clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mailbag 11/13

Including a Stephen Murphey Rant (TM)

Colorado State v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

What is the most hotly debated topic among FTRS staff?

Ben: Anything from fastfood restaurants to Star Wars movies and everything in between.

Andrew: Is a hot dog just an american version of a taco.

Chris: Every now and then we argue about BBQ. Usually the bye week power rankings spark a million debates.

Stephen: Honestly, in the soccer slack (which is basically Akshay and I yelling about Atlanta United while Chau tries to give away tickets to weeknight games) it gets pretty heated because I can’t stand Franco Escobar and everyone loves him because of 3 playoff goals. That’s the discussion that gets me the most heated. Oh, Space Chords. That’s the real answer.

Carter: Hey, I participate in the soccer channel too, sometimes. Anyway, it’s what fast food burger is the best, and which chains are truly considered fast food (Five Guys isn’t).

Jake: I argue with thin air about midwestern mid-major basketball. And anything from Chicago. I like to think of myself as the resident champion of F Tuning. We get into tussles about uniforms, that’s fun. Honestly there’s more consensus than you’d think, especially in my neck of the woods - with non-rev stuff and history it’s more like “Jake what’s up gimme an opinion” so I save my yelling to direct at Akshay about whatever he happens to be thinking at any given time.

Jake P.: As stated earlier, anything food-related. How bad we all are at picking college football games (except for Chau when he picks games blindly) comes up a lot as well.

Akshay: Franco Escobar has secretly become Stephen’s favorite player because of his playoff performances, but Stephen has to keep up the facade.

Is Dabo a genius and Chad Morris was a fraud? Is Arkansas a bad program that cannot be retrieved from the depths of purgatory? What should we say about this firing????

Ben: I think Arkansas is just a weird job. It seems like no matter who the coach is, Arkansas just isn’t able to compete in the SEC West, which is really weird, because they have really good facilities and fan/alumni support.

Andrew: Coaches don’t just up and forget how to coach, there are so many variables that can impact how successful a coach is at a given school. I think firing a guy after 2 years is ridiculous, he has only had time for 1 real recruiting class, which was ranked 23rd in the country. Looking at their depth, they are very young on offense and only a little bit older on defense. They seem to be going through the same growing pains that Tech is. I’ve always felt that a coach should get 5 years min, outside of extenuating circumstances. That allows for a full cycle of recruiting classes to come in. Arkansas is in a tough position, they play some of the top programs in the country and don’t have a strong recruiting base in state.

Stephen: Probably not is the answer to the first two questions. Back before the SEC claimed them, Arkansas actually did well for themselves. It certainly doesn’t help playing Bama, LSU, Auburn, and now Texas A&M every year, but I think there’s enough talent to be spread to Arkansas as well. They were in the BCS Top 3 for part of a season that was less than 10 years ago. They can get back there. Just might take doing some funky stuff like never punting

Jake: The SEC West isn’t impossible, but it’s darn near close. It’s a hard job in a thankless town with high expectations. That’s what it really comes down to.

Jake P.: I feel that Morris was probably a little too inexperienced for the Arkansas job. Yes, he did well at Clemson, but that was with a once-in-a-generation talent at QB. At SMU, he wasn’t all that good. He did build them up, but I feel like Arkansas just didn’t make a good hire.

Will scions of the southland ever return?

Akshay: Great question. Firstly, I’d like to apologize for us being so infrequently on-air. It’s gotten a bit difficult to schedule amongst the schedules of multiple current students, a few olds, and one freshly-minted work-force member over the last few weeks. My hope is to get a few more episodes out and then break until the 2020 season starts. For now, I hope the Scions Weekly column (and my uniforms column, which has also suffered as a result of my new scheduling woes but should return soon) helps fill the void.

Jake: I wish. I hope. Being a senior ME is hard. We’ll be back soon.

Carter: I pitched replacing it with me just rambling for 90 minutes about whatever was on my mind. Surprisingly, Akshay was not receptive.

Is there an argument for not using Yates? If I understand, he can play the final three games without affecting his redshirt. Are the coaches afraid of him getting hurt? Is our current offense hitting on all cylinders so well?

Ben: It’s kind of funny that we (myself included) were all annoyed at the constant rotation of quarterbacks at the beginning of the season only to be clamoring for another quarterback now (also myself included). I think at this point, you go into games with the mindset that James Graham is the starter, but you have to keep an eye out for if he’s struggling, a la the Pitt game. I think at that point, you consider playing Yates. Moving into the offseason, I think it’ll be a pretty open competition, but Graham will have the edge since he has starting experience.

Andrew: We’ve reached the point where he will be re-shirted, he can play in the next 3 without losing it. My guess is that Graham has shown the growth they are looking for and rebounded well from his poor play vs. Pitt. We also don’t know about the locker room dynamic and how changing out the starting QB would impact that. I think if we get down big or Graham struggles, we might see Yates in the last games. I also wonder what is going on in practice, he might not be outplaying Graham to the level that would necessitate his taking the reins of the offense. We also don’t know how receptive Graham would be to a position switch or if losing the job would cause a transfer. I fully expect to see transfers after spring 2020, where we will have an open competition for the QB job.

Stephen: Don’t play him against georgia, that’s my only ask.

UVA ranked 5th in the nation in sacks, yet didn’t get one against Tech. How does VPI’s defense compare to UVA’s and is this repeatable, or should we expect a return to the mean?

Ben: I wrote about this a little bit in the recap, but essentially boiled down to two things: Brent Key is a dang miracle worker, and James Graham did a good job of avoiding the pressure that did get through. I’m hoping we continue to see more stuff like this.

Andrew: I need to go back and take a look at the tape, but given the struggles we have had on the OL, I would be like to see some week to week growth and not the ups and downs we have seen.

Stephen: the other virginia team that isn’t Old Dominion isn’t as good on defense as UVA, but I wouldn’t count on us performing much better than we did last week. We averaged like 7 ypp, which is nuts for us.

Given our success in previous games with starting a backup QB, should we expect another >200 yard rushing performance by Tobias Oliver and no pass attempts, or will Lucas Johnson or Jordan Yates throw for 400 yards?

Ben: I fully expect a 350 yard, 3 TD performance from Jordan Yates this weekend.

Chris: Don’t think we’ll see TO at QB at all, but I could totally see LJ doing something impressive.

Stephen: It would be a total troll job to roll Tobias out there and just QB follow our way to 45 minutes of possession.

Jake P.: I think we’ll see LJ, TO, James Graham, and Jordan Yates all playing QB. One for each quarter. Each with over 300 yards passing. Tech by 80. You heard it here first folks.

Carter: We should not.

VPI has improved significantly over the last few games, and I’m actually not feeling great about our chances. What are some reasons to be optimistic?

Ben: Virginia Tech’s offense has improved, but they’re still not super great at running the ball. They don’t have anyone rushing for more than 63 yards per game.

Andrew: We are at home. It’s the Coastal. Fuente has never beaten us.

Chris: All of the things Andrew has said, plus the fact that we’ve been improving as well.

Stephen: Two of their wins are against Rhode Island and Delaware. Another is against ODU, who beat them last year. Wins and losses ain’t everything kids...

Carter: We, uh.... got the quarterback they wanted?

Akshay: C O A S T A L C H A O S

What’s a Hokie? (wrong answers only)

Ben: Offspring of Brady Hoke.

Chris: Hokie is the American spelling of Hokey, which is of course the unseen spectral entity that participants in the “Hokey Pokey” reach their “right hand in” to touch, or “poke”.

Stephen: It’s that big bread that you get at Larry’s Giant Subs.

Carter: They’re actually Hookies.

Given Coach Collin’s focus on special teams, you would think our punt and kickoff teams would be more successful. Can you isolate what the issue is or give us any glimmer of hope for the future? I’m filled with dread every time we kickoff or punt (even with PH3 sending absolute piss missiles down the gridiron).

Andrew: The most important part of kickoff coverage is having a kicker who can kick it deep and kick it where you want them too. We have struggled with that the past few years. We as a team have struggled with tackling across most phases of the game and that seems to be translating to the coverage teams.

Stephen: Hello. You would think would be simple. You would also think we pay somebody a boat load of money to coach 10 young men to run down a field and tackle while one kicks a ball and tells them where to run to. Simplest solution? Kick it out of the back of the end zone. They have to start on the 25. Every time. Zero deviation. But no, WE ARE TIED FOR LAST PLACE IN THE COUNTRY ON TOUCHBACKS. I AM NOT JOKING. SCHOOLS WITH 10+x MORE TOUCHBACKS THAN US: LIBERTY, INDIANA, SAN DIEGO STATE, GEORGIA SOUTHERN, ILLINOIS, FIU, HAWAII, GEORGIA STATE, WYOMING, UAB, COLORADO STATE, MIAMI (OH), EAST CAROLINA. DO I MAKE MY POINT CLEAR? We are getting [Styx]-pumped on field position week in and week out because we hemorrhage yardage on kickoff coverage and kickoff return. Want a fix to your special team stomach aches? Find somebody that can put their foot through the ball. It doesn’t take having a Harrison Butker to kick a touchback. Hell, everybody but Missouri gets more touchbacks than we do IN THE ENTIRE FBS.

Jake P.: I’ve learned to never doubt what Stephen says, so he’s correct.

Your Final 4 for G.O.A.T TV Wrasslers (Over the top rope Battle Royals Semi Finals and Death Chain Cage Match Final for GOAT)?

Carter: We all know Chris Jericho is the GOAT. But if I had to name three others, it’d probably be Eddie Guerrero, Daniel Bryan, and Kenny Omega.