I don’t think any of us can act super surprised this morning. Tech mixed a combination of pressure defense and a few special teams sparks to carry a 17-16 lead into the fourth quarter…and blew it. Our offensive line, which was supposed to be vastly improved…well…wasn’t. Ryan Williams was dynamic but made redshirt freshman mistakes at the same time. Bryan Stinespring couldn’t diagram a play to get his receivers some separation to save his life. The game was completely status quo. That being said, Alabama is a hell of a team, and it’s hard to feel terrible after hanging with a team like that for 3 ½ quarters (especially with little to no offense). Hats off to ‘Bama and Saban, and I hope they smack the hell out of Florida in the SEC Championship game. Here are some specific thoughts on last night:
- Jake Johnson had a very hot and cold game. He was very strong and an effective tackler at points, and confused and out of position at others. It seemed obvious to me that Johnson had never started a game in his career.
- Kam Chancellor let me down (a la my preview). He may have all the size and athleticism in the world, but until he can package that with consistency and heady play, he’s not going anywhere. He’s starting to remind me more and more of Aaron Rouse. I would say he had a hand in about 200 of Alabama’s (close to) 500 yards of offense.
- We have to tackle before we look for the big play. We had at least 20 missed tackles due to players going for the strip before trying to bring a player down. That being said, Cody Grimm has a free pass from now on to always try and force a turnover, because he’s damn good at it.
- ESPN commentary said nothing about the why Greg Nosal was in the game. That irks me. Nosal looked OK at points, and certainly better than Blake DeChristopher did in the last 10 minutes.
- Speaking of our starting right tackle, he won’t keep his spot long if he keeps looking like a statue when he “pass blocks.” ESPN caught him at least three times misreading blitzes and getting caught looking at guys just running by him.
- Our defensive line is damn good, and just had trouble when the linebackers broke down in the 4th. Alabama got their yards when they got to the second level (which led to mistackles), but there were a lot of times that they didn’t have that chance to do that. Thanks to big John Graves, Cordarrow Thompson, and Antoine Hopkins. All three had great games.
- Tyrod didn’t look that bad. He didn’t rack stats up on the box score, but he didn’t make any dumb plays and took what the defense gave him (which was little to nothing). Stiney and the receivers take the blame in this one. Receivers for not getting separation in the secondary and Stiney for diagramming plays that a fourth grader can figure out pre-snap.
- Losing Greg Boone for the second half really didn’t help our offense at all.
Overall, Frank Beamer was right. We aren’t to Alabama’s level yet, and we need to pass block and not make stupid plays on special teams. Alabama has some of the most elite athletes in the country, and that won things for them in the 4th quarter. If the Hokies want to stay in the national picture and win the ACC, they must learn from this game, and quickly, Marshall will be a welcome tune-up before Nebraska and Miami. Hopefully they can get things together before then. Here’s to finishing 13-1! Go Hokies.