Q&A with an opponents blogger: Virginia Tech

Bring on the Hokies. What is a Hokie? Well, I am glad you asked as we have that covered in our most recent podcast.

This week I had the great pleasure of working with Chuck Workman who is the managing editor of gobblercountry.com (he goes by flyer13 on the site) and they do a fantastic job covering Virginia Tech football. Please check out their site and get some more information on to what the Buckeyes are facing tomorrow so you can sound well educated in front of your friends and family like all Buckeye fans should (besides reading our site!!)

MotSaG: Which conference do you feel is better, the Big Ten or the ACC?

GobblerCountry: They are evenly matched, though the talent is distributed more evenly in the ACC. I think the top of the BiG often gets that extra at-large BCS bid historically; where it took VT until 2011 with our semi/very-bogus trip to the Sugar to get the first at-large for the ACC (where we beat Michigan, I’m sure you agree). With FSU and Miami not up to the standards envisioned upon the ACC’s expansion in 2004 (until recently of course for the ‘Noles) it’s been difficult to justify that extra ACC team. Now that the system has changed to include the playoff.

With the extra four teams, the at-large BCS bid will likely be eliminated as a distinguishing factor. But in a nutshell, the BiG has always had 2-3 behemoths at the top (and I’m sure you’re counting on Nebraska to join in soon) and a very deep basement with the Hoosiers, Wildcats, Gophers, et al all taking turns in the cellar. A lot of years, the ACC will have eight or nine bowl teams of their 12; and now likely even more with Louisville joining and the Irish trailing in our wake as they attempt with all of their futile might to remain independent. Most days I take the Buckeyes over most everyone in the FBS. Same with Michigan St (sorry UM). But if you stack up ACC teams 3-15 I have to say the ACC balance is better through the middle.

MotSaG: How much does OSU’s defensive line concern the Hokies?

GobblerCountry: Very much, though the Spence suspension helps. We have an offensive line that is veteran, but a lot of them are still having trouble with snap counts and motion in the spread we run. Consequently, we saw an uncharacteristic number of false starts; we even saw one in the backfield out of a RB. These things simply cannot happen vs an Urban Meyer team, who seems to maintain discipline on the field, though he is a little more lax with his players behavior off of it (Gator Haters all of us amirite? Or maybe you’ve learned to forgive the BCS Title Game loss. Teddy Ginn Jr. hasn’t)

Last week we unleashed some sick TEs on FCS opponent William & Mary. And we have a third equally impressive TE on the mend. He is questionable. This affords us extra blockers. Word to the Buckeye faithful, the more you see of J.C. Coleman as the tailback in the pistol formation, the better you should feel. He’s tiny, he doesn’t pick up weak-side blitzes well, and he doesn’t have the vision to find the holes in between the 300 lbers. If you see us come out with Shai McKenzie and Juice Williams, you may be in for a day of it in the trenches. They find yards where there aren’t any to be had.

As for the passing game, we have good tackles. I feel OK with the initial double team on the edge and then the TE releasing for an outlet. We could make a game of it this way. But the coaches, well, they probably won’t read this.

If I were Urban, I’d blitz early to see how we hold up. If it works, we’re yours. If this new kid Brewer we have at QB can pick your scabs though, you may have to sit back. William & Mary didn’t provide us with enough of a litmus test.

MotSaG: What do you think VT’s biggest concerns are?

GobblerCountry: Youth, youth, youth. Those are choices 98,99,100 on my list. The first 97? Coaching on offense, and the playcalling. What can I say except that our menu is comparable to The Cheesecake Factory’s. You spend an hour reading thru it and then you get something with the alfredo that tastes like it was cooked at the same station as the marinara. Either way the sauce the past couple years has been weak. The playbook/menu outstrips the kitchen’s ability to cook everything with their A game.

Hokie football was built on leaning on teams. What goes for one yard in the first, goes for two yards in the second, goes for six points in the 4th. (quote from ex-NFL/USC coach John Robinson). Now we’re integrating personnel into a spread system that used the no-huddle last week, so it’ll be interesting to see how much huddle time we use vs a viable opponent such as OSU.

Defensively, we have no real concerns. We looked pretty good against all the base formations. We got fooled once by the wildcat set (W&M gained 193 net yards, 100 were on three plays). We have two heavy watch-list names in Luther Maddy (DT) and Kendall Fuller (CB, in a long line of DB brothers). And I’d be completely underselling DE Cory Marshall (who will work his way onto the 2nd day of the draft at minimum) and his counterpart DE Dadi Nicolas, who can probably beat 3/4 of your WRs in a foot race.

MotSaG: Virginia Tech has one of the best secondaries in the nation — do you feel it will cause problems for scarlet shirt freshman JT Barrett?

GobblerCountry: Barrett would be best suited testing the edges to get the corners to creep in and help the nickel back and LBs out. That’s when he’s going to want to challenge our guys deep. Our second CB Brandon Facyson didn’t fare so well against the Tribe’s all-CAA WR (until he went out with an injury). The added pressure on him due to Fuller being so lock-down will reveal him very soon as our resident whipping boy or whether he’ll live up to all the attention he’s getting from QBs.

Our safeties include an NFL draft hopeful in Kyshoen Jarrett who really fits the mold of the hard-hitting Hokie SS (like Aaron Rouse and Kam Chancellor before him). Our Free man is Detrick Bonner, who excels in run support, but is toastable in man coverage. I’m sure Urban is aware of this. Chuck Clark is the nickel du jour, as Bud Foster defenses often eschew the extra LB for more speed.

MotSaG: How excited are VT players to get to play in the ‘Shoe?

GobblerCountry: I can only imagine that for a large percentage of these players that the experience will be once in a lifetime. However, OSU returns the favor with a return trip to Blacksburg, so they’ll have to get over the stars in their eyes and remember that they will be tussling with a lot of these guys next year. Now is not the time to genuflect, its time to see what we’ve got in terms of mental strength.

MotSaG: If OSU can shut down VT’s running game how much pressure does that put on Brewer?

GobblerCountry: Some pressure to be sure, but if they don’t put pressure on him, we have weapons on the edges that we didn’t possess the past two years. We have a TE corps that is the ultimate fire alarm to pull in case of emergency, and we have more seasoned receivers. I think we test your speed in the LB corps and see if they can keep the 6 and 7 yard hitches in front of them. I also think the seam routes are a nice attack point against the OSU team particularly if they decide to dial up the pressure. Brewer isn’t lauded for his arm strength, but I think he is very underrated, particularly rolling to his right. If you examine his HS tapes, you’ll see a little Drew Brees gunslinger in him. He also runs like a young Heath Shuler, or a Dee Dowis (lol, i always loved that name as a kid). We have some options, but it’s up to the coaches to adjust, and I never have confidence in the VT coaches to adjust mid-game. Pre-game? Great group of planners, but deer’ in the headlights when things hit the fan between the lines. There’s a reason there are only like 4 double digit comebacks in Coach Beamer’s career (spans to 1986).

MotSaG: What are some of the VT players Buckeye fans should keep an eye out for?

GobblerCountry: QB Michael Brewer, RB Shai McKenzie/Marshawn “Juice” Williams (you’ll cheer for Coleman if he’s in), TE’s Bucky Hodges/Ryan Malleck, WR Isaiah Ford, Willie Byrn, Josh Stanford

DT Luther Maddy, DE Corey Marshall, DE Dadi Nicolas, LB Chase Williams, LB Derek DiNardo, CB Kendall Fuller, SS Kyshoen Jarrett

P AJ Hughes….we know about your P too….but ours goes to 11.

MotSaG: Do you feel like VT was looking past William and Mary last weekend to this weeks matchup?

GobblerCountry: Not at all, it was a sleepy effort at times, crisp at others. A lot of bodies saw action against an FCS club. Not that W&M is Navy (but they could give Navy a game). But as a former athlete who is aware of world surroundings, I can’t imagine a few of the guys didn’t look ahead.

MotSaG: Do some of the redzone issues that VT had last week concern you?

GobblerCountry: Red zone issues always concern me especially when you have the bulk advantage up front. We need to establish a rotation, and stick to it. This RB by committee thing is a real thorn in the side for me, especially when we settle for FGs of 20 and 27 yards. But that feeling would be universal amongst all college football fans, wouldn’t it?? We need to impose ourselves down there, and that is the function half the time. The finesse stuff, we can put that in the round file, particularly inside the five. I like the fade pattern when you have a guarantee like Randy Moss. Otherwise, like your own immortal Woody Hayes once said, “When you throw the ball, three things can happen and two of them are bad.”

MotSaG: What’s your prediction for the game?

GobblerCountry: Hokies shock the world. Brewer matches Brown, several TOs kill momentum on both sides. OSU misses a long FG to win. Hokies 20-17, on a wet field (I think there’s a good possibility of rain in Columbus Saturday)

Thanks for this opportunity to converse with you guys. Check us out for VT Hokies sports news on www.gobblercountry.com or @gobblercountry on Twitter. We also have a Facebook page.

Good luck Saturday, and most importantly have fun as safely as possible!

I would like to thank Chuck for taking the time out of his busy schedule to help me with this post. While he made some fine points and may make some Buckeye fans nervous for the game tomorrow I do not believe for one second that William and Mary would have been able to handle Navy. Navy showed last Saturday they are a very talented and athletic team that no one wants to give credit to but we will see at the end of the year what kind of season they had and if I am the delusional one.

This game has the making of being a close game but after watching the VT and W&M match-up last weekend somethings just didn’t impress me with VT. I think their run defense might be suspect and I look for the Buckeyes running back stable to take pressure of JT and possibly opening up the play action big time for the Buckeyes. I hope that the tight ends get used more and that they don’t have to stay back to help with blocking on the line. The coaching staff hopefully fixed some of the problems on the offensive line especially going up against a more talented VT defensive line, VT secondary does worry me but JT and the coaching staff seem smart enough to figure out ways to get those guys out of position. We will finally see the new revamped secondary against a more traditional offense and I’m looking forward to a big night from the defensive line.

My prediction as I believe I said on the podcast is 34-14 Ohio State.

Remember have any questions for any of the upcoming games you would like answered email us at AskMotSaG@gmail.com. Would love to hear from you and Go Buckeyes.

MotSaG TV Guide

College Football is back just in time for a long holiday weekend! You can celebrate the end of your 234-day sports prison sentence by watching games for five straight days (if you agree to lower your standards a little).



North Carolina at South Carolina. You would think this game would happen more often than it does, but there is no historical animosity to fuel a good old-fashioned border-war college football rivalry. The colony of Carolina split so amicably in 1712 that it makes Bruce and Demi look like Alec and Kim (I had to Google that entire sentence). UNC is probably good enough to keep things interesting at least until you finish your wings. (ESPN)

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