Receiver Marcus Davis brushes off Internet infamy after video of his lackluster blocking makes Deadspin
While Virginia Tech practiced Monday night, wide receiver Marcus Davis achieved some Internet infamy, when a video of his lackluster blocking effort against Florida State that had been making the rounds on Hokies message boards found its way onto the national sports blog, Deadspin.
Here’s the video in question:
Asked about it after practice, Davis brushed it off.
“I really don’t think too much of it,” he said. “I think somebody was a little bored and had a little extra time on their hands and figured they can go out and make a video. But like I said earlier, they don’t know the half of what actually went on.”
Davis said a number of the plays in the video were passing plays, adding, “You can’t block in the back. That’s obvious.”
He also admitted to getting the signal wrong on one play and didn’t realize the play was coming to his side, a mistake that got him chewed out by receivers coach Kevin Sherman.
“He said, ‘We can’t have those mistakes in this game.’ We was playing a great team,” Davis said. “At the same time, learn from it. It was one time in the game. It really wasn’t a big deal. We corrected it this morning on film. So we’re not going to let it happen again.”
The video brought swift and, at times, vicious commentary on blogs and Twitter about the mercurial fifth-year receiver. ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer wrote on Twitter that it “was a disgrace to all the Hokies that invest so much.”
“From the first game to now, I’ve made great improvements in my blocking,” he said. “It’s not always perfect. It’s not always pretty. But at the same time, I can say that I’ve gotten better from it, which is a plus.
“I’ve still got things that I need to work on being a receiver in general. That’s just one thing that I want to continue to work on.”
He tried to put it out of his mind.
“It is what it is,” Davis said. “I hope everybody gets what they want from it. It really doesn’t faze me.”
- In the scrum of interviews tonight, I didn’t get to receiver Demitri Knowles. But former News & Advance compadre Chris Lang did and tweeted that Knowles has been told he’ll start against Boston College. This echoes Frank Beamer‘s statement earlier in the day that Knowles will get more playing time the last two games. Tech has used multiple receiver packages to start games all season, so it’s unclear who, if anybody, he’d be displacing in the starting lineup. Knowles and Dyrell Roberts are listed as co-No. 1′s at the flanker spot.
- I have searched for video of the Hokies’ final scoring drive and, alas, have not found it anywhere online. I guess I’ll have to wait until FrenchWasp does his always-enlightening breakdown of the FSU game on The Key Play for exact video. But quarterbacks coach and play-caller Mike O’Cain seemed very confident with how he called plays down the stretch against the Seminoles, even though the Hokies didn’t get into the end zone on their second-to-last drive and had to settle for a field goal. (I’m taking his word for his recollection of the plays here without having seen the video.)
- First, O’Cain said the plan was not to run three straight times near the goal line right before the field goal. The Hokies had a wrinkle that they had run a couple times earlier that they were going to call if Florida State showed them man coverage. The Seminoles instead gave a zone look all three times near the goal line. “One out of three times I’m going to get man coverage down there,” O’Cain said. “Well, I never got it. … If I got man coverage I was going to throw it. That’s what we wanted to do. But zone coverage we were going to run the football.”
- O’Cain said the third-and-three from the FSU 6 that got stuffed a yard short of the first down marker was the same play the Hokies had run for a touchdown in the third quarter, when quarterback Logan Thomas barreled in behind a pulling Michael Via for a touchdown. (Check the video here at 7:27 for that play.) The Hokies went back to that same play late in the game. “And it would have been cleaner this time,” O’Cain said. Except that the pulling guard, Brent Benedict, missed a block. “[He] couldn’t locate the linebacker,” offensive line coach Curt Newsome said. Had that block been made, O’Cain said, Logan would be “going to be 1-on-1 with a safety at the 1-yard line. I’ll take that matchup every time.”
- Despite the result, O’Cain didn’t second-guess himself about the play-calls at the end. “If I had to do it over again, if I had to make the same call on third down and three, I’d make the same call on third down and three,” he said. “Because I think we had what we wanted. Now, had they out-numbered us and had more than we can block, that would not have been good. But we had just what we wanted. As good a situation as we could have. And that’s kind of how the season has gone. We’ve had situations like that. Just not cashing in, in all areas.”
- O’Cain said he was nevertheless encouraged by the offense’s performance. The Hokies put up 385 yards and 22 points against an FSU team allowing much less than that coming into the night. “People are going to be saying he doesn’t know what the heck he’s talking about, but we’ve played better than what has shown at the end,” O’Cain said. “We played better in Miami than to have 12 points. Better at Clemson than to have 17 points. … And really better the other night than to have 22 points. … Yes, we feel like we played better. The bad thing about it is it just doesn’t show up anywhere, except us when we come in Sunday to watch the film.”
- Despite Thomas’ struggles this year — his 14 interceptions are tied for the second most nationally — O’Cain’s confidence in his quarterback has not wavered. “I’ve called the games just like I would have called them if he completed every pass he was throwing,” he said. “Nothing has changed.”
- In fact, O’Cain said Thomas, who was 19-for-34 for 298 yards and accounted for two touchdowns last Thursday, played “tremendous” against Florida State, despite the two interceptions that proved critical. “Other than about two throws, he played as good as he’s played since he’s been here,” O’Cain said. “In everything you ask him to do. Running the football. There were probably eight times that he had to get us in the right play — did a great job of that. Effort. In every area. Played tremendous. The only thing people see are the two interceptions he throws. That’s the only thing they remember. And they don’t see all the other little things that have to take place for us to even have a chance to win it at the end. If he’s not out there, we probably don’t have a chance to win it at the end.”
- Does it bother him, the criticism Thomas has taken? “Of course. But that comes with the territory,” he said. “You understand that when you play that position, you coach that position. … You live with that if you play that position, because it goes the other way. A lot of times you get a lot more credit than you deserve when things are going well. That’s one of the only positions that everybody thinks they know what they should be doing. Because they see him every time. He’s out there and he’s on an island. So yeah, it bothers you, but at the same time, you move on and keep going.”