up with a heartbreaker of an OOC game, but this year, guess we’re shaking things up a little and throwing it all out there first thing. Hopefully, whatever we’re throwing will end up sticking to the bottom of the Yellow Jacket’s cleats like the gum I keep stepping on in my garage because my kids don’t know where the freaking trash can it. (Slight digression).

The good stuff:

I hear the defense is going to be pretty special. That’s no surprise, really, and it’s also kinda cool to hear just how badly Bud Foster wants to win a NC. The defense handled GT’s stupid option/whatever offense pretty darn well last year, so, no worries, right?

I also remember Logan Thomas deciding that he was going to make an example out of the chop blockers, and even ended up getting punched in the helmet for it, but again, I’m pretty sure it takes a lot more than that to get him down.

Some things are questions, of course. Receivers? Well, we’ll see. Tailbacks? I’m sure someone is out there ready to take on the role. O-line? Surely this is the year the Hokies decide to have one. And there’s some defensive injuries that may be troubling. But it’s the beginning of the season, and I refuse to be worried when nothing has happened to make me worry yet.

So, get ready. Football is back. No excuses. No explanations. Believe.

Sugar Bowl—It’s Time

It’s time. Game time. I haven’t written anything since the disaster of an ACC Championship gave me the biggest football hangover I have ever experienced. Ever. Bigger than last year’s Stanford hangover, and that one was bad. So bad that even thinking about football, even after learning that the Sugar Bowl awaited, made me queasy.

But it’s here. And you know what? Screw Michigan, and Denard Robinson. (I’m sure they have other players, in fact, I’m sure they field a whole team, but I don’t know the name of a single other player, so, sorry Denard). Screw the whole “VT doesn’t belong here”crap. Screw Doug Gottlieb for stating it again on ESPN radio while I was driving home from work. Screw everybody. We’re here. Deal.

The kicking situation is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of. Kickers gone wild. What the blessed heck? But you know what that means? More 4th and Logan opportunities. Bam.

So let’s do this thing. It probably won’t come easy. It probably won’t come fast. I’ll probably be near puking for most of the game. It’s a “big” game. Hokies, as a rule, view the big game as Superman views kryptonite.

But I say…..no more. At some point, the tide must turn. If you’ve got to start somewhere, why not here? Why not now?  Don’t tell us we don’t belong. Use that as your motivation. Go. No excuses. No explanations. Believe.

“This is just spectacular……..”

 

It’s Not Revenge We’re After-It’s a Reckoning

That UVA game was something, huh? Finally, finally, finally, the rout I’ve been wanting all season. And could it have come at a better time, against a better team? No it could not.

And this just makes me laugh. Serious stiff arm.

And now tomorrow is the big day. Redemption day. Time to make the October 1 meeting against Clemson seem like just an anomaly. It was a bad game. A really bad game. No excuses. Just bad. And winning Saturday won’t make it less of a bad game, just like beating Boston College in the ACC Championship in 2007 didn’t make the 14-10 heartbreak in the rain less of a heartbreak. But you know what? It went a long way in healing it, just like a victory on Saturday in Charlotte will do as well. Nobody likes to lose. I want to win them all. But more importantly, I want to win the ones that matter. And this one matters.

So how do the Hokies win this time? By doing these things:

  • Learn from how Clemson lost the last few games and use that-run it, run it, run it. And keep running it some more. Run Thomas up the gut, run Wilson around the end. Then, when the Tigers are convinced that the run is the thing, send Danny Coale downfield. Boom. Points.
  •  I love this, so I’ll quote it directly from Illinois Hokie-. And for the love of God just keep going. That’s my plea to Frank Beamer this week. Up by 50? Try to go up 75. Five hundred yards total offense? Shoot for a grand. Because we’ve seen that Clemson can come back in a hurry (against Maryland and Wake Forest) and they aren’t out of it till they start talking about Steve Spurrier. 
  • Pressure Tajh Boyd, and keep doing it. Make him uncomfortable. Make the pocket a scary place to be. And keep it coming.
  • Contain Sammy Watkins. Is he healed? Is he playing? I’m not even sure, but I think so. Make him regret that decision.

It seems like a pretty easy recipe. Even I could cook it, and I hate to cook and can’t follow directions for crap. So, just do it. Do it because you didn’t do it in October. But do it now, when it truly matters. Remember that this is OUR conference, and no one takes that away, least of all a team who has made “pulling a Clemson” their life’s work. Pull a Virginia Tech. 27-2 in November (yeah, yeah, the game is December, but the stat looks cool, right?), 4 ACC titles since joining the conference, ACC Player of the Year in David Wilson. 13 All-ACC players.

Focus. Prepare. No excuses. No explanations. Win.

 Make no mistake, it’s not revenge he’s after. It’s a reckonin’.

 

Let’s Finish It-UVA preview

Or to be honest, UNC recap/UVA preview/everything else I’ve been slacking on lately.

UNC GAME

Damn, that game was cold. Really cold. Like, wondering why I was standing out in it, couldn’t feel my toes cold. But I love a Thursday night game, and this one didn’t disappoint. Well, except for the last 6 minutes. Those were a wee bit disappointing.

My quick takeaway from the game is this: Logan Thomas has the potential to be an amazing, amazing quarterback. I have been so very impressed. Patience, poise, much better decision making, fewer mental errors. This guy is for realz, yall.

David Wilson, while still almost beyond compare in talent and potential, still has a ways to go. The fumbles have got to stop. I seem to remember this being a problem years ago with Kevin Jones as well. Maybe they can chat some in the off-season and come up with a solution. Perhaps they can also talk a little about vision, patience and not always relying just on natural talent and speed to make a play. I don’t want to stifle talent at all. I believe you take your strengths and run with them (pun, get it?), but you also have to have the vision to know when it’s okay to run backwards and when it’s not. Most of the time, it’s not.

Finally, don’t quit playing just because the score is 24-7 and everybody is cold. It’s not over till it’s actually over, folks. Plus, onside kicks are stupid and I hate them.

And moving on to…..

Let’s All Join Hands and Sing a Song About UVA

First, good Hokie fans, stop talking about the BCS. Here’s the thing about the BCS. The Hokies are currently ranked 5th. Currently. To remain 5th, or 4th, or 3rd, or whatever, certain things have to happen. Some SEC teams have to lose to each other, and it’s very complicated and I didn’t bother to actually read it all. But, most importantly, WE MUST BEAT UVA.

In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say definitively right now, VT will not be playing in the national championship. Not gonna happen. And I don’t care anyway. It’s not our year. The next one may be, or the one after that, but not this one.

But here is what IS going to happen, because Logan Thomas got his wish and UVA found some way to bungle around a little less than Florida State did last weekend and timidly plucked victory from the jaws of mediocrity.

  • Beat UVA soundly on Saturday.
  • Rematch with Clemson in the ACC Championship
  • Beat them soundly as well.
  • Return to the Orange Bowl.

Notice that these go in a certain order? They have to be done in exactly that order. You can’t frost a cake before you mix it. You can’t watch the credits before the movie starts. You can’t finish the race before you begin it. The race begins Saturday, folks. One thing at a time. Nothing has been decided yet. So, to quote yet again my most favorite of all movies:

Ike, take Stillwell. Finish it. -Tombstone

Logan, take David Wilson. Take Boykin. Take Coale, and Coales. Take Drager. Bring along Exum, Fuller, Hosley, Hopkins and Whitley. There’s still work to be done. Finish it.

So go. Prepare. Focus. No excuses, no explanations. Win. Finish it.

Georgia Tech on a Thursday night-what could be better?

(Well, a lot of things, actually, but I just needed a title).

Things I have learned this week in my pregame blog reading about Thursday night’s VT at GT matchup:

  • The flexbone, decoded. (That sounded a little dirty, didn’t it?)
  • And why it’s so difficult to defend.
  • That VT has a history of not performing so well the week after a bye.
  • Hokies After a Bye Week
    Year Opp. Result Total Offense
    2006 BC 22-3 L 181
    2007 BC 14-10 L 265
    2008 BC 28-23 L 240
    2008 Maryland 23-13 W 400
    2009 UNC 20-17 L 256
    2010 GT 28-21 W 335

    Bud Foster decided it was a good week to make a lot of defensive changes.

You know who I miss? Reggie Ball. Too bad we’re not playing that Georgia Tech team again. 
Really, this game is one of those where so many different things could happen. The only real guarantee is that I will be perilously close to vomiting at all times until the end of the game. I guess it wouldn’t be Georgia Tech otherwise.
Quick list of things that cannot happen if the Hokies hope to win this game:
  • Start off slowly on offense. Here are some handy charts I didn’t make on why this is a terrible idea and didn’t work so well in 2008, 2009, or 2010.
  • Miss tackles or assignments. Defending against this offense isn’t just swarming to the ball and hoping for the best. It’s sitting and watching and knowing what your guy is doing at all times, lest he get away from you and run 30 or so yards before you stop him.
  • Forget that every so often, GT will pass. And when they do, they will burn you if you’re not ready for it.
  • Shank punts. Run backward instead of forward when you are returning punts. Allow GT to get good field position when they are returning said shanked punts.
But I’ve gotta stop being all gloom and doom. After all, the Hokies did win this game last year and I was reminded this morning of this fact:
So here’s what we do. Come out fighting. Run, pass, catch, score. Block, tackle, force fumbles. Focus. Prepare. Plan. No excuses, no explanations. Believe. Win.
And that’s it.

It’s Time to Regroup-Miami preview

Can you call it a preview when I’m not actually going to do any actual previewing of the game? Eh, whatever. Just some thoughts, then.

Some losses bother me. ACC Championship in 2005, Boston College 2007, (made worse by the fact that my Football Father decided to have a kidney stone attack after the game and I spent the rest of that miserable night in the hospital in Salem, where it was freezing, I was soaking wet, and there were not enough heated blankets in the world), most all of the second half of 2003, and most recently, Boise State.

And some losses don’t. I don’t ever really dwell on 2007 ‘s LSU slaughter, because I knew before the game even started what the outcome was going to be. None of the 2008 losses (BC, FSU, Miami) really keep me up at night, because I’m not sure the Hokies were actually even fielding an offense that year.But I expected to win last week’s game against Clemson, so I find myself a bit surprised that I’m not more upset about it. Now,  make no mistake, I was upset Saturday night. But by Sunday, I was strangely calm. (In contrast, I still get a little sick to my stomach thinking about the end of that Boise State game). Maybe my lack of anger is because of this:

I have concluded something that really should be painfully obvious.  Virginia Tech football has been on a plateau for the past 7 seasons, and the fanbase has been on a plateau for just as long or longer.

I believe that because we’ve seen the same product on the field, with minor variation, for the last 7 years, we are collectively less hungry.  We have consistently been a good team, but not a great team.  We have a string of 10-win seasons that is truly rare in college football today, yet we cannot get over the hump and beat college football’s elite.

Maybe the time has come to stop pretending that Virginia Tech is reaching for the stars and just keep shooting for pretty good. To expect elite football from the guys that collectively brought us numbers like these rankings is ridiculous:

  • Total offense-2007: 100
  • Total offense-2008: 103
  • Total defense-2007: 4
  • Total defense-2008-7
Elite teams have balance. Elite teams would look at those numbers and think: “hmmm, I am sensing a pattern of a problem”, and fix them. Elite teams want to be elite in all areas. Good teams are happy to point to the defensive numbers and the fact that they can win most of their games and just shrug, because they must be doing something right, right? 
I’m not sure that there’s even a point to this, actually. We’ve all seen Hokie teams take a hit on the chin and then get back up and punch the next team right in the neck. And, there’s fewer teams I’d rather see get a good neck punching than these guys.

I would say something now about how interception prone Jacory is, and how Miami doesn’t appear to be fielding much of a defense this year, but then I’d have to remember that Logan Thomas, through more games because Harris had to sit out at least one, has fewer TD’s and more interceptions. Eek. And, that Clemson had a defense so bad that Wofford was able to score 30 on them.

So, I won’t say any of that. I’ll say this. If the Hokies are looking for another 10 win season and an ACC Championship, then let’s get to it. Both of those things are still possible. Virginia Tech’s offensive philosophy isn’t going to have changed between last Saturday and this one, so, just keep dancing with the one that brung ya, namely, the defense and David Wilson (minus the fumbles).

Focus. Prepare. No excuses. No explanations. Believe.

Are you ready for Clemson?

Beyond awesome……

Get ready. Get loud. No excuses. No explanations. Focus. Believe. WIN