#4o R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #114 R.P.I. North Carolina:
Virginia Tech football travels down to tobacco road to face the team that this particular O&M Staff loves to, hate.
The Hokies are never R.U.T.S. shy vs. U.n.c. as recruiting territorial O&M encroachments in pigskin allegorical terms go; nor are they shy on squatters rights vs. The First in Flight state. As Virginia Tech has won the last two contests with North Carolina under Fu’ by a combined score of 93-10! As this U.n.c. has been more of a grounded glider with a tow-cable gone “snap” while staying home and sitting the excitement out “over three” in jolly ole England WWII style of late. As this once actually pretty well mightly regional recruiter has fallen on internalized and insalubrious hard times of late. Be they self-inflicted, or cultural, or endemic, you do have to wonder what the seat-cushion thermometer on Coach Fedora’s sky blue throne reads at the moment. And what you wanna know is just how much can coach Fu’ and company turn up the heat? Read on, to find… out!
Today’s word of the day is… Rubicon (Line):
- A short river of central Italy, the crossing of which by Julius Caesar and his army in 49 B.C. began a civil war.
- A limit that when passed or exceeded permits of no return and typically results in
- To commit oneself to some course of action.
- .5oo or 3-3 at VT with only five games left?
Head Coach: Herbert Lawrence Fedora age=56, (44-37 @U.n.c.; 78-56 overall); has a rep’ for offense, recruiting, innovation, Wr’s in particular and taking care of himself; as just like N.Saben, he does not look 56 either.
Coach Larry is known for Spread Offenses with so-called: “hot-Slot” works, as a former standout Wr at D-III Austin (Tx.) College and as the former standout coach at Tx. High School football factory powerhouse Garland. Coach Fedora is a highly innovative recruiter… author of the so-called: “Freak Show” or nighttime in-stadium recruits audition for ONLY the **** or ***** most elite U.n.c. recruiting targets! Recruiter Fedora clearly learnt a lot from Ace recruiter Ron Zook down at Florida. And just like Ric Flair at Starrcade, he even keeps a recruiting helicopter, that’s a VHT helicopter folks, not a two-star plane!
Coach Fedora has been at a lotta big-name schools on his assisting way up, Baylor, Florida, OK.State, Air Force Academy. All spread or option offensive stops as coach Fedora was quietly enough in on the entry level of the basketball on grass synthesis that has become the scoreboard wildfire that we call Spread offenses of today; albeit dating all the way back to 1996 at Baylor. Coach Fedora later got the big whistle job at So.Miss where under Fedora; Southern Miss notched the four most prolific offensive seasons in its 100-year football history. His players also graduated at a higher rate than at any time in school history. So.Miss.edu props insert here (_____) check!
Coach Fedora is 3-5 in bowls and has had some difficulties in hump or big games. Although he is cut from a different Versace cloth as Coach Fedora even scores players on accountability, and even on how well they synergized during team bonding activities; (FAR out!)
Fedora is a 1985 graduate of Austin College in Sherman, Texas, where he also received his master’s degree in 1986.
He is married to the former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader Christi Wood, and the couple has one son, Dillon, and three daughters, Sydney, Peyton and Hallie.
2017 North Carolina record: 3 up 9 down and 1-7 in the A.c.c.
North Carolina Defense: (starters back=7)
- 71st in Total D.
- 112th vs. the run.
- 22nd vs. the throw.
- Def. S&P+ Rk: 77th.
- 113th in 3rd down conversions allowed.
- 124th in zone D.
- 33rd in Qb’s sacked.
- 44th in Tackles for a Loss (TFL) inflicted.
- 46th best in Stuff Rate and yet 119th Rushing marginal explosiveness allowed. Total hell or high-H20 football men.
- 39th in dLine Havoc. De looks stronger to me on the edges than Dt did and De Malik Carney looks to be the strongest d-Lineman of the powder-blue all. Remember the #53, as this Arlington, Va native five-three can rush the Qb. Dt is reasonable, and Dt Arron Crawford says hello; so Dt ain’t (bleep) and it ain’t Shinola’, either. Whereas De has at least one more quality baller and no less depth. Although U.n.c. does return eight of its top-9 defensive linemen from last year, including four upperclassmen rotating at the two Dt spots. So this unit is more solid than their show-n-tell stats would have you 1st-blush think. (UPDATE: Malik is now: SUSPENDED for Saturday!)
- 49th in Linebacking Havoc. Cole Holcomb looks legit -if not downright solid- here. Neat story for a former walk-on now full ride Mike-Lb who looks like he could go intern for Levi Strauss & Co. (as a model). As Cole has gone from solid to nearly interruptive this campaign. Not half bad work from a kid who could have -and some might say should have- who could have played collegiate soccer; if you can get it. Lb’s scrape strangely to the ball at times, sometimes too high (over (pursuit)) and sometimes too low (too shallow). Seems cutback, crossbuck or counter-trey available to me.
- 115th in Secondary Havoc. U.n.c. does play the man and not the ball; not a high pick-rate for it to show. Actually, a zero pick-rate to show for it with about 33% of 2018, gone. Safety looked better/more useful to me on film. At least in run-fighting terms. Though there is rather functional match-up size here in the middle and yet not so much on the edges in hind-4 or hind-5 terms. Cb K.J. Sails is quality here. Leads U.n.c. in passes broken-up in the last ~3 years. Star S Myles Dorn has missed a couple of games and is Questionable right now, might be worth a Willis deeper arm looksee here for it too.
- D overall: U.n.c. has a very soft set of outside Wr shells at Cb on normal down-n-distance situations on breaking tape. They -at least to me- they really do invite the quicker LOS (line-of-scrimmage) hitting 2016-2017 Fu’fense with such. U.n.c. will offset their Sam-Lb (deeper) in a very strange second-layer non-lineal line-up at times. The very same Sam will scoot all the way up into a modified fifty-two (5-2) definition as well. U.n.c. tackling though not quite shoddy struck me as sub-average and the edges are nearly soft; whereas block shedding may have been subservient even to that. D does court some speed although not the most physical D I’ve ever studied, either.
- ∑ (summary): This is a very mixed D, as in pretty well statistically mixed-up. As it has a couple of keen ballers per level; then (somehow) manages to play anti-Gestalt Theory football and play less than the sum of its parts. As it sure depth chart seems like U.n.c. could be more restrictive vs. the run and yet U.n.c. is not.
U.n.c. Offense: (returning starters=5)
- 90th in Total O.
- 64th in ground O.
- 97th in aerial O.
- Off. S&P+ Rk: 104th.
- 124th in Team Passing efficiency.
- 127th in 3rd down conversions (29%)!
- 127th in 1st down offense!
- 95th in completions (56%).
- 56th hardest to tackle Rb’s.
- 11th in sacks allowed | and yet 111th in TFL allowed.
- Ditto 126th worst stuff rate allowed.
- 128th in offensive Havoc created.
- Next to last in 3rd-n-long success rate. (get dat work Blitzburg, Va.!)
- And yet a sporty 22nd best in Explosive plays! i.e. U.n.c. strikes out or HR’s.
- O overall: 6′1″, 215 lb., r-Jr., Qb Nathan Elliott is a modest to so-so Qb overall and he’s not exactly a major rushing threat Qb with 26 yards on the ground thus far. He is also a Koufax, a lefty or a southpaw thrower, so load/set the Jugs Machine backward or CCW (counterclockwise) for it. Nat’ is up a noteworthy 7% on his passing this season; although, Naty Lyte’s passing ratio (TD’s:INT’s) is nearly even after being a reasonable enough 2:1 last year. That’s a mixed throw game bag if there ever was one folks. That being said, it can also be said that Nathan has generally improved off of his putrid game no.1 vs. Cal’ to begin this year; although the whispers say spraying or accuracy issues linger here. That and he’s a fumbler, O&M clad strippers unite! Leading rusher 5′11″, 210 lb. Jr. year Antonio Williams has and the U.n.c. ground game does have some “juice” or some pop to it, as they will bust front-7 contain from time-to-time. U.n.c. leading Wr Anthony Ratliff-Williams is good, I’d estimate very good and prolly at least N.f.l. camping good; maybe better if he ever learns to concentrate and look the ball all the way in. As he surely has all kinda speed and vertical leap/high-point (see the geo’ pun) abilities to his A-game. However, two of U.n.c.’s Top-3 pass catchers field a positively Butterfingers looking 44% and 46% catch-rate(s). Hellen Tango Hellen are these guys major power-conference D-1 starting Wr’s?!? Ot’s Charlie Heck and William Sweet have starting experience, but the rest of the offensive line is unproven and a bit shy on depth. Nonetheless, the internal blocking trifecta of G-c-G did better than I expected in terms of the perceived edge (Ot’s) superiority on film.
- ∑ (summary): A medium to short throw game here in order folks; and this O will throw on any given 1st-down. They do field some naked oLine looks (Ot-G-c-G-Ot) sans a Te or Hback. Pretty savvy pulling, trapping, kicking-out team, in particular on narrower or A-gap crashing pulls. Offense flexes a lotta Pistol shapes, true I-back Pistol, nearly a T-formation Pistol with 2 split-backs (Hb’s, sorta), and even a full arrowhead Pistol (see pic). A lotta run-game moving parts here for it too; making this a tough O to key ground-game wise accordingly. Backup or caddying Qb2 Chazz Surratt -who just made his season debut after serving a three-game suspension for selling team-issued shoes- and Foot Locker; each come to mind here, as the Heel’s can (nearly) invent a quad-option point for it with one plunge, 2 pitches, and 1 keeper if they self-select. (Chazz can run, though his throw-fits are snitfits for the U.n.c. Qb coach on film; as he does not discriminate based upon the colour of your jersey, Chazz will throw to anybody from any team) UPDATE: Chazz has a bad wrist (may St.Julia bless) and is doubtful for our game. Tb Michael Carter (5′8″, a hewn 196, Soph.) one #8, really caught my Eye on the Miami film. He too of a recently broken wrist (St.Julia bless again). M.Carter is a very dynamic, explosive, shifty game-changing rusher. Very impressive for being the AAAAAA Florida Player of the Year in spite of a blown scholastic knee (may St.Nikhon bless). U.n.c. throw sets will break that whacky 4-way backfield in lieu of 3 to 4 wide at times; although they are NOT a big ole catch game corps metrics wise, (coach Mitch’ wipes brow, says: “shew”).
- 50% run:pass 50% mix.
T.Heel Special Teams: (return)
U.n.c. is 17th in Net Punting. And so is skyscraping 6′6″, 244 lb. Te sized punter Hunter Lent. No word yet on how he does in the 53 days prior to Easter; although he might just be the alpha punter in the A.c.c. right now folks. A final year P, with plenty of experience and in-game reps as: “Hunter the Punter” which is his official nickname goes. HTP is a prior hoops and also a Te, Dt and kick-game scholastic standout in football —and how often to you Punter read that one? Yah; me neither, although Hunter has developed into a very solid directional punter even if he does not quite field a true Colonel Steve Austin bionic leg (only one put >53 yards, anywhere). Hunter has never had a punt snuffed out, and he’s never gone Oct. 31st trickeration on a punt either. He is, however, in the Honor Society (NC.edu props on that) and he had a very sharp catch-career in H.S. so something must be in the ex-Te pipeline here (somewhere). Though do aim higher on your block-point per his Small-Forward sized N.b.a. legs.
- 101st in Punt Returns | 54th in KO returns.
- 44th in punt coverage | and 47th in suicide-squad.
- U.n.c. has blocked 2 kicks already and allowed 0 kicks to be blocked.
- U.n.c. has blocked no punts and allowed nil punts to be blocked.
Sr. year U.n.c. K Freeman Jones is a free spirit indeed as you do not see too many specialists sporting full sleeve tattooed guns like this. Freeman has improved from being a very modest 64% FG-K last year all the way up to 77% this year or basically a very middleocore or centrist average on swings-of-the-leg for 3. Jones does have decent enough range out to the high 40’s to very low 50’s with a 51 career long-make, and he has only missed one P.A.T. at any level of getting his kicks. Although he does seem to have improved his longer kick accuracy this campaign. Free’ was listed as the No. 5 kicker in the nation by 247sports.com and he is a nifty 50% all-time on on-sides kickoff attempts. File that one away for late’… JIC.
Wr/Pr Ratliff-Williams was an all-A.c.c. return specialist selection in 2017, returning two kickoffs for TDs, an area where U.n.c. has excelled under Fedora.
Special Teams letter-grade: Special Teams S&P+ Rk: 14th best! I’m not quite as lofty as the not Standard and Poor’s index is, however, and nevertheless, this is a pretty quality set of special-teams. I’ll go good for an A—, presuming FG-kicking comes along.
(READERS note: last year (2017) U.n.c. saw a backbreaking 37 different players L at least 1 game to injury! So there is experience and development+ here for it)
- VT O.
- VT D.
- U.n.c. O.
- U.n.c. D.
- motive: VT has to be down after the massive Enter S.Man made for TV entrance and being all kinda jacked-up for no.6 N.Dame. EDGE=U.n.c. (obviously).
- weather: Looks partly-cloudy on Wed. night; though let’s ask Saturday afternoon and God Bless FLA.
- health/off-field: U.n.c. has a couple of linemen dings and dents and Saftey is a big beat up as well. Though generally, they are fitter than us on a fortnight off. EDGE=U.n.c.
- penalties: The Heels do not know how to “heel” as any well-schooled Westminister show-piece does. And the U.n.c. yellow laundry tends to be wild and demonstrative indeed— actually it tends to be: personal, in a word. VT has a useful advantage here. EDGE=VT.
- intangibles: 129th or DEAD, freakin’, last in Turnover Margin is U.n.c. at –2/game. And a non-restive 1o4th in TOP (time of possession). Additionally, U.n.c. is 1o7th best in starting field-positing. And a surprisingly lowly 116th in Résumé S&P+ Rk. Massive EDGE=VT.
- fatigue: U.n.c. had last week open and they are of course up +13 on R&R for it. EDGE=U.n.c.
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
Number of Heels who could start @Tech=8.
The takeaway here is… well, N.Dame prolly took something outta our Duck Pond sails as emotionally and physical antes for hosting a nationally televised Land Stadium night game goes.
As it is irradicably difficult for me to nominate that we/Virginia Tech will be sky-(blue)-high for this away game. A gridiron game 202 miles so’-by-so’-east down to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this Saturday night at 7 pm on the sometimes hard to find ESPNU.
As for my mere $0.03 in the game of life, this one has letdown applied sports psych trap-game written all over it. The key is to determine just how trappy North Carolina can reasonably be?
- Δ1=65%, well, I do favor us here… although this has been the most oddball VT (predictive) year I’ve ever been undeservedly Blessed to cover. Which makes me think this year may not be done covering us in the (alleged) cognoscenti up!
- Δ2=about 1 outta 5%, accordingly, until proven otherwise, my trust quotient of this much Hokie inexperience, youth and lack of size anxieties me. U.n.c. does not worry me all that much; us giving U.n.c. a hand, however… does.
- Δ3=15%, right now as whacky as everything has already been, there is nearly an unatural chance that any given game could snowball and get away from a normal +/- 1 full standard deviation type curve at any point. Pro or con get away, mind you.
Well, as getting your Jenny Craig on goes… I found it pretty startling to read the dip in U.n.c.’s national rankings per S&P+ Rank by Week: as the Heels opened a respectable and seemingly likely post-season bound 53rd best in America. And yet now reside in a home for the Holidays 98th best overall. Ditto U.n.c.’s nearly (poison) Ivy League looking 114th best R.P.I. ranking nationally this week.
As the one thing, I’ma sure about regarding U.n.c. is that I’m not really sure about anything regarding U.n.c.
As this is one Many Faces of Eve, up-n-down Smothers Brothers yo-yo routine or a downright schizophrenia sports squad at the moment gents. They are pretty decent to flirting with actually being good in several categories and then yet nearly Baltic Avenue impoverished in the very same category over on the other side of their very own line-of-scrimmage. Inconsistent, irregular, unbalanced… even downright fickle at times on film. Like the rookie prom night girl who just can not make her good girl gone bad mind up— either way.
And I do believe that sum U.n.c. fans are in the cusp of telling leisure suit Larry: “Put out or get out”, fish or get off the pot. As U.n.c. seems to have more talent(s) or input(s) at their disposal than this very uneven looking 1-3 output posits, avers, connotes. As this 1-3 Heeled mark is mutually 1 play removed from being a serviceable .5oo … and yet likewise just a FG removed from being a perfect o for 2018. As U.n.c. has outgained 50% of the teams they have played so far.
Less… is the new, more! Or to be sparse, keystroke G.O.P. and publishing FOX, one could simply say that in a nutshell: “U.n.c. can actually run the ball —a bit. Although they can not stop the run —as their defensive ground-troops have been, grounded; indeed.”
And end the preview right there with something smoothie from the metaphorical blender like “…try as we might football still ain’t rocket surgery men.”
Aye, it ain’t rocket surgery and where is the science in excessively game-planning for this one?
Do NOT engage in the paralysis of analysis. Yes, I know that Ry’ Willis is a thrower and yah; I can not argue that his throw game fits need reps with these Wide Receiving 1’s to help each prep’ for the rest of the year.
However, go throw game repetition crazy and make this game far more complex than a basically O&M black-n-blue ground assault is begging for it to K.I.S.S. be. This game is not a hotwired Jeep on a forgery of a weekend pass. It’s a hedgerow cutting Churchill tank merely plowing the field. As they say in Vegas: “…the farmer made his fortune in the field.”
Overly complicate this one and catch Ry’ on a chilling passing day and you will bring U.n.c. into play. Go ahead and full-frontal storm the T.Heels castle keep. Put this one away early, put this one away hard and spread the final 10-20 minute playing-time love around.
So I’m gonna pick V.Tech to beat U.n.c. @U.n.c.; right?
Well, I was… until I read guess who is dead last (130th best) in defensive Explosion plays allowed?
And guess who has an uneven O, although an O that does (somehow) still manage to hit for power when it’s not too busy getting in its very own, way? The former is us Hokie nation and the later is this U.n.c. crew.
Or in other words… you allow this very uneven U.n.c. club to hang around, cross their hosting Rubicon Line, and you will suddenly find yourself playing a game of O&M hangman come the final ~10 minutes or so of scrumming. Go ahead and put your cleats in these Heel’s throat(s) early and often and soften them up for later on.
So, I someone did some checking around… and was (eventually) able to construct two foreseeable scenarios. One is that De.Divine does not play and this brings all that major HR hitting capability of U.n.c. into league with giving V.Tech a real live fit down in Chapel Hill on Saturday night. Think: the Hokies win about 50-55 minutes of the game, and yet give up about 2-3 actual gameplay minutes of BIG plays and well… the final handful of minutes or so are gonna be a bitch.
The other one is that… someone did like what they found post-game after taking the N.Dame L.
Unlike the nonpareil upsetting and just downright gutless L @hometown fun OverDoseU, our team’s meta-communicating was singing a very different applied sports-psych clinical song after the Irish Potato Famine.
Unlike the Monarchal dethroning -where they were infighting, then later on in disbelief, followed by being Ag.School cowed on the practice field that Tuesday- this time they seemed a little bent to me by getting beat. They did not wanna hear any “rah-rah-sis-boom-bah” modern 2018 every girl is big and beautiful, “you played a good game” horse-hockey nonsense.
They were a bit salty, they even seemed afoul that they actually did get beat. Like they felt they at least could have won; and that the next (redemptive) game could not start soon enough. That I like. A cultural paradigm shift, …fingers, eyes, and toes all crossed here.
NOW… as caveats go… I’ma not saying I find this year no.1 cultural hygiene gone latent/laggard year no.3 cultural intercalation -and then disagreeable/bucking cultural reformating- to be savory; I’m not saying I see it as a finished product yet, either.
I am saying that I see it as a Work In Progress in accountancy terms. And methinks that…
our culture >>> their culture
Even if our culture is still upset susceptible— I do expect that our culture (eventually) rises up and gives the better cultural accounting of itself, here.
The only question is by how much?
Is that by a ½ play to a full play… late?
Or is that by two or three plays sooner than later?
Virginia Tech=33, North Carolina=2o