Welcome to the first EVER Drunken Gobbler Opponent Preview. Here you may not get the X’s and O’s breakdown but you will get HARD HITTING(borderline useless) information. Remember, NEVER trust an FCS team. 

William and Mary TribeLOLUVA

The Basics

Location: Williamsburg, VA

Conference: Colonial Athletic Association (FCS)

Mascot: The Griffin**

Home Stadium: Walter J. Zable Stadium (Capacity: 12,259)

Coach: Jimmye Laycock 35th year (222-165-2)

Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Rogers

Defensive Coordinator: Trevor Andrews

2013 Record: 7-5 (4-4 CAA)

              2014 Schedule (0-0)

Date            Opponent                     Location

AUG 30               Virginia Tech Hokies                                Blacksburg, VA

SEP 06                     Hampton Pirates                                    Hampton, VA

SEP 13                Norfolk State Spartans                      Williamsburg, VA

SEP 20                  Lafayette Leopards                           Williamsburg, VA

SEP 27               Stony Brook Seawolves                             Brookhaven, NY

OCT 11             New Hampshire Wildcats                            Durham, NH

OCT 18                    Villanova Wildcats                          Williamsburg, VA

OCT 25                  Delaware Blue Hens                         Williamsburg, VA

NOV 01               James Madison Dukes                          Harrisonburg, VA

NOV 08                     Elon Phoenix                                    Williamsburg, VA

NOV 15                     Towson Tigers                                          Towson, MD

NOV 22                 Richmond Spiders                               Williamsburg, VA


Notable Alumni

Darren Sharper

Yes. Darrrennnn Sharrrpaaahh the hardest hitting safety in da league is a former William and Mary Tribe player. By far he most recognizable of the Bill and Mary football alums. That is unless you are a big Lang Campbell fan and who isn’t? Sharper played for the Tribe from 1993-1996 as a safety and return man. Sharper holds the Tribe record for career interceptions (24) which includes a 10 interception season.

Mike Tomlin

Coach Tomlin played for the Tribe as a Split End/Tight End and caught 20 TD passes in his collegiate career. He then moved on to join the coaching staff at VMI as a Wide Receivers Coach in 1995. He eventually landed the Steelers Head Coaching gig, replacing Hall of Fame coach Bill Cowher and bringing the Steelers a Super Bowl victory in his second year on the job. He also kinda looks like Dr. Foreman from House.

Lang Campbell

I already mentioned him, Lang Cambell, the man the myth the legend. Campbell basically rewrote the Tribe record book during his career there from 2001-2004. Following a short stint (1 year) with the esteemed Cleveland Browns, Campbell bounced around the Arena Football League before retiring from the game. He is the only William and Mary player in history to win the Walter Payton Award, given to the most outstanding offensive player in FCS.

Jonathan Grimes

Like Campbell, Grimes’ name has been immortalized in the Tribe record books for many years to come. As a star RB Grimes racked up 4,451 career rushing yards and accounted for almost 8,000 all purpose yards in his years with the Tribe. Grimes is now in the NFL playing for Houston and (fantasy sleeper alert) looks to have a productive year backing up Arian Foster.

Current NFL Players

Player                                                                                                Team                                                                                                  Position

Adrian TracyArizona CardinalsLinebacker
Mike LeachArizona CardinalsCenter
Jerome CouplinDetroit LionsDefensive Back
B.W. WebbDallas CowboysCornerback
Sean LissemoreSan Diego ChargersDefensive Tackle

And, of course, Jonathan Grimes, Houston Texans Running Back

 


Recent Achievements

2014 Fulmer Cup – Second Place

A true Cinderella story here, folks. If you do not know what the Fulmer Cup is – EDUCATE YOSELF – If you do know what the Fulmer Cup is then you know how much of an achievement it is for the goody goody William and Mary boys to pull off 2nd place. These are FCS players going head to head with every collegiate football team in the land. The final standings are as stands:

RankPtsUniversityConf.
1.77California Poly MustangsBig Sky
2.57William & Mary TribeCAA
3.46Texas A&M AggiesSEC
4.32Maine BearsCAA
5.30Old Dominion MonarchsC-USA
6.29Oklahoma State CowboysBig XII
7.20Georgia BulldogsSEC
8-t.19Washington State CougarsPac 12
8-t.19Ole Miss RebelsSEC
10.17Texas LonghornsBig XII

Do you hear that folks? The FCS don’t go down easy. They’re here to play with the big boys especially one Stephen Marshall of the William and Mary Tribe racked up 17 felony counts (and 1 misdemeanor) on his way to winning the school’s FIRST Ellis T. Jones III Award for individual achievement and contribution to your team’s Fulmer Cup standing. Marshall accumulated an astounding 55 of the Tribe’s 57 points. A truly impressive feat indeed.

Beating UVa in 2009

Definitely not as impressive as their recent run in the Fulmer Cup, but the William and Mary Tribe did INDEED beat UVa in 2009. September 5, 2009 to be precise. I know, I know, this is very commonplace and if UVa keeps scheduling out of conference games at the rate they are then eventually everyone will have beaten UVa at some point. However, I will give a nod to William and Mary for being the second-best Virginia team in 2009. *Fist bump*


Key Players

Quarterback

It turns out we beat William and Mary to naming our Week 1 starter but they finally got around to it naming Sophomore Steve Cluley the starter on Monday. What we know about Cluley is that he played a little last season, seeing time in 4 games and going 4-for-9 for 33 yards and an INT meaning he could likely start for Virginia Tech. With Cluley, the Tribe known just about as much about their QB situation as the Hokies do. He is young, untested, and has to fill in after the departures of  Michael Graham and Brent Caprio. Look for the Hokies talented defensive front and secondary to give him fits. The Tribe will likely try to shorten the game by keeping it on the ground. Offensively speaking, the Tribe don’t pose a great threat; they are at a great disadvantage both on the ground and through the air. As long as the Hokies can avoid turning the ball over and giving up the ball and a short field, then I predict a a long day for the Tribe O.

Defense

Definitely the stronger of the two units, the Defense is what has the capability of making this game interesting. The Tribe defense finished the 2013 season as the eighth-ranked team in total defense (305.5 yds), while against inferior teams, this unit possesses the ability to give the young Hokies offense fits. Three players to look out for on the defensive side of the ball for the Tribe are Mike Reilly, Luke Rhodes, and Airek Green. (There are more to look out for, but I’m limiting it to 3) Reilly led the CAA in sacks last year racking up an impressive 11.5 sacks in the 2013 season. Rhodes and Green (Jr. and Sr. respectively) bring experience and leadership to this defensive unit and, along with Reilly, set up what looks to be a strong Front 7 for the Tribe.


 Why to dislike the Tribe

Don’t get me wrong, there’s no need to hate the William and Mary fans or team or anything like that, but ya need to dig deep to build up some kind of animosity for the other team. It’s just not as much fun if you beat someone you ‘like’. So let’s brainstorm some reasons to dislike the Tribe.

  • Thomas Jefferson attended William and Mary
  • Their stupid mascot
  • They are known to have UVa-type levels of pretentiousness
  • William and Mary were first cousins
  • They’re an FCS team. Enough said.

Why to like the Tribe

I’m not sayin’ you have to love William and Mary fans, and sure the namesake of their school is a bit incestuous. But if your friend’s friend’s friend is a Tribe faithful or if your roommate’s terrible long-distance girlfriend goes to William and Mary then you’re gonna have to be cordial.

  • They beat UVa
  • Jon Stewart went there (he’s kinda neat)
  • I’m sure they’re nice people

If you get trapped in conversation with a William and Mary-person, some good talking points might be:

  • What’s it like being an English Major?
  • William and Mary were first cousins?
  • You hear Pluto’s not a planet anymore? That’s messed up

There’s along list of fun topics you talk about with William and Mary-folk, just give it a try!

So now, here we are. It is Thursday, August 28th and the game is right around the corner. This here preview is going to be a weekly thing and this is my first one so it has been rough. I planned on putting more time into it AND getting it out on Wednesday but I got pretty drunk last night and drunkenly participated in my fantasy league draft and woke up on my couch with the TV on. So there’s that. Stay tuned in for a Bill and Mary game recap and the Ohio State preview next week. This is the first Virginia Tech season since I started this little endeavor and I can’t wait. 

As usual, Thanks for reading y’all!

Footnote:

**-Seriously this is their new mascot

griffin

 

I felt foolishly optimistic this morning as I listened to ESPN 94.1  this morning  BUT it turns out those positive feelings were reinforced when the Hokies added Jahque Alleyne, 3-star Defensive Back out of Ocean Lakes HS in Virginia Beach, to their defensively loaded 2015 class. Alleyne makes it an even dozen in the ’15 class for the Hokies and is the 4th commitment by a defensive back (Adonis Alexander, Mook Reynolds, DuWayne Johnson).

Courtesy of 247Sports

Courtesy of 247Sports

The news of this announcement is certainly welcome in Blacksburg after a stretch of bad news with Mark Shuman retiring from football with another knee injury and the recent attrition of Jerome Wright and Joe St. Germain. Alleyne also adds some much needed depth to a Safety position that will be thinning out as Kyshoen Jarrett and Detrick Bonner will be graduating following the 2014 season. The 3-star Safety is currently listed as 6′ 1″, 180 lbs by 247Sports and held offers from a number of big schools: Oregon, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Louisville to name a few… Oh yeah, I guess UVa offered too. However, the news that should really grab your attention is Alleyne’s High School, Ocean Lakes. Ocean Lakes HS has produced a lot of talent in recent history and a lot of talent that DIDN’T go to Virginia Tech. Some names the Hokie fans might recognize: Eli Harold (UVa), Derrick Nnadi (FSU), Justin Hunter (Tenn), and Corwin Cutler (UVa). Just to name a few of the recent top Ocean Lakes prospects. With all of that talent over the past 5 years Alleyne is the first Ocean Lakes commit since Randall Dunn and Marcus Davis back in the 2008 class.

Regardless of high school affiliation, it’s always a bonus to keep the state’s top talent in state and continue/reinvigorte the tradition of recruiting the 757 hard every year. Additionally, Alleyne marks the 3rd 757 commitment and 5th overall commitment for Bryan Stinespring who took the Recruiting Coordinator position after a Loeffler was hired to replace him as Offensive Coordinator. Hokie fans often called for Stinesprings head during his tenure as Offensive Coordinator but those same fans should recognize the work that Stinespring has put into recruiting for the Hokies.

Now to pray that Stinespring lands that 1 certain commitment from the 757 😉

After missing out on their top 2015 QB target, Kai Locksley out of Gilman HS, the Hokies turned their sights to the 2016 class and Brandon McIlwain. McIlwain is a 4-star Dual Threat QB from Newtown, PA. (Yes… Penn State country). Speaking of the Nittany Lions, they also made the cut for McIlwain’s services. The Hokies and Coach Loeffler have their work cut out for them goin’ up against the likes of Penn State, Florida, South Carolina, Duke, and Auburn.  

The Hokies are currently on the outside looking in for McIlwain but with Loeffler on our side VT will stay in the picture for the foreseeable future. After all, we DID make the top 6. The 247Sports Crystal Ball is currently split 80% to 20% with the USC Gamecocks holding the advantage over Penn State. McIlwain’s father is a USC alum and Penn State has been cleaning up in the state of Pennsylvania under the Bill O’Brien era and now the James Franklin era.

This recruitment is shaping up to be an interesting one and time will tell how serious the Hokies are as contender’s but for now make sure to check out Mr. McIlwain, his profiles and his film listed below:

247Sports Profile

Rivals Profile

Hudl Film

All Recruiting Rankings and Crystal Ball Information comes courtesy of www.247Sports.com

The Offseason is almost over, we’re almost back to being able to talk football but we’re not quite there yet. So, for just a second longer, let’s take a look at some of the improvements that have been made within the program and athletic department

The Problem

FootballIsComingVirginia Tech has the slogan “Invent the Future” so why has the program seemed to lag behind the times? Of course, a number of variables come into play here in cases such as these. The issue could be a straight forward as budget or people just not being good at their job all the way to a program that just got complacent with the status quo (and who wouldn’t with that bowl streak and 10 win seasons?).

“Hell, why do we need to develop all new offer letters every year when we can send the same ones as last year, maybe swap out a picture and change the year, we’re all good we got Comic Sans bitches.”

“What do you mean I need to get a ‘twitter presence’ what the hell is a got damn ‘twitter’ do I look like I’m a twitter to you?”

This is a bit of hyperbole, sure, but the general sentiment of complacency is one that has seemed to resonate through the Athletics department. Honestly, it’s hard not to fall into a rut of complacency when you’ve had the same thing for decades. The same Bowl games, the same AD, the same Head Coach, the same Coordinators. As things changed all around Virginia Tech, even as players came and went, the program seemed to stay the same. This sense of complacency is understandable given the year in and year out success the program had. Sure, the team never met its ultimate goal but BCS bowl appearances aren’t something that can be written off easily and becoming complacent is understandable given that kind of success.

This complacency is a problem. A problem that, it seems, is starting to be addressed within the Athletics Department.

Progress

Over the past couple months (coincidentally lining up with a certain hire in the Athletics Department 😉 ). I have noticed a bolstering on a number of fronts including improving brand identity, fan engagement, and social media presence.

Branding and Brand Identity

One of the most obvious improvements the program has made is its invigorated effort to improve brand identity. The idea of a ‘Brand” is one that can be applied to a myriad of ‘products’ whether they be a literal, physical product, or, hey!, a football team. At the end of the day, the football team is a product and can be completely analogous to any product you may purchase in a store. The identity of a brand is created by how you communicate with the customer including logos and imagery which can be used to help shape the perception of your company or product. The fan is the customer and as the AD, Whit Babcock essentially serves as the CEO.  So now let’s look over a few simple examples of how the brand identity of the football program has been improved in just a few short months.

First, the Scholarship Offer Letter. On the left is the letter sent out to the members of the 2014 Recruiting Class and on the right is the letter that was just sent out to the members of the 2015 Recruiting Class.

(Via @TyrellSmith76 on Instagram)

(Via @TyrellSmith76 on Instagram)

(Via @Lydon4CE on Twitter)

(Via @Lydon4CE on Twitter)

    On the 2014 letter we notice a couple of things. First things first, that is Comic Sans. I shit you not, that is Comic Sans. Honestly, I don’t feel like I have to really expand much further on why the 2014 version is terrible. Just, just… just look at it… Now the 2015 version looks crisp. Instantly you notice a couple of things:

  • The Nike Logo. Look at Oregon. Nike is a recognized brand that carries a lot of weight.
  • The letter looks crisp with bright, vivid colors
  • An Overall appearance of quality

The 2014 version looks faded and it looks dated. The 2015 version has a bright orange #15 jersey with the nike logo, ACC logo, and VT logo displayed prominently, a scene of Lane Stadium is faded with clear, easy to read lettering on top of it (NOT Comic Sans). The last thing I want you to notice about the 2015 version is the lettering of “Virginia Tech” commit that font to memory. I’ll get to that eventually.

Over the past couple days, members of the Athletics Department have taken to Twitter to post some pictures to hype up the fans. The following pictures were tweeted out by Coaches (Moorehead, Foster, Stiney, etc.) ANDDDD the new guy Thomas Guerry who joined the program recently as the Director of High School Relations after coming over from UGA.

SnapHuddle
ReportingJCDeAngelo

Exhibit B, a handful of pictures posted by Thomas Guerry on Twitter.There are a couple observations to make on these pictures, a VT logo, a Nike logo, and that same font that we saw earlier on the Scholarship Offer Letter. Over the past week or so I’ve seen these same pictures get reposted and retweeted countless times and they continue to build the hype for Virginia Tech football in just 25 short days.

Keep your eyes posted on Twitter, HokieSports.com, and other media outlets to watch for continued improvements in the brand identity of Virginia Tech.

Fan Engagement

The first sign of the effort to improve fan engagement was the press conference for the Buzz Williams hiring. The public was invited to come sit in on Buzz’s press conference, they were given free pizza, a free t-shirt, free glasses, and an opportunity to come down on the floor and meet Coach Williams, Whit Babcock, some players, and some former players that were in attendance. The fans also got to be down on the floor which is a cool experience and got a behind the scenes look at a press conference. It was a simple idea but it got fans engaged first hand with the Men’s basketball program which needs a jump start. On the football side of things, this upcoming weekend Virginia Tech will be hosting it’s first ever Fan Appreciation Day at Lane Stadium, on Saturday, August 9th which will give fans an opportunity to get down on Worsham Field, get autographs, and meet some of their favorite players and coaches. These events are simple, you set aside a few hours to give fans a good time, it’s free to them, and in the grand scheme of things, costs the program very little. With this bit of effort, however, you increase fan engagement, you get them invested in the team and the program, and the best thing of all (to the fans) is that it’s free to them. Events like these show the fans that you want them to come out and enjoy themselves and it’s not always about how much money the program can make off of you, you’re not just a $50 ticket or a couple $10 turkey legs, your support can be just as valuable as your money. While I think most people would agree that Virginia Tech fans are some of the best in the nation a fanbase can also become complacent begin to expect ACC Championships year in and year out and when these championships don’t come for a couple of years they can get fed up. Fed up fans stop buying tickets, they stop donating, and in general, they stop supporting the program until they see that progress is being made and that changes are being put in place to get the team back where it belongs. That is why this kick in the pants is exactly what the program needed and it is refreshing to see the proper changes being made.

Editor’s Note: I wasn’t able to make it out to Fan Appreciation Day as I no longer live in Blacksburg but from what I’ve heard it went very well even though the weather was bad. I’ve heard it could’ve gone a little longer but was a blast nonetheless. Good to hear that the event was fun and well run.

Social Media

The Virginia Tech Athletics Department has slowly inched its way into the 21st century and discovered a little thing I like to call “Twitter.” One of the first things I noticed about Whit Babcock was about 5 minutes after finding out he was going to be the new AD I found him on Twitter. Sure, Twitter is an often childish, generally ridiculous, and rarely productive form of social media but it has the ability to reach so many people in such a short period of time that its proper use can be incredibly beneficial for building a brand or brand identity. Along with getting an AD who is already on the Twitter train we’ve had a number of coaches hop on as well. Who would’ve ever thought Bud Foster would be sending us his thoughts 140 characters at a time? I sure as hell didn’t. But to get one of the best DC’s in the world on Twitter helps. It helps recruits get in touch with Coach Foster, grow an online presence, and increase awareness of the program.

Seriously, look, Bud Foster be tweetin’

Besides bringing our coaching staff and department staff up to speed with Twitter, Whit Babcock has also engaged with fans on social media by doing a Twitter Q&A on Twitter using the @Hokiesports.com handle. (You can find that Q&A here if you missed it). This Q&A, even if it was just a quick question and answer session, just adds to the continued effort to improve the marketing of the program and the entire Athletics Department by, once again, engaging fans and giving a bit of transparency to the plans of improvement and goals of the Athletics Department.

What does the Future hold?

The future is bright for the Hokies. It’s easy to say that and lack sincerity, but I mean it. I don’t just crank out 1700+ words on marketing and brand identity for nothin’. So, you may think I’m full of shit or you may still be waiting to see an improved product on the field. That’s completely fair, but I urge Hokie fans to believe and to support the program in any way they can. The most obvious is donating to the HokieClubattending HokieClub events (for the non-student fans), and of course, buying tickets and attending games. Whatever way you choose, a team is nothing without its fans and the support of its fans. The Athletic Department is doing their part and stepping up on their end now it’s time for us to step up and do ours.

As always, thanks for reading!
-DrunkenGobbler