Grades for the Miami Game

Quarterbacks: B-

I thought Tyrod and Glennon played well for the most part, but neither one seemed to find much consistency or rhythm. Tyrod was finally able to lead the scoring drive in the 4th quarter to cut the lead to two, but that was about the extent of our successful drives. Glennon made some good throws but Sean still struggles with fast defenses… It just seems like he panics against them.

Running Backs: C-

Darren Evans could never get going last night, which is both his and the offensive line’s fault. Evans was clearly not running with his head up in the 2nd half, which caused him to miss a few holes, and the offensive line could never move the defensive line of Miami. You have to give the Canes credit there – their defensive line played great.

Wide Receivers: C-

Jarrett Boykin’s catch was unbelievable and Coale finally seemed to get going, but that was about it as far as the wideouts go. Dyrell dropped an easy touchdown, Evans dropped two out of the backfield – one of which would have resulted in a first down. Mistakes here were plentiful.

Tight Ends:

I was disappointed that Stinespring did not try Boone at quarterback more, although, it really was not going to work unless he threw the ball a couple times. Miami’s defense was too quick for Boone just to take it and rush to one side.

Offensive Line: D-

Coach Newsome is a great coach and I honestly feel bad for him since he really did not inherit much when he got here, but I felt that he was doing a good job with the line. Last night, however, was awful. The O-Line could not get any push against the freshmen on the Miami defensive line and the line broke down numerous times in pass protection. Also, it seemed like Sergio Render stopped blocking completely on that last drive.

Offensive Grade: D+

Defensive Line: B-

Jason Worilds is not the hardest working guy in practice, but he really turns it on in the games. He was seemingly on top of the quarterback every play and he was playing with a separated shoulder. Also, the personal foul call on Orion Martin in the first quarter was horrible – he never even hit him in the head. If that play was considered a personal foul call, every time the quarterback gets tackled, there should be a 15-yard penalty. I know the NCAA wants to crack down on some of this stuff, but they need to remember that football is still a contact sport.

Linebackers: C+

Somebody needs to give Cody Grimm a medal because he has easily been our most solid defensive player in the past three games. Warren and P-Stump both played well last night, but it seemed as if our defense was playing a little hesitant after Marve took off on a couple of those runs.

Defensive Backs: C+

Macho really played well last night and it seems like nobody even challenges Virgil anymore since I have not heard his name called in the past two weeks. Kam Chancellor got burned on one play and then another Miami receiver got loose once in the secondary, but neither play was completed so the Hokies did dodge a couple bullets there.

Defensive Grade: B-

Grades for the Maryland Game

Tech definitely played well this past Thursday… and I was excited to see Boone used a lot as well, especially since Logan Thomas was in attendance. He was going to commit anyway, but having Boone all over the field probably solidified his decision even more.

Quarterback: A-

Sean did not have to make too many throws in this game since Evans was our offense on Thursday. Sean managed the game well and played almost flawlessly, with the exception of a few misreads.

Running Back: A+

The only thing standing between Darren Evans and a Heisman Trophy is a guy wearing number 34 on the sidelines. Williams will probably take away some of Evans’ carries in the future, but right now, man… Evans is a stud. When you can break the school rushing record as a freshman, you know your future is bright.

Wide Receivers: B+

This was the first game where I thought the entire receiving corps played well throughout all aspects of the game. They were able to get open and they blocked extremely well for Evans and Booooooooooooone!

Speaking of Boone, he had a great night and was finally utilized properly. I would only expect to see this package used when Tech is playing Glennon or the two-QB system. If it is just Tyrod out there, it would not work too well. With Glennon, it is a nice change that will keep the defense guessing. I still wish the line had blocked a little better when Boone was going to pass the ball… Coale was streaking wide open down the middle of the field.

Offensive Line: A-

The line opened some huge holes for Evans to run through, but still gave up a few sacks, so I cannot give them an A+. Sergio Render and Beau Warren played very well to open up holes in the middle of the defensive line, and Evans did a good job of just following his blocks and exploding into the secondary.

Offensive Grade: A-

Virginia Tech will never have an offense like Texas Tech, but in this game, we finally got back to doing what we do best – running the football and managing the game. We put up over 400 yards of offense for the first time this season and ran for close to 300 yards, moving us up to 18th nationally in total rushing yards.

Defensive Line: B-

Maryland’s offensive line was very good and gave Turner a lot of time to throw early on, which allowed Maryland to move the ball fairly well on their first couple of drives. But after a while, Worilds, Taco, and Brown were able to put pressure on Turner and cause him to make some poor passes.

Linebackers: B+

Scott is one of the better running backs in the ACC and the Hokies completely shut him down on Thursday. Also, I have to give a shout out to Cody Grimm because he is quickly becoming the best player we have on defense. He played an exceptional game on Thursday.

Defensive backs: B-

Kam Chancellor played probably his best game since late last season. It appears that he has finally gotten comfortable with his new position. I believe he had 4 tackles alone on the final Maryland drive of the 2nd half. The Secondary played well, even though Maryland was able to rack up over 250 passing yards against this defense. It was quite clear that Coach Foster was willing to give up some passing yards in order to shut down Scott.

Defensive grade: B+

Aside from the screen pass that went for a touchdown, the defense played very well the entire night. When you only give up 13 points to a team that controls its own destiny in the Atlantic division of the ACC – that is pretty impressive.

Thanks man… have a good week and hopefully the Hokies can take care of the U this Thursday and get close to wrapping up another Coastal Division Crown.

Week 9 Top25 Blogpoll

Man it was nice to catch a full day of college football after traveling almost every weekend thus far this season, and only catching certain games each week.  I got to watch a ton of games this week, and here’s my top 25.  Notes at the bottom.

1. Texas 8-0
2. Penn State 9-0
3. Alabama 8-0
4. Texas Tech 8-0
5. Oklahoma 7-1
6. Oklahoma State 7-1
7. Florida 6-1
8. Georgia 7-1
9. USC 6-1
10. Utah 8-0
11. Boise State 7-0
12. Ball State 8-0
13. TCU 8-1
14. Ohio State 7-2
15. Missouri 6-2
16. Florida State 6-1
17. Minnesota 7-1
18. Tulsa 7-0
19. BYU 7-1
20. LSU 5-2
21. Michigan State 7-2
22. North Carolina 6-2
23. South Florida 6-2
24. Oregon 6-2
25. UConn 6-2

Notes:

– Texas beat a top 10 team.  They are undoubtedly the best team in the land until proven differently.  With a game against my #4 ranked Red Raiders on Saturday, they might be proven differently very soon.

– Penn State is ahead of Alabama, for now.  Bama plays the harder schedule and if they win out (12 games + an SEC championship game), they’ll deserve the top spot.  Penn State has dominated opponents and has won their toughest game of the season.  Bama has been inconsistent in their wins and I feel that they’ll lose one or maybe even two before its all said and done.

– Obviously there are 2 monster games this week.  Texas-Texas Tech and Florida-Georgia.  The winner of the Texas-Texas Tech game will control their own destiny for the national title game.  The winner of Florida-Georgia will be the best 1-loss team in the country, ready to pounce if 2 of the top 3 teams lose (which could definitely happen).

– Independents make a rise in my poll this week.  If you’re in the FBS and are undefeated at this point in the season, you deserve a top 20 ranking.  It’s week 9.  You’ve had plenty of chances to lose and you haven’t.  TCU just looks like a solid squad.

– FSU beat a solid VT squad and makes a substantial rise.  At 6-1, they could be the class of the ACC.  Lot of football left though.  The Hokies better regroup, and fast, especially after losing both of their quarterbacks to injury in the last game.

– Pitt exists stage right after Rutgers dismantled them on their home turf by 20.  Rutgers, after starting 1-5, is now 3-5 with some very winnable games coming up.  A 7-5 season is not out of the question, but at 6-6 would the Knights go bowling?

Another amazing weekend of college football.  Man I wish the season would never end.

Virginia Tech’s Offense

Virginia Tech’s Offense

I know a lot of people are down on the VT offense and after last week’s performance – they should be.  However, you have to remember that almost all of the players at the skill positions are freshmen, so the better days are yet to come.

Going into spring practice this past April, I really was not too concerned about the offense since we had some talent coming back. Brandon Dillard was a speedster that had the tools to stretch the field, Zach Luckett was a solid possession wide receiver that could be physical and make some spectacular catches, and the Hokies had a running back stable that could have been ranked as one of the best in the nation. Add that to an improved offensive line and this offense was surely going to be great.

Well, over the course of five months, Luckett is no longer with the team, Dillard tore an Achilles, Brandon Ore was dismissed from the team in February, and let’s not forget that Virginia Tech just had a draft class that was 2nd to only USC.

So stepping into this fall was a bunch of freshmen who were probably on prom court only three months earlier.

Dyrell Roberts has shown some flashes this year, but he is still new to the position. Roberts was a running back in his 4 years in high school and did not switch to WR until August when the Hokies began preparation for the 2008 season.

Danny Coale was a very solid wide receiver at a small private school in Lynchburg when he committed to the Hokies over two years ago. Virginia Tech and another D1-AA school were his only choices out of high school if he wanted to play football for free.

Xavier Boyce was recruited as an athlete out of Landstown High in Virginia Beach, but he knew that he was more than likely going to be a free safety when he got to Tech. He, too, was moved to wide receiver when he arrived at Virginia Tech. Boyce is now out for the season and will apply for a medical redshirt.

Macus Davis was probably the most talented of the incoming wide receivers this past year, but after two weeks of practice Davis decided to redshirt he found out that he would have to have surgery and would miss 4 months.

Randle Dunn came in at 235 and looked more like an athletic tight end than a receiver but decided to redshirt since he need to get a little stronger before seeing the field.

The injury bug has also gone around Blacksburg since the beginning of the season. The Hokies had to play without redshirt freshman starting right tackle Blake DeChristopher because of a kidney bruise on the first series against ECU. Kenny Lewis, who was the Hokies starting running back, is out for the year with an Achillies tear. Cam Martin has been shaken up for most of the year with different injuries. Jason Worilds is playing with a bad shoulder that will most likely require surgery at the end of the year, but I digress as I am starting to get over onto the other side of the ball.

So, in short, the struggles for this offense should not surprise anyone. A week after losing the offenses only true leader, the Hokies manage just over 200 total yards and just six points. Surprising? Not really.

The Hokies leading rusher is a redshirt freshman, their leading passer is a true sophomore, and their top two leading receivers are freshmen. The only experienced part of the offense really is the tight end corps, but even they are young with Smith being a sophomore, Drager being a freshman, and Boone being the lone Junior.

Something tells me that the best is yet to come. Next year’s offense should be improved, especially if Sergio Render decides to return for his final season. Tyrod will return as the main signal caller, Evans will have a nice partner in Ryan Williams who could easily be the next Knowshon Moreno with the way he runs, and the wide receiving corps will get a lot deeper with Boyce, Dunn, Davis, and DJ Coles joining the mix. The Line may take a small step back but should take a big step forward by the end of the year since their will be more talent than there has been over the past few seasons.

So, basically what I am saying is to be… patient. This offense is young and a lot of these guys are just not there yet… but when they figure this whole college football thing out.. Watch Out!

Week 8 Top 25 Blog Poll

Didn’t get to watch many of the games this past weekend, but here’s my top 25:

1. Texas 7-0
2. Penn State 8-0
3. Alabama 7-0
4. Oklahoma State 7-0
5. Texas Tech 7-0
6. Oklahoma 6-1
7. Florida 5-1
8. USC 5-1
9. Georgia 6-1
10. Ohio State 7-1
11. LSU 5-1
12. Utah 8-0
13. Boise State 6-0
14. TCU 7-1
15. South Florida 6-1
16. Missouri 5-2
17. Tulsa 7-0
18. Ball State 7-0
19. Pitt 5-1
20. Georgia Tech 6-1
21. BYU 6-1
22. Kansas 5-2
23. Northwestern 6-1
24. Minnesota 6-1
25. Florida State 5-1

Some notes:

– Most people have their top 3 as Texas, Alabama and Penn State.  What a trio – are we in the 70’s?  After seeing Alabama win sloppily the past few weeks, they are due for a slip up.  They’re a team that plays an amazing first half, falters in the second half and holds on to win.  If a team can keep them at bay for the first half, they’ll beat Bama.  Penn State has dominated from start to finish in every game except this past week against Michigan, and still won by 29 points.  They are the most balanced team in College Football and get my #2 ranking.

– Oklahoma State and Texas Tech will get their cracks at big boy Texas in the next 2 weeks.  If they’re able to knock out Colt McCoy and the Horns, they’ll get their due in the real polls and be in the top 3.  I have no idea why not 1, but 2 undefeated, 7-0 BCS teams are ranked below THREE one-loss teams.  Good old media bias and yet another reason why the preseason polls need to be purely for fun and not count for anything.

– Ohio State is still lingering around, much to the chagrin of the nation.  A win versus #3 Penn State at home this Saturday should “vault” them at least a few spots; they’re currently #9 in the BCS and could scoot up into the top 5.  The best thing that can happen for the Big Ten is Penn State winning this game, Ohio State winning out, and getting both Penn State (BCS National Title Game) and Ohio State (Rose Bowl) into the BCS, with both of them winning their games.  They need that to regain some national respect.

– The non-BCS conferences are beginning to make a significant mark in College Football on a yearly basis.  Even with BYU losing, there are 6 non-BCS teams in the top 25. SOMEONE is going to crash the BCS party yet again, with the Utes looking like the best candidate.

– Pitt is looking like a relevant team again, shooting into the top 25.  Rutgers is coming off a win versus Connecticut, so if they are resurgent, it could be a tough test for the Panthers.  Regardless, they are looking like the Big Easts only viable team and the only team that could actually win in a BCS game.  Shady is picking it up, but the Panthers have a decently tough road ahead.  Rutgers, @ ND (never easy), Louisville, at Cincy, West Virginia and at Connecticut.  Basically, they’ve only played two tough games so far and have lost one of the two.  We’ll see what they’re made of the second half of the year.

– The ACC is definitely the most down conference this year, with only Georgia Tech in the BCS rankings this week (at Number 18, behind 3 non-BCS teams).  Virginia Tech, the reigning ACC champion, just lost to BC for a second straight year in heartbreaking fashion, and now sits outside of the top 25.

We’ve got an interesting slate yet again this week.  Texas-Oklahoma State, PSU-OSU (where College Gameday will be), Texas Tech-Kansas, Georgia-LSU, and Bama-Tennessee.  Enjoy!

Team Grades for BC

Quarterback: C-

I was really displeased with the way Tyrod played on Saturday, but you have to give credit to the BC defense for essentially forcing him to single-handedly win the game. I thought Tyrod failed to break down the zone defense BC played, but some of that can be attributed to the WR’s not getting open.

Running Backs: C+

The loss of Kenny Lewis really hurt us this past Saturday. Evans did not really have any room to run, and he is just not fast enough to try to take the ball outside, which is where the only running room was. Kenny would have been a better fit to try to get the ball outside and in space where he operates better. Since we did not have that option, the running game suffered.

Wide Receivers: F

Drops, wrong routes, miscommunication, etc. The wide receivers really looked like they were still trying to play high school football out there. I really do not envy Coach Sherman right now.

Offensive Line: B-

I thought the offensive line did a good job in pass protection Saturday night. That was one thing I was concerned about since BC has a very big and very athletic defensive line. The running game struggled but BC kept 7 or 8 guys in the box all night to try and make the Hokies throw the ball more downfield.

Offensive Grade: D-

6 points will never win you a game. The only reason VT even had a chance was because of the BC missed cues and the touchdowns scored by the defense.

Defensive Line: B-

It seems whenever we came with pressure we were able to get to the QB but whenever we just rushed our front four, Crane had a good 3 to 4 seconds to throw. However, the DL did a good job in stopping the BC rushing attack so they earn a solid B.

Linebackers: B+

This is probably one of the better games that they have played. Warren and Sturd both played well and Warren even got to do his best Darren Evans impersonation and carry the ball across the goal line for a TD. I was kind of confused on why Cam was not playing much in the 2nd half but Grimm did a nice job filling in.

Defensive Backs: B-

Bud Foster had a good idea but the scheme kind of broke down on a few occasions which caused Virgil and Macho to get beat by a few WR’s. The idea was to force Crane to unload the ball and force him to throw it short in the flat, which is where Macho or Virgil would be allowing them to be in good position to pick the ball off. Obviously this worked a couple of times as Macho got a pick 6 and Chancellor was able to get in good position to pick one off along the sidelines. So even though Crane had over 300 yards passing the DB’s still played a relatively good game.

Defensive Grade: B-

You really have to earn that B when you have 2 INT returns for TD’s and the Hokies really earned that grade when they allowed a couple long TD drives.

Team Grade: C-

It was ugly and at times horrible to watch, but the Hokies found a way to stay in a game they clearly should not have been in. The future is bright for the Hokies but until we hit the straightaway there are some speed bumps we have to get over and the BC game was a major speed bump.

Week 7 Blog Poll

Week 7 Blog Poll

Correction from last week, NOW we’re halfway through the season.  Most teams have played 6 games, some 7, some 5, and now things are starting to take shape in the BCS and National Title race.  Notes at the bottom…

1. Texas
2. Penn State
3. Alabama
4. Oklahoma State
5. Texas Tech
6. Florida
7. USC
8. Oklahoma
9. Georgia
10. Missouri
11. Brigham Young
12. Ohio State
13. LSU
14. Utah
15. Boise State
16. Kansas
17. Virginia Tech
18. North Carolina
19. South Florida
20. Michigan State
21. Wake Forest
22. Vanderbilt
23. Pittsburgh
24. Ball State
25. California

Some notes:

– Texas definitely deserves the top spot.  Some people may say “why knock down Bama on a bye week.”  Well, i’m not knocking them down for being on a bye week, moreso their close home loss to Kentucky in a game that they could’ve lost.  Texas, on the other hand, just beat the top team in the nation by 10 points in a game many predicted them to lose.  Penn State went on the road and manhandled a Wisconsin team that had won 27 of their last 29 in their home stadium, Camp Randall.   Those are my top 2.  Texas has an extremely tough road ahead, facing Mizzou this week, Texas Tech, Kansas, A&M and others in weeks ahead.  They’ll earn their number 1 ranking if they can go through the season unscathed.

– Since we’re at week 7, teams have played some tough (at least 1 or 2) games including a few conference games by now.  If you’re undefeated in a BCS conference, move to the head of the class.  That means you, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.  You’ll have your chances to prove your worth in the 2nd half of the season, no doubt about it.

– Is there any question that the Big 12 is the dominant conference right now?  There shouldn’t be.  SEC loyalists need to become realists.  A lot of your teams are mediocre, especially on offense.  The great defenses are still there, but Auburn?  Tennessee? Arkansas? LSU?  On the flip side, look at the teams in the Big 12, which dominates the AP Top 25.  Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Kansas, Mizzou.  Case closed.

– With Tommy Bowdens “resignation” at Clemson, the ACC lacks any marquee teams besides Va Tech — again!  It seems like every year we say this team will be good and that team will be good, and every year Va Tech looks like the class of one of the consistently worst conferences in College Football.  Let’s hope UNC’s rise continues and they can get to a good bowl game, and Clemson can turn it around.

– Big Least, for sure.  South Florida and Pitt are the only 2 teams in the top 25 – barely.  Honestly, they really need to forego the Big Easts automatic BCS bid this year and give it to a more deserving team.  Who knows, maybe Pitt or USF goes 11-1 this year and deserves it.  We’ll have to see.

What it means for Tech:
That we’re about to face a very tough stretch and if we can win out, we’ll find ourselves in the top 10 at seasons’ end since so many teams play each other.  The next 4 games are brutal, at least in ACC land.  At BC (REVENGE!), at FSU, home vs Maryland (thurs nighter), and away vs Miami (in another thursday nighter).  At least there is a bye week between the first two and the last 2.  It all starts with a tough road game at BC.  An ACC Championship Game birth looks within reach if the Hokies can take at least 3 of 4, and it should be guaranteed by winning the next 4.  Let’s go hokies!