Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bruuuuuuuuuce: Hall of Fame Hokie

Former Hokie Bruce Smith was one of six elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame today. He will be inducted Aug. 9 in Canton, Ohio.

Smith will be the first Hokie player inducted into Canton, according to the Hall of Fame's Web site.

Smith terrorized college quarterbacks while with the Hokies, collecting 46 sacks and 71 tackles for loss. He was a two-time All-America selection and won the 1984 Outland Trophy for top college football lineman.

He was the first overall selection of the 1985 NFL Draft and played 19 seasons for the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins. He owns the NFL's career sack record with 200.

Smith was already selected for the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Congratulations, Bruce!

Friday, January 30, 2009

ESPHeather Interviews Ryan Williams

Heather Dinich at ESPN's ACC blog threw a bunch of softball questions at Ryan Williams and then posted his answers. Williams said all the right things: The coaches know best with regards to the redshirt, he and Darren Evans get along, blah, blah, blah.

Williams did say this, though, which has me giddy:

"Right now, I have the starting punt return job, so I'll be on the field as far as punt return, but I've been saying little things to the coaches here and there about playing me at wide receiver, and I don't know if you noticed or paid attention to the Wild Turkey package with [tight end Greg] Boone. [...] Yeah, I want to get into that. I just want to be used for everything. I want to be the most dangerous person on the field at all times."

Hopefully this means he'll be a Percy Harvin-type player for the Hokies next year, getting the ball anyway we can get it to him. And with a power run game to back it up with Darren Evans, I'm starting to drink the Kool Aid believe when it comes to our offense next season.

Return of the Heartattack Hokies

I thought we got all of this out during football season. However, watching this year's Hokies hoops team can be just as hazardous to your health as watching the 2008 edition of the football team.

Every meaningful game for the basketball team has come down to the wire. And more often than not, the Hokies have failed to come away with a win. After winning two close games on the road against then-No. 1 Wake Forest and Miami, Tech dropped another heart breaker last night against Clemson after leading by 15 in the second half.

It's important the Hokies pick themselves up starting tomorrow at BC. Tech's next six games are very winnable before it gets a second shot at Clemson. I think the Hokies can go 5-1 over their next six and be 9-3 going into the Clemson game on Feb. 25.

Don't discount the importance of these next six games. Because of the difficulty of the Hokies' last four, this group of games will make or break Tech as a Tournament team. If the Hokies struggle, they will have a hard time making the field of 65.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Who should be on VT's Mt. Rushmore?

I am blatantly ripping off the guys over at BC Interruption, who in turn borrowed the idea from ESPN.

Basically, ESPN is doing a Mt. Rushmore of sports for all the states by picking the four most important sports figures they have to offer. So who should be on a Mt. Rushmore for Virginia Tech sports?

My Hokie Mt. Rushmore:

Frank Beamer. Made Virginia Tech football. This one is a given.

Bruce Smith. The Hokies' first No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. Was a beast for the Hokies and had a Hall of Fame career in the NFL.

Angela Tincher. The most dominant player in their sport in Hokie sports history.

BomboBimbo Coles (apparently I decided to mate Bimbo Coles and Bombo Rivera). Beloved Hokie hoops player that had a solid pro career.

Also Considered: Michael Vick, Brad Clontz, Joe Saunders, Jim Druckenmiller, Dell Curry and of course Will Muthafuckin' Furrer.

The Michael Vick Question

Should Michael Vick be put on the Hokies' Mt. Rushmore? I say no. For something like this, you have to consider how the person has represented Virginia Tech even after leaving the university. Vick is no longer representative of what being a Hokie is about and I don't think he belongs.

So who would you put on the Hokies' Mt. Rushmore? Would you put Michael Vick on there? Let me know if I'm wrong.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wrasslin' is Wranked

Congratulations to head coach Kevin Dresser (yes, I had to look that up) and the Tech wrestling program for the first ranking in program history. The 15-1 Hokies are T-No. 13 in the latest Coaches Poll. Tech also has three individual wrestlers ranked in their respective Top 25s.

With the success last year's Iowa Hokieyes had in the NCAA Tournament and the impressive start by this year's team, its obvious this program is starting to get some serious talent.

I'm not a big fan of wrestling and the only time I've ever watched it was when I was forced to cover a wrestling dual in Ames, Iowa. Still, it's good to see another up-and-coming Tech non-rev sport, along with golf, the soccers and softball. The volleyball team even had a fast start this year. Just more evidence that moving to the ACC has helped Hokie sports across the board.

Grab the Rolaids, we're playing Clemson

Virginia Tech Hokies (14-5, 4-1) vs.
No. 12 Clemson Tigers (17-2, 3-2)

Time: 7 p.m.
Date: Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009
Place: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va.

Last Meeting: Tech blew its chance at a possible NCAA-bid-sealing win in Clemson in the last game of the regular season...two free throws by Demontez Stitt with 3.8 seconds left gave the Tigers a 70-69 win...AD Vassallo led the Hokies with 23 points, including 3-for-4 from behind the arc...Tech committed 20 turnovers.

Trends: Every game between the Hokies and Tigers since Tech joined the ACC in the 2004-05 season has been decided by four points or fewer...five of the six games have been decided by two points or fewer...the Hokies have lost their last three games against the Tigers and are 2-4 against them since joining the ACC (1-3 in Blacksburg).

What to Expect: Tech Hoops, which is a much better blog than this one, has an in-depth preview of the Clemson game. Their preview also refers to Clemson as "starting out hotter than Casey Beamer...," which is deserving of a standing ovation.

If history is any indicator, this game will come down to the wire. And looking at the rosters for these two teams, I don't expect this game to be any different. The Hokies and Tigers are mirror images of each other in size and point production. Neither team starts a player taller than 6-9. Both have three main guys who score the basketball. Both have a guy who, when hot, can't miss from any spot on the floor. And both have interior players that produce points.

The difference is at point guard, where the Hokies are getting much better production out of Malcolm Delaney than the Tigers are out of Demontez Stitt. Delaney even has more assists and a slightly better assist-to-turnover ratio than Stitt (1.4 vs. 1.3).

The key to this game will be Delaney, who played very poorly the last time these two teams played. He was 1-for-7 from the floor and had one assist in 27 minutes. Hank Thorns didn't play very well either at point guard in that game. Improved point guard play and fewer turnovers I believe will lead to a Tech victory in this game.

Another match-up to watch is Jeff Allen against Trevor Booker down low. Assuming the two are guarding each other, it will be fun to watch. Booker leads the Tigers in scoring and rebounding and I think the two are evenly matched.

Hokies win if: Malcolm Delaney has a solid game, both scoring and taking care of the ball and the Hokies make their free throws down the stretch.

Tigers win if: Trevor Booker is a beast in the paint and Terrence Oglesby gets hot behind the arc.

Score: Virginia Tech 64, Clemson 63

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How I'd like the schedule to look

Those of us who make our travel plans for football season as far in advance as possible are eagerly awaiting the ACC to release its 2009 football schedule. We know who the Hokies will be playing the first four weeks of the season and we know the UVa game will likely be the weekend after Thanksgiving. The rest of the schedule, including which games will be on Thursday, is a complete mystery. However, I know how I'd like the schedule to look.

What We (Sort of) Know:

Sept. 5: Alabama (Atlanta)
Sept. 12: Marshall
Sept. 19: Nebraska
Sept. 26: at East Carolina
Nov. 28: at Virginia

2009 ACC Home Games: Boston College, Miami, North Carolina, NC State

2009 ACC Road Games: Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Virginia

Teams I'd Rather Catch Early:

Boston College. The Eagles will likely have Dominique Davis under center in 2009. He didn't play very well in the games he started last season and I'd rather face him before he gets seasoned. Also, the Eagles will be replacing key cogs on defense.

Maryland: The Terps have a great running back returning in Da'Rel Scott. But they have three offensive linemen to replace.

Teams I'd Rather Catch Late:

NC State: The Pack were the most improved team in the ACC from the first half of the season to the second. This year, they're a known commodity and could contend for the Atlantic. Catching them late means we'd have a full season's worth of film on Russell Wilson to prepare with.

Duke: Last year's ACC race was a complete fustercluck at the end of the season. Having Duke as our second-to-last conference game helped in 2008 because it gave the Hokies a near automatic W while chaos ensued around the conference.

How I Hope the Schedule Looks:

Sept. 5: Alabama (Atlanta)
Sept. 12: Marshall
Sept. 19: Nebraska
Sept. 26: at East Carolina
Oct. 3: at Maryland
Oct. 10: Boston College
Oct. 17: BYE WEEK
Oct. 24: North Carolina
Oct. 31: at Georgia Tech (Thursday?)
Nov. 7: Miami (Thursday?)
Nov. 14: NC State
Nov. 21: at Duke
Nov. 28: at Virginia

What do you guys think? The Hokies would close the season with two road games, but other than that I think something that looked like this would be beneficial to Tech. What do you want the schedule to look like? When would you like the bye week? Who do you want to play on a Thursday (one road, one home)?

Friday, January 23, 2009

2009 Offseason Checklist: Defense

Quick list of things that need to be addressed during spring and summer practices:

1. A second cornerback

Stephan Virgil will likely do what Macho Harris did last year and move from field corner to boundary corner. But who will move into Virgil's old spot? The leaders for the job going into the spring are junior Rock Carmichael, who in my opinion wasn't very good last year and sophomore Cris Hill. I'd like to see hill have a good spring and summer camp and go into next season as the starter.

2. Improved play from the free safety and rover

Communication between Kam Chancellor and Dorian Porch improved as the season progressed. Porch was impressive at rover after the injury to Davon Morgan and Chancellor saved his best game for the Orange Bowl. It took him awhile, but perhaps Kam has finally settled in at free.

3. Defensive line depth

The Hokies were very lucky with injuries to the defensive line in 2008. Nothing major until the Orange Bowl when Jason Worilds' shoulder finally became too much to take. Worilds and Nekos Brown will be the starting defensive ends going into next season, but behind them are a lot of question marks. The progress made by Bruce Taylor and Steven Friday at DE this spring and summer will be an important storyline to watch.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mandel: Hokies could have been a Buzzsaw

SI's Stewart Mandel has a story today comparing the Hokies to The Buzzsaw That Is The Arizona Cardinals. He gives the positives and negatives of the current BCS system and how a playoff could hurt college football rather than help it.

One idea he throws out is the 9-4 Hokies getting hot at the right time, just like The Buzzsaw, and cheapening college football's regular season.

The Virginia Tech Hokies are a more appropriate college parallel to the Cardinals. The Hokies won the ACC last season with a 9-4 record. They were ranked 19th in the final BCS standings and hadn't entered the national-title discussion since the preseason.

However, in a playoff, Virginia Tech would have been guaranteed a berth. (Every other major sport, college and professional, gives first dibs to conference/division champions. College football wouldn't be any different.) Who's to say the Hokies couldn't have gotten hot, pulled off a couple of upsets and won the whole thing?

A national champion with four losses. There goes your "meaningful" regular season.

Just more fuel for the Playoff vs. BCS debate.

2009 Offseason Checklist: Offense

Quick list of things that need to be addressed during spring and summer practices:

1. Improved passing from Tyrod Taylor

The infamous "hitch" in Tyrod's delivery was never more visible than when I re-watched the Orange Bowl. His throwing motion just looks unnatural. If that's why he's having issues with his accuracy, especially on deep balls, it needs to be fixed. Also, Tyrod's trust in his receivers improved greatly throughout the year and should carry over into next season.

2. A center

With Jaymes Brooks' performance in the Orange Bowl, the Hokies appear to be set at four of the five positions on the line. However, they will have to replace center Ryan Shuman, who in my mind was the most consistent offensive lineman we had last year. Beau Warren played 44 snaps last season, including 34 against Duke. How effective he is and how well he is able to gel with the rest of the line will be important to the running game in 2009.

3. Unleash Ryan Williams

Williams was redshirted last year, partly because he needed to improve his pass blocking. He was apparently a beast on the scout team last season and should be ready to contribute next season. If he has the hands, why not use him on some Percy-Harvin-type plays while lined up in the slot? Everyone is excited to see if Williams can live up to his hype, so let's get him the ball as many ways as we can.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hokies Upset Unbeaten Deacs

Virginia Tech held on to beat No. 1 Wake Forest, 78-71, Wednesday at Joel Coliseum. It was the Hokies' second win over a No. 1 team in the last three years. Tech beat then-No. 1 North Carolina on Jan. 13, 2007, in Blacksburg. Tonight's win was obviously a huge one for the Hokies, who get their first NCAA resume padding win of the season. Tech's win also means there are no more unbeaten teams in D1 hoops.

Why this win was more impressive than the one over UNC:

- It was on the road. The Hokies went into a hostile environment to knock off the top team this time around. While I thought the Hokies lost their composure at times in the second half, they played solid defense at the end and weathered the storm.

- This Hokie team isn't that good. The 2007 team was experienced and deep. This team is young and finally learned how to win a big game. After so many close calls the final two seasons, it was a relief to finally win one of those.

Why this win was less impressive than the one over UNC:

- The Hokies didn't play well. Tech missed several free throws while trying to ice the game and seemed like they were trying to give this one away. Each Hokie took turns making a dumb decision on the offensive end in the second half that gave away points and gave momentum to the Deacs.

- Wake didn't play well either. The Deacs were out of their element in the first half as the Hokies made the game ugly (just the way we like it). Wake needed an amazing hot streak in the second half to wind up shooting just over 43 percent. Wake also committed twice as many turnovers (16) as it had assists (8).

A season-changing win?

The win tonight makes me feel this team has finally learned how to win. The Hokies have given away so many big games the last two seasons I almost forgot what it was like to get a big win in basketball.

Had the Hokies come from ahead to lose tonight, I would have considered this a lost season. We would have had to forget the NCAA and hope for the NIT. However, with a quality win like the one tonight and the quality of play in the ACC this year, the Hokies will have a strong NCAA resume if they can get to nine conference wins like they did last year.

Tonight's win not only feels good, but makes me feel good about the rest of the season.

2009 Schedule Due in 'Early February'

The ACC's Beyond the ACCtion blog has an inside look into how the conference's football schedule is made. According to the blog, the 2009 ACC football schedule will be released sometime in early February.

Some conferences, including the Big 12 and SEC, already have their conference games scheduled. However, because the ACC gives the television networks so much input into the schedule, we won't get ours for another two to three weeks.

Also, the Hokies will only have one bye week next year as conferences with title games have to play 12 games in 13 weeks in 2009. Personally, I'd like Tech's bye week to be Oct. 17 (OU/Texas Weekend), but it would probably be most beneficial to the Hokies to have a bye week between its non-conference and ACC slates on Oct. 3.

Hokie Hoops at No. 1 Wake Forest

Virginia Tech Hokies (12-5, 2-1) at
No. 1 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (16-0, 3-0)

Time: 7 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009
Place: Joel Coliseum, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Last Meeting: Tech beat Wake, 80-58 on senior night for Deron Washington...Washington led the team in scoring and rebounding with 22 and 10...the Hokies held the Deacs to 34 percent from the field and out-rebounded them 30-20.

Trends: The Hokies have won four of their last five against Wake...the Hokies have won three consecutive games and seven of their last eight...Wake is the last remaining undefeated team in D1 basketball.

What to Expect: The Hokies will try to make this game ugly while the Deacs will try to push the pace. As guard Jeff Teague goes, so go the Deacs. The sophomore from Indy leads the team in points (21.4) and assists (4.1) per game. He's best in transition either driving to the rim or finding the open man down low.

The Hokies will miss the graduated Deron Washington in this game. He would have been perfect to guard Teague. Unfortunately, I don't think the Hokies have anyone on their roster capable of shutting him down.

The best way to slow the Deacs is to make shots and limit turnovers. That's the only way to keep Wake from making a mockery of the Hokies' transition defense. We'll know early on if the Hokies have a chance to hang with the Deacons.

My guess is they will. While Virginia Tech is incapable of blowing anyone out, the Hokies typically are able to keep games close until the late minutes (Duke game excluded).

Wake is a tough defensive team, especially on the perimeter. Quality shots will be at a premium for the Hokies. Tech also has a size disadvantage underneath against Wake's big men. While I think Jeff Allen, A.D. Vassallo, J.T. Thompson and Victor Davila are better offensive players than Wake's bigs are on defense, the height and size advantage Wake has more than evens it out.

Wake isn't a perfect team. In fact, they're far from it. But they play solid defense and have guys who can fill the net. Someone will beat them, it just won't be the Hokies.

Hokies win if: They're patient for quality shots on offense, particularly on penetration by Malcolm Delaney and limit turnovers.

Deacs win if: They're able to get out in transition against the Hokies and dominate the glass.

Score: Wake Forest 70, Virginia Tech 65

Friday, January 16, 2009

ACC Best of the Blogs: Postseason

I decided to let the BC coaching situation get settled before doing a postseason BOB (Actually I was just lazy. Shhhhhh. No one can know that.). From here on, these will be infrequent and irregular.

A lot's happened in the ACC since the ACCCG. There was a coaching change, players leaving, players staying, big changes at Tech Sideline and a big win for the Hokies in Miami.


BC All Access: Frank Spaziani | Keys to Success
"4. Keep the towel
The towel has been his trademark for years. And guess what? Its worked too. Take my advice Spaz--Don't mess with success. Keep the towel tradition, who knows it may catch on in Chestnut Hill."

BC Interruption: Brian's Somewhat Delayed Reaction to Spaziani Hire
"My point is that if Gene wanted coaches to stay at Boston College until the end of time, he needed to hire a head coach that would make Chestnut Hill a destination-type position. At age 61, Spaziani simply cannot become that type of coach. Yes, he played for Joe Paterno at Penn State and JoePa set him up with his first coaching positions. And yes, he stated today that he wants to be at Boston College for the next 12 years. But the days of the Joe Paternos and Bobby Bowdens of the college football world are numbered. Do I expect Spaziani to be coaching at the Heights at age 73? Highly unlikely."

Eagle in Atlanta: Spaz's To Do list
"3. Show the on the field emotion off the field. Spaz clearly has fire. We see it every Saturday in his reactions. He held his own in the press conference, but I still think his personality was muted a bit. BC fans want passion. They want hope. They want to believe. Share that passion when you speak to the press and certainly when you speak to fans. That, along with winning, will turn the skeptics around and have kids lining up to play for BC."


Block-C: It's Official
"CJ just announced in his press conference that he will be returning to Clemson for his senior season. It took every ounce of my being not to write this entire post in all caps."

Sporting Gnomes: Zorn & Dabo
"I bring this up because of the somewhat similar situations between Zorn and Dabo. As I’ve mentioned before, I fear that Dabo will coach differently now that he faces dramatically different incentives. But I now also fear that he’s in the midst of the Zorn effect; he’s good because he’s new. He had room to take risks; and they worked out. In the future those same risks will bite him in the ass, so he either steps in for another round of Russian Roulette, or he becomes one of the boring coaches who tries to survive by minimizing risk."


Chant Rant: What if the Bowl win was Bobby's last game?
"Less coverage of FSU Football. Like it or not, Bowden is the face of the program and drives much of the team's media coverage. No offense to Jimbo, but dadgumit, he can't hold a candle to the funny, quirky quote machine known to the press simply as Bobby."

Scalp 'Em: Dr. Saturday: Don’t Trust Your Eyes
"I’m happy that FSU won of course, whether it’s by 1 or by 70. But, I’ll admit that the first half was a snore, aside from Graham Gano’s Puntstravaganza (Chili donated that word via Mobile IM last night). And the second half was fun to watch because everything went FSU’s way. On top of that, my favorite QB, Drew Weatherford got to see some playing time before riding off into the sunset. All in all it was a good way to end a 2008 season that basically met my expecations. It was a year of “something to build on” and the Noles can build on a Champs Sports Bowl victory heading into 2009."

Tomahawk Nation: Dear Gary Brown
"What is Bunkley doing right now? He just skullcracked Eli Manning. He's leading his Philadelphia Eagles past the Giants. In the Giants Stadium. The announcers are practically having an orgasm over how well he is playing. The announcer had to change his pants during the commercial break. BBunk just threw the center into Brandon Jacobs on 3rd down for a 2-yard loss."


The Legacy x4: Biggest Fear Confirmed
"What does this do to the season? It doesn't necessarily take anything away from this one. But next year....the hype that everyone was expecting us to ride is been taken out from under us. Paul Johnson's reputation? Well it took a hit, a big one. We were all humbled last night in a multitude of ways."


Turtle Soup: A Great Day To Be A Terp
"The running game will be super solid as Da’Rel Scott wowed the nation with 174 yards rushing in about a quarter and a half. With Davin Meggett and Morgan Green, we are set. The offensive line was inconsistent, so I can’t imagine it’ll be horrible replacing a few guys. But we’ll see."

Turtle Waxing: Terps close out 2008 in style
"Still there is a sense that the program is approaching a cross roads of sorts. Friedgen is unlikely to remain as the coach at Maryland beyond his current contract and the possible coach in waiting in coordinator James Franklin had a very mixed season in his first year back at Maryland. Al Seamonson did an adequate job in his first game replacing Chris Cosh but there are still major questions about the defense and it isn't clear if Friedgen will resort to another outside hire for the defensive coordinator spot."


All Canes: Marve: True colors shining through...
"Not to sound callous, but The Cancer Card was played to gain more public sympathy. I know prostate cancer is no laughing matter. My father in law was diagnosed last year, had his prostate removed and is going about life in remission. Cancer is serious business and I understand what the Marves are going through. For that, they have my sympathy."

Hall of Canes: Let Marve Go
"I hope Marve can have a good career somewhere else. I thought he was going to be a star here, but it just didn't work out, in part because of some of Marve's off the field issues and immaturity and in part because of Jacory Harris."


Carolina March: The Future of the Gimmick Pass at UNC
"Cooter Arnold's first quarter touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks was the fourth attempt by a non-quarterback for the Heels this season and the third completion. I'm mildly curious as to whether Butch Davis and John Shoop are going to continue to throw such plays into the mix as they recruit more talent (with all the inherit controversies involved) and presumably become more of a favored team and less of an upstart."

TarEye or BuckHeel: 2008 Footall Season Wrap-up: A Season of What If's
"And with a tougher schedule on slate for next season, I do not expect Carolina to improve upon the 8-5 season. The likely loss of Hakeem Nicks to the NFL and Brandon Tate's graduation will severely hamper the offense, and Withers defense will continue to leave more to be desired and maintain the status quo."

Tar Heel Fan: Final Football Thoughts
"A big help in this area would be a breakout season by Shaun Draughan and Ryan Houston. Once Butch Davis figured out what he had in Draughan and Houston, the running game was much better. If this aspect of the offense can improve to a level where it dominates the offensive play calling, it will minimize the losses in the passing game."

Tar Heel Mania: World, Hakeem Nicks. Hakeem Nicks, World.
"The vidoes and statistics speak for themselves: 8 catches, 217 yards, 3 touchdowns. Nicks now holds every major school receiving record. It’s probable that this is the last we’ve seen of the greatest wide receiver in school history, as Nicks is an NFL talent right now and has nothing left to prove in college. UNC should be fine with a talented, if inexperienced, wide receiver trio of Greg Little, Kenton Thornton and Dwight Jones in 2009. If Hakeem comes back for his senior year, however, I may end up knocking myself out from the excitement."


Section Six: Aw Crap
"I don't know. All I heard was my name and a stream of unintelligible profanity."

StateFans Nation: Great Wolfpack fans help save another bowl
"I’ll have more from Birmingham later, but I just wanted to start off with a big shout out to Wolfpack fans for their awesome support of the program. The Wolfpack’s presence in Birmingham was fantastic. The only thing that saved Rutgers from major embarrassment was that their colors are identical to Wolfpack red."

Yet Another...: Get Your Doughnut On!
"As of today, the 13th, there are still 22 days remaining to register for the Challenge. If you haven't done any "training" yet--either running or eating--expect this to truly be a challenge. Vomiting is a common occurrence for many of the participants (the human body wasn't designed to exercise after ingesting 2400 calories in a five minute span?) and no doubt makes for interesting walking along the sidewalks of Peace St. for several days. Pray for rain, I suppose."


From Old Virginia: What makes a blog a blog
"Meanwhile at ESPN's blogs, you get journalism school, in short clips. You get editors. And you get one person having to cover 12 teams. Heather, bless her heart, decided to do a rundown of all 12 ACC teams' recruiting needs. (Here's ours.) In the past, that would have been published all at once and called a "column." Now, they break it up into little "posts" and call it a "blog." And look, I don't exactly have the world's most important UVA site here, nor am I read by millions across the world each day (or even thousands), but honestly, I'd like to think I bring you much better recruiting content than "Virginia needs linebackers and wide receivers," especially since most of the class is already verballed in."

Good Ol' Blog: File this under “Not Believable”
"Honestly, where do some of these newsie-types get this stuff? Can anyone really put the word “reportedly” in front of any falsehood and get away with it? Let’s give it a try: “Reportedly, Al Groh is considering The Good ‘Ol Blog’s Rob Mahini to be Virginia’s next defensive line coach.” Yup, I guess so. See you on the sidelines!"


Beer Control Offense: 2009 Orange Bowl Champs Thoughts
"VT wanted it more, prepared for it more and fought for it more. Why they don't come out like this for every bowl, I do not know. Beamer likes to reward his guys ... well a win is A LOT more rewarding than a loss. They got all offseason to get their drinks on ... not bowl week. Maybe this is the kick in the ass Beamer needed?"

College Game Balls: Orange Bowl Champions

Tech Sideline: What the Editorial Changes Mean for TSL
"I will still hang out on the boards, as well. I like talking about Hokie sports, plus I have always enjoyed the fine sport of detecting and eliminating message board flamers."

Tech Super Fans: VT vs. Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl
"I will give Stinespring great credit for not only calling his best game of the season (breaking tendency and throwing on 1st down in the first half was fantastic), but also having the offense execute better than it had for most of the year. However, he still demonstrates a true lack of game "sense". A perfect play after running two successful TE hitch routes in that situation would have been a pump fake to Boone and then hit a WR in the zone behind him for a big play. Also, the only catches Boone had in the game were on this drive. With a weapon like Greg Boone at 280 lbs, the Hokies should utilize him in the passing game at various times throughout a contest."

VT Fan: Virginia Tech Football: Orange Bowl Champions
"So this win feels good. its a BCS win. its a 10 win season (and thanks to ESPN for the “10-Win Streak” plug all day). Its a young team, pretty much a rebuilding year. Sets up some good hype and excitment for the 2009 season. Sometimes we as Hokie fans lose sight of the quality program we have."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What I'll remember about 2008

Other than the ACC and Orange Bowl titles, there are a few things I'll remember most about the 2008 edition of Hokie Football. Please leave your own ideas in the comments.

Cory Holt vs. Florida State

Holt played well at quarterback against the Seminoles in a losing effort. Injuries to Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon gave Holt his first significant snaps under center for the Hokies and he did his best to rally Tech, but came up short.

James Evans Sleeping at the Maryland Game

C'mon, Tech fans. You couldn't make enough noise to wake a two year-old? While dad was tearing up the Terrapins, James was sound asleep at Lane Stadium. He was getting just as much camera time on ESPN as Darren as well.

The Grimm Reaper

Cody Grimm had an excellent last half of 2008. The under-sized linebacker made life difficult for opposing quarterbacks and made his Pro-Bowler dad proud.

Jarrett Boykin's Catch vs. Miami

The Comeback at UNC

Yes, we needed some luck, but for a very young team to come back from 14 points down on the road was impressive. You knew the team would continue to improve and that Darren Evans was a star in the making.

The Rollercoaster

The Hokies looked like a doomed team at three different points in the season. The losses to ECU, FSU and Miami seemed to end any hope of 2008 being a successful season. But somehow, this team and coaching staff rallied to have one of the best year's in team history.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Road Trip No. 9: OB and BCSCG

"If you wonder why you ride the carousel / You do it for the stories you can tell" - Jimmy Buffett, "Stories We Could Tell"

Football: Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati
Football: Oklahoma vs. Florida
Dolphins Stadium
Miami Gardens, Fla.

Miles Round Trip: Over 3,000
Total Dollars Spent: A lot. A whole lot.

I really don't know how to begin the story of my trip to Miami other than with this: I'm pretty sure I broke my foot the Tuesday before the BCSCG. This was shortly after we all got kicked out of a South Beach bar at 4 a.m. But I'm getting way, way ahead of myself.

This was one of those trips that no one else would believe because you yourself aren't completely sure it happened. Did I really just spend eight days in South Florida? Did Virginia Tech really just win a BCS bowl game? Did we really just get kicked out of South Beach? Did I really just pay face value to sit a dozen rows up on the 25-yard line for the title game? These are questions you ask yourself after the fact because the whole trip (all 12 days including travel) was a blur. Thank God for photos.


- The bunks I slept in for the Virginia Tech game collapsed at 5 a.m. Good thing I was in top bunk.
- Don't ask me what I thought of such-and-such play during the Orange Bowl. I don't remember the game and I haven't watched the DVR.
- I left profane voice mails for friends of mine after the Orange Bowl in front of children and Cincy fans in the parking lot after the game.
- Dude, we totally won a BCS bowl game!
- I was so hungover I almost killed myself while driving twice the day after the Orange Bowl.
- I spent four days between the games laying in a hammock and not doing much else.
- I ate stone crab twice and grilled dolphin once during the trip. "Is this tuna-safe dolphin?"
- The group I was with on the 6th wasn't allowed into two bars on Ocean Drive and kicked out of a third one.
- I flirted with a Finnish chick on South Beach who was thoroughly impressed with my knowledge of hockey players from Finland. Then one of my buddies scared her away by being an obnoxious ass hole.
- Later that night, I'm pretty sure I broke my foot while running after a buddy of mine who was certain he knew where his hotel was and I didn't. He was wrong. I was wearing flip-flops and landed on the side of my foot on the sidewalk. I've spent the days since then limping around.
- I had to pick up or drop off friends at all three major airports in South Florida. Thanks for flying into PBI, Canada! You ass.
- I saw four Gator fans wearing jorts and playing beer pong in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart next to Dolphins Stadium the day of the BCSCG.
- I bought Natural Ice at the same Wal-Mart because they were out of almost every other beer. Fortunately they had Yuengling.
- All four people in our group got into the BCSCG for face value. Suck it, scalpers.

Best quotes

"'Tis better to be idle and drunk than merely idle."

On the 6th, we were looking for a bar called Mangoes on South Beach. One of the two guys I was with asked for directions to Mangoes by asking people, "where are the bitches?" Later, he said this to a group of Latin women who couldn't understand a word he said (OK, they probably understood bitches). So I said, "ask them, 'donde estan las bitches.'" So he asked them just that. The group of women pointed toward Mangoes.

The day of the game we were taunting Gator fans by referring to their team as "Crocodiles." Don't judge us, we were hammered. We did this to one equally inebriated Florida tool who responded with, "naw, man, crocodile's teeth are on the outside!" One of the girls tailgating with us replied with, "so are your mom's."


Monday, January 12, 2009

A Championship Desktop

Clark gives us a couple of great Orange Bowl/ACC Championship desktops to choose from. Click here to go download them.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2008 Expectations Revisited

Way back on Aug. 9, I gave you my expectations of the Hokies for the 2008 football season. As you can see, the team met almost all of them:

1. Go Undefeated at Home
This one needs to happen. The Hokies have lost at least one game at home every year since 2001. This time, the schedule is easy enough to make it probably. The Hokies need to regain sense of invincibility at Lane Stadium. It isn't there anymore.

Grade: A+
Tech beat everyone that ventured into Lane Stadium, including a dominant game against Maryland.

2. Have an Offense in the Top 70
The Hokies were ranked No. 100 in total offense in 2007 and No. 99 in 2006. Let's try to work on that.

Grade: F
Despite modest expectations, the offense got even worse. However, it did show signs of life in the last half of the season. Next year there needs to be significant improvement.

3. Have a Defense Ranked in the Top 20
I expect the D to take a step back this year after losing so much talent. But I don't think it will be a step all the way back to 2003.

Grade: A+
Bud could beat your boys with his boys then turn around and beat his boys with your boys.

4. Develop the Young Talent
Don't redshirt Tyrod. Let him continue to improve as a quarterback and leader of the offense. This is Glennon's team, but having Tyrod on the field makes a lot more sense than letting him sit on the bench all year. If Ryan Williams, Dyrell Roberts and other freshman are ready, let them see the field and experience the speed of D1 football.

Grade: B+
Things didn't go according to plan, but Tyrod became "the guy", Darren Evans emerged as a star and Tyrod started trusting the receivers more and more as the year went on.

5. Win in Tallahassee or Miami
I think one of these two games are going to be a loss. But if the Hokies drop both, they will be in serious jeopardy or losing the Coastal.

Grade: F
We did neither, but still won the Coastal thanks to a little help from our friends in Atlanta.

6. Beat UNC and Win the Division
I'm tired of reading about how UNC is ready to start staking its claim under Butch Davis. Is Butchie really that good a coach? We'll find out in Week 4. Crush them, please.

Grade: A+
We beat the Heels and went on to win the division. Carolina suffered injuries and faded down the stretch.

7. Win the Bowl Game
I hate spending the money to travel to these things only to see an unprepared team that used the bowl as a reward get beat by an inferior team (except UGa, they were pretty good that year). There was no excuse for losing to Kansas. If you're going to not give a shit in the bowl, at least tell me in advance so I don't waste my time and money and fly down to Miami.

Grade: A+
The Hokies picked up their first win in a major bowl since 1995 and got the bad taste of the Kansas loss out of their mouths.

Overall Grade: A-
Tech exceeded expectations with a young team, even if the offense regressed.

Tech is filled with optimism going into next season. I hope the team and coaches believe they can compete for a national title, but hope there isn't any hype surrounding this team going into the season. I don't want our 2009 to go like Clemson's 2008.

I also hope the way the season ended re-energizes Beamer and the rest of the coaching staff. I think the constant criticism he and Stiney faced began to wear on him toward the middle of the season.

The Hokies established themselves as the class of the ACC with a third conference title in five years and the league's first BCS winner since January 2000. The hard part will be living up to the expectations the team will face going into next year.

Final 2008 Power Poll

The conference looks good going into 2009 with young teams and emerging young, talented players.

2008 Final Power Poll

1. Virginia Tech
2. Georgia Tech
3. Boston College
4. Florida State
5. North Carolina
6. NC State
7. Maryland
8. Wake Forest
9. Clemson
10. Miami
11. Virginia
12. Duke


- The regular season has to count for more than the exhibition bowl games, so there was little movement. However, I was REALLY tempted to move GT and BC down after embarrassing losses.

- FSU, UMd and Wake were all rewarded for winning bowl games. I tried to give more reward for winning than punishment for losing.

- The Hokies, obviously, remain at No. 1 after a dominating defensive performance in the Orange Bowl.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hokies Barrel On

One of the better metaphors for Virginia Tech football comes from Dr. Saturday (as if it would come from anyone else):

The Orange Bowl was not lame or depressing, but watching Virginia Tech win is always like watching some grizzled old world craftsman, like a cooper or something, tying together a barrel by hand. You stare at him for a few hours without a thought in your head, nobody says anything while he works, and at the end of the day, there's your barrel. It's never occurred to him there might be better or more efficient ways to make a barrel. Why would anyone want to futz with the operation or make it more complicated? It's a perfectly good barrel, and you'll take it home to use and never think of where it came from again.

A lot of fans forget that Hokie football was never intended to be for their amusement. The offense doesn't put up big numbers and never will as long as Beamer and Foster are the sheriffs in town. Like Hinton said, "the Hokies are what they are, and it doesn't have to impress anyone. It just has to work."

Beamer constantly mentions that the offense is designed to work best with the defense to win games. The big numbers put up by spread formation offenses like Cincinnati and Texas Tech often put the defense at a disadvantage by putting them on the field too long and wearing them down.

Oklahoma and Florida put up huge offensive numbers and are in the BCSCG. But the difference between them and UC and TT is the superior talent that fills both teams' rosters. Virginia Tech doesn't have the talent to win by running a spread formation offense.

What we do as a team, with the offense, defense and special teams working together has worked. And honestly, I'd rather be boring and have 10-win seasons than have a Top 10 offense and seven-win seasons.

The Hokies are slowly closing the talent gap with the top teams in the country, but we're not there yet, especially on the offensive line. The day will come soon that the players we have on offense will allow us to change our offensive philosophy. Until then, we're going to have to keep making barrels.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Winning feels better than losing

I am one hungover Hokies on this cool South Florida evening. But now that I have Internet access again, I can share my thoughts on last night's win over Cincinnati.



By exercising their Orange Bowl demons, Tech sets itself up for a summer of optimism. Going into this year, the Hokies were coming off a tough bowl loss, faced a quarterback controversy and had to replace every skill position player other than QB.

Now, Tech and its fans can look forward to next season with little trepidation. The defense will take a hit with the loss of Macho Harris, but should be able to reload. The offense has just about everyone coming back. The coaching staff, for better or worse, is in tact. Next year's opener against Alabama will be the most anticipated VT game since the USC game in 2004.

I don't consider the Hokies to be a national championship contender like Orion Martin does. Look what happened to Clemson this year. I think the Tigers believed their own hype even though they had no offensive line and shortcomings on defense. The Hokies will be the favorite to win the ACC next season, so let's start with winning the league as our goal for 2009 and work from there.

The 2008 season was certainly a helluva ride and ended with one of the most satisfying wins I've attended. Now if only I could hibernate until August.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Orange Bowl Game Post

Happy New Year, Hokie fans! The Hokies are in the last game to kick off today, so you have plenty of time to get in the correct frame of mind before the Hokies go after their first BCS bowl win. While you're watching the New Years' bowl smorgasbord, don't forget that the Winter Classic is on NBC this afternoon as well. Yes, Ringer and Moreno will rock your face off today, but there aren't many things better than outdoor hockey. Especially when two Original Six teams are involved.

OK, enough hockey homerism. Go Hokies!

Post your thoughts on the game in the comments. Also, check out College Game Balls, who may or may not be live blogging during the game.

Oh, and before I go get hammered, here's some eye candy:

Hey Dawn, if you want to learn how to plug into the multbox or use Avid to even out your sound levels, I'm available (PS - I'll give bonus points to anyone out there who starts using "plug into the multbox" as a euphemism for sex).

Have fun, everybody!