For those of you who watched the Hokies and Boise State meet on the gridiron Monday, you witnessed an amazing game that broke ratings records and Hokie hearts all over again in a Matt Ryan-esque moment that we all saw coming, but like a horror film didn't turn off until the killer caught the victim. For those of you that did not watch the Tech-Boise State game, go back under your rock and please e-mail me to let me know how you have internet connection! All joking aside, I give my thoughts about the game after the jump.
As the seconds ticked away and the Broncos marched down the field like the Nazis marching into Paris, I was extremely tempted to turn off the TV because I knew what was about to happen and yet I couldn't look away no matter how bad it was going to hurt (hence the prelude above). But I didn't turn off my TV. I saw the whole thing and afterward I hated myself for believing that JUST ONCE we could hang onto a game like this. But that is Hokie football as we all know.
I remember hearing a joke back in the mid 2000's, when the Bengals high-powered O and interception happy D was fighting with the Patriots and Colts for AFC supremacy. It was a battle the Bengals would never win, as they just couldn't scale that last little bit of the mountain and it can all be summed up by this joke about losing a game to the Colts 45-38. This was also right after the Terry Schiavo incident, so please if this offends you skip to the next paragraph, and I assure you that there is no disrespect for Terry Schiavo meant by this. A Bengals fan was watching the Bengals-Colts game and looked at his wife during a break in play and said "Honey, you know that if I were ever in a persistent state, I would want you to pull the plug. You do know that, right?" The wife, speechless, turned her head, stood up, walked over to the TV and pulled the cord from the wall. I know that we may be in a different situation than the Bengals, but does anyone else ever feel this way? I did on Monday.
As a Tech fan, I have come to expect constant disappointment at least to some degree over the state of our program. Yeah the 10-win seasons are nice, but come on people, are you telling me that you never pine for something more!? I do, and when this latest kick in the gut happened, I acknowledged that I let myself get too high with the expectations for this season. While externally I wasn't buying the hype of a national title, internally, I was telling myself "yes, this is the year! If it will ever happen, it will happen NOW!" As my dad told me, Beamer's success at Tech has now become static. Yes, he may win 10-games for a year every year from here on out until he retires, but the graph would show that although the level of success is about as high as you can get, it does not alter, for the better or for the worse. I was really starting to believe that Beamer would never win a national championship through the last couple of years, but this loss confirmed it for me. Folks, I hate to tell you if you haven't accepted it yet, but IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN UNDER HIM!
I am just as big of a Beamer fan as anyone, and I am far from calling for his head at this point, but the "status quo" and "staying the course" references that the ESPN made to what Beamer was telling the guys at half sounds eerily similar to George Bush's Iraq War re-assurances (politics aside, I think we can all agree the Operation Iraqui Freedom was not our nation's best moment). The point being, the status quo is just that: win 10 games, be competitive, look as inept as a Kentucky basketball recruit showing up for his SAT's early in our season, and then look like no team can beat us late in the year. We know we can do that, but it is going to take a change for us to do something spectacular. Is it Stinespring? Is it Beamer? What is it? I don't pretend to be Nostradamus, but I will answer the questions as best as I can below.
The last year has left me waffling on the Stinespring issue. Monday made the issue no clearer. Beamer has made the statement before that anyone gunning for Stinespring's head is going to have to go THROUGH him. That is disconcerting. But, something that I began to realize is that Brian Stinespring may not be the true culprit that cut and dry. It's Stiney's O...but first and foremost it's Beamer's team. I have it from good sources that although his influence has waned on Stiney's O, Beamer still sets the boundaries of Stiney's experimentation. Therefore, Stiney may actually be running the offense that Frank the Tank wants down to the last detail, which would explain a hesitancy to fire him (also Stiney's wife being Beamer's secretary may have something to do with it as well). So basically, I'm giving Stiney a pass on his past and am going to evaluate him solely based on the other night.
Pro's of Stiney's game
- The first play! Who knew that was coming!? Boise State certainly didn't, and if Tryod hadn't thrown his worst ball of the night on that play we're celebrating from the get-go.
- Limiting the amount of QB draws to a number that can be counted on one hand (I'm being lenient on this one in case you couldn't tell).
- That Danny Coale reverse thing (well not the actual one, but the fake one). The threat of that somehow opened up holes for Williams' biggest holes of the night, even if that reverse play sucks, he had to run it at least once to set it up.
- Sticking with what works: The little bubble screen action that was a quick pass to Dyrell Roberts or Jarrett Boykin in the flats started to work on this one, and Stiney stuck with it. He saw Boise DB's giving the Hokie WR's a huge cushion and took advantage of it time and again. You can call him unimaginative, but you can't fault him for staying with this play because it did some serious damage, even if it was little-by-little. This was the complete opposite of the 2006 BC game where Stiney kept calling these from Glennon to Morgan with little to no success.
- The first and most obvious example of boneheadedness is the clock management. With no timeouts left Stiney threw a streak route (who knew? Boise State apparently did, which was dumb especially when they were giving Tech receivers such a cushion all night, remember from above Stiney? Where was that play here?) I may have been tempted to pass the ball here, but it would have been on a screen play and nothing else. If it wasn't open, I would have told Tyrod to eat it. BUT, I would have run the draw...the most elongated draw to Ryan Williams you could muster. Does anyone remember the Boise State draw that went for 23 early on? Draws and screens work in these situations, and if he had used one of these instead, we may have been giddy right now.
- Play-calling on the last series: I'm sorry Stiney, but I have to say it...EVERY GAME IS NOT GOING TO GO DOWN LIKE THE NEBRASKA MIRACLE LAST YEAR!!! March it down the field like Boise did, don't try to pick it up all on one play!
- When Ryan Williams was getting absolutely stuck in the backfield, Stiney should have used more of Evans and Wilson, especially Evans. How does a guy who ran for over 1,000 only get 3 carries in this one. I know Williams is worlds above Evans, but if you're getting hit in the backfield every play, at least put a guy out there that could pound defenders and break tackles.
- Personnel management: I was shocked and awed that Darren Evans was not in there getting the ball on short-yardage and goal line situations. You gotta give the big guy the rock, especially there!
- Clock management Part II: Yeah, it was so bad, I had to give it a second part. Friends (Hokies and non-Hokies alike) told me they were appalled about the clock management to the point where they were almost physically ill.
- Was able to get our team back into the game after a massive, gaping hole.
- Showed up and looked lost again in a big game. My facebook status after 17-0 BSU read "Classic Beamer and staff big game flop."
- Again, preparation was TERRIBLE based on the opening. We handed this game to Boise from the kick.
- Played the game classic Beamer. Didn't play to win, played NOT TO LOSE! Often teams that employ that strategy lose.
- In the end, whether it was his fault or Stiney's, Beamer stole defeat from the jaws of victory. Classic Hokie football.
- Created some pressure on Kellen Moore, mostly in the second half.
- Created turnovers, again, second half.
- Gets a pass on the first quarter completely.
- Blitzed too much on 3rd down
- Loaded the box with 8, almost like a goal line formation on the 3rd and short that created the 71-yard scamper for a TD and re-shifted momentum.
- Cannot seem to stop a last-minute drive to save his life. Please, no more prevent!
- I predicted a 34-31 Broncos' win. Not to brag, but this appears to be one of my strengths. I just wish I had failed miserably this past week.
- Boise State will be the 4th national champion we have played in the last 7 years. If Kellen Moore stays healthy, you can take this to the bank.
- I can never look at Ryan Williams the same way. The guy was an absolute BEAST, and regardless of whose fault his terrible game was, he'll never be the same in my eyes.
- Boise was just as good as I thought going in. No better no worse. The one area that they were better than I thought was on the defensive line. Not to sound like a broken record as the commentators harped on this, but they were SO much more physical than us in the trenches.
- I have done a 180 on Tyrod Taylor since 2008. I'm not saying last year didn't push me this direction, but Tyrod's performance from the other night was all-time great.
- Somebody please either get Greg Nosal some steroids or put Vinston Painter out there in his stead. Nosal is lacking in upper-body strength so badly that Boise defenders must have thought he was handing out invitations to a party in the backfield. They all RSVP'd. I was texting my friend from Kellam HS all night long to tell him that he had better tell Nosal that he sucks after the game.
- Jarrett Boykin is amazing. Tyrod put that ball on him on our last chance hail mary play (I know you're asking which one, but I mean the VERY last one), but based on what he did all game long he gets a pass from me.
- Chris Hazley is the next Carter Warley.
- He should not be starting this week. If he does, watch out, I might go on a rampage!
- David Wilson is a big play threat, but needs to accept not going the length of the field every time he touches the ball...including making head case decisions bringing the ball out of the back of the endzone.
- Okay, time for me to vent. 95% of the officials' calls were great the other night, and you can't ask for much better. BUT, the refs did an absolutely TERRIBLY ABHORRENT AND IRRESPONSIBLE job in the clutch. It was chock full of egregious errors. I don't want to say that they lost us the game (much like furrer4heisman pointed out), but after we had already almost handed the Broncos the game, THE REFS SERVED IT UP ON A SILVER PLATTER FOR THEM! The block in the back call that was called off didn't bother me because of its validity, but because of the process the refs followed to call it off. Beamer was more steamed about this one than the late hit, because the official furthest away from the play overruled the official standing mere feet away to call off the flag...and it's sports officiating 101 that you never do that! Additionally (and I know they're at fault for this too), Tech special teams guys knew it was coming back and stopped sprinting, basically just corralling the guy to the sideline. But, the late hit call was AWFUL! I jumped the highest I believe I have ever jumped off the couch on this one, and screamed like I had never screamed! Pettis was toeing the sideline and the whistle didn't blow until Taylor was in midair. You have to make that play if you're Taylor or else that is the ball-game. How was he supposed to know he was out? IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AND CERTIFIABLY ONE OF THE WORST LATE GAME CALLS IN THE HISTORY OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL! I know that sounds harsh, but considering the stakes, I will stand by that and take it to the grave. You can ask any coach at any level, especially one that understands Boise State's underneath passing scheme, and he will tell you the number of plays the Broncos could use to score the winning touchdown infinitely increased by moving that ball from the 26 to the 13. I feel jobbed, along with many other Hokie fans. As I said after the game, Boise State absolutely deserved to win this game, but based on what we did after the first quarter when we made it a new game, we didn't deserve to lose either. In an ideal world if that same call were made, it would be Boise 1-0, Tech 0-0. Also, where were the flags for a personal foul when David Wilson was popped by a Boise player on the first play (kickoff return) as he was leaving the field, or the Tyrod Taylor late hit call that never came in the first as well. It was like 2004 USC all over again, but perhaps even more painful the second time around.
- Having said that, we need to ditch the black uniforms and NEVER RETURN to Fed-Ex field. It's cursed, and we've gotten jobbed there twice now.
- I like how the number of Boise fans on the East Coast multiplied by an incalculable number directly before of during Monday's game
- I also don't understand how us losing to Boise makes UVA, Tennessee or UNC better? Keep in mind two of you played FCS teams in the opening week and the other may not be able to field a team by the end of the year with all the academic and agent issues you have. Also, one of you just got their _____ NOUN (be imaginative) handed to them by us in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and another one of you is just giving us more reason to stomp all over you once again in our in-state rivalry again this year.
- I don't want to jinx it and be way off with my predictions for JMU this week, so I will say this: VT big number-JMU small one.