The Uninformed, Untrained Eyes of a Virginia Tech, Sports, Beer & Wiminz Fan.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hokie Bloggers Postseason Round Table Q & A

From BCO Pix2
Gobblercountry, the interwebs finest Hokie blog has sent out his Postseason round table questions for us other (mostly lessor) Hokie bloggers to chew on.

His site is here and he can be followed on twitter here.

On to his questions and my answers.

From BCO Pix2
1. Do you think the 2009 season was a successful one for Virginia Tech?

First off I am disappointed, a bit, but not a lot. When you play big boy football the Sears Trophy is the prize everyone eyes. Unfortunately for all but a few, Florida, Alabama, USC, Texas and Oklahoma it takes a special season (VT '99) where all the chips fall right to play for that Walmart pedestal. Understanding that, I can look at the season outside that exclusive bubble.

VT went 10-3 with 2 of the losses to top 15 teams, 1 of them to the National Champion. The other ranked loss came on the road to the best performance of the year by the Yellow Jackets defense, that happens. The only bad loss (not awful) was on a Thursday night in Lane with a flat crowd (and team) to the North Carolina Tarheels. Those are the negatives. The positives, absolutely routing a bunch of teams, including some hated rivals and a thrilling, improbable win vs another top 15 team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. So 10 wins vs the hardest schedule that I can remember and finishing in the top 10 again ... yeah ... that's successful.

From BCO Pix2
2. Did Bryan Stinespring and the Hokie offense finally turn a corner in 2009 or are you still pessimistic about the future of the offense?

Yes, the O turned the corner, I am almost a believer. Stinespring is still going to have a few WTF calls each game and some games much more than few (see the 3 top 10 total defenses Tech faced this year) but you know, every team has those days. Someone tell me how Florida's offense looked vs Alabama or Texas's vs Nebraska or Florida States vs UNC (oops, well the first half anyway) ... they got shut down too. An experienced quarterback, better line play and the most talented running back Billy Hite has ever coached equals a formula for success for any offensive coordinator. Now if he can keep finding the right mix of going against tendency along with the base of the offense while using some misdirection this unit could be really special next year. Considering the lack of Tight End depth and experience along with a boat load of wide outs, this offense us going to see a lot of 3 wide receiver look (like against UT) and possibly be wide open. Not sure Frank likes that, but I got a feeling Bryan does! The key won't be so much 2010, but 2011 when Stiney has to break in a new qb and replace Ryan Williams.

From BCO Pix2
3. Can the inconsistency of the defense this season be blamed mostly on youth at linebacker and injuries to key players like John Graves or were other factors at play?

Yes, but I would like to add for a unit to finish 12th nationally in total defense and be inconsistent, then that's pretty damn good. Hail Bud!

Year in and year out, Bud's units have gotten better as the year progressed and the new starters learned what he wanted to do. No reason to expect his unit to be firing on all cylinders game one vs Alabama, though the owning of the defensive line was ominous.

Linebacker Barquell Rivers was solid all year but a step back from Brett Warren who was a step back from Vince Hall and that was the good linebacker situation. Jake Johnson failed to grasp the system and tackled poorly, giving way to undersized Lyndell Gibson who has much better instincts, but also limited. Gibson is not Xavier Adibi but he could be better than similarly built Mikal Baaqee. Unless Bruce Taylor or one of the redshirts step up, Bud will have to work around this unit for a couple of years.

Now to a favorite subject of mine, John Graves. One can not undervalue his performance to the team. Example A, look at the game tape vs Georgia Tech before he was injured ... dominating, blowing up their offensive line causing tackles for loss and being held on 50% of the plays. The defensive line was not the same that game or vs UNC due to his loss. UNC road graded one team all season with power running, the Hokies without Graves. Hell, he gutted out much of the second half of the season with a bum wheel. When finally healthy he destroyed the Tennessee offensive line in the Chick-Fil-A bowl. All that said, the Hokies need more than 2 every down defensive tackles, chalk that up to recruiting misses. I'd hazard a guess that VT would have beaten UNC with a healthy Graves and made the GT game come down to the very last minute. Yeah, I copped out that answer.

From BCO Pix2
4. Which player was the biggest surprise to you in 2009, good or bad?

Tough, tough question, easily the one that makes me stop and think the most. Consideration for the Good: Ed Wang, Ryan Williams & Rock Carmichael. The Bad: Greg Boone & Jake Johnson. Boone was injured for the first half of the year and Jake Johnson was so young, so I can't choose them. Wang had his moments of WTF, but in general he was really good, RW certainly surprised me with his ability but in the end it was Rock. Going into the season there were legitimate concerns on how good field corner would be as he and Cris Hill were fighting for the starting spot. I still remember reading Kyle Tucker's blog about how he was getting beat the week leading up to the Bama game. I was not feeling good about the situation. Late in the Bama game Stephan Virgil the starting boundary corner goes down and instantly my biggest concern was thrust into an even more important position, boundary corner. Well, I'd say he did quite well, keeping the spot for the rest of the season, even after Virgil came back. Rock finished with 5 interceptions and ended up being the best player in the nation's 11th rated pass defense. He made All ACC Honorable mention and has a great chance to make first or second team next season. Him and Jayron Hosley are going to be awesome next year.

From BCO Pix2
5. If the Hokies could go back and replay one of their three losses, which one would you replay?

Well, physically VT was beat by the superior team in Alabama so I'd rather have them play a team where they would be as good or better from a talent perspective. The UNC loss, strips away more the Lane Stadium at night (Thursday no less) aura. The Hokies were a better team all year but faced a bad match up offensively and struggled on defense surprisingly all night. However that's not the game I want. I want VT to have another shot at Paul Johnson's team. Not only because it was the division defining game but because beating the smugness of Paul Johnson is a simple pleasure in life, much like it was beating Jeff Jagodzinski. I want a few offensive plays back, I want John Graves back for the whole game, I want Bud to have a 2nd half game plan that was as brilliant but also different as his first half one was. This is splitting the difference, conceding the Tide was the superior team but also not going after the easiest win, Carolina. In the grand scheme of ACC things that game chose who was going to Tampa to play in the ACCCG.

From BCO Pix2
Bonus question: Write a haiku about Ryan Williams.

shake, rattle ryan
the mother fornicating
williams rolls for six

(yeah, i know not good.)