Film Review: Running Game

I thought the starting offensive line played poorly as I watched the Spring Game live on Saturday. Judging from the talk I heard around me, you probably did too. However, making judgments before watching film is never wise.

After watching the tape of the Spring Game, I can say this with confidence: it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. Nowhere close, actually. In fact, I saw some definite positives. In some situations, the Hokies were just one block away (yes, I went there).

I put together a video of 15 plays from the Spring Game. Once you watch it, and you read the descriptions of each play, I think you’ll feel a little bit better than you did on Saturday when you walked out of Lane Stadium.

I recommend referencing the video after reading the comments about each play.  If you want to open the video in another browser, click here for a direct link to YouTube.

Play #1: This is a well-blocked play by the #2 offensive line against the starting defense. However, the play failed because of Duan Perez-Means . Perez-Means did a good job of double teaming James Gayle with Augie Conte at the start of the play. He then correctly realized that Conte had Gayle under control, so he peeled off the block to go after the next defender, who happened to be Kyle Fuller . He did everything correctly, from a mental standpoint. The play failed because Perez-Means failed to execute his block. He just didn’t hit Fuller. That play would have gone for a nice game if he had made that block. Of course, there is also the fact that Kyle Fuller has been an outstanding player on the edge against the run for his entire career. Perez-Means certainly isn’t the first guy who failed to block Fuller.

Play #2: This play failed for two reasons. First and foremost, the defense had 10 men in the box against eight blockers. Second, the running back failed to make a play. As you can see, every offensive player is successfully blocking a defensive player on this play. There was simply nobody to account for Brandon Facyson , who was the free hitter on this play. To his credit, Facyson stepped up in the hole and made a good, physical tackle. Trey Edmunds needed to cut that ball to the outside. Ryan Malleck had the rover locked up, and Edmunds would have scored had he cut outside that block. He made a cut like that on his long run (which we’ll see later), but he failed to do it on this play. It cost the Hokies a touchdown, and a couple of plays later Logan Thomas threw a pick-six.

Play #3: Again, it was eight on 10. The fullback had an opportunity to block a linebacker and a defensive back, but he sort of bounced off of both guys. This was a pretty well-blocked play by the offensive line, and Trey Edmunds did a good job of gaining positive yardage. Also, check out left tackle Jonathan McLaughlin staying with his block. Even though the guy he was blocking did make the tackle, McLaughlin finished the play. You have to like that.

Play #4: This is another eight on 10 situation, but the play still could have succeeded. It was well-blocked on the left side, which is where the play was designed to go. However, mike linebacker Devin Vandyke blitzed the A-gap between center Caleb Farris and right guard Andrew Miller , and neither player picked him up. Whose responsibility was it? Since it was a zone left play, it was most likely Andrew Miller ‘s responsibility. (Surprisingly, Miller was Tech’s worst offensive lineman on Saturday.)