A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

Virginia Tech demoralizes a nation. The Hokie Nation.

Nathan (Michigan) and my (Virginia Tech) college teams finally have something in common — they are the only ranked teams to lose to an FCS school.

Unbelievable.

I started to worry furing the first quarter against James Madison when the score wasn’t 21-0, and it all went downhill from there.

Coming into this season, every Hokie fan knew we had a lot to replace on defense, but the problems are far greater than anyone imagined. Even the most fundamental part of defense — tackling — is difficult for them.

Where do these players get off thinking they can just push people and they will go down? Why is it so hard to wrap up a player and bring them down?

Linebacker Bruce Taylor has already started making excuses saying practice tackling doesn’t equal game-speed tackling. Of course it doesn’t, but why don’t you start using proper technique and it won’t be a problem — especially against a second-rate opponent in JMU.

The Hokies are being featured in a "How Not To Tackle" DVD.

Jeron Gouveia-Winslow is struggling mightily in Cody Grimm’s old spot.

So, how much blame should be put on Bud Foster for the defense? About 50%. Allowing 33 points against Boise, then 21 against JMU should never happen under Foster. I could be giving him too much credit, but I think his schemes alone can limit teams to 15 points.

As for the absurdly bad offense, it’s time for a change. Bryan Stinespring has got to be in the bottom five for worst offensive coordinator in college football. With so much talent, how can Tech put up 16 points last week?

Tyrod is scrambling way too much. Every play he is rolling out of the pocket. Why? He is a good passer, and he used to have great chemistry with Danny Coale. I think I’ve seen Coale catch a handful of passes this year.

You’ve also got Ryan Williams, Darren Evans and David Wilson in the backfield, the latter of which is already saying he regrets not redshirting. The Hokies don’t need any more drama.

I could go on forever about the offense, but I’ll stop.

Last but not least, Frank Beamer. He’s now 1-26, I believe, against top-five teams. And now he’s lost to a FCS opponent. It’s time to start looking for a replacement now.

But the last thing we need is a Bobby Bowden or Joe Paterno situation. Just because Beamer has gotten Tech on the map and a household name in college football doesn’t grant him an automatic 10 more years of mediocrity.

Clearly whatever he says to the team before big games fails. It’s like a broken record — a big game involving Tech? Put all your money on the Hokies losing. It sucks to even say that, but it’s true.

Everyone seems Bud Foster is the easy pick to step up. I’m not sure if that’s the right pick. I’d be worried about a Norv Turner situation — great coordinator, bad coach. Foster’s enthusiasm is unquestioned, though, and it just might be what all the Hokies need to hear.

Whatever the case, something needs to change now.

–Ray

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September 15, 2010 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Column: Miami overhyped

This is the full version of my column in the Collegiate Times:

Column: Miami Overhyped

Ray Nimmo

For the last several years, when the University of Miami wins a game, the media proclaims the U is back.

And unfortunately for Hurricanes fans, the U never really is back.

Once again, the media jumped on the Canes bandwagon following Miami’s 33-17 rout of Georgia Tech last Thursday.

Jacory Harris

Miami quarterback Jacory Harris

Sure, Canes quarterback Jacory Harris was 20-25 with 270 yards passing and threw 3 touchdowns, but the Yellow Jackets’ passing defense ranks 85th in the NCAA.

In Georgia Tech’s first game, they allowed Jacksonville State quarterback Marques Ivory to be 23-38 and throw 193 yards and two touchdowns.

So before crowning Harris as the next Jim Kelly or Vinny Testaverde, gain some perspective.

The first game Harris played this season against Florida State could easily have been a loss for the Canes; however, it quickly turned into a Harris lovefest.

Harris threw two interceptions in the contest, bringing his career total to nine compared with 17 touchdowns. When Harris faces a real defense on Saturday, people will find out just how good he is.

Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster will have his crew ready for the biggest Atlantic Coast Conference game of the year.

Harris has only been sacked once this year and hasn’t faced much pressure from defenses. Expect a lot of blitz packages and pressure from defensive end Jason Worilds. The Hokies will get to the quarterback and force Harris to make bad decisions.

It will then be up to the ball-hawking secondary to make the necessary plays to shutdown Miami’s speedy wide receivers.

There are a few problems, though.

While the defensive gameplan will, without a doubt, be an excellent counter to Miami’s offense, the execution is in question.

The Hokies defense has not performed up to typical lunch pail standards.

Tech is ranked 77th in total defense. They haven’t been out of the top-10 in that category since 2003.

Pinpointing the problem is nevertheless difficult.

The young linebacking corps? Injuries in the secondary? Defensive line not living up to the billing?

What about the offense? Because of their impotence and consistent three-and-out play, the defense must be on the field for more than half the game. Look back to the Alabama game. When was the last time you saw a Tech defense that worn out at the end of a game?

These are some of the best athletes in the country, and there is no excuse for being that tired with the high-class conditioning that goes on at Tech.

The defense did answer the bell against Nebraska by not allowing a touchdown, and employing a bend-but-

Virginia Tech vs. Miami

Virginia Tech vs. Miami

don’t-break mentality.

Miami is not Nebraska, though. The Canes may actually have better athletes the Alabama and Nebraska, so it’s paramount the offense find a rhythm early to keep the defense well-rested.

This game has much bigger implications than the previous three. This one counts. No excuses. With Miami being in the Coastal Division and already boasting a 2-0 record in the ACC, this game could very well decide the Hokies’ ACC title hopes.

The players and coaches know it, though.

“This game might as well be the ACC Championship game,” running back Ryan Williams said. “It’s big for us. It’s real big for us. We have to come out fighting strong from the first quarter through the fourth quarter.”

Coincidentally, Williams grew up a Miami fan, and looked up to previous Canes running backs: Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis and Frank Gore.

Williams has the Miami-type swagger. He showcased it against Nebraska when he did his variation of the “Dirty Bird” touchdown dance—he calls it the “Dirty Hokie.”

Williams redshirted last season and didn’t take part in last year’s 16-14 loss at Miami.

He will be here this time around, in Lane Stadium. The last time the Canes traveled to Blacksburg, the Hokies destroyed them 44-14.

The Canes did take care of the Hokies in 2005, in Lane, 27-7—a game that will hereby be forgotten, but the Hokies are 4-2 against Miami the last six meetings.

Tech knows how to beat the U, and the media has forgotten it. Miami jumped in the rankings from No. 20 to No. 9 in the Associated Press poll this week. With that jump, they leapfrogged No. 11 Tech.

Perhaps someone should notify the authorities the Hokies are three-time ACC champions. Miami has won the ACC championship exactly zero times.

The ACC championship runs through Blacksburg, so don’t sweat the Miami swagger.

Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor

Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor

September 25, 2009 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Been a LONG time

Ray here–

I put the blog on the backburner after last football season and posted some Collegiate Times articles I wrote. A few things I do want to talk about lately, though.  Shawne Merriman, volleyball, Kenny Chesney and the inept Virginia Tech offense.

Merriman– Bill Cosby once talked about brain damage in his performance “Himself,” in 1983. The brain damage he spoke of was when children need to hear things three times or more to understand. Even then, they will disobey and when you ask why, they reply, “I don’t know!” Here’s a link to a youtube video with the excerpt.

Shawne must not understand what it means to be a good citizen or even a competent one. Stay out of trouble, even if the person accusing you of battery is a whacko named Tila Tequila.

Volleyball– What a pleasant surprise this has been! I got the women’s volleyball beat for the Collegiate Times this semester. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical of what to expect, but it’s been awesome. The night I found out, I spent three hours researching the rules and watching youtube videos on how to play.

I’m still getting a grip on the abstract rules and how to calculate all the statstics, but watching the games is very exciting. The players can be a bit nervous when I interview them, but I think they will break out of their shell.

One player on the team doesn’t like interviews, and she is deemed off-limits to me. I wonder if she had a bad experience with any previous writers of any kind. She’s a good player too, so it sucks I can’t talk to her.

The team is 6-0 right now, and they are in Washington, D.C. for a tournament this weekend. I think they can win all three games handily if they do well. It is their first road test, so who knows what might happen.

Kenny Chesney– Please. For the life of me I don’t understand why ESPN chooses such crappy theme songs for college football. Chesney and Dave Matthews?! I didn’t know ESPN is a proponent of homoeroticism.

Watching the Georgia Tech-Clemson game tonight, they had another country singer, and I believe he is the “ACC singer.” God help us. How is some dude in a cowboy hat and tank top supposed to get us pumped for a violent, head-smashing sport? I’ve googled the topic and found about a 99% disapproval rate. The other 1% are girls who just say “I love Kenny!” or guys who pop their collars that love Dave Matthews. Disgusting.

The inept VT offense– Oh. My. God. How retarded is our offense? Oh wait, it’s not the offense who is retarded. It’s offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring. There are “Fire Bryan Stinespring” websites and blogs everywhere, and it’s hilarious. (http://firebryanstinespring.blogspot.com/)

The consensus says he still has a job because he and Frank Beamer are close friends. Well, good gracious, wake up Frank! You have had talented NFL receivers on the team in the past (Josh Morgan, David Clowney, Eddie Royal), and now you have Ryan Williams and Tyrod Taylor. You still can’t muster 100 yards in a ferrari. You would probably sabotage the engine. Fire this quack and get him out of the program.

Fire Bryan Stinespring shirt

Fire Bryan Stinespring shirt

I’d really like to get the chance to ask Frank straight up, “Are you satisfied with ACC Championships or do you want more?” We barely win the ACC as it is with Bryan’s pathetic offense, anyway. This is why you don’t hire your friends as coworkers. We might have to get shutout the rest of the season in order for Frank to notice something’s wrong.

September 11, 2009 Posted by | Football, Other, Volleyball | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WTHWWT – Week 4 (Ray)

Starting this week’s version, I want to say that I hope Aaron Rodgers is OK, and able to continue. I learned that Denver doesn’t know how to beat weak teams, and that my theory on the overrated Cowboys came true. Yet, the experts are completely shocked they lost? Unbelievable. Someone hold another Inquisition and execute all these dunces. They are polluting the airwaves more than the Paris Hilton sex tape. I also learned that Chicago must hate me, because every time I pick them to win or lose they do the opposite. I handed that game over to Nathan though. It’s exhausting writing about Chicago. I feel sorry for their beat writers. Scott Linehan is the first coach to get beheaded in the season. The Rams fired him this morning. Jim Haslett will take over as interim coach. Enjoy that crapshoot Jim. Anyway, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Kansas City 33 Denver 19

What the hell happened Broncos? You rolled over and laid a giant, moldy egg – the kind Fear Factor used to feed people. Beat the teams you are supposed to. At least my main man Eddie Royal did good with 9 catches and 104 yards (excluding his fumble). Jay Cutler did not look like himself. He threw 49 times; way too much in that offense. I realize that they were behind a lot of the time but, you must establish the run game a little bit. Set up play action. I sincerely hope, Kansas City fans don’t think you guys have it together now. You don’t. Your team is not going anywhere. This was a “Thank you for watching us even though we’re not good” gift. Don’t expect anymore of it. Herm Edwards needs to be fired and you know it. Where is Dick Vermeil? Maybe he can cry you guys into the playoffs. I kid. I like Vermeil. Anyways Denver, do not do this again. I thought you were the best team in the NFL before Sunday. So much for that…

New Orleans 31 San Francisco 17

I changed this pick Saturday night, along with a few others. This game was probably the hardest to figure out. San Francisco seems capable of winning but they are still somewhat confusing. The Saints are the same way. J.T. O’Sullivan was finally brought back to the planet in this game with a 59.6 QB rating. Frank Gore did OK but he needed his QB to help out. Drew Brees was the same guy he should be throwing 3 TD’s. I really don’t think this game helped out in telling me how good these teams are. I do know that whoever said J.T. O’Sullivan was going to be the next Kurt Warner “come out of nowhere” type player, they were sorely mistaken.

Tennessee 30 Minnesota 17

OK, Tennessee should not be 4-0 right now. They are really not very good. The defense does everything. The offense is just barely competent enough. Minnesota is the exact same way yet they are 1-3? It does not make sense to me. Both had running QBs that are now replaced by old veterans. The Vikings have the better RB in Peterson. It just doesn’t add up. I am not sold on the Titans and probably will never be this season. I may be in the minority, but I feel if they were to face a really good team, they would fold over faster than Ohio State in BCS championship games or against the SEC. Call me what you want, but the Titans are not good. They will make the playoffs, sure, but will make an early exit. I won’t even say anything else about Minnesota besides that they should trade AP to the Packers.

Tampa Bay 30 Green Bay 21

This was the first game where Aaron Rodgers didn’t play very well throwing 3 INT. I wanted to see how he would respond in the second half, which wasn’t very well. He did get injured, though, and for some reason Matt Flynn came in. Brian Brohm should be the second string, not Mr. One Time LSU Wonder. Also, one of my fears is coming true – Ryan Grant was a fluke last year. He just does not look the same this year. Running backs in this day and age are not doing well. There is not a consistent runner anymore. LT can’t even give us 100 yard games that much. The Packers put up an amazing 28 yards rushing for the game. Ouch. That stat speaks for itself. The GB defense did a good job of creating turnovers but the offense couldn’t help out. This game was really important because this was a loss to an average team. People expected the Packers to lose to Dallas but not to Tampa Bay. They need to regroup, hope Rodgers is healthy, come up with a new run strategy and take care of Atlanta next week by 21. Thoughts and prayers go out to Matt Bryant of the Bucs; playing Sunday after losing your child took a lot of heart.

Pittsburgh 23 Baltimore 20

Pittsburgh is not that good. Baltimore is by far the better team. Roethlisberger is garbage and will always be garbage. Flacco is the man. That is all I have to say about this game.

-Ray

Update: Aaron Rodgers has a shoulder sprain and should be able to start Sunday
Source: ESPN

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Virginia Tech Falls to East Carolina

I decided to take a couple days off before I wrote about this loss. My emotions were really strained on Saturday and any blog I wrote would have been out of emotion rather than logic. So 48 hours later, I find myself thinking the same things I was Saturday.

27-22. The final score. ECU beats #17 Virginia Tech.

So much for the undefeated season! Well, that was not going to happen anyway (The last two national champs have had at least 1 loss). Let’s break this down and figure out what is wrong with this team.

1. Sean Glennon

After last year’s performance things were looking up for the redshirt senior. On Saturday, I felt like I was watching the first year starter Glennon making questionable decisions that a veteran like himself should not be making. I realize he has a completely new wide receiver core but he should not be worrying about them catching ball. Just do your job Sean! Throw the ball where you are supposed to, do ot adapt to these young receivers! Glennon’s pocket presence is still dreadful and anytime pressure comes to him it seems like he has no clue what to do. I do think I know what is going on. Last year Glennon and Tyrod Taylor were both the quarterbacks. Glennon did not have all the pressure on his shoulders; if he was not doing well Tyrod could come in and give a different spark to the team. But because of head coach Frank Beamer’s decision to redshirt the sophomore, pressure was put firmly back on Glennon.

Simply put. NOT GOOD.

2. Bryan Stinespring – Offensive Coordinator

The running game was looking fairly decent throughout the game but instead of sticking with it in the fourth quarter, the ball was put back in Glennon’s hands. I just do not understand that at all. Kenny Lewis, who has come back early from an injury was very productive. Give the big dog the ball in those situations. He is a big boy now.

3. Special Teams

Well, Tech’s ‘defensive’ special teams showed up blocking the extra point and returning it for a safety. But punter Brent Bowden had his first punt blocked which ended up deciding the game. He needs to know the situation a little bit better. It is the fourth quarter and you are backup in your own territory. The punt needs to be quick. This also goes on the line up front for not blocking well enough. Learn from it. Don’t do it again.

4. Frank Beamer

Coach, please take the redshirt off Tyrod Taylor. It is going to be a long season for you and Hokie fans if Glennon is the one and only. We need Taylor. Glennon needs him. You need him. He has a maturity beyond his years and that needs to be showcased. It is not too late. The season can still be salvaged.

5. Hokie Fans

After this loss, I saw a lot of different reactions varying from the ‘Kill Sean Glennon’ type to the ‘Glennon did great!’ Then Tech fans start to turn on each other on how they are reacting. I think it is quite stupid for this to happen when you are not going to change somebody’s reaction. Just let them be. Personally, I think it is good when fans go off on their team after a loss. It shows they really love their team (ironic, isn’t it?) and that really want them to do well. They have high expectations for the team. I also understand the people who just want to support the team. Positive encouragement is good, but that is never going to solely help a team out. Just ask any coach for any sports team above 13 years old. You must criticize to get better.

So, the season is not over. Tech faces Furman this Saturday which, in theory, should be an easy victory but should not be overlooked. The Hokies must figure out how to fix things because next week is their first conference game against Georgia Tech. 11-1 is still possible.

-Ray

September 1, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Virginia Tech Put On Backburner

With the new college season fast approaching, expert predictions are in full swing, and reactions to the AP poll everywhere. As usual, the experts focus on the national championship race and the top 5 teams. To address the AP poll first, starts with Georgia being ranked #1. Undoubtedly this has something to do with the massive 41-10 victory over Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. I think they are getting to much credit though. But truthfully it does not matter who starts off #1 because if the last few years have told us anything the preseason #1 is going to lose at some point during the season.

Getting back to the point of this article, many ‘experts,’ like Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN, have discounted Virginia Tech from the Atlantic Coast Conference race. Clemson seems to be the proverbial favorite to win the conference, easily winning the Atlantic division. While some have Virginia Tech pegged as the winner of the Coastal division, some believe Miami has a chance to dethrone the Hokies, and Wake Forest and UNC are considered dark horses.

This loss of confidence in Tech has come from the loss of key defensive players such as Xavier Adibi and Vince Hall. Make no mistake though, MLB Brett Warren played very well in Hall’s absence last season and is ready to step up as leader of one of the best defenses year in and year out. CB Victor “Macho” Harris also returns after deciding he did not want to leave for the NFL draft. He will give the Hokies leadership at cornerback after Brandon Flowers’ departure.

Offense is a different story. Things do look good though. Sophomore Tyrod Taylor looks to be redshirted this season leaving redshirt senior Sean Glennon with the full load. Glennon showed maturity last season having to deal with being pulled constantly for Taylor during games. There should be much less careless errors by Glennon, keeping the Hokies in more games.

The questions on offense come from the running back and wide receiver positions. With Branden Ore’s release from the team and almost all the Hokie WR starters going to the NFL gaping holes are left. Freshman RB Ryan Williams was looked on to step up, as was RBs Jahre Cheeseman and Kenny Lewis, Jr. However, Cheeseman and Lewis were lost to injury in the spring, giving way for Williams and redshirt freshmen, Josh Oglesby and Darren Evans. All three will probably be used throughout the season unless one truly stands out.

Tech’s presumed starting WR Zach Luckett was suspended this August following a DUI arrest. This leaves the door open for true freshman Xavier Boyce and Dyrell Roberts. It will be interesting to see how QB Glennon will deal with these young receivers. If they can get some sort of rhythm, there is no reason why Tech can’t regain the ACC title and be in another BCS Bowl game.

-Ray

August 26, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment