Share This Post
How much do you know about Austin Peay? Did you know they were actually located in Clarkesville, Tennessee and home to around 10,000 students, roughly the same size as Radford University? I didn't until I just looked that up prior to writing that last sentence. Obviously, Austin Peay is going to be a bit over-matched this week but that doesn't mean they can't hang around similar to JMU in 2010. But, a loss to the Governors would be tragic and downright pitiful. We're talking about a team that hasn't been good on the FCS level in a long, long time.
It's Friday and to celebrate we're back with our know-it-all panel of Virginia Tech enthusiasts. Joining us this week as our featured guest is the man who goes by @Hokieguru on Twitter. He's also a part-time blogger for http://www.allsportsdiscussion.com as well. So, without further adieu, let's talk football!
1. What a game! What were your thoughts after Cody Journell hit the game winning field goal on Monday night? Also, how much does this affect the Coastal Division race going forward? Is VT a lock now?
HokieG: Surprise and relief. I’m somewhat conditioned to VT losing this type of game. Plus the game seemed so eerily familiar to last year’s Sugar Bowl (great defense, muddled offense, special teams errors, overtime loss), you sort of expected history to repeat itself.
But I’ve casually followed Georgia Tech over the years and that program has its own demons, which were at play as well. They tend to find ways to lose games, which really frustrates the fan base. So you had the negative karma of Georgia Tech working ‘for’ the Hokies.
Overall, I get the feeling there will be more games like this for Virginia Tech this year.
JustinC: Relief. Definitely. I remember telling my brother as we were walking out of Lane Stadium how much we couldn't afford to lose that one. Imagine this, GT up 1-0 in the Coastal with no FSU on their schedule and most of their tougher games at home. While Virginia Tech still has to travel to Clemson, UNC, Boston College, and Miami. Plus, a home date with FSU in November. Had Journell missed that field goal, the Hokies were done this season. Instead, Journell made his kick and the rest, as they say, is history.
How does this affect the Coastal race? Well, it definitely puts the Hokies on a pedestal. It's not over by a long shot though. The Yellow Jackets have the ability to go 7-1 in the conference and with Virginia Tech's ACC schedule, I could see the Hokies losing two somewhere along the way. But, I would much rather be 1-0 than 0-1 at this point, especially with past history going in our favor.
Bryan: Journell hitting that field goal is big moving forward. Showing he could bounce back from missing the 38-yard attempt was good for his confidence. VT needs him, this team could be in a lot of close games by the looks of Monday night. As for the Coastal, I wouldn't say it is a lock, but they are in good shape. This Georgia Tech team may not lose another conference game. The Hokies have to show they can beat FSU and Clemson. You also can't sleep on Miami, UVa and UNC.
@HokieGuru: My first thought was that I am so glad that Cody got a chance to redeem himself after missing that first field goal (he not only tied the game up, but hit the winner). Too often, it seems that the Hokies have been on the wrong side of that equation where we don’t get a chance to make up for mistakes. We got that opportunity in the Georgia Tech game. Think about this for a minute – Cody Journell hit the winning field goal in overtime – the first over time game in the history of Lane Stadium. That’s a memory that all of those football players, coaches, spectators, fans, and television viewers will have for a long time.
While there’s a lot of football to be played, Virginia Tech is as close as you can get to a lock. By virtue of its win over Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech basically has a two game lead over the Jackets in the Coastal Division. North Carolina and Miami are not eligible for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championship Game – Duke does not really have a chance – and Virginia might go south to five or six victories this year. That leaves Virginia Tech in the Coastal Division’s driver seat – it’s the Hokies division to lose now.
2. What was the biggest surprise on Monday night? Were there any players that stood out amongst the rest?
HokieG: Many of the players I expected to play well, did play well, so I won’t mention them. But the new players I most ‘noticed’ were Corey Fuller, Michael Holmes, J.C. Coleman, A.J. Hughes, and Keyshoen Jarrett.
Fuller looks to be a solid #2 or #3 wide receiver. Plus there is just something about trusting a player from the ‘Fuller’ family. Holmes didn’t get a ton of carries, but I liked what I saw. One cut, and go. J.C. Coleman is going to be a playmaker, he will be fun to watch develop this season and over his career.
Hughes is going to be remembered a lot for the dropped punt/turnover (would have been worse if we lost). But his punting was solid, and was especially important in a field position oriented game like this one. Jarrett not only seemed comfortable at the safety position but was around the ball a lot. Will be interesting how he does against a more pass-happy offense.
JustinC: Honestly, I was really surprised with how poor Logan Thomas looked in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Poor mechanics, poor footwork, and poor timing all played into our offense sputtering. I know a lot of people around me were yelling out the traditional Stinespring colloquialisms but a lot of our offensive problems on Monday night just came down to execution. Of course, I'll end this by saying he more than made up for it with his play in the 4th quarter. Still, I was a little surprised by how slow Logan started this game.
As for players who stood out, I'll echo Glenn's sentiments above. Corey Fuller looked like our best wide receiver on Monday, Kyshoen Jarrett stepped in and delivered a few big blows from the rover position, and our running backs showed some flashes. Overall, there was a lot to like about Monday's performance. Now, it's just about making adjustments and getting better.
Bryan: Corey Fuller. I knew he was fast, but he showed he could get yards after the catch and reliable hands. He was there for Thomas on third down on more than one occasion. Jeron Gouveia-Winslow was impressive. To be honest, I didn't think he had it in him. If he can continue to play like this the defense will be unbelievably dominant.
@HokieGuru: The biggest surprise to me on Monday night was how far Logan Thomas was off on some of his passing attempts (a few of them sailed away and I didn’t expect that). This was the first game – it was a big one – and he might have had some opening night butterflies. The good thing, though, was that he acknowledged that he needed to improve his play (and he took one for the team when he said that). Yet, he stepped up when it counted in the fourth quarter – and marched us down the field for the tying field goal. I must be balanced - I know we will see better days this year with Logan (and the rest of the offense) – the season is not one race, but a marathon – long way to go.
To answer your second question, Jack Tyler (LB) was a beast – he was flying all over the place. I was so impressed by his aggressiveness. From a walk-on to ACC player of the week? Yeah, that’s awesome. He might be the next John Engleberger – from walk-on to the NFL.
3. Switching gears to Austin Peay, what are you most looking forward to in this matchup?
HokieG: Not pulling a JMU. Yeah, yeah Austin Peay is way worse than JMU, but let’s be sure to be up by 14 at the end of the first quarter, and up by 28 by halftime so that the scenario doesn’t even come into play.
Beyond that, I’m sure everyone wants to see key backups get reps, like the young WRs and RBs. Logan Thomas can use this game to get in further rhythm with his starters. But frankly, let’s just win and not get anyone (** word omitted for fear of jinx **).
JustinC: Austin Peay is a last minute replacement for East Carolina, who we removed from our schedule to make way for Alabama in 2013. So, much like Oklahoma State playing Savannah State, this shouldn't be much of a contest. Hopefully, our rookies and some of our backups can see a full half of football on Saturday. We need to get those guys some reps and this is a perfect game to get them that experience. That's really the only reason to watch this game if you're not going to be in attendance.
Bryan: Looking forward to Thomas continuing to knock the rust off. Like to see better timing between he and the WRs. When the competition gets tougher he is going to need to play better. However, he proved that big-time players show up when it matters the most.
@HokieGuru: We have to get the running game in gear. We cannot expect to rush for 96 yards (like we did vs. Georgia Tech, who has a middle of the pack defense at best in the ACC) and expect to defeat Clemson or Florida State. Luckily, we have time before those games. I expect that you will see a renewed focus on the running game vs. Austin Peay (and the use of the play-action pass – that’s who we are). I’m pretty sure you’re going to see Michael Holmes and J.C. Coleman get a lot of work in this game
4. Obviously, this should be a game where our backups get some playing time. Which one of our reserves are you most looking forward to seeing play?
HokieG: Corey Fuller, Dimitri Knowles, Kevin Asante, Joshua Stanford . Get all these guys some catches and some live game time with Logan Thomas. Then get Mark Leal in the second half.
On defense, if we can get up by 4 TDs, it would probably be safe to get the back up DBs and LBs in the game too. Donovan Riley, Donaldvan Manning, Desmond Frye, Boye Aromire, Deon Clark, Chase Williams.
JustinC: I think our young wide receivers and Make Leal will benefit from the extra reps on Saturday. It will be nice to have some game film on guys like Mark Shuman, Jake Goins, Laurence Gibson, Caleb Farris, and Brent Benedict as well on the offensive line.
Same goes for the defense. Just give our younger guys some reps and let them adjust to the college game. Nothing beats in-game reps when it comes to development so Saturday is crucial for that reason.
Bryan: Chase Williams. I saw today he would actually be starting but he is technically still a reserve. Been very interested to see what he can do for awhile now. He has terrific athletic ability and being the son of a coach, you know he is smart and prepared. Also, this would be a terrific time to get those reserve CBs some time. Exum and Fuller are terrific. But, at some point the depth will be tested. Tomorrow is the type of game where you get those young reserves some playing time.
@HokieGuru: I’m going to go with “the guys in the trenches” with this answer. It always seems that we have an offensive lineman get hurt during the year – and we need to get our reserves some more playing team. Therefore, you can probably guess that I’d like to see Bruce Benedict get some reps at right guard. I think that developing our depth on the offensive line is very important.
5. What’s your prediction for this Saturday’s game?
HokieG: Probably a shut out. VT 48 – 0 Austin Peay. Go Hokies!
JustinC: Austin Peay has not been shutout since 2005, their first year back from non-scholarship football. Because of that, I think they find a way to score late in the game and keep the Hokies from notching their first shutout of the year. I'm going with Virginia Tech 54, Austin Peay 7.
Bryan: Virginia Tech 49 - Austin Peay 6
@HokieGuru: Austin Peay is ranked 101 in total defense in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). There are only five FCS teams that have a worst total defense ranking than Austin Peay. My prediction is the entire second team will be on the field by the middle of the third quarter.
Enjoy this post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed and never miss another! Or sign up to get exclusive VirginiaTechFan.com Sports Analysis delivered straight to your inbox!