That's Hokies wide receiver Marcus Davis, a senior, who is doing a lot of not blocking. ESPN's Trent Dilfer had this to say about Davis:
@smartfootball Tough to win when you have players that are allergic to contact. That was a disgrace to all the Hokies that invest so much— Trent Dilfer (@TDESPN) November 12, 2012
I think Chris Brown is right, you can't win with players giving that sort of an effort. Virginia Tech's 2012 season, the current four-win campaign and two-win ACC mark, is a testament to that statement. Plenty of folks lined up to take shots at Davis after seeing the video—especially given the receiver's knack for disappearing, dropping passes and being a non-factor for much of the Hokies' season.
However, let's put this all in perspective. Davis was in the game to make these type of plays on a play-in and play-out basis. That's on his coaching staff. Bear in mind, this isn't a defense of Davis. Watching him loaf, which is what we called it when I played, was painful to watch. There were chances to pick up longer gains, perhaps even touchdowns had he put in some serious effort to block.
No, it's not about defending him. Rather, it is about recognizing an issue that a staff like Frank Beamer's is not known for accepting. They let him stay out on the field and loaf. Not once or twice, but many times. Not just on plays away from him, but also on plays where he could have absolutely impacted the outcome.
Look, it's nice to think that all players are going to "want" to give maximum effort all of the time. That's a world that a lot of idealistic people live in. A world where players go full speed everyday and they want to do every facet of their position's description.
I don't live in that world. Wide receivers not wanting to block isn't some major failing on their part, to me. Neither is a defensive lineman not wanting to get 40 yards down field and make a tackle on a play. Those are things that have to be coached, taught and forced. That happens in practice. That happens in games. That happens with not accepting a lack of effort.
All of which comes from a coaching staff.
In other words, players get away with what you allow them to do. Here, Davis is being allowed to not block. Is he going to turn into Greg Little overnight? Probably not.
However, he should certainly be better at stalk blocking or cutting defenders. Hell, if he's not going to block he can do what other receivers do; run hard on his dummy routes to draw defenders away. Those are the options when you're a wide out. Run hard decoy routes. Stalk block the opponent to stop him from making the tackle. Cut the defender to get him on the ground and out of the play.
Stand around and hop is not one of those things. Well, it shouldn't be one of the options, but at Virginia Tech apparently it is. Given the way this season has gone the coaching staff has a lot on their plate and this simply adds to it. Now that all eyes are on him, I expect Davis makes the necessary changes, with a little help from his coaches.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!