Your (12th game); Marshall football preview!

#54 R.P.I. Marshall @ #63 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:

 Today’s word of the day is… shew!

sh•ew
/SHō/ (circa early 1800’s), Californian/American verb
  1. old-fashioned archaic variant spelling of: show.
  2. to establish the validity of something. Ex).
  3. informal expression of emotional relief.
  4. last Friday evening ~ 7:45 pm.
  5. this Saturday @4 pm???

Marshall Head Coach: John “Doc” Holliday: age=61, (69-45 overall and at Marshall); has a rep’ for being likable, recruiting (FLA in particular), offense, Wr/throw-game O, and even more likable than that.
$755,000.oo

Holliday was born and raised in Hurricane, West -by God- Virginia, where he was a football star as well as a state champion wrestler at Hurricane High School. He won a West Virginia state wrestling title at 175 pounds (all divisions) in 1975 at Hurricane High. Then he graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education in 1979, then graduated with a master’s degree in 1981 in Safety Management. Holliday was also a three-year letter winner while playing linebacker at w.v.u.

Coach Doc broke in for his alma way back in 1979 up in M’town’, Wva., as a Wr instructor then a Linebacking sensei under the altogether decent Don Nehlen. While at the animal house of football, Doc coached the Top-3 career and single-season reception leaders in school history and eight of the Top-10 players in both categories. He also coached the leading receivers in the Big East in 1996, 1997, and 1998 while also coaching three of the top six receivers in Big East history; snap!

After that Doc was off to Raleigh, Nc. where he only coached three of the top eight receivers in school history. Do you see a trend, yet?

Then after a rather successful stint as the secondary coach for U.Meyer at Florida -hence the Sunshine recruiting connection(s)- Doc was back to w.v.u. where some felt he deserved “next” as head coach post-richrod. After two very successful recruiting seasons for the ‘eers and stymied by the seemingly head-coaching snub (in lieu of: Bill Steward), coach Doc took his game to Huntington, Wv. as the Omega-Whistle. After leading Marshall to its first Conference USA championship in 2014, Holliday was named C-USA Coach of the Year. Coach Holiday also received a contract extension through 2021 at the end of the season. Coach Doc has fashioned three 10-win seasons for the Herd and three more eight-win years in addition to that.

Coach Doc is perfected in the post-season, five for five in bowl games if you need him. He also has three CUSA championships in his nine seasons thus far.

Holliday and his wife, Diana, have four children — Meghan, Cade, Chase and Cody.

M.U. 2017 record:  8 up 4 down and 4-4 in C.U.S.A.

Marshall Defense: (starters back=9)

  • 18th in Total D.
  • 6th vs. the run.
  • 5th vs. the throw.
  • 7th in S&P+ D.
  • (tho’ 18th in Passing Efficiency D)!
  • 16th in 1st down defense.
  • 16th in 3rd down conversion percentage allowed.
  • 6th in Qb’s sacked!
  • 22nd in Tackles for a Loss (TFL) inflicted.
  • 14th in efficiency.
  • 19th in explosion.
  • 13th in stuff rate.
  • 9th in overall havoc.
  • 19th in dLine Havoc. Ty Tyler has 8 TFL and 7 sacks and “yes”, I’d say that counts. (in point of fact, not less than five Hearders have 3.5 sacks or more; wow!). Dt’s Ryan Bee and Channing Hames came back and how have combed for 13′, 545 lbs., 9 years, 19 sacks and 31 tackles for a loss in their last 20 odd games! That’s all. (tho’ do bear in mind both handsome De’s from 2017 are gone and this front-wall is stiffer inside than out for it). And this is a averaged weighted dLine; if that (despite the height). Tho’ you can’t coach Hite or height. And lottsa height does live here. Including combination rushes and zone drops and any potential deflection(s). Waitressing d-Line play… as tippin’ does count here. Very.
  • 38th in Linebacking Havoc. The linebacking quintet of Sr’s: Chase Hancock, Frankie Hernandez, Artis Johnson, and hybrid Lb/De Juwon Young with junior Omari Cobb are all back. So that’s over 2 decades of experience in the Herd second-layer right there. And quite honestly, their just over 220 stops combined this year might be read as being just a bit low, if not a slight bit off. Still, yet, most everyone else wishes they had these kinds of Linebacking issues. These guys will deal/red-dog a bit and this middle-unit is rarely out of place and misQ’s are few and far between here.
  • 31st in Secondary Havoc. 33rd in passes pilfered as Marshall will play and break on the ball. S Malik Gant, merely leads MU in tackles, TFL (9 tackles for a loss), INT’s (3), run-stuffs (15!), and in hotdogs sold, to boot. As that’s about the only thing this D is not asking him to do. The Herd Secondary overall was/is viewed as the beta-strength of the MU defense preseason. A lotta experience and workable interchangeable parts play here. In point of fact, there are some that might argue that MU courts not less than 3 (yes, three) all-conference caliber hind-4/5 talents here. The middle guys will put their pads into you too. As this is a very very good -if not outright great- secondary and one of the best we will see this season.

    MU base 3-4:
  • D overall: Marshall
    departed rising-star defensive coordinator Chuck Heater to Maryland, and this is considered a major defection to industry insiders. Though they also considered last years Marshall halt-crew to be one of -if not the- best defense in Marshall football history. And 9 of 11 of ’em are back… so there you go. Although they have yielded a whopping 12′ of miscellaneous yards this season— and that’s my attempt at sporting satire for the day.
  • ∑ (summary): MU has tallied 18 defensive points this year; so there is a premium on advancing the ball here. And guess who is #1 in all of America in fumbles forced, accordingly? Coach Z’, we had better gauntlet drill this week and wrap-up this weekend! As this D -same as the Herd oLine- really doesn’t make many misQ’s and you have to put a helmet on them and beat them head-up. As all their big-play allowance stats are as good as any we’ve seen all year. Marshall will force you to “execute” several to numerous plays to get there and drive the length of the field way more often than not. As this D is 5th best vs. 3rd-n-long and 8th best vs. 3rd-n-short. WoW! FILM STUDY: this is a base thirty-four though it cheats into lotta 40 personnel even looks and even some pseudo fifty-two’s. Cb’s are generally more aggressive (tighter to medium on edges) than the floating safties who play halves or elevator between who is playing Centerfield and who has run-combat duties. There is a lotta floating mid-zone looks here with hook-drops and intermediary Ss reinforcement of the same. Though there is room behind the ILb twins if you can time it just right before the Ss help arrives. Clearly, MU wants to swamp the hashmarks and make you play pitch-n-catch beyond that in lateral terms. This does make the sideline a de facto 12th defender when it really spills play wide(st). Herd tackling was decent enuff, not brutally physical and may have been less demonstrative in the open-field than anywhere else; as it was a little (too) high or (too) low at times in the hind-4. MU has several hesitation type blitz actions from ILb’s and/or OLb’s that they disguise really well due to the delay itself. D will attack on Lo.FM’s dealing as many as seven rushers with medium to deep Tampa-4 quarters behind that. Kinda a zoning 1999 Bud Stôut if you will. D does contact the Qb, Fu’ and company need to work the late-hit P.Foul angle on Saturday. (BTW: did see at the last sec’ that this is a pretty well Jr.Middleweight, or maybe even a Welterweight D, with only 2 maybe 3 guys tops on weight in power-conference modern-day D-1 terms). Although every single starter in the front-7 is a freakin’ r-Sr. less one. (that one? He’s a r-Jr.)

Defensive letter-grade:

Marshall Offense: (returning starters=9)

  • 88th in Total O.
  • 93rd in ground O.
  • 65th in aerial O.
  • 110th in S&P+ O.
  • 104th in red-zone O.
  • 40th in sacks allowed | 22nd in TFL allowed.
  • And #1 in the hardest Rb’s to tackle in all the land!!!
  • O overall: Although I do not know if this is an outright great or dominate oLine? I do know that this oLine is great at not making mistakes, or allowing you to play in their backfield. You gotta beat this oLine at the point of attack and put your big-boy cowboy-up pants on to do so as they won’t be beating themselves for yah. Though this is not a big ole power conference oLine, only one guy is north of 307 lbs. and a 60% sophmoric oLine after that. At Qb we see… 6′2″, 210 lb. r-Fr., surprise starting Qb1 Isaiah Green -as all-F.c.s. (Wagner) graduate transfer and oft’ injured tho’ N.f.l. whispered Qb Alex Thomson was brought in to win this job- well, Isiash did win this job and he does average a nifty 13.4 per completion although he only averages 55% of his passes completed in the first place. His 14:9 ratio -although not technically awful- is pretty pedestrian. He was a *** (three-star) recruit and yet his offer list is nearly entirely D-1aa. As he was more of a pocket-Qb who could move down in Georgia high school football terms. Albeit a very strong one on an lb. for lb. basis what with a noticeable 435 squat and clean alike. This could help ‘splain how his sack rate -a mere 2.4%- is borderline phenomenal. I.Green has 55 on the ground with a long carry of just 14 (yards); so you will know where to find him.  Although he’s been really dinged/dented up all year and that had to have something to do with his midseason passing acuity swoon. That being fairly said; it sure seems like he could/should be making more play(s) here; as he’s pretty athletic and he might just be even stronger than that. Even if his visiting INT percentage is 200% more than when he balls @home. And he has a 350% greater 2nd-half interception rate as he does seem to press a bit as the game wears on. And the queer thing is… other than Wr1’s ( 6′3″, 208 lb., r-Jr. Tyre Brady, at 50.8%) catch-rate, the Herd grab-gang is not that bad from stem to stern. Though Tyre sure passes the Wr eye-test. Entirely knifed up looking pure physical specimen. Brady was a VHT (very highly touted) MIA.Hurricane transfer and he’s a pretty big get for MU. As he was only AAAAAAAA octa-A champion of the sunshine state and he can return a KO like a champ’ to boot. Athlon 1st-string all-conference preseason on top of that; so talent is not wanting here. And the Herd Wideouts attend this last minute party carrying a reputation of being: “deep threats”. Rb1 ( 5′10″, 190 lb. r-Fr. Tyler King, with: 655 yards on 6.1 per— and the hints say he could NOT have played last week; Leg) is listed as questionable, however, his back-up (Bren Knox) just put up 109 down vs. Florida Nobody. King is a crowning miss if he can not go too folks as: “lightning strike” speed is how he was described to me. MU’s oLine is described as: “solid” and returns 61 of last years 65 starts. And they are not yet at their final-year Exodus peak, as almost all of ’em are back for 2019. The Herd run-fits have engendered only one jaunt north of 41 yards this season; so big/elongated carries do not seem to live here. King is not bad, and he’s prolly better healthy— though he’s also the only A that’s single-A high school baller (Florida mind you); that I can recall in a minute or three. The Herd catch-corp, however, courts a slew of receptions between 23 and 50 yards with only one grab in excess of 50 itself.

    MU base spread-gun:
  • ∑ (summary): Kinda an in between or medium passing-depth set here—and this side of Klempson? I do not recall the last modern era time I typed that. Though this is the same drill as the Herd D, as a new O-cord’ (Tim Cramsey; a passing wizard by trade) came on board with his formerly Sam Houston perfect up-tempo 5K throwing set(s) in what has been described as an “aggressive” system here. Additionally, the Herd has 94.8% of their 2017 rushing yardage, 78.5% of their receiving yardage and the entire starting offensive line all back! Now mix in this was the 4th best oLine in pass protect last year and the fact that these Top-2 Rb’s have quietly amassed right at 3.5k career yards and just at 30 total majors (TD’s) and you quietly have a lotta shiny parts at your thundering disposal here. FILM STUDY: typical modern Pro/Spread looks though maybe a scosche quicker hitting spread-Gun set. Lotta single-back (Hb) type looks with ab +Hback and 3 or 4 wide. Will use a few old-school sit down routes in combination, though the throw points are just a little deeper here. With some likewise old-school play side triangle passing elements as well. Qb I.Green does look things off well enough though keeps an inordinate amount of weight on his hind foot. A backfoot thrower and this can bleed speed if not location (velocity) at times. O will screen and pump-fake screens as part of passing triangle and it works the crossing midfield all the way to the linear or Go sideline boundary equally enough. The MU O seemed a little more pass-happy early to set-up the run later. I.Green does not throw particularly well on the move, short-hops and sailing America’s Cup looking overthrows et al. The Herd run-fits us politically incorrect slants and try to block angularly downhill. Or they merely try to shield-block and get just enough (defensive) turn. They will use the H-back/Te to pull and kick out the end defender be that crossbuck or not. Rb’s are not big, although they run hard north-south (think: best possible D.McClease runners) and there are more than a few inside the Ot’s C-gap or less looks here. Wr’s also grind hard for YAC (yards after catch) same as the ‘backs do. Wr’s are sizey, and that has been a bugbear for us all year.
  • 66% run:pass 34% mix. KEY the dang, run!

Offensive letter-grade:

T.Herd Special Teams: (return)

Marshall is 104th in Net Punting; and so is P, Robert LeFevre. LeFevre is a 6′2″, 196 lbs. r-Sophomore P from Ohio. Robert seriously looks like he’s missing out on a boy-next-door Levi Strauss & Co. career. As I’d bet the over on this guy post-game. As his punt-game goes… Robert has the thinnest bio’ I’ve seen all year. Not a very public kinda guy on whatever level(s). (No parents/guardians listed, nothing; God Bless). Anywho… he has kicked-off for Marshall and he serves as the traveling back-up KO-specialist in a pinch. LeFevre has five punts ≥55 yards so leg-boom he gots when he needs/wants it. Still, no word yet if he is related to the business tycoon or the famous Frenchy painter (Robert Lefèvre). Tho’ Eye did find that LeFevre courts a T&F quality 4.56 forty-time and a 34″ vertical -so the fake is in play here- and that he was more parts scholastic K than P.

  • 44th in Punt Returns | 94th in KO returns.
  • 55th in punt coverage | and 69th in suicide-squad.
  • MU has blocked 1 kick and allowed a staggering 3 (t-h-r-e-e), kicks to be blocked!
  • MU has blocked 2 punts and allowed 1 punt to be blocked.
  • 2nd best Offensive field-position!  | 30th Defensive field-position.
  • o for 2 on onsides kicks in 2018.

Herd K, Justin Rohrwasser has missed 1 P.A.T. and is 70% on FGA’s, although that’s 14-20 and that means he only has 3 true misses due to an insane three kicks-blocked to date. So tough to glean an R.A.T.T. read, here. As in… how many of those blocks were really makes and how many would have still, missed? Our literacy here is where? That admission firmly in place, Eye do see that Justin is 20% (1 for 5) between 40-49 yards— that speaks of a (low) line drive kicker to me. Trying to punch the ball from distance with his foot. As he’s actually a shiny 88% out to 39 yards thus far. That said, at a stalky 6′4″, 224 lbs., this r-Jr. nearly looks the mini-me OLb, or jailbird part. Seriously, this is nearly a scary looking K and I’ve never ever typed that one out before. Justin was only a ** (two-star) K coming outta H.S., and he is a Rhode Island transfer where he was 80% on his FG-attempts for his ramming trouble(s). He has a career-long make of 42 in college, so expect some short-punts here if the weather is Decembery indeed. Though Justin is prolly a little better than his vitals suggest ¦ I’ll go good for that.

Rb/KO return maven Keion Davis housed 2 kicks last year, routinely puts up 30-40 yard returns. He’s a real live threat here, and he’s prolly due to truly break one before 2018 ends.

Special Teams letter-grade: MU is 90th in S&P+ special-teams Rk:. Me? Well, I’m just a little higher than S&P is, though not much, as there are just too many errors here. C- overall,
tho’ do not sleep on that KO returner!

Unit Rankings:

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

X-factor(s):

  • motive: hoo knows? Does Marshall really want the extra week of practice, sacrifice, work? Does Fu’ have any ammo left in his V.T.C.C. football bunker after last Friday’s intra-boarder-war hosting hooVa? EDGE=???
  • weather: Weather is hinting at rainyness with high 40’s. That’s won’t help Willis’ pitch-n-catch. Marshall prolly has the better frontlines, too. EDGE=Herd.
  • health/off-field: Marshall has a much smaller injury report -even with their Rb1 dinged up. EDGE=Herd.
  • penalties: both teams trending mean, median, mode for the most part. EDGE=push.
  • intangibles: EDGE=??? Could not find a credible one here… not TOP (time of possession), not Turnover Margin, not anything else, basically, a draw. Nothing significant to report.
  • fatigue: V.Tech is +1 on rest and Marshall must bus 248 miles here. EDGE=VT for sure.

 

Twenty-six, that's two-six, 26 times bolwing is all about ...what???

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of Herders who could start @Tech=12

the takeaway:

The takeaway here is… this is the 37th S&P+ team playing the 81st S&P+ team. Marshall is a sporty 4-1 on the road whereas V.Tech is a thrifty 2-4 inside Lane Stadium. Marshall brings a 125th SOS (strength of schedule) metric in tow, whereas V.Tech has run the 66th most stringent docket.

So there is a difference there and there are those who are arguing that Marshall, their 8 up and 3 down record (6-2 in C-USA); and in extra particular their defensive stop-unit makers are not really all that and a snap. As Marshall was (nationally) ranked between 40th and 85th in the pre-season by the varying college football preview magazines I take. So consensus remains elusive, all season long, here.

That said, do recall what Will -who called uva correctly mind yah- what Will said about this years team facing opponents with an experience advantage. As Marshall has 82% of their 2017 starters out there in 2018 terms. Whereas Bud Lyte actually managed to register 3 (yes, negative three) in 2017 starters earlier this year due to injury(s). You do see what I mean, right?

permutations:

Armchair Qb’s: this Saturday=what???

Little help here, as I foresee 3 competing storylines (and yes, maybe on the Venn Diagram overlap, once)

  1. Δ1=25% Marshall does have extra work due here… though they also have a shot at getting to 10-wins (now). And who does not enjoy beating -and possibly working- a bigger Surname neighbor? With bonus regional swagg points to be had ad hoc as well.
  2. Δ2=25% V.Tech is emotionally tapped. Rising up for hooVa emptied every single mental vein we gots. All of ’em. Our stimulus package runneth, dry. Osfifed, to the competitive bone. (as in: how many times can you play the Sam 3Q-4Q and D.Tapp extrinsic foci of control public and private lockerroom speaking card(s)? In our (seemingly) 2018 senior-poor leadership vacuum, are they coming back to pep-talk us, again?)
  3. Δ3=25% …on the flip side of being mentally ghðuled and or clinically siphoned… what if our beloved Hokies just broke the applied sports psych seal? All of Fu’s messages now have “I told you so” traction (again); the formerly output flighty Hokiebird (finally) came home to roost. And his Gobblers are now feeling much relief and at least a little bit confident for the first time since the @Duke/@U.n.c. boundary.
  4. Δ4=25% There is however also a clinical chance that Marshall may not have been in love with this 12th game extra trip. It does not affect their conference seating (which is 2nd-place finished no matter naught). It is really just another chance to get injured. Like, they just finished shoveling their (heavy) snow driveway and now their neighbor to the So-by-So-East has asked just for… help. (“sigh…”)
the skinny

…insanely enough, our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is (actually) in play here. As both teams faced the Monarchs of the 7-5-7.

This Doc’s “OK” by me!

The Forum Guide is indeed calling for an absurd (looking) 36 point Marshall Plan to VomiT us out on Saturday. In total yardage terms, it is calling for a mere 14.3 Herd mini-me sized stampede here. Although before we all howl while LOL at the Forum Gude… I -confess my sins- as eye felt the very same way on Friday 21 September 2018 A.D. You?


And we all saw just how well that turned out… I’ma, jus’, sayin’…

“We are going to play a really good and talented Marshall football team. I’d like to play someone else.” -Defensive Coordinator, Bud Foster-

Then, and per Chris Coleman of techsideline.com[1], we got to quantify this… Marshall accrued the 110th S&P+ offense this season nationally— while facing 70th ranked S&P+ defenses on average. Or only one defense north of warranting a C+ grade. Then Marshall did post the shiny looking 7th best S&P+ Defense in the nation— while facing 88th ranked S&P+ offenses this year on average. Or only two offenses meriting better than a C+++.

I’ma’, jus’, sayin’…

the call

Marshall outscores peeps by a backbreaking 337% in the 1Q of play of scrumming this year and either holds-on or coasts-home after that. Or in other words, the start=the finish, here.

Then I found that this game could be a 1980’s bamboozled socialization standard contest of… quarter-bounce… check it…

Whereas Marshall’s O is within <1 point of itself season long per quartering, the V.Tech D worsens all season long, every single quarter and is close to 200% worse in the 2nd-half. On the other side of the ball, the V.Tech O actually improves a little 1st to 2nd Q and again 3rd to 4th Q. Although the Herd 1Q D is nearly impervious to scoring and only marginally softens after that. Or in other words, the Fu’fense has got to win 1Q and 3Q TOP (time of possession) metrics here as they benevolently did for a nearly Miller Sharps version Bud Lyte last week. Got to!

This only serves to reinforce my take that the start is the finish here… as we did spray who knows how many emotional/mental bullets in an extra innings game last week no less vs. hateful uva.

Then we see what one source described as Marshall enjoying: “spectacular depth”… and you really truly madly deeply had better mind the staring to early O&M scoreboard store here. As bowl qualification per beating visiting Marshall will not get any easier as this early tip-off wears on. (attending Ginko glands, do, memorize, that…)

Although there are those bemoaning the Marshall SOS (strength of schedule) as bum-fighting. They are sparking bums up -as well they should- and at the end of the day, at the beginning of the day and at midday, they are bums after all. So V.Tech has a decent enough shot in a toss-up, close, likely competitive game at home in their 24060 house.

It really is one of those two… Marshall is not outta our reach although this is our worst team in those very same (bowl)-streak bookend 26 years.

***

Or in other words… do not die of shock if one team is up and the other team is flat. Or, we could even see two flat teams. If that’s the case this is a race to 25, maybe even merely to 20. First one there wins…

And if either team is ready and the other team is just coasting? You are looking at a 1.5 full play game to maybe a 2 full play game on some kinda nonnormative score (turnover(s), S.Team’s, et al). As neither team is awesome enough to punk the other team by much more than that.

Ergo, therefore, to wit… I like the fact that this nubile Marshall Qb does not discriminate out on the road, and is willing to throw to whoever is open regardless of their jersey colour. Eye took solace in C.Coleman’s numbers, we are gonna need a big field-position tending game here; and I am hoping that Marshall Feels like they are visiting Sleepy Hollow on Saturday while we trick-or-treat them to some special teams new (Rip Van) Wrinkles. Noetic poetic, if you will…

And also due to our 89th S&P+ D and our even better 64th S&P+ O.
Shew!”

Because -and to be quite candid here- I’d prolly pick Marshall in their house or under more normalized applied sports psych type emotional laboratory conditions.

upset Index=49%

#wimps!

Virginia Tech=29, Marshall=27

LETS GO!

HOKIES!

bourbonstreet**

 

 

[1] Coleman, Chris, “Virginia Tech-Marshall Preview: Bowl Streak on the Line” Techsideline.com Managing Editor, https://virginiatech.sportswar.com/article/2018/11/29/virginia-tech-marshall-preview/ (29 November 2018 A.D.)

3 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Start Fast, get the O moving by getting ahead of the sticks and stay away from 2nd and long (The Cornelsen story), & this game is VT’s. Defensively keep the ball in front of you, as this team is not a running, QB is not explosive, so keep it in front of you, use that run blitz to get some 3 and outs and bing bang boom, Hokies heading to the Bowl, AGAIN!!! Or said another way… there is no one from the Herd that is a difference maker, whereas there’s a few in the WR crew for VT that could be a difference maker when they get the ball in space…

    Hokies 35 Marshall 17
    Let’s Go…HOKIES!!!!
    Beat the Doc and its off to the glue factory for the Herd!!!

  2. Hokies 34…..Marshall 21.. I don’t buy them being close . Just think VT found a Heart last Friday ..l will be there ….

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