Our friends over at Gobbler Country asked us to participate in their End of Season Hokie Roundtable. And seeing how The Northerner and your humble editor pretty much know everything about Hokie football, we decided to take them up on their offer.
All questions after the jump…
1. Do you think the 2009 season was a successful one for Virginia Tech?
C Gally: “Successful” may be a little strong. There were the usual highs and lows. Winning consecutive bowl games was great, but the mid-season disappointment of losses to Georgia Tech and UNC (ugh…) probably balanced it out. Overall, I think this season was very much a plateau from 2008. We finished in the top ten, but without an ACC Championship. Most teams would kill for the season we just had, but when expectations are much higher, “ten-wins” doesn’t give us much solace.
The N: Agreed. However, I might be a bit more optimistic about this season than you. We had ten wins and a very convincing win in the bowl game which proved three things: we can actually win consecutive bowl games, we don’t have to shut it down after the regular season, and we might actually be able to compete with the SEC if we play at a consistently good level.
As for the season as a whole, we had Ryan Williams break out as a top player nationally, a feat that hasn’t happened to us since the dog-killer himself. Bryan Stinespring didn’t have a completely shit year, but there are still many concerns with him, namely he has one good offensive game and then proceeds to jerk himself off with that game for the next three. And that ain’t good. We had some weak spots in the GT and UNC game, but we are not yet a perfect team, so we can’t be too upset with how that turned out. We didn’t win the ACC Championship, but we also played in the oddly harder division against a tough-but-not-tough-against-
2. Did Bryan Stinespring and the Hokie offense finally turn a corner in 2009 or are you still pessimistic about the future of the offense?
The N: Unlike so many years before, I am less pessimistic for next year and more cautious. Yes, that is an improvement. The offense itself got into a rhythm and we had the passing threat and rushing threat going to challenge almost any defense. That, of course, happened at the end of the year. However, next year we have Ryan Williams, Tyrod Taylor, Darren Evans, Josh Oglesby, David Wilson, Dyrelle Roberts, Danny Coale, and a host of other players that provide us with so much potential it makes me get the nervous shits, I’m so excited.
Now the only question is whether Stiney can continue with his “utilize the talents we have” scheme and keep opposing defenses guessing like he did with Tennessee. Man if he can go through a year and call plays the way he called them in the CFA Bowl, I am willing to bet that FireBryanStinespring will see a huge drop in visitors. And then HokieJayBee and IllinoisHokie might have to come be contributors for TheNorthEndZone. If only.
So it’s still up for debate whether a corner has been turned. Our offense could be peeking around the corner to see what’s there or they could brazenly make the 90 degree spin and meet the future head on. It’s up to them.
C Gally: But if we are able to “utilize the talents we have” in 2010, we will gladly give Voldemort a real name once again. I’d love to take part in the “Rename FireBryanStinespring Contest” for one reason or another: whether by actual firing or a vast improvement in our offense. And IllinoisHokie and HokieJayBee are more than welcome to come to the NEZ. As long as they have at least 75% of Independence Daymemorized.
3. Can the inconsistency of the defense this season be blamed mostly on youth at linebacker and injuries to key players like John Graves or were other factors at play?
The N: Kind of a loaded question, because then we must admit that the defense wasn’t consistent this season. In order to not piss anyone off, I’ll just go with yes. All of the above. I mean we were young, we were hurt, we were confused, we played schemes we didn’t really see before (GT’s triple option), etc. I think it was a smattering of all these problems and the fact that we are always such a good defensive team that any slack looks like we have problems, when in actuality, the problems we have aren’t as big as we may think. Next year might be a different story with so many players leaving from our defense, but we will wait and see how the spring goes and see what Bud has to work with on the defensive side of the ball. To be honest, Foster could take all the short, out of shape, non-football players who write for all these blog and turn us into a formidable defensive team. So needless to say, I’m not too worried.
C Gally: I honestly can’t tell you exactly what the issues were this year. An abundance of missed tackles certainly didn’t help, but I suppose that comes with the lack of experience due to the injuries. That Georgia Tech game was especially frustrating, on all points. Other teams could figure out how to stop the triple option, but for some reason we couldn’t.
As for next year, I would venture to guess that we’ll be just fine. We seem to lose top-notch players every year, but Foster seems to replace them without losing a step.
And I have no doubt that Bud could turn the Northerner and myself into the most feared linebackers in all the land. Not the DiP though. He’s just awful.
4. Which player was the biggest surprise to you in 2009, good or bad?
C Gally: I don’t think there is any doubt that RMFW was the biggest surprise this year. After Evans went down, the collective Hokie freak-out was huge. After the Alabama game, we all figured that we’d be ok. Halfway through the season, we were positive that we had a monster in the backfield. After the UVA game, the nickname was given, stuck, and a 2010 Heisman candidate was born.
Honorable mention goes to Cody Grimm. No one could have predicted how beastly he would be this year. Sadly, he will likely have a Corey Moore style NFL career.
Dishonorable mention goes to Kam Chancellor. The guy could wrap up a burrito.
The N: I’m going to go differently on this one, but only in the sense that I’ll flip the two you picked. While Ryan Williams was a pleasant surprise, he came in knowing that he was good. Now the level of “good” was severely underestimated because this kid is fucking terrific, but the coaches recruited him knowing he had the potential.
The Deathbacker/Grimmreaper/Future Patriots Linebacker on the other hand was a WALK ON. He had no potential coming to VT, because he wasn’t even on the team. Yet he turned that shit around pretty damn quickly and became arguably one of the best defenders in the ACC, nay, in the nation. This kid plays with something to prove and damn sure he proved it.
5. If the Hokies could go back and replay one of their three losses, which one would you replay?
The N: UNC. UNC UNC UNC UNC. That game fucking SUUUUUCKED. We played well against Alabama, if we played them again we might beat them but we probably wouldn’t. Georgia Tech was a tough game, but they outplayed us. The killer was UNC. If we won that game AT HOME ON A THURSDAY NIGHT we may have made it into the Orange Bowl and would not have embarrassed the ACC by losing to Iowa like the fucking honeybees ended up doing. We looked ahead to the next week and said “fuck it, it’s just UNC.” I’m pretty sure we had Malcolm Delaney on the field at some point.
Coming off a heartbreaking and National Championship-run ending loss to GT and we put that display of sloppy donkey shit on the field. Awful. The only good thing is that it may have woken us up for the rest of the season, but man if we could go back and fix that abortion of a football game I would be a lot happier. The Alabama loss didn’t hurt us, it probably helped that we didn’t get slammed. The GT loss was almost expected so that didn’t hurt us too much. A win would have been magical, though. But that UNC game fucking ended us. And they loved it too. UNC was having all out orgies in Chapel Hill, much like when we beat them at basketball that time. All we got was sad, awkward sex with a fat chick after we lost to them. Ugh, still pisses me off.
C Gally: Without a doubt, the answer is UNC. I’d like to take a different stance, say something from a different perspective, but I just can’t. I took two days off of work, drove 8 hours, and was treated to the worst offensive display I’ve ever seen. It was embarrassing. No more Thursday night magic. Sure we’d already lost to BC, but that was against the #2 team in the country. This was UNC.
It was just atrocious. Voldemort is just lucky that Blacksburg kicks ass, otherwise I’d have sent him an invoice for my gas.
On top of that, our workhorse RMFW fumbled the game away. Every person in that stadium felt terrible for the kid. It was just an awful, awful game all the way around.
Bonus question: Write a haiku about Ryan Williams.
Any defense, you’ll run through.
Wahoos will praise you.
Note: Please count “W” as two syllables. Just say it faster.
Lil Sweetness, hot knife.
Defenses were his butter.
Touchdowns, his biscuit.
Thanks for reading, everyone. And thanks for letting us take part, Gobbler Country. We hope the drop in your readership was worth it.