Furman at Virginia Tech football preview

#168 R.P.I. Furman @ #1o1 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:

Today’s word of the day is…Paladin




  1. a paragon of chivalry; a heroic champion.
  2. a strong supporter or defender of a cause: “the paladin of plain speaking” (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.)
  3. any of the 12 peers of Charlemagne’s court.
  4. Virginia Tech’s first football win of 2015furman helmet

As these Paladin’s were a D-1aa second-round play-off team just two seasons ago. Albeit a very even looking 15-16 under fifth year head coach Bruce Fowler overall. So the jury is still out on just what Furman can be under coach Fowler. The Paladins won the D-1aa National Championship in 1988 -twice runners up- and former Cincy Bengals Super Bowl coach Sam Wyche once played there. Furman counts 36 players on this year’s team who own starts; there is that.

And that’s about that.

Virginia Tech really should win this one, rain is rumored to be wet, and yet there are some very unwelcome O&M Qb story lines regarding a r-shirt being pulled come Saturday afternoon for a 3:34pm kick-off on ESPN3.

(READERs note: I did find a field-level cam’ from last week, although it had no, as in zero, depth perception, making true breaking of tape almost umpossible, though I will tell you what little I could discern below…)

Furman Defense: (starters back=6)

  • 249 lb. defensive line on average!
  • 3 rookie starters up-front
  • second layer is the strength of the Paladin stop-unit.
  • lead by All-Southern Conference #46 Lb Cory Magwood, last year’s SoCo’s tackle leader for the entire league with 123 stops. Might have a C.F.L. level Pro career in front of him. 2015 3rd-team pre-season all-American. All-state in hoops in high school, this kid clearly slipped through the D-1 cracks.
  • Yes, methinks he beats out the tuaman for VT. (would that he could)
  • fellow all-So.Co. Lb Lb Carl Rider ain’t half bad in his own right. Coming back off of a double (left and right-side, alike) torn labrum (shoulder tendon).  Rider lead the Southern conference in stops (134) 2 years and 2 good Labrum’s ago. Godspeed!
  • Secondary returns 4 starters, Cb Reggie Thomas will press for So.Co’ honors by the time November rolls around. Better size than I had expected to see as well.

    Doggy dawwg!
    Doggy dawwg!

I think this was a Forty-Two or full-time Nickle/Bandit hybrid set. Kinda like what richrod liked to roll except with 1 more down-lineman. From what little I can tell on field-level film… …the Furman Linebacker’s and what amounts to the third Safety are hard chargers. They defend the run first despite deploying in a more pass fighting full time Nickle look. At least one and sometimes two guys appear to come hard off the edge. Saw some softer Man looks on edge behind that. Should be some room to throw underneath here. Did see some Gap-control read-n-react elements from the Paladin front-4 here. As this is a smaller, reactionary based D that I’d surely punch right in the mouf.

I am however sure I saw the following… defensive speed was not all that bad, these Paladin’s do hustle, although the tacking surely was. Very army looking downfield efforts as Coastal Carolina racked up bucu Y.A.C. (yards after contact) on tape. Ditto poor sideline leverage in iso-coverage at times by the Paladin Cb’s. And not the best pass-rush I’ve seen on film; should be some time to throw here.

Defensive letter-grade: D—

Paladins Offense: (returning starters=8)

  • All-Southern Conference G Joe Turner is the stalwart on an oLine that does return 4 starters; Joe could prolly be the lead G off coach Stacy’s bench
  • Semi star and pretty fair to middling r-Jr 6’1” 2o9 lb. #12 Qb Reese Hannon is back after a tibia snap that also (somehow) managed to gruesomely Joe Theisman ‘esque dislocate his left ankle (see: pic); Lord have mercy!
  • Hannon is not one to snooze on, on what figures to be a sleepy afternoon, as he just broke single-game and total yardage marks for Furman football last week vs. the  F.C.S. #1 team!
  • Furman does have 2 surprisingly larger more physical than expected Rb’s.
  • They also field All-SoCo wide receiver Jordan Snellings, and a 3rd-team all-American Te in Duncan Fletcher.

    Left foot...
    Left foot…

Hannon (surprisingly, off of such a hurtful injury) will move and full sprint or roll-out the pocket. Looked better going right or to his orthodox side on tape. Hannon further surprisingly will mix in some keeper looks and take his chances up-field. As best I can see, shotgun short to intermediary quick hitting passing sets. Not may stationary or waiting targets. Lottsa crossing, and chipping or rub looks. Will work middle of the field. Hannon can be picked, will throw the football up for grabs at times, seems to miss high or behind if anything. Lotta internal trapping on runs between the Tackles, be that from a G or Ot pulling inwardly himself.

Offensive  letter-grade: C—

Furman Special Teams: (same guy for each, does return)
The Paladin’s punting and kicking duties will be handled by sophomore Jon Croft Hollingsworth, who captured SoCo’ all-Freshman Team honors last year after converting 9-of-17 field goals and averaging 39.6 yards per punt. I suppose that’s decent enough and it is probable that J.C.Hollingsworth will only improve.

May not be the best coverage teams however, as Coastal Carolina took a KO return to the Paladin house. Did not see anything special from the Paladin return teams themselves.

Special Teams letter-grade: C—


  • HUGE emotional let-down trap-game
  • ditto post the Brewer emotionally gutting clavicle break
  • short work-week trap-game as well
  • weather: 80% chance of rain, could lower the total all the more
  • Bench: scrubs need Playing Time too! Emptying both benches could make a sloppy weather day even sloppier in terms of play

The new Virginia Tech Qb1 should be who???

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
“To Qb or not to Qb, that is the question?”

That’s how Billy Shakespeare the Qb coach or offensive coordinator would have put it after what happened to poor Michael Brewer’s left-clavicle in the Worsham Field turf last Monday night. Here however is what you do about it, right now… uncensored, and politically incorrect…

My TSL boss Chris Coleman says Lawson will play, and that he is (now) Qb2.

I would not care to disagree (on that happening). Not sure I agry on how that will in fact happen in terms of splitting playing time and/or in-game reps. Here’s why…

IF (already) 20 year old Dwayne Lawson is all that and a snap? Maybe you do only have him for 3 years? So why play him now? Possibly in lieu of even a healthy Michael Brewer; again, if you R.A.T.T. are truly 2018 non-Lawson phobic, i.e. he’s so good and so old, he’s already gone. Though for all the hype, fan-feeding-frenzy, and coach Loffler love-chum in the Duck Pond waters? Dwayne Lawson, is just, NOT, ready. There, I said it.


So here is what I do if I run the O&M zoo………….I ask Doc Siegel, in private, what he really found in poor MB12’s snapped clavicle? However unpublished severe was it, when you only operate on 5-10% of broken collarbones in the first place.

If it looks like a shorter quicker heal? Say 4-5 weeks?
I prolly would not un-shirt Lawson.

If it looks like 6 week or beyond heal; or basically 1/2 a season or more? And I am gonna actually un-shirt Lawson? He is Qb1 and 2015 is nothing more than 11 glorified scrimmages for 2016 and beyond. Because if you are gonna bite the r-shirt ripping Lawson bullet, you might as well go ahead and empty the entire 2015 magazine.

However, and herein lies the true bitch of it all … as talented as Lawson truly is, that might just break the Bowl Streak on probable learning and experience curve mistakes alone. He may indeed be a total track-n-field long-armed high velocity fast-forward freak. Though he is a freak that is gonna be cutting more than a few teeth. That is one tough tough tough cookie for an eroding fan-base supportive and throaty Frank Beamer to swallow folks.

So I do NOT envy Frank this call. Not one iota.
However, and on to the game…

Scott Bakula from Star Trek Enterprise
Scott Bakula from Star Trek Enterprise?

the takeaway:
So the takeaway here is… I just did not see much defense outta Furman. A focused Virginia Tech offense can name that tune, or name that score. A tri-rotational musical chairs version of O&M Qb-derby Virginia Tech offense will prolly cut into that, at least somewhat.

Furman does throw the ball around a bit, and does field some very decent measure of D-1aa or F.C.S. or whatever the heck division II is now called pitch-n-catch talent. Which seems to hint to me that a fluke play or an auditioning Hokie Qb short-field turnover will dismount any potential Paladin shutout. Nevertheless,  a emotionally sleepy and physically worn down Virginia Tech will roll and I’d be disappointed if we did not at least approach 200 on the ground and close to 300 (combined) through the air.

upset Index=8%
(and it should be 4% under less MB12 gutting circumstances)

Virginia Tech=44, Furman=9




21 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Frank already said that he never intended to redshirt Lawson at all. So there is no decision to “unshirt” him. Therefore it’s really how much do you play him since he was going to get some playing time anyway?

    1. Yes Sir, you are correct. Frank did say that.

      (posthumous to MB12’s break)
      Which left me wondering…


      1. That is true, but I believe that was his intent all along. Of course it is easier to say that after your starter gets nuked for 2 months…

  2. B’street
    Posthumous is the mirror we must look through when reflecting on CFB comment on Qb Lawson. When that comment was made he may have been little shell shocked. Mainly because the offense was taking it to the number 1 team in the nation before the injury to MB. The future sure looked bright for a coach that many say is at the end of his time. He may have been pressing the panic button a little. IMHO if you pull the red shirt he must be number one and you take your lumps. But (this is a huge but) if VT has a [5-6 (no Bowl) or even 6-5 (minor bowl)] IMO attendance would take a hit and 10 win seasons may not be the medicine that brings them back. The mental state of the fan base maybe that fragile. Plus CFB and OQ must decide will such an occurrence mess with the mental well being of Lawson.

    1. Mr. Lacy:

      Yah; I kinda thought it was knee-jerk in a sense.
      Though he’s so thin at Qb not named Brewer; what else is there?

      And yes, I too wonder how much Lawson can do right away? I’m a little shaky on the bowl
      streak and what not, now. As Lawson will awe us. Both to the great individual play and to the
      misread or forced throw.


  3. The Tech fan base needs a boost, some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. What say you Whit? Who is the new head coach?

    1. I actually do believe this Qb decision could have some Head Coaching potential effect.
      Things go badly here and that will not help Frank retain Frank.

      time will tell…


  4. Me thinks the disgruntled fan base represents maybe 2% of the total fans. The criticism by people on this and other web sites forget one important thing. Their opinions have no influence on the decision regarding CFB continuing to coach.

    1. I honestly believe it to be 30%. Maybe more.
      Couple of polls from TSL and from this (my) site seem to hint at this.

      And that 30 or so percent could get all jumped up on a turn of a season if this goes sour.

      Again, time will tell..


  5. I respectfully disagree with your sediments about Lawson. Let’s assume that Brewer isn’t coming back (I do, however, think he’ll be suited up on the sidelines under the Friday Night Lights when that vet school down South comes calling, and he’ll be taking snaps the next week. That’s why you do CB surgery, lightning fast miracle cure.) My point is, no season should ever be a wash. If Brendan Motley knows the playbook, PLAY HIM, and PLAY TO WIN. Brendan can scoot, and we possibly have a dynamic backfield with Shai coming back, and with what McMillian can do in space. Hokies need to go run first, HARD, and once teams start loading 9 in the box, Malleck, Hodges, and Ford are going to be open for stuff that Motley should be able to throw.

    Between the defense, the skill players on O, and the Oline coming along, there is no reason to throw 2015 away. Next man up, and take it to the ACC.

    1. @Leo’
      I appreciate that.
      A well thought out disagreeing post.

      Those are MOST welcome here.

      Yah; I’m not saying let go the 2015 rope.
      Hope it did not read that way.
      Though I am saying make a long-view strategic decision. Based off of Dr. Sigel’s best take.


  6. While playing every game every week to win, the next National data point we get to change opinion of program is likely Bristol. If Lawson’s the guy for that game, he needs work this year.

    my $.02

  7. Street, I kinda agree with Leonard here .What we have left at QB can run the ball well . Motley may even bring a real threat there, he has was getting in gaps in the spring and had some long runs that were there except for the no contacts. Our OL is coming on fast . I think the key now is Rogers and Malleck and the blocking schemes that they can execute out of the H back TE sets getting seams open for huge gash plays the OSU offense please . I Think Mot may serve up some big time runs . He is shifty and fast and fairly big . Lawson plays some change of pace gets some expeirience gains knowledge . We have to see what Mot can do as he gets some confidence and some plays under his belt but it may focus the team . We will see soon because if we don’t run through Furman it may be more of the same but I have a different feel . Motley needs do get it going get some confidence and don’t turn it over. I think Mot can pass good enough although not the recognition guy that Brewer was but he can cause some real trouble scramble and option type game . Lawson I have not seen but think he plays at least several series a game more if he starts to get it done . I might change my mind after I see Lawson but he would just be to limited in the play book part to be to good right now . Remember though he did come up in June with his coach so he has had the playbook for a while

    1. If Motley can run, AND, a-n-d stay health (as he seems to accrue dings and dents)???

      Well Frank will be as happy as a clam in mud.
      That’s Frank’s cup of tea men.
      A running Qb. Grind the game-clock, rest his defense.

      Motley may be able to do that.
      IF he can stay healthy.


  8. My guess is the coaches know if we are to do anything significant this year, like make a bowl game or even contend for the Coastal (which is hard to see), it will be b/c either MB has a miracle return to health & form (and we’ve managed to hold it together in the meantime), or b/c Lawson’s bulb comes on early and we don’t have any/much drop off (which would also be in the miracle category, imo).

    Either way, burn the shirt and get this kid ready for Bristol.

    Did you say, “love-chum”? I don’t know what that is and I don’t want to know what that is.

    1. Yup. I agry on both miracle prognoses.

      And you can sometimes tell when a coach is reallllllllllllllllly up or high on a given kid. Scot was
      basically beaming and kept nodding his head –when I interviewed him about Lawson. (head-nod in affirmation)

      You could tell he just could not wait to get his hands on Lawson and start to work Lawson
      into whatever Lawson eventually can/will be.


  9. b.street – I think the health concern for Motley and his apparent lack of a throwing motion are the 2 biggest concerns for sure. I am fairly certain that the play calls in the OSU game when Motley came in were clearly influenced by the last time Motley had to take over for Brewer…where he promptly got hurt, Brewer had his arm slammed back into its socket, and had to beat UVA with one arm.

    I’d like to see what Lawson has in him against Furman…play a half at the very least…and see if he can make good decisions in the passing game. We can not beat very many ACC teams as just a running team. We’re not GT.

    I’ll hand it to VT, though. They have gotten better at crushing our entire season expectations much quicker each year over the past 4 seasons. Hell, it took the 3rd game last year to get disappointed. :-/

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