2016 in Review: What Went Wrong, What Went Right

It's the offseason, a dark dreary time with no football until the spring, followed by another dark period through the summer. If you're like me, you've pushed your full rooting attention towards Hokie Hoops, European soccer, and are preparing for your NBA playoff rooting interest. That said, the offseason does give us a chance to look back on the previous football season as a whole, so let's look back at things that went right and wrong during the season. Here are things that I feel good and bad about. Feel free to discuss and add your own Rights/Wrongs.

Things That Went Right: Big Picture

- We won 10 games, since the days of the standard 12 game regular season began, a double digit win season has become a universal symbol of a really good season. Fanbases tout 10+ streaks and for some reason those double digits just look a whole lot prettier in the W column when perusing past season schedules.

- We won the Coastal. For a program that won the ACC or Coastal in 6 of our first 8 seasons in the ACC, it felt right to reclaim our Coastal throne. In doing so we avenged losses to Miami, Pitt, and UNC, and exorcised the demons of Heinz Field.

- Our offensive revival, specifically the passing game, was an enormous breath of fresh air for a program that as long as I have followed Hokie football, has been marred by abysmal offensive play and an unfair reliance on elite QB/RB/WR play to mask our schematic and play calling issues.

- Defense took a big step in the direction of being elite again. Playing elite at times with many players emerging as big time playmakers.

- Big comebacks: Several times this season, we were faced with adversity and fought back from deficits. The Notre Dame and Arkansas games showed a side we haven't seen much from our Hokies the last few years.

Things That Went Wrong: Big Picture

- Losing on the big stage: We had an abysmal 5 fumble performance on national tv against Tennessee, a team we love to hate.

- We lost the classic VT letdown games that have reared their heads several times in otherwise strong seasons. The losses to Syracuse and Georgia Tech were as frustrating as any games in recent memory.

- Slow starts: Now this is something we are all too familiar with, particularly on offense. The aforementioned Syracuse and Georgia Tech games were classic examples. In an overall strong performance, our slow start against Clemson was ultimately a big reason why we were unable to win that game. It also could have easily cost us the Notre Dame and Arkansas games if not for heroic comebacks.

- Marshawn Williams' football career. This was just heartbreaking. Juice is an incredible and well-loved player, it's tough to see such a talented guy have to step away from the field. That said, I believe he will be successful in his life after football and look forward to hearing more about Coach Marshawn.

- No ACC championship for our seniors/early departures. Guys like Isaiah Ford, Sam Rogers, Woody Baron, Bucky Hodges, Nigel Williams, Chuck Clark, Ken Ekanem, etc. came here to win championships and provided us with many exciting plays and moments throughout their time in Blacksburg. They will be fondly remembered, but I would have loved to get those guys a big ACC championship ring.

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Comments

Well done. I think you covered it all.

H_O_K_I_E_S-HOKIES!

Proud Member Of The Key Play Community Since January 2012.

Also what went right: Merging the Old and New Regimes.

We all let out a huge sigh of relief when Foster decided to stay, but an established defensive staff having to accept and adapt to a new head man and offense usually spells disaster. However, the trust and bonds Fuente and Foster developed during the summer and fall camp showed quickly and became only more evident as the season progressed. Now Bud pursues perfection on defense because he is a perfectionist instead of trying because that's the only way Tech can win.

Wow, this didn't even cross my mind last night, but this one has been huge.

I'd say our traditional running game went wrong. Couldn't find a back to carry the load and had to use jerod as our main running threat on scrambles.

Getting the ball to our playmakers on the outside went right.

Definitely meant to include the first part up there, I totally agree.

Getting the ball to our playmakers on the outside went right.

My late night mind couldn't find a good way to word this, but I agree.

I think you can spin a "went wrong" out of this as well, as we failed to develop a deeper WR rotation and get younger guys valuable reps outside of garbage time. And now we don't have those proven playmakers outside (except for Cam).

What else went wrong? Saw from David Hale on twitter this week we were LAST among power 5 teams in yards per rush between the tackles, coming in at less than 2 yards per carry when removing QB runs....that's really bad

I was going to post this stat to supplement Knawaz's statement, but then you commented about it directly. It was yards/rush between tackles AND yards before contact (which is mostly on the line).

OL recruiting has to improve and we have to commit more to the running game or we aren't going to see any top notch RBs coming here any time soon. That stat is embarrassing.

OL recruiting definitely does have to improve. However that stat is so bad its beyond recruiting. The coaching in that facet needs the bigger step up. When you have a guy as talented as Teller, which already puts us as a more talented line than like 20% of P5 at least, dead last in P5 falls on the coaching.

I think it is both, Vice certainly didn't instill much confidence in the way he is teaching technique this past season. I think there are both schematic and technique issues. I think we weren't playing to our personnels' strengths and also instilling bad form technique (or at the very least not making a strong effort to correct our poor in game technique.)

Definitely agree. Having a power run game is just as much about a mentality and constant drilling as it is about the talent across the OL. I think we just try to get a bit too cute with our running scheme and got away from lining up and just beating up the team on the other side.

French said this and I agree, and that is I'm not sure if it was because we could not do it, or if Fuente wasn't interested in getting yards between the tackles.

Yes I remember him talking about the tight splits and theorizing that could be contributing to our between the tackles struggles. I believe he also said he would need to review in the offseason from a bigger sample. That said, I don't think anyone plans on being dead last in the P5 in those categories. There is a big difference between not being focused on running between the tackles and being dead last in P5. I think it might be safer to say that it wasn't a point of emphasis in our offense AND our o line failed to block well enough for it to even be an option. Unfortunately, that scenario only further muddies the water of the original question.

I like to look at that as a positive.

Our offense did some impressive things this year with a running game that couldn't really get going through the tackles. If we're that good when our running game isn't working, imagine how good we'll be when it is.

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

Super valid point here. I think the primary concern is about how we go about making those numbers better. Hence the OL recruiting/coaching discussions.

Our OL has long been a problem, and we covered up a bit of those issues by selling out in the past for run blocking and having a mobile QB from which we ran the read option, putting the pressure on the LBs to guess right. The fact we're now looking to address the root cause and legitimately work to improve play and talent level of the OL rather than scheme to hide the weakness should pay off big down the line.

What I like is that, even with those big problems last year, we still wrecked teams offensively last year. Once we get the OL playing at a legitimate P5 level, our offense is going to dominate.

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

Things went downhill with Newsome. We haven't fully recovered since.

Agreed but I do think the last few cycles of recruiting have put us in the correct direction. We restocked the cupboard with bodies and we have time to develop those guys. The big question is if Vice is capable of developing a dominant group up front. They both started on Defense but I'm confident Teller and Nijman will be playing on Sundays. Gallo needs to take a step forward and get more physical. The right side will be interesting if Osterloh and whoever ends up at RT are an improvement or not.

Another thing we have to consider is the RBs. There were times they flat out missed holes or cutbacks. The zone scheme requires the RB to read and react and Rogers and McMillan were not good at that. Juice was our best at it but he got hurt when he started to get going.

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

The zone scheme requires the RB to read and react and Rogers and McMillan were not good at that. Juice was our best at it but he got hurt when he started to get going.

Funny but I though Dragon did this pretty well. I just felt like whenever he ran between the tackles nothing was opening up or he was stuffed in the backfield. Sam on the other hand... I love that guy but his vision as a RB killed me sometimes. So many times he would miss the hole that could have given him 3 yards before contact and instead vouch to plow into a defender at the LOS and fight forward for 3 yards.

Sometimes I like to leave off the /s just to mess with people.

- Defense took a big step back in the direction of being elite.

Maybe its because I don't read so good, but this sentence seems contradictory to me. Shouldn't it have read "took a big step forward, in the direction of being elite".

I started picking up a pitchfork before I got to the "in direction of being elite" part

Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate, and hetzers gonna hetz

- Fanbases tout 10+ streaks and for some reason those double digits just look a whole lot prettier in the W column when perusing past season schedules.

Waiting for UVA to switch to a base 2 numbering system and tout a 10-win season of their own.

Fun fact: in his long tenure as HC of Virginia Tech, Justin Fuente has notched as many 10-win seasons as LOLUVa has in its considerably longer participation in the sport (I use the term "participation" loosely)

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

2016 what went wrong: Goddamn Carrier Dome
2016 what went right: we got the number next to our name back, and came away with 3 trophies

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

Looking forward to upping the number of trophies next year:
Black Diamond
Commonwealth Cup
ACC Coastal
ACC
Playoff Bowl #1
National Title

15-0, baby!

Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate, and hetzers gonna hetz

We need the running game going

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

2016 Season Things that went right: Jerod Evans

2016 Season Things that went wrong: Jerod Evans

Question, If Fuente would have know that Evans would pull a "bye Falica" at the end of the season, would he have played Jackson over Evans, if it was really a "Close QB battle" in spring and fall camp?

No.

That redshirt is more valuable.
Playing Jackson over Evans might result in Evans leaving anyway. Jackson, as a true freshman, likely wouldn't have been as productive as Evans last year either. I imagine the play-calling would have been super conservative to protect him. I believe 100% that if Fuente knew Evans would leave after one year he still would have started him and redshirted JJ.

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

What went right:

The Magic of the 25

What went wrong:

Sam Rogers graduated :'(

"It's a miracle in Blacksburg, TYROD DID IT MIKEY, TYROD DID IT!"