Back in the beginning of the offseason, I'd planned to do more fanposts on here, but real life intervened and I didn't really have much free time over the summer. But, over the past week I have watched several VT games from last year, including their matchups against Clemson, Miami, Florrida St., and their bowl game against Rutgers. What follows is some observations from watching those games.
Last year's VT team can be summed up with one word: inconsistent. Sometimes they pulled off great plays on offense and defense, sometimes they fell absolutely flat and looked pretty pathetic. This was true in all aspects of the game.
No individual player exemplifies this inconsistency better than Logan Thomas. He can be dangerous with zone read when he keeps, but he doesn't seem to always make the correct read on the defensive end. He doesn't run with power or fall forward for five yards like Cam Newton did. He doesn't run the traditional option well, often putting his pitch man in really bad situation.
Thomas has a strong arm and can make the NFL passes, as Gumpin on Saturdays said in his piece, but again, his passing is inconsistent. He often misses easy throws. He's not particularly accurate deep or short. He makes poor passing decisions, sometimes throwing into tight or double coverage when he has a different receiver open. Again, while he has the arm strength to make the hard throws, he's just not always accurate. But, on some drives, he will find his rhythm and complete throws all the way down the field.
Thomas's play action fake seems weak and half hearted to me. He doesn't sell it like AJ. He doesn't respond well when pressured, and often takes the sack. Sometimes he doesn't even seem to see the pressure, even when it's coming in his face.
VT tried to run around the ends a lot against Fla St, who had a good DL. They often moved the ball on them out of shotgun looks, then would switch to I form in red zone and stall. Thomas doesn't seem as comfortable under center. Their OL doesn't get much push on running plays. They couldn't seem to stop the aggressive pass rush of Fla. St. or Rutgers. They really have no stand out skill players too support Thomas.
VT plays their own brand of defense, basically a 4-2-5, with one of the DB's a "whip" or hybrid safety/corner. They like to change up their fronts and blitzes frequently to try and confuse the opposing OL. They show good secondary coverage when playing man, but not as good with zone. Zone play is very soft on short routes. Played with four corners last year because of personnel issues, not sure who they will line up this Saturday.
The number one thing you notice when watching their defense is the way they change blitz schemes frequently. They sometimes rush two, sometimes rush six. They will often blitz their hybrid safety or a speedy corner from out wide. They really like to blitz on 3rd down or other obvious passing situations. They like the zone blitz. Their inside blitzes seem to be very slow to develop. Linebackers especially slow on inside blitz, it seems they have no anticipation of the snap and not a lot of quickness.
VT's run defense can be fairly stout. The D-lineman are capable of beating double teams and making tackles in the backfield. But again, inconsistent. They were often pushed around in their bowl game by Rutgers's O-line.
Those are my film review notes on VT. I hope someone finds them worth reading. Again, the thing that popped out about VT was their inconsistent play across all aspects of the game. I guess we will see on Saturday if any of that inconsistency has been cleaned up.