Conversation Starters: Marcus Vick and Bryan Stinespring

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Marcus Vick Convinces the Press, but Maybe Not the NFL

In
the furor that followed Marcus Vick’s dismissal from the Hokie football team
back in January, we were asked not to write anything more about Marcus … as
in, ever again. But in watching the news reports of Marcus’ presence at the NFL
Combine, he’s an intriguing case to watch. I don’t find myself rooting for him
either way, to succeed or fail, I just find it interesting to watch the
reactions to him.

News about Marcus at the Combine falls into three groups:

  • Quotes from (and reaction to) his media interview session shortly after
    arriving in Indianapolis
  • The times he ran in drills
  • Reports that he failed to appear properly contrite in interviews with NFL
    team representatives

Vick’s first task after arriving at the Combine was to face a gaggle of
reporters who had plenty of questions for him about his character. He appears to
have done a good job in that interview session, in which he said things like
“I’m not [a bad guy, or a villain]. I wasn’t raised that way. Anybody that
really knows me knows that” and he blamed his trials and tribulations on
“Just poor decisions. Basically, poor decisions. That’s the most important
thing to me right now, just making the correct decisions when no one’s
watching.”

The reaction from the press was a little skeptical, but mostly positive and
forgiving. ESPN.com’s Michael Smith wrote
last Saturday
:

How are teams, such as the Eagles and Packers, both of whom had spoken to
Vick prior to his meeting with the media, supposed to believe he won’t make
the same mistakes again?

For starters, he can present himself as sincere and genuinely remorseful as
he did when reporters confronted him about his issues. Tell you what: If it
was a show, then the younger Vick is a better actor than he is a quarterback.
He came off as exactly what people who know him well says he is: a good kid
who thanks his brother, became a millionaire himself at 18 and who’s made a
few mistakes that have been magnified because of his last name.

Bill Wolverton of the Rockford (Ill.) Register-Star went
one better than Smith
, writing:

Here’s the read: The Bears should take Vick in the first round of April’s
draft. He’s a better quarterback than his brother, Michael, and he was
undeniably believable here.

Wolverton added, quite forgivingly:

Here’s the other thing about Vick: None of his arrests have been for
violent crimes. The Gator Bowl situation was sad, sure, but he did that to a
player who spent the game taking aim at his knees.

Having impressed the press, Vick set about the drills, and as you can
imagine, grouped with the quarterbacks, he was impressive there, as well. He is
fast, after all. Vick ran the second-fastest 40 time with a 4.42, second to
Reggie McNeal’s (Texas A&M) 4.35. Vick posted the third-best vertical jump
at 36 inches and put up the fastest short shuttle at 4.08 seconds, one of the
best times in the combine across all positions.

But then came the interviews with team reps, and while no one has been quoted
directly on Vick’s performance there, a number of Combine reporters, including
Todd McShay of Scouts, Inc. (writing on ESPN.com) have noted unnamed sources who
said that Vick came across as “smug and arrogant” in his team
interviews. McShay said ominously that “a number of scouts” told him
that they had taken Vick off their draft boards.

Marcus apparently went 2-and-1 over the weekend. He impressed reporters and
stop watches, but not the team reps. McShay’s comments, while they make for
juicy copy, probably don’t paint the whole picture, though. And as any player
who has been through the draft process will tell you, it doesn’t matter if 95%
of the teams don’t like you. All it takes is one who does, and you’re in.

Bryan Stinespring’s Responsibilities

In
the four years since he took over as offensive coordinator (OC), critics of
Bryan Stinespring have asked one question over and over: with his
responsibilities as OC, offensive line coach, and key recruiter, was too much
heaped on Stinespring’s plate, compromising his ability to do any one of his
jobs well?

That question will never be answered, but in the wake of the recent changes
to Virginia Tech’s football staff, it appears at first glance that some of
“Stiney’s” responsibilities have been reduced. And a lot of them have
been passed to new hire Curt Newsome.

Newsome’s credentials as an OL coach and a top recruiter in the Tidewater
area have been trumpeted as the reasons for his hiring at Virginia Tech, and
Newsome has been handed the offensive line coaching duties. Stinespring will now
coach tight ends. For those of you counting at home, that’s fewer players.

On game day, the OL coach will now be on the field with his big uglies,
unlike the last four seasons, when Stinespring was in the booth, and Danny
Pearman would handle the OL during games.

As far as recruiting goes, Newsome will now team up with Jim Cavanaugh and
cover the fertile recruiting ground of Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, and
Virginia Beach. Stinespring will no longer recruit in those areas, where he has
had great success throughout his career, and will instead recruit Danville,
Martinsville, Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Hargrave Military Academy.

In commenting on Stinespring’s new recruiting territory on BeamerBall.com,
recruiting coordinator Jim Cavanaugh had a very interesting quote. He said that
Stinespring’s new areas will enable him to make “day trips,” and he
referenced wanting to keep the offensive coordinator “as close to
Blacksburg as we can.”

To me, the changes in coaching responsibilities and recruiting territories
all seem to add up to shifting Stinespring’s focus more towards coordinating the
offense, and not overloading him with other responsibilities. If that’s the
case, we now know why Curt Newsome was deemed such an important hire.

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