Thursday, November 6, 2008

Postgame Report Card: Virginia Tech 23, Maryland 13

The word of the game is... sputter. The Terps came into this game on a roll, and they sputtered. Within this game, the offense started strong and then they… sputtered. When the Terps had to step up tonight they folded, like so many other times on national television. It wasn’t for lack of effort, and credit Virginia Tech for a wonderfully played ballgame. The Hokies’ previously unheralded tailback Evans accumulated 253 yards on the ground, and while his performance was spectacular the Terps’ tackling approach was horrendous. The Terps were punched in the mouth, and although they put up a fight, at the end of the day they couldn’t step up when it counted the most.

Offense - Overall Grade: C
Quarterbacks: C+

This is a disappointing grade because Turner started off this game so strong. However, Turner’s streakiness and inconsistency came back to light in this game as he stumbled badly down the stretch. The strong accurate throws and smart reads he made in the start of the game disappeared in the fourth quarter when they counted the most. Turner’s emotions got the best of him late in the game, as his frustration showed both on and off the field.
Running Backs: D+
This is a tough grade. Da’Rel Scott had an abysmal game, outside of a couple of positive plays in the passing game. He had no help from his defensive line and it’s hard to have any success when you have to make your first cut three yards behind the line of scrimmage. At the end of the day, Da’Rel Scott still left a good number of plays on the field and lacked his typical burst.
Wide Receivers: B+
If it was catchable, they caught it, that’s all I can say. No, they didn’t put up incredible numbers, but this unit did everything they could; they got open and caught everything in their direction. Heyward-Bey’s long touchdown was something very special, as he had to reach back behind him to make the catch on the screen and did it without breaking stride. Torrey Smith had a couple of very big catches.
Tight Ends: C-
Gronkowski was a non-factor in this game and, judging by the complete lack of a running game, they clearly did not help much at all in the running game. No blocking, no catching, no good grade.
Offensive Line: C
Virginia Tech Da’Rel Scott couldn’t get going at the line, and Chris Turner was pounded in the second half. This unit did show some flashes in pass protection early in the game and were very effective getting out on screens. The athleticism of this group is much underrated.

Defense - Overall Grade: D
Defensive Line: D-

The defensive line was a joke. No, they can’t help that Tech’s offensive line averages about 50 pounds heavier than them and no, they can’t help that Chris Cosh gave them no help. But when you let a team steamroll you like the Hokies did tonight and when you fail to get any semblance of a pass rush on a gimpy quarterback, there’s no way the grade can be any higher than this.
Linebackers: F
Someone, please, please teach this unit how to tackle. Yes, they did accumulate tackles on the stat sheet, but look at how they were tackling. Every single time they attacked Tech’s power running backs they tried to tackle them at shoulder level. And we’re supposed to be shocked when the running back plows right through them? Give me a break. I’m assuming that someone on this staff knows that you don’t tackle high, but maybe that’s an unreasonable assumption.
Defensive Backs: D+
They didn’t have to do much in terms of the cover game. They let some potential interceptions go, and like the linebackers, they need a tutorial in tackling. A personal question, however: Why, on third and six when you are dropping seven men, do you give a receiver a ten yard cushion? Just curious.

Special Teams - Overall Grade:
Kicker: C+

Obi Egekeze barely missed a 47-yarder but converted on both of his other attempts. Kickoffs were decent, however he did not account for any touchbacks and they had very little hangtime on them for the most part.
Punter: B
Travis Baltz had a relatively strong game, as he successfully handled a very bad snap that could have been disastrous and pinned Virginia Tech deep late in the game. A couple of big punt returns could have been negated by better placement or hangtime.
Returners: B-
Torrey Smith had a good, not great game as a return man. Danny Oquendo was less solid as he failed to make anything out of a potential return in the first half.
Coverage: D
Poor tackling, poor tackling, poor tackling. Virginia Tech’s return team embarrassed the Terps coverage men, and the muff recovery was pure good fortune. Torrey Smith’s partial block saves this unit from a lower grade.

Coaching - Overall Grade:
Offensive: B

The play calling was by and large okay, and I believe Franklin did his job and put the players in a position to succeed. Yes, there were some situations that the play calling could have been better, but by and large this was well-run from a coaching perspective. The Tech line shut down the Terps running game early, so Franklin had no choice but to abandon it.
Defensive: D-
I am so unbelievably tired of Chris Cosh’s defense. Nearly every situation it is rush four, drop seven. Rush four, drop seven. Yes, I understand that the fourth blitzer is coming from different places. But Cosh’s unwillingness to just dial up the blitzes has come to bite this team on more than one occasion. When you have a quarterback on a bum ankle, don’t let him sit back and survey the field. Rattle him; send extra rushers to keep him off balance. Cosh handed Glennon the time he needed to get into a rhythm. I’m not saying he should lose his job, I’m just saying that he might need to rethink some of his defensive philosophy.

And for my MVP/LVP...
MVP (Most Valuable Player) –Darrius Heyward-Bey– Darrius kept the Terps in this football game, and without his superlative performance this game would’ve become a laugher.
LVP (Least Valuable Player) –Da’Rel Scott– Someone has to take the blame for the inept running game. He’s not the only one responsible, however.

(Photo Credit: AP)

1 comment:

Bill-DC said...

Cosh needs to go, period. Pretty sad when a defense gives up 400 yards to a team with a gimpy QB and lets a freshman RB dance all over them. Evans alone outgained the Terps offense, 253-228.

That said, I wasn't too thrilled with the offensive line last night. Chris Turner ought to sue for non support. They're a much better unit than what they showed last night, that's why I am disappointed.

Key was not scoring a TD after VA Tech mishandled the Terps punt when MD was down 20-10.

I would have started Meggett over a banged up Scott but what do I know, I'm just some season ticket holder playing internet coach right now.

Frustrating night but the Terps could still win their division by winning their last three.

History is looking good as earlier this year they lost on the road at night to MTSU and UVA and followed it up with home afternoon wins over Cal and Wake. Can they do it again next Saturday afternoon at home against UNC?