Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Miles to Go Before We Sleep

The line from the Robert Frost poem (a favorite of mine and my grandfather) can be applied to both myself and the Hokies. I'm pulling an all-nighter in order to watch the U.S. soccer team take on Nigeria in Beijing. That's probably about as good an idea as going across the middle on Kam Chancellor, but hell, let's see what happens. I'm probably going to be struggling tomorrow, considering I've got to work 9 to 5 and then go to my dad's 50th birthday dinner. Should be fun.

The Hokies also have miles to go before they sleep. They held their first scrimmage Tuesday and the results left something to be desired according to the published reports. A lot of mistakes were made by a lot of young players. First, we'll get to the good. Then we'll sift through the waist-high sludge of bad.

Never underestimate blocking

Two parts of the game that usually get over-looked but are very important are pass blocking by running backs and run blocking by receivers. If either party blocks well, they are well on their way to being on the field in Virginia Tech's offense. The coaches stress pass blocking among their running backs and run blocking by the receivers is a very important part of the system.

Run blocking has apparently shot former quarterback Ike Whitaker way up the depth chart. Whitaker was involved heavily with the first-team offense, according to Kyle Tucker of the Virginian-Pilot, due primarily to his run blocking abilities.

With a nickname like 'Macho' you have to be good

Macho Harris is living up to both his nickname and his number (No. 1). Harris wasn't expected to play a lot on special teams, but due to injury got in on a couple of kick block situations. All he did was block to field goals.

This guy is an absolute beast. Please get him some time at receiver. The more opportunities Harris gets to make plays, the better.

Bringing the heat

The good news on defense, other than Macho Harris, is the defensive ends appear to be just as good as advertised. Orion Martin and Jason Worilds will cause a lot of indigestion for a lot of opposing offensive line coaches.

No news is good news

As far as I can tell from Kyle Tucker's blog from the game and the official story on, there were no interceptions or fumbles from either Tyrod Taylor or Sean Glennon. If there had been, Tucker would have mentioned it. He's the hardest working guy covering the Hokies and doesn't miss a whole lot.

Mistakes were made

The question is, does our lack of playmakers mean Taylor needs to see more snaps at quarterback or does our lack of a decent running back mean Glennon needs to see more snaps at quarterback? Read Tucker's blog to see which running backs made which screw-ups. You need a program to tell.


Positives are also negatives

The backs did a lot of east-west running, which didn't sit well with running backs coach Billy Hite. When they did go north-south, they found a lot of room to run, which may not be a good thing considering they were going against what's supposed to be our front seven in 2008.

No news is also bad news

None of the receivers did anything spectacular. That's not what I like to hear. I like to hear about guys like Brandon Dillard establishing themselves as playmakers in the spring game. Somebody needs to step up. Good thing this was only the first scrimmage. And it seems like most of it was used to see who is still in the conversation at running back.

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