Spring Practice 2018, vol.no.1:
Virginia Tech football kicked off spring practice about a fortnight ago give/take. So it is high time to get back into the oblong spheroid swing of things —Masters weekend timely pun insert (____), here; check!
That attempt at mixed sporting levity aside, I decided to take a (quick) look back in order to Foster a future defensive understanding for what returns and what needs to be, replaced. As several serial Atlantic Coast talents just departed to ply their professional ways. Thus creating a need to refurbish -if not retool- parts of the much vaunted Foster stop-unit euphemistically known as: Bud Bðck. So where will the 2018 defensively R.A.T.T. peg as spring-ball truly opens up and gets back into the, swing, of things? Read on, to find… out!
Defensive Tackle acoustics and A+++ A-gap sealants…
- (defensive) Power Rushing success rate (allowed)=#1!!!
- (defensive) Stuff Rate=3rd!
- Defensive Line Havoc Rate=6th!
Standard Downs (1st, 2nd and 3rd-n-normal | i.e. not long or short yardage, normal distance downs with the entire hypothetical play-book at your finger tips) was a none too shabby 5th best in yards per carry allowed last season.
Do you see a (2017), trend?
Now see this… Q1 S&P+ was 8th best and yet did drop to no better than 32nd best for any of the remaining three quarters (Q2, Q3 and the final stanza Q4) of scrumming in 2017 after that.
Or in other words, Walker, Settle and Co. was virtually epic when fresh, fresher, freshest, to to begin any given game. However, they only slowly wore down subsequently. Or to put it another way, the very very talented -a 27% to 54% N.F.L. at least looksee talented- the very very talented Hokie 2017 defense was (mostly) Blessed by Coach God with very very good health for the duration. Not perfect health with Big-Vin’s unfortunate knee collapse, and a few secondary dings-n-dents here and there; nonetheless and by-the-bye, this 2017 stop-unit remained locked, cocked and ready to rock for most of the ’17 duration. It also however remained perilously thin; and yet those nearly transparent words made no never-mind after H.Gaines stepped in and then really stepped it up at the former End-De now turned left-side spot.
Now we segue to the 2018 Foster stop-unit, which is even thinner and noticeably less experienced at: Mike-Lb, Whip (or OLb), and to some extent at a couple of secondary spots and surely at Dt2. Never mind Dt3 and Dt4 who have basically played as much defensive college football as you and I have combined.
Or in other words… Ricky Walker needs to have his all-time S&C and Nutrition off-season extraordinaire. For he and poetry Coach Robert Frost: “…have promises to keep and many miles to go before (they) sleep.“
As the last-season -and in extra particular- the last springball word was… that Wiles felt this to be his worst d-Line with the 2017 back-ups starting due to injuries, ever. If you are keeping score at home, that’s 31 seasons worth of “ever” or 3.1 decades of Charley-horses, Charlie’s Angles, and St.Charles Place itself. That’s mo’ coaching/evaluative experience than Coach Z’, coach Scott and coach Vice combined! So when Charley Wiles says his nervous? You should be phobic, possibly, very— as beyond the most welcomed present-tense development of former back-up Dt, the mini-me Bill Fralic wannabe, r-sophomore, one #55, 6′1″, 283 lb. Jarrod Hewitt (tip: who is whispered to be a very “handsy” baller with a penchant for stripping fumbles), he who is also said to be of the 4.82 forty, the 484 lb. bench, the 538 lb. squat, and the 355 lb. clean; he who is additionally now said to be all the way up to: “adequate”, you’d better hope and Pray that big-Vin and his thrice hurt, then his twice surgically repaired shoulders, and now his non-weight bearing and still folded up like a accordion former De knee all conspire to Dt hold together. If not?
Well if not methinks we could see some revival of the 30-set; although the caveat here is that even though Walker is lumpy looking upstairs and downright stalky in the southern hemisphere, that’s a whole helluva a lotta punches for just one Ng/Dt to have to catch; much less to have to effectively, stop. And someone outta: Fullwood, Burke, Poarcher IV or some incoming talent (read; t or r-freshman), someone really does need to make a Saturn rocket type propellant depth-chart move this spring or at least this August Camp at Dt. Because guess what folks? This newbie Mike-Lb and debuting Whip really do need a dLine that can help them play second-layer “clean”; as there are gonna be some misQ’s, growing-pains and downright Linebacking mistakes here.
Accordingly, this (current) Hilgrith dLine currently fields no less than eight guys in the 3-deep at 247 lbs. or less, and only two guys north of 284 lbs. As this ain’t exactly the most physical looking Wiles front-4 I’ve ever studied, and in as much as I am not want to say that they is objectively: “small”, they are a little light in the pants, or perhaps the 50% full among you would deign that I say that: “they have room to grow”.
Either way… I do say that we should look for a Top-40 to Top-45 run-fighting unit early on. Where it goes or grows from there remains to be seen?
As same as last campaign, Coach Foster and coach Wiles should be camped out on coach Corny’s play-calling front lawn with free calendars, sundials, and sextants. With all of those chronometers just begging coach Corny to run that damn O&M offensive clock and let the air outta the 2018 Fu’fensive ball so that the smaller and inexperienced 2018 Foster stop unit can catch its breath, and still have some tasty Bud Lyte on tap come Thanksgiving later this year.
Alexander “the great”!
Adonis Alexander=70.o% success rate! First best for the entire Bud Böck stop-unit in all of 2017! Surprising to you —why?
It it because my boy talks a lotta pure Shinola?
Or is it because my boy gets into a lotta shite off-field?
Not to throw shade, nevertheless all of that is only true because all of that is emphatically true. Alex’ is a motor-mouth on-field and his verbal meltdown battles vs. Coach Mitch’ (and/or Scott) on the practice field are already the stuff of X-rated harangue legend. Maybe my boy missed his calling as a Caligula era Roman Forum smack-down, verbose, rhetorician?
As yah; the critically loquacious and totally (physically) lit 6′3″, 2o7 lb. final year Adonis Alexander is a lot of things and not all of ’em are good; or high on… discipline.
He keeps -and sideline flashes- some nasty arse abs all laced by some vicious looking street tats on said washboard core. As least we forget, a January enrollee Adonis somehow took down Iron Hokie status after only one month at Virginia Tech! His crazy looking 42″ vertical jump goes along smartly with his 395 lb. squat and his downright knifed-up or serrated looking 335 lb. power clean. As this is a pure explosion based, fast-twitch jacked-up baller, on-field… and off.
To put it another way… Adonis is one of the few remaining total street-dawgg tethers to the totally credible hard-ass alpha swagg of Vince Hall. Adonis was the ONLY Hokie I saw answer the fights hard when tired bell vs. hateful w.v.u. when he totally blasted a err’tucky Wideout along the sideline right in the middle of that nearly world ending final, last ditch Dub.Vee game ending drive. Adonis is one of only two remaining Hokies with a “don’t F with him” on-field tag and he’s also one of only two remaining Hokies who still steals peeps on Special Teams.
Or to put it another way… for all his socially addled off-field flaunts, Adonis is one of those rare young turks that I’d rather fight with than fight against. Adonis don’t play, Adonis chews glass and spits nails. Yes, he does need to stop nailing himself— and yes, the coach-Fu’ spring practice opening day dais warning on a particular senior Cb was indeed a Hawthorne Effect attempt in full affect.
Regardless, and even if my boy is indeed down to his penultimate -or last- proverbial O&M straw… he just plays so dang hard folks –that at least some of his cave dwelling wildman sins are forgivable per his very same Cro-Magnons ultimate game day caloric burn.
As yes, Adonis needs a strongman to run wingman and help him check himself at times. Although nobody wants to fight Adonis, and you need a power hitter like Adonis to land that kayo punch when the @F.s.u. chips get 4Q big-n-blue.
% of Solo Tackles=117th?!?
Mmmmm-k… me neither on how to understand that ’17 Foster halt-unit metric. So it’s either a lotta busted tackles (to the not so good), or a lotta gang-tackling (to the good).
Though did any of you see the signature Dooley era tidal-wave swarming tackling approach? Well, me neither, at least not so much downfield with 600-800 lbs. of second-layer and/or secondary bodies finally collapsing a rather game, willing and gutty opposing runner. What I did film-study see however was a few hold-up/tie-up type hang-on tackles along the edge by Cb’s or Whips that at least held the line until help arrived. (note: I also saw some pretty fair to middling leverage here as these smaller less physical Cb’s at least did funnel things back towards the middle of the field or nearest inside hashmark as opposed to allowing a would-be ball-carrier to break contain to the outside where you’d better hope they trip as down the sideline they flee).
What I did also see was Settle, Walker, big-Vin, Hill; even Gaines in limited P.T. and the rest of our internal company in on a lotta assisted tackles. Whereby they: “got a piece of him” as coach-speak parlance would have me put it. As Settle, Walker and Hill were all top-7 in assisted stops last season.
Though this solo-stop marker will be a very very interesting comparison or flexion point for the 2018 replacement guys this time next year.
(BONUS data-mining: further and along congruent lines… I’d not noticed this one before, or at least not until now… nevertheless, the Hokie individual tacklers were virtually ~8% better at tallying a single or “solo” unassisted stop last year than Hokie opponents were. That’s pretty solid stopping (i.e. form tackling) if you can get it folks. And this jives with the drop in “steals” seen outta the Foster stop-unit since Coach-Fu’ arrived. As Fu’ is surely coaching balance over “boom” or pure halts over SportsCenter thermonuclear hits; and it shows in our superior individual tackling stats)
vtox1 writes: Offense ahead of defense in the spring, Bud To have greenest Defense in years. Does this mean Lunchpail defense going to drop in rank & effectiveness in 2018? How far does D drop out of top 25 in nation?
Great Q’s all… thank you for the material stocking-stuffer and even though we missed Bing Crosby’s romanticized White Christmas, it is still snowing outside for a Pasty Pascha. Go fig’ on that… anywho…
Well, and in reply, first of all why don’t we do what most won’t… and objectify where things stood with a virtually ~55% professional populous N.F.L. camping level stop-unit of all-stars in little ole Blacksburg, Va. last season.
- 1st best in punts blocked (5)!!!
- 2nd best in Kicks blocked (6)!!!
- 2nd best in 3rd down conversion percentage allowed (26.2%)!!!
- 7th best in zone D!
- 7th best in 1st down D. (i.e. epic Lo.FM initiation)!
- 12th best in Time of Possession (Bud Bøck got a lotta sleep).
- 13th best overall in Total D.
- 13th in Tackles for a Loss inflicted (7.8 TFL/g).
- 14th best overall in Run D.
- 21st most defensive TD’s scored (18 pts.).
- 26th in passing efficiency D.
- 31st in Qb’s sacked (2.46 spg).
- 32nd in 4th down conversion percentage allowed (43.5%).
- 33rd in overall Pass D.
- 45th in interceptions (13 INT’s).
- 87th in fumbles recovered (6).
And yah; big 10-4 good buddies, I myself did not recognize on all of that either! No wonder Foster was said to be saying out-loud that the 2018 Hokie stop-unit might very well have been his best defense ever; had everyone only… returned.
That epic praise rightfully bestowed the short-answer to vtox’s asked is… “yes”. Or better yet: “where”. As in “where” could this defense even begin to improve?!?
Yes it is going to drop all right, nevertheless, it is a Foster stop-unit and so last time I checked, they basically always check in at 50th best (or noticeably better) overall and that 50th or middle of the pack marker tends to be code for a very down; or beat up; or lotta green-wood piled on the O&M fire kinda year.
That all R.A.T.T. being said… there are a few past tense statistical things worth pointing out up above that just might connote, posit and aver some replacement 2018 things along the way…
Among them would be… has anyone else noticed the disconnect between playing in opposing backfield as much as the ’17 D did, and yet the lack of defensively fielded takeaways since Fu’ got here? Yah; me three on that and it is pretty obvious when you break as much tape as I do that Fu’ had legislated a few previous carnivorous Foster things right on out. Like the so-called “steal” I.C.B.M. sneaky hit maker that has been in a very bearish market since Fu’ arrived. As you (now) tackle your man and leave the SportCenter highlight one way tix on the Enola Gay out— ditto a bit more playing the man and not the ball in hind-4 or secondary terms. As the primary onus here is not to give up the big play and the “hair on fire” or playing with a “lotta shoulder” lumberyard type Buddy Ryan defenses prior to the first major Foster defensive revision of 2002 (give/take) are long gone and a thing of the past. Technique has become the paradigm in lieu of tank. As this is something of a Soy Product, lactose intolerant, or vegan Foster defense… if there is such a thing for a defense that used to only serve rare, rarer, rarest steaks; steaks with a whole lotta “moo” in ’em.
Am I a fan? No, not really, although that is prolly the necessary and therefore most pragmatic hell or high-h20 response to Spread offensive sets that have been flooding scoreboards everywhere for coming up on nearly a decade now. As one could argue that now is the worst time in halt-unit history to be engaging in taking penny-stock portfolio risk(s).
And least we forget, the equity of “assignment football” only, as the pet mantra of 1950’s up through the 1970’s stop-unit foci of coaches like Lombardi and Landry; who only conspired to win 9 world championships per their fundamental obedience to puristic halt-unit principals as opposed to splashy, intimidating, high Q-score Legion’s of Doom.
- D’Andre Plantin, should be the poster-boy for Beefeater Gin— and one of our oLinemen is a freakin’ Dunk Contest Champion?!?
- JAX… has he really truly madly deeply… moved himself out in front? Or it is more like the other two Qb’s have failed to move? (and what’s this about JAX finding some… muscle(s)?!?)
Tune in next issue… same Tech time, same Tech channel.
Virginia Tech=???, Florida State=???