I wrote this after the Cincy game and slid it under Jim Cavanaugh's door one day after practice. No idea if he or the team ever saw it, but I think it spoke the truth for the team much of the season. I must say that this past Saturday vs UVA was the first time I saw much emotion and excitement from our team all season, and it's how we should have been playing all along.
Dear Virginia Tech football team,
I am writing this anonymously, but you should know that I have been a student and Hokie football fan for a number of years. I am writing to speak for the majority of students and fans who pay money to watch their team play every Saturday at Lane Stadium.
I have come to realize that this is not the same Virginia Tech football team we all have become used to seeing for the past eight years. I know that expectations may not become reality this year. I have seen this team struggle and strain nearly every game this season, and it has been almost as painful for us as it has been for you.
But I also know that this team is one of the most talented teams in the country. It is not for lack of skill that we have two losses already this season. No, I think Hokie Nation can all agree that Virginia Tech has more talent on its roster than any team it has played thus far. It is not talent that you lack. It is heart.
You have all been around the game long enough now to know what heart is. Heart is courage, determination, and perseverance. It is knowing you can win when you’re down two scores in the fourth quarter. It is believing in overcoming the impossible. Heart is Appalachian State beating Michigan in the Big House. And right now, I see none of that in my team. I see a team who travels to Pittsburgh and is more concerned about the heat than the opponent. I see a team who gives up when it seems the obstacle appears insurmountable. I relate what I see in this team to the freshmen students who are too self-conscious to jump to Enter Sandman. There is simply no energy, no fire, no win-at-all-costs outlook. No heart. I, along with 60,000 other fans, scream my lungs out at every game, and I feel that we are trying harder than those of you who are on the field.
If hearing this makes you angry, then good. It should. Take offense. I only played rec league sports, and when somebody, anybody, told me I wasn’t playing with heart, I took that personally. You are playing Division I college football, and I’m telling you that you’re not playing with heart. If you have any issue with what I say, do me a favor.
Prove me wrong.
Prove to me, and prove to your 65,000 fans in Lane Stadium and your fans all over the country that I am wrong, and that you do have the fire inside of you to succeed no matter what. Stop playing for the name on the back your jersey. Stop thinking 10 wins is a guarantee for 2012. Start believing in beating the “unbeatable” Florida State or Clemson. Do you realize what everyone outside of the program is saying about Virginia Tech football right now? They don’t even give you a chance. You’ve been written off, ruled insignificant. There was a time here in Blacksburg when the team was 0-2. Not only had they lost a heartbreaking game on national television, but they lost the most embarrassing game in school history as a follow up. They were written off, ruled insignificant. Do any of you remember what that team did for the next 11 games? You should, because half of you were on that team. For those of you who weren’t, that team won those next 11 games, won the conference title, and set records all season long. Have the rest of you forgotten? Have you forgotten what it takes?
I don’t want to hear any more talk from my team in the beginning of the season about having the best defense to ever come through this program, or about 10 wins, or a BCS game. I want to see it on the field, not hear it from your mouth before you even take your first step into that tunnel on game day.
As for right now, I am still waiting to see the character of this team. If there are legends on this team, I will find out over the course of the next seven games. But we as fans will have to see something vastly different than what we have seen so far. Because right now, this team is not believing in themselves. And this team is not playing with any heart.
Prove me wrong, Hokies. Please, prove me wrong.