Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Movin' on up... to the east siiiiiiiiiiiiide

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Scouting the Spring Games

Several Hokie opponents in 2009 concluded spring practice this weekend. Here's a quick look at what transpired:

Non-Conference

Alabama

QB Greg McElroy didn't have a spectacular day, but did connect with Julio Jones for a 53-yard TD in a 14-7 win for the Crimson over the White. McElroy threw 2 TDs and 2 INTs, but the young quarterbacks behind him were terrible. The QB job is his.

- Ian R. Rapoport on what Qs Bama answered in the spring. (Brimingham News)
- Predictably, Alabama's D dominated the game. (Southern Pigskin)
- Here's your highlight reel. (Roll Bama Roll)

East Carolina

Big plays were the storyline out of Greenville where Patrick Pinkney completed 19 of 26 for 229 yards and two TDs. The defense carried ECU last season. That trend might be reversed in 2009 with the offense leading the charge.

- Pinkney called it the best spring game for ECU in his six years there. (The Daily Reflector)
- ECU now has depth at skill positions. (AP)

Nebraska

It looks more and more like Zac Lee will be the Huskers' starting QB. He completed 15 of 18 passes for 214 yards on Saturday. Meanwhile, Nebraska's linebackers and secondary didn't fare so well.

- Lee was even accurate on deep balls. (Omaha World Herald)
- Husker Mike was impressed with the skill position players. (Corn Nation)

ACC Teams on Our Schedule

Duke

Continuing our QB theme, Thad Lewis was spectacular for Duke Saturday, throwing for 257 yards and running for two TDs. The Cutcliffe Effect is having a big impact on Duke's QBs.

- Giggity saw a lot fewer unforced errors in this year's spring game. (ACC Now)

Georgia Tech

QB Josh Nesbitt sat out the T-Day game with a shoulder injury. However, that didn't keep the offense from putting up big numbers in a 31-28 win for Gold over White. There were several big plays, but there were also eight fumbles for a team that struggled with fumbles in 2008.

- Photos from the game. (The Legacyx4)
- GT's linebackers were the highlight for the D. (The Legacyx4)
- It was certainly an improvement over the 2008 spring game. (AJC)

NC State

The 'Pack D looks fierce. White beat Red, 10-7, in a game whose only offensive highlight was a 65-yard TD pass by Russell Wilson. Nate Irving's sack on the first play of the game set the tone.

- The offensive line struggle mightily for State. (ACC Now)
- The QBs were mistake-free. (Section Six)
- The secondary was a pleasant surprise for Pack fans. (StateFans Nation)

Virginia

The 'Hoos unveiled their new spread offense and called its QBs down by touch in their spring game, resulting in only two touchdowns. Its tough to know how well a spread offense works without live quarterbacks. So we'll have to wait until September to see if Gregg Brandon's offense will work.

- Vic Hall finally got to throw the ball. (Roanoke Times)
- We still have no clue who the Hoos' QB will be.
- UVa sort of knows who will start on defense. (Daily Press)

Clayton is No. 2 QB, Davis to WR

From Dave Smith and the SID office:

BLACKSBURG - Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer announced Monday that redshirt freshman Joseph “Ju-Ju” Clayton has been named the No. 2 quarterback for the Hokies’ football team. Redshirt freshman Marcus Davis, who was battling with Clayton, will work at receiver the remainder of this week while continuing to work on his arm strength.

“We still feel that Marcus has the capabilities to be an excellent quarterback,” Beamer said. “At this very moment, we feel that Ju-Ju is ahead of him and we’re encouraging Marcus to work hard on his arm strength this summer and continue to throw and we’ll see where that goes.

“Coming out of high school, I felt like he could be a very good quarterback and I still feel that way. But a couple of his runs on Saturday also showed that we need to get him on the field somewhere and we’re going to work on that part of it.”


This is a smart move. Davis is a better athlete, but Ju-Ju is a better quarterback. Beamer also isn't making the move permanent. It sounds like Davis will be given the chance to work as the No. 3 QB when camp opens again in the fall.

However, it's important to get an athlete of Davis' caliber on the field. Therefore, working him at receiver now starts the process should he still not be QB material in August.

Ryan Williams Can Block

A question I've heard from some of you is whether freshman RB Ryan Williams has improved the pesky pass blocking that kept him in a redshirt last year. Well, our friend Kyle Tucker answered that question in today's edition of the Virginian-Pilot.

Apparently Williams has no problem rising to the challenge when given an ultimatum:

If he hoped to erase that feeling, the mandate was clear. Williams would be unleashed to run with the ball - an ability never questioned since his days averaging 10 yards per carry for Stonewall Jackson High in Manassas - as soon as he could block well without it.

And that's what made Saturday's scrimmage, the Hokies' second of spring practice, so sweet for the rising redshirt freshman.

On one play, Williams blocked a defensive tackle's path to quarterback Ju Ju Clayton, then noticed a second defensive tackle bearing down on the passer. Williams launched himself at Kwamaine Battle, blasting the 283-pounder off his feet.


For me, the better news comes from KT's blog post last night. Check out Williams' response when asked about his favorite play from Saturday's scrimmage:

ON HIS FAVORITE PLAY IN THE SCRIMMAGE: "When I set to blocks for Ju Ju. I don’t remember who I blocked first, but they were coming Ju Ju’s way. I want to say A.B. Latif, but I’m not sure. But I slowed him down. Then I saw Kwamaine and I released off A.B. because I knew he wasn’t going to get Ju Ju. Then I made a block on Kwamaine and I was looking for more. I was having fun out there. It was like a big play field for me out there."


That tells me Williams knows how to handle the media in addition to blitzing linebackers. Whether or not his favorite play was actually the blocks he set for Clayton on Saturday doesn't matter. He knew what he needs to tell the guys with the recorders and notepads.

There was never a question about Williams' running ability. Now that we know he can pass block, he's ready to be unleashed on the ACC.

News from opponents' spring games coming later today. Until then...

Linkage

Hokies

- PXP of the scrimmage. (Beamerblog)
- The spring game will be broadcast on XM Sirius (good news for yours truly). (HokieSports)
- Demetrius Taylor's hard work should pay off this fall. (Roanoke Times)
- Marcus Davis uses his feet to get back into the backup QB race. (Virginian-Pilot)
- But Ju-Ju Clayton is more impressive in the passing game. (Roanoke Times)
- Matt Waldron's consistency will likely make him Tech's kicker. (Roanoke Times)
- O-line injury woes continue. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- Jeff takes time away from honey-dos to discuss BC's QB race and defense with Brian. (BC Interruption)
- BC's QB competition might be a 3-man race now. (Eagle in Atlanta)
- Da'Rel Scott is hurt. (Testudo Times)
- The league office touts its players' NFL accolades. (ACC)
- Offense stole the show in Wake's spring game. (Blogger so Dear)

Stuff Only I Care About

- How to have sex with a picnic table. (EDSBS)
- I remember none of this. (Buffett News)
- Papi finally does some work. (Brownie Points)
- A member of the French Connection isn't happy with the Sabres. (Sabres Edge)
- The Saddledome gets ready to sing. (Globe and Mail)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Busy Weekend for Our Soon to be Vanquished Foes

The Hokies don't hold their spring game until next week. But this Saturday will mark the end of spring practice for three of our four out of conference opponents and five ACC teams. Duke, Georgia Tech, NC State, france and Wake Forest will all hold their spring games Saturday.

Next week I'll have the talking points from the aftermath of the following spring extravaganzas.

Alabama

Its quarterback situation is all-but-settled with senior Greg McElroy taking the reins. One of the questions facing the Tide is who his back-up will be. Star Jackson is the high-touted youngster, but he's being out played by walk-on Thomas Darrah.

The real position battles to watch with the Tide are at offensive line and in the secondary. The Tide have a lot of talent to replace on a line that struggled against Utah without Andre Smith at right tackle.

The Tide had trouble with pass blocking in the Sugar Bowl and have had trouble running ball in the spring. Although a lot of that has to do with how good Alabama's front seven on defense is. Reading Roll Bama Roll, it appears the Tide's OL is in the same predicament Tech's was the last two seasons:

Do not set that one in stone just yet, though, because with Pendry's philosophy of getting the best five on the field, an injury to just one lineman or the emergence of just one other lineman could completely alter the composition of the starting five.


Nebraska

The Huskers have to replace quarterback Joe Ganz and the three contenders for the starting job have a combined five career passing yards. Those yards belong to Zac Lee, who will likely land the starting job.

The passing situation just gets worse for the Huskers. They lost their two top receivers in Nate Swift and Todd Peterson as well as do-everything running back Marlon Lucky, who was versatile out of the backfield. However, despite the loss of Lucky, the Huskers will be fine on the ground Roy Helu and Quentin Castille are a solid 1-2 punch for Nebraska. Castille ran all over Clemson in Nebraska's second half comeback in the Gator Bowl.

On defense, Nebraska has an excellent defensive line, but is questionable at linebacker and secondary. Both units looked very slow in the two games I saw last year (Tech and Oklahoma). However, I believe Nebraska will be improved at secondary next year. The Huskers have three returnees in the secondary and have added depth with incoming players and another who missed last year due to injury.

Corn Nation believes the depth in the secondary is a strong point for the Huskers:

Depth is a key for the Huskers as they look ahead into the 2009 season. Like the linebacking unit, competition will be heavy for the starting positions. The more defensive secondary players that are available, the more flexibility will be afforded Bo Pelini.


East Carolina

Patrick Pinkney is back to haunt our dreams, but the Pirates have new (OK, old) blood at running back.

Although his career efforts to date have added up to 607 rush yards and six touchdowns, Lindsay has been with the program longer than any other back on the team and was a member of head coach Skip Holtz's first recruiting class.

As hard as Lindsay said it was to be immobilized for the season and lose much of the momentum he'd built the previous three years, the layoff gave him a new perspective on the game.

"It was great in that I really got to watch the game,” he said. “I became a fan. Every time somebody did something good, it made me happy because you always want to see your teammates succeed. But at the same time, I thought, they did all this without me. But I was happy for them. They accomplished all of the goals we set out to accomplish last year."


Duke

Due to injury, graduation and attrition, the Blue Devils only have 57 players in uniform this spring. The real progress for Duke will come in the fall when it has everyone on campus.

Duke only returns 10 starters (five per side of the ball) and that may not be a bad thing. The players leaving may have been part of Duke's four-win season last year, but they were also a part of the atrocious Duke teams of the two previous seasons.

"We have less bodies and more football players," head coach David Cutcliffe said during this week's ACC teleconference. "At this time a year ago we had eight players ready to play defense to some degree of effectiveness in the ACC and on offense we had seven. We are at double-digits in both categories as we evaluate ourselves going into the last week of spring practice."

The important thing for the Devils is the return of their best player, QB Thaddeus Lewis. And unlike last year, he may have a running game to lighten his load. RB Re'quan Boyette returns after missing 2008 with a torn ACL. Cutcliffe said he is back at full speed.

"He had a tremendous scrimmage Friday and was explosively fast," he said. "I saw Re'quan back to where he's going to be a factor. He cut himself loose for the first time Friday and looked like an All-Star performer."

While Duke loses its best offensive weapon in WR Eron Riley, it may have gained one in Boyette. The question will be whether the offensive line will allow him to produce the numbers on the ground Duke needs to be successful with its pro-style offense.

Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets' offense tore through the ACC and Georgia at the end of last season before being halted by LSU in the Peach Bowl. They return all of their star players from 2008 and will certainly reap the benefits of going young on that side of the ball last year.

Yes, teams will go into 2009 having seen Georgia Tech's offense and won't be surprised by what it does. However,in head coach Paul Johnson's words, while teams will get better at defending the flexbone, the Jackets will get better at running it.

The defense will be a different story. While the Yellow Jacket offense is fearsome, it's D will certainly lack the bite it had last year. Gone are DE Michael Johnson, DT Daryl Richard and DT Vance Walker.

Johnson will have to fill those key holes in order to have a shot at the Coastal Division in 2009.

"We have some guys who haven't played a lot but they've been in games," he said during the teleconference. "It's going to be by committee a little bit but they've had a decent spring."

I'll be looking forward to a full report from Georgia Tech's T-Day from our friends at The Legacy x4. While usually I'd encourage them to drink enough to not remember anything from the spring game, we could use some good info, so try to stay conscious, guys.

NC State

Like Duke, the Wolfpack are getting an important piece back that was missing from 2008. Running back Toney Baker returns from his own catastrophic knee injury he suffered in 2007.

Because of the nature of Baker's injury, head coach Tom O'Brien is cautiously optimistic about his progress.

"I don't think Toney's 100 percent," O'Brien said during the teleconference. "I don't know how he could be. It's the first time he's been on the field since September of 2007. He has made some strides and it's going to take a while. The good news is he's been out there, competing and working hard."

Baker will replace Andre Brown, who started 12 games last season. Who will be handing the ball off to him may not be as set in stone as it seemed at the end of last year. QB Russell Wilson was first-team all-conference and led the Wolfpack to four consecutive wins to finish the regular season.

However, an injury in the bowl game and the current NC State baseball season has hampered Wilson's progress. Wilson's participation in Saturday's spring game iwll even be limited due to that afternoon's baseball game. Redshirt FR Mike Glennon has had an excellent spring and could demand playing time come September.

"He's worked hard this spring and done a great job," O'Brien said. "Every job is open here and we give everybody the opportunity to challenge for a job. Competition makes your team better."

Virginia

The Hoos will install a new offense under Gregg Brandon this season. Who will be running that offense is up for debate.

Marc Verica, Jameel Sewell and Vic Hall will compete to be the starting quarterback in Brandon's spread attack. Hall ran a wildcat-type offense effectively in the first half against Virginia Tech.

The Wahoos started to go in the spread direction last year. However, the loss of Sewell to academics and emergence of Peter Lalich and Verica as UVa's two options at QB caused it to abandon the spread. Head coach Al Groh said during the teleconference that Brandon was one of the coaches the UVa staff talked to while trying to implement the new offense.

The Hoos' spread attack will be on display for the first time Saturday during festivus. How it looks and who runs it best will be the most interesting thing to watch.

"Until all 11 guys on the line get it, it doesn't look too good," Groh said. "I think looking at it position-by-position, we're starting to gain momentum."

Groh said the progress of the offense will be slow under the new system.

"It's been successful at many other places but by the same token it's not Star Wars," he said. "It's not something no one has ever figured out how to play against. Gregg has done a heckuva job for us and is a bright coach but he's not the Tooth Fairy. He's not going to instantly make it a 70 point per game offense. It's up to player performance and it's player execution that scores points."

Laziness is Next to Godliness

I'll have a bigger (but probably not better) post later today featuring some actual journalism-type stuff. It's great when you can take the audio from a teleconference and use those quotes to make it seem like you accomplished something.

Until that gets posted tonight, here's your topic for debate:

Who will lead the Hokies in sacks this year? Jason Worilds is the returning leader, but John Graves is having a stellar spring since switching to DE from DT.

Linkage

Hokies

- Perception isn't always reality: Bama QBs vs. VT QBs. (Blogsburg)
- Coach Beamer does not understand your fascination with embedded video. (Roanoke Times)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- n00bs who will have an impact on the 2009 season. (ACC Now)
- The three guys competing for UVa's starting QB job all have sob stories. (Annette)
- The UVa view of the Philip Sims Bama commitment. (From Old Virginia)
- Kyle Parker becomes Willy Korn before Willy Korn can become Willy Korn. (Block-C)
- If you don't have traditions of your own, steal them. (The Legacyx4)

Stuff Only I Care About

- I like to think my constant linking had something to do with everyone's favorite cougar, Kristin Chenoweth, winning Ogle Madness. (The Lost Ogle)
- Fins up! I'll be at tomorrow's show. (Buffett News)
- The Twitter phenomenon has engulfed God's conference. (The Quad)
- If only he had dropped THE c-bomb. (Puck Daddy)
- DACOACHO is sure to win an Oscar for his portrayal of DACOACHO. (EDSBS)
- Some of our favorite calllllage footbawl bloggers are meeting in Vegas for a weekend of debauchery. (Dr. Saturday)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beamers Interviewed by David Glenn

David Glenn talked to both Frank and Shane Beamer this past week on 850 the Buzz in Raleigh. Click here to listen to the interviews.

You'll also find interviews with NC State's Tom O'Brien and Wake's Jim Grobe. Right now both Beamer interviews have errors. Hopefully that'll be fixed soon.

Kam Nabs Pick-6 in Mini Scrimmage

Safety Kam Chancellor again came through during today's mini scrimmage in Blacksburg. He intercepted another pass and returned it for the scrimmage's only touchdown.

The defense has been getting the best of the offense throughout the spring, especially through the air. Tyrod Taylor was again sub-par, connecting on 3 of 8 passes for 36 yards. At what point should we start being concerned about this?

Linkage

Hokies

- Annette reports Josh Oglesby is doing well but also not talking to the media. (ESPN)
- Tyrod goes to the video tape to improve his mechanics. (RTD)
- Don't count out Cris Hill for the field corner spot (RTD)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- "You've gone soft on me, Jeff." Find out if this quote came from Brian or Mrs. Jeff. (BCI)
- GT is pwning UGa this year. (The Legacyx4)
- Aaron Curry appears to not be an ass hole. (Blogger So Dear)
- But did Dabo contribute to keeping Austin weird? (ACC Now)
- Buzz Blog does a horrible job of putting the sports calendar in bracket form. The Rose Bowl a No. 1 seed? Gimme a break. (Buzz Blog)

Stuff Only I Care About

- A new ECU Pirates logo for current times. (EDSBS)
- Run for your lives. They're letting bloggers on TV. (Goose's Roost)
- I thought Anne was a little kind with her grades. (Sabretooth's House)
- I'm sad to see MacT go. (Puck Daddy)
- Amalie Benjamin (who I love and would in a heartbeat give up my hard-drinking, road-tripping bachelor ways for) discusses whether or not to blame Matsuzaka's arm fatigue on the WBC. PS - I blame the WBC. (Extra Bases)

I'm Concerned About the Kickers (Again)

The Hokies will have their fourth different kicker in four years in 2009. So far Tech has had solid kicker after solid kicker. But will the Hokies run of good kicking fortune run out this season?

Brandon Pace held Virginia Tech's kicking job for three seasons and made 58 of 68 field goal attempts. Jud Dunleavy took over in 2007 and was 21 of 26, but toward the end of the season was nearly automatic. Dustin Keys took over for his senior year last season and made 23 of 29 attempts, including 17 of 19 inside 40 yards.

It's possible the Hokies could have a fourth consecutive senior kicker. If Matt Waldron wins the job Tech will again have a veteran kicker making his debut. And then in 2010 it will have its fifth kicker in five years.

Waldron was candidate for the job last year, but lost out to Keys. He's the most accurate kicker in camp, but the strongest leg belongs to sophomore Justin Myer. Myer kicked off for the Hokies last year.

If you're looking to make comparisons, Waldron is more like Keys and Myer is more like Dunleavy. Dunleavy went from being the kickoff specialist to the starting job and able to boom field goals. The best case scenario for the Hokies would be for Myer to improve his accuracy and win the job.

Right now, I'd rather have older and more accurate Waldron lining up for a game-winning field goal against Alabama.

Tech's kicker have been reliable since joining the ACC. It will be interesting to see if this is the year the Hokies luck at kicker runs out.

Playoffs Start Today

I'll be busy every night for the next two months. The NHL playoffs start today and I can't wait for the first multi-OT game. It's the best postseason in professional sports (I'm looking at you, UEFA Champions League) and its champion will have to endure two grueling months of hockey.

First round predictions:
Bruins over Habs in 5
Caps over Rangers in 7
Hurricanes over Devils in 6
Penguins over Flyers in 4
(PS - this would mean Sid vs. Ovie in round two)
Sharks over Ducks in 5
Blue Jackets over Red Wings in 7
Canucks over Blues in 7
Flames over Blackhawks in 7

He Finally Got Tired of Sleeping with Models on Top of a Pile of Money

Rumor has it KT will be in Blacksburg to do some reporting this weekend for the Virginian-Pilot. Good. This means we'll have stories with substance rather than Randy King fluff pieces to read.

Silent Tomorrow

Thursday is the 16th. Just one post and it won't have text.

Linkage

Hokies

- "The Animal" could be starting at LB this fall. (Roanoke Times)
- Reasons Beamer's relationship with the media has cooled. (Blogsburg)
- Spring game experiences are different in the 'Burg and Hooville. (The A-line)
- An early look at NCAA 10 improvements. (College Game Balls)
- Guess who's on her way to Blacksburg? (Annette)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- If GT students made the school's PSAs. (The Legacyx4)
- Maryland looks to replace Gronkowski. (Testudo Times)
- The UVa hoops coaching staff appears to be complete. (From Old Virginia)

Opponents

- Under the radar guys for NU this spring. (Husker Mike)
- Spring ball breakdowns of every position for the Huskers, including cheerleaders. (Double Extra Point)
- Bama's front seven is formidable. (Roll Bama Roll)

Stuff Only I Care About

- Holly is on the spring scrimmage bandwagon. (Dr. Saturday)
- Doug and I had similar conversations with our parents over Easter. (Hey Jenny Slater)
- Everyone's favorite cougar, Kristen Chenoweth, is in the Ogle Madness championship game against the second best singer to ever come out of Checotah, Okla. Vote cougar.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chancellor's Improvement Important for Defense



The lone interception in Tech's scrimmage Friday came from free safety Kam Chancellor. The senior has built on his momentum from the Orange Bowl and had an excellent spring so far. That's good news for the Hokie secondary, which had major communication issues last season.

Last year was Chancellor's first as a free safety after moving from rover. At rover, he was allowed to roam the field and hit opposing pass catchers and quarterbacks like a Mack truck. He excelled at doing that in 2007 and hopes were high for him going into last season.

But the move to free meant he would have to quarterback the defense and in my opinion he struggled with that early in 2008. Chancellor's job was to call out the coverages for the secondary and the Hokies were burned for big plays through the air, especially the middle part of the field, where Chancellor and whoever was playing rover at the time patrolled.

These big plays hurt Tech most in its losses to BC and Florida State. Pass plays of 48 and 41 yards helped set up touchdowns for BC in the regular season game at Chestnut Hill.

Chancellor did improve as the season progressed and he built better communication with Dorian Porch. Porch took over the rover spot after Davon Morgan was lost for the season during the Nebraska game. Chancellor saved his best performance for the Orange Bowl where he had an interception and two pass breakups.

It's good to see his progress at free hasn't stopped with the Orange Bowl. If the Hokies secondary is going to survive in 2009 without Macho Harris, it will be up to him. Without Harris, the Hokies have less room for error defending the pass and can't afford to give up as many big plays through the air as they did last season.

ACC Tennis Tourney This Week

The men's and women's tennis teams will compete in the ACC tournament this week in Cary, NC, which hosts just about every non-rev tournament these days. The men (13-6) open play at 3 p.m. Thursday against Maryland. The Hokies are ranked No. 22 in the country.

The women (13-10) face Wake Forest at 9 a.m. Thursday. The ACC has neglected to either provide a video feed or live scoring for any of these matches.

Linkage

Hokies

- Summer will be lonelier without Harry Kalas. (Roth Report)
- Angela Tincher is blogging from Japan. (Angela Tincher)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- Defense stole the show at Clemson's spring game. (Block-C)
- Comparing Ponder in 2008 to Weatherford in 2007. (Tomahawk Nation)
- Are Miami fans worried about recruits leaving Dade Co.? (All Canes)
- Get your ACC Directors Cup standings. (StateFans Nation)
- Something we can all get behind: BC-BU as part of the Winter Classic. (BCI)

Stuff Only I Care About

- Why you have to love the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (The Kurtenblog)
- Hopefully Joe won't have to shave until at least after Round 2. (Buzz Blog)
- Why Lindy Ruff shouldn't coach Buffalo next year. (Die by the Blade)
- News for those going to the Atlanta show on Thursday. (Buffett News)
- The Barnhart visits the defending champs. (Mr. College Football)
- Amalie Benjamin (who I love and would in a heartbeat give up my hard-drinking, road-tripping bachelor ways for) reports the Sox SS troubles just got worse. (Globe)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Standing Ovation for Ovies

Joe Ovies and Co. over at the Buzz Blog know how to get my attention.

This has absolutely nothing to do with Hokie sports, but I think it warrants a post. Especially since it involves hockey and hot chicks. Check out the ad promoting Carolina Hurricanes hockey on the Raleigh sports radio stations:



Well done, sirs.

Williams Breaks Loose in Scrimmage

Freshman running back Ryan Williams had 122 yards on eight carries, including an 80-yard touchdown run in Friday's scrimmage. Most of the carries came against the second-team defense, but by all accounts Williams showed the playmaking abilities that made him a highly sought after recruit two years ago.

Williams' play was the highlight for the offense, although RB Josh Oglesby had solid runs against the first-team defense. The passing game left something to be desired as Tyrod Taylor, Ju-Ju Clayton and Marcus Davis combined complete 13 of 30 pass attempts.

It's becoming obvious at this point that Davis' future with the Hokies is not as a quarterback. I think Clayton and Boone should start getting the majority of the backup QB reps the rest of the spring. The quicker you get Davis to whatever position will allow him to get on the field the better for all parties involved.

On defense, John Graves was a beast. He compiled four tackles for loss, including a sack. His transition from defensive tackle to end appears to be going smoothly.

Linkage

Hokies

- How Oglesby can impact the upcoming season. (VT Fan)
- Eddie Whitley is doing his best Brandon Flowers impersonation. (TechSuperfans)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- The GT O is getting the best of the D this spring. (The Legacyx4)
- NCSU may have a full-blown QB controversy. (Yet Another...)
- A former CB is impressing at QB for Maryland. (Testudo Times)
- Yet another reason I want the NCAA disbanded. (StateFans Nation)

Stuff Only I Care About

- My favorite cougar is in the Final Four against the mayor. (The Lost Ogle)
- The NHL playoffs are two days away... (Puck Daddy)
- ...but won't include the Sabres. (Top Shelf)
- "I have yet to hit someone in the head and it’s not on my list of shit to do." (Full Count)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Things That Get Me to Football: "VT Cheerleader" and "Playboy Magazine" in the Same Headline

Last week I informed you via the Twitter that Playboy was going to be in Blacksburg looking for VT's entry in its Girls of the ACC issue. From Busted Coverage, via Winfield from The Legacy x4, comes news that one of the young ladies looking to expose themselves to the masses was a VT cheerleader.

Carly Hinchman probably would have been fine if she had tried out for Playboy under an alias and then not told anyone. However, she made a freshman mistake and not only gave Playboy her real name, but also WSLS in Roanoke, who interviewed her and a friend as part of a story on girls who showed up for the audition.

Someone later E-mailed Busted Coverage claiming their post was inaccurate because Carly didn't try out for Playboy. But according to her own words on the WSLS news story, she did.

Since we're still just under 150 days from glorious college football, this story and Carly's status on the team will be worth following.

Scrimmage Time

The Hokies will scrimmage at 4:30 today at Lane Stadium. It's open to the public.

Tyrod Taylor didn't get many snaps during the "mini scrimmage" earlier this week and my guess is you'll see the same today. Ju-Ju Clayton and Marcus Davis will likely get most of the snaps under center.

I'm also interested in how Ryan Williams does. He was lackluster in the mini scrimmage and most Hokie fans will want to see the moves they've heard the kid possesses.

There will be plenty to overly-dissect and put way too much stock into once the stats are posted by Dave Smith and the VT sports info department.

Spring Practice for Tailgaters

I'll be tailgating the OU spring game tomorrow. No, I'm not actually going to the Sooners' spring game. It's all about being prepared for the upcoming season.

It's also highly probable that our tailgate will just be held in our backyard since we're too lazy to drive across town to Owen Field and set up a tent.

Hoppy Easter

Easter Sunday is always a good day at my parents' house because it's the one time a year my mom makes her version of Dirt Cake, which is basically a large amount of crushed Oreos, pudding, cream cheese and Cool Whip layered in a large bowl. I'm sure there are other ingredients, but those are the only ones that matter.

I usually have it as my main course while everyone else in the family looks at me with looks or disdain, concern and/or envy. Plus, having it before anyone else means I'm free to take most of the Oreos, which make up the top layer and are the first to go.

Linkage

Hokies

- Iron Bowl moves to Friday. (College Game Balls)
- LB Bruce Taylor impresses Bud Foster. (Roanoke Times)
- Bill Roth looks at next year's Hokie hoops team. (Roth Report)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- Jeff takes time away from looking at geraniums at Home Depot to discuss BC's new no-huddle offense with Brian. (BCI)
- Wake's receivers are improving. (Blogger so Dear)
- Rosters for Clemson's spring game. (Block-C)
- Paul Johnson + Waffle House = Comedy. (The Barnhart)
- ACC talent continues to make NFL scouts salivate. (ACC Now)
- Former Wazzu PG discusses Tony Bennett (ACCSJ)

Stuff Only I Care About

- Thursday was a bad day for the Sooner State. (AP)
- Orson gets KTFO. (Sporting Blog)
- Beckett's fastball velocity is greatly improved. (Firebrand of the AL)
- Sabres get eliminated. (Muckers and Grinders)
- Amalie Benjamin (who I love and would in a heartbeat give up my hard-drinking, road-tripping bachelor ways for) discusses the impending arrival of John Smoltz to the Red Sox staff and other topics. (Globe)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

WTF is a Mini Scrimmage?

Two big plays highlighted a 40-play mini scrimmage for the Hokies on Wednesday. Tyrod Taylor had a 65-yard TD run and CB Eddie Whitley returned an INT 61 yards for a TD.

Neither the stats nor the Beamerblog mention who threw the INT, but there were two picks by the VT defense. Whitley returend his for a TD and the other was by Jeron Gouveia-Winslow.

I'd love to be excited about the Whitley TD. I've said all along he's the guy I want to step up and take the field corner spot by force. But according to the Beamerblog, it was a gift INT and TD. I guess Whitley was in the right place at the right time. Good for Whitley, but given that it was a "gift pick" in a mini scrimmage, you can't hand him the job by any stretch of the imagination.

From the two sources above, it looks like Tyrod was limited in the mini scrimmage and there probably isn't a lot of stock that can be taken from the stats. I'm more intrested in what happens Friday in the actual scrimmage than in whatever it was that took place Wednesday.

Go Beavers!

The Frozen Four starts today in DC with Bemidji State facing Miami U. and Boston U. taking on Vermont. If you live in NOVA, I urge you to go. There is nothing like the Frozen Four. Hockey fans are a devoted group and its an electric atmosphere. I've been to several Final Fours and the Frozen Four I went to last year topped them all.

A lot of the tickets to the Final Four go to corporate suits who don't care about the outcome. Not so at the Frozen Four. Since this year's Frozen Four is in a non-traditional hockey market, tickets should be easy to come by. Go and thank me later.

Go Bemidji!

Linkage

Hokie Bloggers

- Fulmer Cup points in our future? A vague post by BCO. (Beer Control Offense)
- How bad is the ACC next year if we're supposed to be No. 4 in hoops? (ACCSJ)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- Anatomy of an ACL tear. (Tomahawk Nation)
- The passing game continues to be an issue at GT. (The Legacy x4)
- Brendan tackles the immediate future of UVa hoops. (From Old Virginia)

Stuff Only I Care About

- Stop making me care, Sabres. (Die by the Blade)
- Brad May plays his 1,000th game. In a Leafs uni. *sniff, sniff* (Goose's Roost)
- Interesting interview with Sabres beat writer and blogger Mike Harrington. (Top Shelf)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

You Say So Much With So Little

The Hokies have been dissected by a national blogger for the second consecutive day. Tuesday, the good Dr. Saturday prematurely assessed the 2009 edition of Virginia Tech football. Today, Orson Swindle gave a one-paragraph take on the VT-Bama game.

And like he always does, Orson got right to the point and was neither wrong nor pedestrian.

Why just in week one: Alabama and Virginia Tech have their Skoal-off in the Georgia Dome again, meaning tasty free chicken sandwiches for your correspondent, and perhaps a misleading win for Virginia Tech early. This will prime the Hokie bandwagon for a hefty pile-on until everyone remembers Brian (sic) Stinespring can’t call plays, Tyrod Taylor can’t pass, and that Alabama will improve three thousand times from game one to game six after breaking in a new qb, and will likely look at their worst in game one.


"You're not wrong, Walter, you're just an ass hole."

The Doc and Orson were both on target with their analysis of the Hokies and do it in their own ways. The Doc with near over-analysis and Orson with biting, pithy commentary.

However, they differ on how Virginia Tech's season will go. To me, it seems Doc thinks we'll lose to Bama and then contend for or win a weak ACC. Orson seems to believe we'll beat Bama and then have an average season in a mediocre ACC.

I wonder which season Hokie fans would prefer? Getting the marquee win and then fading down the stretch or getting slaughtered by the Tide but winding up 10-4 with another ACC title?

I'll take the strong finish and building toward 2010 if going 14-0 and raising the crystal isn't an option this year (which it probably isn't).

Linkage

Hokie Bloggers

- Another look at the backup QB race. (Blogsburg)
- I have a feeling we'll want to keep an eye on Coach Stew's Twitter feed. (College Game Balls)
- A discussion on Bemidji's run to this weekend's Frozen Four. (The North End Zone)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- Are GT and Miami a rivalry? (The Legacy x4)
- A look at Wake's defense. (Blogger So Dear)
- A look at Maryland's offense. (Annette)
- Wolfpack Club members get surveyed. (Yet Another...)
- A breakdown of UVa baseball's bullpen woes. (From Old Virginia)

Stuff Only I Care About

- Some sexy possible first round matchups in the NHL Playoffs. I'm particularly excited about Caps-Habs and 'Nucks-'Hawks. (Y!)
- Everyone's favorite cougar, Kristen Chenoweth, is in the Elite Eight of Ogle Madness. (The Lost Ogle)
- Did you see my boy Beckett yesterday? He was fackin' awesome. Amalie Benjamin (who I love and would in a heartbeat give up my hard-drinking, road-tripping bachelor ways for) and a couple of other less talented writers from the Globe break down Boston's Opening Day win. (Extra Bases)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hokies Get Prematurely Assessed

The Doc is only few premature assessments deep this year, but he's already chosen Virginia Tech as a target. Hinton takes a close look at Tyrod Taylor and how he actually regressed in his second season under center for the Hokies (sophomore jinx?). His main point is that if Tyrod doesn’t improve in his junior year, we’re looking at basically having a fast Glennon as our QB (my words, not his).

He also looks at our love of Bud Foster and disdain for Bryan Stinespring and brings up a couple of good points. Foster is beloved because the defense remains strong despite losing key players. However, despite Stinespring not having much to work with our fan base still loathes him and blames him for our losses with no praise in victory.

The Hokies have finished in the bottom 20 nationally in total offense three years in a row, a cruel inverse to the success of the defense. It's hard to be creative, though, when you're so limited in the passing game -- all the way around: Tech struggled not only at throwing and catching, but allowed more sacks last year than any other offense in the ACC -- and when your most effective strategy is hurling a 215-pound hammer at the line of scrimmage.


The Doc’s bottom line is that we’re a dark, dark horse for the BCSCG. Our margin for error remains very slim going into 2009 and Tech fans should be more excited for the possibilities in 2010.

My only disagreement with Hinton’s view on our season is on the Alabama game. Yes, Alabama started 12-0 in the SEC last year. But I think it lost too much from that team to just come out and smoke the Hokies like it did last year against Clemson.

And the LSU comparison isn’t valid because we faced the Tigers at their zenith on the way to national title. LSU had yet to suffer the injuries it did that caused it to lose two games. They were healthy, we had no offensive line and we walked into a hornet’s nest in Death Valley that night that in hindsight we had no chance of surviving.

Saunders Sterling on Opening Day

Former Hokie Joe Saunders started the 2009 season just as he finished the 2008 regular season. By not giving up a run.

Saunders picked up the win on Opening Day for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Orange County or California Monday by not giving up a run over 6.2 innings. He allowed three hits, walked two and struck out two. Saunders was victorious in his last two outings of 2008 as well. He combined for 13.0 shutout innings on eight hits with three walks and 13 strikeouts in those two starts.

Saunders was an All-Star in 2008 and led the Angels in wins at 17-7. He compiled a 3.41 ERA over 31 starts.

It's good to see Saunders back dominating on the mound. He struggled in his lone ALDS appearance against the Red Sox, but is establishing himself as one of the more consistent pitchers in the AL. When he pitches well, you hardly notice him. He isn't spectacular and doesn't put up huge strikeout numbers.

It was also fun to see a former Hokie get an Opening Day start. Even if it came because John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Kelvim Escobar are all on the DL. Saunders will have to carry the Angels staff early on if they want to win the AL West like most are predicting them to do.

Linkage

Hokies

- 1999 fiction that almost became reality. (Blogsburg)
- Brandon Dillard again has to work his way up the depth chart. (Roanoke Times)
- Pritchard Hall goes co-ed. (The North End Zone)

OMG! Tar Heels!

- Well, that was quick. (Carolina March)
- Player of destiny and such and such. (Tar Heel Fan)
- Student's point of view. (Tareye or Buckheel)
- When over privileged white people try to riot. (Yet Another...)
- How many of the Heels will return? (Buzz Blog)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- FSU's offense fared better in Monday's scrimmage. (Tomahawk Nation)
- Justin Tuggle might be BC's QB next season. Good, another QB to lose to Tech in the ACCCG. Oh, and insert your own Jeff Joke here. (BC Interruption)
- The man won't keep BJ Raji down. (Eagle in Atlanta)
- We may have bad news for our friend EKR. (Block-C)

Stuff Only I Care About

- Bill Stewart uses the Twitter. Hilarity ensues. (Dr. Saturday)
- More shenanigans on the Twitter: Homer's Odyssey edition. (Holy Taco, HT: EDSBS)
- What does the future hold for the BBWAA? (WSJ)
- The Red Wings are the Tom 'Iceman' Kazansky of the NHL. (Goose's Roost)
- Another example of quality Tulsa business models. (The Lost Ogle)
- Awesome fight from last night's Kings-Flames game. (Hockey Fights)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hokie Blogs Spring Roundtable Roundup



A humble group of Hokie bloggers spent last week discussing Virginia Tech football to coincide with the beginning of fall practice. We tackled issues facing the Hokies going into one of the most anticipated seasons in Tech history. It was a great exercise and we got diverse answers from the group. Hopefully we can do it again in August prior to kickoff. Below is a overview of the roundtable as well as links to individual answers.

Linkage

Beer Control Offense
(BCO | HokieJayBee)
College Game Balls
Gobbler Country
The North End Zone
(Q1 | Q2 | Q3 | Q4 | Q5)
Tech Superfans
(Q1 | Q2 | Q3 | Q4 | Q5)
Virginia Tech Fan

Questions

1. From reader Riggs: "Are we really going to be that good next year? I just don't see us being a top 10 team given last season's offensive output. Tell me that we're overhauling the offense, or we're adding new packages. Give me some hope."

Our panelists agree that Tech is a Top 10 team with Top 5 talent. However, most of them believe the offense will hold the team back. Specifically the offensive coordinator will hold the team back.

From College Game Balls:

...With that being said we aren’t going undefeated and more than likely will shit the bed against Alabama and 1-2 ACC teams. Why because unfortunately we aren’t overhauling our offense and even more importantly Bryan Stinespring is still calling the plays. In my inebriated state I actually starting to think our offensive scheme works, we just call really dumb plays at the worst times. Like QB sneaking out of the shotgun on 3rd and goal from the one. We always seem to shoot ourselves in the foot.


However, there are a couple of reasons to believe this team can still do something special. VT Fan notes that most of our tough games are at home or on a neutral site. The toughest road test on paper will be the second trip to Atlanta to face the Yellow Jackets.

Another reason is the parallels between the 2004 team and this squad, specifically regarding the quarterback. From The North End Zone:

The last time we went from having two quarterbacks to just one, we went 10-2, won the ACC, and lost by 3 to an undefeated Auburn team in the Sugar Bowl. This time won't involve weed, underage girls, or traffic violations, but I think the mindset is still the same.

I don't know that we will be a top 5 team. I just think that this year is going to be our best shot in a while.


However, after Tyrod, the quarterback situation is murky for the Hokies. Which leads us to Q2.

2. From Beer Control Offense: "Are you concerned about the lack of depth at quarterback? How many significant snaps do you think VT's back up quarterback will get?"

Those who are fretting over the QB situation are, to use their own words, scared shitless. BCO will have the bourbon at the ready in 2009:

Whoever (the backup) is, keep your arm loose, 4-5 games even if for a play or 2, he'll be needed. We could see a lot of Wild Turkey those games, on the field and in section 18 beside the BCO as he screams "GOD NO!!" I think there will be at least 1 game where Tyrod does not start or gets knocked out early, extended stay in the infirmary will kiss preseason expectations goodbye.


In order to mitigate the injuries to Tyrod, CGB suggests running the Wild Turkey formation more often to give Tyrod time to rest each game, instead of using it as a gimmick formation. If I remember correctly, Florida did this when Tebow was a freshman in short-yardage and goalline situations. And I'm pretty sure the Gators won it all that year.

Only four of the responders were not afraid of Tech's lack of QB depth. Those include myself, CGally from The North End Zone, HokieJayBee from BCO and MadJay from TSF.

HJB takes the Alfred E. Neuman approach because if Tyrod goes down, everything will go to hell anyway. MadJay thinks the offense will run the same scheme and put up the same production with or without Tyrod. Myself and CGally point to the fact that the QB usually doesn't determine whether or not we win games.

The way we typically win games is through Bud Foster's defense, which has its own issues going into the spring.

3. What position do you think is most important to the Hokies on the defensive side of the ball this spring? Are there any young players who will step up during spring on that side of the ball?

Despite the lack of depth on the defensive line, our noble bloggeratti was split nearly 50-50 between the linebackers and the cornerbacks. What it comes down to is the Hokies have more holes to fill at linebacker, but a bigger hole to fill at cornerback.

Tech lost two one-year starters at LB, but return Cam Martin as a third-year starter. The players stepping up at LB are young and inexperienced, but are supposed to be the most talented group of youngsters we've had at LB. From VT Fan:

You would think linebacker - Mike and Backer - key positions that are being completely turned over to new starters, mostly Fr and So players. Barquell Rivers and Jake Johnson get good reviews and are penciled in as starters, but behind them are Bruce Taylor and Quillie Odom who were highly touted recruits and I’m anxious to see these guys. I especially think Bruce Taylor, who we thought was headed for the D-line, is a guy to watch.


Those concerned with the cornerbacks are worried because of how important Macho Harris was to last year's D. Not only was he the best player on that side of the ball, he was also the team's emotional leader.

Stephan Virgil will start at boundary corner for the first time this year while SOMEONE will eventually step up and take the field side. Who that someone will be is up for debate. While I would rather see someone other than Rashad Carmichael there, The Northerner at The North End Zone is a fan of his:

He’s the oldest cornerback we have since Macho left, and we have always been relatively strong in the cornerback position. So I think he will have to step up, and you can bet that Foster is giving this guy tons of tape on how the position is played. I have faith in our defensive coaches that this position will not be an afterthought.


I liked the position Where's The Ice from TSF took. He isn't concerned with a certain position on the field. He's concerned about who will be the leader of the D on and off the field:

Harris' personality and gusto for the game made him naturally suited to that role, and his fellow teammates viewed him that way. Every squad needs an on the field leader, and out of training camp somebody needs to assertively take that role in such a manner that the other 10 players on the squad respect him and recognize him in that mold.


However, I personally disagree that someone will come into that role 1/4 through the season. That will be way to late. Hell, even August will be too late for that. Tech's leader on the defensive side of the ball has to step up during spring practice and over the summer.

4. What change would you make to college football's spring football system?

A few responders want to see spring football become summer football. This is for a couple of reasons. First, as CGB points out, it's too disjointed from the August practices. Also, moving it to summer would give us something to do during those months. Pitting it up against March Madness drowns it out with some schools (like UNC).

MadJay from TSF agrees with me that teams should be allowed to scrimmage other schools. And CGally from TNEZ had the most unique response with regards to how the maroon and white teams are chosen:

Additionally, I think they should pick teams like in gym class. I would love to see Glennon's face as he was passed over again and again.


5. From College Game Balls: "What kind of music do you think the team is bumping in the locker room? And is Beamer getting down? I know the '99 team was big into Method Man and Dr. Dre."

HokieJayBee and CGB say the team is probably listening to Lil' Wayne... considering Lil' Wayne is collaborating with every other artist on the face of the planet. Seriously, when is the Lil' Wayne-Taylor Swift duet coming out?

HJB also says Beamer is getting down with the team for the good of Hokie Nation:

I seem to think this Beamer Dance Off is some sort of reward for the players. Beamer, on Thursday before Saturday match-up with TEAM X in a big game, the team is screwing around, the coaches are pissed, losing the team's focus,........"quit that lolly gagging you lazy fVcks, quit screwing around!!!! Tell you what, focus up here tonight and tomorrow at the walkthrough, and I'll let you bump whatever you want to in the locker room after the game and I'll even bounce with you on camera if we kick the sh!t out of TEAM X!!!!" Enormous roar, sudden team focus, big win. Dancing Frankie Beamdog.


The Northerner hopes there's at least one song we can all agree is being played on player's iPods:

And of course, Enter Sandman had better be getting some play time or else we have a real problem. But I doubt that even needs to be said.


Amen.

Is it OK to Root Against UNC?

Some people say you should root for your conference. But I find that kind of difficult tonight as the Tar Heels go for a national title against Michigan State. The Tar Heels represent a last shot at ACC redemption for 2009, but at the same time I really want them to lose.

I don't want Tyler Hansbrough to win a national title in his final college game. I don't want Roy Williams to cut down the nets after spoiling Tech's shot at the Tournament. And I don't want Carolina to get the satisfaction of a national title after taking out both the Hokies and my alma mater.

Most of the time I'll root for the ACC. But I find this Carolina team too hate-able. I cheered for the Heels at the 2005 Final Four. But a lot of that had to do with how rude Illinois fans were that weekend.

It's the same with my love/hate of UConn. I wanted its 2004 team to win the title because of how much I like Okafor and Gordon. But I rooted against its 2006 team probably more so than any other college basketball team in my life because I couldn't tolerate the sight of Gay, Boone, Armstrong and Marcus Williams in the Final Four. I celebrated George Mason's Elite Eight win as if the Hokies were going to the Final Four.

I might do the same again tonight if Sparty can pull the upset.

What about you guys? Are you cheering for conference pride? Or for the Heels to go down in flames?

GO GREEN.

Linkage

Hokies

- Tech is facing lofty expectations this year. (VT Fan)
- Seth Greenberg to Arizona? (Tech Hoops)
- Tyrod's hitch has apparently been ditched. (Roanoke Times)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- Joe is missing the point on our hatred of the Hansbrough Child. He hasn't overstayed his welcome. He was never welcome to begin with.
- Carolina and MSU are familiar foes. (Carolina March)
- A title game preview from Tar Heel Fan. (Tar Heel Fan)
- Christian Ponder struggled in FSU's spring game. (Tomahawk Nation)
- Da'Rel Sc'ott had a ridiculous 14 ypc in Maryland's scrimmage. (Testudo Times)
- NC State's pxp guy offers some chicken soup for your soul. (StateFans Nation)

Stuff Only I Care About

- Opening Day will have to wait. (Extra Bases)
- The Sabres are all but eliminated. (Die by the Blade)
- See Sid fight. (Puck Daddy)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring Football Roundtable

Hokie bloggers have convened (virtually, at least) to discuss matters concerning Tech football going into spring practice. Beer Control Offense, College Game Balls, The North End Zone, TechSuperfans, Virginia Tech Fan and myself took time to answer the same questions. The recap will be posted on Monday. Here are my answers:

1. From reader Riggs: "Are we really going to be that good next year? I just don't see us being a top 10 team given last season's offensive output. Tell me that we're overhauling the offense, or we're adding new packages. Give me some hope."

I don't think we should be considered a national title contender by the media. I want our players to think they have the chance, but I think we play a lot better when people doubt us. It looks like outside of the ACC media we aren't considered a national title contender, which is good. I think a preseason ranking of No. 9 or No. 10 suits this team.

The offense is more talented, but you won't see any dramatic changes to the scheme. There also won't be the gaudy numbers a lot of fans want to see, but that's just not Virginia Tech football. We're going to try and control the clock and keep our defense on the sideline. We aren't going to be a high-scoring offense but I fully expect us to have a more efficient and effective offense.

There are important holes to fill on the defense and depth issues on the offensive line. A key injury to the line or problems with new guys at cornerback and linebacker could derail our quest for a national title quickly.

The Hokies are going to be good and be in contention for at least the ACC championship this year. We won't dominate teams like we did in 1999, but we won't fold dramatically like Clemson did last year.

2. From Beer Control Offense: "Are you concerned about the lack of depth at quarterback? How many significant snaps do you think VT's back up quarterback will get?"

Last year, Tyrod missed the Maryland game and was ineffective against Miami after being injured against FSU. In 2007, he was injured against Duke and missed the BC and Georgia Tech games.

With his history, it stands to reason we're going to need our backup QB at some point. I think the way our offense is set up we won't be in a lot of trouble if we have to turn to Ju-Ju Clayton or Greg Boone. We can rely on the running game for the most part and still win games.

The problem comes, like at the end of last year's FSU game, when we're down and need the backup to bring us back. Cory Holt played well against the Noles, but was just unable to get us into the end zone. It was a tough situation, but not one that happens to many teams.

Usually, you know ahead of time you're going to be without your starter and can prepare properly for the upcoming game with your backup. It worries me that our backup quarterbacks are unknown commodities, but I don't think it will be as big a deal as some are making it out to be.

3. What position do you think is most important to the Hokies on the defensive side of the ball this spring? Are there any young players who will step up during spring on that side of the ball?

I think the most important position is cornerback. Stephan Virgil is moving back to boundary corner and there will be a new field corner this year.

Virgil knows the boundary side because he was a backup there before starting on the field side in 2008. However, I think his size is an issue when it comes to stepping up and helping stop the run.

On the field side, I didn't like what I saw out of Rashad Carmichael last year. To me, he had trouble communicating and being in the right spot a lot last season. I'm hoping someone else can emerge at that position either in the spring or summer unless Carmichael has made dramatic improvement this season.

4. What change would you make to college football's spring football system?

I would allow teams to scrimmage other schools. The end of session spring game would still need to be an intrasquad scrimmage, but at least let teams see how they stack up against each other in controlled scrimmages. Basketball teams are allowed to do it in the summer. Every other level of football does it. College football should be able to scrimmage as well.

5. From College Game Balls: "What kind of music do you think the team is bumping in the locker room? And is Beamer getting down? I know the '99 team was big into Method Man and Dr. Dre."

Of course Beamer's getting down. We've seen the video evidence. We just need some of the guys to step in and improve his moves. At least teach him the eclectic slide or something. Of course, I can't dance at all so I have no room to talk.

As for the team, my guess is the music preferences break down by position:

O-line: Definitely old school stuff. R&B, Motown.
Skill Position: Jay-Z. Gotta be Jay-Z. The skill guys are the ones who get all the pub, so they're probably listening to guy making the most money.
D-line: Biggie and 'Pac. They want a message with their rhymes.
LBs: Lil' Wayne.
DBs: More hardcore. DMX and Tech N9ne. You can't properly KTFO people unless you listen to DMX and Tech N9ne.

Alabama May Have Its QB

The Crimson Tide's QB competition ended up being as anti-climactic as The Village. Greg McElroy, who backed up JPW last season is all but guaranteed the starting job after impressing in the first few days of spring drills.

A few Tide fans I talked to (OK, OK, the one Tide fan I know) expected freshman Star Jackson to win the job by the time Sept. 5 rolled around. Well, it looks like Star isn't quite ready for prime time. It'll be McElroy who starts against the Hokies. Quoth the Barnhart:

McElroy is ahead and he should be ahead because he has played and knows the offense. Saban and OC Jim McElwain want to keep the competition open so that the players involved develop as much as possible between now and Sept. 5. That’s what coaches are supposed to do. But it’s hard to see Jackson or Darrah or any freshman closing that gap between now and the spring game on April 18. And when everybody returns in August it will be time to get a quarterback ready to play Virginia Tech.


This is good news for the Hokies. Our defense typically fares well against drop-back quarterbacks. However, QBs who can avoid the rush and escape the pocket have a tendency to burn us.

Linkage

Hokies

- Tyrod's footwork appears improved. This is a very good thing. (TechSuperfans)
- BCO uses his own formula to pick UNC to win it all this weekend. (Beer Control Offense)
- The Fraggles have been eliminated. This tournament is dead to me. (The North End Zone)
- A VT hoops recruit will participate in two All-Star games. (Tech Hoops)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- How to cover FSU without really trying. (EDSBS)
- Little Glennon competes for the NC State QB job. (Annette)
- "Hot hand in a dice game, baby girl." (Tar Heel Fan)
- Jeff got permission from Mrs. Jeff to discuss BC's QBs with Brian. (BC Interruption)

Stuff Only I Care About

- Good fight from the 'Nucks-Ducks game last night. (Hockey Fights)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

VT Spring Football Guide Available

The Virginia Tech spring football media guide is available for download here. As always, Dave Smith and Co. did an excellent job. Here are some tidbits from the guide I thought you might find interesting:

Spring Schedule

April 1: 4:30-6:30
April 3: 4:30-6:30
April 4: 11 a.m.
April 6: 4:30-6:30
April 8: 4:30-6:30
April 10: 4:30-6:30
April 11: 11 a.m. Scrimmage
April 13: 4:30-6:30
April 15: 4:30-6:30
April 17: 4:30-6:30
April 18: 11 a.m. Scrimmage
April 20: 4:30-6:30
April 22: 4:30-6:30
April 24: 4:30-5:30
April 25: 2 p.m. Spring Game

Walking Wounded

Three returning starters (OG Sergio Render, DE Jason Worilds and LB Cam Martin) are being held out of spring practice due to injury.

Breakout Candidates

As with previous years, the spring guide lists players at each position who have the potential to step up and surprise during spring drills.

OL: Nick Becton, Vinston Painter, Michael Via
WR/TE: Dyrell Roberts
QB/RB: Ryan Williams
DL: Kwamaine Battle
LB: Jake Johnson
DS: Lorenzo Williams
K: Justin Myer

Be sure to download the spring guide. It includes everything we need to know about the team before the main media guide comes out in the fall. It also includes quotes from all the positions coaches about what they expect this spring.

VT Starts Spring Drills

Today was the first of 15 spring practices for the Hokies. And like most schools most years, Coach Beamer wasn't happy after the first practice. At least that what it says on the front page of Beamerball.com. The team drilled without pads today and aren't allowed contact until practice No. 4 of the spring.

As a fan, it feels good to enter a spring practice session without worrying about who the starting quarterback is going to be in the fall. This year's spring workout are about building depth. There aren't a lot of significant position battles going on.

The most important position battle on offense may be for the BACKUP QB job. Marcus Davis, JuJu Clayton and Greg Boone will all get snaps under center during the spring. Backup battle will be a topic of discussion during out spring roundtable, which is currently going on around the various Hokie blogs. My answers to our questions will be posted Friday. Look for the round up on Monday.

Linkage

Hokies

-Coach Beamer's site has photos and video from day one. Some of it is free. (Beamerball)
- Good to see KT back in the 'Burg. (Virginian Pilot)
- A look at the backup QB race. (Roanoke Times)
- An April Fool's joke from Tech Hoops. (Tech Hoops)
- And another one from The A-Line. (A-Line)
- ACCSJ keeps pushing this "basketball" thing. WTF? (ACC Sports Journal)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- Annette interviews her Frankie. (ESPN)
- The Pack are getting better and deeper on defense. (ACC Now)
- ATL Eagle looks at Chip Kelly's influence on BC. (Eagle in Atlanta)

Stuff Only I Care About

- Amalie Benjamin (who I love and would in a heartbeat give up my hard-drinking, road-tripping bachelor ways for) has a story on a former Red Sox top draft pick that his teammates won't let him live down. (Boston Globe)
- OK, now the season's over. (Die by the Blade)
- Joe Paterno is senile. (Awful Announcing)