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Cold Beer Retrospective: The 2009 Virginia Tech season opener

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Each year brings new promise. Come relive a magical opener

Virginia Tech v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

This is the first of an infrequent series, where Roll ‘Bama Roll’s Morri029, (Twitter’s @ShulasJumboSet,) goes through the 2009 season with a cold beer and chronological perspective of what was happening at the time. So grab your favorite frosty beverage, put in the DVD or find the game on YouTube and follow along. I’ve embedded the video below if you want to kill two hours, and added photos if you do not. This is a cool stream of consciousness reliving of that game and I enjoyed the trip. -EJE


-Man, I miss Big Game Brent Musburger. His dulcet tones made big games for this era.

-2009 Nick Saban looks way younger than I remember. Obviously beating 10essee’s ass for a decade can take a toll on a man.

-I remember coming into this game, feeling extremely fearful. We had such a successful 2008, and the last season we had success, 2005, was met with disaster almost from the very start of 2006.


-Oh man. We are flying to the ball. Someone I have no idea who is just cut a man’s legs off.

First Quarter:

1st and 10

-VT in Ace with a wing. Motions wing to the strong side, and runs a stretch play. Javy Arenas just crushes Ryan Williams. Big hits being thrown around by this Bama D already.

2nd and 7

-A triple option look with Tyrod Taylor, and Erik Anders has ahold of Taylor from the start. 3rd Down.

3rd and 2

-VT comes out in 2x1 with 2 backs. Bama is in Nickle, with Anders at an end, McClain and Hightower at Backers. Mark Barron walks down in the box, and scares VT. Timeout.

-Anyone else forgot Brandon Deaderick got shot A WEEK BEFORE THIS GAME and started? Grown Ass Man Level.

-VT comes back with the same look, and gives the ole Florida Triple Option with the underneath shuffle pass look. Instead of using an H, they use a back, and pitch it, Ro eats it up. Punting time for Tech.

Alabama v Virginia Tech Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

4th and 1

-I’m chanting Javy in my Man Cave like I’m in BDS Student Section in 2007

Bama First and 10

Bama is in Tight End, Wing, with a short split out to the left, Wildcat with Ingram, Julio at the motion spot and Greg hanging out with Frank Beamer. There are few truths in an uncertain world, but here’s one. This ain’t Lane Kiffin’s offense.

-Ingram runs so so hard.

-First pass to Julio. As should every pass be. Forever. In any game.

-After Greg screws up a misdirection, 2nd and long for the Tide, Carpenter gets beat, and McElroy panics, tucks it and guts the VT Defense that left the middle open. Third and One coming up. I bet McElwain hands the ball to the man that’s going to win the Heisman.

-I was wrong. He just snapped it right to the man who was going to win the Heisman. We had a sniffer back, a wing, and then motioned Julio to the left side of the line behind a future first round pick Left Tackle, and a NFL Left Guard. Play is blown dead, but I loved this McElwain offense enough to make my wife jealous.

-After the timeout, I formation with a motion wing to, guess where, the left side. Handoff to Ingy off that left side, The playside defensive end pinches inside hard, and beats Collin Peak. But I bet he couldn’t beat Holla McGhee.

-Leigh Tiffin drills that 49 yarder. The man may not have enjoyed 8 AM classes, but he could kick a football.

3-0 BAMA 9:56 1st Q

Alabama v Virginia Tech
3-0 good guys
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

-Kickoff to the goal line, and we are waiting on him at the 20. This is a Gene Stallings level Kickoff Coverage.

-VT comes out in I-Formation, Bama in a 3-4 with both outside backers viced down on the line of scrimmage. Today’s kids would look at this like it’s the damned Straight T Backfield vs. the ole 5-2 Rover Double.

-Tyrod Taylor almost completes a pass to BJ Scott on the sideline. Always thought he was going to be the real deal. (Scott that is)

-Bama’s Nickle front confuses Tyrod again. 2nd timeout in first 6 minutes.

-Herbie’s rocking that Eminem look.

-The defense is huddled. This game should be on reel to reel

-Marquis Johnson with a quick tackle on a stop route. I think we may hear more out of him against another team on the eastern seaboard later this year.

-3rd and 6. Bama’s money down. VT’s in Ace with a Tight End, and Bama has 7 men on the ball showing blitz. Where’s John Copeland when you need him?

-Bama brings 5, and Erik Anders gets through UNMOLESTED (I think we may see that again many beers from now on the opposite coast) and gets pressure. Javy comes off the edge and forces the Intentional Grounding. Damn I love this defense.

Alabama v Virginia Tech Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

-Javy. Javy. JAvy. JAVy. JAVY.

-Bama’s across the 50 and Javy’s high stepping. That tastes like Keystone Lights off Queens City Boulevard in 2008 (h/t to the QCDC)

-Playaction to Julio, GMac throws off his back foot (I’m gonna go ahead and make that a short cut on my keyboard. Going to use it A LOT)

-Screen to Ingy (I think we will see that again in this very stadium later on in this series) Mike Johnson gets eaten up and Carpenter gets a holding penalty. This is the type plays that got Dave Rader murdered and buried in a cornfield in Eutaw.

-“Zone Read” with Ingram and McElroy. Not a single soul looks at the Ginger QB going around the edge. Even he could have scored on that.

-3rd and 16, and GMac dots up Darius Hanks in full extension. Great throw, incredible catch, and Bama’s in the redzone.

-After an inside run for nothing, GMac overthrows Marquis Maze for a Touchdown.

-GMac then gets a pass tipped that would be intercepted by anyone that isn’t wearing a neckboard that looks like Lattimer.

-Leigh Tiffin has more points than Tech has yards.

6-0 BAMA 6:47 1st Quarter

-Kickoff Return for a Touchdown. This is most assuredly NOT Gene Stallings Kickoff Coverage. DAMMIT BOBBY.

7-6 VT 6:35 1st Quarter

Dyrell Roberts (The guy who returned the Kickoff for VT) looks like an extremely poor man’s Julio in the face.

Alabama v Virginia Tech
Poor man’s Julio
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

-Guys I miss college football.


-No cuts. Tackled at the 15. Oh Terry, I love you, but this game has passed you by.

-Back into the Wild Ingram. Hands it to Julio, and he gets tackled for a loss. I’m now questioning everything I know as real.

-Ole Lattimer just threw Greg down. I’m not willing to say it’s a 15 yarder, but the refs are. NTTATWWT

-This Bud Foster Defense is ROLLING. I have had a man crush on Bud’s defenses for a few decades now.

- Playaction to Julio, GMac throws off his back foot (I’m gonna go ahead and make that a short cut on my keyboard. Going to use it A LOT) (SEE!!!!!)

-3rd and Long, Tech only brings 4, but flushes GMac. Bama to punt. Momentum is FIRMLY a funky looking chickenturkey right now.

-Tech has taken another timeout. Does Beamer realize these don’t reset at the quarter?

-BEAMER BALL MY ASS, Muffed Punt, with ole Brian Selman getting the recovery. Bama in Bidness in the Red Zone

-Saban and McElwain are trying to get Grant involved. He’s a great kid who is working hard, but these aren’t the same animals as 2007, and he is struggling.

-McElroy inaccurate again, 3rd and long.

-McElroy getting pressured, and Leigh is going to need some ice at halftime.

9-7 BAMA 3:05 1st Quarter

Georgia Tech v Virginia Tech Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images

-HEY! I like this when we tackle the guy with the ball on kickoff!

-Kirby keeps hammering away at Taylor with pressure. Taylor is more accurate the McElroy so far, but not much. Hits this one, 1st and 10

-Triple Option Look, Williams stuffed for gain of 3. You can’t run inside on Bama, even then.

-Awwww, Kirby. I miss you buddy.

-Outside Zone and Mark Barron comes down like a linebacker. I wonder if that’s a premonition for anything?

-The dude that got shot Monday just tackled you. Yeah, you got the first down, but he wins.

-Playaction, and WHY ARE WE JUST FLAILING AWAY!? Dammit, they have 3 first downs this drive. Is this what it’s like to be a 10essee fan?

-Speed Option and our Nickle takes QB and our inside backer takes Pitch….. One more time, our inside backer took pitch. For a loss. <3 you Donta’


-Bama sniffs out the screen, 3rd and Long

-Bama shows 7 again, but brings 5, with Ro spying the RB. The corner blitz from Kareem Jackson off the short side is a nice touch. Tyrod takes his eyes off the receivers, Ro goes, Ro sacks. I stand by, in college he was as good at the mental side of the game as anyone.


-Draw to Ingram is the first big running play in a while.

-Bad snap on the Wild Ingy. Bama in 3rd and 4 Evers

-Greg inaccurate again. Punt time. Bud Foster is treating Bama’s offense like McElwain did that shark.

-PJ Fitzgerald making plays downfield. GIVE THAT MAN #44 AND CALL HIM BEARDEN

Alabama v Virginia Tech Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

-Tyrod just threw a ball to Alpharetta.

-After a short run, Tyrod threw a ball to Norcross. Just a reminder, this guy’s a starting NFL Quarterback, but AJ McCarron is sitting behind a guy that’s never won a playoff game. The NFL is drunk

-Bama’s offense has to flip the field here. Ball on the 12, and very very very little offense so far. Gotta make some headway and let that defense rest.

-False start, and then Greg throws a ball to Julio amongst two defenders. This was a Beta version of Julio and he hasn’t developed the software for that level of catch yet, Greg.

-Greg McElroy has more rushing yards than Tyrod Taylor right now. People disrespect the running pocket passer.

-3rd and Freaking 8. Again. Good News: For the first time in 8 passes, Greg has a ball caught. Bad News: It was a defensive end. Drew Davis is a road grader, and got beat with speed of the edge. Dammit.

-VT with two decent runs, sets up 3rd and manageable. 3rd and 5. Marcel Dareus with a big hit on the QB (I wonder if we will hear that again?)

-Listening to them talk about this guy transferring from Penn State, it took me a minute to think, this was time before everyone transferred in the JoePa Scandal. Without going down too much of a rabbit hole, it’s amazing how it’s hard to remember the pre-scandal Penn State.

10-9 VT 8:39 2nd Quarter

-Barry Krauss is much more intimidating than Chris Stewart on the sideline reporter job.

-1st and 10 Greg McElroy’s 9th straight incompletion on a jump pass…. Is Tua warming up on the sideline yet?

-HE COMPLETED A PASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alabama v Virginia Tech
Badly thrown ball...probably.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

-3rd and 1, Wild Ingy. Mark off that left side again and converts. So predictable, so effective.

-That was a Heisman Trophy winner making a Heisman Trophy run.

-Now we are moving, across the 50, starting to establish the line of scrimmage. What we later call, the Saban Boa Constrictor effect.

-And a short run and a sack, and Bama is in 3rd and Macon again.

-Drew Davis tackled a man, Greg gets hit as he throws, but he threw it to Juliocho, so…. First down.

-AJ McCarron walking the sideline. So young. Probably only half a square foot of ink on his chest.

-Great throw from GMac, but my God Julio. He can’t legally buy beer yet, but he is the best football player on the field already.

-Man we ran a ton of Wild Ingy.

-ROY UPCHURCH JUST K.I.L.L.E.D.T. a man into the end zone. Upchurch was such a great back. Just a shame he came in a time when he got overshadowed. But we will always have Opelika, Roy. Always Opelika. #Cody5

-He redirects just to crush that guy. Man I have such a man crush on him.

Alabama v Virginia Tech
One of our favorite plays ever.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

-Dammit Bobby. Penalty and they are at the 50 to start the drive.

-Pre-ACL tear Hightower with a great play. I always wonder how much better he could have been without that injury. You see what he has become in the pros, imagine if he hadn’t lost this season and spent most of 2010 recovering.

-Marquis Johnson with a penalty, but doesn’t know it so he celebrates. I bet that was fun in the film room.


-Once again, Tyrod Taylor who underthrows a wide open touchdown is a starting NFL QB

-Tyrod FLIPS out on someone taking the QB quickly on option and throws it away on the option pitch. Starting NFL QB, yall.

-Rolando’s maybe the greatest Bama Linebacker of the Saban era (Lots in that discussion), but this is one of the few times he really hurt us.

-Just remembered “Ricky’s Rant” I hope that guy got punched in the face.

-So after all that, basically a redo, and this time, Ryan Williams pops to the 1. He was so unknown this game, but what a great running back.

-A failed QB Sneak and now 3rd and Goal from the one. Someone give Barry Krauss some pads.

-Dammit Brent stole my idea

-There’s that Williams dude again.

Alabama v Virginia Tech Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

17-16 Virginia Tech 1:02 2nd Quarter

-Saban is 10-0 in Openers, easily mostly, but man this one was a nut cutter

-One of my favorite things about old broadcasts is how much money networks put into shows that don’t make.


-Holla McGhee, my favorite Bama Tight End.

-RUNNING BACK U! Mark Ingram is the only player who’s signed jersey I own, and that’s why.

-Pressure by Tech, GMac throws it away. Good play by him.

-Stole 3 points here, two huge runs gave Tiffin a shot to give Bama the halftime lead. Tiffin yanks one.

-Ugly ugly half comes to an end, but with all that, Bama’s only down 1.


Alrighty, Fresh Half, Fresh Beer.

-Not bad Terry, Not Bad. Bama at the 29.

-Tech has -5 yards rushing? Ok

-McElroy’s getting hit EVERY time he drops back. This offense line wasn’t made for pass blocking. Joe Pendry made Road Graders

-3rd Down after a short run by Ingram, Tech is in complete control at this point.

-Throw behind Hanks, but great hands, and a first down. Just keep those chains moving Greg.

-Tech is salty man. This was one of the last great Beamer teams, and you never give them the credit for being as good as they were looking back on this season. This was a really quality team Bama beats.

-I think Bud Foster drinks Miller Genuine Draft, Chews Levi Garrett, and watches re-runs of Bonanza every afternoon. Pretty sure we would be best friends.

Alabama v Virginia Tech Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

-Holla McGhee again baby.

-Mike McCoy decleats a dude


-Why are we asking Drew Davis to pass block. That guy hits a sled for fun. He thinks a kick set, is what you use to put a motorcycle up with.

-Greg molested, sacked. This offensive line was a great run blocking line, but man they are struggling in pass protection. Thankfully a few first downs and flipped the field position.

-Brian Selman is currently my Player of the Game.

-Refs in white pants were funny then, and still funny now. Mad at whoever informed them they could wear black instead.


-Hightower made that tackle without a helmet. He’s such a stud. I love this defense so so much.

-3rd and 5 and a close up of Robbie Green. Man, what a forgotten player.

-3 and out, but a helluva punt. Bama from their own 35

-A run for a loss, and a quick out to Julio, another 3rd down.

-Greg is getting hit more than a Gopher in an Arcade.

-Tide bailed out on a Pass Interference, gotta make them pay here.

-Wild Roy with Mike McCoy coming in motion? Maybe McElwain did bang that shark.

-Roy gets a big block to let McElroy step up and dot up D. Hanks for a first down. Brian Selman has some PotG company.

Alabama v Virginia Tech Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images


-Rumblin’ Roy Upchurch becomes Fumblin’ Roy Upchurch. Give Brian Selman his damned trophy back Roy and go sit down and think about what you’ve done.

-Tyrod busts a run for the first time all night. Bama is trying to give Tech this game.

-Now an inside run gutting the Tide defense. Bama has to be down mentally right now.

-This Tide Defense is tired and frustrated. Really looks good if you were a Tech fan right now. You can go down and punch one in on a long drive and really put Bama’s balls in a vice here.

-Big stop by Eryk Anders and one of the DLineman. Can’t tell who it is, but a great job of shucking a blocker and making a big stop to put Tech behind the chains on a CRUCIAL drive.

-You can tell they talked about that option shuffle after that Florida game, huh? Super Bowl winner Hightower kills that shuffle pass.

-3rd and Long, and Bama snuffs it out. HUGE stop for the Bama defense. Had to get off the field there when Tech started getting some thoughts of actually putting the Tide in a bad spot.

Alabama v Virginia Tech
This was my boy. I’m still pissed at Petrino’s dirty shit going after his knee.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

-Big First down run by Ingy. Gotta think we are wearing on them up front.


-Lattimer is having a good game for Tech.

-Tide with such a huge TOP advantage. That will factor huge in how this game ends.

-Ingy Screen on International Screen Down, 2nd and Long.


-Somewhere Cochran is going ballistic right now. Weird to think that the “YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH FOURTH QUARTER” Stuff was so new then.

-3rd and 1 Playaction? Maybe this IS Lane Kiffin’s offense.

-Just a reminder, Tech has the ball and the lead in the 4th Quarter.

-Missed tackles. Bama looks tired on defense.

-Ryan Williams starting to make some runs. Bama is frustrated and should be. Dominating this game in yardage and Time of Possession, but trailing and having Tech string together some first downs. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember being as nervous looking back as I should have been at this point.

-Missed tackle by the best linebacker in America. We did WIN this game right?

-Whew, thankful for that hold.

-3rd down incompletion by NFL QB Tyrod Taylor. How big was that penalty? That’s one of those hidden plays, that could have completely changed the outcome of this game.

Alabama v Virginia Tech Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

-Solid return by Javy, and Bama is in GREAT field position again.


-First and Goal, Give that man his Touchdown. Ingram with one of his Iconic Touchdown Celebrations, Tide regains the lead, and you feel for all the world, that punched a lot bigger than a 6 point hole in VT’s chances. In 5 plays, Virginia Tech went from having a first down near midfield, with a 1 point lead and time running in the 4th quarter, to down 7. Once again, that holding was HUGE.

-Holla for 2. He is so underrated amongst Bama Tight Ends

Bama 24-17 12:23 4th Quarter

-Chris Rogers with a forced fumble and the fumble recovery on the Kickoff. If the previous few plays weren’t fun for Tech, this one was like the DUI to end a night of drinking after your wife left you to be with the drummer of a punk rock band and sold your dog to pay for their gas.

-Sidebar on Chris Rogers, my friends and I had a long running (Read: Still going) joke about how Chris Rogers was in the right place at the right time more than anyone with limited playing time. Go back and look. He wore #8, so people confused him with Julio (somehow?), but he was always on camera that year. I mean, always.


Alabama v Virginia Tech Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

-Ingram was and still is a back that could smell blood in the water. He’s always good, but when you were teetering, he was ELITE at dropping that final nail in your coffin.

-3rd and Goal. Bud’s last stand.

-Incompletion, but a nice play by McElroy, throwing it where only his guy could catch it. Greg grew up a lot as this thing went along. Not elite for sure, but much better in the 4th than the 1st.

-Tiffin knocks it through, Bama finally taking control.

27-17 BAMA 10:29 4th Quarter

-Kickoff coverage giveth, Kickoff coverage taketh away. Huge return AND Personal Foul, Tech starting this drive in Field Goal Range.

-On their second play of the drive, Ryan Williams shows incredible speed, and takes it to the house. I don’t remember much about this game, but I do remember this being overturned. Touchdown Tech.

27-24 BAMA 9:22 4th Quarter

-Lots of pressure on the Tide to make things happen here. It’s loud in the Dome, first time starting QB…. And Ingram rolls off 39 yard run. Bama starting to look like 2009 Bama.

-Terry Grant gets lots of time here early in the season. I keep forgetting he got all these carries over Trent Richardson.

Georgia v Alabama
This picture is from the Georgia game in 2008, but I wanted to show Terry Grant some love.
Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

-1st and 20 and Bama goes with Wild Ingram? Different time indeed.

-Holla McGhee on a dart from GMac puts Bama back in Red Zone. That’s a huge play erasing a bad situation after the holding.

-Marky Mark on the outlet gives Greg his first passing TD as a starter, and Bama answers Tech’s last gasp. Things are starting to look bleak in Blacksburg.

34-24 BAMA 6:35 4th Quarter

-Gotta Squib kick because of coverage breakdowns…. Dammit Bobby.

-Penalty, Incompletion, Tyrod running from Mark Barron like the pretty white girl in a horror movie runs from the killer, and it’s 3rd and 12, Saban’s favorite down.

-Big pressure on a blitz by Rolando, and the coffin is nailed shut. Tech has to punt down 10 with 5 minutes to go.

-Ingram pounding on them. This is looking more like vintage 2009 Bama much more than the first half. Still crazy that TR3 gets NO carries in this game so far.

Alabama v Virginia Tech
Imagine this guy with a modern Alabama QB?
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

-Also, Saban is vengeful on fumbles. Upchurch is killing it, and fumbles on a big run and he’s buried on the bench until this very end of the game. And he’s only in now because Ingram tweaked an ankle.

-Musburger talking about having a few drinks and it’s all cool in 2009. Mentions how attractive AJ’s woman is a couple years later and he’s doing Vandy vs. Kentucky on SEC Network. Crazy world.

-Bama just running the clock, punts it on 4th and long through the end zone (for obvious reasons).

-Less than 3 to go, Victory is in hand. Ingram has a buck and a half and two touchdowns. For all the problems, Bama has taken care of a top 10 team easily with so many first year starters. Obviously we all know how this ends, but this game is a great microcosm of how this season would play out.

-Javy just crushed NFL QB Tyrod for Tech’s 3rd down, and a sack before he could even set his feet on 4th down.

-“Remember the name Marcel Dareus” says Brent…. I wonder if we will hear from him again.

-And here comes TR3. The 4th running back in the game. And he’s wrecking folks.

-Trent’s running angry. And I like it.

-NFL Starter Tyrod Taylor: 9/20 for 91 yards. And AJ McCarron can’t start. This is a travesty.

-Greg 13/18 for 181 on his last 18 passes. Much much better.

-Bama has almost 500 yards of offense and over 36 minutes Time of Possession.

-“See you in December Tebow” sign. Oh man. Premonition.

-Hey Hokies. Crack open one last cold one, and Roll Tide.

Virginia Tech v Alabama
Two great coaches
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images