#159 R.P.I. Delaware @ #17 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
Virginia Tech football returns home after a nearly orgasmic VicTory over hateful arch-rival w.v.u. late Sunday night for a short workweek and a quick Holiday turnaround date vs. the D-1aa Delaware Blue Hens.
The Hens have won five of their last 12 games and may be showing signs of a pulse, if not outright improvement. Only thing is that 40% of those wins have been vs. in-state rival and N.A.I.A. Delaware State; whom the Hens have roasted to the tune of 78-17 overall. Or in other words, Delaware State -and their oddly w.v.u. looking colors- have beaten the very same amount of people that matter as my last preview did. That attempt at humility aside, this is not a good D-1aa football team and quite honestly it is not even a good Colonial Athletic Association football team on top of that. As Delaware plays some lowercase D-1aa games; accordingly, hopefully the Virginia Tech back-ups will capitalize on a lot of 3rd and 4th quarter P.T. (playing time) come Saturday ~5pm.
Today’s word of the day is… yawn.
- To open the mouth wide with a deep inhalation, usually involuntarily from drowsiness, fatigue, or boredom.
- To open wide; gape:
- Anything short of playing i.s.i.s. after playing, w.v.u.
Delaware Head Coach: Daniel Christopher Rocco: age=57, (1-o Delaware, 91-42 overall); has a rep’ for defense and red-state or G.O.P. old-fashioned football.
Baller Danny Rocco played Mike-Lb for Joe Paterno at Penn.State, earning varsity letters in 1979 and 1980. He played in the 1979 Liberty Bowl and the 1980 Fiesta Bowl for the Nittany Lions. Then Rocco transferred to Wake Forest University, where he started for two seasons at OLb under head coach Al Groh in 1982 and 1983. He was named captain of the 1983 Wake Forest Demon Deacons football team; a pretty fair to middling stop-unit career if you ask me.
Coach Rocco (great name BTW); Coach Rocco has coached about everywhere you can name and has been solid to downright good at most tour-stops. From the Texas Longhorns to Colorado, to Maryland, to Boston College even up to the big show with the NY.Jets. After all that defensive jumping around, coach Rocco landed the big whistle at Southern Conference Liberty where he won the So.Co. four times, and finished a reasonable enough second or third every single time in six seasons. Then he had a very solid stint going to the D-1aa play-offs 60% of the time in five seasons at Richmond. Thereby finishing as high as 3rd in the nation in the final D-1aa post-season poll in 2015; and now he runs the Hen House for Delaware. As this is one coach who has paid his come-up in dues and has actually had a pretty sharp looking F.C.S. head coaching career thus far. (Which almost leaves you wondering why nobody D-1 has snatched this guy up?) Coach Rocco has an entirely new staff with him at Delaware, having retained nobody from the former two cadres of coaches. His dad (Rocco Sr.), his brother, and his son (David), are all football coaches so coaching is very much part of his D.N.A.
Delaware 2016 record: 4 up 7 down and 2-6 in the C.A.A.
(READERs note: all rankings are D-1aa, not F.B.S.)
(Likewise note: there are no Advanced Stats for D-1aa and with a new head coach last years footage I found was dated, if not bogus)
Blue Hen Defense: (starters back=1o)
- 4-3 (forty-three) base set. (tho’ several previews say coach Rocco is switching to a 3-4, so expect multiple fronts here)
- Former Hokie Chris Cosh -no, I don’t recall him either- is the Db coach and the new D-Coordinator as well. (Cosh played Lb for V.P.I. from 1977 to 1981)
- 17th in total D.
- 19th in rushing D.
- 36th in passing D.
- 54th in sacks.
- 21st in TFL (tackles for a loss).
- 20th in 3rd down conversion D allowed.
- Dline: small framed though rolly-polly almost beer-gutty looking dLine on film. Dline can be a bit jumpy trying to get you to flinch and come up outta your stance pre-snap. 6’4”, 291 lbs., Sr. Bilal Nichols gets a nice push upfront from his Dt/Ng slot and after that I did not see any stalwarts.
- Linebacking: Lb’s and the hind-3 or hind-4 will rally to the ball as there is a lotta gang tackling on film here. (Kept me wondering if Delaware would not prove vulnerable to the HR throw tho’ the inert Delaware State O did not have much talent responsibility in regard to that). 6′, 23o lb, Sr. Lb Charles Bell is the show here, prolly an all-conference C.A.A. 1st string show at that. Although Troy Reeder (6’2”, 244 lbs., r-Jr., Penn.St. transfer) Mike-Lb may want a word with that. As he won the defensive weight-room championship and is an academic all-American candidate to boot. Delaware.edu props!
- Secondary: The Hens secondary returns no less than five different guys with 2 INT’s apiece from last year. Can’t say I see a star here although I can say I see a lot of experience. Nasir Adderley (Cb, 5’12”, 190 lbs.) is as close as the Hens have to a ball-hawk; though he’s now a Fs/Rover hybrid who can return KO’s as well. (the C.A.A. whispers say that Delaware is stronger in their front-7 than they are here)
- Not your normal middle of the isle ho-hum boring, garden variety forty-three. Will move the Sam and the Will all the way up to the LOS in something of a old-school Corner-Lb alignment for run-fighting max’ 60 look. Will stack the Fs right in behind the Mike-Lb who plays a good 5-7 off the LOS as the pure spill-man who stays clean for the, thirty, forty, fifty and sixty personnel fronts most of the time. To make that even nuttier, the Fs (sometimes) actually shades the short-side of the field; go fig’ on this? As the secondary plays a lotta off-man and tries to keep everything in front of them; while daring you to keep taking the short to medium stuff and not make SportsCenter for it. D does toggle into more middle-zone vs. obvious passing downs with Tampa-2 on edge. The Will -or the wide-side- De and Dt narrow their splits for reason(s) I can not determine? As this is one subtlety wacky base forty-three set. Will play all 11, that’s all eleven men in the box at times. Ain’t scared of run-blitzing from the same; either. Yes, it is a legit 4-3 though it does a lotta bent and/or acute little things that makes it play so much more oblique. A fun, quirky; almost neurotic forty-three defensive set to watch on film. Almost like the 1970’s-80’s Cowboys Flex set all hopped up on alignment amphetamines. Pretty dang solid tacking defense overall on top of all of ^that^.
Delaware Offense: (returning starters=9)
- Multiple/Pro’ and Pistol looks.
- 2nd best in TOP (time of possession)!
- 32nd in total O.
- 23rd in rush O.
- 47th in throw O.
- 50th in scoring O.
- 49th in passing efficiency.
- 14th in 3rd down conversion %.
- 24th in sacks allowed.
- 45th in TFL allowed.
- 6’3”, 2o5 lb. Jr. year Qb Joe Walker leads the Hens passing attack. He is athletic and a threat to run with a nice -though somewhat spraying arm- to back his intriguing physical metrics up. Does throw with a lower release point and can get passes tipped at the LOS (line-of-scrimmage) for it. Seems to enjoy R.P.O.s to the right side as an orthodox passer and throws in the air with neither foot planted off the same. Pretty experienced Pivot in his third year as a Philly street-baller starting Qb. Is INT prone however with a not great looking 1:3 career passing ratio! Only has a career long of 35 on the ground which is surprising when you look at his raw metrics. An accomplished rock climber who specializes in: cutting-hair. Appy,State transfer Pivot (J.P. Caruso) could not beat-out this 46% career passers and well; so there you go.
- oLine is okay enough at the point of attack; not super physical, though nimble technicians that have a predilection for fold or reach blocking downfield. As they hit and release to the second-layer using a lotta shield or chipping looks. To the Hens credit; pretty decent at this too. 6’2”, 282 lb. r-Sr. Brody Kern is the best of the lot here. A D-1aa all-American candidate at C, 3-year starter and team captain. He has a red-beard that just won’t quit and is one of three returning oLine starters upfront.
- 6’1”, 210 lb. Thomas Jefferson leads the Hens ground attack. T.J. is a big back by D-1aa terms who is more elusive than you’d expect upon breaking tape, has good footwork and a nice jump-cut to boot. Kareem Williams is more the punchy Tb at a sawed off looking 5’9”, 215 plucky lbs. worth of r-Jr. year spark-plug type internal hard churning.
- Diante Cherry (27 rec., 331 yds., 3 TD’s) is said to be the best of the pass catching lot here. Though there were times this throw-game looked positively Dooley ‘esque to me on film. Lotta rolls, half-rolls and even a few sprint-outs.
- Saw a lotta “heavy” type formation here; lotta ground-n-pound Dinty Moore meat-n-potatoes stew style football. Nothing fancy; lotta jumbo sets that are Te centric and/or a legitimate real live lead Fb on Iso’ or Wham looks. A downhill, power rushing set that has no quarrel with letting the air outta the ball and playing ball control offense. Almost a Dean Smith 4-corners offense gone gridiron. The Delaware O kinda has a blended broken Veer/Pistol hybrid look to it at times; that appears to go Hb to the wide side of the filed; with a true Tb stacked behind the Qb. Did see some balanced Oline looks as well. Although this O does have a few quick hitting short to medium passing looks; with a lotta play-action fakes. Something of a vintage O with a few dressier/tonier more cosmopolitan elements sprinkled in here and there.
- % run:pass mix.
Hen Special Teams: (1 returns)
Delaware is 34th in net punting and Nick (I don’t even have a team photo) Pirtchard is the Hens punter. Which would seem to me to hint that big things were not expected outta this r-Soph 5’9”, yet 210 lb. debuting Punter. (Aim low on blocks guys). What we do know is that Nick is from Egypt (N.j.) and that he is a Maryland transfer undersized punter. Nick did start at Maryland with a 42.2 ypp average. He has a career long of 70 already so his leg is not wanting. He is the holder on kicks and was goalie in H.S. soccer, go fig’ on that?
- 62nd in punt returns and 34th in KO returns.
- 101st in suicide-squad KO coverage and 37th in punt return defense.
- the Hens have no punt or kick blocks and have suffered no punts or kicks snuffed out so far.
FGA specials teams all block down/inward to the snapper; could make for an edge-on FGA block call if you feel the need. FGA’s and PATs are handled by, or should I say split by Jake Roth (o-2) and Frank Raggo (2 for 2). Anyone wanna bet the under on Jake’s FGA’s this weekend? Yah; me three on that as the Hens summer kicking audition spilled over into game no.1 and Frank would appear to have the upper hand; or at least the upper foot. Frank is another mighty mite D.U. Kicker, at 5’9”, 190 r-Jr. lbs. The book on Frank literally says he… “Has a good leg and a good demeanor“. And yah; I have no idea what that means, either. I do know he is 46-47 on P.A.T.’s for life and 18 of 27 FGA’s for his career (2 outta 3 to the good). His mum is TV producer for NBC Universal, his grandfather, Julio Mazzei, was head coach of the New York Cosmos and star Pele of the NASL and he’s a disc jockey on the side. So there you go. Oh yah; Frank only has a career long of 43 on the make; so expect a short put in lieu of a long-range FGA’s here.
Special Teams letter-grade: The Hens appears to be above average in D-1aa kick and punt terms to me. I’ll call ’em a flat B.
- VT O.
- VT D.
- Del.D and Del.O.
- motive: I supposed playing D-1 nationally ranked Virginia Tech has to be a bigger deal for the Hens than playing unranked D-1aa Delaware is for the Hokies. Edge=Hens.
- health: Neither team has any significant hurts listed here; Coach God willing they won’t at ~8pm. Edge=Even.
- penalties: about even as Delaware hovers in the 30’s to 40’s as fewest flags goes. Edge=Push.
- intangibles: Clearly this is about as big of a textbook let-down trap game as there is. Edge=wvu.
- fatigue: Delaware is a whopping +3 on rest here. (They played last Thursday); Edge=Hens.
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
Number of Blue Hens who could start @Tech=2.
The takeaway here is… that the Delaware Blue Hens have had no less than three different head football coaches in their last five football games following logging their longest consecutive L streak since 1939 last season! That’s code for a lotta things sport-fans and continuity -much less success- just ain’t one of ’em.
The other takeaway is… what is all this Virginia Tech is playing Delaware with a west virginia hangover nonsense about? No! west virginia is playing East Carolina -go Pirates- with a 5-alarm eerache after what happened last Sunday night; LOL.
As this football game is not real real far removed from being best considered as a glorified scrimmage of sorts. And the one thing I found (last year) in data-mining and researching coach-Fu’ at Memphis was… when coach-Fu’ had the horses, he beat the damn breaks off of the lesser football teams he faced.
As the Fu’fense is a lotta things and repetition needy nearly being paramount among them. All the more so with a pretty large slice of his 2017 pitch-n-catch battery not due to peak until 2019 or 2020. Or in other words I do expect that Corny and Fu’ go Helm’s Deep and “…show them no mercy.” As what do Virginia Tech and the Fu’fense have to worry about here? As they will rematch Delaware again right about half-past never.
And to be quite honest, we’ve got a lotta small to medium things that need some sorting out, some tinkering and puttering and some downright pigskin massaging.
That’s the news, the good news is that we’ve got 12 quarters of winnable football in-front of us before we try to catch a certain defending national champion set of Tigers by the tail.
Or in other words truth be told, the only thing to consider here is just how long do you risk reppin’ those starters and offensive and defensive sore spots up vs. a formerly very strong though now rebuilding F.C.S. overstretched opponent?
That to me sets your final tally as the longer the O&M 1’s go the further outta reach this one, ends.
- Δ1=100% VT wins.
- Δ2=9o% VT wins large.
- Δ3=10% VT wins, tho’ lets up a bit.
The skinny and the call…
Not much to see in this one unless you are a friend, relative or lover of one of these balers. As this one is already over and I will eat these words if J.m.u. strikes twice. As Delaware is truly out-manned and outgunned here. As an INT prone Qb vs. Bud Bock is not a good match-up and a D-1aa INT prone Qb vs. even last weeks thinner Bud Lyte is a pretty bad match-up as well.
Virginia Tech plucks these Blue Hens good and hard if and you had to plan an O&M (conflicting) wedding weekend, this weekend is surely it.
upset Index=~1% or less.
Virginia Tech=55, Delaware=3