Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: A pound of flesh looks a lot better on paper

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by The Great Weight Debate: Join in before it's too late!

Q: OK, I'll bite. Where are you going with this?

A: 219. It's the most talked-about number in Hokieland this week. That's the listed weight for redshirt sophomore defensive end Tyrel Wilson, who will make his first career start for Virginia Tech today against Wake Forest.

Q: Isn't 219 pounds a little small for a defensive end?

A: It is. The injured standout he's replacing, James Gayle, is listed at 257. The guy on the other side, J.R. Collins, is 240. Zack McCray is 254. You get the idea.

Q: Wait, but didn't former All-American Corey Moore dominate for the Hokies at that position in 1999 while listed at 212?

A: He did. He also ran the 40 in 4.38 seconds. He was a physical anomaly.

Q: Why are you picking on Wilson? Can't you give the guy a break?

A: That's what I want to do. See, I blame Tech for this.

Q: How do you figure?

A: I hold in my hand the 2011 Glenvar High School football roster. Not a single player on it has a listed weight that ends in anything other than a zero or a five.

Q: So?

A: So Wake Forest's depth chart is the same way. Those monsters on the offensive line that you've been hearing about are 320, 305, 310, 320 and 305. There's not a 303 in the bunch.

Q: You're saying rounding up would solve everything?

A: Not everything. Wilson's in a tough spot, and not just because of his weight. Whoever replaced Gayle - who was terrific the first five games - was going to be held to an unfair standard. But I'm giving Wilson 220. It sounds better. And I hope he records 23 sacks today and wins national player of the week.

Q: Are all the defensive injuries a valid excuse if Tech loses today?

A: Nope. Especially when you consider that Wake's Josh Harris, who ran for 242 yards against Tech last year, might not even play because of his own injury woes. Developing depth is one of the most vital elements of a coach's job description. Have to find a way.

Q: Prediction?

A: Hokies 31, Wake 27. Nail-biter throughout.

Q: What kind of re-cep-tion will Al Groh get in Charlottesville today?

A: I never thought I'd say this, but the Al story, to me, is over. That hugging display after the UVa-Georgia Tech game last year in Atlanta was the punctuation mark. Over.

Q: Oh, come on. You still miss Al, don't you?

A: Yes.

Q: Does UVa have a chance in this game?

A: The bye week helps, but I've got to believe the Yellow Jackets get it done. I just don't trust this Cavs defense right now.

Q: Who's now the Vegas favorite to win the Chase?

A: Jimmie Johnson. Hurray. Still going with Kevin Harvick, though.

Q: Did you see that some guy threw a hot dog at Tiger Woods during a tournament?

A: I did see that. The guy said he wanted to do something "courageous and epic." This is my generation, folks. While our grandfathers valiantly fought in wars and risked everything to make this country great, our idea of "courageous and epic" is chucking cylindrical sausages at golfers. Sigh.

Q: Well, if not valiant, was it at least funny?

A: Oh, heck yes.

Q: Best reader comment on the blog this week?

A: Let's go with Other John, regarding the Boston Globe story that detailed how some Red Sox pitchers were drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games: "Beer and sports go hand in hand, though usually for the fans. Sports (or games) that combine them for the players? Well †sign me up! I think that's why I like bowling, golf, darts, billiards and beer pong. And heck, fried chicken can be eaten simultaneously, too."

Q: Agree with this?

A: Absolutely, and I think we've found the solution for Wilson, our undersized defensive end.

Q: What's that?

A: Put him on a strict regimen of bowling, golf, darts, billiards and beer pong. The guy will be 250 in no time.

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