Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Different perspective emanates from cellar

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by my basement: one whale of a place to watch Virginia Tech's biggest win of the year.

Q: No trip to Boston, eh?

A: Nope. We made the call to bag that flight about three weeks ago. It made sense at the time, given that Boston College was so bad and the Hokies surely wouldn't be 4-6 heading into the game, needing a victory to keep their bowl hopes alive.

Q: Nice whiff there. But hey, the home theater isn't a bad place to view a ballgame. Wait ... you said you watched in your basement?

A: OK, technically I didn't WATCH the game from the basement. I just scurried down there at halftime to type up an emergency halftime blog when the Hokies fell behind 13-3.

Q: What did the blog post say?

A: Let's not talk about it.

Q: Oh, come on.

A: Essentially, it said that Tech should put backup quarterback Mark Leal in there for a series just to try to shift the mojo. Things had gotten that out of whack.

Q: Sorry I missed this piece of brilliance, given that starting quarterback Logan Thomas wound up throwing the winning touchdown pass in overtime to produce a 30-23 Hokies victory. What did you take away from Tech's rally?

A: That Martin Scales should have been playing a whole lot more this season. Without his second (third?) effort on that third down play in overtime, there is no touchdown pass. It was the type of short-yardage dominance the Hokies have been yearning for all year.

And as former Hokie and Atlanta Braves pitcher Brad Clontz wisely noted on Twitter - you get to read a lot more Twitter stuff when you're not at the game - Scales made a point earlier in the half to pat all his offensive linemen on the butt after picking up a first down on a critical short-yardage run.

Q: Like that butt-patting, do you?

A: Oh, yes. The more trying the season, the more butt-patting you need.

Q: Speaking of trying times, Marcus Davis responded pretty well to his week in the unwanted spotlight, huh?

A: You bet he did. That viral video of Davis' poor blocking effort against Florida State might have been the best thing to happen to him.

Q: Why? Wasn't that video just a mean-spirited attempt to embarrass the guy?

A: I don't think so. There was no commentary on the video, just clips of garbage effort. Facts. Evidence. Call it watchdog sports reporting in 2012. And it got Frank Beamer's attention, because he didn't play Davis in the first half.

Apparently, it got Davis' attention, too, because he put in probably the best 30 minutes of football of his life in the second half. They don't win without his catches. I contend he doesn't make them without the video. Here's hoping he learned a ton from the adversity and continues to appreciate his opportunity.

Q: So is next week's Tech-UVa game a big game or not?

A: It is, and actually the results of the past three days have given it an unusual significance.

Q: How so?

A: Most years, the storyline of this game has been centered on Virginia. It's all about whether the Cavs can break the streak, improve their bowl standing, get to the next level. Some of those elements are still there, but the fact that Tech still has a ton to play for shifts the focus to the Hokies. Could be fun.

Q: Real quick, you baseball nut: What did you think of the Marlins conducting another fire sale this week?

A: I think the connections to 1997 sell-off are way overblown. The situation couldn't be more different. You sell your highly paid players for pennies on the dollar after you've won the World Series, that's a joke. You sell 'em off after you win 69 games, that's called cleaning house and starting over.

From a purely baseball standpoint, I think the Marlins are better off for getting rid of those guys. And the Blue Jays are worse off for acquiring them.

Q: Where did you develop these transcendent ideas?

A: My basement, of course. Word has it Henry David Thoreau stopped by this very cellar on his way to Walden Pond.

Q: Really?

A: No. Not at all.

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