Tag:Virginia Tech
Posted on: December 27, 2011 4:16 pm
 

Sugar Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Tom Fornelli


A look at the key matchup that could decide the Sugar Bowl. 

Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan vs. Virginia Tech defense

When it comes to stopping the Michigan offense, you essentially have to cut the head off the snake, and Denard Robinson is clearly that head. When considering that Robinson is a dual-threat, it's up to your entire defense as a whole, not just the defensive line, linebackers or secondary. Since Robinson can beat you in so many ways, it takes all 11 players on defense to stop him. Something that isn't very easy to do considering that Robinson finished the regular season averaging 268.3 yards per game.

The best way for Virginia Tech to keep Robinson in check would probably be to force him to throw the ball more often than not. While Denard threw for 2,056 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, he also threw 14 interceptions and completed only 56% of his passes. So while his arm is dangerous, it's not nearly as dangerous as the legs that help him scoot down the field at lightning speed.

How do you do this? Well, it starts with the defensive line. First and foremost, the Hokies have to shut down Fitzgerald Toussaint and put Michigan in passing situations. If they can do that, then the focus turns on to how to handle Robinson.

When facing a quarterback like Robinson, it's probably better not to get too much pressure on him. Yes, that seems to be counter-productive to what a defensive line's job is on passing plays, but the fact is, if you pressure Robinson he's fast enough to get away, and you generally leave a lot of open lanes for which he can escape through. Then once he gets into the open field against your linebackers and secondary, well, advantage Robinson. So more so than penetration, the Virginia Tech defensive line will be better served to maintain gap integrity. If he wants to scramble, make him go outside where linebackers and defensive backs can try and force him toward the sideline.

Better yet, if you give Robinson time to throw then he's a lot more likely to throw. And while time is not a defensive back's best friend, Robinson's accuracy issues make up for some of that. Yes, you may get beat in coverage but Robinson still has to put the pass on target.

For an example of this, look at Michigan's loss to Iowa. The Hawkeyes followed many of these same principles and let Robinson throw the ball 37 times. He completed only 17 of those passes and rushed for only 55 yards on 12 carries. The result was a 24-16 victory for Iowa.

Now, obviously, you can't afford to give Robinson all day to pass even with his accuracy issues as sooner or later the Wolverines will begin going to short underneath passes, so occasional blitzes need to be part of the game plan as well. If for no other reason than to keep Robinson guessing. Odds are that Bud Foster has more than a few types at his disposal and ready to use.

While it won't be easy for Virginia Tech to keep one of the most dynamic players in all of college football in check for a full 60 minutes, if the Hokies use some of these methods to at least slow him down and limit his effectiveness, then it will go a long way toward a Virginia Tech victory. If not, it may be a long night. 
Posted on: December 27, 2011 3:04 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 3:05 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Sugar Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

MICHIGAN WILL WIN IF: While both offenses in this game are pretty balanced, the Wolverines proved to be more potent on offense throughout the season, and generally did so against better defenses than the Hokies this year. Which should be good preparation for the Virginia Tech defense that Michigan will be facing in New Orleans. Statistically, the best defenses Michigan faced this season belonged to Michigan State, Illinois, Ohio State and Notre Dame. In those four games the Wolverines averaged 30 points per game. A good sign going into a game against a Virginia Tech defense that's allowing only 17.2 points per game this season, which is good enough for 8th in the country.

The true test for the Wolverines will be running the ball against a Hokie defense that allowed only 107.7 yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry on the season. Still, considering that Michigan's strength on offense is running the ball with both Fitzgerald Toussaint and Denard Robinson (the duo combined for 2,174 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2011) it wouldn't be in the Wolverines best interest to change things up now. Also, whie the Hokies were successful stopping the Georgia Tech run game this year, Georgia Tech doesn't present the passing threat that Michigan brings. No, Denard Robinson is not a great passing quarterback, as he completed only 56% of his passes this season, but he did throw for 2,056 yards and 18 touchdowns. What Robinson lacks in accuracy, he can make up for with the deep ball once Virginia Tech safeties begin creeping toward the line of scrimmage to stop the run. 

VIRGINIA TECH WILL WIN IF: The Virginia Tech offense is similar to that of Michigan, though it's a bit more proficient when it comes to moving the ball through the air thanks to Logan Thomas. That being said, Virginia Tech averaged only 28.5 points per game this season, which is pretty middle of the road, and nearly 6 points less per game than Michigan. So how will Virginia Tech make up for those 6 points against a defense that is just as sturdy as its own? It's a good question and one that's tough to answer because Michigan is the best defense the Hokies will face this season. 

Still, there is some reason to be optimistic about Virginia Tech's chances. The only defense that compares to Michigan that the Hokies faced this year would be that of Virginia's, and the Hokies posted 38 points and 410 yards of offense against their state rivals at the end of November. The best way for Virginia Tech to repeat that performance against Michigan may be to put the ball in the hands of running back David Wilson. Wilson finished the season with 1,627 yards rushing and averaged over 6 yards per carry. While Michigan's defense was solid as a whole, against the run it was rather mediocre. The Wolverines may have allowed only 129.1 yards per game on the ground, but they did so while giving up 4.07 yards per carry, which is only good enough to be 57th in the nation. So Virginia Tech would be well-served to use Wilson and the run game to set up Logan Thomas and the passing game.

X-FACTOR: While there are plenty of people upset by the fact Michigan and Virginia Tech are playing in this game rather than higher ranked teams like Boise State and Kansas State, the fact is, this matchup should be pretty interesting. These two teams are incredibly similar to one another, which could lead to a pretty exciting and close game. And anytime that's the case, you tend to look at the special teams, as a field goal could very well be what decides this contest. Unfortunately, that's another area where these two teams are essentially the same. 

At least, they were during the regular season. Since then, however, Virginia Tech kicker Cody Journell has been suspended indefinitely after being charged with breaking and entering. In a game like this that should be close, being without Journell could be the deciding factor and tilt things in Michigan's favor.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:39 pm
 

Hokies K Cody Journell suspended after arrest

Posted by Chip Patterson

Virginia Tech sophomore kicker Cody Journell's status for the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2 against Michigan is now in jeopardy, after an alleged home invasion led to his indefinite suspension from the football team.

The sophomore kicker and two others were arrested and charged with breaking and entering by Blacksburg police late Wednesday night. Below is the report, via The Roanoke Times.

Just before 10 p.m. Wednesday, Blacksburg police responded to a residence on Lee Street, just outside of the downtown area in reference to a physical altercation, according to a morning news release.

An investigation into an alleged home invasion began shortly after and resulted in the arrests of Cody J. Journell, 20; Matthew D. Dunton, 23; and Matthew I. Brady, 21. Each were charged with breaking and entering, a class 2 felony due to the alleged use of a dangerous weapon, according to police.

University policy dictates that Journell be suspended indefinitely from the football team until further information is gathered. As off early Thursday afternoon, all three men are currently being held without bond at the Montgomery County Jail while the investigation continues.

Journell led the ACC field goal percentage, hitting 14 of his 17 attempts on the season. The redshirt sophomore earned All-ACC honorable mention and connected on 43 of 44 extra points on the season. Should he be ruled out for the Sugar Bowl, the place kicking duties would likely be assumed by Tyler Weiss or kickoff specialist Justin Myer.

For all the latest on Virginia Tech and Michigan right until kickoff, check out our Sugar Bowl Pregame page

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Posted on: December 16, 2011 2:43 pm
 

Belk Bowl Key Matchup

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A look at the key matchup that could decide the Belk Bowl

Lousiville QB Teddy Bridgewater vs. N.C. State CB David Amerson.

On paper, there's really only one candidate for the honor of being the best player on the field during the Belk Bowl: Amerson, the national leader in interceptions with 11 and receiver of multiple All-American honors. The Wolfpack finished 31st in the nation in opponent's passer rating and the sophomore was a huge reason why, smothering opposing receivers and regularly making the big play whenever the ball was thrown his way anyway. The ACC's coaches capped his season by naming Amerson first-team all-conference over even Virginia Tech's much-hyped shutdown corner Jayron Hosley. 

So that's not good news for an occasionally erratic true freshman quarterback like Bridgewater, and it gets worse. The Wolfpack rank 13th in the nation in sacks, and they do it without relying on a single standout pass rusher on which the rapidly-improving Card offensive line could focus; instead, six different Wolfpack players finished with 3.5 or more sacks (junior linebacker Terrell Manning led the way with "just" 5.5). It's also not clear who the Cards can ask to get open against a talent like Amerson--Louisville's top two receivers (Michaelee Harris and Eli Rogers) were both true freshmen, and neither of them topped 35 receptions for the year. 

Bridgewater took several steps forward late in the campaign, but he's still a QB who entered the final game of the year having thrown as many interceptions (nine) as touchdowns. But in that game, in a must-win situation on the road vs. South Florida, the freshman put together his best performance of the season: 19-for-28, 248 yards, 3 touchdowns, no picks. If Bridgewater can play with similar poise against the Wolfpack and keep the ball away from Amerson's sticky fingers, the Cards' superior running game and excellent defense should be enough to pull out the win.

But this is also shapes up as the kind of tight, low-scoring game in which one big play can make all the difference. If it's Amerson making that play at Bridgewater's expense -- and that's not a scenario we'd bet heavily against -- the Wolfpack will be in good shape.

You can see our complete Belk Bowl preview and coverage on the CBSSports.com Pregame page here. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview

Posted on: December 14, 2011 12:24 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 12:27 pm
 

VIDEO: Neuheisel on the Coaches Poll



Posted by Tom Fornelli


If you've ever read our poll reactions posts here on the blog, then you know our general feelings towards the Coaches Poll. In a nutshell, we're not huge fans. So it's nice to see that former UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel feels the same way about the poll that he was a part of himself. He confirms what one of my biggest problems with the coaches poll is.

Coaches know their teams, and the teams they play. That's it. A coach at Virginia Tech is not watching Washington unless Washington is on the schedule, so to give coaches so much power in deciding who plays for a BCS title just doesn't seem right.

As for Neuheisel's idea of having the coaches vote, but only on their conferences, it makes more sense than what is currently in place, though I'm not entirely sure how it would work.

Neuheisel also talked about Jim Mora replacing him at UCLA, which you can see here.
Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:21 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 8:21 pm
 

Michigan unveils new uniforms for Sugar Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In the Big Ten, there's no more tradition-obsessed (read: change-averse) football program than Michigan. where fans react with consternation toward things most programs take for granted: luxury boxes, piped-in music, and uniform changes, for some examples.

So it must have been some sort of comfort when adidas unveiled its alternate home uniforms for Michigan against Notre Dame in the second week of the season, and the uniforms were still quite obviously Michigan uniforms at first glance -- unlike, say, the Georgia Pro Combat uniform. Notre Dame, also an adidas school, wore a uniform that was also quintessentially its own in that game. Hey, there's something to be said for familiarity.

Similarly, Michigan fans must have been relieved to see that the team's alternate road uniforms it's busting out for the 2012 Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech are, again, quite obviously Michigan uniforms. The "new" threads, seen at right and courtesy of the Michigan athletic department on WhoSay.com, were the result of teamwork between adidas and the football players themselves.

“We met with our seniors and showed them some concepts that were proposed by adidas and the mock-up is what they chose,” said Michigan coach Brady Hoke in a special news release. “This is a something the players enjoy and we thought it would be a nice way to commemorate our appearance in the Sugar Bowl.”

In addition, according to Michigan, the players decided to wear the grey face mask on the famed winged helmet. Player numbers will also continue to appear on the helmet.

The uniform is being modeled by a computer simulation of UNIDENTIFIED RANDOM STUDENT-ATHLETE NUMBER 16, and is in no way meant to be thought of as anything resembling Denard Robinson

Virginia Tech will not be wearing a special uniform for the game.

Anyway, kudos to adidas for again opting not to engage in the excesses of other companies' alternate uniforms (take a look at Ohio State's scarlet mess from this year and tell me, I dare you to tell me Nike didn't only give them to OSU because Rutgers passed on them first) and sticking to the same colors and relatively similar color proportions as usual. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, sure, but a little tweak never hurt anybody either.

We did, however, wonder what would happen if, like most of its other uniform providers, adidas had absolutely no regard for tradition and instead went for the flashiest design possible. We have obtained an EXCLUSIVE ALTERNATE UNIVERSE SNEAK PEEK at exactly that scenario, and we're happy to share it with you here. Enjoy:

  • First of all, the cumbersome title Wolverines has been shortened to the much more economical and efficient "'Rines," much in the same way that Miami has come to be known as "the 'Canes" or Boise State is now referred to simply as "the 'Cos."
  • Second, the winged helmet has given way to the winged shoulders, which seems more in line with the way animals fly anyway (Can you imagine if birds' wings were on their heads? Ridiculous!).
  • The colors are more eye-catching than before, and that's always a plus, right?
  • And lastly, according to the uniform patch, Michigan would be in the Pac-12. Yeah, conference realignment got weird in this alternate universe.


Anyway, feel free to show that version of the Michigan uniform to any Wolverine fan if you want to give them an aneurysm. 

Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:21 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 8:21 pm
 

Michigan unveils new uniforms for Sugar Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In the Big Ten, there's no more tradition-obsessed (read: change-averse) football program than Michigan. where fans react with consternation toward things most programs take for granted: luxury boxes, piped-in music, and uniform changes, for some examples.

So it must have been some sort of comfort when adidas unveiled its alternate home uniforms for Michigan against Notre Dame in the second week of the season, and the uniforms were still quite obviously Michigan uniforms at first glance -- unlike, say, the Georgia Pro Combat uniform. Notre Dame, also an adidas school, wore a uniform that was also quintessentially its own in that game. Hey, there's something to be said for familiarity.

Similarly, Michigan fans must have been relieved to see that the team's alternate road uniforms it's busting out for the 2012 Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech are, again, quite obviously Michigan uniforms. The "new" threads, seen at right and courtesy of the Michigan athletic department on WhoSay.com, were the result of teamwork between adidas and the football players themselves.

“We met with our seniors and showed them some concepts that were proposed by adidas and the mock-up is what they chose,” said Michigan coach Brady Hoke in a special news release. “This is a something the players enjoy and we thought it would be a nice way to commemorate our appearance in the Sugar Bowl.”

In addition, according to Michigan, the players decided to wear the grey face mask on the famed winged helmet. Player numbers will also continue to appear on the helmet.

The uniform is being modeled by a computer simulation of UNIDENTIFIED RANDOM STUDENT-ATHLETE NUMBER 16, and is in no way meant to be thought of as anything resembling Denard Robinson

Virginia Tech will not be wearing a special uniform for the game.

Anyway, kudos to adidas for again opting not to engage in the excesses of other companies' alternate uniforms (take a look at Ohio State's scarlet mess from this year and tell me, I dare you to tell me Nike didn't only give them to OSU because Rutgers passed on them first) and sticking to the same colors and relatively similar color proportions as usual. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, sure, but a little tweak never hurt anybody either.

We did, however, wonder what would happen if, like most of its other uniform providers, adidas had absolutely no regard for tradition and instead went for the flashiest design possible. We have obtained an EXCLUSIVE ALTERNATE UNIVERSE SNEAK PEEK at exactly that scenario, and we're happy to share it with you here. Enjoy:

  • First of all, the cumbersome title Wolverines has been shortened to the much more economical and efficient "'Rines," much in the same way that Miami has come to be known as "the 'Canes" or Boise State is now referred to simply as "the 'Cos."
  • Second, the winged helmet has given way to the winged shoulders, which seems more in line with the way animals fly anyway (Can you imagine if birds' wings were on their heads? Ridiculous!).
  • The colors are more eye-catching than before, and that's always a plus, right?
  • And lastly, according to the uniform patch, Michigan would be in the Pac-12. Yeah, conference realignment got weird in this alternate universe.


Anyway, feel free to show that version of the Michigan uniform to any Wolverine fan if you want to give them an aneurysm. 

Posted on: December 9, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 11:18 am
 

PODCAST: All-Americans and Best/Worst Bowls

Posted by Chip Patterson

The time between the final conference championship games and the opening of the postseason is filled with honoring the performances of the year and previewing the bowl games ahead. CBSSports.com's Eye on College Football Blogger Bryan Fischer sits down with Adam Aizer to break down the CBSSports.com All-American teams. The two discuss some of the most heated positions on the list, like whether or not Tryann Mathieu should have gotten the First Team nod as a punt returner.

As the mind behind CBSSports.com's Eye on Recruiting, Bryan also explains the reasoning behind the Freshman All-American squad. Finally, the pair take some time to preview the bowl schedule. Which games they can't wait to see, and which games they can't wait to see end.

[Click here to check out the CBSSports.com All-American Teams and the Freshman All-American team]


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Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com