Getting this loss off my chest.

Here’s the truth. We won eleven football games this season, another ACC Championship and extended the ten-plus-wins a season streak to seven. Standing on its own 2010 was an impressive campaign, especially after our disastrous start, as part of the whole, over the last seven years, it helps comprise a top ten resume. However, is that being elite? No, it’s being consistent. Consistently the best team in the ACC, but not good enough to beat a quality opponent. What’s frustrating is I honestly don’t know what’s keeping us from taking that next step.

However, the old fashioned Stanford put on us last night definitely highlighted a bunch of what has held us back over the years. The offensive line play was absolutely atrocious. I am still in Miami and without means to watch a replay so I can’t be as exact as I’d like to be, but I’ll say this--whenever I focused on watching the line I saw Andrew Lanier getting absolutely worked. Over the season I don’t know what was worse, the fact Lanier constantly got beat by average pass rushers or that Nick Becton couldn’t get over his turf toe and push him for more playing time. That’s not to say Lanier was the lone disappointment of an otherwise excellent offensive line. These statistics sum up just how badly we got beat up front: 66 total rushing yards, 44 not including Tyrod’s 22 (second leading rusher) who was sacked EIGHT times. We just aren’t nasty enough for my liking, considering we’re a “physical” football team. If you want to see a nasty, tough, brutal offensive line then look no farther than Stanford. Those boys are a succinct unit, flawless in their execution and devastating to defenders.

Stinepring. I thought the play calling last night was predictable, unimaginative and stale. We went three-and-out five times and punted eight. Going into the game we knew we’d have to play keep up and we couldn’t. We should have been able to score on Stanford. During their season their defense was serviceable, but not suffocating. Instead of making any adjustments at the half I’d imagine the speech was something like, “Let’s just keep doing what we’re doin’ [clap, clap, clap].” I think we made a mistake by trying to ram Evans into a wall all night, especially in the second half. Stanford wasn’t going to wilt along the line, yet we continued to hand the ball off. If we’re going to be predictable I’d rather put the ball in the hands of the best player in our league and let him try to work some magic. Stanford did make an effort to sell out against the run, and we should have tried to take advantage of the soft spots 10 yards over the middle with our bigger more physical receivers: Andre Smith or Marcus Davis. But we didn’t do that much over the season, so expecting anything different last night would’ve been foolish. On the other hand, football is a team game and Bill Walsh couldn’t call plays with an offensive line that porous. Yet the fact remains, we got shutout in the second half of the Orange Bowl with what should have been our most talented offense since 2003 and that’s inexcusable.

Defensively the big play bit us in the ass, again. Unlike the Boise State, or even JMU, Wake Forest, or ECU games we can’t use the excuse of being inexperienced to sweep the mistakes under the rug. We got enough pressure on Luck (who was phenomenal, again, by the way) to make him uncomfortable, but not ineffective. It seemed like every time we forced him out of the pocket there was no one in contain to make a big play. And it just seemed like Stanford always converted the big third down after being stymied on first and second. Whatever the case may be a Foster-fense gave up 534 yards and 40 points.

When I look back on the 2010 season I’ll remember a good, but not great team that continued a tradition of being excellent, but not elite. That’s a brutally honest statement, but it’s the truth. I’ll remember Tyrod Taylor gutting it out in the 4th quarter of the Orange Bowl when everyone else around him looked defeated, and that will always make me sad. I’ll remember the incredible 11 game winning streak highlighted with back flips, pick-sixes, comebacks and touchdown strikes while falling off the sideline, when it looked like we wouldn’t make a bowl on September 11th.

It’s the end of the Tyrod Taylor era and if it isn’t apparent enough from what I’ve written about him this season, I’m beyond grateful for every snap he’s taken over his four years at Tech. Going forward, as a program, there are going to be tough decisions to make. Do we want to be consistently excellent and comfortable or do we want to fill the trophy case? Because it can no longer be argued that we’re just a quarterback away like during the Randall, Marcus Vick or Glennon years, because we just had the privilege of having one of the best for four years. Whatever the case may be I’ll be there next season living and dying with every snap of Virginia Tech football.

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Comments

Consistent no longer good enough.

The problem for Beamer with the success he's brought to Blacksburg is that we're no longer satisfied with consistent "good-ness." He is much praised for the loyalty to his coaches over the years, but some new ways of doing things might not be such a bad thing since the tried and true methods aren't getting us to the next level.

Kissing Your Sister

I've said it immediately after the game, and I'll say it again here. This season was like kissing your sister. Are you getting some? Absolutely. But it's your sister, and that means it's just not good enough.

Laugh all you want, but what better metaphor is there to describe this season? We lost two games that lingered over our heads the entire season, with no help from a particular ESPN ACC blogger, managed to come back and follow through the rest of the season with a strong showing, only to be shellacked in the Orange Bowl. Yup, another ACC Championship. Yup, another 10 win season. Yup, another makeout session with older sis.

Something needs to change. We need to go find a new makeout partner. Not sure who that is, or where we'll find her/it, but we can't keep settling for "just good enough"

for this season

I'll go with "always the bridesmaid never the bride." Our purpose this season was to win 11 games, thus making us a worthy competitor for Boise and Stanford.

Boise got to talk about their quality win, and Luck got to prove how good a QB he was by torching the #9 pass-efficiency D. We basically threw those two teams their bachelorette parties and got no glory for ourselves nationally.

Great Article-Now I'll Vent

Every bit of this article was true. Unfortunately the saddest part is that Tyrod did gut it out in the fourth, and while he was taking shot after shot from Stanford pass rushers and continuing to pick himself up off of the South Florida grass, the rest of the team had already given up. Receivers were running mediocre routes and not looking for the ball, the line refused to block and continue to protect Tyrod, their leader and quarterback, and the coaches did not change the play calling one bit, but Tyrod continued to weather the storm like the great man that he is. This man has no quit.

I felt we did a great job pass rushing against Andrew Luck and making him uncomfortable, when we blitzed. If we only rushed four, Luck stood back in the pocket and delivered strikes to open receivers because our defensive backs were two and three steps slower then Stanford's receivers. I was extremely disappointed in the play of Davon Morgan as he got toasted multiple times by a tight end at that. This may come as a shock to many, but I was not as impressed with Luck as many are. If he was put under pressure, he usually did not make a play. The only play I remember him making was about a 10 or 15 yard strike on the move while being chased down by Stephen Friday. The touchdown passes he threw were to wide open receivers, or they were run after the catch sort of plays and plays like this can make any quarterback look great. Yes, he has the vision to get it to the right guy, and that's huge. But, when he gets to the NFL and sees constant pressure while in the pocket will he be able to make plays? Time will only tell, I am not saying that Andrew Luck is not a quality quarterback, because he is, and I hope he is successful at the next level, because him and Stanford made a 'Foster-fense' look like any other defense in the country, but I just have not watched enough of Luck to believe he will be great at the next level, not yet.

Finally, I want to thank Tyrod for the best four consecutive years I have ever seen at Virginia Tech. From seeing Tyrod's first collegiate action and touchdown against LSU in 2007, to a brilliant comeback against Nebraska, to a pass play from Tyrod to David Wilson while both players were falling out of bounds in the 2011 Orange Bowl, I have loved watching Tyrod play. He is my favorite Hokie of all time. The only thing I wish differently in Tyrod's career is that Sean Glennon could have brought the Hokies back to win against East Carolina in 2008, so that Tyrod could keep his redshirt and we would have one more year of watching one of the greatest Hokies of all time. I have high hopes that Tyrod gets a shot to prove himself in the NFL as a quarterback, because if any Hokie ever deserved it, it is definitely him. Thanks for all of the memories Tyrod! We will miss you!

Phillip

agreed

I had the same assessment of Luck. He made mistakes (I'll blame the safety on him) in the first half, and his second half antics were not perfect throws into coverage by any stretch.

Also agreed on Tyrod.

and Luck owes VT some millions

His draft stock was solidified in easy fashion. He needs to make a donation to the athletic department.

Agree on all accounts. Beamer is what's right about college football. However, when you have an empty national championship trophy case prominently displayed you are making a statement about that type of success you want to have. Obviously we are good enough to win the ACC and that's the first step towards getting there, but right now we can't compete with the elite teams. Here's a question, since 2004 what's the best team we've beat?

torn...

I know...the empty trophy case sets a level of expectations. Maybe that's unjust to all concerned.
The only real way I see the case being filled is a jump to the SEC, improving the recruits and level of play (ie speed!) all around the field...and better play calling. Give Bud an all-star cast and nobody will gain 10 yards on us!
But, with the move comes the reality of SEC indiscretions and the NCAA spotlight that goes with it. Running the program the way it is now in the SEC would be the equivalent of Ole Miss or Vandy, both 5 win teams yearly.
I'm torn, but do respect the hell out of Beamer for running a clean ship while still winning 10 games every year.

I'm a man! I'm 40!
Hokie thru and thru.

Maybe?

Stiney just needs a little help with the play calling or game planning.

I do think that VT overacheives considering the level of talent we recruit. We are consistently not in the top 10 or even top 15 nationally rated recruiting classes but still win 10 games a year. That probably has a lot to do with the coaches. We are not getting the top rated talent in Virginia, but no in-state school really is. UVa has generated a little more excitement with coach London but he isn't getting the best either.

Does the VT program want to take too many risks to get that one special team that takes us to the top? There is no guarantee that making big changes will succeed. But we do need something to happen to generate enough excitement to get and keep the talent we need to suceed. Maybe it will all come together one year when the team gels, there are few injuries, and we have a favorable schedule.

I think there is a lot of pride in playing for Tech. We have a great reputation even if we don't win it all. But it is frustrating at times.

Overall a very good year. Good luck Tyrod and thanks for giving it your all on the field.

Maybe? Stiney just needs a

Maybe?

Stiney just needs a little help with the play calling or game planning.

Probably, but there are bigger problems. We have no identity, no philosophy on offense. We're a spreadish/pro team with an athletic instead of imposing offensive line that only throws the ball < 5 or > 20 yards. It just seems like our scheme is too comprehensive and because of that it's missing a focus. We need to simply figure out who we are instead of seeing what sticks to the wall.

I don't think talent is the issue. Yes, we don't get all 4 and 5 star guys, but we get our fair share and Beamer Co. is superior-excellent at developing talent over the course of a player's 4-5 years at Tech. I mean look at Stanford. They recruit against USC, Oregon, etc and managed to get enough good players to whoop us. Do I think they are more talented than us? Hell no. I do think they know who they are, have a focused scheme and execute flawlessly.

Blacksburg would collapse into itself.

It's an interesting idea to say the least. Although I think with Thomas' skill set I think Fridge would be the better option. I guarantee Clemson gets one of the two.

Joe and Gang, we thank you good Sirs!

Just thought we should give it up to our source of laughs, outlet for rants, and providers of prophetic, bourbon-soaked Hokie Pride. Kudos to you guys and thanks for a great(ly disappointing?) season. Here's to show my appreciation...

-After The Key Play becomes self aware it will immediately send David Wilson back in time to terminate Bryan Stinespring.

-The Key Play invented the internet.

-Give me liberty or give me The Key Play.

-David Wilson thinks about The Key Play while he's eating Chick-fil-A on Sundays.

-In the beginning, God created the heavens and The Key Play.

Thank You

Now, does anyone have any good ideas on how we can pass the time of the off season by?

I tried to make the "Forums" link at the top a little more visible.