Virginia Tech Duke football preview:

  #28 R.P.I. Virginia Tech #21 R.P.I. Duke:

Virginia Tech football must find its rally cap(s) and they must find them A.S.A.P. after the massive Tidewater egg they just laid over on Norfolk, Va. in what amounted to a recruiting backyard bloodletting and/or leaching of all things O&M.

The Hokies are a sanguine and bloodied bunch who bloody well, had better bust a damn hump least they get humped three weeks in a row. As an L here @Duke at 7 pm on Saturday night on ESPN2 is very likely code for a slumpy looking 2-3 or .4oo start and the need to conjure four more wins in our now truncated final 6 contests. Though there I go putting the cart before the horse; again; although I’d better not hear any more reports of grab-ass and horsing around pre-game in this one. As Duke beats O.d.u. by an easy 15-20 points in my book and the Vegas books now have us listed as a (+5) five-point underdog for this one. Though you wanna know who will win… read on to find, out!

Today’s word of the day is… a topographic phrase: “here be, dragons!

(Latin phrase): Hc Svnt Dracones

Here be dragons means dangerous or unexplored territories, in imitation of a medieval practice of putting illustrations of dragons, sea-monsters and other mythological creatures on uncharted areas of maps

  1. the Hunt–Lenox Globe (c. 1503–07),
  2.  Borgia map (c. 1430),
  3. Fra Mauro Map (c. 1450),
  4. 19th-century Japanese map, the Jishin-no-ben,
  5. …the 205 mile A.c.c. Coastal roadie down to Raleigh Durham Saturday nite?

Duke Head Coach: David Nelson Cutcliffe: age=64, (63-67 at Duke; 107-96 overall); has a rep’ for being a double Manning brother Qb guru before Corny or Fu’ had ever heard of the term: Qb-whisper.
$1,700,000.oo (i.e., underpaid)

Coach Cutcliffe has only won the:

Broyles Award (1998)
SEC Coach of the Year (2oo3)
ACC Coach of the Year (2o12, 2o13)
Walter Camp Coach of the Year (2o13)
The Sporting News Co-Coach of the Year (2o13)
Maxwell Football Club Coach of the Year (2o13)
Bobby Dodd Coach of The Year (2o13)
AFCA Coach of the Year (2o13)
…yah; he sucks.

Coming up young David was a native of Birmingham, Ala., Cutcliffe graduated from the University of Alabama in 1976 and is a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2016. He got his start in coaching at Banks High School — his football playing alma mater — and spent four years as an assistant coach before becoming the head coach in 198o.

David has a rep’ for being an older Qb architect, magi, wizard, Sensei, whisper, Morpheus, call it what you will –just ask the UTennessee (Peyton) and Ole` Miss. (Eli) passing record books that basically read: “Manning” wherever you look.

As most of their records’ are actually his (coach DC’s).  Pre-coach Cutcliffe broke in and ran The Tide’s athletic dorms for “the Bear” at Alabama! Coach David has a National Title ring from Tennessee. And at Duke, he only ended an 18-year bowl drought and likewise brought the Victory Bell (vs. rival U.n.c.) back to Raleigh-Durham. Then he logged Duke’s first ever double-digit (10) win season in Duke’s gridiron history.

He has been very loyal to his Staffers’; said nonpareil loyalty is said to have cost him the Ole` Miss. job; dang. David is a triple-bypass 99% blocked surgery survivor who then asked his rookie year Duke team to cut 1,000 lbs. in collective weight! Has only put six Qb’s in the N.f.l. and two other Qb’s into M.L.B. In addition, 10 of Cutcliffe’s signal-calling pupils have either earned all-conference honors or led their respective team to a bowl game victory. Yah; I’d say that counts. As this king David would make a fine Hokie. And I’ve never said that about an opposing coach before.

David is married to Karen Cutcliffe. They have four children: Marcus, Chris, Katie, and Emily and five grandsons.

2017 record: 7 up 6 down and 3-5 in the Atlantic Coast Coastal Division

Duke Defense: (starters back=8)

  • 35th in Total D.
  • 47th vs. the run.
  • 50th vs. the throw.
  • Def. S&P+ 31st.
  • 40th in Explosiveness.
  • 55th in Qb’s sacked.
  • 62nd in Tackles for a Loss (TFL) inflicted.
  • 8th best in zone D.
  • 16th in team passing efficiency D.
  • 36th in Fumbles recovered.
  • 96th in dLine Havoc.
  • 13th in Linebacking Havoc.
  • 19th in Secondary Havoc.

    Base fortytwo with hybrid bandit north shifted.
  • D overall: Duke has inflicted a staggering 287% more Qb hurries than Duke opponents have this year. As this is one angular and therefore tricky stemming stunting looping scheme to block. Internal D is pretty good, edge D might just be better. Duke might just court a rarefied non-basketball all-American at Lb in 6′2″, 244 lb. r-Jr. Joe Giles-Harris. Who surely looks the part on breaking tape and in person. A harsh looking individual who scowls 25/8  for a living. Tho’ his 260 career stops in 2.25 years tell you what time it is with this Mike-Lb. The Duke frontline is said to be a very senior-heavy dLine and it is also said to perhaps be the best front-6 in school, history; wow! 6′1″ 3o5 lb., Dt/Ng, r-Sr. Edgar Cerenord (he of a 20-gallon head, seriously) and 6′2″, 269 lb. sophomoric De Victor Dimukeje both agree. Tough to label an alpha here, as these two conspired to split my dLine leading vote. Tho’ the Duke dLine plays a lotta (intentional) stalemate, chicken-fighting, gap-contain looks. Not quite read-n-react though yah; kinda similar to Bud in trying to funnel/spill plays to uncovered defenders to clean up. Cb Mark Gilbert is prolly all-A.c.c. caliber, though three other guys changed off-season position(s); so some suspect the Duke hind-5 to be in flux. And even if it is not quite fluxed up, it prolly is the thinnest 2018 layer of the Duke halt-units three {sic: layers}. Additionally, this is a pretty small fulltime Nickle set; in very particular on the edges (with no Cb >179 lbs.)! Duke was 2nd-worst in the A.c.c. in big plays (20+ yards) given up last year; so keep an Eye on some deeper actions here. As they do play the ball and not the man.
  • ∑ (summary): …there is just not enough star-power here to call this an epic Duke D. It is, however, a pretty dang good Duke D per nearly great defensive coaching itself. It is also a right-sized D in undermaned forward-6 (not seven) terms. It stays in position, it is a heady Duke D, a smart D Duke, and a Duke D that you will have to go ahead and out-talent or out-scheme and beat yourself as this Duke D won’t be beating itself for you. There are some who can out-talent this Duke D although there won’t be many who take it on the old-school green-slate X’s and O’s chalkboard or between the new Beats/Apple headsets of… today.

Defensive letter-grade:

Duke Offense: (returning starters=7)

  • 59th in Total O.
  • 32 in ground O.
  • 87th in aerial O.
  • Off. S&P+ 42nd.
  • 35th in Explosiveness.
  • 80th easiest to tackle (or harder than average).
  • 99th in Time of Possession (TOP).
  • 88th in completion percentage (57%).
  • Tho 1st with ‘ ZERO interceptions thrown thus far.
  • 18th in sacks allowed | 17th in TFL allowed.

    Base Spread set, with split Backs.
  • O overall: Only 2 Duke receivers have more than 6 snags, though both Wr Johnathan Lloyd (their deep threat); and Wr T.J. Rahming are legit. As they have 9 years combined experience between ’em tho’ TeeJay did exit the last game (leg ding, whispers say… ankle). Brittain Brown (282), Deon Jackson (223), Qb2 Quentin Harris (141, and Q can fumble; might wanna put a hat on this former Qb2) and Rb3, legacy and diminutive (5′8″, 177 lb.) Marvin Hubbard III (120), are all north of the century mark in rushing thus far. Or in other words, Duke can rush the dang ball; and they keep you outta their backfield while doing so. Brown is a good looking all-around ‘Back, with a mere 18th best Rb outta high school tag nationally from Brown might have a little more burst/pop to his game than does the beefier (6′2″ 225 lb.) Jackson. Though neither back struck me as T&F off-season HR threats. That said, make no mistake, a lotta singles and doubles and a few triples do live here. 6′1″, 196 lb. r-Jr. year Qb Q.Harris may not be as precocious on passing as the injured Daniel Jones was (God Bless), still yet, he makes plays happen and he is the superior pure rusher; albeit a slim looking spindly one (put a hat on him, I mention that; yet). And he was only the 22nd dual-threat Qb in the country per (at a private school, no less). Tho (St.Nikhon bless) he has already blown an A.c.l., and he is slight of 2018 build. Plus he left last weeks game with a right leg ding; tho’ probable to still ball in our game. Harris is from a stunning sporting family, as no less than eight college ballers live within one generation here. 2 oLine starters return, and the Duke oLine is still growing into that; however, they surely appear ahead of schedule so far. As this is a nimble Dukie oLine that moves/blocks well in space. Former G now C Zach Harmon is the bell cow upfront here; left-G Julian Santos makes Duke better inside than out. As Ot is inexperienced for sure. Accordingly, there were snapping MisQ’s here last week, coach Wiles rejoice. Everyone on the Duke starting oLine weighs 310 lbs. (less the 290 lb. C; very reasonable 2018 measurables here.
  • ∑ (summary): Duke will play-action, and they will throw to basically anyone, Rb’s Te’s, Wr’s, et al. They will also run (draws and Qb bootlegs) when they are supposed to pass. Harris does have some in-line speed, he is a legitimate run-game threat. Has a decent touch on the ball, live arm, does lack seasoning. Duke will motion behind the play, they have sharp looking double screens with a wide-side initial screen fake. Gotta stay home backside and no hero ball need apply here. Shorter, quick-hitting passing sets, out to about a medium depth. The run game is the same, quick-hitting Iso’s between the tackles to off-T works. With very dedicated Wr blocking on edge; best I’ve seen in more than a minute. Did see a little Pistol action too. A snappy looking quick-witted O to be very sure.
  • 63% run:pass 38% mix.

Offensive letter-grade:

Dukie Special Teams: (return)

Duke is only 1o6th in Net Punting. As r-Jr., Austin Parker is a very serviceable Punter, he was “kicked” pardon the pun, he was booted, I mean he was dismissed from Duke for plagiarism last year. Tho’ (somehow) he is back in school and on the football team now, and he is a tricky guy. Literally, as he has 2 rushing punt-fakes and one passing punt-fake to boot. Has a history of fragility and clavicle breaks (St.Christopher bless), although he has been hoving right on 4th place in A.c.c. punting for several years with a career-long of 68, after being a high school Qb and star hoopster as well.

  • 45th in Punt Returns |  73rd in KO returns.
  • 65th in punt coverage | and 21st in suicide-squad.
  • Duke has blocked 2 kicks and allowed 1 kick to be blocked.
  • Duke has blocked 0 punts and allowed 1 punt to be blocked.

Duke’s Mclean, Va. native, final year K has already graduated (Economics, “the invisible leg”, props!) That laissez-faire attempt at pulling your leg aside— Collin Wareham has already missed an oddball 2 P.A.T.’s, although he is 100% (4 for 4) on FGA’s with a shorter long of 35 yards for his max’ 2018 FG make. Colin is a former baseball star who never played -much less kicked- a single second in a single Duke game prior to this year. 0 for everything with no attempts for four years prior to 2018. Col.Ware’ does have a history of dings and dents, he seems to have a medium enough leg; with range out into the mid-40’s give/take. (curiously enough, Duke opponents are a whopping 0% combined on FGA’s vs. the Dukies this year.

Only 42% of Duke’s kickoff’s result in touchbacks, so there are plenty of KO Return opportunities here.

ST S&P+ 11th: Special Teams letter-grade: (less than one blocked kick, this is a very solid set of special teams, as Duke merits an easy B+++ and Duke would have merited more if they only had a few more specialty studs/freaks)

Unit Rankings:

  1. VT O.
  2. Duke D.
  3. Duke O.
  4. VT D.


  • motive: In the absence of anything more concrete, or at least a bit firmer, I’ll just go with the host here. As VT’s head-game=unknown until proven otherwise come 12 midnight Saturday. Edge=Duke.
  • weather: TBD. (though looks friendly enough mid-week)
  • health/off-field: insanely enough, both teams are done with their Qb1’s, although Duke has a staggering 19 reported injuries or whispered dings/dents. Edge=VT.
  • penalties: VT is 20th best in fewest penalty count, though penalized yards are average and Duke is not worse than 8th best in either. Noticeable EDGE=Duke.
  • intangibles: Turnover Margin is virtually a push here, however; who has mo big Mo’ this week after last weekend??? LOL, that and Duke is 7th and 8th in O and D field-position respectively. And almost tied for 1st in the nebulous Turnover Luck. Duke=major EDGE here.
  • fatigue: VT is still +13 on R&R thanks to the E.c.u. skip. Large EDGE=VT.

So, how does this VT football team respond to what happened in-game and post-game @O.d.u.?

View Results

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of Dukies who could start @Tech= 9 or 10

the takeaway:

This coach’s acumen Cut‘s both ways, indeed!

The takeaway here is… yes what I am about to ask is just “toooooo, easy” in a two team game, just like White Men Can’t Jump taught us all… as you already know the Duke metrics thanks to reading up above.

Though do guess who is:

  • 22nd in total O.
  • 21st in run O.
  • 8th vs. the run.
  • 122nd vs. the pass?
  • Huh? Lopsided much?

As this is one strange strange Virginia Tech football team to find the measure of at the moment folks. First one in a long long time I find myself struggling to I.D. and/or locate a pressure point(s) on. Like I can not find this O&M’s patients, pulse…

Duke, on the other hand, is far more predictable; far more at… equilibrium. Balanced, in a word.

Duke’s rubric is that of strong, heady, sharp coaching of fewer raw athletes who can win most any S.A.T. bowl this side of a road game up nor-by-nor-east and scrumming vs. true Ivy League football clubs. As this year’s Duke squad does a lotta little to medium things well, a few larger things good enough and nearly all things done, smart.


  1. Δ1=33% Duke wipes the floor with Coach Fu’s struggling culture, as there are no positive post-game reports here… and how many hard-scraping, hard-charging, experienced and quality starters can you kick to the curb before you hit the same?
  2. Δ2=33% V.Tech rallies to Fu’s #HarderSmarterTougher, toe-the-damn-line battle cry as we Gloriously “…ante-up and kick in like men!” And thereby win a hard-fought, hard-won roadie by about 1.5 full plays.
  3. Δ3=33% that this one goes right down to the wire as these two have been playing tri-dimensional chess vs. most other Staff’s Chinese checkers for years. Toss-up, flip a coin, don’t like… then flip it best 2 outta 3.

the skinny
Well“, and as well all know, well’s are for… water. Still yet and nevertheless, “weeeeeeellll” is about how every single source begins their explanation of what happened last weekend @O.d.u.

“Well, you know…”

LOL, no I don’t know… as I freely confess my last weeks’ sins… I know nothing, nada, nil as knowledge goes about how to forecast the Monarchical usurping that O.d.u. put upside our 28 point favorite 7-5-7 head(s). Nonetheless, I do know these upstart Tidewater brigands chasted us off of their field, though not before they punctuated the consummation of their unholy Tidewater marriage to us. And I also know that that kinda sex tends to leave a mark.

A clinical one in particular as who knows where the politics of our head game now sorts after a never seen before football felony in the 126-year history of V.P.I. football itself?


As the optics of the biggest gridiron upset in school history and one of the biggest pigskin upsets in college football history are crosseyed, myopic, astigmatic, and coach H.Keller indeed.

As the way I see it, the truer optics here require an examination of the O&M long-view and where do we go from truly uncharted territory… as yes Siree Hokie fans, …” here be dragons” indeed.

the call

Puff the magic dragon needs some Sucrets …or… Queen Daenerys saying “Sōvēs” which is the Valyrian word for “fly”?

What if I told you we were playing the team that is dead, last, in defensive Explosiveness (allowed); how often would you pick them to… win?

Me neither.

Now, what if I told you they were actually (somehow) second-best in starting defensive field-position and STILL dead-freakin’-last in defensive Explosiveness (allowed)?

How about picking that team to win when they are 127th in rushing explosiveness allowed and 123rd in passing explosiveness allowed?

Are you picking them to win, or are you picking them to get blown, out?

Well, that team equals us— or mighty Virginia Tech.

So are you picking us to win, now?

Well, here’s one for yah on the other side, less Duke’s curb-stomping of little ole nobody North Carolina Central Nobody State, Duke is actually down 65 total yards on their still perfect year. That’s coaching the verb, folks, though it is prolly not quite code for the Jimmy’s and Joes. Now just imagine coach Cut’ if he ever finally fields real live star-power talent(s)???

Additionally, these two teams are combining for 944 combined yards of total O in their last three games on average. And in film study and in data-mining alike; each team looks to have several obvious offensive match-up advantages vs. the given opposing defending fatalities.

As this one has points (plural) written all over it.
Sixty combined courageous points in regulation…

As he who scores last laughs last… here.

upset Index=44%


Virginia Tech=33, Duke=36, 1 OT




22 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I think Foster will win this game for Fu by holding the Blue Boys to 10pts while Willis will score 20+ to double down the Devils. This is based upon the Coaches and Players follow Foster’s game plan. (Mac1Mar2).

    1. There is no way this young defense IMHO will hold Duke to 10 points. If I’m wrong I will apologize but I just don’t see it after giving up 49 points to…….I don’t know if I can even say it! ODU🤨

      1. Ditto, ditto. As normal I gave up a quarter way through and just skimmed. It’s too bad really because I think, I think, there may some good info in there. Damn, I miss Jim Alderson!

        1. Actually, I will semi recant my above statement. Upon re – read there is a train of thought / point and grammar that can be followed better than most of these articles.

  2. I feel like we have a better chance in this game after the loss (2-1) than we would have had at 4-0 (alternate universe without hurricanes). This is a big game, BIG game, Huuuge. As big as the Miami matchup in terms of Coastal championship. This game will come down to turnovers IMo. Positive turnover margin plus low penalties equals victory.

    1. Yup. It prolly is a focuser, if that’s a word here…

      We can not afford that .4oo look minus one (seemingly) probable Win already.


    1. ‘pends when I feel solid on it… felt rock solid last week and went rock slide for it, too.


  3. IMHO if VT plays disciplined on defense and trust your teammate the odds of winning go up, plus if that teammate makes a mistake encourage not condemn the in fighting will destroy the opportunity to win. Hedging in an attempt to help has a real possibility of leaving two gaps open and both players out of position. I doubt the offense will win the game on its own because there has been no proof to date.

    1. Nice thoughts but if a team is not doing that every game, then it is not a team and is seriously lacking leadership! I didn’t see a lot of leadership last Saturday. Especially from RW!

  4. obviously have to have more discipline / desire on defense than last week to have a shot… I think we’ll get that. Our OL seems to be the key to me… open some running lanes and keep Willis clean and we’ll likely win.

    1. Our OL seems to be the key to me… open some running lanes and keep Willis clean and we’ll likely win.

      Yah; no need to ask more of him this early.
      Ask little, keep him clean, watch the O, grow– eventually…


  5. B’st, my good friend, you missed a really cool trivia factoid! Coach Cut, at Tenn., actually recruited Coach Fu when he was in HS!

    1. Interesting… as the backyard old-school Big-8 (recruiting him) was prolly a given.

      Hey, remember me?!?”

      far-out & neat add-in F4E.


  6. Thanks for the insight always appreciated & detailed in extra facts esp on Coach Cut.

    Love all except Prediction as crew from Section 7 tapped the latest home brew mini keg, read and debated your poetry literature & decided that 3 factors change the outcome: (1) Dukie TE is the real threat tomorrow. Cover him and game is won. (2) Deablo is more than a fighting chicken but one Critical in aligning our back half and shutting down the Seam & over the top. (3) QB RW arm is special but at some point The Deuce is turned loose and regardless of others thoughts on his ‘predicted outcomes’ The Deuce’s ability to create both running and passing on the fly is special.

    Let’s Go…Hokies!!!
    Beat Duke!!

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