It’s not often a video of missed blocks by a college wide receiver goes viral on the Internet, but that’s exactly the situation Virginia Tech’s Marcus Davis found himself in Monday afternoon.
A video of nine plays in which the redshirt senior missed blocks during the Hokies’ Thursday night loss to Florida State was posted to YouTube by Tech Sideline on Monday afternoon and it was soon featured on several national Web sites and blogs, most notably Deadspin.
The “lowlight” package, as Deadspin described it, quickly drew the ire of Virginia Tech fans upset with Davis’s lack of effort in the midst of the program’s worst season in 20 years. ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer even tweeted it “was a disgrace to all the Hokies that invest so much.”
So after practice Monday, during a previously scheduled session with reporters, Davis responded to the uproar, shrugging off the controversy and defending his own play.
“Obviously somebody was bored and they felt they could put up a video, but little did they know, they don’t know the half of it,” said Davis, who also questioned the leadership on this year’s team last week during an interview with The Post. “If that’s what they want to do with their free time, then I applaud them. Go ahead and do what you want. But at the end of the day, that’s not gonna define me. That’s not who I am.”
Davis contended two of the plays featured in the video were passing plays and that “you can’t block in the back. That’s obvious.” He said two others were the result of mental errors, adding that one came when quarterback Logan Thomas didn’t send him in motion and another missed block occurred after he read the team’s signals wrong on his wristband.
“It is what it is,” Davis said. “I hope everybody gets what they want from it. It doesn’t faze me.”
From this beat writer’s perspective, the entire video reflected poorly on Davis, especially because blocking has been an issue for him all season long. But it only showed nine of the 70 plays Virginia Tech’s offense ran Thursday and there are only three instances where his missed blocks appear to play a direct role in the Hokies failing to pick up extra yards.
It should be noted, though, that last week Davis said in an interview he had his best blocking game of the year when Virginia Tech lost to Miami.
“From the first game to now, I’ve made great improvements on my blocking,” Davis said Monday. “It’s not always perfect. It’s not always pretty. But at the same time, I can say I’ve gotten better from it, which is a plus. I still have things that I can work on being a receiver in general and that’s just one thing I want to continue to work on. …
Davis finished last Thursday’s game with two catches for 68 yards, but also had a couple costly drops on deep passes. He’s the Hokies’ leading receiver this year with 38 catches for 754 yards and four touchdowns and there’s a chance he could become the first Virginia Tech player to finish with more than 1,000 receiving yards in a single season if the Hokies manage to qualify for a bowl game.
But many fans have long expected Davis to be a star, and after waiting his turn behind Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale for three years, consistency remains a weekly issue.
“I think people expect so much from me, as I do myself,” Davis said. “I set the bar so high for myself that when things like that happen it lets me down on the inside. It’s something like that that’s a little extra motivation to see if they make a video this week of me actually blocking somebody.”
But even Davis conceded that wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman is constantly harping on him about blocking, and did so again during the Florida State game when he mixed up the signals.
“There’s some plays, he’ll ask me what went on. I’ll tell him I read the wristband wrong. The play was actually coming to me and I thought it was going away, so he said, ‘We can’t have those mistakes in this game. We’re playing a great team. You can’t really make mistakes playing those guys.’ . . .
“We corrected it this morning in film. We’re not gonna let it happen again.”