#82 r.p.i. Virginia @ #69 r.p.i.Virginia Tech:
“Nobody likes to get beat by their rival, that’s something they (University of Virginia) might have to learn to accept!” -James Gayle-
Yah; I’d say that counts.
TV: ESPNU and select ESPN3
PbyP: Tom Hart
Color: John Congemi
VT is a 10 point favorite (VT-1o, or uva+10)
$-line: bet $3.6o on VT to win $1, bet $1 on france to win $3
I wonder if france will mind catching whatever Virginia Tech and James Gayle will pitch for the ninth straight year and 13th time in the last 14? Nah!
The hoos love to catch. Lynn Swann raised to the Jerry Rice power did not love to catch this much.
Unless of course the boo-hoos have had enough of getting pumped good and hard and are ready to do some pitching of their own; which would just so happen to give HooVa the ultimate role of spoiler and 19 year old bowl game streak buster on top of that.
Then there is this … this might be the very first time -in a long time- that Vee.Tee might actually be within hooVa reach.
Oui-oui, there is that!
- #1. VT holds a 51-37-5 all-time edge over the hoos!
- Two. VT has out-rushed hooVa 32 times in the last 40 games in this Commonwealth Cup series.
- Three. VT has lead at the intermission or halftime only thrice this entire football season!
- Forth. As in uva is 34th best in total defense and 41st best vs. the run!
- Five. As in the Commonwealth Cup series began way back in 1895.
- Sixteen. Meaning, Frank Beamer is 16-9 all-time as VT’s head football coach vs. uva. (BONUS: VT has won 6 in a row vs. france at home!)
- #7. As in #7 Marcus Davis only needs 142 more receiving yards to be come the only Hokie 1,000 yard Wr; ever! (DOUBLE BONUS: uva is 7th best in TOP or time of possession this season)
- Eighty-second. Meaning both VT and uva are tied for 82nd worst in TFL (tackles for a loss) allowed.
- Ninety-third. france is the 93rd most penalized football team in all of D-1 this season.
- Tenth. As in uva is 10th best in 3rd down efficiency defense this year or at getting off the field!
Power-I, Pro or Spread Virginia Offense: (7 back)
- Multiple offense
- 2 Qb offense
- Relies on shorter to medium work, screen heavy at times to Te’s Wr’s and Rb’s alkie
- quick hitting throws, tough to mount a pass-rush here
- downhill politically incorrect 5-man slant blocking a Gap-over (L or R); kinda like we saw a couple of weeks ago with some trapping action on top of that
- good sized and +experienced oLine
- somewhat inert looking offense on film (think B.C.+1) –lack of play-makers or home-run hitters; more like singles doubles and the occasional triple
- Rocc=6% better passer, the more efficacious Qb — whereas Sims hits more big-plays (both ways) all the while getting sacked 186% more often
- bit reduced at Wr in terms of raw talent, play-makers and a bit in terms of health
- will use some bunch or compressed sets
- 48%=run, 52%=pass, fairly balanced team that will run a bit more as long as the scoreboard allows
Run blocking was the real surprise here folks as this hooVa front-wall does not do a very good job of opening much of anything up. Such makes 713 rushing outta K.Parks all the more impressive to me. Ditto 445 outta P.Jones. And yet, if you are keeping score at home, that’s about 225 more than J.C.Coleman the leading Hokie rusher for Kay.Pee, and nearly 150 more for Mr. Jones vis-à-vis Tech’s back-up cadre at Tb. Or in other words, if this hoo rushing attack suddenly gets on track; Virginia Tech will catch more hell over it than a little bit. Note as well that this was a hooVa oLine with 3 all-conference candidates during the pre-season just 3 months and change ago. Right now it is a solid oLine on the edges, very solid if M.Moses and his so-called “medical injury” can go. As if there is any other kinda injury… (sources say “doubtful” with a bad knee). The middle oLine is very average to less than average as talent is spotty at best as the wahoo G-C-G trifecta on the interior goes.
To borrow from Olive Stone’s epic movie Platoon, he who has two Qb’s really has none. Though that’s precisely how many Pivot’s coach London elects to play and that leaves his hooVa offense in a fog-bank indeed. I’m not here to tell you that either one of these french Qb’s is that bad … I am however here to tell you that neither one of ‘em is that good. And perhaps every bit as important is the fact that neither one of them ever gets into an effective rhythm as neither of them can seem to separate themselves or get outta the other ones way. Such is less than useful football and such is compounded all the more by a hoo pass-catching corps that lacks reliable play-makers as all five of the hoo Top-5 Wideouts average 13 yard or less per reception. Ditto the fact that #16 Rocco and #14 Sims alike are both pocket passers and neither one of ‘em runs very well even if it is actually Rocco who moves just a hair better than Sims. To me, if you must platoon Pivots, why not platoon a change of pace variety set of Qb’s as opposed to deploying the same statue ‘esque Qb twice over? That I do not get and that leaves both as stationary targets for a hard-charging Bud Stout defense of late. Also of note was the toggling of oLine splits outta uva on film, just a tad wider for passing and narrower for rushing. It is likewise worth mentioning that this uva offense does seem to move the ball just a scosche better with Rocco at Qb. Rocco is a bit steadier even if Sims has a slightly higher if not a more explosive ceiling. Rocco is at least a full year more advanced in the offense which is really code for being 2+ years more advanced as he (Rocco) never transferred back home. The other thing that caught my eye regarding this hoo offense was their penchant to throwing to more bent patterns than usual. There were lottsa Flags, Posts, Z’s, and running people off a particular spot; not many sit-down routes or stationary targets beyond any given screening action. And make no mistake; uva will mix it up as the hoo Rb’s have caught over 75 balls this season. And J.Tyler and B.Taylor and whoever lines-up at Whip are not exactly on their way to the college football hall of fame in honor of their pass defense.
4-3 base Virginia Defense with some 3-4 elements (5 return)
- slightly angular and uneven looking 4-3 base set — this either makes blocking very easy or very hard depending upon the play-call
- not afraid to offer up a cushion in medium to off-man
- at times looks like more of a 4-2 base, with a wide-side overplay by the Will OLb
- Shell-2 behind all of that and it is not a shallow stagger for the uva Fs and Ss either
- lightweight secondary; could be some yards if we can break contain
- not a stiff or robotic defense; just not a very springy or electric one either
- no real game changing play-makers, lotta flat-C to B- guys
- not an epic defense; albeit a defense that is better closer to the LOS (line-of-scrimmage) that than reduces the further away from the LOS that you move
- not a big play defense — not exceptionally physical
- only 4 INT’s this year!
- not a mistake prone defense either however
This is the second straight week of a very even or balanced looking defensive set. Very linear; very orderly, nothing too fancy, just a basic 4-3 –or occasional 3-4- Dinty Moore meat-n-potatoes brand of stop-unit football. This may not be an epic or dynamic hooVa stop-unit folks; although Dinty Moore ain’t half-bad; all the more so on a breezy/nippy New River Valley late November day. What I saw on film was a whole buncha C- to C+++ quality hoo defenders with just enough B- to flat-B worker bees sprinkled in to make a difference. uva goes about 10-12 deep upfront; and although they may not be very dynamic pass-rushers they are more than decent enough when it comes to defending the run. In fact they are one other thing all game long … they are fresh. As I’m pretty sure that Virginia Tech’s 6-man oLine rotation is ~180% less deep than the maginot-line substitution pattern is upfront. Don’t cry for me Poland if that proves to be problematic in the forth quarter of scrumming folks. The hoo ‘bakcers –although reasonable enough vs. the run- do not fair well, nor do they move far enough in my estimation in pass coverage with one of the shallowest zone-drops I’ve studied on film in a long long time. Cleary their impetus is to plug the forward-facing A-B run gap(s) on either side of the ball and they ain’t half bad at that. Though there should be some Te and or Slot-Wr room behind them to work with for most of the game. Then there was #53 of uva and his lack of socks; somewhere Mike Tyson’s face tattoo might be smiling –or be filming Hangover III- though dood sure looked dippy to me. Not to mention more than a little bit stiff. “five-three” (S.Greer) is who I’d be all kinds of after in this one. If you don’t’ believe me just ask D.J. Coles as D.J. personally attempted to assassinate this j’brone on the epic LT3 scrambling sideline crackback block last year!
The french secondary is quite static and quite young on the balance. These guys will prolly be pretty dang good in 2-3 years when they finally grow-up and mature in gridiron sporting terms. In the meantime they are smallish homebodies who check the man as opposed to going for the ball. They do offer a cushion that invites short or screening throws. That should give M.Davis and R.Dunn a very comfortable match-up edge. Overall, this is a hooVa defense that is risk adverse and one that simply stays home sans the blitz and tries to give up 3 yards, 3 yards, 3 yards, punt in a bend-though don’t break unaggressive set. This cav’ defense appeared to have some issues getting to the edge, in defense of Qb runs and in staying on it’s feet (i.e. susceptible to chop or cut-blocking). Now, do be clear, that even though this is a very vanilla looking defense, who among you hates vanilla ice-cream? Me neither; and a windy/chilly day will make this less than vibrant hoo stop-unit better than many of you think –and much better than some of you expect. As this is almost a french version of Gestalt Theory or a hoo stop-unit that some way – some how, eventually manages to play greater than the sum of its parts. Historical irony is ironic indeed…
Virginia special-teams (none back)
At Kicker the hoos have used two guys thus far this year; though they appear to have more and less settled upon junior year Drew Jarrett of late. Drew voluntarily did not play for uva last year; this after having played as a t-freshman way back in 2009; and he is said to be a fine drummer. No seriously, and he is also 67% on his F.G.A.’s this year. uva is 90th best in punt coverage when sophomore Alex “I’d like to buy a vowel please” Vozenilek punts and dead flippin’ last (120th) in KO coverage when uva kicks-off. Alex is a confirmed animal lover per his rescue of 125 animals from Hurricane Katrina. Alex is a pedestrian 41 yard per punt punter who is more parts directional kicker and less parts bionic game-changing leg. Dee.Kay (Demitri Knowles) should have room to roam on Saturday. As the french have already surrendered 14 points on KO’s this season alone! uva has had one kick blocked already this year. uva is 112th best in punt-returns and a reasonable 65th best in kick-returns. Khalek Shepherd is the primary return guy for both hoo return teams. Khalek’s pops did ball for seven seasons in the N.F.L., so it would appear that he has professional genetics on his side; even if they have yet to fully demonstrate themselves to date for the the former Washington D.C. area star Rb. (overall french special-teams letter-grade: best I can do here is a C-, although I don’t see a whole lot that is all that atrocious, I see even less star-power and that conspires to make all of this a below average uva special-teams unit on the balance)
Illation, Conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
I’ll good ahead and tell all of you right now, upfront and uncensored … streaks are made to be broken…
- Penn.State Volleyball once won a all-time #1 1o9 matches in a row.
- U.C.L.A. once won 88 straight in men’s hoops with Walton and company
- Penn State once beat wvu 25 straight times in football.
- Tennessee beat Vandy 22 straight times in football.
However, and all of that to say, this one has “ugly” or “stinker” written all over it. With a baseball esque first-half whereby the first one to score 20 points overall wins. As uva has just enough defense to muck around with the Hokies, and Virginia Tech is clearly just erratic enough on offense to lend them a hand. As I detailed on the Pay side message-board on Tuesday night; this one is all about LT3 to me. Of particular note is that LT3 has generically been in decline as overall quality of play goes since the UNC/Duke boundary and in very particular he has only rushed for 2o whole yards since the very beginning of this month. In point of fact, if not for that one long-legged 73 yard scamper earlier this month @ Miami, LT3 is averaging a mere 4.7 feet -not yards folks, feet- per carry! LT3′s bio-mechanics or passing have been experiencing and increase in textbook passing foibles of late and LT3 did just leave 3-5 INT’s on the field last week up at Chestnut Hill depending upon how you slice it.
Therefore, LT3 in the most specific way possible must not allow france to get into this game via turning the ball over early-on on Saturday, be that on fumbles (5) or on Interceptions (14). Those are what are creating that game altering short-fields and putting Budweiser’s back to the proverbial O&M wall. LT3 must minimize his mistakes and win a blinking contest via making the marginally less talented hoo football team blink first as misQ’s go at the Commonwealth Cup county fair. Or in other words, do not help uva’s cause and leave the charity at home. We do that and we really should win in Lane on Saturday; we wet the O&M all important turnover margin bed and we will have stained our very own Commonwealth Cup name. The onus in this one is all on us. “If it is to be, it is up to we.” -ten two letter words- (UPSET odds: france wins about 38% of the time in this one)
I’ll be back with a Saturday AM closer, as I really need to see the New River Valley weather prediction before I can rightfully author one of my own.
However, in lieu of that, I can tell you the following right now. This is the closest that virginia -through no credit of their own- has been to Virginia Tech since 2003 (when the hoos last won). Or since the C.Long team that was no softie in its own right –take thy pick. Likewise I can tell you that I am more than a little concerned about the thin Virginia Tech oLine protecting one LT3 who appears to be experiencing a one-man confidence crunch via committee. I am concerned about our ability to run the football on this boo-hoo defense. I am concerned that our Commonwealth Cup margin of error is at no less than a 7 year low, possibly longer than that. None of that is good; and if the weather is not (good), our one offensive advantage -pass protection and playing pitch-n-catch to overmatching O&M Wr’s- will effectively be negated. That’s why this game is gonna be F.U.B.A.R. city, population 2. As both Virginia Tech and uva alike will struggle to move the ball and that puts points at a premium in this one men.
Well, the weather is what finally made this pick for me. And I’ll tell you what right now, I wish I could simply pick a TSL under and walk away without having to pick you know hoo in the upset and exit O&M stage left a man with deeper 3pm pockets to show for it.
However, we have caught a junk kick from Mother Nature and this bitch just went Medusa on us as this one is now all the uglier for it. This wind-chill and maybe even some snow will muck up our long-range passing advantage; the dumbass french can play a little D, and they ain’t half-bad at stuffing the run on the most stuffed American weekend that there is. uva somehow wins; it has been that kinda year after all … hasn’t it?
Survivor Man=19, glee=20