VTF Roundtable: Miami Hurricanes

by JustinC on November 1, 2012 · 8 comments

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hi res 154445294 crop 650x440 300x203 VTF Roundtable: Miami HurricanesTonight, is a big one folks.  It might not seem like it if you look at the records of both teams but tonight's game will likely decide the Coastal Division.  If Virginia Tech wins, they just need to beat Boston College and UVA to go to Charlotte.  That's it.  A Florida State loss wouldn't mean a whole lot other than it would secure the Seminoles as our opponent in ACC Championship Game.  For Miami, they have just UVA and Duke left on their schedule after this game.  A win here, would almost secure them a spot in the ACC Title game for the first time ever.  With impending sanctions coming, this may be the last time they can do so until at least the 2014 season. 

After a bye week we're back with our Q&A with our VTF discussion panel.  Let's get to it!

Virginia Tech vs. Florida State Tickets

Virginia Tech vs. Virginia Tickets

Virginia Tech Basketball Tickets

1.) The Hokies are 4-4 on the season but are still in the thick of things in the ACC Coastal race. At this point, do you think the Hokies win the Coastal?

HokieG: They can win the Coastal, and if they beat Miami on Thursday you could even say it’s likely. But I’m having trouble having confidence in this team to accomplish much of anything at this point.

Beating Miami is far from a sure thing, FSU will likely be a loss, and would you be totally surprised if this team had a slip up against BC or especially UVa? So yes, they can win the Coastal, but I would give it less than 40% odds right now. Too many hurdles still to jump. After Thursday, things will be clearer.

JustinC:  If we win tonight, yes.  If not then the scenario that needs to happen involves us beating Florida State at home and Miami losing to Duke.  Both of which could happen but are unlikely.  Hopefully, I don't have to write that article and the Hokies take care of business tonight for the first time on the road.  Even with our struggles this season, playing a 13th and 14th game would be beneficial going forward.  Anytime you get an extra week of practice and an extra game, it tends to benefit you longterm. 

BryanM: I do actually see the Hokies winning the Coastal because I can envision them at 5-3 in the ACC, just enough to win the Coastal.

MMinor:  In all honesty: yes, I think VT will win the Coastal. I think this SOLELY because we have the best overall coaching staff in the nation. They can get this team where it needs to be, but the team needs to reciprocate and open themselves up to new things (I liked what I saw defensively against Clemson).  When you hit the bottom, you're going to have to bounce back or die, and I think they've done a nice job of bouncing back in the past couple games.

I foresee an upset win over FSU if the crowd comes prepared (which includes the student section to stop acting like a bunch of damn idiots), and the team is able to feed off of that. A lot of the momentum we will have for that game is going to come from this week's game, and I hope to God we don't embarrass ourselves on the national stage two weeks in a row. 

2.) Miami enters this game losing three straight games, two of which have been at home, while scoring an average of 18 points in those contests. Is this a game where we could see a return of a vintage looking Virginia Tech defense?

HokieG: When I think of a vintage defense, it doesn’t look anything like we’ve seen in 2012. Vintage VT defense is stuffing the run, having lock-down corners who allow you to attack the QB with relentless blitzes, and the opposing offense in constant fear of turnovers.

Yes, I think the VT defense has played better the last 2 games, and could have their best games ahead of them. But at this point, Bud Foster is just hoping for a defense that can make stops, not give up the big play, and get off the field on 3rd down. That’s the goal of most defenses in NCAA football. The VT ‘Vintage’ defenses took it to whole other levels, and had higher goals than that.

JustinC: No, not even close.  In fact, I could see this game being fairly high scoring.  Our defense has improved over the last seven quarters but it's just not at the level that's required here at Virginia Tech.  We're still too inconsistent.  Our defense is ranked 20th in the country in tackles for loss with over seven a game but is 49th in total defense.  Those two stats don't necessarily make sense.  It's like our offense is 4th in the country in 40-plus yard plays but we're 59th in scoring offense.

As for this Miami game, the Canes still have too many weapons to use offensively for us to completely shut them down.  The good news is that a lot of their playmakers probably wouldn't even start on their past "Championship" teams.  All of their receivers were ordinary three stars out of high school, their running back Mike James is good but not spectacular.  Duke Johnson is their best 'playmaker' but he's hit the freshman wall in the last few weeks.  Miami is going to find a way to score some points, especially with Stephen Morris being as mobile as he is but I do think Bud Foster finds a way to keep them under 24 points.

BryanM: Yes, it is. The Hokie defense has been outstanding the past two games. Miami is a young team with tremendous speed so you don't want to be the team that they figure it out against. Pressure Morris, this game is over. He will make mistakes.

MMinor: With all the pieces looking to finally fit, the success is sure to come. I was surprised by how well the defense handled Clemson, especially considering we basically shut them down after they gouged us twice in 2011 (with them having mostly the same roster this year as they did in '11). Luther Maddy stepped up big-time on the d-line, and our secondary played about as well as they could matched up against one of the most athletic offenses in the nation.

I do have a bone to pick with a personnel change we're making, however. I read in a recent interview that Foster was planning on giving Jeron Gouveia-Winslow some reps at safety to increase the depth. While I agree that we need more depth and experience in the defensive backfield, I do not understand why we wouldn't throw Tweedy back there and see how he does. He is the fastest out of all the LB's, and is making the tackle on almost every special teams play in the open field.

3.) The Hurricanes rank 98th in scoring defense, giving up an average of 32.4 points per game. What do you expect out of the Virginia Tech offense in this matchup?

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HokieG: First, let me just say that last week’s game vs. Clemson finally put me over the edge with Virginia Tech’s offensive issues. I was so frustrated watching the futile VT offense struggle with play calling, execution, lack of imagination, and just plain malaise last week that I’m firmly in the camp of other VT fans who are ready to clean house and start fresh in the off-season. What kills me the most is we have talent on this offense, and the program has access to incredible offensive talent in the state of Virginia. That talent either goes elsewhere or totally goes to waste when it comes into the old, boring, futile VT offensive machine.

It’s time for a complete change in philosophy. All you have to do is watch college football for a Saturday to see the potential of what a new offensive philosophy at VT could bring. Back to your question, I expect more of the same. Our offense will succeed if and only if some of our talented playmakers find a way to make great plays on their own. If Logan Thomas, Marcus Davis, JC Coleman, Corey Fuller, or someone else can simply will themselves to make some great plays, we will score some points.

If you read between my lines, I’m saying that I don’t expect us to have some superior game plan and scheme that takes advantage of Miami’s weakness, and puts our players in a position to exceed. That doesn’t happen at VT, it takes highly talented play makers making plays for us to score points. Frankly, the biggest problem we’ve had in 2012 is having less of these playmakers than in years past.

JustinC: I'm expecting more of the same.  How can you expect anything different at this point?  Our issues aren't going to be fixed overnight and we really need to re-think our offensive strategy in the off-season.  It's become a weakness and it has been for some time.  As for this Miami game, I do think our offensive line will be able to open up a few holes for JC Coleman.  In fact, he's really the X-factor for this game.  If we can find ways to get him outside and in open fields, we can have a lot of success tonight.  Miami is a horrendous tackling team so watching them try to find and tackle JC would be entertaining.

With that being said, Miami, although their giving up a ton of yards in the process, have held their last three opponents under their season average for both yards and points. 

BryanM: I expect the Hokies to attack downfield. It is a strength for Thomas and the WRs. This will open up the running game where Miami is ranked 119th out of 120 teams in run defense.

MMinor: Not to sound bleak, but I expect nothing out of the offense this upcoming week, and I expect nothing out of them until they prove me wrong. They were the reason we lost to Clemson (special teams as well), and they made that defense look like Notre Dame. There's a couple of reasons WHY I expect nothing out of them:

  1. The coaching staff must forget the running back depth chart on the bus before every game. I can't imagine how running four different guys with completely different styles helps our already struggling Offensive line.
  2. I'm now convinced nO'vaCain has NO idea what he's doing  when it comes to offensive play-calling.
  3. Logan is continually forcing throws to receivers who are being blanketed, and often these throws are erratic.
  4. Our offensive line is a work in progress, but we keep running to the weakest side of it.
  5. We aren't getting the ball in the hands of our best playmakers (why not try one of our 2,000 WR screen passes to Demitri Knowles?)

4.) Piggybacking off that last question, we all know the stat-line of Logan Thomas in last season's game against Canes. Do you see him having similar success on Thursday?

HokieG: I was at that game in Lane Stadium and it was thriller. It was the best game I’ve seen Logan play. For some reason, Virginia Tech plays Miami tough. The players get fired up for Miami, and usually have outstanding performances. I think Logan will have one of his better performances of the season.

JustinC: I think it would be asking too much if Logan Thomas has to put up another 23-25 passing performance for 300 plus yards and five total touchdowns.  But, I do think he's a better quarterback when he plays team that line up in more man-to-man coverage.  Miami tends to leave their corners on islands and we had a lot of success against them last season.  Then again, Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale are gone.  So our new receivers need to find a way to match that success this year. 

BryanM: No, last season was amazing for Thomas. He hasn't played well enough all year for me to think he will play that mistake-free. However, I could see him putting up big numbers.

MMinor:  No, I don't. I know I'm sounding like a Negative Nancy right now, but in all honesty I can't even watch the TV when we have the ball offensively anymore. Every time I do, it ends with me turning away, shaking my head, sighing "god damnit" loudly under my breath, and walking away. Many of these moments have come from the play of Logan and his struggles early in each game. He takes a while to get adjusted, and we fall behind on the scoreboard because the play of the quarterback sets the pace for the rest of the offense.

I hate dogging any of the players, but at some point they have to play up to their potential. That being said, he has had his biggest moments in his career thus far against Miami (first collegiate pass in 2010, and his career best game last year). Hopefully, he plays out of his mind Thursday and makes me look like a huge idiot. I can accept that.

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5. Lastly, give us a prediction for this game.

HokieG: Virginia Tech 28 27 Miami

JustinC: I feel pretty good about the matchup.  I am concerned since we're 0-4 on the road this season but we tend to beat Miami.  We always play well against them, even when we lose (a few years not withstanding).  So, I think the Hokies eek out a 27-24 win.

BryanM: Hokies 34 - Hurricanes 20

MMinor: So, considering how anti-VT I've been this whole time, I actually think we will win Thursday night if we can curb stomp "da U" early. They've been a mess the last couple of weeks, but they have faced better opponents than we have this season, so they may be more ready than we think. Hopefully we don't suffer from 'Pitt Syndrome' like we did earlier this season and let them beat us early. VT-31, duh U- 17

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

VTnyc November 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Time for a new special teams coach.

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hokiefan4life November 1, 2012 at 10:58 pm

VTnyc what you mean Beamer? Oh no not him. He’s the winningest coach that won’t I mean can never happen. Dang I can’t even lie good this is how bad this sounds. The saddest part is Beamer doesn’t even understand what’s going on with his team. I know I’m off subject but I could careless bring on next season already. I’m ready for this season to be over with.

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VTnyc November 2, 2012 at 5:14 am

I like Beamer but it is time to let someone else try coaching special teams. His demeanor is has spread from offense to special teams. Players have to play with some emotion (or pride). Beamer’s mentality of “Oh well. That should have worked. It will work next time.” just doesn’t cut it. A perfect example of this was the offensive series after Logan fumbled near the goal-line. The offense got together on the sidelines, Logan gave a little speech and not one offensive player even looked excited or pumped to get back out there. Needless to say I wasn’t shocked at the 3 and out that followed.

Sadly I’m not ready for the season to be over. The off season is so long and with all the analysts blowing smoke up our asses for so long we will be back to thinking VT is unbeatable next season.

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Alec November 1, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Honestly I think us fans are just as helpless as beamer is. I have no idea what I would do. And worse is Beamer is going to be sitting in his office the way he did after the JMU loss. WTF is happening.

Reply

GBD November 1, 2012 at 11:48 pm

1 touchdown against the 115 ranked miami defense. WOWWWWW!!!!!!!! That right their alone get’s coaches fired something better happen soon. Does anyone know if beamer made excuses after the game

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Brian November 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm

You really need to ask about this? Oh, did you know that we were just “5-7 plays away” in this game? Awesomeness!!!

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Vhokie November 2, 2012 at 9:48 am

Huge mistakes:
1-Hughes bobbling ball and getting punt blocked.
2-Huge return on kickoff by Duke Johnson.
3-Incredibly poor tackling on long Duke Johnson run.
4-Logan fumbling on the 2 yard line after a great drive.
5-Interception on first possession of the game….AWFUL pass.
6-Dyrell Roberts dropping sure touchdown in the endsonze
7-The incredibly bad time management at the end of the half with the phantom time out that Beamer thought he called. The clock should not have been running…its the coaches job to notice that and call a time out again if they need to. No one noticed except the people watching on TV. We went to the half with a time out in our pocket.

All in all, an INCREDIBLY sloppy game for VT. The defense played great for the majority of the 2nd half and then folded at the end after they realized the offense wasn’t going to do anything. We actually controlled the game for quite awhile, time of possession, total yards, plays from scrimmage…but our stupid mistakes just handed them points. Sad, sad, state of affairs for VT.

I still think we will be better next year…but changes need to be made.
I was also disappointed with our pass rush last night, but overall happy with the run defense.

Make some changes Beamer or the game will pass you by…

I honestly think we have been spoiled by the 8 year run of 10 wins and the great string of success in the ACC. Our fans do not know how to react to a down year and we are not handling it very well…myself included. Lets try and regain some perspective…at least we don’t have an empty stadium on a Thursday night game on ESPN, like the Hurricanes did…that crowd was PATHETIC! Even though our season is over, you can bet our stadium will be filled with a rowdy crowd next Thursday night for the FSU game…

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LJ November 2, 2012 at 11:05 am

I have intentionally stayed off this forum because of the enviable. Love the football program but could see this coming from game one. Pre-season #16, ranked as high as #13 after game two and this team is worse now than after the last spring game. As we go into game 10, it is obvious that we have not mastered the fundamentals, lack focus and have not taught these kids a dam thing about football since before the 2011 Clemson game (4-7 since). I could paraphrase the coaches comments after those 7 losses but you guys know the drill…”we don’t need to change anything”, “players need to step up” and FB’s comment last week “we need to settle on one RB”. Guys the only leadership being demonstrated is from Logan Thomas…and because of the pressure to be the QB, coach on the field and motivator his play has suffered big time. As I read yesterday’s roundtable I almost choked on my bagel when MMMinor said we would win because we have the best coaching staff in the BCS…Bro don’t quit your day job..There are at least 20 other staffs out there that would not be 4-5 with our talent and our relative week schedule to this point..Period. I don’t blame you guys for always picking a VT victory because on paper we should be 8-1. We have more talent (mostly being red-shirted) than every team on the schedule except maybe Clemson (offence only). When you lose to inferior teams consistently it’s on the COACHING STAFF. Clock management has been an issue all year, player usage and assignments has been terrible (JC Coleman up the middle-really and jet sweeps!), (sooo predictable) teaching LT not to stare down receivers every play and taking what the defense give you…JC has been open all year in the flat…Coaching..And lastly FB and the 1st half time out..After the measurement FB and after you see the Refs start the clock at 29 seconds, walk on the field and demand a TO…take control…or take vitamins or retire

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