Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Guest Blogger: VirginiaTechFan.com

Now that we are playing teams with significant followings, I can roll out the guest bloggers again. This week I asked Glenn from VirginiaTechFan.com to answer a few questions regarding this year's Hokie team and their rough start. My questions and his answers are below.




ATLEagle: Ryan Williams looks like he is not going to play. Does that change Virginia Tech's game plan at all?

VirginiaTechFan.com: It shouldn’t. If there is any position that Virginia Tech has depth, it is running back. Ryan Williams was clearly the best back going into the season, but frankly hasn’t looked great so far this year (not all his fault), and the backups Darren Evans and David Wilson are starters on most teams. Wilson especially is a talent that has shown some real flashes, but hasn’t gotten enough carries yet, so if anything VT fans are looking forward to seeing what he can do as a more featured back.


The biggest problem the Hokies have with the running game isn’t Williams hamstring, it’s the performance of the offensive line.


ATLeagle: Against East Carolina, the team found itself down again but this time they came back and won handily. Do you think that was a turning point or are the problems from the first two games still an issue?

VirginiaTechFan.com: Well they did play an excellent 2nd half to win handily but I’m not sold. The defense was horrid in the first half, and credit Foster for doing what he does best in making the proper adjustments. But they are very, very green on defense and especially thin on the defensive line. Boston College will exploit that for sure. As far as the offense, they looked very good but so has everyone against East Carolina this year.


For the Hokies, I expect it to be a year where every game is a major hurdle. It’s just the way this team looks.

ATLeagle: There are a lot of new faces on the defensive side of the ball. Has that changed Foster's style or scheme?

VirginiaTechFan.com: Fundamentally no, but in the last game against ECU he played a nickel defense virtually the whole game, which was quite unusual. Some of that is due to ECU’s Texas Tech-type spread offense, but some of that you can definitely attribute to the personnel his got. Being thin on d-line and linebacker, Foster went with more DBs where VT actually has more talent so he could play to his strengths.


Foster said on the call-in show this week that this nickel-type defense is something he’d been studying and working on in the off-season as a package to add the VT defensive mix, mainly to give opponents something else to prepare for. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of it.


ATLEagle: What is your prediction for the game?


VirginiaTechFan.com: Well who knows with this Virginia Tech team. They are not good in where its most important – offensive line and defensive line. Given the struggles the Hokies have had in Chestnut Hill historically (with much better teams), I don’t feel too optimistic. I think Virginia Tech will score some points, I just think BC’s physical offense will be able to push the VT defensive around. How about BC 27 21 VT.

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19 Comments:

At 10:45 AM, Blogger mod34b said...

Whoa! A Hokies fan predicting a BC win. Surprising.

One big factor that was not discussed is the field surface. BC has an artificial turf field, VT has natural grass. That difference in feel can make a big difference for rushing and pass routes.

BC plays way better on turf (2009 avg'd 325 yards total offense at home on turf vs. 244 yds avg away, all on grass). VT plays worse on turf (lost to 'Bama in '09 on turf at Georgia Dome and losses at Alumni 2008, 2006)

The surface plus BC's stout DL against the run (inside the tackles), should mean we will see alot of TT runs outside of the tackles. I hope Keuchley has got his speed shoes on. We should see at lot of short passing from TT too .... of great concern given our horrible pass rush and soft pass D.

We should win this one, but if we do win it we will win in the usual "exciting" fashion.

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger mod34b said...

..... and the Hokie players actually think we have tough hard core fans ... Who woulda thought. Maybe we need to keep "First Down, B**ch" one more week, and also sing Sweet Caroline as loud as possible!:

(excerpt from article)

Tech guard Greg Nosal said Tuesday that's he's never forgotten the Hokies' loss at BC in 2008.

"It's definitely one of the toughest crowds," Nosal said. "They were definitely hard on all of us. There's some rude language. I personally got some crude ridicules, but it's just great to have fans that so it into it. It was just one of the most interesting crowds I've ever been a part of.

"I really liked it. I'm actually looking forward to going back."

Younger is the only player on this year's roster who made the 2006 trip.

"I think about that night when I hear that song," said Younger, referring to the BC band's over-and-over rendition of "Sweet Caroline."


"It's a great atmosphere now, it really is," Tech running backs coach Billy Hite said. "And 'Sweet Caroline.' I never knew they played that song there. I just found that out. I've been hearing that damn song all those years. Obviously, our last couple times up there haven't been very good, but hopefully we change that this time."

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger Big Jack Krack said...

Mod - why do you think "We should win this one, but if we do win it we will win in the usual "exciting" fashion."?

I certainly hope we win, but there is zero buzz for this game, and I'm worried we'll come out flat to a half empty stadium at kickoff.

VT killed us last year - it could have been 70 to 0.

How are we going to bridge that gap in one season? I'm really disappointed that we have not ratched up this game on this blog - mind boggling to me.

Don't get me wrong - I think we can win, but with no buzz in the Boston media, and surprising apathy etc. - we could also lose 35 to 10 or something. We really have nothing to show why we will beat VT this year - only hope.

VT has lost its first 2 games, therefore we should win? Boise State is #3 in Sagarin, and JMU is 10 spots above BC. VT came out flat against JMU after a very short preparation week. They are pissed and focused.

Go BC

 
At 1:45 PM, Blogger mod34b said...

Mod - why do you think "We should win this one, but if we do win it we will win in the usual "exciting" fashion."?


The Turf gives us the physical edge.

We should be able to run on VT.

Our rude and loud fans (go figure) are in their heads already.

For once, we need to confound expectations and win a big game. Saturday will be that day! (ok, I admit it, I am zealous fan)

History tells me we can never win easy. There will be some drama for sure.

 
At 1:50 PM, Blogger mod10aeagle said...

Shinskie is going to have a great game, Coleman is going to do something for the ESPN highlight reel, Herzy will be at 100% after a combo of rest and work these past two weeks, and the O-line, after getting reacquainted with each other at the trough, have signed a blood pact to never suck again. In the third quarter Beamer is going to turn to everyone in particular and ask, "why the hell can't we get running backs like Montel Harris?" Oh yeah, and TT will be dodging Keuchleys in his dreams, like the goalie in Slapshot.

Speaking of dreams ... hey! It could happen!

 
At 3:11 PM, Blogger Wesski said...

I think the silence is nervousness - we still don't know what we have for a team. I feel the same way for this game as the inaugural ACC game vs. FSU - wondering if we have what it takes to compete, given our weak early schedule (and performance) and last year's beatdown.

A win this Saturday would ignite the season; a loss will likely instill apathy, especially given VT's early performance.

Noon start does not help our cause, but the turnout for Kent State surprised me, so let's hope it continues. Hopefully the VT comment about our stadium being loud will inspire some fans to show some passion.

Go Eagles!

 
At 3:13 PM, Blogger Wesski said...

I think the silence is nervousness - we still don't know what we have for a team. I feel the same way for this game as the inaugural ACC game vs. FSU - wondering if we have what it takes to compete, given our weak early schedule (and performance) and last year's beatdown.

A win this Saturday would ignite the season; a loss will likely instill apathy, especially given VT's early performance.

Noon start does not help our cause, but the turnout for Kent State surprised me, so let's hope it continues. Hopefully the VT comment about our stadium being loud will inspire some fans to show some passion.

Go Eagles!

 
At 5:14 PM, Blogger mmason said...

Here we are at Game 3 and we still don't know what we have...other than great individuals, a good run D and LB's (and some promising rookies in good places.) The O Line is the Big Q. If they show up with some yet to be seen BC Toughness and Tenacity, we win and Montel runs to daylight (w/o having to block for himself,) and Shinskie has his yet to be seen coming out party. The alternative is unspeakable torture and Sweet Caroline will be replaced with Pass the Valium...
Go Eagles! Go BC! Let's play some tackle football and hit people on every down!

 
At 6:16 PM, Blogger blist said...

Not to belittle Kent St and Weber St, but this is really our first game - we didn't have to do much trickery the first two games, hence the silence. There is a lack of buzz - I just read an article about the ACC and how all the teams are out of the BCS picture already -- it didn't even mention BC (undefeated, and therefore in the BCS picture).
While we are not always the loudest and roudiest, Alumni certainly can be - the VaTech games and way back, the Miami games were insane.

 
At 7:03 PM, Blogger matthew2 said...

mod34 --

I really don't think that the field surface is a "big factor". While there may be differences in the two surfaces, I think "big" is a vast overestimation.

You cite last year's team as playing way better on turf... I don't think it was the surface. I think it was our opponents. We played Northeastern, Kent St., Central Mich, etc. at home and played really well. We played Clemson and VA Tech on the road and looked dreadful. Shinskie looked like Stevie Wonder out there because Bud Foster decided he wanted to confuse the hell out of him, not because he was on grass. Yet another example: we played UNC at home and got trucked by their defense. Because they were a great unit. The turf did not save us.

I'd argue that if you switch our home and away games, we'd average more yards on grass.

Regardless of small sample sizes and confounding variables.....I hope we come out strong, and Shinskie doesn't lose the game for us.

We need our D to step up (as they frequently do, with big plays), and our O-line to open it up for Montel. Let's hope our OC understands what VA Tech can bring, and helps Shinskie manage the game with low-risk. I don't care how vanilla we look, a win is a win.

 
At 8:25 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Looks like I'm late to the posts here but you all are forgetting one thing. Tyrod Taylor is a BC killer. I have no doubt we can stop their regular running backs. We have severe difficulties with running quarterbacks.

Tyrod Taylor would be the reason we don't win and I certainly expect us win. I expect us to win all our games.

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger mod34b said...

Ah Matthew2. Nice to 'see' u again. R u now a contrarian?

u left out a few points. We played WF and FSU at home and Central Mich was ranked last year. Also u ignore our struggles on the road (grass) against weak UVA and MD teams. Also u ignore differnce in turf v grass for total offense Field surface matters. It is not determinative, I never said it was. But by all means argue away!!!

One pathetic end note: CBS ranks the strength of schedule of the 120 FBS teams. Guess who is #120????


That's right: BC

 
At 11:03 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Our schedule sure hasn't been helped by the ACC sucking, and Notre Dame being 1-2. Sure we scheduled Kent State and Weber, but who would figure that all the other teams we play would have so many loses already?!?!

 
At 11:28 PM, Blogger BCDoubleEagle said...

Greg-
That SOS is only based on our two games so far. Wyoming, for example, is listed #4 in that same SOS list, but only because two of their games so far were against Texas and Boise State. Our SOS will go up significantly with each passing week.

 
At 1:27 AM, Blogger matthew2 said...

sorry I didn't do a more complete analysis, mod. I didn't think it was necessary.

I should have simply said -- "I watch BC football, and turf vs. grass isn't a "big factor". Our mediocre QB is a big factor. Our questionable pass rush is a big factor. Our O-line's unpredictable play is a big factor.

But, I realize that most sensible readers dismissed your claim without even bothering... and you never consider backing down.... so I'm done, and feel free to have the final word as you so choose. Insult and babble away.

 
At 6:51 AM, Blogger Greg said...

BCDoubleEagle,

Guess I should have looked at the info before commenting! Thanks for clarifying.

 
At 6:53 AM, Blogger BCDoubleEagle said...

Edit:
I should have directed my post to mod34b, who brought up the CBS SOS rankings. My mistake.

 
At 11:05 AM, Blogger mod34b said...

BC Double -- thanks for the insight on SOS. I did not know SOS was just based on games to date.

Matthew2, if you don't wish to consider actual game results showing a difference in performance on Field Turf (FT) vs Natural Grass, perhaps a study will help.

In a just-released study dated September 10, 2010, in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, titled, (quite aptly for purposes of our discussion) Comparison of Speed and Agility Performance of College Football Players on field Turf and Natural Grass, the authors reached the following conclusion:

"Thus, it appears that straight-ahead sprint speed is similar between FT and NG, but change-of-direction speed may be significantly faster on FT"

So, it looks like there are differences in change in direction agility on FT vs Grass. That can make a difference on passing routes and in rushing; also can make a difference in defensive pursuit. I wonder if Uncle Dave's timing with the receivers is significantly better on turf vs grass. A tenth of a second (or two) can make a big (can i say big, matthew2??) difference in passing efficiency, particularly routes over 20 yards. Do we have a stat wonk out there?

But you are right, FT vs Grass is not a game changer, it is just another factor, but, happily, a factor in our favor for home games (plus the crowd, being at home, etc.)

 
At 2:02 AM, Blogger tylerjones said...

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Limos in Atlanta

 

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