Tag Archives: Q&A

Ohio State Q&A with Phil Harrison of CollegeFootballNews.com

This week’s guest is Phil Harrison of CollegeFootballNews.com and CampusInsiders.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFB.

What are your expectations for Ohio State this season?

It’s National Championship or bust. What was a young team last year is now a seasoned one, there is NFL talent across the board, and the ships being steered by one of, if not the best college football coach in the game today. Repeating won’t be easy, and there will be many land-mines along the way, but it all starts and ends with the College Football Playoff. Anything less would leave a sour taste in everyone’s mouth in Columbus.

What are your expectations for the Virginia Tech game?

I for one believe this is going to be a whale of a game. Virginia Tech was the only team able to crack the scarlet and gray code last year, and last I checked, Bud Foster was still calling the shots on defense. Sure OSU is a much different team than that fateful night in the ‘Shoe last year, but the it’ll be an electric environment in Blacksburg, with a team that has more than enough talent and coaching to make things very, very interesting.

What is the perception among Ohio State fans about VT’s program? What is the level of excitement like among fans about going to Lane Stadium to play VT?

The Hokies are well respected around the Ohio State program. In fact, over a decade ago, when Jim Tressel grabbed the keys to the OSU program, he was more than kind with his praise of Virginia Tech, stating publicly that it was one of the programs that he wanted to pattern the Buckeyes after. Yes, Virginia Tech has fallen on leaner times recently, but when you think of the Hokies, you think of great secondaries, NFL talent, and a hard-nosed and well-coached team that gets after it with bad intentions.

And the excitement level? Anytime you go to a place that you haven’t been before against a team the caliber of Virginia Tech, it’s something to get excited about. But to be honest, at least for Ohio State fans, it’s seen as a revenge game. All the Monday morning quarterbacks would be better served being satisfied with simply getting out of the Blacksburg night with a win.

What is your prediction for the game?

It’ll be a donnybrook. I would not be surprised one bit to see this be a fourth-quarter game. The Hokies may have struggled with injuries and consistency last year after the tussle in Columbus, but just like OSU wants to show everyone that last year was a fluke, Virginia Tech would like to show the world that it wasn’t. Both teams will trade punches defensively early on, but I do like Ohio State to wrestle it away at the end via a much more seasoned quarterback under center than last time the two met. Ohio State 27 Virginia Tech 20.

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Q&A with Mike Kline from the Duke Sports Blog

You can follow Mike Kline on twitter @MikeKlineDSB

What are your thoughts on your team so far?

So far Duke has either met or exceeded my expectations on the season. Most expected a good team with a good record, but not sure many believed, even with a favorable schedule that they’d be 8-1 and in position to be in the drivers seat in the coastal. Duke is not all things for everyone, but they are a team that believes they can win.  Anthony Boone has been at times very good and the running game has been surprisingly good. Defensively they’ve done well against the pass, but struggled against the run. They are a team with a lot of momentum heading into the Virginia Tech game.

What are your expectations going into the VT game?

Duke has had two back to back games against physical opponents so their could be a combination of fatigue and some bruises to account for when they take on the Hokies. They also have the risk of looking ahead at UNC on the big Thursday night matchup next week so minds could be else where.

The good news for the Blue Devils is that they are at home and after years of being the doormat they believe they can beat anyone.

Virginia Tech has definitely had a down year since beating Ohio State, but the fact is they are still a formidable opponent for Duke and one that they cannot look past.

Who do you think is going to win the Coastal Division?

Right now, unless Duke has a total collapse, I think the Blue Devils will take the Coastal Division as long as they win two of their next three games and get some help in some other games. Obviously if they win out they will take the crown for the second straight year. I just have the feeling this is another special year for the Blue Devils so I think they’ll get the job done.

What is your prediction for the game?

I think this is a game that can go either way but I expect something similar to what we saw between these two teams last year. I think Duke wins a low scoring game, though I don’t count out the Hokies at all. It wouldn’t be shocking if they pulled out the W, but I think Duke wins 21-17.

Miami Q&A with StateOfTheU.com

You can follow Jerry Steinberg @TheStateOfTheU on Twitter or visit his website at StateOfTheU.com.

What are your thoughts on your team so far?

In all honestly I am disappointed. The defense, while statistically improved, failed miserably in Miami’s losses to Georgia Tech and Nebraska. The offense has been explosive, and freshman QB Brad Kaaya has been all that was advertised and more, but third down struggles have also cost the ‘Canes in their three losses.  More than anything I am upset that some of the same failures of recent seasons (consistency on both sides of the ball, ability to stop the run) have shown up again this year.

What are your expectations going into the VT game?

I expect Miami’s offense to move the ball against the injuries riddled Hokies D.  Duke Johnson is tough to stop for anyone. Kaaya looks better each time out.  But I also expect the Hokies O to get “healthy” against UM’s D.  Miami has yet to show the ability to stop the opposition in this type games during the Golden/D’Onofrio era.  Until it happens, in a big game against a good team, a solid/game-winning type defensive performance is not to be expected. Even in the biggest win n recent years (Last season Vs UF) it was more about forcing turnovers than making consistent plays.  Look for a high scoring game.

At this point, how do you see the Coastal division shaking out? Which team do you think will end up winning the division?

As much as Miami’s issues frustrate me, I realize that each and every team in the division has problems.  Someone is going to win, and I think 5-3 gets it done.  I’d like to say Miami, but my guess is it ends up being Duke again.

What is your prediction for the game?

Miami makes a bunch of big plays on offense, but gives up a few as well, and loses the special teams battle. However a key late turnover saves their season in a 31-27 win.

Pittsburgh Q&A with @CzarOfPgh

You can follow Zach on twitter @CzarOfPgh

What are your thoughts on your team so far?

I’m basically like the guy from Momento; I should be carrying around polaroids of the past 30 years of Pitt football to remind myself in the offseason to never, ever be optimistic. The schedule seemed to be shaping up for an 8-4 type year: open 5-1 against Delaware, BC, FIU, Iowa, Akron, and UVA and then manage 3-3 in the chaotic Coastal. I remember thinking 4-2 to open the season would be a worst-case scenario. We’re 3-3.

So my thoughts are mostly not positive. From halftime of the Iowa game until halftime of the UVA game, the team has appeared alternatingly confused, listless, overpowered, and uninterested. I’m not smart enough to know if the issue is players, schemes, or coaching, but the current players in the current scheme aren’t getting it done for the current coaches. Something has to change before the season slips away.

What are your expectations going into the Virginia Tech game?

After that burst of negativity, let me be positive here. In the Paul Chryst era, Pitt has followed disastrous back-to-back losses to Youngstown State and Cincinnati with a win over a 13th ranked Virginia Tech. Later that year, a bad loss to UConn was followed with a win at a ranked Rutgers. Last year, terrible losses to Navy and Georgia Tech were followed with a win over a ranked Notre Dame. In short, when it really comes time to nut up or shut up, Chryst’s teams have always chosen the former.

So here we are – a disappointing 3-3 looking into the cavity-laden teeth of the ACC Coastal. There are 6 winnable games here and 6 losable games. When it seemed like the season was slipping away in years past, Chryst’s teams have been able to rally and salvage bowl eligibility. I can only hope they still have that kind of fight still in them [pulls out polaroid pictures and frowns].

At this point, how do you see the Coastal Division shaking out? Which team do you think will end up winning the division?

Forget everyone finishing 4-4, I think somehow everyone manages to finish 3-5.

More seriously, it’s clear (as it was before the season) that there’s no elite team here. In the absence of a team that has an elite offense and defense, someone who has one of those things is going to win it. If that’s the criterion, then it basically eliminates Pitt and UNC from the start. Things always seem to be on the precipice of falling apart at Miami, and Duke does a lot of things very well but none of them really elite. That leaves Georgia Tech’s offense and the elite defenses in the commonwealth of Virginia. UVA still has to play FSU and GT still has Clemson, so I am taking the Hokies, injuries and all, to end up on top.

What is your prediction for the game?

If Pitt has any chance of winning, they have to take advantage of the injury concerns the Hokies have at running back and the questionable choices Michael Brewer often makes. VT isn’t a team that’s going to put up a lot of points, so that is encouraging, because Pitt’s defense is adequate at best.

Unfortunately, Pitt hasn’t been able to put up points at all, really, over the past month.  The offensive line wasn’t able to get much of a push against Akron, of all teams. If James Conner can’t run and set up second- and third-and-shorts, then it’s trouble. Chad Voytik has spent way too much time looking uncomfortable, unable to go through his progressions, unable to see over the line, and unable to use proper mechanics. That’s a bad recipe against a VT defense that is ranked 4th in the country by the latest F/+ statistics.

I predict VT 21-Pitt 13 with a lot Twitter jokes about both offenses from the national tv audience.

North Carolina Q&A with Zach Evans

You can follow Zach on twitter @ztevans

What are your thoughts on your team so far?

The good news is that UNC’s offense has gotten better each week. Clemson has one of the best defenses in the ACC, and the Heels rebounded from a slow start to put up 35 points against them. The bad news, of course, is that UNC’s defense probably qualifies for FEMA assistance at this point. Scoring 35 points isn’t good enough when you’re giving up 50 … or 70 in the case of the East Carolina game.

What are your expectations going into the Virginia Tech game?

The game will be decided when Virginia Tech has the ball. As I said on this week’s ACC Weekly podcast, which also featured the royal steed of stationary running machines, it will be the stoppable force of Virginia Tech’s pedestrian offense under Michael Brewer against the movable object that has been UNC’s porous defense. If Brewer can complete enough passes to the right team and force UNC to make tackles, Virginia Tech will win. If not, UNC will win.

At this point, how do you see the Coastal Division shaking out?

I’d love to have some expert analysis of the Coastal, but I am utterly confused and perplexed by the division at this point. I liked Virginia Tech, then they lost to ECU and Georgia Tech. I liked Duke, they lost to Miami. I guess the teams I like most now are Virginia and Miami, which guarantees they will lose to Pitt and Georgia Tech this week. Really, I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.

What is your prediction for the game?

I predict #goacc. Lots and lots of #goacc. What else would we expect from the 12:30 ACC Network Game of the Week? I’m biased enough to think that UNC will generate enough turnovers to squeak out a win in front of the home crowd. But more importantly, I predict #goacc

Western Michigan Q&A with David Drew of the Kalamazoo Gazette

You can follow David on twitter @Drew_On_WMU or read his latest stories at mlive.com/broncos.

What are your thoughts on your team so far?

The Broncos have really surprised me offensively. WMU scored 17 points per game last year, which was one of the worst averages in the country. Right now, WMU is scoring 41 per game through its first three games. I don’t expect that high output to continue, but the Broncos have additional weapons in freshman running back Jarvion Franklin, who is on a record-breaking pace so far, and sophomore Daniel Braverman, who is a quick shifty player that can make people miss in the open field. WMU’s offense looks much different than it did last year and is no longer one-dimensional.

Defensively, WMU is still very much a work in progress, especially in the front seven. Western Michigan recorded seven sacks last season and was the only team in the country to fail to reach double digits in that category. The Broncos recorded four sacks at Idaho and put up a good rush against Murray State. WMU’s secondary was billed as a strength of the team coming into the season and it’s been okay so far, though I think it’s fair to say it’s almost been a bit of a disappointment.

Overall, WMU is a work in progress. I predicted WMU would win three games this season. Maybe the Broncos get to four or five, but this isn’t a bowl team or one that will contend for a conference championship. Coach P.J. Fleck is stockpiling the talent in recruiting, but it’s going to take time for the young guys to gain experience.

What are your expectations going into the Virginia Tech game?

WMU’s fan base is very excited right now as the Broncos are on a two-game winning streak for the first time since 2011. There are some who feel WMU can take down a reeling Va. Tech team, but I’m not one of them. The Hokies won 63-0 the last time WMU came to Blacksburg in 2004. I don’t think it will be that lopsided, but I don’t see this one being in the single digits either. If this one starts getting out of hand it’s important WMU take out its key players, take their check from Va. Tech and get home healthy and ready for MAC play, where anything can happen.

How do Western Michigan fans view Virginia Tech’s program?

I think WMU fans know and admire/respect what kind of tradition and success VT has had over the years. As I said, there are some that think an upset can happen, but I think most know this one will be tough and it’s important that their team not get too beat up. WMU coach P.J. Fleck talked at Sunday’s practice about how much respect he has for Frank Beamer and what he’s done at Va. Tech. WMU will go into this one confident, but not cocky and I think the same goes for its fan base.

What is your prediction for the game?

I think WMU gets a touchdown in the first quarter, but I don’t see this one staying close for long. Oddsmakers have the Hokies favored by 27.5 points. I think that’s a little high, but not out of the question. My final score: Virginia Tech 41, Western Michigan 17.

Georgia Tech Q&A with ACC blogger Jeffrey Fann

You can follow Jeffrey @TalkinACCSports on twitter.

What are your thoughts on Georgia Tech so far this year?

After three games we know who Georgia Tech is. Solid on offense, dreadful on defense. Justin Thomas is the best dual threat QB [Paul] Johnson has ever had.

DeAndre Smelter at WR has NFL ability, and there is good depth and quality talent at RB. The problem with this team is defensively. They are awful. The defensive line is thin and inexperienced.

There just isn’t much talent to speak of anywhere on defense. Johnson has not recruited well there.

What are your expectations going into the Virginia Tech game?

 From the Georgia Tech side, I think you have to hope the defense gives you something/anything on defense. Georgia Tech will be able to move the ball, and Virginia Tech will be surprised at the raw speed Justin Thomas has at QB. Think Tevin Washington but a much better athlete.

I think Georgia Tech’s defense will cure what ails inconsistent Virginia Tech offense. There won’t be much of a pass rush from the front 4.

Is your team featuring any new players or running any different schemes that we haven’t seen in the past?

Actually, Georgia Tech will run more traditional triple option than you saw last year. No more pistol, no more shotgun. Paul Johnson is going back to his bread and butter. We’ve already mentioned Justin Thomas. He’s young, but he is a 4 star talent, that was recruited to play DB at Alabama. This is his first year starting, and he has a ton of potential.

Georgia Tech elite return man Jamal Golden returns this year missing 2013 with injury.

What is your prediction for the game?

Georgia Tech’s only chance in this game and in most games the rest of the year is dominate the time of possession. The Jackets need to hold the ball at least 35 minutes and keep their defense off the field. If Georgia Tech’s offense can’t dictate the tempo of this game it could become a route. That said Thomas hasn’t seen anything close to the defensive talent the Hokies will bring. I expect Foster to try and bring pressure much the way he did against Ohio State.

It’s not a good recipe for the Jackets especially playing what should be a a really mad group of Hokies. I’m seeing 28-14, 31-17 type game in favor of Virginia Tech.