Independence Bowl preview Virginia Tech Tulsa

#78 R.P.I. Tulsa vs. #73 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:

Today’s word of the day is… Legend.

leg·end

(lĕj′ənd)

noun.

  1. One that inspires legends or achieves legendary fame:
  2. Frank Beamer,
  3. Frank Beamer,
  4. Frank Beamer!

Way back in 1993, Shreveport Louisiana kinda reminded me of either Eastwood Every Which Way movie… not quite as cow-poke Hokie-Tonk.

A legend is... born.
A legend is… born.

Although it had a more laid bare, rugged side to it. Bet you coulda (still) have found some Olympia on tap back in 1993 down there. Bettcha you coulda found some blue-collar guys who know how to blacken eyes, too!

(chimpanzee named: “Clyde”, optional)

On the other hand, Indiana reminded me of a solid, Big-10 football team that would be hard to beat. Frank reminded me of a guy who had hung on -and just barely- after a less than auspicious Virginia Tech head coaching start. The Independence Bowl even vs. Radford High School was a big big deal. Virginia Tech went bowling every handful of years, or once a decade or so way back in those days.

We were totally thrilled to be there, even in Shreveport.  Now the Legend returns…

There and Back Again
-Bilbo Baggins-

Tulsa Defense: (starters back=6)

  • 125th in Total D (531.5 ypg allowed)!
  • rushing D 118th (238.5 ypg), passing D 123rd (293 ypg)
  • 89th in Sacks, however 34th in TLF: will run blitz from some odd angles…
  • Lb Havoc ratting of 26th speaks to all of this dealing I saw on film.
  • dLine 74th in Havoc and Secondary 121st in Havoc

    Soft 4-3 base, and I do mean: soft!
    Soft 4-3 base, and I do mean: soft!
  • Tulsa did take 4 INT’s to the house this season! This is a secondary that gambles and entirely plays the ball. m.Brewer’s less than bionic arm on Qb12’s signature sideline Out throws … take note!
  • ostensibly a forty-three or 4-3 base. Has a so-called Star Lb (basically a gloried Sam-Lb who jumps all over). Does seem to have more of a Shell-4 or Shell-5 look in and behind the 2nd-layer. Kinda had an umbrella feel to it at times.
  • has a 4-7 Red Zone look that is nearly linear straight across as the hind-7 goes inside their own 20.
  • lotta man on edges, soft to medium, and then a combination zoning in the middle, again, soft.
  • will use arrowhead sets off the Mike and off the Fs. Which is kinda neat looking, will use them at the same time. Odd looking alignments, to put it mildly.
  • dLine does leave a Gap+, or closer to 2 Gaps uncovered at times. Just a screwy looking base.
  • very experienced DLine, almost 100 combined starts, that still ain’t very good.
  • D does blitz a fair amount in the front-7.
  • D seems very Qb concerned, at the expense of letting a Rb go. Strange!
  • D does not seem to have the most hustle, or maybe even recovery speed.
  • tacking was not good, bad, army looking, impoverished shallow geometry, not high contact, poor technique, and not the best blocker sheders overall I’ve seen on film.

 Defensive letter-grade:

Tulsa letter grades O

Golden Hurricane Offense: (returning starters=9)

  • 11th in passing O (329.8 ypg), 14th in Total O (5o2.8 ypg), 25th in scoring (35.9 ppg)
  • bit less run game, 63rd in rushing (172.9 ypg)
  • Sacks allowed 112th, Tackles for a Loss allowed 57th
  • 24th best in Explosion plays!
  • surprisingly to the point of a bit shockingly enough, Tulsa has only tallied four plays >43 yards in their pass-happy aerial assault this year. Meaning: this is a doubles and triples hitting offense, that does not quite park that many HR’s.
  • ditto the Hurricanes rushing attack which only fielded two totes north of 29 yards!
  • curious line-ups, at times………..narrow splits in the box, both Ot-G-c-G-Ot and in the backfield, like a box bunch set. And then really wideout splits to the first in-line Slot and/or Flanker Wr. Talk about a maxed out Line of Scrimmage (L.O.S.) horizontal stretch; geez!

    Lotta E-W stretch!
    Lotta E-W stretch!
  • single Back or 3-4 full-time Wideouts.
  • Qb, Dane Evans, 6’1”, 218 lb. Jr., with looooong Ric Flair hair! “Wooooh!” PURE pure gunslinger who knows no fear –which does get him in trouble. What with 35 career INT’s! 9,000+ passing in high school and nearly 8K already at Tulsa. His 2004 Pop Warner football team won the national championship, while that same year his 12-year-old baseball team won the USSSA World Series and he won the Texas State Wrestling Championship at 92 pounds. WOW! No wonder he’s such a confident little cuss. Pretty good surfer in his spare time, okay rusher despite -27 on the year.
  • quick hitting medium passing assault; and it is a full fledged assault. In a way, it almost takes the Fs outta the game. As he has to cover bucu ground, in a hurry. (beyond Cover none or Cover-0 sets). At least 1 or 2 pure vertical routes per play. Not as angular as other bang-bang sets.
  • 5 real solid pass-catches abound, lotta depth here in the Good Hands People.
  • young(er), JuCo heavy oLine with musical chairs. I suppose given that, they did decently enough, and they do not have to protect for that long.
  • run-game has more backfield talent(s) –Brewer (scat Back) and Langer (big Back) than the Hurricane front-5 does. These 2 Rb’s made things happen; on their own. Lottsa quick hitting Iso’s, dives, plunges between the Ot’s. Some shield or turn work here, will cede ground and take the Dlineman where he wants to go and outta the play.
  • Exciting offense; don’t blink with this O, you might miss something. Cross your legs and make it to the next commercial break!

Offensive  letter-grade:

Tulsa O letter grades

Tulsa Special Teams: (2 return)
Tulsa is a bit south of average as FG-Kicking goes –as 5’10” 174 lb. Place-kicker Redford Jones has been erratic all year long. 80% inside of 30, and yet 57% beyond the 30 says so. So does a long of 46, with no attempts from 50 yards or more. Had a high school long of 46 as well as  having some truncated KO distance numbers. Says if he were forced to give up all of his possessions but one, he would keep his Bible. And I can honestly say I’ve never ever read that in a biography before; and I’ve been doing this a long time. God Bless. Still yet, a very moderate Kicker at best with likewise moderate range; and Jones did have 12% or 2 FGA’s blocked this season! Dalton Parks is a 6’3” 210 lb. junior year Punter who was named to the 2015 Ray Guy Award Preseason Watch List. Career long of just  67 ain’t half bad as walk-on 3 year starting Punters’ go. Has a slightly lower release point on film, almost like a punch shot in Golf. Pride and Joy pay attention. Parks has a net punting average of 38.49 per punt. Which is actually 42nd best in the nation thanks to being 20th best in punt-coverage. Nice hang-time here, expect a few Hokie fair-catches in this one.

Tulsa is a very very strong at 14th best in punt returns and you’d have to think they are due to break one all the way; which they have yet to do this campaign. Tulsa however is a lowly 98th in KO returns and a below average in KO return defense at 98th. Tulsa blocked no FGA’s and had 0’s as well for punt blocks allowed and punts blocked by the Hurricanes in their right. Tulsa did attempt a stunning 5 on-sides kicks this season (20%), O&M up-men beware!

Special Teams letter-grade: (other than the Punt take back game, this is a very average or less Tulsa set of special teams Letterman. Highest C- is about what I’m seeing here)

X-factor(s):

  • motive: F, r, a, n, k! (need you ask?!?)
  • weather: 79f, 19 mph wind, scattered Thunderstorms, prolly hurts Tulsa more; edge, VT.
  • health: the starting Ot and a pretty electric Wr are out for Tulsa, though that’s about it. Moderate nod to the G.Hurricanes here.
  • penalties: close to a washout -for a change- Tulsa is 97th best here.
  • fatigue: N/A
  • trends: for whatever reason or reasons, Tulsa has been really outscored in the 1Q and again in the 3Q to begin each half. 77 total point deficit when combined, so let’s see if Tech can get off to a fast start in this one.

 

Retiring coach Frank Beamer is what?

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is…

The best defense, is defense.” -Arnold Schwarzenegger-

Except for one thing, I don’t expect a lotta defense in this one men; I do expect the Bristol suits to be pretty happy with the scoreboard defensive detritus. In the end.

The short-hand version says the first team to 30, or even 35+ wins. As there will be some points tallied in this one men. Frank Beamer and Virginia Tech did fire back when fired upon for most of this season and that tells me something right there. This 2015 team’s heart is good enough; the body of talent however is a few bricks shy of a load, or of being truly great.

"Hokie Hokie Hokie hi Tech Tech V.P.I.!"
“3 cheers for Frank!”

Whether this is technically sanctioned or less than technically sanctioned, you’d have to think that coach-Fu is something of a Tulsa-whisperer, as his Memphis team ripped Tulsa to the tune of a 66-42 drubbing right at 2 months ago.

closer:
I’ve read a number of other wannabe sagacious previews that have our beloved Hokies winning 20-something to 20-something, by a full play at best and by a half-play (FG), at the least. Maybe I’m pigskin illiterate, although that reads too low to me. Tulsa has a very porous user-friendly sieve like stop-unit, and Bud Stout has had some troubles stopping explosion based chunk yardage plays all year… you do the maths. And then tell me how it will take less than at least 28 points to put either team down here?

Now, and this is rare -which is just how I like my crow- however, I somewhat disagree with my source’s here and that happens about 1/2 past never. Generally speaking, the consensus is that we/Virginia Tech have found some things on film that we feel pretty good about. Remind yourself that Staff is lifetime hyphen one (life-1) when that is the subtle behind the scenes call. So that’s pretty dang encouraging right there. Nevertheless, if you ask me, and you did… this one has shootout written all over it. Could possibly come down to he who scores last laughs last. As Virginia Tech has beaten exactly one team (semi) comfortably since Purdue [email protected] College- and we only out-gained them by 57 total yards! See what I mean?

***

     Nothing has come easy in Blacksburg Va. for the past four seasons. I do not understand why I am to cogently make purchase or make believe that that suddenly changes to the good right now? As Tulsa has put up 38 or more points every game less one going back to mid-October; conversely, Tulsa have given up 30 points or more going back to mid-October as well. Tulsa has given up 3o7.6 per game rushing in their last three, however, they have put up over 502 and 36 ppg on average on the year for a reason, too!

Whereas Virginia Tech has not busted 27 points in a game since before halloween. And our beloved Hokies have been out-gained in every game going back to early November! As there is a reckoning to be accounted for as all of those skewed metrics go.

Our ability -just like Old King Cole- to chew up, spit-out and maul a Bowl caliber team just ain’t what it used to be. However, I just can not (quite) pick the upset, although that 14 point spread sure looks juicy to me!

God Bless legendary coach Beamer; I hope you have A Wonderful Life!

Merry Christmas to you and yours at home.

Thank you for another season Will.

upset Index=40.5%

Virginia Tech=35, Tulsa=3o

LETS GO!

HOKIES!

bourbonstreet**

snoopy merry chstiams gif