Virginia Tech football preview: Tennessee Volunteers

#15 R.P.I. Tennessee vs. #64  R.P.I. Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech football packs up and heads ~124 miles west-so.west for the Battle of Bristol vs. #14th ranked Tennessee at the Bristol Motor Speedway in a deluxe and soon to be record setting  made for T.V. night.

big orange or burnt-Orange?
big orange or burnt-Orange?

The Hokies and the Volunteers will both need to improve off of what I just saw in breaking tape on each clubs’ opening game no.1. As neither debuting weeks effort will win this game no.2. The Vols may have already been playing game no.2 during game no.1 with Virginia Tech on tap next | whereas Virginia Tech must clean up so much fumbling slop and maintain pigskin integrity in order to upset S.E.C. penultimate favorite Tennessee. The key here -at least for my $o.o3 ante in the game of life- the key here will be which team improves the most from game number one to game number two. As that team will be the one to win between these two come midnight this Saturday. As it is finally time for the Battle of Bristol: so get ready for the real Hokiestone to rocky your top!!! Or was UTenn merely caught looking; ahead??? Keep on reading to find out…

Today’s word of the day is… pusillanimous




  1. Lacking courage;
  2. cowardly,
  3. catty,
  4. Vol fan come midnight Saturday night?

Tennessee Defense: (starters back=9)

  • Total D=50th, Rushing D=97th, Passing D=18th
  • forty-three base: (4-3, even and with offset (Mike), arrowhead looks in 2nd level)
  • New D coordinator in Coach Bob Shoop.
  • Star Mike Lb Darrin Kirkland Jr. has a bad left-shoulder. We need to run right at that. Appy had some success internally with their ground troops. The second layer is said to field one of the top So.Eastern Linebacking duos in the league with Kirkland and OLb and emotional leader Reeves-Maybin –a tough second layer here sports fans.

    43 overshift UT
    43 overshift D
  • Derek Barnett=an epic De! More sacks than Reggie White had in his first two season at UTenn (20)! 33 TFL from Barnett does not suck; either. Dt is solid; physically big (Kahlil McKenzie=346 lbs.!)
  • Secondary does play wide side hard. Could be some late opening work behind all that on the short-side; though that was more Loeffler’s deal than coach-Fu’s. Secondary is replacing both Safeties (Fs and Ss); might be worth a look-see down the middle early on. 5’11” 186 lb. Sr., Cb and surprise returnee Cameron Sutton is the all-S.e.c. star here. Not a sky-scraping secondary with four of their nickel’s top-5 listed at 5’11” or less. Ford and Bucky in particular could have a vertical edge here. However, this secondary will pop you; in particular over the middle.
  • Saw a lot of generic forty-three base looks. Saw some 4-3 over-shifts to the Sam or short-side that I’ve not seen since Willie Lanier of KayCee coach Hank Stram Super Bowl #1 and IV fame. Will use a roaming Centerfield of a Fs deep, 10-15, behind all of this. Seemed to have some Foster elements with guys slamming into pre-assigned run-Gaps during rushing down and distance situations. Saw a lotta hook zone and flood zone looks; as UTenn reminded me a bit of the best 1990’s just simply out-athlete you elite Miami stop-units. Not a metric ton of blitzing accordingly.
  • Did see the Vols toggle into a thirty-four or 3-4 look with everyone not named that Cf/Fs cheating up in run support. Saw as many as 10 in the 3-4 box here upon breaking tape. DLine will loop-n-twist and does pretty well at the same; #50 was a total wolf on film at this.

Defensive letter-grade:

UT D grades

UTenn Offense: (returning starters=9)

  • Total O=96th, Rushing O=87th, Passing O=86th
  • Spread-Gun, typical modern 2-4 wide with single Setback looks.
  • 3 sizzling hot skill position guys. Qb (Joshua Dobbs, t-senior, 6’3” 2o8 lb.), Hb (Alvin Kamara, r-Jr., 5’10”, 215 lbs., great hands!), Tb (Jalen Hurd, Sr., 6’4” 24o lbs. 2,227 career rusher); all near Sunday caliber check drawing Pros.

    UTenn spread O
    UTenn spread O
  • Qb, Dobbs will miss high; so deep Centerfield INT’s are in play. He is an America’s Cup Qb, as some of his medium to long work will go… sailing, from time-to-time. He is also a freakin’ Aerospace Engineer majoring in Tang and rocket-surgery; quite literally! i.e. that’s about the smartest Pivotal cookie I can recall. REAL props here. That said, he is a credible rushing threat with 671 on the ground last year; and stop me if you’ve preview read this one already… he’s not a good medium to long thrower. As last campaign Dobbs was precisely 12.5% on passes >27 yards! He does have an arm on him; he can throw it from here to Tennessee. Only thing is, it might land in… Kentucky.
  • “The” Heard runs bigger than he is listed. Nice Bronco Nugurski stiff-arm. Runs low and therefore really well vertically after contact. I like what this kid is about as he and Lt.Colonel Bill Killgore of Apocalypse Now fame can both: “…drink from my canteen any day.
  • oLine looked a little susceptible to Gap-jumps and red-dogs on the inside vs. Appy State. Center play was, wanting. Left-G Jashon Robertson is the bell-cow here on an oLine where four starters technically return. Though there were whispers that this offensive front-5 had been inconsistent all August camp long. The middle G-c-G wedge of the oLine is supposed to be the strength here. Oline did have a pretty decent looking outside-zone to zone-stretch element on tape; not afraid to run short-side; either. Whole oLine will jab or first-step to helmet over in the direction of the play and all five will block downhill in East-West terms. Synchronicity and timing being the skeleton key.
  • Pass catchers are good sized and okay by-the-bye. Very okay. Not bad, not good, just… a flat okay; Malone is probably the lowercase alpha here, although they all go 6’3” or more less one wideout. Te is downright solid; as Ethan Wolf is likely the best Te on the racetrack Saturday night.
  • Multiple Spread Sets, will use 10 and 20 personnel, with modified H-back/Te leads for modern Wham or Iso’ looks. Seemed a bit better in pass-protect than in ground-assault during game no.1. Though I might have thought the reverse coming into last week; so we shall see how that plays out. O will play-action to set up home-run type throws. Mister Clark bewares! Will go 3 to 4 wide, with offset Wr stacks that are tricky to judge on any 1st-move(s). I did like that line-of-scrimmage releasing feature.

Offensive letter-grade:

UT O grades

UTee Special Teams: (all return)

All Cb by trade Evan Berry did last year as a KO Return specialist par excellence was… miss breaking the all-time NC2A KO return mark by 3/100ths of a freakin’ yard! He sucks. Ditto all-S.e.c. and likewise Db by trade specialist Sutton, who is a field position change agent all by his ownself. 6’2” 194 lb. junior year Kicker Aaron Medley was only the #1 kicker in high school according to ESPN. After an uneven 67% rookie year, he has made 14 of his last 16 FGA’s with no career blocks. Does not have the most bionic leg ever; as evidence by his so-so kickoffs. Though he’s a real threat <45 yards. Walk-on Punter Trevor Daniel, goes a mere 6′; that and a swamping 248 lbs. of 46 yards per punt clubbing good leg strength. Might wanna try him and all that strong like bull thick set mass on a punt block max however; as I’d have to wonder how well he moves at that girth. The UTenn Punt defense team has been very user-friendly for years (101st last year and next to last already this season). UT does cover kickoffs pretty well however.

Special Teams letter-grade: (A—, presuming UT can patch up their leaky PR coverage and their K continues to develop; might be the best ST’s we see all year!)


  • motive: Both teams have 160,000+ reasons to play their ass off. PUSH.
  • weather: partly cloudy, and warm; very warm! (with day time track & field temps pushing north of 120f!!!Bristol forecast
  • health: Wr Jason Croom 39 career grabs and 6 TD’s is Questionable with an Undisclosed. Roanoke native and starting right-Ot Chance Hall is Out a few more weeks after an A-scope knee (God bless!) And back-up Dlineman Shy Tuttle is Questionable as well. VT is in pretty fair health less the Osterloh lingering dent and recovers Gaines and Alex’ from suspension. EDGE=VT.
  • penalties: UTenn has been very whistle prone of late. Modest EDGE=VT.
  • intangibles: I’m pretty sure the University of Tennessee is located, well, in Tennessee, and so is Bristol. Accordingly, one can not help to think that this one is probably a de facto home game for the Vols, at least of sorts. EDGE=UT.
  • fatigue: The Vols are +2 on rest and film study. EDGE=UT.

$100 on the Point Spread says what???

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… cue the Rolling Stones as:

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you get what you nee-eed.”
-Sir Michael Philip “mick” Jagger

As one would have to serially doubt that coach Lyle Allen “Butch” Jones, Jr. of Tennessee wanted to be extended into extra innings on a prime-time national TV audience vs. formerly D-1aa and upstart Appalachian State last Thursday night. Nevertheless, this may have been just what he needed, to super prep’ Tennessee after breaking the Ap.State tape -and possibly breaking the Ap.State film projector as well- after what he saw on film from game number one. As you’d have to think the Volunteers were paying full attention this week in practice after seeing how poorly they played on film. Because sometimes that ugly, hard fought, scrapper of a win is just what an elite program with very lofty prognostications needs to settle it back down to Earth and reintroduce some good of fashioned hard-work into the Volunteer diet in lieu of binging on pre-season Charles Dickens ‘esque Great Expectations. As I serially doubt that Ap.State just took UTenn’s A-game punch.

Mrs and Mr. Jones...
Mrs. and Mr. Jones

I likewise doubt that D-1aa Liberty just took coach-Fu’s and Virginia Tech’s opening A-game punch either. So someone is gonna have to dig deeper, summon and then connect on that A-game punch in a game that has classical uber physical pier-6, donnybrook, phone-booth of a trench warfare WWI brawl written all over it. A fortnight ago, as pusillanimous or as acid tongue as this might read… I really was set to pick the Vols by about 10-20. A Bridge Too Far or at least a S.E.C. bridge that came a couple of games too early for coach-Fu and our newly installed and just getting started at (0, 0, 0) Cartesian coordinate learning and experience curves alike Fu’Fense. That caveat firmly in place –I saw Appy.State have a lot of isomer or mirror image success vs. UTenn last Thursday night. As Appy ran a lotta different kids in a lotta different ways from a lotta different offensive shapes. That remind you of anyone sports-fans? How about defensing a Qb who can run and yet can not efficaciously medium and beyond throw? Technically speaking, that may not be a uno-dimensional Qb, though it’s about a 1.33 dimensional Pivot at most. And everywhere you read that Qb has either: secret broken, cracked, bruised or missing ribs! Or in other words, I’m not so cowed about volunteering an O&M upset pick here as I was a few weeks ago.


That being said, as you can see below, I do favor UTenn to win about six and change times outta 10. This in a football game that will shatter the all-time college football attendance mark of 115,109 set for N.Dame @ Michigan three years ago. This also being the second football game at the Bristol Motor Speedway racetrack since the Washington Redskins played the Philadelphia Eagles in a 1961 exhibition when the capacity was a mere 20,000. This for pocketing a cool $4.3 million dollars per school! Though who will actually win?

I know the University of Tennessee really should win, I know they would probably win the best two outta three or four outta seven. However, just this one time, I’ma gonna pick Virginia Tech to steal one, and win by less than one full play, on a nite where UTenn out gains the Hokies by three digits. Thereby leaving the Volunteer fans  sick to their stomachs that they let this one get away “meow”; as the Hokie Nation gets what it “nee-eeds!”

upset Index=37%

Virginia Tech=26 Tennessee=24




V.A.D.A. approved

7 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Agree with your conclusion (though I inserted the “Bud ‘ factor into my equation).
    Just a point though if O-Line is C+ then doesn’t that affect Rb and Qb and overall O? Not sure I would give the UT O an A— based on that, and , though vanilla they did not look A– against a lesser opponent. Anyway, good summary as always.

    1. well, recall that I’m one of the few that gives our Dline about a C+ too.
      So A level Rb’s prolly win that stalemate upfront vs. C-something VT Lb’s; more often than not.


  2. I sure Hope You got the last Part Right, Hokie Nation could stand for some Hound dog Wuppin for Sure.

    1. We do need this!

      OHIO state was big; though totally unexpected.
      (unless you were the only 1 to predict that –thank you Coach God!)

      This one is closer; easier to travel too, cheaper accordingly.
      And more geographically organic.

      More at stake here.


  3. Vols Offensive Line is missing Left Offensive Tackle from last season. Kid that is filling in got his first start last week and it was ugly. I see that as the biggest handicap and I see Va Tech’s DE exploiting him. More surprising for me was the Vols Center got abused. I’m still scratching my head on that one. The offense didn’t open up the playbook. I think they must have thought they could win without it? The OC said that App controlled the clock and did a good job of limiting offensive plays he could call – Dobbs was running for his life. Bottom Line – that offensive line plays like that and they are not going to beat to many good teams (which I consider a 11-2 team App team that returns 17 starters and was ranked #11th nationally in defense and expected to win their conference a good team). I didn’t realize how good they were until I started watching some of their games last season. Everyone laughs because it was App State. I did too until I watched some games from last season. I did watch the first half of the Va Tech and Liberty Game and it appeared Va Tech may have been flat and looking ahead too. I would be less than honest if I said I was impressed with Va Tech but then I can’t say I was impressed with Tennessee either. I look for both teams to play better in the second game. Let’s hope so because the first game was just bad football for both teams. I believe if Tennessee were to play as well as they did against a 10 win Northwestern team in the bowl game, they will win this game easily. The talent level is higher than it has been in about 12 years. But with all the press clippings and now with the distractions of the race track marketing ploy, I’m just not sure that is possible. I honestly don’t know who I would pick in this game after watching last week?

    1. Great, balanced, pious, pensive; post!
      thank you GoVols.

      Yah; I could see why someone would not have been overtly impressed with either squad week #1. Me three.


  4. UT will live up to the conference moniker ( S-oooo E-verybody C-heats) – – – you wanna play with the best..
    you gotta P A Y with the best. The SEC has top dollar athletes & cash rich programs to match — with pageantry,
    million dollar walks, & big donor handshakes from fans lining their march to the stadiums. You wanna play- you better be ready to pay. Semi -pro never looked so good.

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