Tech Thoughts: Spring Practice part II, and a not so Great Scott…

Tech Thoughts: spring practice 2018

The Virginia Tech Hokies have finished spring practice 2018 and per always, behind the scenes whispers, vibes and hints abound.

Everyone is undefeated at the moment as not one of the now 129 2018 D-1 has yet to L a game.

Clearly this is the easy feel-good time of the year; before we -yet again- begin the off-season odyssey of sitzkrieg reporting. Whereby any real news is typically code for bad news and no news is good news… “ahem”…

However, you know this is where real men congregate and speak truth to the power. So let’s talk true about two surprise depth-chart prime-movers and then let us at least begin our Pivotal dialogue R.A.T.T. about any potential August camp Qb1 derby odds. As you wanna know if Willis really did narrow the Qb1 gap? Read on, to find… out!

A fourth (or possibly even) a third Dt, finally emerges?

6′4″, 286 lb, r-sophomore, ex-Te, ex-H-back quickie, ex-De (high school) and now potentially coach Wiles’ rotational Dt4. Surprised? No. Not me and my peeps, we is… shocked. Lateran battery shocked at the very least as someone forgot to tell Xavier to just bugger-off and pack his remaining O&M career, in.

Xavier Burke, he of all of one Qb-hurry and three assisted stops so far in his whole entire Hokie football career mind you. That’s no solo-stops, no stacks and no passes anything dropping in zone-blitz coverage… wait for it, more on that…

Is Dt actually his home-position– now firmly planted over in Burke(s) Garden?

He also being a year older than his class rank suggests -thanks to prepping his initial post high school football season at Fork Union Military Academy- or a reasonably physically advanced kid for this stage of his gridiron career. As his downright solid 370 lb. bench press, a 534 lb. squat and a legit 4.84 forty would seem to suggest.

And least those who seem so shocked forget, although Xavier was more parts Te recruit (and seemingly) less parts scholastic defensive recruit… as he was merely named the 2013 Virginia Defensive Player of the Year by VirginiaPreps at De. That’s all; he sucks; cut him and rip his schollie right now!

Accordingly, one might be forgiven for inferring that this newfangled or re-minted Dt might just have a pass-rush move -or three- to his four point stance with both hands now in the dirt. Not to mention that he did scholastically star as a Te and that brings a rather lucrative zone-blitz look into play dropping a kid with good hands who is authentically used to actually catching the football into pass coverage off the defensive-line; and strikes me as right alluring indeed. (And do recall that I am nobodies zone-blitz honk). As Xavier’s senior high school season stat-line (at De) read as follows: 95 total tackles, including 18 TFL (tackles for a loss), 10 Qb sacks, along with a stunning 20 Qb hurries and four pass break-ups when playing the aforementioned zone-blitz look. Hmmmmm, this all from the no.10 Te prospect in the nation just a few years ago according to; wow, that is intriguing as Dt situational versatility goes in the spread-offensive set era indeed.

Not half-bad work for a kid that was sometimes listed as an ubiquitous: “Jumbo Athlete” by a couple of recruiting services just a few years ago. This also from a baller who was said to be a northern hemisphere powerfully built Te, who however was also said to lack higher end Te burst; ditto only being a middleocore in-line Te as blocking went.  And yet he enjoyed a scholastic tag and collegiate practice-field reputation for making laid-out full extension catches in the passing game. So this kid must be doing something right as half past when -or half past Jeff King- have we fielded a Te who enjoyed a reputation for that? And anyone who lacked higher-end Te burst is likely to be someone who lacks De and H-back burst alike. Nevertheless, might that be someone who has a smart enough looking Dt burst? Yah; Roger that and me three on being intrigued by the possibilities of the same… as Xavier Burke and Benjie Button are trinary curious cases indeed. Now mix in the fact that the Te/H-back version of Burke enjoyed a rep’ for breaking-tackles and you have to like his physical chances to out-athlete peeps on the inside at Dt. As this kid was prolly too stiff to play B.C.S. power-conference De, Te, and H-back alike, although he may just be athletic enough to provide quality relief in a single-gap system as this is just the kinda Dt you’d expect to give Georgia Tech a fit.

A 100% new 2018 oLine— even with 40/60% starters returning?

Reads kinda squirrelly, don’t it?

TSL: “You’ve L your mind b.street!”
me: “Why, have you seen it?”

Well, left-G and Center graduated; so those spots are new for 1,000% sure. Our former starting right-Ot (Chung). who was really a home position G; well he’s now vacating his serviceable 2017 front-side or right-Ot spot. Sources say that a r-Fr. and natural home-position left-Ot did work with the 1’s off/on all spring practice long over on the odd or blind-side. And that Nijman -who thank you Coach God- did work full this spring, well he put in some right-side Ot work his ownself. That only really leaves the right-G spot via default where Pfaff did start last year; although least we forget he too has worked both sides of Center Street. Do you see what I mean? Depending upon who coach Vice nominates as being his top-5 blockers; and presuming he wants to get them all on the field at the very same time; there is a small to medium shot that we have a 5×5 brand new starting offensive-line matrix this year.

Then, and as someone hinted on the pay-side, there are vibes that at least 3 or 4 guys have made strides as blockers go and that the depth chart is about as close as it has been to rolling a legit seven deep or better —with an outside chance to roll nine deep later on in the year.

This segues us neatly into a likely 6′5″, 312 lb. fourth year right-Ot, now turned left-G combination offensive lineman. D’Andre Plantin came to us as the no. 59 ranked Dt in the nation accordingly to Platin squats 460, with a 38′ power-throw, a 26″ vertical and he runs a decent enough 5.25 forty— as that’s none too shabby when you are trucking over three-bills down the field. Or in other words, when you look at this kid… you can not tell me he does not remind you of Dan Blocker oh so very aptly playing the (slightly) gentle giant that you remember as barrel sized ‘Hoss’ Cartwright. Hoss of the ubiquitous busting that steer, drinking that beer and jawbone of an ass fame… out on the not entirely political Ponderosa, way way back in the day!

We shall pass this way on Earth but once, if there is any kindness we can show, or good act we can do, let us do it now, for we will never pass this way again.
-Blocker on how he potrayed ‘Hoss’-
“Here’s THE beef!”

Word is however -and just the same as the budging ‘Hoss’- word is that D’Andre got to campus with plenty of size, bulk, and mass; and yet not enough… technique. Now will Plantin ever developing into a pure blocking-textbook like all-world G, like Larry Little was of Shula perfect season fame? Maybe not, although the vibe here is that he is finally better and playing top down (i.e. utilizing leverage); footwork and hand-placement alike. I like that, I liked, I did not love; although I did like his late season work at left-Ot and in particular his @uva efforting.

The kid is wiling, the kid is a natural aircraft-carrier or CV of an Ot, as Plantin is a craft-beer homespun space eater extraordinaire.

However, he sure struck me as less parts Ot and more parts interior grinder upon breaking tape last year. This is a helmet-on-helmet crime warrior. See, go, hunt, kill; rinse, recycle, repeat. As although D’Andre is not exactly nonathletic, he is less athletic than you would ideally want an edge blocker to be as sealants go in the horizontally needy Fu’fensive line-of-scrimmage east-west stretch sets. As his pass blocking sets lack so-called “sink” or pad-level to most laymen. He does however fire off the ball well, and displays a thudding hip-roll in his run-fits. Now does that sound like a blind-side Ot to you? Me neither; although that does read rather intriguing as an interior blocker or offensive-G goes. As sources have heard this kid described as a: “mauler” type blocker; that only really needs to learn how to stay target engaged after he delivers a pretty smart first lick. And that’s no bad power conference work for a kid who wore more of a D-1aa tag coming outta Georgia just a couple of seasons ago.

Yes, Plantin has a history of both wrist and hand injuries -which rather explains his need for improved handwork, does it not- and yet sourcing went so far as to describe the staff as being: “thrilled” with D’Andre’s development in the last number of months. Now mix in some leadership from the kid who is prolly the Summa Cum JAX head-game leader of the oLine as X’s and O’s I’s and Q’s go. And suddenly you’ve got a pretty fair to middling two year starting replacement blocker for all-conference W.Teller at left-G. As this is a big ole, beefy, wide-bodied, thick-necked, sloped shoulder of an interior warhorse just looking to give ‘Hoss’ a real live fit.

Then we see that daddy Plantin was a defensive tackle at Clemson (Class of 1996); so you know his family tree is ripe with footballs; and quite frankly, it looks like D’Andre has cut some gut as his overall build this spring appeared to be noticeably more shipshape. So here’s hoping that our ‘Hoss’ be planting Dt’s and dusting crops down in Tally in just about four and a half months.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul?

Do you recall the former latent trench-fighting recruitment mantra that went something like this… “We recruit the best available defensive-linemen and then convert a couple of ’em into offensive-linemen as needed”?

True, Jerry Claiborne was long gone; though the ghosts of Jerry Claiborne’s “bear” Bryant pedigree of defensive football first, second and third, then refined by some forth down Hall of Fame revolutionary genius… that only notched 280 total career victories. Yes, that strategy… as Coach Claiborne was gone and yet he was still here and some would have me argue that he did not officially leave until Boxing Day (12.26) 2015 A.D.

And yes, that guy (Frank Beamer) was the right guy for a job that nobody really much 1987 wanted. As Beamerball surely came around at just the right time and he sure did time everything -Miami’s demise, the Big East and then eventual Atlantic Coast entrance with Miami still down and F.S.U. and Clemson early scuffling- he sure did time everything three cherries straight across to the good, to the great and eventually to the Hall of Fame epic.

Nevertheless, that d-Line robber ethos mentality had its eventual home positioning blocking foibles that grew into the autumn of his career outright flaws.

And yet what if St.Paul now wants some payback, with, interest?

As Will and others have documented, Coach Wiles and Virginia Tech defensive football are all edging perilously close to entering a rather recessionary market upfront in stop-unit terms. So instead of converting talented Dt’s into offensive-linemen (cue: W.Teller), could the soon to be pretty dang thin looking Dt’s quandary go begging for some offensive-line osmosis or help?

And if they did, who might be a hidden Dt currently plugged into a whopping never seen before dearth of depth-chart offensive-linemen depth? As the Vice-Squad ranks have swollen to a heretofore unheard of 23 blocking deep. (Readers Note: with at least three more offensive blockers, possibly four, on the way).

  • If anyone on the roster looker even more Dan Blocker than Dan Blocker did, or more than D’Andre Plantin does, that someone would surely be: Austin Cannon. Austin is a prototypical ponderous Center fit at 6′2″, 314 r-sophomore lbs., (see: below). As this is one big big headed (think: 20 gallon melon), Klingon shouldered, quintessential Center blocking frame. Though it’s pretty dang close to the former Foster 1-gap Dt mold as well. The whispers say Cannon is a left or odd side baller (i.e. left-G) and/or C combo. Though they also say that there is a little Ng/Dt that lives in Cannon and you do not win three straight state T&F championships in the shot-put as a northern hemisphere weakling. Cannon surely has the build and temper to support a Dt move; and quite frankly he looks a little D-1 tight as C/G goes. Cannon has timed just above a 5.15 forty, with a 25′ vertical, Cannon fires a nifty 390 lb. bench (press), a 330 lb. clean, and truly staggering 565 lb. deadlifts to marry with 540 lb. squats! WOW! That’s a pretty damn ferrous, iron pumping weight-room kid folks. As Cannon sure looks the WWII, jerry so called “StuG” or sawed off 75mm anti-personal or assault-gun (tanker) part.

    a legit Gentrification Iron Hokie indeed!
  • (in the pic: #44), one 6′2″, 276 lb. t-freshman Joe Kane -who the vibes say is also netting a C look see- is another single-gap looker as classical Fosterorian Dt requirements go. Joe however was a pass rushing specialist at Dt in scholastic terms as 200 total tackles and a stunning and school record setting 31 Qb sacks in just over two seasons of play does not suck. Neither does being named conference Defensive M.V.P., neither does being named the even geographically larger Cap-8 Defensive Player of the Year. Ditto winning AAAA or quad-A all-state at Dt. Now mix in a nearly shocking 31″ vertical leap to go with a pretty dang sporty 5.07 forty not to mention a virtual 40′ powerball or hammer-throw and you suddenly have a kid who plays with way way more burst than his nearly identical signature Dutch Boy emblem or Thom McAn childhood dress shoe logo looks suggest. Likewise the fact that Kane is said to have a very quick first-step (for a Dt), and he does play with a handsome shoulder dip. Which led to his high school tag as a bit of a disruptor with a good get off (of blocks) as a physically whoop you at the point-of-attack defender. In point of fact… Kane pass rushed so well that his H.S. team moved him to De in obvious 30 set pass rushing situations. As the word here is that this is a pretty plucky kid as willingness to mix goes.

    Singapore Kaned!
  • So, how would a Samson sized 6′7″, 335 lb. r-sophomore truly towering Dt strike you? Strikes me just fine as T.J. Jackson -he of dunk championship fame- and “no” he’s not Tito Jackson’s son; T.J. Jackson is almost assuredly the best basketball player on either front-line if the Vice Squad wants to challenge Wiles boyz to a game of hoops. As all Tee Jay did as a Dt was average a triskaidekaphobic 13 stops per game and he was only named second-team all-state AA at Dt as a scholastic sophomore before eschewing the gridiron entirely to focus entirely upon the hardwood and his hoops career as a H.S. junior. This before returning to pigskin full time as an Ot for his final high school season of varsity sports, plural. Or in other words, this is a raw football player no matter where he plays football. As there is a lotta “moo” still left in T.J.’s steak. Jackson -no JAX relation- is hinted to also be a kid who needs developmental time, however he is also said to be at his best when playing straight ahead and: Dt see A-gap, get A-gap, kill A-gap is about as straight ahead as it gets.
  • Now, am I saying any of these kids will move? Not quite, or at least not yet, although all have showcased more than quality Dt flashes at their penultimate level. And I am officially saying that Dt does look perilously thin come 2019-2020. No matter how great my peeps are saying Goode may eventually be.

R.A.T.T.: ... the 2018 Vice squad o-Line will be what???

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Compassionately cast the first, stone?

And here I was gonna (finally) tease -if not outright begin- the always alpha lucrative Qb derby section. I was gonna tell you about how someone let someone else in the media compassionately off the hook for their publication that H.Hooker was actually tailgating JAX late last year before the 2017 Qb1 sweepstakes was won. I was gonna detail the #17 whispered improvements, that than weighed-in at 16 oz. north of said Mendoza (improvement) Line. I was gonna cast the first {sic: Hokie} stone at what Qb time it really is down in the now warming as I type New River Valley.

Alas, maybe next time I finally will? As something truly ugly happened when Twitter erupted along the way to the O&M candy-store on Friday and suddenly all quarterbacking bets were off.

Gone is up-n-comer and newly named co-Defensive Coordinator and now former Safeties coach Galen Scott. Scott was a three-time all-America selection and four-year all-Gateway Conference pick as a Lb, where he helped Illinois State to its first Gateway Conference title (1999) and a pair of NCAA Division I-AA playoff appearances (1998, 1999). They say that Scott was a mini-me Vince Hall and frankly it showed on the Virginia Tech practice fields and/or sideline where his sometimes sparky if not fiery approach was a Draconian or he-Daenerys wake up call when and as needed.

Though he is now gone of his own doing(s) and Lord have mercy on all involved in this sorted affair.

Nevertheless, there are things we can learn/gleam from what just happened here. Among them would be…

  1. says: Don’t (F) with the Fu’!
  2. Rule.no2 says: “See rule number one!”

As Fu’ surely don’t play if he just offed his whispered to be closest friend on Staff in a matter of hours. No if’s, and’s or butt’s…

According to Dr. Lewis and my Dating Marriage and Divorce -second best class I ever took- sociology textbook, adultery occurs approximately 85% of the time.

So what happened here is mathematically not uncommon. Being true blue, actually; is. Nonetheless, no matter how strange all of this did get, you do not F with Fu’. As therapy first, second, and third Frank, coach Fu’ just ain’t; and the toe the damn line O&M ante just went way way up. Like a Saturn V rocket per Chris Kraft down at the Cape. And do observe there were no denials, no spin, and no swerve in play here. The 10% iceberg rule melting away as I type…

May Saint’s Peter and Febronia of Murom, (Patron Saint’s of Marriage) bless and intercede, here.

As I have it on good authority that when Fu’ talks you could hear a pin-drop. And after this I’d have to presume you could at least hear the traffic out on 460 pop. As you don’t F with the Fu’.

If you are on Staff or ball for Fu’ do you understand this yet? Because since half-past-when was the last time you heard of a guy (or a gal) getting their Natty Hawthorne letter on who then got whacked for cheating?

Yah; me neither— and Fu’ still, don’t, play!

As Hokie discipline will almost assuredly enter an all-time bull market for this personnel shuffling move on the instant. FEAR the Fu’. I repeat, this is gonna be one spartan or martinet type team after this caffeinated of an instant dismal– and we were already 19th best in penalties last year!

Additionally… it was said that none other than Foster himself went to co-Defensive Coordinator bat for coach Scott; as Bud thought Galen to be that much wiser than most. So the under-boss is done in the Gotti stop-unit family.

Who will be the next defensive consiglieré or headset heir apparent after Bud Bøck does eventually tap out we now have no idea?

May not be promotion from within after this, and here is hoping this is not a stop-Gap measure (pardon the schematic pun) if/when a full-time replacement is hired. As Hokie defensive coaching and motivational chutzpah are gonna recess a bit for this. Mark my film-study words here folks.

Still yet, I suppose if this just had to happen the off-season may be a slightly less acerbic place than had it happened while prepping for the Flexbone of Georgia Tech. I likewise  suppose the Jersey Shore Cb himself, one Adonis “the situation” Alexander will be receiving something of a coaching breath of fresh air. (Though stay tuned to see just how much that hurts/helps as wildcards go).


In closing… the older I get the mo’ and mo’ I realize just how large of a seven letter word: forgive truly is; a morally noetic word at that. “I forgive you.” Since half-past-when was the last time you heard someone say that to you? Or how about the last time you held your feet to your fire and “forgave” someone else?

Yah; me neither…

Still yet; there are times when it’s a long long way home depending upon the severity/frequency of the given transgression/betrayal. And yah; I know, the F-bomb is a four letter word— same as the enemy of Heaven.

God Bless, as we humans have feelings.
And feelings are actually an eight letter word.

Virginia Tech=minus one stud coach.




9 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. If you are going to preach morality you must live it and that can come with a price. Never forget Justin Fuente just lost a friend and no one wants to be put there. The operative word is put there. Not of Fuente’s making. If this occurred on VT’s dollar had no chose IMO.

    1. True.

      Not at all on coach Fu’.
      And he sure acted and acted decisively.


    2. questions: If a coach goes on a recruiting trip on VT dime (lodging, miles, rental car, food), and then the coach goes and eats a “fine” dinner with his grandparents because it’s the same zip code….is that an issue? or is it, all business all the time? I say, if the work is done then there is time for pleasure (Coach Scott admits to making a bad decision). I assume he lied to his friend and boss – which could result in termination.

      1. I suppose in the most B&W sense …or should I type: “cents”… that would not be kosher; technically speaking.

        Though that’s an extremely fine line to toe. Nickel and dime management.
        I’d be surprised -disappointed even- if Fu’ was not okay enough with something purely nepotistic, on occasion, such as that.

        Though yes, as you correctly point out… there is a deception here. And just how much trust would there have been had Scott been retained after that?
        Nevertheless, and I choose to leave this out up above… beyond the “feelings” hinting part… it sure seems to be that this jilted hubby sure got his 16 oz. of flesh here.

        As his Twitter outing and the way in which he involved and questioned the ethos of both Fu’ and Virginia Tech was most effective in eliminating Scott. He backed Tech and Fu’ into a corner and that left Scott right on top of a trapdoor.


  2. I am perplexed by the Galen Scott change. Can it be as simple as ESPN or Richmond Times report? I feel like one and done with mistakes is harsh when it comes to a 2 decade old friend. Excited for Justin Hamilton, wish the best for him. Now let’s find a way to beat FSU (shouldn’t QB Francois be suspended given his recent activities for the first game?)

  3. This you have the advantage of me on… they reported what exactly?


    1. I read that he had an affair while on some recruiting trips. It was somehow released on twitter (cannot confirm that).

      If a coach is on a recruiting trip, its reasonable for part of that trip to be business and its also possible to have that trip have a few hours to oneself. These are football coaches, not priests (tongue in cheek). Forgiveness….I like that you touched on that. Coaches live a harder life than most, what they do (d1a and nfl) is not easy, its elite. And it tears families apart sometimes.

      1. Oh I saw it on Twitter with my own 2 beady little Eye(s).
        Harsh. Sanguine. Though bloody well read legit to me.

        Dood very genuinely (as in he sure appeared to be in severely genuine pain) he sure tore Scott and next-of-kin Virginia Tech and Fu’ to pieces. Most effective indeed.

        And I do feel for this hubby too.
        He musta realllllly super-duper loved/loves his wifey to wrote what he did.


  4. Ever been burnt raw… you know skin peeling, ouch sensation where it hurts with temperature change near stove oven or inside a freezer, etc…. That’s the situation in Merryman… 1st Lacrosse Video, now Scott…IF Hokies never appreciated Babcock before, do it now as this is the type of situations that destroy culture or make it stronger…Place a book mark on Second semester 2018, for the year VT become Fuente’s w/o debate…Prayers that one 704 dial home lean mean INT machine recognizes the ambers will ignite quickly now as the sting from this burn is so raw, don’t fan the flame!!!
    Good insights BTW on the big nasties!!!

    Let’s Go…Hokies!!!
    BEAT F$U!!!

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