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No 'O' No Go! The Broom Poll Numbers Say: Be Agressive, Play Bold, but not Too Bold.

Summing up the Offensive Challenge for 2015. And having some fun with a poll.

Shane Beamer with a Headset.  A Tease?
Shane Beamer with a Headset. A Tease?
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Well the numbers are in.  We had, as of last count, 146 votes.  That's not too bad considering.  I appreciate your poll responses.  Some more comments would have been interesting; but I understand that a radio button is easier than explaining why you pushed it.  It's not all that I had hoped for, but it was a start.

Now for the break-down; remember there are no incorrect answers, merely better answers than others.  I chose the plays, two from the College Football Basic Playbook of Everyone, and two from my own TMF's Pencil Doodles for the Modern Gridiron.

If you want to open a season on a play that has absolutely no statement value whatsoever, then ‘A' is your choice.  The Read Option has become far and away the most common play in the college stack of play doodles.  The formations change, the runner lines up behind the QB, beside him to the left or right, and well the whole thing just sort of drags.  The Quarterback and Halfback meet somewhere behind the line, the QB either keeps the ball to do something with it... If you are Tebow you are dangerous, if you are Brewer you're road kill.  So, you 85% of the time hand the ball to the stuttering waiting in space, going nowhere too fast at the moment halfback, and he attempts to pick his way through a pile of humanity that has crashed down into the zone blocking scheme.  Congrats, the play just netted 1 yard at the most, and a measly payout of $.05.  I'd even deduct some coin for both lack of imagination, but for looking like every other failed Hokie Offense for the last five seasons.

If you answered ‘B' (19 votes for 13%), which was the basic halfback ISO from everyone's page one.  Well, here's your 25 cents.  It isn't a horrible choice, but this is the play that everyone and his sleeping Granny are expecting.  If you run it, you need to be prepared to gear up and drive your opponent off the line of scrimmage.  It's a statement play that tells your opponent that you are going to run through the 1 hole and just try and stop me.  If your statement dies at the line of scrimmage for no gain, gets snuffed for less than 4 yards, or heaven forfend is dropped in the backfield for a loss, your ‘statement' is more of a whimper.  You can't run, you can't block, and you have the play calling imagination of a drunk with a 1978 era electronic hand held football game.

Before getting to the other two plays a note, if y'all didn't notice.  Both ‘C' and ‘D' choices are pass play variations that would be run off of one of several formations from plays ‘A' and ‘B'.  I have been accused of reducing play design and execution to ridiculous simplicity, but if you think about it really hard, there are actually only four basic running plays in American rules football; Gut, Dive, Slant, and the Sweep.  In some play books the Gut and the Dive are pretty much the same play so some folks have postulated 3 basic running plays, but Gut plays tend to be executed straight through the Center position, and a dive is executed through the Guard and aimed between the Guard and Tackle.   There are four basic pass plays, straight drop back, Quarterback in Motion, Screen (which acts as a pitch), and Hot Read.  Of course these simplifications are from the Quarterback perspective and what is expected of him.  Patterns are a completely different animal, and more volumes have been written about the combination of both than we have time to discuss here.

The "magic" of the playbook that makes each unique and so important to a team is in how the basic plays are camouflaged, hidden, audibled, and in what order they are executed.  Suffice it to say that, of late, the Hokie Play Book's magic has been less "The Great Houdini" and more "Presto the Clown".   We do basic tricks, and have some patter, but the "wow" factor isn't there.   The entertainment value is definitely for UHF local programming, and not ready for prime time.

So, my suspicion is that the 46% of you that picked ‘C' understand what is at stake for the next season.  You didn't go for the Long shot down the field, but you see the need to move the ball at a faster clip under more controlled circumstances, and have a good shot at breaking the play for a bigger gain than the 6 to 8 yards in the pattern.  Modern offense depends on Yards After Catch (YACs) to a large degree.  It is; however, incredibly important to not rely on YAC potential of a play.  The basic pass must almost always (there never is a 100% in football) gain the scheduled yardage for the play.   I have stated before, the old 4 yards and a cloud of dust schedule is obsolete, and though presents consistent 3rd and short situations, it also presents 3rd down situations, and frankly I'd rather never reach 3rd down and anything.  Call it the Canadian Rules football mentality; I prefer 2nd and short.  The Tight End Drag is a high percentage play because it puts 4 receivers in the visual pattern of the quarterback, and gives him a guaranteed 6 to 8 yard hot read behind a potential blitz and under the zone.  The $5 bill is yours for this one.

The ‘D' play is a Fly route that the deep receiver must read, and the quarterback must read the receiver's break.  The receiver's options are to run up the seam, break for a post route, or break out to a flag.  It is critical, therefore to get the play action fake to work, and get the quarterback rolled out to the same side as the route, in space, and able to SEE the receiver.  Throwing this from the pocket is a blind shot most of the time, and reduces an already low percentage throw to pure luck.   Of course this is the $25 route.  It is also a very low percentage throw, unless the defense has been caught totally flat footed, and you have a receiver that can run under a ball, and you have a quarterback who can put enough air under the ball to allow the receiver to adjust, and he gets behind the defender, and... and...  All of which says IF you do this, you better hit it, or come so close that you scare the defense into loosening up.

There are many other considerations involved, and no one is completely correct.  It all depends on the personnel available.  It depends on what play you call in a follow up.  Do you run a real no-huddle or that fake no-huddle where everyone fakes like they are going to run a play and then stops to wait for silly looking signs to be flashed from the sideline - thus completely destroying the pace advantage of the no huddle?

For those of you who chose something else... and then left it at that; I'm hoping that it's just a call for new thinking.  This team needs a new form of Offensive aggressiveness if the Hokies are going to fulfill our fervent 5 second before opening kickoff hopes of a championship season.   Remember, "NO ‘O', NO GO!"

Summer is almost over.  Fall practice starts soon.  GO HOKIES!!!!

With that in mind, riddle me this since no one answered from the previous article I'll put it up for a poll.