Monthly Archives: October 2013

Hokie Homage To The Best: Mike Vick’s Two Seasons In Blacksburg

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Hokie Homage To The Best: Mike Vick’s Two Seasons In Blacksburg

The long and illustrious history of Virginia Tech football can essentially be split into two categories; Before Michael Vick and After Michael Vick. The arrival of the Newport News native reenergized an already electric fan base, and his exploits on the field soon catapulted Virginia Tech to the top of the BCS rankings and right into the middle of the bright spotlight of national TV. Many fans consider 1999 to be one of the greatest seasons in Hokie history, and they were only a few bounces away from the school’s first National Championship in Vick’s first season under center.

It seems absolutely comical in hindsight, but head coach Frank Beamer opted to redshirt Vick during his first season on campus in 1998 in hopes of investing the year toward what was expected to be a handful of epic seasons. Beamer only got two out of Vick before he took off for the monetarily greener pastures of the National Football League, but in those few dozen games, college football fans all over the world bared witness to one of the greatest talents ever to play the quarterback position.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to even win the Heisman Trophy following the 2012 season, but Vick put together what is arguably the best freshman campaign by a quarterback in the history of Division I college football throughout the fall of 1999. Opposing defenses unfortunate enough to draw Virginia Tech on their 1999 regular season schedule were simply not equipped for the speed, strength and agility that Michael Vick possessed. He was an absolute monster on the ground while executing read options and other designed quarterback runs, often blasting through traffic at the line of scrimmage and never looking back.

Defenders that attempted to take him down in the secondary were often juked or stymied with powerful stiffarms. When defensive coordinators would put 10 men in the box, Vick would simply drop back a few steps and fire a dart over the middle to one of his tight ends running down a seam or toss a deeper ball down the sidelines to a receiver who had sprung free. He quickly demonstrated one of the strongest arms in all of college football, completing nearly 60 passes for an average of over 11 yards per toss in his 1999 campaign.

Vick led the Hokies to an undefeated 1999 regular season, besting four ranked teams in the process. His exploits eventually led the Hokies to a #2 ranking and an opportunity at the National Championship, held at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans’ Superdome. Virginia Tech was caught a bit off guard by the #1 overall ranked Florida State Seminoles, but Vick was able to rally the troops for three consecutive touchdowns, which allowed them to take a slim 29 – 28 lead into the fourth quarter. The final 15 minutes were not memorable ones for Virginia Tech fans, but Vick had clearly brought the team into the national spotlight while getting the VT football team the closest it had ever been in their well over 100 years of playing college football.

Vick’s statistical levels tapered off in the following season as defenses focused their entire game plan around stopping the dynamic quarterback. He experienced the only regular season loss of his college career in early November against the Miami Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl in Florida, but he still led the team to another 11-victory season. Vick’s presence at the school led to a massive influx of recruits hopeful to wear the same colors as one of the greatest college football players in history, and his success at the professional level despite an up-and-down life off the field is a testament to his abilities. He remains a favorite on campus and among Virginia Tech fans, who are always ready to recognize his huge impact on the football program and the University as a whole.

Where Is Blacksburg Virginia

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2013 Where Is Blacksburg Virginia

Virginia Tech University is located in the heart of Blacksburg, Virginia. It is a region rich in culture and geological diversity, and it’s home to a school that is considered one of the most powerful football institutions in the entire nation. Here’s a look at the campus itself and some plans on how to best access it, as well as a few can’t-miss spots in the surrounding area.

The Appalachian Mountains cut a strong path through the state of Virginia from northeast to southwest, and the popular stretch lies just to the north of campus. Those who visit Virginia Tech for football game will literally be within a few miles of the geological spectacle, which runs all the way from Maine to Georgia. The Appalachian Trail provides the entire area with an aura and mystique that comes with being deeply connected and appreciative of the Earth, and some members of the Virginia Tech football team have been known to train and strengthen their legs on its steep slopes leading up to the regular seasons. Movie fans will be able to easily access a region along a popular hiking trail where a scene from the 80s blockbuster Dirty Dancing was filmed.

The environment inside of Lane Stadium is often at a fever pitch, and the energy surrounding Hokies football has continued to rise since the arrival of head coach Frank Beamer many years ago. The team has become known for playing a tough nosed, never-back-down type of football, otherwise known as “Beamer Ball.” All Virginia Tech fans who are able to get their hands on tickets would be wise to adorn themselves in Virginia Tech gear from head to toe, because the vast majority of folks filling the seats are interested in openly showing their allegiance their favorite team.

As far as accessing the campus by way of automobile, the general sparseness of the surrounding areas makes things easier than usual. Virginia Tech University is essentially the opposite of a big city school located in the middle of everyday hustle and bustle. The city limits have a population of less than 50,000, and just over 150,000 residents call the entire metropolis and surrounding areas home. Simply put, the traffic jams are few and far between. A few open seats will likely be found at Gille’s, a downtown breakfast spot known for serving up delicious organic dishes.

Fans coming from southward cities such as Greensboro or Durham will find their way to Interstate 77, which connects with Interstate 81 about 30 miles southwest of campus. Taking state highway 460 will transport fans from Interstate 81 to the west edge of campus. Fans coming from all other areas will network a large collection of local highways linked to Highway 460, which is the largest thoroughfare over and through the Appalachian Trail in the nearby area.

Beamer Ball Once Again Producing Top Notch Results

Georgia Tech v Virginia Tech

Beamer Ball Once Again Producing Top Notch Results

Virginia Tech Hokies football fans were hopeful but skeptical heading into this season. Head coach Frank Beamer is a legend and quarterback Logan Thomas appears to be one of the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but previous meltdowns in recent years had a large and passionate fan base subscribing to a wait-and-see type of attitude. Enter the 2013 Hokies, a confident team that has quickly rebounded from a loss in the first week to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

It is true that Virginia Tech lost 35 – 10 at the hands of the Alabama Crimson Tide in the opening kickoff weekend of the college football year. The result was just about what the oddsmakers in Las Vegas predicted and no surprise to anybody who follows college football closely. Impressively, Virginia Tech has responded in the month following the nationally-televised loss with four consecutive convincing victories. The most recent triumph came this past Thursday evening against the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets in Atlanta.

In what is often looked at as one of the fiercest rivalries in the conference, Virginia Tech was able to completely stymie the Yellowjacket offense throughout the first half. Logan Thomas ended up with 221 yards passing after completing 19 out of 25 passes. One of the throws was a 21-yard touchdown toss to DJ Coles just a few minutes into the first quarter. Thomas visited the endzone himself early in the second quarter with a 5-yard rush that put his squad up 14 – 0 and in total command of the game.

Georgia Tech could manage only a field goal throughout the first 30 minutes before they were able to reach the endzone for the first time in the third quarter to make the score 10 – 14. Virginia Tech was unfazed by their efforts and Thomas quickly marched the Hokies down the field on an eight play 39-yard drive that set up a field goal to put them ahead 17 – 10, which ended up being the final score.

Optimistic fans now look ahead at the schedule that remains in the 2013 season, hopeful that Virginia Tech might actually have a shot at a BCS Bowl game. The remaining schedule is filled with mid-tier teams that don’t propose much of a threat, and the most challenging battle left on the slate is on Saturday, November 9 when Virginia Tech will be asked to travel to Miami Gardens, Florida to play the Hurricanes on their home turf.

Frank Beamer is a living coaching legend that can basically do whatever he wants, but it is clear that he will not be at the helm in Blacksburg forever. This year’s team just might bring enough attention to the University to give them one final push of success reminiscent of what happened with Michael Vick just after the turn-of-the-century. In the meantime, Hokies fans can expect to see a talented team perform to the top of their abilities thanks to motivation from a good coaching staff and a very passionate fan base that turns out in full force for each home game.