Going On
by Jim Alderson, 1/15/01

I have it on very good authority that we will continue to field a football team this year. My guess is it will be a pretty good one. Oh sure, we are down to one Heisman candidate, and the stockpile of SuperPrep quarterbacks has dwindled a bit, at least until August, but this team has way too much talent to exhibit what is likely to happen at, say, TCU next year. This program is well beyond one player. Looking around the area, I suspect there is not one coach who wouldn’t trade rosters with Frank Beamer at the drop of a headphone.

If you think we have problems, take a look at our two closest rivals, WVU and the Hoos. As the firm of algroh and Son hangs out its shingle on the Lawn, and algroh, as soon as he hires the rest of his relatives for his staff, takes the time to introduce himself to the state’s high school coaches, running the risk of being trampled by the stampede of top-notch prospects for Blacksburg, our Hooville friends seem positively giddy in anticipation. They seem to think that now that they have nosed out the winningest coach in their lousy football history, they will very soon have a football program to match that magnificent effort I observed their basketball team display at Duke last Saturday. Perhaps they will, and the forty-point loss will become as much a staple of Hoo football as it is most every time Pete’s crew sets foot in Cameron Indoor Stadium. While I was pulling hard for Mike Smith, despite what would have happened to our OOC had we replaced the Hoos with Hampton High, my greatest fear was that Terry would do as Dutch Baughman fifteen years ago and hire a young and energetic coach such as Mark ‘Athens or Hooville? You’ve got to be kidding’ Richt or Mike Stoops.

You can imagine my relief as algroh held sway on the Jeffersonian ideals of limited government and offense. Do they honestly think things will get better by replacing basically the only guy who ever won there with somebody whose sole college experience consisted of losing big, even by Wake Forest standards, spent the last couple of decades as an obscure NFL assistant before getting the Jets job because he was the only person around who would take it, and whose chief interest in the Hoo job was he wouldn’t have to work so hard? I don’t think so.

Rich Rodriguez has begun moving mountains in Motown, mainly to see if there are any prospects underneath. He isn’t likely to find any, and the grim reality of having to recruit virtually an entire team out of somebody else’s back yard might prove daunting. Rich has brought the Elmo World Tour to town [is there anywhere he hasn’t coached?], which means that the Neers will be running both offensive and defensive schemes with players recruited for other systems. Elmassian adds to what seems to be a transient nature of this staff, one that any success at all will likely have them all, including Rodriguez, skedaddling to greener recruiting pastures. I have an idea the Neers are about to find out exactly how good a coach was Don Nehlen.

Problems seem to abound at other places, too. At Rutgers, Greg Schiano takes over, as the beleaguered Terry Shea became the fired Terry Shea. It would seem that moving from the Miami ‘Yes, we are finally back’ powerhouse to college football’s equivalent of the Mondale campaign would produce a culture shock akin to dropping New Jersey favorite son Tony Soprano into the middle of the Ozarks, but Schiano is willing to become the latest to give tapping that vast potential a shot. His first order of business was to introduce himself to the state’s high school coaches; his second will be to convince them that Division I-A football is indeed played in New Jersey despite all evidence to the contrary.

Turning south to Tarheelia, one notices that John Bunting, the guy who said Yes to Carolina AD Dickie ‘I do so know what I’m doing’ Baddour and actually meant it, after being turned down by the first 30-40 people to whom he offered the job of Offensive Coordinator, finally unloaded the position on our old buddy Yoda. The Ronald, as he prepares to learn his third offensive system in four years, can be secure in the knowledge that what is left of his football career is about to be Deshazo'ed as Yoda finishes the job of wasting what is likely to be the best football prospect ever to stroll down Franklin Street.

Yes, we have lost a quarterback, but things could be a lot worse, and at many places they are. I prefer to dwell not on who is not around but instead the possibilities of guys named Adibi, Suggs, Davis, Pugh, Slowikowski, Taylor, Whitaker, Beasley, Whitaker and yes, Grant Noel. There is still a ton of talent at Tech, and this year’s recruiting haul ensures the beat will go on into the foreseeable future. Virginia Tech will continue to play football, and play it very well.

Jim Alderson, who first made his mark with his biting political commentary on the A-Line email newsletter, also brings a unique, sarcastic, and well-informed perspective on college sports, particularly (1) Virginia Tech sports and (2) ACC sports.  While Hokie fans currently have very little use for subject number 2, Alderson is an entertaining and informative columnist on subject number 1.  For even more fun, visit Jim's A-Line home page.


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