Hokies and Wahoos playing for more than bragging rights

With 8 seconds left on the game clock in Doak Campbell Stadium Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins lined up for a 43 yard field goal attempt that would give the Seminoles a victory over the Cavaliers of UVA. For only the 4th time all year Hopkins missed the kick wide right. The impact of this missed field goal could be felt not only in the Sunshine State but also in the great state of Virginia 625 miles away in Blacksburg. The impact can be characterized as both one of joy and one of fear. Joy because it means that the annual game between VT and UVA will have bigger implications than in recent years. Fear because of what can happen to the Hokies season with a loss to UVA, something that hasn’t happened in 2,550 days (That’s 7 years ! )

Davon Morgan and friends celebrate 2010 Cup win

Last years game as seen in the photo above was played in Blacksburg and won by the Hokies 37 – 7. Even though the Hokies have dominated the rivalry a lot has changed since the last time these two met. In the off season UVA and coach Mike London dominated the state of Virginia in recruiting. Taking recruits like CB Demetrious Nicholson , RB Clifton Richardson and WR Dominique Terrell from the tidewater/ Virginia Beach region of the state that the Hokies have been controlling for years. Nicholson has been the most productive of the group with 50 tackles and 2 interceptions coming into Saturdays game. This early production is only a sign of whats to come of the Hoos 2011 recruiting class.

Nicholson is one of many players thriving in Mike London’s defensive scheme that is ranked 28th in the nation for points allowed per game(20.1). Led by junior LB Steve Greer, who has 94 tackles on the season, the Cavs have used speed and athletisim to mess with the opposing QB especially in the red zone. Another bright spot for UVA has been the play of QB Mike Rocco and RB Perry Jones who have each provided sparks when their team needs them most. Look for Jones to have a tough day going against a Hokies defense that has allowed and average of 3

Perry Jones

.3 yards per carry this season. UVA will have a shot to upset their hated rivals and win more than just the Commonwealth Cup.

For the Hokies to avoid the upset and the embarrassment that the Cavs are planning to give them they must do 3 things perfectly.

  1. Don’t go for the big hit just make the tackle: The Hokies have struggled with wrapping up ball carriers this season and it has lead to big runs and plays. Fortunately this only happens a few times over the course of a game but it usually results in a score for the opposition.
  2. The O-LINE must buy some time for Logan Thomas: In Tech’s Thursday night win over UNC Logan Thomas was outside of the pocket more than he was inside of it, Sure he works well on edge and utilizes his feet but he would benefit greatly with a few extra seconds to make a clear decision on where to throw the ball. A sloppy game by the big boys up front would be fatal to Techs chances.
  3. Don’t be complacent: So many times when a team is ranked highly and predicted to win by many experts they become happy or content with what they have and don’t strive for more. It’s what knocked my own High School team out of the playoffs this year and its what can certainly destroy any hopes that the Hokies have of an ACC Championship and a BCS Bowl appearance.

The Hokies should win this game with the play of David Wilson and Logan Thomas in recent weeks. Sure UVA’ s defense has been pretty good and they have a lot of momentum building to the game but they have yet to see a QB of Thomas’ size, speed and athleticism. Tech will have to play perfect and score early silencing the Wahoowaa in Charlottesville and crushing any hopes that they have of an upset.

My prediction is that the Hokies will win over UVA for the 8th straight year but it will be very very close and could come down to the final minutes of the game. Techs special teams will give them the slight edge and the leg of Kicker Cody Jounell will show the country that the Hokies do belong (something that Oregon, Oklahoma State and Alabama failed to do).

In addition to predicting this game I also have some picks on the other rivalry games of week 13

Arkansas will beat LSU on their home field.

Auburn will beat Alabama in Auburn in what will be the best Iron Bowl to date.

Oklahoma State will beat Oklahoma in Bedlam

If my 1st two picks are right look for the Hokies to move into the top 3 with a realistic shot at a BCS Championship game berth. But for any of that to happen Tech must 1st take care of UVA and maintain control of the Commonwealth Cup.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and enjoy your football weekend !

 

Hokies Preview 2011

Another college football season in upon us. It feels like just yesterday I was blogging about the Hokies 2010 preview and saying what high expectations the veteran team led by a star senior QB, Tyrod Taylor had coming for them. The team started out the year losing a close game to Boise State and then getting upset big time by James Madison in Blacksburg. But boy oh boy did the Hokies turn their 2010 campaign around. The team would go on to win 10 straight games including their 4th ACC Championship since joining the conference in 2004. The season would however end in a terrible fashion with a beating from the Stanford Cardinal and QB Andrew Luck in the Orange Bowl.

Hokies in Orange Bowl

Now for 2011…. The Hokies have a veteran Offensive line that features 4 seniors who are all massive in size, an exciting RB that may have a chance at the Heisman depending on how the team does as a whole and most importantly a young up and coming QB that has the experts’ mouthes watering with his size, speed and amazing arm. It also helps that the Hokies have an All-American corner who led the NCAA in interceptions a year ago and 7 starters overall returning on defense.  Now lets break this down piece by piece starting with the big boys on the O-Line.

  1. The Hokies O-line is a group that possesses great size, speed and strength but aside from those obvious attributes the big boys for the Maroon and Orange have a very special characteristic that many people just flat don’t have. That characteristic is leadership the group is led by 4 seniors, in particular the big boy you see wearing number 62 in the snapshot below who is Blake DeChristopher. DeChristopher has been a key player up front playing in 37 games since arriving in Blacksburg. Blake stands at a towering 6′ 5 and weighs in around 311 lbs. The other 3 seniors on the line are guards Greg Nosal (6’6 291 lbs) and Jaymes Brookes (6’2 304 lbs) and left tackle Andrew Lainer (6’5 305 lbs). The lone junior on the line is center Andrew Miller who is also a veteran in the college ranks.The Hokies front 5 is also ranked number 8 in the nation by Rivals.com.  

Blake DeChristopher

2.        Next on my list of key factors is the speedy RB David Wilson. Wilson who is entering his junior year is the last remaining member of a 4 headed running attack that featured two former RB’s (Ryan Williams and Darren Evans) and a speedy QB (Tyrod Taylor). Known for his clutch play on special teams, Wilson will be a major player in the backfield getting almost every carry as the feature back of the Hokie offensive attack. The speed of number 4 is unmatched with almost any one in the ACC, his 4.3 second 40 Time is nothing to mess with and to back it up he also runs track and field in the spring where he helped lead the Hokies to a National title in the triple jump that he was named an All-American. David combines his explosive speed with great instinct and a unique personality to boot which is huge in the huddle and in the locker room. Look for Wilson to make a push in the Heisman race and be a threat all over the field on Special teams and in the tech offense.

David Wilson

3.       The last key factor of the list of 3 that I’ve got for you all today is the one that every college football fan has been talking about… the one the only LOGAN THOMAS. We at the Haven 1st started blogging about the now QB of the Hokies back in 2008 (November 8th to be exact) in a post title “Hokie Update” (The Link is at the end of the paragraph). I said that kid from Brookville who was recruited as a TE/WR at the time was going to be next big thing and how he was the 1st bigtime 5 star prospect the hokies had signed since Tyrod Taylor two years prior. Thomas was also mentioned in a post earlier this year titled “In Logan we Trust” when I compared the QB to Cam Newton in size , speed and overall ability. Thomas has all the pieces from the line to the backfield and even has a veteran recieving core that will catch anything within their reach. Sky’s the limit for Thomas for both this year and years to come.
 
 
As far as the schedule for the Hokies this it doesn’t look too bad. With the opener being a home game against Appalachian State who is definitely not a team to sleep on but shouldn’t be that tough of a game. After that the Hokies have 3 more non conference games beginning with a trip to @ECU followed by a home matchup with Arkansas State and a trip to @Marshall. The the ACC portion of the schedule for Tech begins with visits from Clemson and Miami. Next is a trip to @Wake Forest and a home game with the Eagles of BC followed by a trip to @Duke then a BYE week in week 10. Then come two Thursday night primetime games, The 1st being a trip to A-Town against @ Georgia Tech then a classic thursday night in Blacksburg with the UNC Tarheels on ESPN. And to end the 2011 regular season the gobblers will travel to Charlottesville to beat @UVA for an 8th straight year.
 
When all is said and done I say that the Hokies will be a 11-1 team heading into the ACC Championship game taking on Florida State.
 
Tech’s season kicks off this weekend with Appalachian State @ 12:30 on the ACC Network (or for those who are like me outside of ACC Country it can be found on ESPN 3.com)
 

Hokies look for success in 2010

The Virginia Tech Hokies are currently ranked 10 in the Coaches Poll and in the top 10 in all the others. The Hokies are no strangers to the top of the rankings because they have started there in years pasts. The year is different in many ways. This year the Hokies have stars at many positions , This year they have a fully developed recruiting class from 2006 now into polished seniors that will likely make impacts on Sunday afternoons and the major difference that separates the 2010 team from all others…. They Can Go All The Way!!  One thing that may get in the Hokies way is as usual their brutal schedule. Starting in week 1 where they will square off with the Boise State Broncos in DC. The Broncos like the Hokies are very experienced especially on defense where they are returning 1o out of 11 starters from last years squad. This marquee matchup will also be very different but equally effective leaders at the Quarterback position. For Boise State it is the star-studded sophomore Kellen Moore. Moore racked up 35,000 yards and 39 TD’s in the passing game in the 09 season. Moore also is a candidate for the Heisman Trophy this year. On the other side the Hokies will be led by Senior QB Tyrod Taylor or as many know him as “T-Mobile”. Tyrod has had a successful career with the Hokies last year racking up a career high 2,300 yards through the air and around 3.8 yards on average when running the ball.So if you look at it closer this is basically New School (Taylor) vs traditional (Moore) and both will be lighting it up on Monday 9/6/10 in our Nation’s capital. Another key matchup to watch is one that will feature two NFL ready prospects on the perimeter. The Matchup that I am talking about will be between Boise wide-out Titus Young and Hokie Corner Rashad Carmichael. Both these guys have 4.5 speed, are 5’11 and most important are both extremely physical when it comes to getting the ball.  Anyway we will all have to wait and see how this matchup goes now let’s get on to the rest of the season… What the Hokies have this year that they lacked last season is a good group of receivers that can be compared to guys that are succeeding on Sunday afternoons. For example senior WR Danny Coale is a small little speedster who knows when he must come through and will be Tyrod Taylor go to guy in many crucial situations throughout this season. When I see Coale I immediately think of the Patriots and there two slot receivers Julien Edelman and Wes Welker. Another prime example of a talented Hokie is Jaret Boykin who many Hokie fans will remember for his last second Hail Mary reception against Tennessee to close out the 1st Half of the 2009 Chick Fil’a Bowl. What Boykin possesses is size at 6’2 and good speed to be a potential deep threat like say a Santonio Holmes or maybe a Sidney Rice. But I don’t see either one of these receivers getting over 1,000 yards this year not because they can’t but because they won’t have the opportunity to do so

HOKIE D

Coale

  

Carmichael

This of course is because of two things… 1. They are Virginia Tech and they play “Beamer Ball” by running up the gut and getting physical. My second point is that Tech has two Runningbacks who have rushed for over 1,200 yards in a single season. We start off this dangerous 1-2 punch with Ryan Williams who led the ACC with 1,600 rushing yards and 21 TD’s last season. Williams is entering is second year as the starter and has already announced that it will be his last in the Chicago Maroon and Orange. Who can blame him… He is projected as a sure 1st rounder in this year’s NFL Draft. Part 2 of the attack is led by Darren Evans who missed all of last year with a torn ACL in a practice scrimmage. Evans had a brilliant 08 season where he had just over 1,200 yards and rushed for 11 TD’s including a Thursday Night game in Blacksburg against Maryland where he set a school record with 253 yards rushing in a single game. Unfortunately for the Hokies like Williams, Evans has his eyes set on the NFL where he should be picked around the 2nd or 3rd round depending on his 40 time. What Tech also has as a back up plan is another talented runner in sophomore David Wilson who ran a 4.3 in his recent 40 yard dash. What the Hokies also have to help their electric ground game are experience linemen like senior center Beau Warren and redshirt juniors Blake DeChristopher and Jaymes Brookes on the right side of the line. As we all know size matters and the Hokies know this by having 3 linemen over 6’6 and two of those 3 weighing in over 300 lbs. Now the key to every Va. Tech football team is always on the defensive side of the ball by legendary defensive coordinator Bud Foster who as usual will have a defensive unit that ranks in the top 10 in yards and points allowed. This year the Hokie defense will be led by defensive backs like Davon Morgan , Jayron Hosley and Rashard Carmichael. But it will as always start-up front with the “Big Nasty’s” in the trenches like John Graves, Steven Friday and Chris Dragger who will be looking to keep the pressure up throughout the course of the game.Next and probably most important to this Hokies Defense will be there linebackers. This years linebacker crew will be without the experience of a true leader due to the injury of junior Barquell Rivers. This unit should still be in the opposing backfield on every play even without the experience. My final prediction on the Hokies this year is a year of 10-1. I see Tech losing a close one with Boise in DC and then winning out and when all is said and done they will be ACC Champions for the 3rd time and will face either UCONN or Pittsburgh in an ACC vs Big East Showdown in a BCS Bowl.    

Hokies Year in Review

Happy 2010 everyone hope you all enjoyed 2009 for it was a great year in the sports community and so was the decade of the 2000’s or as some will call it the “UH OH ERA”. But I am here to talk about what happened a half an hour before the books closed on 09 which was the Virginia Tech Hokies capturing their 2nd straight bowl victory behind Ryan Williams who broke the Hokie single season rushing record with a 117 yard night and 2 TD’s which added to his incredible season stats of 21 TD’s and 1655 yds rushing on 293 carries. He averaged over 5 yards a carry and really was the foundation for Va. Tech’s 6th straight 10 win season!!! (only 1 other team has done this… Texas with 9). Continue reading