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Like most, I am pleased to see change coming re: VT O coaches. Unlike some of you, I don't believe that VT needs to make splash type hires, but rather needs to hire quality coaches that can improve our O in the following areas over the past years:
- Instill an Identity on O - This has been discussed adnauseum. Chip Kelly probably describes it best when he suggests you need your unique identity that you stand for, rather than just calling random plays. The VT D has an identity, we recruit to it, and we have a coach that demands execution and excellence. We need this on O too.
- Improve Execution - I believe that VT has enough O talent in the program today to have an average to average plus O. What we need is to maximize that talent by being able to execute, i.e., all 11 players knowing their jobs and being well enough rehearsed to be able to carry them out together. This past years was an abomination in terms of execution. But even in year's where our O has been better we have struggled to execute pass plays, especially screen plays.
- OL Get Push - Many observations have been posted on this site about how our OL gets pushed around by penetration. I believe we have enough OL talent in the program to get some push. Much of this is physical play, but some of it is technique and execution.
- Improved Position Technique - RBs that hit the holes being blocked, improved QB mechanics and accuracy, improved and more reliable route running by receivers, better technique by OL on running plays.
- Decisive Play Calling - We are all used to indecisiveness on the sidelines leading to delay of game, timeouts, or hurried snaps without all reads being made. More decisive play calling will eliminate this.
Our collective O coaching staff failed at delivering on the above points in many years over the last decade. We could overcome execution it seemed only when we had a lot of senior leadership and experience. And we always seemed to start slow, i.e., we weren't ready in September, but began to hum in November in some of our better years. There were certainly other teams around the country that got better execution and results from game 1. I hope and believe that a new O coaching staff can deliver improvements on the above points and our O will improve as a result.
What should the expectations be? While I would like for our coaches to turn out to be miracle workers, I suspect improvement will be more gradual. Here are my expectations of what a good to great result would be:
- 2013 - Improve execution with same roster and finish in the 60 - 75 range in offense proficiency categories. With that result, we would compete for the Coastal crown.
- 2014 - Finish in the 40 - 60 range.
- 2015 and beyond - finish in the 20 - 40 range consistently. This would put us in the ACC championship game most years and probably in the Top 10. With a senior-laden O we would finish a bit higher.
I don't think we will have the type of O or style of overall play that would allow us to finish higher on O. The more high risk/high reward type O's like the Big12 fields will still dominate the overall ratings for O proficiency. We can win a lot of games and be in the hunt for the MNC with a 15 - 30 type O.
As to me, I am a 1972 grad who appreciates Beamer and what he has accomplished but who has called for O coaching changes for the past decade, and recognizes some of Beamer's shortcomings as an in-game coach. I have had season's tickets since 1977 or 1978, and have witnessed the lows (losses to Richmond) and the highs at major bowl games. I love VT as much as any on this board and have contributed major gifts to athletics (Hokie Benefactor) and academics (endowed fund in Pamplin). I am also less than impressed with some of our university leadership and hope in the future we get more dynamic and capable leaders. VT deserves the best leaders, and will only grow to its full potential with the best.
Change is tough anywhere. Truly impactive change often takes significant thought and masterful execution. Only time will tell if the changes that Beamer is making will result in the kinds of improvements that we all want to see. I do know that these changes are very significant for Beamer to make and are certainly not easy for a man with a reputation for being loyal perhaps to a fault. I for one very much appreciate that he is finally making these changes. I also appreciate the efforts of those who are moving on. I have no reason to believe that any of them did any less than their best for VT, and while their best wasn't good enough to produce the O we deserve, I wish each of them the best. In my view, using this board to personally bash the coaches moving on is not a negative reflection on the coaches, it is a negative reflection on the person doing the bashing. Be cool - the fans are winning the day with these changes and better times appear ahead.
Good post. Can you elaborate on the lack of University leadership? I graduated in 2002 and I've seen the standards of getting into the school increase substantially. So much so that I'm lucky I wasn't born a couple years later or I would have been attending a different university.
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