Small Pleasures: Virginia
by Kevin Cuddihy, 12/1/03

Wow. Tough game, tough loss. Tough finding Small Pleasures when you lose to your rival, but the band plays on and the world keeps on spinning. There's still a little bit of joy in the journey, even if the destination isn't quite where you wanted. (Cleveland?? I thought I was flying into Maui! Well, at least the stewardess was hot!)

For those of you just joining us ... where have you been all season?? Just kidding. Anyway, for those of you just joining us, Small Pleasures take a look beyond the highlights to the plays and players supporting the game, that make the big plays possible or that make the game just that much more fun to watch. We look past touchdown runs or smooth moves and focus in on the bit players behind them.

As always, we start each Small Pleasures with a nod to the opponent, in keeping with Jim Weaver's Hokie Respect campaign. This week that absolutely has to be Heath Miller. I'm sure anyone watching the game knows he killed us, with 13 receptions for 145 yards. There's a stat within there, though, that's even more of a dagger: a whopping TEN of those receptions went for a first down, and five of those ten served to extend a Virginia drive that was about to end. Killer.

Now for the Hokies! First off has to be a shout out to the fans who made it to Scott Stadium and let their voices be heard. A good showing, and one very audible on television. Great job by the fans.

We once again revisit past Small Pleasures for this article. First and foremost: Kevin Jones is The Man. And Doug Easlick is his able sidekick. On Tech's first touchdown, Easlick leads the way into the hole, absolutely blowing away Raymond Mann, and KJ follows him only to be met by Kai Parham. No matter: KJ keeps the legs churning and takes a hitchhiker into the end zone for the score. That is how you run the ball at the goal line, my friends.

On the drive that ended with Tech's second TD, Ernest Wilford once again showed his senior experience. Third and 17, Randall in trouble and scrambling. What does Wilford do? Comes back to his QB, finds a hole, and sits in it. One smooth move later, first down Hokies and on the way to a Mike Imoh touchdown.

Opening up the second half was a play that once again solidified my season-long mantra of "men in motion opens holes on offense." Faking the end-around froze UVA's Blackstock in his tracks, allowing Kevin Jones to scurry past for six yards. For whatever reason our use of a man in motion has seemed to be minimized in the latter half of the season, but it still appears to be a very useful play in the Hokie arsenal.

And last, I'd be remiss if I didn't applaud the use of FINALLY a pass to KJ. For those who missed it, Kevin Jones's father intimated last week on a radio appearance that he thought the Hokies should have been throwing to KJ all year, and whether it was that comment or a sputtering running game that caused it, but we threw the dang ball to KJ and let him run with it. I'll hold my breath before calling it a fine addition to the offense (I'll hold my breath to see if it stays in the offense, of course), but it surely would be a help.

That's it for this week's Small Pleasures. We'll be back again after the bowl game to break that down, and then a season-ending Best of Small Pleasures to look back on the plays that brought the most joy, at least to me. And until then I'll be running my own Small Pleasure in the form of Project Thank You, coming later this week on TSL. So keep an eye out for that!


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