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|Welcome to TSLMail #143 - Friday, September 17, 2004||
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Saturday’s contest with Duke will be an historic moment in the history of Virginia Tech athletics. Finally, after 50 years, the Hokies are home. Saturday will mark Virginia Tech’s first ever football game as a member of the ACC. As a memento, the Virginia Tech athletic department will be handing out special commemorative wooden coins to fans at the game. The coin features the Hokie Bird on the front and VT's "ACC Inaugural Season" logo on the back. The wooden coins are replicas of the coin used during the coin toss of Virginia Tech’s first ACC game. The first 5,000 students at the game will also receive free inaugural season T-shirts.
The Virginia Tech athletic department has also announced changes to “The Walk”, beginning with the Duke game on Saturday. For the remainder of the 2004 season, all home games that begin at either 12 noon or 1 pm will feature a shortened version of the walk. For these games, the team buses will now travel up Spring Road just past Lane Stadium. The team will be dropped off near the Will Call booth and walk up to their normal entry point at the Jamerson Center. All games with a 3:30 pm or later start will feature the full version of “The Walk”, with the team being dropped off at the corner of the South End Zone and the team walking the full length of the west side of Lane Stadium to the Jamerson Center.
Saturday’s football game at Lane Stadium is a major day in the history of Virginia Tech athletics. However, there will be another reason why Tech fans will remember this day for many years to come.
Hurricane Ivan continues to pose major threats to many football games on Saturday, including the Hokies’ battle with Duke. While the storm won’t be anywhere near hurricane force by the time it reaches Blacksburg, there is no doubt that it will dump a lot of rain over southwest Virginia. Lots of rain means a slippery surface obviously, and a slippery surface usually cuts into the speed advantage of the faster team, so there should be a little concern if you are a Tech fan. If nothing else, Ivan will provide ample opportunity to continue to work the kinks out of a so-far struggling running game. For the latest forecast of Hurricane Ivan's track, click here, and for the weather forecast, click here.
For those of you who are good at remembering certain dates, you will probably remember that last year’s Texas A&M game, during which the remnants of Hurricane Isabel made a wet and windy day of tailgating and football, was on September 18th. The 2004 Duke game is also scheduled on September 18th. What is it with hurricanes beginning with the letter “I” and Tech football games scheduled for September 18th?
Getting back to the game itself, Saturday will mark the 12th meeting between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Duke Blue Devils, with Duke holding a 7-4 edge in the series. That figure looks to change soon, as the Hokies enter the ACC and the teams meet every year.
Probably the most interesting stat of the Tech-Duke series is that Duke once held a commanding 7-1 edge in the series. However from 1982-84, the Hokies beat the Blue Devils 3 times in a row to make the overall number 7-4 in favor of the Blue Devils.
Despite the football history of the two schools, as well as their close proximity to each other, it is somewhat surprising that Tech and Duke haven’t locked horns on the gridiron on more occasions. As far as the other North Carolina schools go, the Hokies have played NC State 44 times, UNC 27 times, and Wake Forest 32 times. Tech has even played Florida State 31 times, but there really isn’t much history between the Hokies and the Blue Devils. For more information on the Tech-Duke series, see this link to TSL Mail #124.
Backup OL Gets Snaps Against WMU and Plays Well
The headlines about Tech's big win over Western Michigan last Saturday all centered on Bryan Randall, Eddie Royal, the freshman receivers, the shutout and Sean Glennon. But something more subtle and just as important happened: VT's backup offensive linemen got some experience.
You know those guys: LT Brandon Gore, LG Jason Murphy, C Danny McGrath, RG Mike Parham, and RT Brandon Frye. You should know the names at least, but you can be forgiven if you don't know their numbers, since many of them have played very little or not at all in seasons past, and none of them played against USC in the season opener.
Against Western Michigan, though, the backup left side of the line – Gore (#77) and Murphy (#72) came in with 9:17 remaining in the third quarter, and the Hokies leading 28-0. They played all 9 plays of that series, which ended in a 3-yard TD pass from Randall to John Kinzer.
On Tech's next offensive possession, which started with 2:57 to go in the third, McGrath (#69), Parham (#50), and Frye (#74) all came in. They played in that series (a 4-play, 48-yard TD drive) and the majority of the fourth quarter. With 2:25 to go in the game, Carroll (#57) subbed in for Parham and played the last four plays of the game.
Here's the breakdown of offensive snaps (special teams snaps not included) for the offensive line, according to the depth chart in hokiesports the newspaper:
Essentially, the left side starters played about 36 snaps, and the backups played 27 snaps. The center and right side starters played 45 snaps, and the backups played 18 snaps. With the backups in the game, the Hokies scored three straight TDs on drives of 9, 4, and 9 plays, so there was no drop off in production with the backup OL in the game.
What's also encouraging is how high many of the backups graded out. According to hokiesports the newspaper, three of the backups graded out higher than 80 percent: Murphy (85%), McGrath (91%, highest on the line), and Frye (83%). Among the starters, Martin (80%) and Montgomery (87%) also graded out at 80 percent or higher.
The newspaper doesn't list OL grades when a player grades below 80 percent, so we don't know how the other players graded.
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|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
Tech Talk Tuesday Archive, September 14, 2004 (Audio)
State Game Scheduled for Noon
Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Western Michigan Game Analysis
Tech 63, Western Michigan 0
Basketball Prospect Rankings by Position for 2005 (Preseason)
Top 30 In-State Recruits:
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