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|Welcome to TSLMail #146 - Friday, October 8, 2004||
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Last December, we ran a TSL Pass article titled The State of the Program: The Defense, and in that article, I talked about how the 2003 Hokie defense was the worst defense statistically of the Beamer Bowl era (1993-2003). The article was written in December, prior to Tech's bowl game, and for the defense, the stats got even worse, as they were throttled by Cal for 52 points.
In the 13-game season (regular season plus bowl game), the 2003 Hokie defense gave up more points per game (23.0), more rushing yards per game (136.0), and more third-down conversions (40%) than any Hokie defense in the last 11 years. They surrendered the second-most yards per game (367.5), with only the 1993 defense (380.0) being worse in that category.
To put things in perspective, last year's defense finished 51st nationally in total defense, 45th in scoring defense, 39th in rushing defense, and 80th in pass efficiency defense. That defense just wasn't very good, and it was even worse than that late in the season, as it started to slide and the team started to nosedive.
This year's defense is obviously better, but how much better, and in what ways?
Sure, we're only five games into the 2004 season, but during those five games, the Hokies have played five teams of varying talent levels and potency, not just cupcakes or strong teams. In that respect, the first five games have been almost a mini-season for VT. So it's valid to compare this year's defense to last year's, even though it's early in the season.
In five games, here are the offenses the 2004 Hokies have faced and their national rank in yards per game, plus the yardage they got against VT:
Just for fun, I ran the same numbers for the 2003 defense and got the following:
The 2004 Hokie defense is a whopping 115 yards better per game than the 2003 defense. Note that 7 of VT's 12 Division 1-A opponents in 2003 exceeded their average yards per game against the Hokies, including the last five in a row. So far, the 2004 opponents are 0-for-5 in that stat and as a group have averaged nearly 100 yards per game less against VT than against their full schedule.
Anyway, back to the topic: this year's defense is vastly improved over last year's defense -- so far. What's the statistical comparison?
Total defense has improved significantly, by over 100 yards per game, and the Hokies are where their fans feel they belong: in the top 20 in total defense. Points per game is a big improvement, as well. Oddly though, rush defense has not improved by much, and in terms of where they rank in the NCAA, has actually gotten a little worse.
Those stats are nice, but the one stat I'm impressed with, and one that I think is extremely important, is third-down conversion rate. The Hokies gave up an abysmal 40% third-down conversion rate last season, the worst in the Beamer Bowl era. 40% is insane. If your offense is converting at that rate, you're happy. If your defense is giving that up, you're tearing your hair out.
So far this year, that rate has dropped to 24% (17-of-71). That's a rate that's comparable with some of the great Hokie defenses of the past: 1995 (26.5%), 1999 (25%), and 2001 (22%).
And in the last couple of games, that stat has been incredibly impressive. You have no doubt heard that the Hokies held WVU to 0-for-13 on third downs, but they also held NC State to 4-of-13 and Duke to 1-of-15. So in the last three games, Hokie opponents are 5-of-41, an amazing 12.2%.
Sure beats 40%, doesn't it?
On the other end of the spectrum is punter Vinnie Burns, who as noted in a recent News and Notes has plummeted from #4 in the nation in punting to #46.
Three games into the season, Burns had punted 12 times for a 46.7 yard average. In the two games since then, he has punted 12 times for a 36.0 yard average. That has dropped his overall average to 41.3 yards per kick.
Burns' struggles have led some to wonder if the redshirt senior will be replaced by redshirt sophomore Nic Schmitt, who had a great day in the 2004 spring game last April. In that game, Schmitt boomed his first two punts 60 and 55 yards, and he averaged 52.6 yards on five punts for the day.
But Coach Beamer noted on BeamerBall.com that he will not replace Burns with Schmitt.
UNC BUS TRIP....
The Tidewater Hokie Club will be hosting a bus trip this fall to the VT vs UNC football game on Saturday Nov 6th.
Cost for the trip is $50 per person, which includes round trip transportation, cups, ice and sodas. Game tickets are not included!
Space on the bus is LIMITED and subject to SELL OUT so make your reservations early.
The only way to ensure your place on the bus is to make your Reservation Payment online using your credit card or print out a Reservation Form from our website and mail it along with your check made out to Tidewater Hokie Club to: Tidewater Hokie Club - 260 Bridgeview Circle - Chesapeake VA 23322
The buses will leave from the Park and Ride at Greenbrier Mall and return to Tidewater immediately following the games.
For more info, contact: Hunter DeJarnette - 482-4087 (H) or 382-6644(W)
We reserve the right to cancel the trips if sufficient reservations are not received in time to secure a full bus. No refunds will be given unless the trip is canceled.
See the following link for all the details on the UNC bus trip:
The Tidewater Hokie Club is sponsoring a raffle for one 15-inch Bronze Hokie Bird Sculpture. This is a genuine bronze replica of the 10-foot Hokie Bird that stands in Cassell Coliseum and will eventually make its home in expanded Lane Stadium. It is mounted on an onyx and walnut base and weighs in at almost 20 pounds.
Tickets are just $5 each with all the proceeds going to the Hokie Club.
Drawing will be held at a date to be announced.
If you would like to purchase some raffle tickets just drop your check in the mail made out to the Tidewater Hokie Club with your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to:
Tidewater Hokie Club (HBR)
or you can purchase your raffle tickets online on our website at http://tidewaterhokieclub.exis.net/hokiebirdraffle.htm using your credit card.
Your raffle ticket numbers will be e-mailed to you upon receipt of payment. At this time this raffle is only being offered online!
All proceeds from both of this raffle will go towards the Tidewater Hokie Club's $40,000 pledge towards the Expansion of Lane Stadium!
Thanks in advance for helping support the Tidewater Hokie Club.
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|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
Forest Game Preview
TechSideline.com Recruiting Report Archive, 10/6/04 (Audio)
Watch Out for Land Mines
Tech Talk Tuesday Archive, 10/5/04 (Audio)
Tech Defense Climb in National Rankings
WVU Game Analysis
Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Revisiting the Keys: WVU
Tech 19, West Virginia 13
Keys to the Game: WVU
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