How ’bout some individual player recaps and reviews on a couple of kids who had fine springs? No, wait, let’s call the P.A.T.T.(y) wagon and make that a few kids and then throw in some salty Virginia Tech hoops talk to balance the whole shebang out.
I’ve gotten some good feedback on these kids, and several others, so hopefully that’s enough material for a two part feature right there and yes there is plenty more to say on the situation that is otherwise known as Virginia Tech hoops.
That said, and although the 2012 Virginia Tech spring game may have been a total wash out, Virginia Tech did manage to clean up a few position battles via several guys stepping their game up.
So let’s fall in stride with a 100% positive all the time (P.A.T.T.) football write up for a change before we delve into Virginia Tech’s very own 3-Mile Island, A.K.A. the other revenue sports team.
#9 Randall Dunn: 6`2“ 244 lb. senior
3 career catches for 19 yards and 1 TD, with 2 knockdown blocks
Not exactly dazzling career numbers, are they? However, that is all set to change this season –presuming that we actually get #9 the rock. I am told that Randall has reinvented his body (+16 to the good as right-mass goes) and well all know that in any contact sport, the new-school adage of: “your body is your resume” holds sway indeed. Right now Mr. Dunn’s body is more parts barracuda and less parts anything else. This kid is a lean, mean, jacked up machine. Dunn also made some plays this spring and proved to be a tough match-up for one of the better coverage units in Atlantic Coast terms; some would say he did that vs. the best A.c.c. coverage unit in fact. Now mix in a 33.5“ vertical, a 4o5 lb. front-squat, and a 485 lb. back squat, if you need it. All three are top marks at the tight-end (Te) position overall. Dunn is also a cousin of none other than looming right offensive tackle (r-Ot) starter Viston Painter. So you know he has plenty of “tiger blood” and double-helix action in his medical jacket as family genetics go. #9 is also not afraid to fight for the ball and go make combative catches in traffic. He enjoys a very quick release off the line-of-scrimmage and will likewise enjoy downfield speed and athleticism advantages alike. This gives the tight-end position its first element of vertical strike since the mid-range days of 10-25 yard passing to one Jeff King. I don’t know about you, however if you ask me, the thought of Logan Thomas and his howitzer of an arm throwing mid to long-range to Mr. Dunn, off of a play-action fake, strikes me as a buncha 24 hour lollipops or all-day-defensive suckers, just begging to happen. As it will likely take some time for any given defense to adjust to and therefore honor the downfield big-play element that Mr. Dunn will bring to the Virginia Tech passing game. Ditto go ahead and watch for #9 to make some plays in and amidst the vertical compression and therefore horizontal congestion that is the red-zone. Down there inside the opposing 20 where he and Mr. Davis should put a whole helluva a lot of raw physical metric based match-up pressure on any opposing stop-units this year. Someone nominated Mr. Dunn as their offensive breakout player for this spring and he did not disappoint. I’m pretty tall on this kid in 2012 terms and you should be too; with the caveat being that we need to get him the rock at least twice per game firmly in hand.
#58 Jack Tyler: Mike Linebacker, 5`11“ 233 lb, r-junior
5 career starts, 33 solo and 34 assists, 8.5 TFL (tackles for a loss), 5 Qb hurries, 1.5 sacks
Jack Tyler is something of an impoverished mans Brett Warren with better field-vision and better quicks if you will. Is Jack Tyler better than the still somewhat lame Bruce Taylor? No, as a few if any MLb’s (middle-linebackers) in the A.c.c. are. Jack however is an all-A.c.c. honorable mention caliber baller just waiting to happen.
Sources suggest that Mr. Tyler did not have a decent spring, he did not have a great spring; Jack had an epic spring! If all of those superlatives were somehow not enough to wet your appetite, this kid busted his ass and won my late father’s head coach award when Jack pocketed the Frank O. Moseley Award for hustle during both the off-season and spring practice alike. This kid plays in a hurry and he makes plays in and around the line-of-scrimmage with his surprisingly quick first-step and darty spitfire style of textbook slide-down tackling. This kid also loves to play the game, a true old-school throwback that’d be out on the Drill Field playing football and walking back to his dorm covered in mud and rain just for fun if Virginia Tech had no varsity team. He was also one of the few kids who were totally disappointed in the rain-out that was the 2012 Virginia Tech spring game. You just gotta love a kid like that. In specific terms Jack is a heady, curb-stomping run-fighter between the C-Gaps or what I’d call a reasonable if not rangy Mike (or middle linebacker) in terms of lateral pursuit. He plays stronger than he looks, and he does employ a 360 lb. bench (press) and a 365 lb. front-squat if you are keeping score at home. On top of that you rarely see Jack make a mental mistake, and this kid is nobody’s baker as the next time you see him loaf out on the field will be the first. He is an in-your-face player with rock-solid backing in terms of shedding or outright avoiding blocks to begin with, with a bona fide A-gap nose for the ball. Note the number of stops, first-contacts or assists he makes in the offensive hemisphere vs. the signature Belly hand-off or keeper of Georgia Tech this September if you don’t believe me now. That lofty praise rightly bestowed, there has been some conjecture raised regarding Mr. Tyler in pass coverage beyond our traditional or conservative hook-zone-drops against the pass. I am told that Jack has improved all of that and he was always a very fair to middling run plugger to begin with. That tells me that Jack could start at at least 6-9 other Ac.c. schools right away and you will note that he seems to play a little better in the bigger games historically speaking. Not half bad for the former Virginia High School defensive player of the year.
#25 Martin Scales: Tb, 5`11“ 226 lb. r-senior
0 carries, 0 yards, 0 catches, 0 yards
If my boy David Wilson was a filet mignon, than clearly Martin Scales is ground chuck, Hamburger Helper, or Dinty More stew. Take thy pick. Scales ain’t flashy, he ain’t sexxy, and he will never enjoy a high Q-score accordingly. However, he is a human ballista, or a dirt eating turbo booster who pitches a whole helluva a lot more than he catches. In frozen pond N.H.L. play-off terms, he is our very own “little ball of hate.”
This kid may not be the starter, though he sure as hell could be the closer. Think of Ryan Houston of UNC fame Mack trucking or fright-training everything in sight inside of Lane a few years back to close a rather upsetting show. Scales may only be a V-6 to Houston’s V-8, though both are Mack Trucks at the end of the day. Now think of a smaller lower to the ground version of the Houston and you suddenly have a “little ball of hate’ on your hands or Mr. Martin Scales. 3.95 is the number to remember here, which is not to slight Mr. Scales stature as he is our biggest little Tb right now at a painful looking 226 north-south lbs. Recall that that was Mr. Scales rushing average this spring vs. either the first or 1a best dLine in the entire A.c.c. Now recall that he did most of that 3.95 damage behind the second-string Virginia Tech oLine which would (unfortunately) and (truthfully) rank somewhere in the bottom quarter or maybe even the bottom quintile in A.c.c. terms right away. See what I mean? He put some hurt on some people with very little in the way of help. Mr. Scales is also one other thing, he is a hustler. Paul Newman and Robert Redford if 1973 The Sting fame take note. This kid is one of the very few Hokies to merit the “Extra Effort” award for special teams play in recent years at Virginia Tech. If you are a 2012 Virginia Tech opposing defender reading these words … memo to yourself: you come up soft, or you come high on this kid at your very own peril. You do that and you will be on the bottom with Mr. Scales going U.F.C. and mounting you on the top. The only moderate knock I see here is the whispering that Mr. Scales is something of a one trick pony. He is not a sweeping Tb (Tailback); he is not an outside zone Tb. There is also not a lotta differentiation between Mr. Scales and Mr. Holmes. Beyond Mr. Holmes moderate speed advantage and the greater one-shot knockout power that #25 (Scales) possesses. Mr. Scales is a very low center of gravity meat-n-potatoes inside-zone Tb with just barely enough to mix in a few zone-stretch carries’ to keep you honest. He will make for a fine finisher in the fourth quarter or maybe even late in the first-half when the opposing defense is on its heels, worn down and attempting to catch its breath. He is also the cousin of Orion and Cam Martian and his uncle Bobby Martin all balled at Tech. He has paid his orange and maroon dues in full and I look for Mr. Scales to put a very spiteful 3oo-325 yards worth of rushing upside somebody’s head this season. Martin Scales … he’s tough-juice.
Let’s see, let’s invoke objective science-fact and recount what has happened here before I get my feet held to the fire once more. Least I put the cart before the horse yet again; here is a quick synopsis of what has happened in and around the Virginia Tech men’s hoops program in the last couple of months.
- A 1 NC2A + a 4 year N.I.T. post-season appearance streak snapped? Check.
- A 22 win, 21 win, 19 win, 25 win, and a 22 win streak all snapped via a highly grotty season on the brink with a backbreaking 11 games decided by two shots or less and a .48 winning percentage to show for it at 16 up and 17 down? Check.
- Then we witnessed a 100% assistant coaching attrition factor –although one did return; as the orange and maroon Head Coach no less.
- After which a rather sizable slice of the Hokie Nation -43% in point of fact- bristled wildly, openly, and almost forcefully at the uniformed firing of 170 win men’s head basketball coach Seth Greenberg.
- Do-Do (Dorian Finney-Smith) tells VT deal-me out.
- J.T. Thompson says thanks no thanks and will seek a sixth year elsewhere (i.e. closer to his biological daughter)
- And now star power-forward recruit Montrezl Harrell says: peace-out and renags on his Virginia Tech basketball letter-of-intent? Check.
“Perception is reality.”–the first law of Economics, via Keynesian theorist Dr. Gregory N. Mankiw-
Well, no matter how you slice it Virginia Tech has two head coaches for next year. One is deposed and yet is still raking in $1.2 million on a contractual buy-out, and the other one, the seated one has a relative bargain-bin price tag of $680,000.oo attached to him. According to my maths the reality of that is pushing 1.9 mil’ for two guys only one of which will actually be coaching as coaching the verb goes come 2012-2013. Likewise, do be aware of negative program perception which will be used against Virginia Tech and the real live potential for a “toxic Tech” card to be played out on the recruiting trail vis-à-vis.
So does anything about that above blow-by-blow recount strike you as toxic; line-by-line or even cumulatively speaking? If “no” what more has to happen before Virginia Tech men’s hoop’s officially merits a “toxic” tag? Would one more defection or attrition turn the trick? Or are we gut-kicked good and hard, that’s enough already, and please let the healing begin?
As of now, Virginia Tech is not exactly pleasant prospect as the occasionally friendly and highly competitive confines of the A.c.c. basketball landscape go at this juncture. Virginia Tech has something of an unsavory tag attached to it no matter how you verbally elect to label it. Barring Coach Johnson procuring some magical ability to shake the Tech-tree, or sign a JuCo, or entice (nod-nod, wink-wink, hint-hint) a smart looking Wealth of Nations transfer to defect to Tech, –patience is now the order of the day. You guys need to be patient here, to call a spade a spade, a diamond a diamond and a club a club is to freely admit that this situation has the look and feel of a multi-year hooping hole that has just been dug by Seth Greenberg and Jim Weaver alike to me. No matter how much their heart’s were in it. This is gonna take some cleaning to fix this level of a basketball spill no matter if Jim Weaver is tweeting at the basketball E.P.A. clean-up crew even as I type. Things are toxic both in and around the Virginia Tech men’s hoops program and if I have ever learned anything in life, is it that any version of a great reputation can be torn down in under a single day, and that it takes a much longer time to shed this many toxic spots. Is that fair? Not at all. Is that how textbook recency effect works? You bet it is, and it will take a while –or a sudden influx of high voltage talent- for Virginia Tech take two steps forward to recoup every step backwards when reverse has the order of the orange and maroon hooping day.
Again, you guys need to be patient here…J.J. may actually be a good basketball coach, stepping into a dicey looking situation.