The VT O IS PLENTY capable of "looking normal" and scoring, when game circumstances dictate that: 2 min pre-halftime drives ala Tenn in 2009, needing to score because of being behind (GT/Mich game)...i.e. when it's not being dictated by the the ball control on steroids-play keep away purpose it usually is the rest of the game.
The coaches know it's imperative to jump on GT firstly, and they did....what threw that ('12 GT) game "outta whack" was the VT special teams blunder leading to the first GT TD...no cushion....no room for error. That one play made the game 50-50 at that point, and that's what yah got.
Things to watch: watch how few 1st downs VT gets while on 1st down...that's ball control...watch how many times VT gets 2-3 yds on 1st and 2nd down and then completes a pass on 3rd and long to continue the drive......unusual, but by design.
I think another area that showcases these dual purposes is in Overtime. VT's done pretty good in OT (the Michigan game not with standing, obviously)...but even vs Michigan, you did see a THROW IN THE END ZONE to Danny Coale which you did not see when VT was dominating Michigan for the 1st 45% of the game (and imho, should have...I think a part of the failure in the Michigan game is not changing the strategy after watching your (the VT) D keep Robinson off the field...Frank no longer needed to use his O to keep Robinson off the field, he needed his O to score points by throwing against the poor Michigan Def Backs, but alas, Frank can be inflexible.)
To understand just to what extent Frank can take this style, he deemed BALL CONTROL more important than taking advantage of the opposing team's weakness on Defense. Think about that for a second....This literally had the Sugar Bowl announcers and analysts at half time scratching their heads.
Now, in overtime, there is only one purpose of the O ...to score...the base ball control philosophy is thrown out. No crossed signals with respect to the dual purpose.
So how and when in the game and/or where on the field do you switch play calls depending on a switch in O strategy...above my pay grade.
Frank uses his O not to score points all the time, but to
-- Prevent the other team from scoring points (by being on the field)
-- Rest the Defense.
That's the reason VT won't wind up with a 70-0 score vs FCS teams. It's also the reason games are kept closer than they probably need to be more often than not (cough, Michigan again, cough -- this style of play affords NO cushion.. so when Michigan scored the freak TD after being dominated and going ahead 7-6, Frank's beamerball style of O for the game was in trouble and backfired...the other team CANNOT score if you're foregoing your own points to prevent them from scoring).
I heard people here say Frank was EXTREMELY disappointed in last year's Sugar Bowl, probably because he played Michigan full on BeamerBall style on O, and lost. It was a blatant..."evidence my style lost" reality.
With the success Alabama/LSU are having with this style (but with better recruits that will make ANY style yah pick better, but if you have the luxury of #1 rated recruits, go with the least risky style...this ball-control thing), I think Beamer is copying this as a way to get to the MNC. Better hope for an uptick in recruiting with this style though. It's much harder to win any particular big game (we're seeing that evidence bear out at VT) with the style of O while NOT having #1 rated recruiting classes. There is simply less offensive scoring to account for a mush lesser margin of error. I think this is why you see the bizzaro Special Teams plays from Beamer in the big games....too little scoring from the O and trying to compensate for that.
A good example showcasing differences in offensive philosophy is a contrast between West Virginia and Virginia Tech:
VT is designed to win via Defense and Special Teams. With some good coaches, that'll get you a lot a wins (VT: no less than 10 and no more than 11 a year).
WVU doesn't win with D firstly, and thus does not enjoy the consistency VT does. But their O is designed to do more, score more, and employs more strategy in any one specific game. When/if WVU does get to the big game, the probability they will win it is increased.
WVU -- Probability of getting to the big game in any one season, decreased. Probability of winning it if they get there; increased.
VT -- Probability of getting to the big game in any one season; increased. Probability of winning it when they get there; decreased.
I think we are seeing the above play out.
This style of play seems to "smooth" out things. Creates less intra and inter seasonal variance, if you will. The valleys aren't there (.500 seasons), but the flipside ---- the peaks are smoothed out too (BCS OOC wins). Frank Beamer could very well ride all this out and have a win total rivaling the best in college football. But, unfortunately, it seems more and more likely the big national marquee games won't be those contributing to that total.
People argue Frank's style of play is conservative...but damn, within any one game, it can be a bit risky to play with no cushion not allowing for an opponents "freak" play.
It's ALL about the other team NOT scoring. In any way, shape, or form.
Frank doesn't think you demoralize an opponent by scoring on them, you demoralize an opponent by 1) Using a great Defense so they don't score on you and 2) Using your Offense to keep the opponents Offense off the field so the can't even attempt to score on you. A doubling down on demoralization, if you will. He then attempts to use special teams to make up some of the deficit or lack of scoring by the offense. You can score quickly with special team, i.e, yah get to have your cake and eat it too. There's no way to consume the clock with special teams....so score or flip field position.
The stronger the D is supposed to be, the more you'll see a doubling down of this philosophy. Of course the philosophy waxes and wanes, but usually not intra-season, only inter-season. Look at 2010, when the D was known to be young...yah saw 30 pts put up on Boise St right off the bat. The philosophy was relaxed a bit. In 1999, MV1's athleticism simply played outside the realm of all this.
The QB and play caller are TELLING us all about this, we should listen (although maybe not agree).
The first from Logan Thomas and the second from Mike O'Cain:
1) "Thomas echoed O'Cain statements. "Our philosophy every week is to go out and control the clock and score," Thomas said. "Sometimes we don't do it and sometimes we do. Either way, the longer that our offense is on the field that's more time theirs isn't, and that's what we want."
2) "There is a philosophical approach that we have to our offense in the context of this team. You know, we're not just an offense going out trying to score every time." -
The VT O can serve a VERY different purpose at VT, at times, than most any other school not named Alabama (VT just doesn't have the luxury of the #1 rated recruiting classes to make it look like it passes the eye test all the time--in fact it can look downright ugly).
Every team employs ball control to some extent. I just don't think you see it to the extent/extreme at other places that you see it here. I think this is cause for a huge amount of the toxicity we see with regard to the VT O.
So, a revisit back to the analysts and announcers scratching their heads during the Sugar Bowl vs Michigan when VT did not take advantage of the glaring weakness of the Michigan Defensive Backs.....this is where I think yah need to bend your brain a bit when it comes to the VT O:
2 things can happen when you score:
1--You put points on the board :-)
2--You give up control
Does Frank Beamer purposely not score at times?
Hmm, Well, I know that claim can sound absurd, but I really do feel there are times during VT games (especially early in games) when #2 above trumps #1. Now ideally, you want a long drive that ends in a score. But that also implies decisions are made to not score too quickly between the 20's. AND, even if yah get in the redzone and don't score, or just kick a field goal...yah already accomplished half of the dual purpose of the offense...control. Points at that point can be deemed a bonus.
Focus on the "Control" in Ball Control. I think Frank wants a complete "stranglehold" on the opposing team. Total control in all 3 facets of the game. How do you do that?, well, you get a Defense that doesn't allow the opposing team to score on O, and gets them off the field as fast as possible. Next, you possess the ball as long as possible while on O, which prevents the opposing team from even attempting to score. If, at times, that means foregoing points, so be it.
You're controlling/dictating the other team 100% at that point. Smothering them.
Frank is not interested in scoring too quickly or too much or not when he wants...that's giving up control. A couple things begin to happen with too much scoring...it can lead to a shootout, and then the probability any one team is going to win starts to become approximately 50/50. That's flipping a coin (see Syracuse '02, Cal '03, Miami '11, etc). That's not control. The other is the VT D is on the field too long, they get tired, and the other teams O then can begin to dictate the game. None of this is getting the game in your favor; i.e., control is lost.
Out of all this comes...you guessed it: consistency.
With this strategy, Frank found a way to win with lesser recruits (it's how he had the success in the 90's and gained a foothold in the college football world). You keep your O (with lesser recruits) on the field, thereby keeping a better O (the opposing team's, the one that may have better recruits) from scoring. Used in tandem with a good D, and scoring on special teams..viola, you can win with lesser recruits, and he did that.
Whether you agree w. the strategy doesn't matter. It's in the head coaches DNA.
Last edited by hokienole; Fri Jun 28 2013 at 01:58 PM.