The Virginia Tech defense was locked in Thursday night in Atlanta, leading the way to a 17-10 victory against Georgia Tech. Logan Thomas completed 19-of-25 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown and he ran for one more to give the offense enough points for a win in a tough, defensive match-up. Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech combined for 549 yards of offense with a fairly even split.
Sitting on their own 33-yard line, down seven with more than half a quarter to play, Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson decided to take a chance and failed miserably. Virginia Tech defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins stuffed Georgia Tech running back David Sims two yards shy of the first down, forcing a turnover on downs and setting up the Hokies for a potentially lethal strike. Amazingly, Virginia Tech failed to take advantage when kicker Cody Journell‘s field goal attempt from sailed wide left from 25 yards out. Georgia Tech survived, with the score holding at 17-10.
Still with plenty of time, Georgia Tech attempted to pass their way to a first down but three straight incomplete passes from Vad Lee forced Georgia Tech to punt it away. The defense forced the Hokies to punt but Virginia Tech pinned the home team back on their five-yard line with about three and a half minutes to play.
This game was expected to be a low-scoring game lacking offensive highlights, and it delivered. This game was all about the defenses, and specifically the defense of Virginia Tech. This is the same defense who held Alabama to the second lowest offensive total since Nick Saban took over as head coach, and this defense has continued to dominate the opposition and give the offense a chance to win. Virginia Tech has now held East Carolina to ten points on the road, Marshall’s Rakeem Cato to just 228 passing yards and now has a hard-fought road win at Georgia Tech. Virginia Tech’s success this season will be determined by the play of the defense, because the offense still lacks any sense of a killer instinct.
Virginia Tech now gets three straight home games in ACC Coastal play with North Carolina, Pitt and Duke coming up. This looks like a terrific opportunity to get a firm grip of the division before a game with Miami late in the year. If they play defense the way they did Thursday night, that looks like a favorable.
We cannot rule out Georgia Tech from the conversation just yet, but they must be able to play a much cleaner game moving forward with a more challenging schedule than Virginia Tech. Georgia Tech’s next two games will be played at Miami and at BYU. The Yellow Jackets also have a road game at Clemson and a home game against Georgia before the end of the regular season. These are games Georgia Tech must avoid another nine-penalty performance.
Myriad off-field issues have dogged Art Briles‘ Baylor program of late, but at least the Bears head coach can take comfort in the fact that he’s very well compensated.
As Baylor is a private university, they are not forced to release coaching salaries, although those details are available via federal tax returns. The last known salary for Briles was $3.6 million for the 2013 calendar year; according to the tax returns for 2014 obtained by USA Today, Briles salary for that calendar year jumped to more than $5.3 million.
When all of Briles’ compensation is taken into account, he earned just a shade over $5.9 million for 2014.
In the USA Today coaching salary database for 2015, Briles would’ve been the highest-paid coach in the Big 12, ahead of Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops ($5.4 million). He also would’ve been the third-highest paid head coach in all of college football, trailing only Alabama’s Nick Saban ($7.087 million) and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh ($7.004 million) in total compensation. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, at $5.86 million, sits in that No. 3 spot.
Per the tax returns obtained by the website, Briles earned $540,000 in bonuses and incentives; how those were broken down wasn’t detailed in the returns. Briles received another $28,000 in retirement and other deferred compensation, as well as $5,000 in apparel from Nike.
As for the lag in the numbers for Briles and why the 2015 financials are not available, USA Today explains it thusly:
Because private schools are organized as non-profit organizations, they must annually file a tax return that includes information about the pay of their most highly compensated employees. Although the returns mostly cover fiscal years that involve parts of two calendar years, the IRS requires that the compensation reporting cover the most recently completed calendar year.
Due to the complexity of their returns, large colleges and universities routinely take filing extensions that result in a significant time lag between the period covered by their most recent return and the date they file.
Baylor’s new return covers a tax year from June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015, making 2014 the most recently completed calendar year.
Ohio State had a banner first day of the 2016 NFL draft with five Buckeyes selected, although they fell one short of tying the 2004 Miami Hurricanes for most first-round picks in a single year. A day later, they first matched then set a couple of draft standards.
In Friday’s second round, two more Buckeyes were drafted — wide receiver Michael Thomas and safety Vonn Bell. That pushed OSU’s total to seven, tying USC in 2008 and Tennessee in 2000 for the most selections through the first two rounds since the common era began in 1967.
In the ensuing round, defensive lineman Adolphus Washington and quarterback-turned wide receiver Braxton Miller were selected. With the nine draft picks through three rounds, OSU broke the common-era draft record of eight set by the 2004 Vols. OSU wasn’t finished as, shortly after Miller’s selection, tight end Nick Vannett was grabbed toward the end of the third round, giving Urban Meyer‘s program an even 10 draft picks thus far.
On opening night, three Buckeyes were scooped up in the first 10 picks — defensive end Joey Bosa, running back Ezekiel Elliott, cornerback Eli Apple — while offensive lineman Taylor Decker and linebacker Darron Lee were selected before the opening round ended.
With four rounds remaining, and six unselected players still available, the Buckeyes might not be done making history as they are within shouting distance of the all-time record for most selections since the draft went to seven rounds in 1994. The record? 14. The record holder? The 2004 Ohio State Buckeyes, which had seven players taken in the first three rounds.
And, before Bevo commences bloviating, it should be noted that Texas holds the all-time record with 17 picks in the 1984 draft. That year, the draft lasted 12 rounds.
While Miami had not yet confirmed it, one of the most talented Hurricanes on the defensive side of the ball, Al-Quadin Muhammad (pictured, right), underwent a successful but unspecified surgical procedure recently. And just how did we know that initially? Because the player posted a picture of himself laying in a hospital bed and clothed in hospital garb, that’s how.
Subsequent to Muhammad’s social media revelation, the university confirmed that the lineman had undergone “a small surgical procedure… on his knee.” Muhammad is expected to resume football activities in a couple of weeks.
The redshirt junior played in 12 games in 2015, leading the team in both tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (five). He’ll enter summer camp, provided he doesn’t suffer a setback, as arguably the Hurricanes’ top pass rusher.
A potentially significant blow to Navy’s secondary has been averted.
Back in February, Navy announced that Brendon Clements had been indefinitely removed from the football team’s roster for violating Naval Academy rules. It was initially thought that the senior’s playing career had come to an end, although that could never be confirmed.
Nearly three months later, however, the service academy announced that the starting cornerback has been reinstated.
Over the past three seasons, Clements started 35 games for the Midshipmen. Those are easily the most of any returning Navy player.