2006 Monday Thoughts: The Halfway Point

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Pardon the rhyme, but the Hokies are halfway through, and they’re 4-2. Those
of you who predicted 8-4 are on the mark so far; those who predicted 10-2 will
probably be proven wrong in the coming weeks; and those of you who predicted
11-1 or 12-0 are no doubt reassessing your prognostication skills, firing off
angry emails and letters and message board posts, or simply coming to the
realization that this team is a ways away from reaching that level again. As for
us here at TSL, analyzing some stats at the halfway point, using Phil
Martin’s late August “Keys to the Season” article as a reference
point, tells us a lot about how things have gone through the first six games.

Much has been said and written about Sean Glennon vs. Ike Whitaker, the
behavior of the VT players, and other sweeping topics. But this article won’t
tackle huge philosophical issues like that. Instead, it will mostly center on
statistics.

Back on August 31st, Phil Martin provided us with keys
and stats to watch
for the 2006 season. Using that article as a
guideline, here’s how the Hokies are doing (and we’ll also cover some topics
that have popped up since Phil’s article):

Offensive Key #1: Return to playing Beamerball

In the context of the offense, playing Beamerball means taking care of the
football and winning the field position battle. It doesn’t necessarily mean
playing conservatively, it just means don’t make critical mistakes. This task
centered mainly on first-time starter Sean Glennon. “In short, Glennon does
not need to be spectacular to succeed,” Phil wrote, “he just needs to
execute the offense efficiently and not make critical mistakes.”

Key statistics to watch: Offensive turnovers and starting field position.

The midway point: The Hokies managed the turnover battle very well until
game five against Georgia Tech. Going into the GT game, the Hokies had seven
turnovers to 11 for their opponents. In what they perceived to be their biggest
test — on the road against UNC — VT lost three fumbles, but they picked off
UNC quarterbacks four times, and turnovers were the difference

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