Pre-Game Sideline Activties
It was an absolutely beautiful evening for a football game. There was almost no breeze. It wasn’t too warm, and it wasn’t too cool either. The field, an hour and 15 minutes before kickoff looks like a placid pot of water with the heat just turned on. You can sort of hear it making an increasing amount of that boiling noise, but it’s still a ways off before it’s hot enough for coffee.
If you get to the northwest side of the stadium, between the benches and the tunnel, and look back you can see the play clock and the southwest tunnel where the media folks come in to get started.
The Skipper Crew sets up in the southwest corner to make a quick getaway right after they fire the gun for the nation anthem salute. It’s not really “The Skipper”, though. The original 6-pound brass Napoleon developed a crack and had to be retired to a museum display. The Skipper II is a replica (it’s actually real folks, you could put real shells in it) 6-pound cast iron field piece from the Civil War era. They sound different. The old Skipper was a rounder, fuller report with a definite ring to it.
Mansoor Delane and Bhayshul Tuten had superior games. The defense was shutdown, except for one referee aided 3-point drive, and a single ‘Cuse TD drive that Tech played loose and took some pressure off the gas.
The offensive line was a notch better in the Syracuse game. It still needs work inside, but the 1s and 2s are playing better together, and there hasn’t been the position swapping going on to confuse and roil the process of learning how you fit into the play process.
This is important to say. For the people carping about the defense and how turning over the DC’s position to a coach new to that position, reel it in and sit back for a bit. Chris Marve has a brain, a winning attitude, and is steadily teaching this defense to find itself and be successful. He was probably the unsung hero of the Syracuse game, because his defense was pumped, prepared, and punishing. Hat’s off to Coach Marve. I noticed. I hope many other folks did, too.
This is a shot that looks like some sort of movie poster.
The parachutists arrived, and the show began.
The Game, and We’ll Just Let It Flow
When you start off with a sack and a grounding penalty and then punt on a three and out, you might be having a bad day.
And when every play from scrimmage for the offense looks like this. It absolutely is going to be one of THOSE long days.
Syracuse’s quarterback saw this on every play. You could count the number of times that he wasn’t heavily pressured on your hand. Every sack in this game came from a defensive lineman. Marve didn’t have to dial up any fancy blitzes to get to the QB. Schrader was running for his life from defensive linemen.
Keli Lawson is coming into his own, and we can only hope that he sticks around until his eligibility is exhausted. He’s developing into a player we’ll see at the next level.
That goes for Bhayshul Tuten. He was nearly unstoppable on Thursday.
Just to give y’all an idea of the struggle to get good shots from our allowed positions. There are often some newbies who don’t pay attention to where they are going and ruin a great shot.
No one ruined this one, though. It looks like this was a missed tackle, but look at the right arm around the receiver’s leg.
Another close in from a sweep run by Tuten.
Virginia Tech really hasn’t had a legitimate garbage time since... well, I really can’t remember. Pop Watson came in with an offense of 2s and 3s. Chance Black and Bryce Duke were grabbing yards and first downs. But eventually the clock ran out.
Next up, it’s the 2/3rds of the season completed review. Tech has four games left and three are very winnable, with Louisville being much more competitive next weekend than it was three weeks ago.
One more home game to cover. The season has gone so fast. If the Hokies play Louisville like they played Syracuse it’s going to be an interesting write-up.