A service of TechSideline.com

Hokie Offense Not the Same Since the Bustle Era
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #398, September 11, 2009

In late 2001, there was a contingent of Virginia Tech fans who wanted then-offensive coordinator Rickey Bustle out of Blacksburg. They felt his offense was getting stale, and that the Hokies needed a fresh start offensively to keep up with modern college football. They also needed a different quarterback coach to land prized recruit Marcus Vick, who wasn't considering the Hokies until Kevin Rogers was hired with the promise to "open up the offense".

To make a long story short, Bustle left and took the head coaching job at Louisiana-Lafayette following the 2001 season. Kevin Rogers was hired to replace him as quarterbacks coach, Bryan Stinespring was promoted to offensive coordinator, and Marcus Vick did indeed sign with the Hokies.

Since moving to Louisiana-Lafayette, the Bustle has gradually improved the offense.

Bustle at Louisiana-Lafayette
2002 61.17 227.75 288.92 114
2003 116.5 219 335.5 91
2004 152.73 229.64 382.36 49
2005 254.27 132.36 386.64 52
2006 188.42 129.17 317.58 82
2007 251.58 155.5 407.08 49
2008 263.67 185.5 449.17 13


Bustle's offense wasn't very good in his first two years at his new school, but after a couple of years it began to take off. The Ragin' Cajuns' started to get a lot better during the 2004 season, and they've become known as one of the country's best rushing teams. Over the last four years, ULL has averaged 239.5 yards per game on the ground.

Bustle's offenses were generally very effective at Virginia Tech as well. Here is a look at what Virginia Tech managed to do offensively during his tenure.

Bustle at Virginia Tech
1993 242.8 201.3 444.1 ?
1995 184.3 200.5 384.8 17
1996 227.8 189.4 417.2 16
1997 216.1 147 363.1 28
1998 178.1 138.4 316.5 32
1999 253.9 197.9 451.8 26
2000 270.5 155.9 426.4 22
2001 194.8 179.3 374.1 20
Average 221.0 176.2 397.3 23


Under Rickey Bustle, Virginia Tech always found a way to run the football. They were a very efficient offense, and they averaged nearly 400 yards per game during his tenure in Blacksburg.

Since Bustle departed following the 2001 season, things haven't gone as well. Tech kept up the same production for a couple of seasons after he left, and then there was a noticeable decline.

Virginia Tech Since Bustle
2002 212.4 159.2 371.6 34
2003 209.3 192.5 401.8 17
2004 178.2 187.3 365.5 36
2005 190.7 190.2 380.9 34
2006 113.4 181.8 295.2 29
2007 133.6 196.9 330.5 54
2008 174.4 129.1 303.4 42
Average 173.1 176.7 349.8 35.1


It was thought that Bustle's departure would help the passing game. While Tech's current passing attack is much more sophisticated than Bustle's simple approach, the results have been the exact same. Bustle's offenses averaged 176.2 yards per game through the air, while the Hokies have averaged 176.7 passing yards since his departure.

Virginia Tech's running game has declined quite a bit since Bustle left. The Hokies have not averaged 200 yards per game on the ground since the 2003 season. They accomplished that feat in five of Bustle's eight seasons as offensive coordinator, and Tech never averaged less than 178.1 yards per game on the ground. The Hokies haven't averaged that many yards rushing per game since 2005.

Bustle had a solid knack for adapting his offense to the personnel he had available. In 1993, he had a mobile quarterback in Maurice DeShazo, an athletic offensive line, a stable of good running backs and a good group of receivers. Bustle's run-n-shoot offense of 1993 was probably his best offense schematically during his Tech years. It averaged 201.3 passing yards per game, the best number of the Beamer Bowl Era.

In 1995 and 1996, he had future first round draft pick Jim Druckenmiller at quarterback, and a big, physical offensive line. He developed a power running attack, with Druckenmiller very effective at working playaction, and even managed to mix in some option.

The 1997 and 1998 offenses were very limited, and quarterback Al Clark was injury prone. Tech had to be conservative in those two years. While the 1997 offense featured future free safety Nick Sorensen at offense at times, it still averaged 363 yards per game. That's better than any offense Tech has put on the field since 2005.

In 1999 and 2001, Bustle had Michael Vick, so basically any play he called could work. In 2001, he had to break in a limited pocket passing quarterback named Grant Noel behind an offensive line that lost four starters. Despite that, Tech still managed to produce 374 yards per game of total offense. Despite his lack of mobility, and a new offensive line, Noel was only sacked 20 times. That's fewer sacks than the Hokies allowed in 1999 and 2000 with Michael Vick at quarterback.

No matter how you slice it, Rickey Bustle proved himself to be a good offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech. The Hokies have steadily gone downhill on offense since he departed.



VT Men's Classic Varsity Jacket

Handsome twill varsity jacket with classic chenille applique and striped cuffs and collar. Snap closure, slit side pockets, and two interior pockets (one zippered). Lined sleeves with soft heather gray cotton/poly body lining.
   TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week
TSL's PreSeason Top 30
September 11, 2009
The in-state 2010 class may not be as talented as the 2009 version, but at this point about 40 prospects have committed to FBS or FCS programs. More remain uncommitted but hold scholarship offers, so from an overall recruiting perspective this year is a solid one for college prospects. For the most part, the Pre-Summer list remains in tact with one significant change at the top of the list.

Nickel Package Should Help Tech's Defense in 2009
September 11, 2009
Year after year, Bud Foster and his staff field one of the best defenses in college football. The scheme and structure stay the same with certain wrinkles added each year to take advantage of certain strengths in personnel. This season, one of those wrinkles is a new look nickel package.

Boone, Virgil Doubtful for Marshall Game
September 11, 2009
Virginia Tech will likely be without the services of two starters on Saturday. Boundary cornerback Stephan Virgil and tight end Greg Boone are listed as doubtful for tomorrow's game against the Marshall Thundering Herd.

Leal, Atlantic Confident Following Loss
September 11, 2009
Last Friday night's season opening loss was a disappointment, but quarterback Mark Leal says his team came out more encouraged than anything else. Atlantic battled 2A power Pahokee the entire night, taking the lead 6-0 just before halftime. Pahokee rallied for 13 unanswered points in the second half, coming away with a hard-fought victory.

Manning Discusses VT, Clemson Trips
September 10, 2009
John Manning's 3-school trip last week was productive...long, but productive. The 6-11, 220-pound Chantilly (VA) junior started last Wednesday with a visit to the University of Virginia, toured Virginia Tech last Thursday and ended with a trip to Clemson on Saturday. TSL caught up with the Manning following the first leg of the trip, and now he took time to discuss the latter two visits.

Football Game Preview: #14 Virginia Tech vs. Marshall
September 9, 2009
Presented by Kent Square Condominiums:
Virginia Tech will look to get their season back on track this Saturday when Marshall comes to town. Coming off a physical game against Alabama, and looking ahead to home matchups with Nebraska and Miami, this game with the Thundering Herd is a classic trap game. It will be up to the Hokies to show up focused and take care of business.

Ocean Lakes Junior QB/ATH Earns Early Offers
September 9, 2009
Senior wide receiver Justin Hunter has received much of the headlines in Chris Scott's Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA) program, and deservedly so, but another national recruit is emerging. Junior quarterback Lafonte Thoroughgood, a 6-2, 212-pound prospect, has earned three official offers already with a fourth likely on the way any day.

Alabama Game Analysis: Hokies not Sharp Enough to Beat Tide
September 8, 2009
It was a tough game with a disappointing finish and there are a lot of things that need to be improved, but there were also some positives to take away as well. It is easy to look at the lack of offensive production and conclude that another frustrating year is ahead. It is also easy to look at all the missed tackles and big plays given up by the defense and wonder if expectations are too high on that side of the ball.

Tech Talk Live Notes for 9/07/09
September 8, 2009
Presented by Bull & Bones Brewhaus & Grill:Monday night, the guests who reviewed the Alabama game and looked forward to Marshall were quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain, athletic director Jim Weaver, football players Cody Grimm and Dyrell Roberts, and head football coach Frank Beamer. They all had interesting comments on the Alabama game officiating. The special former player guest was Eddie Royal, now with the Denver Broncos.

Star WR Considering Six
September 8, 2009
Bishop McNamara (Forestville, MD) standout wide receiver Brandon Coleman is focused on six schools right now, including four ACC programs and two Big East programs. The 6-6, 200-pound senior remains in no rush to commit, instead choosing to focus primarily on his senior season.

Monday Thoughts: Alabama
September 7, 2009
I saw a lot of encouraging signs Saturday night for the 2009 Hokies, but I also saw a lot more of the same-old-same-old. On the positive side, Tech played hard and played with composure, and one new player in particular, Ryan Williams, really stood out. But on the offensive side of the ball, the team once again struggled with many of the same issues we have seen for three years running now.

Around the ACC: September 7, 2009
September 7, 2009
The ACC was supposed to be better this year, but it looks the same after one week of play. Conference teams lost all of their big games to non-conference foes, and two teams even managed to get knocked off at home by 1-AA competition. It's not a good start to the 2009 season.
   TSLMail is a trademark of TechSideline.com - Copyright © 2009 - All Rights Reserved
   To unsubscribe from this email, reply with the word "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the subject.