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   Welcome to TSLMail #195 - Friday, September 30, 2005    
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Hokie Defense High, Hokie Offense Low in National Rankings
by Chris Coleman,

The Virginia Tech defense has become known throughout the college football world as a unit that is fast, physical and mentally focused. Led by defensive coordinator Bud Foster, the defense has posted some impressive stats in seasons past and appears to be on track to do the same this year.

Virginia Tech is putting up some impressive stats on the defensive side of the ball in the early portion of the season. The Hokie defense was supposed to be good this year, but not many people believed that they could eclipse the performance of the outstanding 2004 defense.

The Virginia Tech defense ranks third nationally in total defense, allowing 219.75 yards per game. That ranks behind Tulane and UConn, and is slightly ahead of teams such as West Virginia, Florida and Nebraska. And that’s after giving up over 400 yards at NC State in the season opener. If the Hokies had tackled well that night, they could be ranked even higher.

The most important part of playing defense is keeping the opponents out of the end zone, and Virginia Tech has certainly done that. The Tech defense has allowed just two touchdowns on the season. NC State scored on their opening drive, and Georgia Tech finally found the end zone following a big play by Calvin Johnson. The Hokies have posted two shutouts on the year and rank second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 5.75 points per game. Nebraska ranks first at 5.33 points per game.

Bud Foster has always been known as a hard nosed defensive coordinator who looks to stop the run and make the opponent beat his defense through the air. He has been successful this year, as VT is eighth in the country in rushing defense, allowing just 75.3 yards per game. To top it off, opponents have not been able to beat the Hokies through the air. Tech is ranked 13th in passing defense, and third in pass efficiency defense.

Thus far, it appears that Bud Foster has one of his best units ever in Blacksburg.

The offensive statistics aren’t as flashy. In fact, some of them are downright shocking when you stop and consider Tech’s talent level at the skill positions. The Hokies rank only 79th nationally in total offense, averaging 347.25 yards per game. That ranks just ahead of East Carolina, and one spot behind Wyoming. Ouch. The Tech passing game ranks 85th in the country at 192.5 yards per game, but this stat is not surprising because VT is not a passing team. Marcus Vick ranks ninth in the nation in passing efficiency, with a rating of 171.83. This shows that the Hokies can get it done through the air when they have to.

Perhaps the most disturbing offensive statistic for the Hokies is rushing yardage. Tech ranks just 51st in rushing yardage per game, averaging 154.75. That is a very mediocre statistic for a team that is known for their physical play and ability to run the ball between the tackles. The Hokies must improve in this statistic as the season goes on.

The Tech offense has failed to move the ball consistently most of the time this season, but they have made up for it in other ways. They have managed to hit big plays, such as two deep passes to Josh Morgan and David Clowney at Duke. When they are given field position, they generally take advantage. The game winning touchdown against NC State came when Tech was given the ball at the State 20 yard line after a short punt and nice return by Eddie Royal.

Most importantly, the Hokies have done an incredible job not turning the ball over and putting the defense in bad situations. Virginia Tech has just one turnover this year, a Marcus Vick interception at Duke. VT is making up for their lack of offensive success by holding onto the ball and giving their defense a chance to play well. The Hokies are tied with Florida for third nationally in turnover margin at +2.25 per game. Syracuse ranks first, while UCLA is second.

Getting back to defense, the number of quality defenses that reside in the ACC is amazing. Take a look at the following numbers:

ACC Defenses


Nat. Rank

Yards Per Game

Virginia Tech



NC State



Florida State



Boston College












Georgia Tech






Wake Forest









As you can see, the ACC has nine of the top 33 defenses in the nation. Every defense in the ACC is ranked in the top 50% of defenses in college football. The Tech offense will have a stiff challenge ahead of them. Besides the defenses listed above, West Virginia’s defense ranks fourth in the nation. Marcus Vick and the offense must have a big season if the team wants to accomplish all of their goals. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week
Keys to the Game: West Virginia
September 29, 2005
Undefeated, highly ranked, and feeling pretty good about themselves, the Hokies return to the scene of the 2003 Morgantown Massacre to face the Mountaineers of West Virginia. The Hokies and Mountaineers will square off one last time in a bitter rivalry that has become nastier over the last few years.

The Recruiting Report from "Tech Beat With Mike Harris"
September 29, 2005
This week, TSL's Chris Coleman makes his TSL Audio debut, appearing on the " Recruiting Report" with Mike Harris. Chris and Mike talk about how VT is recruiting more out of state this year, top players in state who are headed out of state (and why), VT positions of need, and Chris' prospect wish list. (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 3.5 MB, 22:17)

Game Preview: #3 Virginia Tech at West Virginia
September 28, 2005
After thoroughly dismantling three consecutive teams, #3 Virginia Tech will likely find a tougher battle when they travel to Morgantown, WV this Saturday to take on the undefeated West Virginia Mountaineers. As of right now, this will be the final game in the series for quite some time, and both teams will be going hard for possibly permanent possession of the Black Diamond Trophy.

Photo Gallery: Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech
September 28, 2005
There were plenty of great plays in Saturday's 51-7 beatdown of Georgia Tech, and we've got them all in this week's photo gallery. Plus, a question has occurred to us: have you ever seen anybody who looks better in a football uniform than Xavier Adibi? #11 was born to wear the maroon and orange.

TSL Site Update
September 27, 2005
The latest on We're working on getting the TSL site over to a newer, more powerful server with newer, faster versions of the operating system and database software that we use. We hope to have the site moved over to this new server Wednesday night, with improved performance Thursday and beyond.

Georgia Tech Game Analysis: Disciplined Hokies Crush Jackets
September 27, 2005
The Hokies laid a major whipping on Georgia Tech Saturday, a typical GameDay-was-here thrashing, and the one theme that emerged from the game was "discipline." Sure, VT's got talent, and VT's got some experience at key positions, but the biggest thing the Hokies have going for them right now is discipline. This team has, for the moment, achieved the perfect combination of pedal-to-the-metal energy with disciplined focus.

Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 9/26/05
September 27, 2005
Monday night’s Advanced Auto Parts Hokie Hotline featured athletics director Jim Weaver, running backs coach Billy Hite and head coach Frank Beamer. Topics ranged from stadium expansion to Hite’s stable of tailbacks to the West Virginia Mountaineers.

Update on Site Problems
September 26, 2005
Eleven days after launching the new site format, TSL continues to struggle with speed and reliability issues. We are making progress homing in on the problems, but the solutions we're coming up with are not trivial and are taking time to implement. Here's an update on what's going on and how we're proceeding with solving the problems.

Hokies Jump to #3 in Polls
September 25, 2005
Following their 51-7 dismantling of Georgia Tech on Saturday, Virginia Tech moved up one spot in both the AP Poll and Coaches’ Poll. The Hokies are now ranked #3 in the nation. Not only did Tech jump LSU as a result of their impressive victory, they also received one first-place vote in the Coaches’ Poll.

Hokies, Beamerball Whip Georgia Tech 51-7
September 24, 2005
#4 Virginia Tech scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams as the Hokies Beamerballed #15 Georgia Tech en route to a 51-7 blowout victory in Blacksburg. VT is now 4-0 overall and 3-0 in ACC play. Georgia Tech drops to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the ACC.

Game Projection: Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech
September 23, 2005
After two 45-0 routs against outmanned opponents in the last two weeks, fourth-ranked Virginia Tech gets a major test this week against #15 Georgia Tech. This game with the Yellow Jackets looks eerily similar to the Hokies’ opener with N.C. State, with both opponents using aggressive, complex defensive schemes to confuse and dominate the opposition.

Matchups to Watch: Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech
September 23, 2005
Things are heating up in Blacksburg as ESPN GameDay comes to town to see fourth-ranked Virginia Tech take on #15 Georgia Tech. Both of the teams are 3-0 with impressive opening road victories – Virginia Tech defeating N.C. State in Raleigh and Georgia Tech traveling to Auburn and getting the win. The Yellow Jackets then defeated a stubborn North Carolina team and a feisty Connecticut squad at home while the Hokies rolled to consecutive 45-0 shutouts over out-matched Duke and Ohio teams.

Reggie Ball Probable; Henderson, Matthews Questionable
September 23, 2005
Reggie Ball’s status for Saturday’s game has been upgraded to probable. He took the majority of snaps with the first team offense in Georgia Tech’s Thursday practice. However, he is still expected to split time with r-freshman backup Taylor Bennett. It was the most work that Ball has received in practice this week.
Also: College GameDay Location; Offering Team United Team Towel; Operation Provide Classroom Comfort.

Basketball Recruiting Profiles: Marshall Moses and Martavis Kee
September 23, 2005
Marshall Moses has a new home this season at Kernersville (NC) Glenn, after having spent last season in South Carolina at Aiken HS, where he averaged 22 points and 13 rebounds. And, while the 6-7,230-pound JR F has the requisite low post presence to attract suitors, he has been somewhat surprised at what he has learned from talking with college coaches interested in recruiting him.

2006 VT Recruiting War Room #1
September 22, 2005
The top areas of focus for the 2006 recruiting class appear to be the offensive line, defensive line and linebacker positions. Virginia Tech would like to take five offensive linemen for 2006 and already has two solid prospects in the fold in 6-7, 280-pound Clark Crum and 6-4, 260-pound Beau Warren. Consider the fact that the Hokies are in good shape with top prospects Brown, Eliades and Stadler, and Tech could have quite a group on signing day.



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