Virginia Tech football is done with spring practice ’19. However, we squirrels here at b.street.com.VT.TSL.TOS.violations.galore … are finally -Coach God and John J. Donna II willing- we are now finally done going Word Press nuts. And that means it is high time to get back to some cracking open some high-tech off-season football writings, analysis and applied O&M sports psychology 1o1.
The Hokies only have about ~95 more shopping days until what could prove to be a rather revealing date with possibly the best Rb in the A.c.c. on the final day of August 2019 A.D. Nevertheless, in the meantime, we really do need to revisit and data-mine some 2018 science-fact things. That could very well help us objectify and breadcrumb trail where 2019 should subjectively be heading. Accordingly, we begin our coverage with the 2018-2019 pitch-n-catch game, and what my unique Eye in the Sky vantage point and statistical variance oversight has uncovered regarding what Ryan Willis truly, madly, deeply is all about. As Eye can assure you right now… nobody else has this Pivotal 411 anywhere else… so read on to find out what time it really is… i.e. watch, this!
The Grab Game 1o1…
So, let us get one thing from 2018 in-season 2019 off-season cleaned up, alrighty?
The most unacceptable version of “pot stirring” humanly possible is; what folks?
(ultimately bogus), P.A.T.T. takes that raise expectations and yet never deliver the goods you say? Or outcome pri¢e inflation?
You betcha! Nevertheless, why is this when +68 ^voting^ (or up-voting) peeps on Will’s pay message board vehemently said otherwise to the one person who actually called them out before 2018 itself actually called the ball?
Recall, this is a 30+ point offense. That managed to break 30 points just once in five tries to close the regularly scheduled part of your 2018 programming. (i.e. not named overtime) and when we did break the 30-point barrier we broke the 30 point plateau by one, that’s (1) single, solitary point people! Though 68 sucked in up-voters cannot possibly be ‘rong and the one actually correct nay-sayer is the real live pot-stirrer here. Yah-yah; LOL, and nay Winnie-Winnie on that.
As the Fu’fense averaged a whopping 23.2 ppg after one of the most applauded and least factual posts of 2018 was made. mmmmmm-k…
Tho’ why did nobody in the entire Virginia Tech football media pool unravel this one? Well, until now; Eye mean…
There are several reasons… some of which were more obvious than others and some even the unathletic writers may or may not have; caught; …foreshadowing, intended.
- First of all, as we -Eye do so hope- …as we all know by now… our version of wheat on Ry’ can run a little bit hot-n-cold. Almost Byron Scott streaky in-game if you will, to mix our sporting metaphor. As Ry’ is fully capable of playing an incomplete throw-game as his nearly S.O.P. (standard operating procedure) of one or two chilly passing sections in-game does not a complete, game; make. As he is still a little hit-n-miss, here-n-there.
- Second of all, as we -Eye do so hope- …as we all know by now… although our version of wheat on Ry’ might just be the fastest in-line or linear sprinting Qb on the squad… and if you doubt this just ask #5 the intercepting Cb of uva. Ry’ recall of the 34″ vertical leap and actual dunk-video production and he of the nifty if not outright rather quick top 20th percentile 4.69 20-yard shuttle time. And yet and lest we forget, although Ry’ may stop-watch and game-tape be all of those surprisingly spry things… Ryan Willis is still a pocket Qb via trade, upbringing/training and at heart. He is a scrapper of a pocket Qb with something of a blitzing OLb’ers mentality. And yet he is still technically a pocket Qb nevertheless. Which makes Ry’ a square peg that has actually (somehow) hammer himself sharply enough into the dual-threat Fu’fensive R.P.O. round hole. Or one could dare to say that he and his “Baywatch body” have at least somewhat finally caught on to what it takes to be a Fu’fensive R.P.O. Qb1 as opposed to being a pure five or 7-step drop-back pocket squatting specialist.
- Thirdly, Ry’s “R” or run-fits in the traditional, signature and outright horizontally necessary stretching Fu’fensive run-fits were less than traditional themselves. Ry’ does have the necessary speed to get up-field on the Qb keeper north-south; just ask U.n.c. and Duke. Tho’ his masterly of the option laterally or east-west or outside of basically either A-gap has been spotty, to so-so, to outright feast or famine at most.
- Fourthly, our oLine was either r-Sr(s) flat, edge or Ot(s) banged-up, with our best pre-season 2018 offensive lineman hobbled and eventually put out for the year; (may St.Nikhon bless Nijman). Then we see that with “power to the Peoples” forced, (pun intended), to carry the so-so traditional Rb run-fit load, what little horizontal or sideline-to-sideline offensive stretch that we did enjoy became rather limited and then rather limited became rather run-fit(s) predictable indeed.
Eye do so hope that most of you got some -if not most- of all of ^that^ already.
Nonetheless, what I’d bet beans to butter you did not get was… our heretofore rather underwhelming set of very modest good-hands people to several people with hands that are closer to being as stiff as a board. For all O&M Fu’ years running I mean; check it out…
Above and to the far right are the Fu’fense’s catch-rates in descending chronological order. Top-down from 2016, to 2017, to last year in 2018.
(don’t forget the mouse-hover if you need more 411 or wanna find Easter Eggs with me…)
And although it is true that any boy who says that pink is not his favorite color is not a real, boy… pink is a bad bad color here folks. Green is where you want to be in terms of being accused of being a handsy playar indeed.
Why this is such a (highly) suspect lo-Tech catch-crew Eye do not know?
I asked I looked, I studied numerous charts and tables and yet I just could not riddle this one out.
As the very next two Catch Rate(s) in descending order are from our two biggest rivals… with Commonwealth Cup 2018 uva listed first and then 2018 err’tucky or w.v.u. listed next.
Do you see a trend sports-fan?
Or in other words, don’t our Wide Receiving corps members have to hold onto and/or go get the football if we wanna start reaching 30 ppg and thereby making all +68 of you look prophetic indeed as eclipsing that 30-point plateau goes?
Finally, recall that the 2016 (inherited/refugee) Beamer Wr-club was one of Frank’s most talented catch-crops ever; and surely coach Fu’ and coach Corny’s most talented grab-gang in their short O&M tenure thus far.
The only question is… can rookie year Wr’s Coach Jafar Williams break this pretty dubious, nearly not improving, and in point of fact… pretty much regressing, (not) good-hands-people trend?
Let me know below and for that matter send any ideas to Coach J’ at: [email protected] if you have any hints, tips, or actual real live pass-catching drills to proffer.
As we gotta come up on our receptiveness before we could possibly make that 30+ point prophecy prophetic indeed… thus making this one catchy section of off-season writing, indeed!
The Curious Case of Ryan Willis…
Ryan Willis is a lotta things sports fans… and some of ’em we detailed above. Tho’ let us cross all of our eyes and dot all of our tee’s, just to be sure.
Ryan Willis is… faster (in-line) or at linear speed than anyone reported. Well, less the one someone reported he had off-season 2018 streamlined just for speed prior to inheriting the Qb1 job at the infamous @O.D.U. jaunt. He is what is called an: “arc-passer” (think: Frank Tarkenton with more accuracy). Ry’ has a very good arm. Think: highest possible B+++ to right up against the A— pure distancing fringe. However, that’s not quite a Bradshaw-bullet or Elway or Cunningham 155 mm howitzer strapped to his throwing or orthodox shoulder. Ry’ -for all his well above average passing acumen- was south of well-received by some of his teammates until he made his uva chase down bones and then really did guzzle heavily from the streak-saving Commonwealth Cup post-game.
Ry’ has his very own homegrown tributing “We’re not in Kansas any mo'” fashion sense. Ry’ is a salty and very competitive result(s) at all costs driven guy— both on and off-field (is all I will say) mind yah. And he’s a very emotional guy in-game for it. In point of fact, Fu’ and Co. have been working on installing something of a clinical thermostat of applied-sports psych’ to help them better monitor (i.e. control) Ry’s all kinda jumped-up in-game thermodynamics. As Ry’ runs hot-n-cold in more ways than… sum.
There are also those who say that Ry’ is at his best when making pre-snap assessments and getting rid of the ball quickly. And that he really does need to be protected to be most efficient. (more so than most true modern era dual-threat Qb’s they mean). However, for all his go-to/want to outcome neediness, Ry’ can want for patience at times for it to boot.
And although he is not a gunner/forcer who relies too heavily on his above-average arm -and thereby tries to thread camels through the eye of the proverbial O&M needle- he does get impatient in terms of (attempting) to hit plays before they actually do develop, or before they outright open up. In particular, on politically incorrect so-called quick-hitting Slant routes and other middle of the field short to medium crossing angular works. i.e. Ry’ sees the play before the play envisions itself.
This leaves him flustered for a series or two when our seemingly bang-bang plays got their snap-n-pop sawdust wet and plum fizzled out. This leaves him unsettled which alters his balance and creates unnecessary movement at times as an overcompensating mechanism goes. (Solution: is for Fu’ and Corny to call a couple of easy rocket-screens or dump-off clear-out type low-velocity throws to help get Ry’ back in-sync and/or to dial his thermostat back-down via blowing some steam off). Because that flustered Ry’ could be the difference in a one or a ½-play game in 2019 with FG-kicking likewise unsettled at the moment… tho’ I tangent…
Additionally, Ry’ has not been quite the closer that he has been as the starter to mix my (baseball) arms-race sporting metaphor…
As you can see above… Ry’s final 30-minute metrics drop. And they drop more than just a scosche in terms of his second half of play.
Because if Ry’ can play a bit 2nd-half better… he might be the first passing Hokie Qb1 to weaponize the aerial game since the final days of T-mobile himself.
As you can see above for yourself… Ry’s Qb-rating drops by 42 points in most closing 30 minutes of work. (WoW, yah; and me neither on that one (until Eye found that one for all of you)).
Now if we only had some sodium-pentanol and/or some WWII scopolamine from jerry to dose Fu’ and Corny up with and get ’em to spit the truth. As Eye have unraveled some of that… although I’d really like to know if they favor front-loading of scripts (with your best gonna “go” plays early). As it seems to me that they do. Or, if they actually prefer a more homogeneous approach or even scripting throughout. Or, if they actually keep a few go-to plays in their break press box glass in case of emergency back-pocket(s)?
That little I do not know… although I do know that there are old-school Qb coaches who would ask if he (Ry’) has a so-called: “tired-arm” or if he has thrown his arm-out a bit. Maybe have him warm up a little less pre-game. I also know that his patience quotient may or may not qualify as a r-Sr. year virtue; every bit as much as I know it only has 13 games left to qualify, so if it has not qualified by about the ~400 minute marker of 2019 (or about halfway through the year), his patience quotient prolly won’t be qualifying in 24060 or Blacksburg, Va. zip code terms any time soon.
Likewise, I do also know this is the very first time in four V.Tech seasons that Fu’ and Corny return their starting Qb1. That helps. It also helps that the Wide Receiving corps is now at least a full hexa or 6-men deep (and some say it is closer to 7 or 8 deep). That helps. I also know that this still developing or maturing oLine will only get better on their passing cup or throw-fits as the 63rd or middleocore team in 2018 pass-protect went; (that helps). I likewise know that Willis and his catch-club members have now had three years to play pick-up pitch-n-catch skeletal games around the clock; that helps. And yes, a more traditional Rb fueled run-fit would surely help— although that subjectivity remains to be seen…
On the other hand… and for all of his very decent high-end speed metrics, for all his pretty crafty passing looks and for his feisty competitiveness that does include a few foibles that lest we forget, does not definition a dual-threat born-n-bred R.P.O. Qb via trade or via upbringing or via training, Ryan Wills is one other thang sports-fans…
…he’s a sellsword assassin!
A leaner/meander Doberman of a Qb since his pocketing and Jayhawking days.
As Ryan Willis absolutely does NOT want for a straight-razor, cold-blooded or Jack the ripper stylized A.B.C. (always be, closing) instinct.
Because as you can plainly see above… Ry’s Qb rating soars as he approaches your goal line. He wants that last-second shot in hoops when everyone else is wearing oven mitts and playing an irresponsible game of hot potato. (A.K.A. go on and dial his thermostat up a notch when in positive field positions situations with a 2nd or 3rd down to spare and take an attacking, shot)
To take that a step further, I’ve been studying ESPN.com splits on Qb’s since the early 2000s, Eye do not recall seeing one go Saturn-V rocket and take off quite like Ry’s does when he enters your reddest zone. As Ryan sees blood-red inside your 20-yard line indeed. Like a mad/wild Brahma bull just digging his hooves in before a rather goring charge.
In point of fact, Ry’s attacking passing prowess grows every 20 yards downfield less one mild to moderate Qb rating hiccup points along the way. It grows from a rather truncated/expected looking 75 Qb rating inside is very own 10-yard line to an unheard of 312 points Qb-rating when inside of your 10-yard line! Or in other words…
Ryan Wills is damn dawgg— whether his teammates (knew) it or not?
Finally, he also puts up better Qb ratings vs. bigger name opponents every bit as much as he excels in midget-fighting and goes off on the small-fry teams’ he faces annually. (the middle-case teams seems to bore him a bit, however).
Ergo, therefore, to wit…
(or did that just make too much, sense?)
Wheat on Ry’ Predictions post–spring:
Ry’ seems to be showing a bit more touch and is trying to become a quality back-shoulder sealing thrower. As this fits his pump-fake Tarkenton type game to a Tee. As the springtime, airy improvements and or confidence increase was easy to discern here.
Accordingly, Eye’ll predict a couple of 2019 things… Ry’ will get a little senioritis full of himself and author at least one (possibly two) double INT game for it. Before you nag me… you did know that he has eight -that’s (8)- of these in his career thus far including a .27p or 27% probability of doing this at Tech alone; right? Or in other words… we may not have seen the last of Ryan “wild thang” Willis… maybe…
Nevertheless, Ryan is our best deep thrower since LT3 by far. He will hit more home-run and tripling R.B.I. type plays for it this year than we’ve seen since Logan Thomas and he will hit a number of HR licks and drop at least a couple of 330+ passing games for it (FYI: he has four of these three-thirties already in career terms).
Ry’ has never topped 61% passing in seasonal terms, never. So I’d have to call that a fairly firm ceiling for 2019—although you should (also) call that a 3% betterment in roofing compared to his 2018.
Ry’ averages 9 or 10 INT’s per campaign; so go ahead and expect that trend to continue. He might even sniff up on tweleveteen picks with fulltime 13 games worth of Qb1 utilization; or if the 2019 traditional run-fit does not acquit. (meaning: our Rb’s force him to throw | or if Bud Lyte lands us in some shootout catch-up hot water as well).
Ryan rushed for 384 last year as a juxtaposed Pocket-Qb2 suddenly playing about 80% of 2018 as our starting Qb1 via attrition in Spread-offense starting role. Think about that one for a moment gents…
As I could see Ry’ sniffing up on >420 on the ground. Maybe even 475 if they figure out how to best exploit/unleash his pretty nifty high-end in-line speed.
I expect incremental improvements off of 2,716 yards passing, with 24 majors (C.f.l. for touchdowns), and a none too shabby 138.0 Qb rating from your back-up Qb2 forced into a starting Qb1 role. Ergo, 30 TD’s throwing and mid to high 140’s worth of Qb rating is not umpossibe in this instance.
3K passing is not (entirely) beyond his reach either, what with a good 50 extra passing reps in the regular season forecast alone and with eight career long-ball completions of ≥45 yards to his career credit. Ry’ has five career tackles -expect at least one more opposing defender to get hog-tied this year- and the whispers say he can quick-kick with an easy 40+ yard pooch punting leg if you need it.
Which is code for not less than All-A.c.c. Qb4 or honorable mention 2019 to me.
And might even be code for an All-A.c.c. Qb3.