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   Welcome to TSLMail #243 - Friday, September 8, 2006    
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TSL is proud to have Kroger® as a sponsor. Kroger® has been sponsoring Hokie athletics for years and has become a permanent fixture in VT athletics (whenever someone says, "You know what Coach Beamer says" on the message boards, someone else ALWAYS responds with, "Get your tailgate supplies at Kroger®!")

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ACC Offenses Struggling So Far This Year

by Chris Coleman,

So far this season, the ACC has looked pretty bad. Virginia lost to Pitt and almost got beat by Wyoming. Florida State barely knocked off Troy. Maryland got destroyed by West Virginia. Wake vs. Duke was ugly, as was Miami vs. Florida State. Clemson has already lost a game, and with their injuries piling up, it looks like they aren't going to meet expectations. The conference has been particularly poor on the offensive side of the ball, while the defenses have been very good.

Exactly how good are the ACC defenses? Let's take a look:

ACC in the Major Defensive Categories
(NCAA Rank)
Team Total
Pass Eff.
Virginia Tech 19 3 22 45 5 18.8
Miami 7 21 32 9 39 21.6
Florida State 11 31 65 1 36 28.8
Georgia Tech 37 17 62 26 10 30.4
NC State 27 42 39 40 15 32.6
Wake Forest 24 21 47 29 60 36.2
Duke 29 31 49 35 79 44.6
Clemson 47 59 75 31 21 46.6
Maryland 62 24 79 44 41 50
North Carolina 49 85 16 90 73 62.6
Virginia 77 75 75 72 106 81
Boston College 104 87 109 68 70 87.6

Nine of the 12 ACC teams rank among the top half of college football in total defense. Eight of the teams rank in the top 50. That's part of the reason that the offenses are so bad.

To give an illustration of how deep the ACC's defenses are, take a look at rushing defense. The Hokies are ninth in the conference in rushing defense, despite totally shutting down the UNC running game. The Hokies didn't play as well as they could have against Northeastern, otherwise they would have a better rank, but it's still solid. And yet they are ninth in the ACC. But expect this number to get better for Tech, as Duke is next on the schedule.

At any rate, when you average these five important defensive categories, the Hokies have the best defense in a very deep defensive league. Not bad, especially when you consider the number of players Tech lost to the NFL.

There are other stats that are just as important as offense and defense. Let's take a look at them.

ACC in the Major Miscellaneous Categories
(NCAA Rank)
Team Turnover
Georgia Tech 33 32 30 12 26.8
Virginia 52 45 34 28 39.8
Clemson 52 69 2 37 40
Boston College 52 13 92 33 47.5
Virginia Tech 11 100 44 36 47.8
Wake Forest 74 66 41 14 48.8
Miami 33 56 53 57 49.8
Maryland 84 41 63 21 52.3
North Carolina 111 26 17 109 65.8
Duke 74 40 97 78 72.3
NC State 114 53 81 46 73.5
Florida State 74 85 91 89 84.8

The Hokies rank in the top half of the ACC when you average these rankings together. Kickoff returns are holding Tech back in a big way, but to be fair, they don't get a chance to return very many because the opposing team rarely scores. Also, Jared Develli offsets any advantage the opposition would have in kickoff returns because he puts the majority of his kicks through the end zone.

The amazing thing is that Florida State, with all of their athletes, is ranked dead last in miscellaneous stats. If that keeps up, you will not be seeing them win the ACC.

The ACC doesn't have a lot of highly ranked offensive teams. Take a look at how they rank nationally in five major categories.

ACC in the Major Offensive Categories
Team Total
Clemson 23 8 32 41 32 27.2
Virginia Tech 87 19 69 81 16 54.4
Boston College 63 33 26 93 61 55.2
Miami 66 44 76 39 64 57.8
Wake Forest 80 92 77 52 52 70.6
Maryland 83 66 96 37 77 71.8
North Carolina 74 99 62 67 102 80.8
Georgia Tech 91 72 102 53 87 81
Florida State 95 86 33 118 75 81.4
Duke 90 113 45 111 65 84.8
NC State 98 80 107 57 88 86
Virginia 110 99 85 116 108 103.6

As expected, Clemson is on top. They returned their entire offensive line, a great group of running backs and an All-ACC receiver. And even though their quarterback is a first year starter, he is a fifth year senior, meaning he has had a lot of time in the offense. The Tigers should have the best offense in the league, and they should stay on top over the course of the season.

And of course, we have to take some of those offensive numbers with a grain of salt. For example, Tech is 19th in the nation in scoring offense. But we all know that's aided by special teams and defensive scoring, or setting up offensive touchdowns on a short field. So the Hokies really aren't the #2 offense in the league.

But even if you take out the scoring offense category, the Hokies still rank fourth in the ACC if you combine the other major categories. Point being, the offenses in the ACC are horrible this year. Clemson's is good, but their defense is banged up. They also already have an ACC loss, and they must play Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech in a span of five days in October.

It looks like the ACC race could come down to, stop me if you've heard this before, Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech. And which team's offense develops the most as the season progresses could be the deciding factor. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week

Star LB Makes "Confident" Decision

September 14, 2006
In a press conference in front of family and friends, Myrtle Beach (S.C.) junior linebacker Bruce Taylor did something he has been leaning towards doing for quite some time – make a commitment to Virginia Tech. Now that he has his recruitment out of the way, the 6-3, 230-pound star is eager to focus on the remainder of his high school career.

Keys to the Game and Matchups to Watch: VT vs. Duke
September 14, 2006
Virginia Tech survived their first road test of the season last week with a relatively easy 35-10 victory over North Carolina. This week the Hokies will face the Tar Heels' bitter basketball rivals, the Duke Blue Devils, but on Virginia Tech's home turf -- the football field at Lane Stadium. Despite two solid wins, many questions still surround the Tech offense, and Duke's defense could provide a surprising test for the young Hokie offense.

Big Time Junior LB Commits to Hokies
September 14, 2006
At a 5:00 p.m. press conference at Myrtle Beach High School stadium, Myrtle Beach (S.C.) star junior linebacker Bruce Taylor announced his verbal commitment to Virginia Tech. He chose the Hokies over Florida State and North Carolina, which were the recently named finalists.

Terry Excited About Future at VT
September 14, 2006
A little over two months after making his commitment to Virginia Tech, Halifax County (South Boston, VA) wide receiver recruit Patrick Terry seems just as thrilled about his decision as he was the day he made it. There are many things, but one thing in particular he is looking forward to about his future as a Hokie is that he will be catching passes from Hampton star quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The two certainly connected well at Virginia Tech's senior camp in July and hope to do the same once they are in the program.

Football Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Duke
September 13, 2006
#14 Virginia Tech will face their second consecutive ACC opponent from the state of North Carolina when the Duke Blue Devils come to town on Saturday afternoon. The last opponent from the Tar Heel state didn't put up much of a fight, and this game is expected to be no different, although Duke does have the tools to keep the game close for awhile.

Kwamaine Battle Back in Action
September 13, 2006
After missing most of his junior season due to a knee injury, Southern Nash (Bailey, N.C.) 6-1 ˝, 265-pound defensive end Kwamaine Battle was just happy to take the field three-and-a-half weeks ago in good health. Battle, who suffered a torn MCL and PCL last season, is enjoying his season despite his team losing two close games.

Jamar Jackson Sets VT Official Visit
September 13, 2006
6-4, 230-pound Varina (VA) star Jamar Jackson made his first official visit this past weekend, when he visited Boston College. The defensive end/outside linebacker standout came away very impressed, but remains intent on making all five official visits before he makes a commitment anywhere. Jackson's schedule is filled up over the next three weekends, so, by the end of it, he should be a lot closer to a decision.

Henrico Teammates Make Visit
September 13, 2006
Henrico (VA) teammates Corey Mosley and Brandon Spurlock visited UVa unofficially this past Saturday and the experiences went well. The 5-9, 192-pound Mosley already has an offer from the ‘Hoos, while the 5-10, 185-pound Spurlock is drawing interest as well.

UNC Game Analysis: The Definition of BeamerBall
September 12, 2006
Look up "BeamerBall" in a dictionary and the definition says "See Virginia Tech @ UNC, September 9, 2006". Led by textbook performances from the defense and special teams, the Hokies beat the Tar Heels for the third consecutive year to get a leg up in the ACC's Coastal Division.

RB Evans Turning in Remarkable Season
September 12, 2006
Today, Warren Central (Indianapolis, IN) running back and Virginia Tech commitment Darren Evans was named USA Today Player of the Week for his performance in last Friday's 76-7 win over rival Ben Davis. In the victory, Evans rushed for 243 yards on 12 carries and scored six touchdowns – all in just over a half of football. Evans' performance was just a taste of what he's been able to accomplish this season and, for that matter, throughout his career.

Hampton Names Top Three
September 12, 2006
Phoebus offensive guard/defensive tackle Maurice Hampton claims offers from four ACC programs – Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech – and one SEC program – South Carolina. Among these and the other programs that have offered, the Tidewater star lists three current favorites.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 9/11/06
September 12, 2006
This week's Hokie Hotline featured offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring, athletic director Jim Weaver, and head football coach Frank Beamer. Stinespring evaluated the offensive line play and the passing game, Weaver covered various miscellaneous items (including the fate of the big Hokie Bird sculpture in Cassell Coliseum's entry), and Beamer discussed special teams, player status, and William Wall.

Bourbonstreet's ACC Capsule: Week 3
September 11, 2006
The marquee matchup in the league is another Bowden Bowl, as Clemson visits Florida State Saturday night in an ESPN prime time night game. The only other in-conference game has substantially less glitter and promises to be much less competitive: Duke at VT. Bstreet brings us his thoughts on those two games and all the other conference matchups.

Cincinnati Game Time Set
September 11, 2006
Virginia Tech will play host to the Cincinnati Bearcats on September 23, and the game time has been moved to noon. ESPNU has decided to televise the game, and this decision has forced the time change.
Also: Backup Tailback Update, Defensive End News, Men's Basketball Schedule Change

Monday Thoughts: The UNC Game
September 11, 2006
The discussion on the message boards about the offense reminds me of a similar discussion from the 2002 season. Back then, the Hokies had a great running game, led by Kevin Jones and Lee Suggs, and a brand new starting quarterback in true sophomore Bryan Randall. The Hokies leaned on their strengths that season and brought Randall along slowly, just like they're doing with Glennon this year.

Bruce Taylor Sets Decision Date
September 11, 2006
In an interview last night, Myrtle Beach (S.C.) star linebacker Bruce Taylor indicated that he would make a decision within the next two or three weeks. Well, decision time has come sooner than expected and the 6-3, 240-pound Taylor will announce his verbal commitment this week.

Top 2008 LB Taylor Looking to Make Early Decision
September 11, 2006
Bruce Taylor is one of the top linebacker prospects in the class of 2008. He received close to double-digit verbal offers this spring following his performance last season as a sophomore, when the 6-3, 240-pound star racked up an amazing 205 total tackles for Myrtle Beach High School (S.C.), earning Sun Times Toast of the Coast Defensive Player of the Year and all-region VII-AAA honors as a result. The standout prospect may be very close to making a decision and Virginia Tech is right in the thick of things.

Hokies Rank 14th in Both Polls
September 11, 2006
The latest A.P. Poll and USA Today Coaches' Poll have been released, and Virginia Tech is ranked #14 in the nation in both. Tech moved up two spots in the A.P. Poll and stayed the same in the USA Today.
Also: Injury Update, Status of William Wall, Hokies in the ACC Stats

Win Over Tar Heels Shows Where Hokies Are Right Now
September 10, 2006
This game was supposed to be a measuring stick for the Hokies and quarterback Sean Glennon, and indeed it was. I just arrived home from Chapel Hill and haven't had time to look over the message boards, but I already know what I'll see when I get there: the glass-half-full types will be marveling at the shutdown play of the Hokie defense and special teams, and the glass-half-empty types will be fretting over an offense that struggled all day long. Both camps are right, of course.

Vintage Beamerball Downs Tar Heels
September 9, 2006
During the entire offseason, coaches, fans and analysts speculated that Virginia Tech's offense would struggle, while the defense and special teams would carry the load. That's exactly what we saw on Saturday in Chapel Hill, as Tech's defense smothered the UNC offense, while the special teams came up with a big play in the Hokies' 35-10 victory.

Game Projection: Virginia Tech vs. UNC (and Others)
September 8, 2006
Virginia Tech begins their ACC season with a potentially dangerous road trip to Chapel Hill. North Carolina has stayed with the Hokies for three of the four halves played in the last two years, and UNC will be fired up after dropping their opener to Rutgers 21-16. However, the Tar Heels have not been able to match Tech's strength in the trenches in the last two years and, after watching the UNC-Rutgers game, North Carolina still has some concerns on both sides of the line. But Virginia Tech has some of the same concerns after the hit-or-miss performance against Northeastern.

In-State Programs Contact Mosley
September 8, 2006
Coaches from both Virginia and Virginia Tech have contacted Henrico (VA) ATH Corey Mosley this month. The 5-9, 192-pound Mosley, who is anxious to begin his senior season tonight against Caroline County, gives the latest on his recruitment and answers whether or not one of the in-state programs has the current edge.

William Wall Staying Home; Frye and Royal Making the Trip
September 8, 2006
Redshirt-freshman defensive end William Wall, who was very impressive during the spring game and against Northeastern, will not be making the trip to UNC for disciplinary reasons. Injured teammates Eddie Royal and Brandon Frye will be traveling, and both might play in the game.
Also: Men's Soccer Team Undefeated, Untied
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