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   Welcome to TSLMail #81 - Friday, May 30, 2003    
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   TechLocker.com Featured Items


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   Tech Sports News

Taking a Week Off
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com

First things first: Starting Saturday, I'm taking a week off from TSL and won't return to the web site until Sunday, June 8th. I'll be totally disconnected from email and the Web. I planned this time off carefully, so that it would come at a time when nothing was going on in VT sports.

Ha-ha.  I wish nothing was going on.

First, business matters: We'll be monitoring the message boards next week, as always, so the usual TSL Terms of Service apply there. As for TechLocker.com and TSL Pass questions, if you need help in those two areas, drop Tom an email at [email protected], and he'll help you out.

My last period of extended time off from the web site was four years ago, and to give you some idea of how much has happened in that four years, I spent one afternoon four years ago listening to the 1999 Virginia Tech-UAB football game at a beach house in the Outer Banks.

You might recall that game ... or you may not. Michael Vick had executed the "Vick Flip" the week before, in his college football debut against JMU, and was out of action for game 2 against UAB with an injury that would bother him for the entire 1999 season. Backup Dave Meyer ran the controls against UAB and did a serviceable job, going 12-of-21 for 144 yards.

But Meyer tossed three first-half interceptions, and VT had five total first-half turnovers, allowing UAB to stay close with the 11th-ranked Hokies. Tech jumped out to a 17-0 lead, coughed up 10 points on turnovers, and led just 17-10 going into the fourth quarter.

With Meyer in a funk and the Hokies going with a conservative, run-oriented offense, Tech went to the bag of tricks, and former high school quarterback turned tailback Andre Kendrick threw a 35-yard halfback option pass to Andre Davis for the game-breaking touchdown. The Hokies tacked on a late score by the little-used Lee Suggs (well, he was little-used back in 1999) for a 31-10 victory that looked good on the sports ticker but was much too close for comfort.

Tech did it with defense, holding UAB to a record-low 63 yards of total offense. Twelve days later, Michael Vick returned to the lineup for a Thursday night home game against Clemson, a game that proved to be Corey Moore's national coming out party. The Hokies went to 3-0 with the win over Clemson and were on their way to a national championship appearance.

Here are some quotes from my UAB game report/analysis -- what stands out to me are (1) I wrote it as if I had actually seen the game in person, when all I had really seen were the highlights from the Virginia Tech Sports Today TV show; and (2) Still wrapped up in my Hokie fandom, I referred to the Hokies as "we" in articles and game reports.

Here are some of the things I said in that game report, written nearly four years ago:

As this season of high expectations unfolds, I find myself pondering Tech's chances to go undefeated, and I alternate between believing that it will happen and wanting to slap people just for talking about it.

Oh, it'll happen. You can go ahead and believe it now.

The Hokies finished with 375 yards to UAB's 63, and the total for UAB was a Tech defensive record. In three games, the Blazers never tallied over 100 yards against Tech, ringing up totals of 65, 94, and 63. That's barely over 200 yards for three games, prompting UAB Coach Watson Brown to say, "I'm an expert on the Virginia Tech defense, and I've seen quite enough of it."

Ouch.

[Regarding Michael Vick's lack of playing time against JMU and UAB, and the upcoming game against Clemson] The party line on our schedule is that it was set up to give our new QB some valuable experience in two cake walk games before he had to face a "real" opponent, and guess what? It's now time to face that real opponent, and Mr. Vick is barely more experienced than he was at the end of last year.

That Vick kid turned out okay, I think.

We were only 1-of-3 on fourth down attempts against JMU, a team we should absolutely run over, and against UAB, we had two drives stall around their ten yard line, and two other times, after having a first and goal from their two yard line, it took the Hokie three plays to cram it into the end zone.

Wow, if that VT offense can't move it against JMU and UAB, how in the world is that team ever going to go undefeated?!?

Not only have the Hokies not blocked any punts, they don't even look like they're trying. In the case of the JMU game, that could have been a case of not wanting to pile on the overmatched Dukes, but in the case of the UAB game Ö well, when it's 17-10 at the end of the third quarter, then by all means, please pile on.

Interesting nugget: While Frank Beamer's teams are renowned for blocking kicks, his best-ever team, the 1999 national championship runner-ups, blocked just two kicks, a PAT against Rutgers and a punt against Pittsburgh. The two blocked kicks tied with 1989 for the lowest number of blocked kicks in a season for a Frank Beamer-coached VT team.

[About the upcoming Clemson game] I think the Hokies are in for a battle, and it's complicated by the fact that Michael Vick didn't get his two games of experience, as I mentioned before. I can see the Hokies romping in this one, but I can also see the exact opposite happening.

I was right. The Hokies got a battle from Clemson, but thanks to Corey Moore, they romped late, 31-11.

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-- Will Stewart

   TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week


Evaluating BE Expansion Candidates
by Wayne Crump, 5/29/03, 11:40 pm
I have been number crunching, and I've got some interesting information regarding the Big East and possible additions to the league, should Miami, BC, and Syracuse leave for the ACC.
in TSL Pass

Virginia Tech is a Top ___ Team
by Walter Seaberg, 5/28/03, 11:45 pm
I often hear VT referred to as an elite team, a consistent Top 25 team, a consistent Top 15 team, etc. I wanted to put some analysis together to determine what that blank should read.
in TSL Pass

Addressing the ACC/Big East Legal Issues
by Jeff Ouellet, 5/27/03, 10:35 am
Shortly after I began in private practice, a long time friend of mine mailed me a cartoon depicting "Simpsons" legal icon Lionel Hutz. From behind bars Hutz was making a pitch for his services to Homer Simpson, while selling Homer on the fact that "Iíve been in front of every judge in the state, often times as a lawyer."
in TSL Pass

 
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