Returns to homepage

Hokie Football Focus: Old Dominion

By Mike Holmes | September 05
I dj Gf K6 R X2
via Scooter Waller

Greetings Sons and Daughters!

This is a new addition to The Sons of Saturday, and we're calling it Hokie Football Focus. With HFF we are going to break down game impacting moments on offense, defense, and special teams and evaluate the individual players involved in each play. Each week we will also look at position groups and grade their units overall performance pointing out where they excelled and where they struggled.

The hope is with this analysis is to provide a little more detailed breakdown so that you, as fans, know what coaches are looking at when they go back and look at game film and make corrections for the next game.

I am a former high school head coach in North Carolina and in Colorado and a 5th generation Hokie that graduated WAAAY back in 2003. I have been going to games as a fan for almost 40 years and have seen the good and the bad. My hope is that you, our fans, can take information from the breakdowns and continue to grow VT’s reputation as one of the smartest fan bases in the nation!

Let’s get to Week One!

And let's start with the first play!

14:53 1st QTR 1st and 10

First, let me say that I LOVE the play design here. You have a fresh group from ODU that wants to make a big play early, so let's bust them with a screen right away! The throw from Wells was a little high, but watch #61 Moore. Instead of attacking defenders upfield he peels back to go after ODU #10 behind the play and gets into the throwing lane where Wells has to go over his head. Could have been a big play to open the game and get Tuten involved!

6:47 1st QTR 4th and Goal

Wells misses Lane early in the play and has good protection early. Wells seems to be a little jumpy in the pocket and steps up into the protection which appears to not allow a follow through and he misses Tuten high. I believe Wells will see this on film, especially the pre-snap read.

15:00 2nd QTR 3rd and 8

Finally some good Stuff! Three receivers to the right, TE to the left, 11 personnel (1 Back, 1 TE). Mesh Concept with Lane and Gosnell. Great Protection and route running. One thing to note here is the Hokies are kinda picking on ODU #42. While he is great tackling and in run support he is spying the QB on most passing plays, he steps up to take care of Thomas out of the backfield and opens up the Passing Lane! Great Play call for the first score of the game!

10:42 2nd QTR 2nd and 10

This one is for the Defense! I LOVE LOVE LOVE aggressive defensive play! But you still have to remain under control. In this case, Lawson is coming on a B- Gap Blitz (gap between guard and tackle) and penetrates so fast that he gets washed out by the pulling backside guard. Lawson rushes upfield too far, takes himself out of the play and leads to a 6 yard gain for ODU. Need to be aware of keeping your eyes up and reading the play and not taking yourself out of the play.

2:04 2nd QTR 2nd and 8

TD number 2 on the day! 12 personnel (1 back 2 TE) in the game Great concept to put the CB on an island, Wright runs a seam in the middle to hold the safety, Thomas releases into the flat, short with a OLB on him and Jennings runs a corner and gets inside leverage on the strong safety. OLine does a great job in protection and Wells is reading the CB, if he steps up to help with Thomas he throws the corner, if he drops deep Wells throws the flat route. Great all around! Touchdown Hokies!

2:03 2nd Qtr 1st and 10

APR is a BEAST! Outstanding bull rush getting his hands inside on the chest of the LT and elevating and driving his feet! Basically gets the sack by tackling the QB with his own tackle!

12:30 3rd QTR 1st and 10

Canteen!!! We had 3 total turnovers today and this is an example of how to separate man from ball! Perfect head and shoulder placement on the tackle by Canteen and Peoples scoops it up. We did not do this last year and we’re off to a great start!

9:59 3rd QTR 2nd and 5

21st Century Triple Option! Great play design. 11 personnel again, with Gosnell playing the Hback Role (reminds me a lot of Dalton Keene in the way he plays). Bowen gives Wells the option to handoff to Tuten up the gut, keep it himself off the edge, or get it to Jennings in the flat, Gosnell comes across the formation and acts as a lead blocker for either the QB run or pass. Wells sees the alignment of the DL and knows that dive is not an option here so he reads the flat defender. DB stays off of Jennings and Wells hits Agent Zero for 6!

8:25 4th QTR 1st and 10

INTERCEPTION! Strong makes a great pick and great play after the catch. This pick however was caused by our D Line! Great pressure especially from APR and Pene did not allow ODU QB to step up into the throw causing it to sail high! Great team D!


Offense: B-

Offense was not all bad, we had NO Penalties on Offense! We scored over 30 points. WE had NO Turnovers. But Still Things to work on!


Wells 17/29 (59%) for 251 and 3TD. Did what was needed to win. He missed throws, but also had drops. Seemed to play much better in the second half when it seemed like Drones was not going to come in.

I am not a fan of the 2 qb system, and we seemed jumbled as a unit when Drones entered the game. If it's to be done going further, Drones has to be able to play with the whole playbook and not just an extra RB in the backfield.

WR's and TE’s: B

The Transfers balled out! Made plays when we needed them, but some costly drops. Blocked well on the perimeter for the most part. Benji Gosnell may be that guy!


Much improved in the pass game. Wells had more time to throw vs last year. The Running game is stagnant. Not getting much push and DL clogging the middle forcing RBs to bounce to outside, would like to see more misdirection and gap blocking to maximize our strengths instead of big on big zone blocking.


For only averaging 2.5 YPC, they did a good job in the passing game and getting yards where they could. Needs to improve next week.

Defense: B

Played well enough to win. Forced 3 turnovers and one more forced fumble. Gave up a lot of QB runs when the pocket broke down, but still kept ODU under 300 yards for the game.


Got more pressures and had 5 SACKS in the game. Ran into some issues with getting washed down and creating lanes for RB and QB runs up the middle and on the edge, but those mistakes can be fixed.


Made some mistakes in the run game with gap fits and over penetrating, but played well overall.

DB: A-

Our backups got some run today because of the Targeting penalties which is a good thing. Peoples and Canteen were all over the place. Delane, Strong and Stroman are as advertised!

ODU was 1-8 when targeting Tech's starting corner duo of Strong and Delane for a total of 6 yard. One of those incompletions was a Strong INT that was returned for 32 yards. Lockdown stuff.

Special Teams- A+

Good Execution and no big mistakes in the kicking game!

See you all Next week! Go Hokies!

Give me a follow @hokiedmb on Twitter!


I am a 5th Generation Hokie. I have Orange and Maroon blood coursing through my veins. I was lucky enough to attend VT from 1999-2003 and graduated with a history degree. I became a history teacher and football coach working my way to spending multiple seasons as Head Coach at schools in North Carolina and Colorado.

I now live in Colorado, with my wife and son and do what I can to follow the Hokies from afar. The outstanding team here at Sons of Saturday was gracious enough to let me talk some football and be able to impart some my knowledge gained from years spent on the sideline.

Aside from following the Hokies in all sports, I am a fan of the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Braves, and Carolina Hurricanes. I also try to play a lot of golf and enjoy skiing out here in the rockies!

Read More of Mike's Articles