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:



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)


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


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)


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...



- 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.


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.


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."


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."


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.



- 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)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

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?



- 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.



- "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)


- 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.



- 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.