#64 R.P.I. East Carolina @ #62 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
Virginia Tech football returns to Worsham Field in Lane Stadium at half past twelve (12:30pm) this Saturday vs. the upstart visiting East Carolina Pirates. (On the A.c.c. Network | check local listings)
The Hokies are installed as an 11 point betting favorite here with an 84% football power index chance to win; according to ESPN.com. That might seem a little lofty for an O&M horse that wise guys would say seems likely to: “bounce” in horse racing terms; after such a devastating Secretariat triple crowning performance vs. Boston College last week. I however would say that there is noticeable room for improvement upon breaking tape vs. the aforementioned Eagles on Sunday/Monday. I would also say that I expected the Gobbler improvements to be of a more incremental nature from here on out; and less sizzling, scintillating, high voltage blow-out shock effect outlying in statistical terms. Will that prove effective indeed in making these Greenville pollywogs walk the Duck Pond plank? Read on to find out…
Today’s word of the day is… telos.
- The end of a goal-oriented process.
- the Aristotelian final cause.
- “Just win baby.” -Al Davis-
Head Coach: ex-Duke O’Cord, and ex-Duke then ex 7 year Pro’ Wr himself: Scottie Montgomery. 1st year; age=38, (2-1 this year; 2-1 overall); has a rep’ for creative aerial offenses that do more with less; salary=$1.2 mill/year.
E.c.u. 2015 record: 5 up 7 down overall and 3-5 in the American Athletic Conference
East Carolina Defense: (starters back=6)
- Total D=67th, Rushing D=81st, Passing D=62nd.
- 1o1st in Tackles For a Loss (TFL) and 125 in opposing Qb’s sacked!
- Ergo, D is only 113th in explosiveness.
New defensive coordinator in one Kenwick Thompson.
- Employs a thirty-four base set that morphs into an odd 50-set at times. Lottsa 2nd-layer dealing (blitzing here). LOTTSA stemming both E-W and N-S in the layers. A true Multiple defense in every sense of the word. Like Landry’s 1960-1970’s old 4-3 Flex on acid.
- Accordingly, Lb Havoc=12th best.
- Although: dLine Havoc is only 1o2nd and Secondary Havoc is even more inert at 111th.
- Dline has a lotta angularity to it. Politically incorrect slants, angles, loops/twists. Better be mentally schooled to mind the assignment store here. Solid Ng and two at least very adequate De’s. Will go symmetrical about the Ng for a 50 look with both Sam and Will cheating up and the ILb twins in an deeper offset wide-side toggle. De down in 3-point stances here; though more like Sam’s and Will’s in 2-point stances erstwhile. Big S.e.c. ‘esque dLine averages ~290 lbs. across.
- Linebackers are active. As in very! All kinds of junk stunts, X’s, twists, loops. Very movement oriented second-layer. Inside Lb seemed stronger than OLb to me. D run fights harder inside and can under-play the D-gap edge consequently.
Pirates may have the American Athletic Conference’s best Cb tandem in Sr. DaShaun Amos and soph. Corey Seargent. This deep and experienced secondary also returns both safeties. Very good and highly experienced hind-4 here folks.
- Secondary plays more man and semi-variable man as tightness goes. Does play the man and go for the tackle and not the ball. Saw Cover 3 here (the 2 Cb’s and Fs play 1/3rd of each deep third of the field, whereas the Ss is something of a Bandit/Rover run-fighting glorified fourth Lb); also saw what looked like Man-free (Fs=centerfielder). E.c.u. plays the Slot tighter and the wider Se/Fl looser.
- DO, wanna make the point that this much jumping and toggling pre-snap is a pure feast or famine D. Sometimes E.c.u. will gap-jump the play correctly pre-snap. They look to clog the A to B Gaps and try to use speed to run down everything else as this is a smaller, feistier, quicker D. However, if they miss that initial gap or play-side jump? There has to be some numbers game room behind all of that. As their chase numbers are needy and/or depleted in a forward vectoring sense.
- May not be a dirty D, and yet they were surely south of 100% clean, as I saw this D take plenty of continuation (Qb) shots with the football gone or just as the whistle blew on the ball-carrier downfield.
- Did seem a bit vulnerable to Qb keepers… enter/cue J.Evans. Per NOT being the best assignment D; with overran run-shapes Gaps/fills. Coach Corny: memorize this!
- Not the best tackling team, did give up some Y.A.C. (yards after contact); in very particular out on the boundary edges. (Ford/Bucky take note)
E.c.u. Offense: (returning starters=5)
- Total O=9th, Passing O=7th, Rushing O however=62nd.
- A decent 49th in Sacks allowed, though 125th in TFL allowed!
- Oddly enough… 18th best in Time of Possession (ToP).
- Although 122nd in all important Turnover Margin (–1.67 to the ‘rong)!
- Ergo… 116th in fumbling. Strip that, damn, ball.
- Spread tempo heavy multiple sets. Very Wr and their single Te reliant. Said to want more of a run/pass balance this year.
- 2 Qb’s play here, one (Phillip Nelson) with a mere 79% connect percentage thus far this year and the other is the one-man Hokie-stopper (James Summers).
- James you will recall blow-torched us last year on the ground. He is an an epic hybrid Wildcat-Wr/rushing Qb. 64% last year, Sr., 6’3”, 222 lbs. Runs stronger than he looks and he is prolly P.J.’s wetdream flex-bone Qb that never was. As he runs the read-option like an orgasmic mother.
- ‘Sota 16 game starting transfer, Qb1 Phillip Nelson, is a 6’1” 2o1 lb. smaller though jitterbug good quick release, good feets, can move/dance as needed; although a pocket Qb by definition (–6 feet rushing so far). Checkered off-field incidental past. Rather temperamental; with a mullet gone blue-state Woodstock flavored looking hairstyle accordingly. Though very talented; make no mistake on his potential Sunday or probably more likely, his C.F.L. frame talent wise, per coach God’s Gifts. 24:17 (TD:INT) career ratio passer, overly relies on said Gifts, will take throw risks, accordingly; and can be baited into high velocity picks. Will cough up pigskin on hits, too. Does throw well on move however.
- OLine has an all-conference plow-horse looking very neck/shoulders strong right-G J.T. Boyd, and a monster sized 6’8″, 341 lb. Ot in Brandon Smith returning, as does incumbent C, Christian Matau. Matau is a prototype throwack squat C who is quite lower extremity powerful. The left-side is much newer/inexperienced. Expect E.c.u. to run hard yards going right. Big oLine, all norths of 3o5 lbs.
- Virginia Beach native 5’8” 189 lb. Jr., ‘tony Scott is a serviceable scat-back. Does have moves/speed with some burst, not real large, will go butterfingers and fumble a bit upon breaking tape. Does have nice enough hands with 17 catches through 12 quarters of play for 143 through the air. Did run lower, better, harder than I expected. Is a chunk yardage runner at 6.6 per carry.
- Wr Isiah Jones is college stud and prolly a Pro’ with a staggering 370 total grabs returning overall in the pass catching corps from E.c.u. Need I say more?
- Curious amount of shotgun play-action only to throw short to medium. This may explain the TOP metric up above.
- O does use the whole entire field. As there are horizontal and vertical stretching elements in play here. Lottsa bunch looks with rubs/picks to spring the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th backfield man free.
- O (obviously) goes run heavy with Summers 1 pass attempt and yet 27 carries in at Qb. (the obverse holds true with Nelson’s zero rushing attempts and 133 chucks downfield… you do the personnel maths)
- 46% run : 56% pass mix.
Pirate Special Teams: (both return)
5’10” 195 lb. senior Kicker Davis Plowman -great kicking name- is a 2 of 3 percentage kicker on his FGA’s this season (although 83% last year); with a career long of 45 yards. He has also missed one P.A.T. already (10/11) as well. Davis is an aTm transfer; he is said to have a big leg, and is likewise said to have put up some non-specialist type S&C numbers. As any honor roll (student) K with a 3o5 lb. bench and a sporty looking 4.45 time in the pro shuttle makes me a bit nervy when it comes to a Fake.
2012 national champion and ‘Bama titlist transfer, 6’3” 201 lb. Sr., Gregory Worth has been listed as a pre-season all-American 4th string P. Although currently his net punting is only 95th best at a +35 yard field-position flip; although punt coverage is a nifty 24th best which tells you just how much hang-time and directional kicking E.c.u. favors. Greg is the FGA/PAT holder -where he practices with a …blind-fold! He has a legit sub 4.8 40 and holds the vertical leap all-time school record at P (with 33”). Which has me wondering just the same if you fake one with an athletic punter such as this? Greg’ averaged a smart looking 44 net per punt last year. He has however suffered five that’s (5) career punt blocks due to such a low kick-contact point.
Kickoff coverage is a sieve at 115th best, though no plays taken to the house, at least not yet –just watched USC-east torch E.c.u. here. E.c.u. has already blocked one FGA and one punt; while allowing one FGA to be snuffed out in return. 95th in Kick returns and 114th in punt returns ain’t scaring anybody.
Special Teams letter-grade: There is a lot of leg talent here and the rest is just way outta sync. ST’s would be an A on legs alone, although right now it’s a flat C with so many pirated mistakes)
- motive: we/VT are E.c.u.’s super bowl; nuff said. EDGE=ECU.
- weather: nice as can be. (though see: fatigue below) EDGE=PUSH.
- health: E.c.u. has a fair amount of dinged up back-up guys –coach God bless. EDGE=VT.
- penalties: VT did improve; although the Pirates are still a good 40 spots ahead of VT here. Gotta call that EDGE=ECU.
- intangibles: lotta hidden yards or field position in kicking and returning that E.c.u. cedes up above in the special-teams metrics. With a whopping 1o5 spot -pardon the pun- advantage in field-position. EDGE=VT.
- fatigue: high 80’s in Fahrenheit means: “Faitgue makes cowards of us all.” -Vincent Thomas Lombardi- So I’ll be siding with Ben Hilgirth here. EDGE=VT.
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
the skinny here is… painting in broad-brush very generic terms… most of my pre-season magazines have East Carolina ranked between 85 and 96 in national terms. Most of my pre-season magazines have Virginia Tech football ranked between 54 and 68th in national terms. See what I mean? A 30 or so spot differential in the national rankings would see to have to favor the higher ranked football team –all the more so when scrumming at home.
The E.c.u. O and the D both have new pet systems in place that are purported to stress fundamentals and physicality alike. Both new systems are closer to their origin or (0, 0, 0) coordinates in terms of experience and learning-curves than they are to the close of November coached-up business.
And yet the Pirates have gone bowling 80% of the time in the last decade with good reason(s), too.
The takeaway here is…
…that most seem inclined to mark East Carolina as a: “dangerous” team. As in there is some credible danger of an upset; in particular if we are too stuffed with Eagle(s).
I for one am readily inclined to agree, as E.c.u. has endangered E.c.u. all year and has been a self-inflicted threat to them (selves) over and over this season; and that reeks of one word to me: …discipline. Or rather the lack thereof; as you do not rank 101st or worse in a whooping 11 national ranking team categories just because you are oh so very martinet or toeing some proverbial Spartan line. E.c.u. has a lotta talent, and they have nearly a handful of guys with next level collegiate star-power. This skews their overall talent curve –in their favor. Although it also creates an imbalance and it is an imbalance that lacks discipline; or regulation, direction and/or authority. Like say allowing a very user-friendly 5.1 yards per rushing attempt so far.
Me? Well I like the more disciplined team to eventually pull away in the final 10-15 minutes to win by about two to three scores. Now make no mistake, E.c.u.’s play-making O will get a few points on us; nevertheless, the more disciplined and talent balanced football team will (eventually) prevail in the final analysis.
Ergo, therefore, to wit, our telos here is the win itself, getting said win over with A.S.A.P. -thereby going into the BYE weeks as healthy as possible- and emptying the evaluative bench. Enjoy to the fall equinox and the official start of autumn folks … then enjoy 13 O&M days prepping for the BIG big Coastal clash looming down @ U.n.c.
V.P.I.=54, East Carolina=22