2006 Monday Thoughts: The Kent State Game

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Sloppy. Unfocused. Unmotivated. Not taking the opponent seriously. Playing around instead of concentrating. Taking
plays off. Not paying attention. Knowing that a half-hearted effort would mean victory anyway. That pretty much
describes how I was at the Virginia Tech-Kent State game Saturday. Oh, and it appears that the VT players and coaches
weren’t very focused, either, as Tech struggled with the Golden Flashes in the first half and then pulled away.

There certainly is a lot of hand-wringing on the TSL message boards since the Hokies slogged (to use the Roanoke
Times’ word) to victory over Kent State by the score of 23-0, but I wouldn’t put too much stock into what we saw on
Saturday. KSU was the dreaded sandwich game, coming between two emotional victories over Clemson and Miami and two big
games against Wake Forest and Virginia. The Golden Flashes weren’t a serious threat to VT, and the Hokies went out and
played like it and coached like it.

In a perfect world, the team would come out with laser focus game after game, putting up their best effort week after
week. You would always know exactly how good they were, because they would play to their peak every game. But this is
not a perfect world, of course, and we’re dealing with 18-to-22 year old kids. Their focus and concentration waxes and
wanes.

For the Hokie defense, this is not a problem. They pitched another shutout, scored another touchdown, and boosted
themselves back to #1 total defense status by holding KSU to 182 yards. The VT defense didn’t seem to miss a beat.

Offensively, the Hokies only mustered 214 yards and 16 points, and if there was a concentration and motivation
problem, it was on the offensive side of the ball. In addition to missing two starters on an offensive line that isn’t
world-beaters, several Tech offensive players just weren’t sharp Saturday. This showed up in their performance and in
the comments of the coaches after reviewing the film.

The Hokies didn’t run the ball effectively. The wide receivers didn’t get open. Tight end Greg Boone dropped a third
down pass. Even Branden Ore didn’t seem to be his usual self. Let’s look at things a little closer.

Offense Sluggish Early

Tech’s offense got off on the wrong foot

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