clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

A View from the Sideline: Hokies vs Monarchs

New, 1 comment

Taking a look at Saturday’s football game from on the field as the action unfolded.

The Sandman Cometh
John Schneider - SB Nation

Saturday, September 23, 2017, the Monarchs of Old Dominion University made a first trip West on I64 and then south on I81 to play their very first football game against the Virginia Tech Hokies. As we noted before, ODU is a relative baby in college football. Their program was abandoned back in World War II, and never restarted as the university became independent of William and Mary. Somehow they arrived at a plan to build a club team into an FBS caliber football program, and they pulled it off in a decade. That’s pretty amazing considering that there are many other college programs much older that are still languishing or existing in the lower divisions. So, with that in mind, and only one losing season out of 10 in the books, plus a 10 win season last year, and a bowl win in the Bahamas Bowl, it was obvious that taking ODU as some sort of push over “scrimmage opponent” was not a very good idea.

Warmups for the defensive backs
John Schneider - SB Nation

Justin Fuente didn’t. He did seem to put together another instructional offensive game plan of very limited plays and patterns being called. There may be some player participation level in the supposed “slow” starts for the last three contests, but I mostly see that the opponents come loaded for bear while the Hokies showed up with very specific game plans designed to test and challenge the offense.

Saturday was almost a perfect day for football. Frankly, the temperature was ten degrees too hot at about 85 on the field. By 1:30, and the start of the show, those of us on the sidelines were getting a bit toasty. There was a saving breeze blowing from south southwest to north northwest for most of the game, though.

Tremaine in the stretch line
John Schneider - SB Nation

The warmups were relatively calm, but there wasn’t a lot of joking around and jawing. The players were all concentrating on whatever players concentrate on while they were stretching, passing, catching, or walking from station to station. Andrew Motuapuaka and Tremaine Edmunds seemed purposeful and quiet enough through the process. Both were pure concentration.

Andrew Motuapuaka during warmups
John Schneider - SB Nation

Although in taking random snaps of folks this one looked a bit like Andrew trying out his “Icky Shuffle” moves.

The Icky Andrew, perhaps?
John Schneider - SB Nation

All kidding aside though the time for the opening ceremony came, and there was a scream and gasp from the crowd as an unexpected flyover on Military Appreciation Day was performed by an element of F-22 Raptors from Langley Air Force Base. It was quite loud, and complimented the Lane Stadium ethos quiet well.

F-22’s fly over from Langley AFB
John Schneider - SB Nation

The run out on to the field had some timing issues, there was some late flag grabbing and I was a bit concerned that maybe the flags would be spelling OKIHES there for a second, but everything got sorted out. The picture of Terrell Edmunds with the Lunch Pail is priceless. No one other then Terrell manages that “all business” look, other than Tremaine, but he does it from higher altitude.

Terrell Edmunds with the Lunch Pail
John Schneider - SB Nation

The opening kickoff was something that is becoming pretty routine for Joey Slye. The ball nearly landed in the band.

Joey Slye buries the kickoff
John Schneider - SB Nation
Into the Band Section
John Schneider - SB Nation

One thing that no one predicted, was the quality of a 17 year-old starting QB Steven Williams for ODU who would annoy and avoid the rush all day. Though the defense got pressure, 14 managed to stay on his feet, and even make some excellent plays out of disasters. He’s going to be something special for the Monarchs.

The First Play from Scrimmage
John Schneider - SB Nation

The defense eventually managed a stop because even though Williams got some passes off, ODU couldn’t run much of anywhere. #LPD controlled the line of scrimmage, and dominated the box. If they couldn’t quite get to Williams before the ball got out, the Hokie DBs got the situations stopped soon enough.

Williams knew when to slide, and when to duck out. He was slippery.
John Schneider - SB Nation
Defense finally gets a stop for the opening drive
John Schneider - SB Nation

The next series of Tech plays didn’t look particularly inspired. In fact they looked much like the playbook, page 1, play 1, then 2, then 3, sort of deal. Nothing fancy happened, it was basic play calling requiring the players to execute well. Josh Jackson clicked off audibles, handed the ball off crisply, and move the team a bit.

Josh Jackson on the Hokies’ first offensive play
John Schneider - SB Nation

Travon McMillian got the first RB touches of the game. He was sure handed, often seen with two gloved hands on the ball at all times. Travon also made good cuts, and had balance and vision.

Travon McMillian gets to the 2nd level on the first series
John Schneider - SB Nation
Another early Travon Run showing good vision and cutting
John Schneider - SB Nation

Of course nothing in the current Hokie offensive arsenal would be complete without Cam Phillips showing up for duty.

Cam Phillips gets off the line of scrimmage
John Schneider - SB Nation

During the 2nd Hokie possession, or third, it was hot and my mind was fogging... There was this amazing trip down the field for young Mr. Phillips. One that displayed why he’s a serious yards-after-catch threat.

Cam runs a crossing route/slant from left to right
John Schneider - SB Nation
He makes he catch with enough yards for the first down
John Schneider - SB Nation
The Monarch defender closes in on Phillips and has him dead to rights.
John Schneider - SB Nation
But Cam makes this nifty inside out cut under the tackle
John Schneider - SB Nation
Making the defender miss completely
John Schneider - SB Nation
And grabs another bunch of yards on top of the catch
John Schneider - SB Nation
Ducking another tackle this time from 25
John Schneider - SB Nation
Finally being pulled down around the ODU 11.
John Schneider - SB Nation

It was a great sequence and a real indicator of how much of a game breaker Phillips is. There were other receivers, though, including an accidental TD by Steven Peoples on a cooperating wheel route and a deflection off of Cam. That one Fuente wasn’t happy with at all. It was a “we got a way with it but it was careless” sorts of events. But catches like Henri Murphy, going up for one are things to salt away for future reference.

There were some other really great catches, this one by Henri Murphy
John Schneider - SB Nation

Or this one from Chris Cunningham, over the middle.

Chris Cunningham nabs one over the middle
John Schneider - SB Nation

Of course there were scoring plays. The first touchdown of the day by Steven Peoples came in the 2nd quarter.

The first touchdown of the day
John Schneider - SB Nation

Then came the touchdown, maybe by Josh Jackson. Followed by the touchdown, yes by none other than Steven Peoples on the one yard plunge.

Not quite a touchdown by Josh Jackson on a sneak
John Schneider - SB Nation

But the pile eventually moved for Steven Peoples.

The 2nd of Steven Peoples three TDs on the day
John Schneider - SB Nation

I unfortunately missed the Cam to Peoples deflection because as in inevitably seems to happen I was moving as fast as you can behind the benches, south, to get set up for the scoring play. Missed it again.

But I did get this one, which was the final score of the game and ended the starting lineup’s work day. C.J. Carrol made a great catch laying out to get the ball about 8 yards in the end zone under the goal posts to salt away the win.

C.J. Carroll stretches out for a TD
John Schneider - SB Nation

So, we’ll leave you with some shots of the presser after the game. My aching feet and parched throat needed the press conference more than I’d like to admit.

Coach Fuente not saying what he told Josh Jackson after the “Touchdown”
John Schneider - SB Nation
Cam Phillips looking like he would rather be in the showers
John Schneider - SB Nation
Ricky Walker looking like he didn’t want any dumb questions
John Schneider - SB Nation
Coach Foster looking like he wanted fewer dumb questions than Ricky Walker did
John Schneider - SB Nation

And of course it wouldn’t be a View from the Sidelines if there wasn’t a shot of our favorite Bird.

The Hokie Bird as Sandman winds up.
John Schneider - SB Nation

Next week is Clemson, and the next piece is the Preview... No Love Lost on my part... none.

GO HOKIES!!!!!!!