Schedules, Shakes, and Spring in Blacksburg

 

Virginia Tech will not have a Thursday night football game in 2013
Virginia Tech will not have a Thursday night football game in 2013

There are plenty of topics to cover this month. Spring football, along with the disappointment of the men’s basketball team, has many Hokie fans counting down the days to the football season opener. We will lead you off with an update on Hokie football, and recap Men’s Basketball for the year.

Hokie Football Update

Over the past month we have had several exciting headlines. Some of those provided us with joyful excitement, and others were more angering. Let’s lead off with some of those questionable headlines:

-2013 Virginia Tech Schedule Released: For many Hokie fans, the first thing you probably did was scroll up and down a few times to try to find our home Thursday night game. Not there. The reason? Jim Weaver did us another “favor”, at least in his mind he did. As many of you know by now, Weaver is taking a lot of heat for secretly requesting no Thursday night games in Blacksburg this fall. Ohhh Jim, you really did it this time. Anyone who is defending this guy anymore is just out of their mind. When is he set to retire? 2015? Uhg. Sure, I understand his reasoning of it being tough for travel, lodging, etc. But why did he not talk to anyone before he made such a huge decision? Is this program a Dictatorship?

This guy seems to outdo himself with repeated poor decisions on a yearly basis. But back to the schedule (sorry for my Weaver tangent, but he really gets to me sometimes). Once again, we start off the year on the road against a National Title Contender. We don’t typically win these games. And this is one of the more lopsided matchups I remember us being a part of. Bama is just simply an amazing program with a two-deep roster full of 5-star prospects. The SEC typically dominates these neutral site games leading off the year and in bowl games. As I have stated in previous posts, a well rested and well prepared SEC team is not a beast you want to be messing with. Honestly I would much rather play them in the heart of the season when their players are more dinged up and their coaches don’t have an entire off season to scout us.

I realize that we will also be healthy and well prepared on their schemes, but physically this is a scary matchup. I’m hoping for the best as always, but this one could get ugly folks. The rest of the non-conference schedule is pretty boring with matchups against Western Carolina, East Carolina, and Marshall. All are games that we SHOULD be able to win. Then we start conference play on the road in a Thursday Night matchup at Georgia Tech. We then return home two tough matchups against North Carolina and Pitt. This is a grueling three game stretch to start ACC play. GT is always a marquee matchup in our schedule. I wouldn’t be shocked if UNC wins the Coastal Division this year. And Pitt manhandled us last year. If we can come out of those three games with two wins it will be a success.

We then get a week off to lick our wounds and finish up the year against Duke, BC, Miami, Maryland, and Virginia. Again, these are all games that we SHOULD win, but who knows how healthy and well we will be playing at that point. A couple points of interest are that Duke is coming back to Blacksburg again this year, and this will be the last time VT has Maryland on the regular season schedule for the foreseeable future. I think our odds of winning 10 games this year are pretty good. Even if you rule out wins against Bama, UNC, and Pitt, that would give us nine regular season wins and a bowl game to pick up the 10th. I’m not saying we have “no chance” in those games but I do think those are our toughest matchups this year. I also don’t want people to overlook the matchup at ECU. These guys seem to give us their best shot each year, and who knows how our spirits will be after that Bama game and weak home opener against Western Carolina. If I had to guess now, I would see us finishing the year at 10-3.

The Harlem Shake Video: OK so in case you haven’t seen it, here is a link to a video that recently came out showing Frank Beamer and many other Hokies doing the Blacksburg version of the Harlem Shake. My first reaction? “Stupid. Why aren’t we using this time to prepare for Alabama, a team that absolutely scares me to death.”. But I will say that Beamer and the staff do a pretty good job of entertaining the young guys and keeping VT relevant with younger audiences. Plus its OK to have fun. I’m not a big fan of the video, but I don’t think it’s worth getting upset over. Save all that anger for the fall, I’m sure you’ll use it.

Spring Practice is Almost Underway! That’s right. The Hokies will soon be out there running routes, lifting, and trying to figure out ways to get this program back to what it was just two years ago. There’s lots going on with player development, position battles, and lineup changes that are going to unfold over the next month. The annual Spring Game will be played April 20th. I will release an article shortly before that to preview the team and the key position battles we should be watching for the fall. A quick synopsis of some major concerns right now: Logan Thomas’s development as a consistent passer and revamping a depleted offensive line. The combination of the two previous items should make it easy to establish the run game, something the Hokies were unable to do in 2012. Lastly for offense, the Hokies will be in search of replacing both starting receivers once again. On defense, replacing Bruce Taylor at linebacker and finding depth behind injured star cornerback Antone Exum will be Bud Foster’s goals this spring.

Men’s Basketball Roundup

The 2012-13 season started out with a bang. 7-0 with mostly full crowds and lots of hope for top 25 rankings and even a NCAA tournament bid. Those proved to be unrealistic dreams as the team plummeted to the bottom of the conference standings and finished the year 13-19. The fans lost interest pretty quickly as well. To make matters worse, the best player on the team (senior guard Erick Green) will be graduating.

There’s no indication of a coaching change and honestly there shouldn’t be. The firing of Seth Greenberg has no doubt set the basketball program back a minimum of three years before they get back to being a nationally competitive team. There’s no depth and very little proven talent on the team right now. Combine that with a mediocre recruiting class and you have a second-tier program.
Coach Johnson has his work cut out for him to turn this thing around. It’s not all his fault but the fanbase and university will not accept these sorts of results for very long. At the very least, these players and Coach Johnson deserve another two years to build and improve before they are held fully accountable.

I want to give Erick Green a final salute as he embodies the Hokie spirit in so many ways: A guy who wasn’t highly touted coming out of high school, not a “blue chip” in anyone’s eyes. He worked hard day and night for his results and finished his career as the ACC Player of the year. We have seen so many football and basketball players come through this school and turn themselves into superstars through hard work. Congratulations Erick, I believe I speak for everyone here when I say thank you for all of your hard work, dedication, leadership, and motivation you have showed and given to us. We wish you the best of luck moving forward whether it is the NBA or anywhere else.

Notes and tidbits:

  • The annual Spring Football Game will be held at Lane Stadium April 20th at 3:00pm. If you can make it to the game, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the best spring weekends to be in Blacksburg, that’s for sure. 
  • The NFL Draft is coming up quick. April 25th is when the draft will begin. These players are all eligible for the draft: Marcus Davis, Corey Fuller, Bruce Taylor, Nick Becton, Vinston Painter , Alonzo Tweedy and Martin Scales.
  • Former Hokie quarterback Coach Mike O’Cain has been hired by James Madison University. He will be taking the reigns as the quarterbacks coach, as well as the offensive coordinator for the Dukes in 2013. 
  • Now that the dust has somewhat settled from NFL free agency, here’s how some former Hokie’s were affected: DeAngelo Hall was released by the Washington Redskins. Expect to see more of Jason Worilds on the field for the Pittsburgh Steelers now that they released James Harrison. Same goes for David Wilson now that Ahmad Bradshaw was released by the New York Giants. Lastly, the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to keep Michael Vick on board and I am excited to see him run Chip Kelly’s (former Oregon Ducks Coach) spread offense next year.
  • Keep an eye on Hokie Baseball. They are off to a great start this year, currently at 17-5 and ranked #24 in the country. If you’re nearby you should catch a game, it’s something I regret not doing more when I was closer to the school.

Until next time.. Have fun, Be Safe, Go Hokies!

Don Deibler is a college football enthusiast and Virginia Tech alumnus who has had a passion for college sports since he was a young child. Outside of the ACC, he follows Notre Dame and South Carolina intently. He currently lives in Frederick, Maryland where he works in the mortgage banking industry and is in training for Air Traffic Control. 

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