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Bourbon Shots: Virginia Tech vs. Alabama Edition

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic

VT Beat Writers and Columnists

Freshmen Forecast Favorable (Aaron McFarling)
"But today, as the Hokies prepare to take on No. 5 Alabama, Ryan Williams and David Wilson do not represent that hope. They represent the not-so-great unknown, a factor that wasn't supposed to be present so early this year."

Beamer and Players Preview Alabama (Nathan Warters)
"Beamer isn’t trying to downplay the importance of Saturday’s game against No. 5 Alabama. He just doesn’t want his players hanging their entire season on the season-opener. He admitted Tuesday that a win would be a significant thing, but as he has said throughout the preseason, he doesn’t think this is a make or break game for the Hokies."

Notes and Interview with Musberger (Kyle Tucker)
"The Hokies’ defense is clearly concerned with Julio Jones’ jump-ball ability. They spent significant time working on those today, with DBs coach Torrian Gray lofting balls to scout-team receivers and having his players alternate between leaping to make interceptions and making blind break-ups on which the read the receiver instead of the ball to prevent a completion. FS Kam Chancellor and CB Cris Hill really thrived in winning those jump-ball battles. True freshman CB Jayron Hosley, a talented but tiny guy, struggled a bit."

Tech kicker hopes his leg is opener's deciding factor (Randy King)
"For a guy who hasn't played in a real game in five years, Waldron certainly isn't lacking any confidence. The fifth-year senior who transferred from Penn State to Tech in 2006 didn't miss a field-goal attempt in any of the Hokies' spring scrimmages. He was 10-for-10 in three August scrimmages."

Alabama Notes (Darryl Slater)
"Cam Martin, Tech’s other senior whip linebacker, originally injured the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the 2007 ACC championship game. The knee bothered him all of last season, when he received a pain-killer shot before every game and wore a brace. Martin underwent surgery after the season and missed spring practices. But the knee still is giving him trouble and could affect how much he plays this season."

VT Bloggers

Game Travel (The A-Line)
"An added benefit, something that also happens often during these trips, is that I have the opportunity to engage in extended conversation with the Russian. The close quarters dictate it. I will have the chance to again pick his brain and add his world view to my own, very different one. If it hadn’t been for my conversations with him, I would never have learned that the Golden Horde were actually a peacekeeping force, Rasputin the victim of bad press and Stalin merely misunderstood. I look forward to hearing more such historical nuggets before we turn him loose to pillage midtown Atlanta like a rampaging Cossack."

8 Ways to React to Bammer Fans in the ATL (Beer Control Offense)
"So you are in Atlanta and you get run up on by a bunch of Tiders, talking mad shit (might only be 1 or 2, they are mostly and extremely humble group with no ego.) Don't get in that game with them, you can't win, they've been in the game since before birth. Lower your head and eyes, be humble and kiss their ass, they are College football Gods, didn't you know?"

Anxious Much? (College Game Balls)
"When this post first blasts down the tubes and hits your interwebs there will be less than 10 days until we play Alabama. Wow. Shit just got real. Unlike during the spring, a month ago and even up until yesterday, I can now see the trip down to Atlanta coming into focus. It’s tangible. I’m discussing Saturday’s plans with friends, scrambling to find tickets and mentally salivating over shaking the Georgia Dome to the tune of Enter Sandman."

Put on your Seatbelts (VT Fan)
"But this game, I really have no idea. Doing too much pre-reading probably has clouded my mind. Could Alabama like LSU just have too much SEC talent and speed for the still rather young Hokies from the ACC? Could Saban’s big game legend continue, and Beamer’s recent futility with SEC games as well, resulting in yet another SEC romp over the overmatched Hokies? Plus, the Hokie linebackers are young, the running backs are green, and let’s face it, Alabama’s defense is pretty much all back from last year and they were a top 5 unit. I wouldn’t be surprised, though I will be shocked at another 48-7 type debacle of 2 years ago at LSU."

Preseason Wrap-up (Tech SuperFans)
"To top it all off, unlike most years (2004 excluded), the Hokies open this season against a legendary program. When your football program is in the refrain of a Steely Dan song, you have reached legendary status and the Alabama Crimson Tide intimidate most teams just by showing up. We'll see if the Hokies fall into the same category in a few days. TSF will have much more on this in a game preview later on, so for now (and while I can still type before the DT's set in) let me do a position-by-position breakdown as pre-season practice wraps up."

Why we hate...UVA - Part II (The North End Zone)
"They further the stupid ass southern concept that "if you wear pastel polo shirts/pastel shorts and boat shoes you must be wealthy". You look ridiculous. And if you do wear pastel polos and pastel shorts here is a word of advice: they aren't mix-and-match. Certain colors go with other certain colors. Unfortunately this trend had moved to Tech when I was there and into my fraternity as well. All I could think of is how stupid the people at Tech were for following this dumbass trend brought down from UVA. It was a sad day."

Alabama Bloggers

Tide Offense v. Hokie Defense (Roll 'Bama Roll)
"In the passing game, the Hokies finished last year a solid 28th in the country in passing efficiency defense, but as is usually the case, things aren't necessarily so simple. The entire QB rating statistic has many detractors, shortcomings, and legitimate criticisms, and by analyzing the quality of pass defense based solely on opponent QB rating allows those statistical shortcomings to bleed through, and you can make a valid case that that happens when you look at the Hokies' defense."

Tide Defense v. Hokie Offense (Roll 'Bama Roll)
"And no Alabama fan should underestimate just how deadly Taylor's athleticism can be. Many like to paint Taylor as a typical run-happy quarterback with no real passing skills, and in all fairness that might be true, and in many ways is true. Still, nevertheless, even if that is completely accurate, Taylor is nevertheless such an elite athlete that he is still a very dangerous player. In today's game we often have mobile quarterbacks playing the position with good athleticism, but Taylor isn't just a mobile quarterback, nor does he just have good athleticism. I've been following Alabama football closely since 1990, so this is my 20th year, and I feel confident in saying that we have never faced an opposing quarterback with the kind of ultra-elite speed and athleticism that Taylor brings to the table. Again, he's not just a mobile quarterback, he's the kind of elite athlete who will certainly play in the NFL one day -- and probably be a fairly high draft pick at that -- thanks to that athleticism."

In the Film Room – Virginia Tech (Bama Sports Report)
"Defensively, the Hokies will obviously try to use their depth and experience on the defensive line to create problems for the new starters on Bama’s offensive line. Expect to see numerous stunts and blitzes designed to get some pressure on Greg McElroy as well as shut down the running lanes Mark Ingram and company will be looking to exploit."

A Look at Tyrod Taylor (Eight in the Box)
"Taylor is big, fast, and extremely dangerous in the open field. He has howitzer type arm strength, but accuracy is a little inconsistent; with that being said, Taylor has nice touch on his deep ball and Virginia Tech likes taking deep shots early in drives on first and second down. Part of the reason for taking the shots early in the downs is because Tech's offensive line has given up 97 sacks over the last two seasons. The lack of protection led to the Tech wide receivers registering only 1 touchdown reception in 2008 (game 11 vs. Duke)."

ACC and Opponents

Shinskie still injured (Annette)
"Boston College released its depth chart on Sunday, and at quarterback, it's listed as either redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle or freshman Mike Marscovetra. Codi Boek is No. 3, and Dave Shinskie is still recovering from a broken rib."

Lawnmower Victorious Against App State (Joe Ovies)
"One team’s loss is another team’s gain. Both Edwards and head coach Jerry Moore were pessimistic about the QB’s chances of playing Saturday. Edwards returned to practice this week after a lawnmower mishap, but he has yet to go full speed or take the majority of the reps."

Herzy shirt (Eagle in Atlanta)
"You can now buy a SuperFan like Herzy t-shirt. A portion of each sale goes to the American Cancer Society. I love the Eagle with the Herzy eye black."

Food Chain: Ranking The 2009 Schedule (BC Interruption)
Brian and Jeff take time from deciding on a scent for the guest bathroom... "Brian: Darren Evans or no Darren Evans, Blacksburg continues to be one of the toughest places to play in the ACC. Beamer will have the Hokies ready for this game and despite an anemic Hokie offense, will likely get the job done yet again on defense and special teams."

Its almost time... (Clempson Football)
"I think Ron has it all wrong, as usual. TCU is a toss-up? In any other year I might say yes, but if we can't score on a defense that lost most of what they had, considering its early in the season (I wouldnt want them in November), then the rest of those Ws he predicts are going in the toilet."

"Know your…" Preseason Edition (Block-C)
"Since there aren’t any MTSU bloggers out there, I figured that we should reach out to Mark Packer, of syndicated radio fame. Mark, as you may or may not know, is Class of ‘85 but unfortunately got stuck up in North Carolina trying to entertain the snobs above the border. You can check out his personal sports blog Pack Smack. Also, don’t forget to check out this year’s Southern Fried Football tour and remember to check out the babes sections of seasons past while you’re there too."

Lovin’ It (The Sporting Gnomes)
"This is the kind of year you have an unheralded QB step to the front, behind a line that has potentially gelled and improved, and you smack a few teams down a rat hole before anyone sees you coming. It’s the kind of quiet that should motivate a team. "

A look into Mark Whipple (Tomahawk Nation)
"Whipple is distinctly pro-style. He speaks often of his huge playbook an d his experience in the pro ranks. He's had his players watch film of the Steelers and Eagles. I don't particularly think a huge playbook is important or even good, particularly at the college level where coaches have limited practice time and the players are transitioning from high-school. Whipple definitely won't have most of his offense installed by the time the Canes roll into Tallahassee, but it's a good bet they will have enough. Ultimately, that is Whipple's call. We decided to break down some old game film from his days at U-Mass, with the help of State Champion Offensive Coordinator and frequent Tomahawk Nation commentator, Oline01075."

Offensive Starters Returning Preview (From The Rumble Seat)
"In 2009, GT returns ALL of the starters from the LSU bowl game. However, two linemen (Voss and Claytor) are still fighting for their starting spots and will probably rotate in. Thus adding increased depth to our crusty group of veterans on OL. Concerning the skill position players, Peeples and Allen will definitely be supplemented by Roddy Jones and Lucas Cox. Roddy will most likely return to his starting role when his cast is removed while Cox will probably be relegated to blocking assignments and backing up D-Train. Predicting what CPJ's gonna do with all of his talent is kinda like predicting which direction the wind's gonna blow in a CAT-5 hurricane off the coast of Cuba."

Coaches vs. Cancer Is Now Florida International vs. the Gazelle Group (Carolina March)
"The entire Coaches vs. Cancer "tournament" is a scam, you see. For most of the participants, it's not a tournament at all. The opening games, set at the member institutions of the top 4 "seeds", are even more meaningless than the matchups would have you believe. UNC, Ohio State, Cal and Syracuse are already guaranteed slots in the championship rounds at Madison Square Garden, and are the only four teams who at any point have their games determined by their performance in earlier play."

Fear and Loathing* in Carter-Finley (StateFans Nation)
"At NC State, we are always the most confident before impending disaster. And at least this first week of play, that’s what I fear is looming. Fortunately, we have a coach and a staff with a proven track record, not just that desperate, amorphous "hope" for a better day that we usually have as Wolfpack fans. They can right the ship, beat Pitt, go .500 or better in ACC play, and finish with a solid 7-5 or 8-4 record heading into bowl season. Keep in mind how they got their first two Wolfpack squads back on track after Hindenburg-like starts."

Athletics Department Scraps New Basketball Uniforms (Backing The Pack)
"The athletics department deserves a lot of credit for its quick response to the overwhelmingly negative but less-than-constructive reaction (not that I would know anything about that) to the uniforms. I think they'd be well served to be more interactive on Twitter than they have been, but this is an indication that they understand the two-way nature of the service, and I appreciate their receptiveness to the opinions offered there and elsewhere on the internet. It would've been easy enough to dismiss the online feedback as a typically negative reaction to anything they do."

Don't Feed the Troll (Yet Another...)
"But ignoring the monetary aspect of Doyel's argument, he still falls flat on his face asserting there's no good reason to house players in hotels prior to games. Of course there is! Is the notion that having teams get a good night's sleep and a solid, scheduled meal prior to bedtime and in the morning before the game that foreign of a concept to Doyel? Why on earth would that be in any way insulting to us, the commoner who does not play sports for an education or a living?"

Dennis Dodd's Nebraska Cheap Shot (Corn Nation)
"But wait, I get it, it's okay because it's (hyuk) on Dodd's blog and that's where flippant boob things are supposed to go. In case you're wondering about the format between "blog" and "article", I'll offer an explanation just to make things clear. The "blog" is where media types like Dodd get down in the internet goo with the rest of us, sometimes taking their pot shots, while the "article" is where they get on their high horse and take shots AT us, just like Dodd did a couple of weeks ago when he got all up in the air about Clay Travis asking Tim Tebow whether or not he was saving himself for marriage."

Stuff Only I Care About

Cheap shots or big hits: Sometimes the difference is an inch (George Schroeder)
"But that doesn’t make the Boise State players guilty of more than bad decisions. Things happen very fast on the field. We could keep linking to big hits, and debating what makes one a highlight and the other a cheap shot. The difference is very, very small—an instant, or an inch."

Men are from Athens, women are from Knoxville (Holly)
"So about a year ago, Swindle and I sat down to discuss the intricacies of makin' love out of college football season. At the time, I was dating a Lakers fan who had no interest in college ball. That didn't end well, you'll recall, but I scored a pretty sweet upgrade a few months later. And now that our relationship is more of a relationship and less of an elaborate inside joke, I find I've grown attached to the guy and I'd kind of like to keep him around. So, we have here two parties, both feverishly invested in the game, but with cheering interests that diverge and converge with equal passion. For our benefit and yours, this will be our survival guide from the bedroom to the stadium for 2009."

Men are from Athens, women are from Knoxville (Doug)
"Continuing the in-depth discussion of maintaining a relationship in the face of seemingly insurmountable football loyalties started here. Not tellin' anybody else how to live their lives, of course, but if you're having to manage a mixed marriage this season, you need to set some ground rules, and ours may at least provide you with a decent starting point."

Syracuse Football Hurts, Dougmarrone Can Help (Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician)
"When you need help, it's not always easy to ask, or even to know where to look. Direct from TNIAAM Studios, I give you the answers you seek."

Faulkner Character, Georgia Bulldog, or Signer of the Declaration of Independence? (Dawg Sports)
"Are Bulldogs fans adequately prepared for football season? Take the Dawg Sports pop quiz to see if you can distinguish Georgia players from William Faulkner characters and signers of the Declaration of Independence."

The Pac-10 better bring its "A" game (Conquest Chronicles)
"I still have no idea how or why USC's success affects the other nine schools so negatively. It is not USC's fault if the other schools can't keep up with USC. Every other coach in the Pac-10 has the same chance and regardless of resources things pretty much balance out. USC can't sign 'em all...It is what you do with your talent regardless what the talent is. Prime example is Oregon St. Stanford is going to be a sleeper too by the way."

Ten Questions For Texas Football: (2) We're Texas (Burnt Orange Nation)
"Everything we've seen from this team in the eight months since, including, perhaps, the team slogan, suggests Mack Brown and his squad are anything but satisfied with last season's success, and hell no they're not interested in playing the victim. Instead they went home pissed off, licked their wounds, and then furiously went to work channeling that anger into becoming better, faster, stronger, smarter. The giant that is Texas football has been awake for some time; now it's angry."

Do the Sabres Rely on Special Teams? (Die By The Blade)
"We all know that special teams are a real big part of winning hockey games. We also know the Buffalo Sabres were pretty good last year on the power play and the penalty kill. At one point late in the season the Sabres were in the top five in both categories. They eventually finished seventh on the power play and 14th on the penalty kill."

DirecTV, Versus war escalates (Puck Daddy)
"Both DirecTV and Comcast, which owns Versus, are engaging in separate public relations campaigns as subscribers suddenly face a world without buck-hunting, cage-fighting and occasional NHL hockey conveniently available on the same network. DirecTV claims the dispute is over Comcast "demanding renewal terms that did not reflect market value for the channel but also demanding carriage terms that were discriminatory.""

Whole Foods is coming OKC…NOT…MAYBE (The Lost Ogle)
"I’m having trouble identifying the bigger story here. Is it Channel 9 getting the story wrong, or OKC Biz actually reporting news? Seriously, OKC Biz is a pretty magazine and all that, but it seems like the only "news" it publishes are articles about social media experts and day-in-the-life diaries of people more boring and more self important than you. I’m pretty sure it also publishes one of those "ADVERTISE WITH US!" 40 Under 40 lists."