What I hope to be a ongoing Hokie blogger collaboration from time to time ... Hokie Blog Spring Round Table initiated by Gobbler Country. His site will have direct links (or you could look to your right) to all the participants as well as his answers in the next day or 2.
Now on my uninformed and untrained eye answers. More answers from HokieJayBee here.
|From BCO Pix2|
Now to what Riggs and 99% of other Hokie fans think could very well hold this year's team's potential back, the offense. Magically the O is not going to look great. For that to happen the OLine will learn to pass block, Tyrod Taylor will have to stay healthy and the scheme will have to be aggressive keeping defenses off balance.
This is such a large subject to tackle, I really can't do it justice. I have written, deleted, written, deleted this answer a few times. I don't want this to be overly negative or a slam piece so I will try to say this with a little tact. The offense while Frank Beamer is head coach will never be sexy, that is not his style. Running (usually power) to set up the pass (usually play action) is what Beamer wants and that's what he gets. That style of offense is proven and can be done, see Alabama. So it's not the philopshy that is bad. I think the schemes VT runs (since it certainly isn't a system) aren't great but not necessarily the sole reason the offense stinks from year to year. It's the coaches, coaching up the young men in Orange and Maroon.
Bryan Stinespring can not seem to effectively run this offense hence the preference for a dual threat qb and some shotgun read option to try and keep defenses a bit more honest. I am sure Stiney works hard, real hard but like every other career in the world some guys are just better than others. I have very little confidence that VT will ever have a smooth, well run offense under his watch, regardless of scheme. So no offensive tweaks, packages, schemes etc is going to overcome player execution, play calling and game to game preparation that has plagued Virginia Tech's offense for the majority of Stinespring's time as offensive coordinator.
The offense will continue lay a few eggs this season, less than last season for sure but enough that the defense can't cover it for it every time. Barring injury (see question 2) I think VT is very much a borderline Top 10 team but the difference between no. 7 and 27 isn't as big as it use to be and if the offense bombs like it did for the first 9 games last season no. 27 is far more likely than no. 7.
|From BCO Pix2|
Slight tangent before I the second part of the question. Who will be the 2nd QB? JuJu is the purest of the 3, but with the worst arm. Running the scout team while the others were hurt or playing another position helps his cause. What about Greg Boone? Well there is a reason he is a tight end, I am guessing asking him to read a defense is akin to asking Dexter Manly to read a book. The results won't turn on very good. In high school, Greg had 4 plays, handoff, keep it, throw deep and throw deeper. He usually kept it. Marcus Davis is a sick athlete and having seen him a few weeks back looks every bit 6'5" but he is very, very inexperienced. If VT ran a straight read option spread, he would be the guy, even over Boone. Spring will help answer this question, right now I am going to assume it's JuJu.
Whoever it is, keep your arm lose, 4-5 games even if for a play or 2, he'll be needed. We could see a lot of Wild Turkey those games, on the field and in section 18 beside the BCO as he screams "GOD NO!!" I think there will be at least 1 game where Tyrod does not start or gets knocked out early, extended stay in the infirmary will kiss preseason expectations goodbye.
|From BCO Pix2|
Mike and Backer 2- Deep
Mike: r-soph Barquell Rivers -- r-fresh Bruce Taylor
Backer: soph Jake Johnson -- soph Quillie Odom
First Bud Foster coaches this group, so he will have 'em ready and won't ask them to do things they can't handle, like lots of complex pass coverages that Xavier Adibi and Purnell Sturdivant afforded him the last 5 years at the Backer spot. Won't take Raleigh Hokie long to notice that on film, I am guessing.
One start in that group and it was at the Mike, from Rivers versus 'nati. I only remember 1 play from him that game and it was a big one, the 4th down goal line stand. I think he could be Vince Hall light but it is going to take some more seasoning. Rivers is a decent athlete while his current backup is a very good one. Bruce Taylor who spent last year as a backup defensive end is bigger, stronger and faster but he is 2 years behind Barquell at that position and that puts him at a disadvantage to win the job.
Backer is more interesting. Jake Johnson is no. 1 heading into spring and he has leaned up a bit to be more athletic for the demands. The kid is a weight room maniac, but I hope he spends more time in film room, because his backup Odom is dangerously close to being a bad statistic. Odom is probably more gifted for this position but the '08 season got shutdown after game 7 last year and if rumors are to be believed he has been on thin ice with the coaches this winter already. Not to be a downer but the odds aren't in his favor. So Jake, "How do you feel about dropping back in pass coverage?"
All of these guys have talent, the question is how much can they absorb in the next 5 months? Can they get to the point where their brains don't tie up their feet? Expect teams to attack them not only via the pass but misdirection and gap responsibility. I have a feeling, we will hear Bud talk about losing leverage a time or 2 early in the season. By the halfway point these guys will be a lot better but it make take until game 9 or 10 for them to really look great.
4. What change would you make to college football's spring football system?
|From BCO Pix2|
* inside joke, uva football has a spring game festival with clowns, face paint and other ghey stuff to keep the kiddies and fans interested in coming out for their annual piece of crap spring game. Hokie fans call it Festivus.
|From BCO Pix2|