Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Oh Al Groh, that NFL savvy architect of the budding (any time now) football dynasty at the University of Virginia. While Al takes breaks from ironing his sweatshirt to continue to recruit and scheme for the 2010 national championship run that he's been building towards for nearly a decade, his team has become the worst in the ACC football conference. After losing to an up-and-coming Duke squad (that's the only non-sarcastic part of this post) this past Saturday, the 'Hoos look to rebound against a surprisingly game looking Maryland squad.
The website linked below was started by some Hokies. The aptly named, "Dontfirealgroh.com" pokes fun at one of the easiest targets in college football. Since his hiring as UVa's head football coach in 2001, Groh has helped to insure that Virginia Tech has a lockdown on recruiting in the Commonwealth of Virginia and on good football. His help will not soon be forgotten.
The website is now set up like Facebook, the comments Al's "friends" leave him are great. For example after being fired by the Oakland Raiders today, the fake Lane Kiffin had this...
Lane Kiffin Wrote: Hey, quick question...may seem out of the blue. Just out of curiosity, would you mind emailing me the dimensions of your office? Thx.
Don't Fire Al Groh
Monday, September 29, 2008
Instead of a song of the day, we've decided to do things a little differently today. What follows is a hilarious homemade video that some guy made about the latest Batman installment, The Dark Knight.
Here's what the creator had to say about it:
Okay this question's getting asked a lot so just be clear: I play the Joker, and I play Batman. Same guy. I did everything except punch myself in the face, which came compliments of my friend Robert (I think you can see how much he enjoyed it). Thank you all for watching.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
With all the question marks surrounding the Virginia Tech offense, they stepped up and turned in an impressive performance defeating Nebraska 35-30 in Lincoln Saturday night.
Sophomore Tyrod Taylor completed 9 of 15 passes for 171 yards and added 87 yards on the ground.
The Hokie defense absolutely shut down the Big Red Rushing attack, holding Nebraska to just 55 yards on the ground.
Meanwhile between Taylor, Darren Evans and Kenny Lewis Jr. who had 72 and 50 yards respectively, the Techmen amassed 206 yards rushing and Evans had two touchdowns.
The performance was by far the best offensively this season, and despite some struggles in the first half, Taylor settled down and really showed some impressive progress as both a passer and a runner.
Some critical defensive plays, including Macho Harris' interception deep in Cornhusker territory in the first half along with Stephan Virgil's blocked punt to open the scoring gave the Hokie offense enough help to secure the victory.
The Hokies are now 4-1 overall and 2-0 in ACC play. The Hokies find themselves ranked #20 in the AP Poll and will now return to Blacksburg for a match up with Western Kentucky next Saturday. WKU is coming off a 41-3 loss to Kentucky.
OTHER NEWS AND NOTES
-Sophomore Davon Morgan tore his ACL and will be out for the rest of the season. Davon was the starting rover, and will likely be replaced by Dorian Porch.
-The Hokies wore their new white throwback uniforms for the first time on the road. Tech previously wore them in their victory over Furman.
-Tyrod Taylor remains undefeated as a starting quarterback in college. His record now stands at 8-0.
After a disappointing loss last week to the Michigan State Spartans the Notre Dame Fighting Irish got back on track with a convincing 38-21 win over the Purdue Boilermakers. While the Boilermakers aren't exactly a juggernaut it was the way that the Irish took care of them that brings a smile to all ND fans.
For much of the season the ND rushing game has been nonexistent, if not downright awful. The Irish entered the game averaging 78 yards rushing. This Saturday, however, they eclipsed that mark in the 3rd quarter alone, gaining 90 yards from the contributions of Armando Allen, James Aldridge, and Robert Hughes. In all, Allen finished with 134, Aldridge with 34, and Hughes with 26.
Aside from the resurgent running game, Jimmy Clausen and the Irish receivers connected for a great day statistically. Statistically speaking, Clausen had his best day in an Irish uniform. He completed 20 of 35 passing attempts for 275 yards and 3 TDs and 0 INTs. True freshman Michael Floyd, who has been on fire all year, snagged 6 six catches for 100 yards. Tight end Kyle Rudolph, another true freshman, hauled in his first career TD on a 5 yard pass from Clausen in the third quarter. Senior David Grimes also scored a TD on a 30 yard pass from Clausen in the third quarter. Golden Tate made a few spectacular catches en route a 64 yard, 1 TD performance. Duval Kamara would have had a TD, but the officials ruled him out of bounds.
On the defensive side of the ball, true freshman CB Robert Blanton provided a much needed spark when the Irish were down early to the Boilermakers. Blanton intercepted a pass from Curtis Painted and took it 47 yards to the house. The rest of the Irish D played for the better part of the game, although they need to work on wrapping up players in the open field.
The kick game continues to create headaches as Brandon Walker missed a FG in the first quarter. Moreover, the Irish failed to notch a touchback or even get the ball close to the goal line on kickoffs. At least the kickoff coverage unit managed to hold Purdue's return men to their lowest output of the season.
All in all this game proved that the Irish are not about to give up on the running game just yet. If ND can repeat its success from this past weekend in future endeavors they have the chance to be a legitimately decent football team by the end of the year. Was Purdue's defense really that bad or did the Irish o-line overachieve? Only time will tell.
Next up: Stanford.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I hate to give compliments to a graduate of The University of Virginia, only because they're so reluctant to throw them back a Hokie's way, but Tina Fey is legitimately awesome. Her triumphant return to Saturday Night Live recently led to this very funny show opener. Alongside the hilarious Amy Poehler who plays Hillary Clinton, Fey does a spot on impression of Alaska governor and danger to society Sarah Palin. Enjoy.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I've had some time to think things over after ND's 23-7 loss to MSU and have come to a very important decision: if any of you honestly believed ND would go 11-0 heading into the season finale versus USC you were sadly mistaken, if not delusional.
Apparently, and also unfortunately, there are many more of you than I thought. The link for "thought" is by far the most appalling of all (including the entire thread) but you can see what I am getting at.
The main difference between fans and fanatics is that a fanatic's behavior violates prevailing social norms, even though fans can occasionally exhibit such behavior. Fanatical views stretch beyond normal human tendencies and reflect a great deal of immaturity. ND has way too many people that fall into the latter category and far too few in the former.
Don't get me wrong. I love Notre Dame. I love Notre Dame football. I also love the direction the program is heading in. Take a step back and consider the shambles we were in 4-5 years ago courtesy of a coach on one of the hottest seats in college football right now, save for Greg Robinson at Syracuse. I don't want to get into the entire story, so please click here for perspective on the issue, but the gist of it is that Tyrone failed to recruit. Namely, the O-line was ignored during his tenure roaming the sidelines at ND (2 recruits in 3 years!)
Weis has continued to show his humility, whether it be relinquishing play-calling duties, to traveling the country to various alumni gatherings, to implementing physical practices. Couple those changes with three straight top 10 recruiting classes (the most recent of which was touted as #1 by both Rivals and Scouts). Are recruiting rankings the end all be all to the success of a program? No. But it certainly helps to have players held in high regard than those dismissed by all of the top programs.
Coaching develops the talent, so if our players fail to show improvement the onus is on Weis and his fellow coaches. You cannot honestly tell me, though, that there has been no improvement from last season to this season. Consider this: Michigan played the same defensive front four that devoured Jimmy Clausen in 2007 (8 sacks). That same front four recorded exactly ZERO sacks this time around in South Bend en route to an Irish victory last weekend.
Last year the Irish went 3-9 and no one in Leprechaun Land was pleased. At the start of this season ND won its first two games; not so impressively over SDSU but convincingly against bitter nemesis Michigan. The ND team of 2007 would have certainly lost the SDSU game. This year's team played with heart, emotion, and determination and did not become discouraged when things weren't going their way. The Irish remained focused and won the game. In the end, aren't we just concerned about wins and losses anyhow?
Yesterday's loss to MSU, as it should be, was disappointing. I am not happy we lost. No Irish fan is happy we lost. There were several mistakes that cost us the game, but it was not a blowout. We remained competitive throughout the entire game despite our numerous mistakes. After a 3-9 campaign last year that should be enough. Last year's squad would have crippled and let their mistakes get the best of them and play even more to the advantage of the opposition. Yet, ND remained competitive and was within one score of taking the lead late in the 4th quarter yesterday. Despite these facts, however, and perhaps in spite of the obvious improvement from last year there are countless ND fans screaming for Weis' head and searching for possible replacements; fanatics.
What a joke. I was actually embarrassed to read the comments after the game. I hope, for the sake of the University, that the majority of the negative comments re: Weis, The Players, and The State of the Program were made by blackout-drunk buffoons. One would think that most people are smart enough to take things into perspective and not cry wolf when they see a tiny Chihuahua, although that doesn't appear to be the case.
The big picture is that anyone with a brain could have pointed out (and did) before the season (and even three games in) that the Irish were not going to be 11-0 going into the USC game. Many people predicted win totals anywhere from 5 to 8 (excluding a potential bowl game). These people understood perspective. I hope that none of them are the ones responsible for the radical comments as linked earlier in this post. If so, all hope is lost.
Would I rather see ND win all of their games? Yes. Would I rather see every offensive play result in a touchdown? Yes. Every defensive play a turnover? Yes. Every season a national championship? Yes. Human nature answers those questions with ease.
People don't do things merely to be competitive. People do things to win. This is true in sports, business, and life. I don't walk into meetings with clients and tell them that I want to help them make money 90% of the time, let alone 50%. It's 100% all of the time. Will things always pan out that way? No, but at least I've tried to do the very best job I could and if that wasn't good enough then I have the opportunity to go back and see where I can improve so that the next time, in a similar situation, I can capitalize.
Thankfully, there are several others who share my views. We don't want to see the running game struggle as it has in the first few games. We would rather blowout opponents than squeak by. We would rather win than lose.
Above everything else, however, we would rather be fans than fanatics.
Where do you fall on the spectrum?
It was ugly and at times downright embarassing, but the Hokies found enough offense in the second half to sneak past ACC foe North Carolina 20-17 in Chapel Hill Saturday.
Tyrod Taylor struggled in his second outing after being named the sole starter. Taylor finished 11 of 21 for 125 yards and 2 interceptions while rushing 12 times for 35 yards before leaving the game with an ankle injury late in the fourth quarter.
Despite that, Taylor is now 7-0 in his young career as the starter in Blacksburg.
Tech's offense was anemic in the first half, but found some rhythm on some good drives in the second half. Darren Evans ran the ball well, especially late, toting the rock 14 times for 61 yards and an all-important touchdown.
Despite a wildly inconsistent offense, the Hokies managed one of the best comebacks in the Frank Beamer era scoring 17 unanswered points and climbing out of a 14-point hole.
“We never claim to be pretty,” Beamer said. “But I give our players and coaches credit for hanging in there and finding a way to win. And that’s the bottom line – to be able to win. And win together as a football team. I thought our team did a great job of that.”
Next up for the Hokies they step out of conference and head to the "Sea of Red" to take on Nebraska in an 7pm primetime match up on ABC.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, the most villified man in Blacksburg (not Sean Glennon) offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring did little to help his case in this game. The Hokies managed less than 100 total yards in the first half, but managed to finish the game with 268 to UNC's 307. UNC also lost starting quarterback T.J. Yates to a sprained ankle in the third quarter. That seemed to be the turning point for both teams though UNC backup freshman Mike Paulus (brother of Duke hooper Greg Paulus seen here doing what he does best) played well before learning what his family knows so well, that feeling of getting owned by the Hokies. Tech desperately needs to find some offensive consistency before the journey to the midwest. I'd like to think that Tech will start moving the pocket more with Taylor and give him chances to throw down field. More likely, get ready for a whole lot of running next week in Linclon.
-Virginia Tech is now 16-1 all-time in ACC road games and won its 18th straight conference road opener. Tech is also 5-0 against North Carolina since joining the ACC.
-Dustin Keys kicked what turned out to be the game-winning field goal on a career long attempt of 45 yards.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Richard Wright, one of the founding members of legendary British band Pink Floyd, died earlier this week from a brief bout with cancer. Below is a pretty good recap of Wright's career and his lasting contributions to the music industry.
In honor of Wright, today's song is "Wish You Were Here." The particular version of this classic is from Pink Floyd's album entitled Pulse, which was released in 1995 and consists of 2 sides, 26 tracks, and countless strolls down memory lane for new and old fans alike.
Richard Wright - 9/15/08.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
With the Presidential election just 50 days from now, campaign advertising is becoming more prominent on the television radar. John McCain's campaign has come under heavy fire (and rightfully so) for their negative ads attacking Barack Obama. As it turns out, many of Obama's quotes are distorted in the ads, and in some cases blatant lies are told.
I've been leaning toward voting for Obama anyway, but the recent vice presidential selections (more on that later) coupled with McCain's increasingly out of touch and negative campaigning have made the decision seem very clear to me at this point in time.
Take a look below at what I'm talking about.
I've been leaning toward voting for Obama anyway, but the recent vice presidential selections (more on that later) coupled with McCain's increasingly out of touch and negative campaigning have made the decision seem very clear to me at this point in time.
Take a look below at what I'm talking about.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Today's song of the day is one of the most famous songs ever written and really needs no introduction. On this, the 11th day of September we celebrate yet another year gone by for my friend and colleague Justin. "Happy Birthday" is actually a derivative of an early song, entitled "Good Morning To All." Two sisters, Patty and Mildred J. Hill began singing "Good Morning To All" to their kindergarten class and published the song in 1893.
Enjoy, and Happy Birthday you old man.
License to kill skunk bears by the government of the United Nations. Man, free to kill skunk bears at will. To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit - ever. They're like the Viet Cong - Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior firepower and superior intelligence. And that's all she wrote.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
This post probably could have come much earlier in the week, especially since I watched the recording immediately after getting back from South Bend. At any rate, here are my thoughts on the game:
- No matter how sloppy the final score made the game appear, a win is a win is a win whether it be 21-13, 100-0, or 2-0.
- Jimmy played very well, remarkably improved from last year in fact. His accuracy was reflected by his 62% completion percentage (21/34), and it is important to keep in mind that he wasn't merely dumping the ball off on screens the whole game. Clausen was given the ability to toss the ball downfield, a trend I hope to see carried into this week's matchup vs Michigan.
- We did not, as Charlie referenced the Irish running game this season, "pound it." This is a big concern amongst many Irish faithful wishing to see a power game a la the Lou Holtz years. I, however, am not too concerned as long as there is enough of a balance between passing and running plays to keep opposing defenses on their toes.
- Duval Kamara did not play up to his potential. The first interception was almost entirely his fault, as he tried to trap the ball against his pads rather than using his hands. I'm not sure how I feel about the 2nd INT, but it looked like there was some miscommunication between Clausen and Kamara. Chalk it up to being the first game of the year.
- Our defense performed well as a whole and I was impressed by the pressure they put on the SDSU offense. They only had 1 sack to show for it, but there were a multitude of tipped balls, hurries, and other forced errors.
- Staying on the defensive side, we need to learn to cover draw plays better. I know that the purpose of a draw is catch the defense off guard when they're thinking pass, but we let SDSU off the hook several times on several draw plays that went for first downs.
- The o-line played ok. Not great, not bad. The best thing about their play was that they kept the white jerseys away from Jimmy. No sacks? Awesome.
- Mike Anello deserved his scholarship. The kid is a force on special teams and will put the Irish in good situations all season long if he continues his stellar play.
- The game could have been 40-0. SDSU's second play from scrimmage was clearly a backwards lateral, which Brian Smith alertly picked up and returned into the endzone. Too bad it was blown dead and therefore non-reviewable. Also, the Hughes fumble was not a fumble. I was appalled after watching the replay that this call did not get overturned. His knee was clearly down.
- Michael Floyd is going to be a name you hear very often in the near future.
- Kyle Rudolph will be good but he needs to learn how to block at the collegiate level.
- I should have worn sunscreen.
- Overall, I couldn't be happier with the outcome.
Next up: Skunkbears
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Solely to maintain some journalistic balance, today's song comes from "The Spirit of Tech", The Marching Virginians. The sound quality isn't great but this is every Hokie's favorite song, "Tech Triumph".
Tech Triumph was composed in 1919 by Wilfred Pete Maddux (Class of 1920) and Mattie Eppes (Boggs). They were both from Blacksburg, neighbors in fact, and Pete would frequently play violin while Mattie accompanied him on the piano.
On a summer evening, Pete asked her to help him write a fight song for 'ol VPI (Virginia Polytechnic Institute). They wrote the first two verses (really the only ones ever used) and they are as follows:
"Techmen, we're Techmen, with spirit true and faithful,
Backing up our teams with hopes undying;
Techmen, Oh, Techmen, we're out to win today,
Showing pep and life with which we're trying;
V.P., old V.P., you know our hearts are with you
In our luck which never seems to die;
Win or lose, we'll greet you with a glad returning,
You're the pride of V.P.I.
Just watch our men so big and active
Support the Orange and Maroon. Let's go Techs.
We know our ends and backs are stronger,
With winning hopes, we fear defeat no longer.
To see our team plow through the line, boys.
Determined now to win or die:
So give a Hokie, Hokie, Hi,
Rae, Ri, old V.P.I."
I'm one of the few members of the civilian public (members of the corps of cadets are required to learn the words) under the age of 55 or so who knows all the words. Most people only know the last couple lines.
The first version below is the full band performing in Lane Stadium during half time.
This is just a really sweet acoustic cover of the song. This guy is the man.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Following along the same path of today's earlier post, the song of the day is brought to you in part by the University of Notre Dame.
In 2003, former Notre Dame All-American center John Scully set out to create a song that captured the Notre Dame spirit, and he did just that.
Teamed with producer Jim Tullio, Scully managed to add to the illustrious history of great Notre Dame songs like The Victory March, Hike Notre Dame, The Rakes of Mallow, and Damsha Bua.
Here is an excerpt from a 2004 article about Scully:
He gained perhaps his greatest notoriety for writing and recording "Here Come the Irish," a song about the University of Notre Dame that - wouldn't you know it - doesn't contain a single explicit reference to football.The song illustrates Scully's willingness to take on a daunting challenge. It wasn't as if Scully and co-producer Jim Tullio had never heard "The Notre Dame Victory March."
"We wanted a distinctive effort," Scully says. "But we wanted something perpendicular, not opposite."The universal acclaim which greeted the release of "Here Come the Irish" left no doubt that Scully and Tullio had hit their target."The lyrics are from an observer's point of view," Scully explains."It doesn't matter if you're an All-American, the president of the University or a freshman in his first semester, everyone ends up being a brick in the wall."Scully is proud of what he and his teammates accomplished at Notre Dame. The 1980 team he captained as a senior surprised nearly everybody by climbing to the top of the polls by November. But Scully doesn't spend much time reliving those days."We get to go out every day and write our own biographies," he says. "What I did at Notre Dame is ancient history."Two labels which Scully does gladly embrace are that of husband and father. Living in Joliet, Ill., with his wife and two teenage daughters, Scully has changed labels once again, entering the commercial insurance field.The early indications are that Scully will be labeled a success once again.
Without any further adieu, HERE COME THE IRISH.*
* - My esteemed colleague, Justin, actually penned one of the better ND articles I have read in a long time. Have a look.
Disclaimer: I got chills up my spine as I wrote the title of this post.
To set the record straight, I am not your typical Notre Dame fan. My heritage did not raise me blue and gold through and through from birth like so many of Domer friends. Much the contrary, it was not until my sophomore year of high school that I became enamored with Our Lady's University. One of my sisters matriculated at Saint Mary's College, which is directly across the street from ND in case you are not familiar with the school, that year and I made a trip out with my parents to see her for the October 6, 2001 game featuring the Fighting Irish vs the Pittsburgh Panthers. Long story short, I fell in love with campus before I even stepped foot on it. As we drove in from the Indiana Toll Road I could see the Golden Dome glistening in the sun and it was truly the most beautiful sight I had ever seen up until that point.
I won't bore you with the rest of the details but Notre Dame won both the game (24-7) and my heart. From that day forth I was determined to go to college at the University of Notre Dame. Lo and behold, I was rewarded with my efforts during spring of my senior year of high school and was granted admission.
Over the past four years my love for the University grew deeper and deeper, and if it hadn't already done so beforehand, secured a permanent spot in my heart.
So as I sat down at my computer to write this article I literally felt chills crawling up my spine. If you aren't a fan of the University you are probably thinking to yourself that I am a little weird (although you might be thinking that regardless of the circumstances). True.
Notre Dame is one of those places that you either love or hate. There is no middle ground, and I am perfectly okay with that thought. I enjoy hearing from random strangers that I "suck" or "Notre Dame is terrible". Why, you ask? Simple: They wouldn't say those things if they understood what the University is truly about, and I don't sink to their level. People often times "hate" what they don't understand, and this case is certainly no different.
This weekend the Irish kickoff against their 2008 campaign this Saturday, September 6 against San Diego State Aztecs, a product of the Kevin White scheduling philosophy. If you don't remember, Notre Dame's former Athletic Director Dr. Kevin White rescheduled ND's game vs BYU in 2004 so that it would be the opener, allowing the Irish to "warm-up" before taking on Michigan. As fate would have it, the Irish lost the supposed tune-up game and beat Michigan. For making the switch, White agreed to have the Irish play two future games against other Mountain West opponents. Welcome San Diego State this year and Nevada next year!
In all honesty, as long as the Irish remain one of the five schools never to have played a 1-AA opponent (Michigan State, Southern Cal, UCLA, and Washington are the others) I could care less who they are playing this weekend.
I cannot wait to hear the band play the greatest of all University fight songs, The Notre Dame Victory March! I cannot wait to hear the drumline and see my friends still on the line. I cannot wait to see the Golden Dome, and Touchdown Jesus, and the Grotto. I cannot wait to see more than 100,000 people on campus for a game where the stadium holds only 80,795. I cannot wait to be a part of the 400th game ever played at Notre Dame Stadium and the 200th consecutive sellout. I cannot wait to cheer along to Talking Hands, Rock, Five or Metallica. I cannot wait to see the team run out of the tunnel.
Most importantly, I cannot wait to be back at my favorite place in the world: Notre Dame.
Here Come The Irish!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Now for a break from the sports and a return of the music. I've been digging The Band's second release, The Band from 1969. They really got a great clunky kind of woody down home American vibe on this record, and this song really epitomizes that. This is the lead single from the album, "Up On Cripple Creek". It was the group's first and only top 30 hit charting at #25 in late 1969.
This performance is from the band's classic final concert, "The Last Waltz". This is great stuff, enjoy.
In a situation almost identical to last season, following an ineffective season opener against East Carolina sophomore Tyrod Taylor's red shirt will once again be removed and he will return to action Saturday in Lane Stadium against Furman.
Both Taylor and the much maligned Sean Glennon will play Saturday head football coach Frank Beamer announced Tuesday, but there's no word yet on who will start.
Monday, September 1, 2008
The first full weekend of college football has come and passed us by and left many impressions. Fifteen schools experienced coaching changes during the offseason, including Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Houston, Michigan, Mississippi, Navy, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, Southern Methodist, Southern Mississippi, Texas A&M, UCLA, and West Virginia. With so many new faces, new schemes, and new personnel it is no surprise that the opening games for those and many other teams were a little rough. Below are some of the things that I took away from the weekend.
Big East teams were thoroughly disappointing. Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Louisville, and Rutgers all lost their openers. Pittsburgh went on top early in their match versus Bowling Green but let the Falcons take advantage miscues in the second half. Rutgers lost to a very solid Fresno State team that seems to always play the BCS schools tough despite not being able to win the WAC conference title in years. Syracuse played like an improved team, but was overwhelmingly unimpressive against the lowly Northwestern Wildcats. Louisville is in a world of a mess and have been ever since former head coach Bobby Petrino left for the Atlanta Falcons (he's now coaching the Arkansas Razorbacks after quitting on the Falcons before the end of last season).
LSU spoiled Appalachain State's attempt to beat a preseason top 10 team for the second straight year as the Tigers rolled to a 41-13 win. Where's that Tiger? Oh wait, those Tigers crumbled on national television Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide rolled all over Tommy Bowden's Clemson Tigers. It seems as though every year Clemson is bound to have a breakout year. They have the talent, but Bowden has yet to assemble an entire season of solid football. What a shame.
Michigan received a lot of press leading up to the start of the season due to numerous changes (spread offense, new conditioning coach) and drama courtesy of new coach Rich Rodriguez. The Wolverines will likely receive much more attention during the rest of the season, but for different reasons. They looked awful in their bout with the Utah Utes. Utah should have won my a much wider margin but they committed several silly penalties and switched to a prevent defense early in the second half, allowing the Wolverines to climb back in and almost tie the game late. It could be a long season for the skunkbears in Ann Arbor, perhaps reminiscent of the atrocity that was the 2007 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Florida manhandled Hawaii 56-10. After a scoreless first quarter, the Gators exploded for 56 points in the next two quarters. Yikes. No real shock there, though, since Hawaii lost Colt Brennan to graduation and looked equally as terrible last year in the Sugar Bowl against the Georgia Bulldogs. The rest of the SEC had mixed results. Mississippi State was stunned by Louisiana Tech 22-14, Arkansas narrowly escaped Western Illinois 28-24, and South Carolina overcame a multitude of miscues in their 34-0 win over North Carolina State.
Ohio State cruised to a victory over Youngstown state, setting the stage for a matchup verse the USC Trojans on Sept 13 in what could be the best game of the entire season. USC destroyed Virginia 52-7 in their opener and have a bye this week leading up to their game against the Buckeyes.
As my esteemed colleague Justin mentioned earlier today, Virginia Tech got bit by the upset bug as the East Carolina Pirates created their own version of Beamer Ball by blocking a punt and returning it for a TD late in the game to seal the deal. Skip Holtz's crew fought hard all game, but the real story of the game was Sean Glennon's inability to distribute the ball effectively to the rest of the Hokies' offense. I bet Beamer will rethink his decision to redshit sophomore quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Missouri and Illinois duked it out to an epic 52-42 score as the Tigers prevailed over the Illini thanks in part to Jeremy Maclin's two returns for TDs.
Arizona gets the award for biggest jerks of the weekend, as they showed no class in a dismantling of the Idaho Vandals.
All in all it was a great start to the season, but to me the real season begins this Saturday at 3:30 pm ET as the Fighting Irish take on the San Diego State Aztecs.
Coming into its season opener the Virginia Tech football team had many questions to answer, and after losing to East Carolina 27-22 Saturday in Charlotte, most of those questions remain unanswered.
Sean Glennon looked mediocre, completing 14 of 23 passes for 139 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns. The offensive lines protection wasn't very good either, leaving big questions while others were partly answered.
Kenny Lewis Jr. led Tech's rushers with 11 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown. Darren Evans added 12 carries for 37 yards and another touchdown. The Hokies were still out rushed by ECU 158-104, but the two eased some minds concerned with the tailback position.
True freshman Dyrell Roberts may have had the play of the day on offense for the Hokies, hauling in an impressive 62 yard pass from Sean Glennon on which he blew by the defender and was wide open for a beautifully thrown ball by Glennon.
I would like to point out that I called the play- Eric can attest to that- right before it happened. Roberts was isolated one-on-one and the Hokies hadn't called a pass downfield yet. In fact, that play would turn out to be the only real success Tech had on longer passes all afternoon.
The defense didn't look very impressive, lots and lots of arm tackles. Kam Chancellor seemed to be off and lacked the killer instinct and ability to finish tackles as did most of the defense. They were of course without starter Macho Harris at corner. His return from an ankle injury will really help the energy level on defense and hopefully provide some leadership on a very young, but talented unit. Stephan Virgil showed he has loads of ability and will be a big player for Tech this season at the other corner spot.
By the end of the season, Bud Foster will have yet another excellent defense on his hands.
In the mean time, it's back to the drawing board for Frank Beamer and Co. and time to move on to next week's special white out game against the Furman Paladins. More to come throughout the week.