#8 Florida State @ n/r Virginia Tech:
TV coverage: ESPN 7:31pm
PbyP: Rece Davis
Color: Dave Pollack, and Jessie -the hair- Palmer
Sidelines: Samantha Steele
VT is a 14 point home underdog
O/U=51.5 total points
$-Line: bet 5 on FSU to win 1, or 1 on VT to win 4.75
Is Virginia Tech done winning until o9.o7 vs. Compass (Western) Carolina?
Don’t know? Ask me again Thursday night at about 11pm and I can give you a 2 for 1 pick either way. As I sense no middle-ground here post-Florida State folks. We either rally round the Tech flag and salvage a 6-6 football season by beating two of the lesser Atlantic Coast football teams, or we simply go Love Canal belly-up and spit the bit in the worst Vee.Tee meltdown since 1992. Take thy pick. o-2 or 2-zip to close. Presuming we survive a Seminole raiding party that is a very heavy tomahawk chop flavored favorite indeed.
Though I do know that if Florida State routs a disheveled Virginia Tech football team, good and hard, at home in Lane, at night, on national TV … I do know that that could very well leave an O&M mark that could go well beyond 4 up and 6 down. That and a o-5 tailspin of a finish could carry all the way over until Spring.
Virginia Tech is prolly not gonna win this football game folks.
“Hi kettle, it’s me pot!”
And in other news the Sun elected to come up today; and sources say it is poised to do so again tomorrow. Will Virginia Tech live to fight another day vs. the best opposing football team I’ve studied on film since the 2007 national championship L.S.U. squad?
Again, I don’t know as there is a lot on the line in this one that goes well beyond the familiar front-page final score, W, or L. There is a lot going on in Blacksburg Virginia at the moment and if I were a betting man –which I am- I’d wager the under on how much of it is good.
All of that will have to wait for 2013.
“The times they are a changing…”
- First. As in FSU is 1st best in all of D-1 football in yards per play (7.7o) on offense!
- #2. Normally I do not list opposing players in the top-ten; however, when you are #2 in all of college football in Qb rating (170) and #7 in completion percentage (70%) as E.J. Manuel is you Sir are meritorious indeed. (BONUS: VT is 2-13 in their last 15 vs. FSU)
- Three point three. Meaning F.S.U. is averaging 3.3 fumbles per game in their last three games of Butterfingers –sources say that somewhere Bart Simpson is doing something ‘rong; and smiling.
- 49%! Meaning the Seminoles are 49% on the year defensively at forcing 3-n-outs!
- 52%. Meaning 52% of the F.S.U. TD drives have occurred in 120 second or less; 12 of which have occurred in 60 seconds or less. Talk about a lightening-strike kinda offense; geez!
- Six. As in LT3 is one of only six other D-1 Qb’s leading his team in rushing and passing alike! (rush=422, pass=2,109) (BONUS: this is VT’s 26th ESPN Thursday nite contest all-time!)
- 7-7. Virginia Tech is 7-zip in its last 7 home games — and o-7 in its last 7 games played outside of Lane!
- 68. Out of 68 first-half possessions the Seminole defense has only allowed a score 13.2% of the time!
- Nineteen. VT’s 19 year Bowl Streak is 60 minutes or one more L away from being officially on the line. FSU’s bowl streak only goes back to 1981 (or 31 years if you are keeping score at home)
- Ten. FSU is the only team in the country ranked 10th or better in 10 of the major 17 D-1 team driven statistical categories that I track!
- Eleven. FSU has had 11 days to R&R and prep for us!
Florida State special-teams: (1 leg returns)
Senior Kicker Dustin Hopkins is only the all-team leading A.c.c. scorer in the history of history. Think about that one for a moment folks. 429 all-time Atlantic Coast points! That’s third best all-time in NC2A history. Yah, I’d have to say that you must be doing something right as a Kicker in order to do that. The former #1 Kicker outta high school is 81% on FGA’s this year even if he sprays his kicks a out beyond 40 yards just a scosche. He is also 2 for 2 beyond 50 this year with 4 makes beyond 50 on his career; with a long of 56 thanks to a bionic leg on lone from Col. Steve Austin the 6-milliion dollar man. With no FGA’s or P.A.T.’s blocked to date. An academic All-America with 3,82 G.P.A. and a community leader. Mr. Hopkins is likewise a former Texas high school secondary starter so he can tackle on KO’s; if you get to return one of his kicks that is; as he has 124 career touchbacks as a 4-year starting Kicker for F.S.U. Accordingly; F.S.U. is a very smart looking 3rd best in KO coverage in all of D-1 ball this year! Not half bad for an Archie (comic-strip) looking kid.
58%. Meaning, 58% of F.S.U.’s punts have been downed inside the 20 yard-line and that is a big big problem just begging to happen vs. the hyper field-position challenged 2012 Virginia Tech football team men! Carson Beatty is known for having a big leg; although he is more of a hang-time and directional punter at the moment. He is also from a family of Qb’s and played the same in high school; so you must honor the fake here even if he has already had one punt snuffed out this season (1 of 2 punts blocked in fact for FSU on the whole). Being 6`4“ and 233 lbs. does not speed up Mr. Beatty’s release any either; although he was the #3 punter outta high school for a reason. F.S.U.’s punt coverage squad is a better than average 47th best in the land. 14 points from just one punt returner (Mr. Green) and 7 more from the other (Mr. Hunter)? Yah, I’d say that counts; as F.S.U. is 9tn best in Punt Returns and 6th best in KO Returns on the season. Oddly enough; the ‘Noles field one guy (Joyner) with a 90 yard KO return and another guy (Karlos Williams) with a 60 yarder and no points to show for it? Go fig’ on that; although I could easily see our coverage teams really struggling to contain this much ***** (five-star) play-making ability from this visiting Tallahassee. gridiron tribe. (F.S.U. special-teams letter grade: what’s not to like, or maybe even love here? Those punt blocks are the only thing that lowered this letter-grade all the way down to the highest possible A-, as we will be hard pressed to encounter a more explosive set of special teams ballers anywhere)
2-3 wide Pro set Florida State Offense: (8 back)
- 94% in Red Zone offense is just about as efficacious as you can get! The remaining 6% says so! (and two of those were on expiring game-clocks!)
- FSU is only 2nd best in yards per rush for all of D-1 football (6.1 per carry)
- The 2012 FSU oLine returns in full in 2013! (i.e. if you think it’s good now…)
- Bobby Bo’ may be gone; though his trickeraion on offense is still here
- Lottsa shotgun looks; Ace/Spread, 1 or 2 backs, the works
- Bunch or compression formations as well — lot going on here folks (VT must line-up properly pre-snap)
- Extremely good pass-blocking oLine (allowing 1 Sack per 47 throws!)
- Very old-school Oaktown Raiders with Daryle Lamonica, i.e. medium to deep throws to loosen things up underneath for the run.
- VERY balanced looking and yet BIG play offensive set.
- 43%=pass, 57%=run
“If he’s (E.J. Manuel) afraid of a little competition (Tyrod Taylor), maybe you don’t really want him.” -Coach Hite-
Coach Hite may not want #3 E.J. Manuel, though I’m pretty sure that most D-1 schools not named K.State, ‘bama, wvu, Louisville and Clemson sure do –and you should to. As this is a much improved version of E.J. Manuel folks. He is smoother, more accurate, more comfortable looking, and his 2011 numbers were none too shabby to begin with. Check it, a 5% increase in passing accuracy, a now 400% passing ratio in TD’s: INT’s, at a sterling 4:1 which almost doubles down on last seasons pretty dang nice near 2:1 ratio. His passer rating is up by a staggering 24 points, his rushing yards are on pace for a near 225% improvement. The only sideways metric I could find is that he has been sacked a bit more in 2012 vis-à-vis 2011. That does not suck and neither does Mr. Manuel’s suddenly bearish N.F.L. stock prospects at a smart looking 6`5“, 240 lbs. of effortless flick of the wrist passing. In fact I was almost wondering if I was seeing the same 2011 Qb on film –that’s how much better this kid looks to me folks. Ditto the run blocking of the twenty-twelve F.S.U. offensive-line which returns in full force with zero starting seniors this year and paves the way for the best quadratic of Tb’s that you’ve not heard enough of in the A.c.c. Well, at least it did until poor Mr. Thompson and Mr. Pender saw their respective seasons come to an end on a blown A.C.L. and the always ubiquitous groin tear respectively. God Bless on that. However, think how great this Seminole offense would be if they had them back and locked, cocked and ready to rock? Right now they have the bruising Mr. James Wilder Jr. (5.9 per rush) and the shifty yet strong enough Mr. Devonta Freeman (7.9 per carry) back. That’s thunder and lightening to me folks and the FSU Wr corps is more of the same. They only field seven guys with 12 catches or more good for 12 yards or better on average. They have two home-run deep threats in Mr. Shaw and Mr. Benjamin and they have a whole buncha possession type guys who are most willing to work the middle of the field to open things up for everyone else. The Noles will even throw to Mr. Wilder a bit out in the flat. Or in other words this F.S.U. offense has at least nine guys who could start at Virginia Tech right now and one of them has to get in the game off of the F.S.U. bench!
The F.S.U. offense itself is semi-variable on its most conservative play call and fully variable the rest of the time. All the while suffering complete submission to K.I.S.S. or keep it simple stoopid. This is one of the better schematic offenses that I’ve studied for Techsideline.com in the last handful of years as the Seminoles remind me of the isolation clear-out sets that Phillip Jackson used to run for some guy named Jordan. As the Seminoles sure go to a lot of trouble to pry open defensive spacing for their primary receiver or ball-carrier as the case may be. They do this behind an extremely well synchronized offensive-line that is one of the few pure power-blocking oLine’s I’ve studied that is likewise fully ensconced in zoning based scheming. That being said, this is not that wild of an offense when it comes to moving parts. Play-action is about as over the top as their routine play-calling gets. It is however an extremely well-schooled offense that is extremely low on pure pigskin fundamental mistakes. That’s not just code for being well-coached folks; more like a textbook clinic on technique; especially upfront on the oLine. This is also an offense that did not tip much of anything off pre-snap. These Seminoles held their cards –and tightly- very close to their vest. Not much in the way of poker-faced tells to thresh out assignment wise here folks. As this is a base play offense that makes in-game tweaks and adjustments as needed after mastering said base plays in the first-place. I could not find any tips to running inside, off-tackle or outside to the edge –F.S.U. does all three. I could not find any cues as to long, medium or short-passing –F.S.U. does all three. That my friends is a very difficult offense to defense; a pure boxer-puncher combination hitter in sweet-science terms. As F.S.U. is squirrely enough to out-fox you and yet they are more parts Simba the lion king than anything else. Somewhere Niccolo Machiavelli must be smiling as this F.S.U. offense is princely indeed.
4-3 base Florida State Defense: (9 return)
- very speedy defense that is quite comfortable playing Off-Man — although they typically box the entire defense within 10-11 yards of the LOS no matter what (will dabble in some short-side press-man however)
- lottsa arrowhead or diamond-3 zone looks behind all of that deep…
- those above two bullets are a hint-n-a-half as to how good this Seminole dLine is all by its ownself
- will go odd with a few 5-man fronts
- will use angular front-line alignments; think: very old-school Pittsburgh Stillers with Joe Green — though more so on the edge in pinch-technique with De’s
- Odd man will blitz off the edge or from the Slot-Wr
- Will A-gap run-blitz on occasion; though they showed this look more often than they pulled the trigger on actually using it often dropping off into medium zones.
- Will crowd the LOS a bit more on Lo.FM’s. (i.e. not afraid to play a game of +Risk +reward; this defense will attack)
- very very good in defense of the middle field
- best block shedding defense I’ve seen on film in several seasons… plural
- fast, quick, pretty good form-tacking defense; might be susceptible to a true bruising Tb (if we had one) however
#1 in all the land in total defense at 227 yards allowed per game folks. Need I type more – or is that a bad enough match-up right there, already? F.S.U. is ranked #1 in the whole darn A.c.c. in all three-layers of defense (i.e. dLine, Linebacking and hind-4) and frankly I am inclined to agree. Right now F.S.U. enjoys a pentameter of A-gap run pluggers on the inside who do a delightful job of keeping the opposing G-C-G trifecta off the rather Cruiserweight sized MLb (#22 T.Smith) who only tips the Toledo’s at 211 lbs.! You had better keep a G-C-G trifecta off of you MLb when he is routinely giving away a Ben Franklin centennial dollar bill worth of right-mass. However, when you do effectively do that play-in and play-out; you suddenly free an exceptionally mobile, agile, and even a touch hostile –if undersized- MLb to roam sideline-to-sideline and make pursuit based stops. However, all of that reads fine and dandy on theoretical paper; and it reads even better when you employ the services of a bookend De’s who are so adept at pincer movements that General Rommel would have gladly given each of them commander of a King Tiger tank! When you have De’s like Bjoern Werner and “tank” Carradine who can effectively pinch the Ot box and compressed most offenses inward on themselves, there is a word for that. That word is traffic jam; as you sure are creating a whole lotta freeway congestion inside the C-Gaps and that brilliantly spills plays out towards the edges of the Seminole defense where F.S.U. enjoys speed and size advantages alike. That right there is a real live problem folks. As you really need a hammerhead shark internal trifecta of G-C-G candidates at or near an all-A.c.c. level; and then you need a Braham Bull sized Tb (think: Ryan Houston of yesteryear UNC fame) to run straight at this F.S.U. defense and at least thereby negate their track-n-field based east-west pursuit. To do anything else is to risk arriving at feeding time at the zoo and the main course just so happens to be you.
The F.S.U. secondary is only second-best in all of D-1 football when it comes to pass efficiency defense. So there you go on that. By my maths the Seminoles only field 1 to 1.5 all-star level candidates in their secondary in all-conference terms. F.S.U. does nevertheless do a very good job of mixing and disguising a mix of pass coverage(s) that tends to become more zone based the further way you get from the Seminole defensive line-of-scrimmage (LOS). And you see, that’s just it folks … as beyond De, this is not exactly an honors or Capstone Astronomy F.S.U. defense as individual star power goes. What I saw on film was a whole buncha guys (read nearly 22 deep) who are all somewhere between a highest possible flat-B to lowest possible A- level all over the place. The kicker however is thus. First up, F.S.U. does not make many defensive mistakes. They elect to go for a form-tackle over a highlight reel hit. They maintain Cb-to-Safety or Safety-to-Cb disciple and spacing extremely well when playing from left-to-right. They likewise do a very good job of eliciting the services of the 12th man otherwise known as the nearside sideline which therefore spills plays back towards the center of the field where that aforementioned F.S.U. stop-unit defensive speed arrives in a hurry. They are rarely beaten long, and they rarely go all in on gambling wild-ass plays. For example, check out the Seminoles Passes Defended (53) to 26 from the Seminole opponents, and the F.S.U. Passes Broken Up (47-22). See what I mean? This is not a hell bent for leather crazy train defense. For comparisons sake, Coach Gray’s boys have 36 Passes Defended and 27 passes broken up. Or in other words these are highly coachable football kids out there under the tutelage of Defensive Coordinator M.Stoops. What higher coaching (the verb) compliment is there than that?
Illation, conclusion(s), OPT digits:
Fast starts: FSU is out scoring opponents 114-27 in the 1st quarter and a nearly as diabolical Slaughterhouse-Five esque118-24 in the 2nd quarter of play. Or in other words, Vah.Tech had damn well better mind its P’s and Q’s at the start of this one … or this one could be all over less the shouting before you know it. Maybe even before some of you finally make it to your seats if you are using adult antifreeze to fight off the New River Valley mid November wind-chill.
Then there is this hot mess as 2012 pigskin security goes, which has been every bit as insecure as the final 12th grade girl to get her knock-knocks in, way back in your high school senior class..
VT’s Turnover Margin in our 5 L’s.
- -3 @ Miami,
- -3 @ Clemson
- -1 @ UNC
- -2 for Cincy at D.C.
- -3 @ Pittsburgh
That’s code for -2.4 on average; compared to the last six years which has been code for +.69 to the good on average. See what I mean? That’s a backbreaking aggregate 3 turnover swing; the ‘rong way! Tough to overcome that one folks, and it is much tougher to overcome that one out on the road. Fortunately however, this one is being contested in our very own Spring Road backyard inside the always friendly confines of Lane Stadium.
Only caveats I can find here for all of you die-hard Hokie fans would be the weather –which appears to have moderated a bit, at least in terms of wind and the associated New River Valley wind-chill overall. That and the F.S.U. injury list which is a 16 man M*A*S*H unit all unto its ownself as this is a fairly beat-up looking Seminole football team right about now –believe it or not.
Sometimes when I write a mismatch preview in Virginia Tech’s favor I start to dig down deep, into what I like to call: the what-if barrel. Every since James Madison I even take a crowbar to the bottom planks and pry them apart just to see what’s in between. This may not be *that* colossal of a mismatch on paper; although it is our biggest mismatch (against); since the @ L.S.U. football game vs. the eventual national champion way back when. And we all know what happened the last time heavily favored Vah.Tech tried to Duke it out vs. Jay.Mad at home. And here I was hoping for a downright gusty and blustery New River Valley mid-November evening to help chill a jacked-up Florida State turbo powered football team right on out. Alas, the weather may be a bit brisk, though 7 m.p.h. as the wind goes is not enough to blow hurricane Jimbo much of anywhere. It’s not enough to derail E.J.’s manual powered Commonwealth homecoming. It’s not enough to somehow trigger any real live lockeroom leadership with precious little O&M synergy and somewhere between 1-3 lame-duck Staffers in tow depending upon where you look. Do our guys really wanna play their guts out for them? Would you?
Right now the O&M shoe is on the other foot; and it is formerly mighty Virginia Tech who is a mere 6o minutes vs. 15 point road favorite F.S.U. away from playing a game of Bowl streak elimination up on Chestnut Hill. 60 minutes away from fighting for our single-shot elimination post-season lives in the Library formerly known as Alumni Field.
Now I know how the dinosaurs felt…
“Tick-tock on the clock, the party don’t stop…no-oh-oh-o”
Virginia Tech=o, Florida State=39