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.
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.
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.
This is the full version of my column in the Collegiate Times:
Column: Miami Overhyped
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.
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-
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.
What is ESPN’s fetish with USC about?
“You’re seeing a freshman QB grow up in front of our eyes.”
Umm, how? He was 15/31 for 195 yards and an INT. He just handed off the ball to McKnight and threw it to the flats and let the receivers do everything. He did squat. Seriously, this is one of the biggest problems with ESPN. They are obsessed with USC, ESPECIALLY Mark May. I can’t imagine how Mark May kept his head from exploding when USC was losing. He regularly sends Pete Carroll flowers. It’s ridiculous. He’s as bad as Lou Holtz is for Notre Dame.
Get some people who will actually tell things straight!
Serena Williams was disqualified for taunting. Probably the second best news of the day (besides Virginia Tech destroying Marshall). She is beyond arrogant and such a poor sport, it’s good to see she got hers. Serena is another one of ESPN’s darlings. Rick Reilly wrote an article on ESPN saying the Williams’ sisters are the most underreported story in sports. GIVE ME A BREAK! That is all I hear about when tennis highlights come on, or the only reason tennis shows up on SportsCenter. Please. Again, get people working for the best sports network who are actually honest and tell it like it is. It’s become a circus.
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.
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.
Well, what do you know? I actually have a great week in picking! Sad thing is I almost changed my Dallas pick to St. Louis, but didn’t. Damn. The Pack crushed the Colts and didn’t allow Peyton to throw a TD. When is the last time that happened? Virginia Tech standout Aaron Rouse had a 99-yard pick-six too! Great stuff.
Chicago 48 Minnesota 41
I have pretty much ran out of stuff to say on the Bears and Vikings seeing as I write about one every week. Both teams need to figure out who they are and stop being inconsistent. The Vikes had more total yards, but Gus Frerotte threw 4 interceptions. That is not going to get anything done. Adrian Peterson ran well, but because of Gus’ stupidity, Minnesota goes down. As much as I don’t like the Bears, I like Kyle Orton, always have. I wonder if anybody remembers Rex?
St. Louis 34 Dallas 14
This is another one of the games I am thrilled to write about. The Cowboys got absolutely thrashed and I got to watch it. Brad Johnson, playing for the injured Romo, was probably the worst quarterback to replace him. He played dreadful and should just go ahead and retire. What is Drew Henson doing these days? Dallas is screwed if they keep getting injuries; the latest is safety Roy Williams who is done for the season. One thing I do want to mention is why ESPN is telling us Wade Phillips job is safe. Of course it is. Why would you even bring that up to Jerry Jones? It is not Wade’s problem that everyone is getting injured. Stop trying to make stupid drama when there doesn’t need to be. Seriously, leave the man alone.
So, in a week where the MLB saw the Cubs and Angels get eliminated from the playoffs, and the NHL started another season, with two games over in Europe, there was another week full of upsets and surprises in the NFL. The stock market continues to hit rock bottom and the presidential candidates continue to tour the country in hopes of people’s votes. Wachovia was bought out by Wells Fargo, and the University of Michigan got blown out of the water by the Fighting Illini and Juice Williams. As society continues to go downhill, the thoughts of where this world will be one year from today is just scary and unpredictable. But when times turn rough, you can always count on these blogs to cheer you up.
Atlanta vs Green Bay – Aaron Rodgers vs Matt Ryan. Both very young inexperienced, starting quarterbacks and Lambeau Field on the first weekend of October, it does not get any better than this. People were unsure of how Rodgers would play because of his shoulder injury, but in an attempt to beat Brett Favre’s record setting streak of continuous starts, Rodger suited up and played. In the end, Matt Ryan was the quarterback who was leaving the field as a winner. This is the third week in a row that I have had to write about the Packers which is not a good thing. Hopefully they get the team back on track on their way to Seattle to visit former head coach Mike Holmgren.
San Diego vs Miami – So as I should have done when picking my picks for the week, the Chargers will now be known as the Padres. Hopefully this will give them a reason to start winning… Miami once again surprised the league with another upset victory. The Miami Dolphins are the team that everyone is going to overlook this season. Expect the Dolphins to finish at least .500 this season. They are that good. Or that average. However you want to look at it.
Buffalo vs Arizona – If any Buffalo Bills fans thought that JP Losman was a good quarterback hopefully this week proved something to you. The only good thing JP is good for is riding the bench and maybe giving the plays to the quarterback. On his first drive, JP lost a fumble and the Cardinals subsequently scored on the following drive. Hopefully, Trent Edwards can heal up over the bye week and come back in two weeks and start at quarterback. Concussions are so unpredictable so I’m sure we won’t find out until next week whether he can play or not.
Pittsburgh vs Jacksonville – Once again, the Jaguars let me down. Their lack of a running game has imploded my fantasy teams all season long and until they find a decent tandem in the backfield, it’s going to be a long season for the Jags. Jones-Drew and Taylor must pick it up for Jacksonville’s success. The Steelers are going to have another dominant year in their division and will end up making the playoffs once again.
So, as this will be my last blog before the NHL Season officially starts on Thursday, let me finish this by saying Go Wings… HEY HEY HOCKEYTOWN!