How did the offense perform relative to the defenses faced this year?

There are a few ways to attempt to quantify the offenses performance this year. Average points scored is one of them, but that does not take into account how strong a particular defense is. This year we faced the #3 (ND) and #10 (Miami) defenses.

One set of metrics that does that this into account is the S&P+ (through 11/10/18). We can compare our offensive performance vs. the average points scored against each defense.

Below is a table that summarizes our performance to date. A negative number in the difference column indicates we under performed vs the average number of points scored against each team.

Team Defensive S&P+ Rank Defensive S&P+ VT Points Scored Difference
FSU 43 24.5 24 -0.5
ODU 116 39.3 35 -4.3
Duke 46 25.2 31 5.8
ND 3 14.6 23 8.4
UNC 98 33.2 22 -11.2
GT 96 33 28 -5
BC 25 21 21 0
Pitt 77 29.9 22 -7.9
Miami 10 17.2 14 -3.2
UVA 37 23.6 ? ?
Marshall 108 17.5 ? ?

Unfortunately, there is no simple trend to be gleaned from this data. We underperformed in 6 of 9 games, which is not surprising given our record. Our largest underperformance was against UNC and our smallest against FSU.

Even our over performance against ND was not enough to win.

What does this mean?

For it to mean something, we would have to agree on a standard. What is the acceptable level of offensive performance? Average? Above Average? Excellent? And what do those qualifiers mean quantitatively?

I do not think I will try to answer the aforementioned questions now.

I think it's fair to say there is little excuse for the offense to perform poorly against bad defenses like ODU, Pitt, UNC and GT. With our defense in the condition it is in, even a great performance against Pitt and GT may not have changed the outcome, but we should expect more. How much more? I can't say. I have doubts the data is nicely distributed for each team let alone across teams. Maybe the answer is enough to win? Maybe the answer is #X in the ACC, whatever we think X should be.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


Good post.

What stands out to me is that in this era of high scoring offenses, VT pretty well puts up three TDs per game regardless of the quality of the opposing D. That indicates that VT has it's own limiting factor (i.e. play calling, QB decisions, failure to have 11 guys execute at once, etc.).

Unfortunately, what I see is that our O is predicated on 11 guys performing perfectly on every play. That's just not going to happen. I don't think even a Bama could execute like that. Most NFL teams can't. You need to design a system that plays to the strengths of your players ( it the ideal players you want...and cannot recruit).

We put the K in Kwality

I agree. Don't try to fit a round peg into a square hole. Coaches at this level should be able to adapt to what their players do well. I would give a + vote, but not enough turkey legs.

Carolina Hokie

Any offense at any level is going to struggle if you can't run the ball effectively. And we can't do that. Our running game stinks, it's weak predictable soft and scared - I.e a million designed qb draws. When you are one dimensional you are not going to be a good offense. With very few exceptions.

I disagree. Peoples is playing his nuts off. If he were to get 20+ carries a game, I suspect things might look quite a bit different.

Is it basketball season yet?

Unfortunately him playing his nuts off isnt exactly the scariest thing. No one is worried about Steven Peoples busting out 150 yard games.

Peoples is tough as nails and strong. His biggest problem is break away speed. Having said that, let's punish people more and give him more carries. He's a bowling ball. Line up the pins and knock 'em down!

Boston College played two deep safeties and left the box wide open. No safeties in run support. We could not run the ball. Others have done this as well. Cover the pass and dare us to run. And we have not been effective.

I think our runs take too long to develop. I'll have to go back and watch but once it's clear it's a run I bet the safeties spring for the LOS.

If our offensive scheme/system is too complex, does that just get us back to Loeffler? That was one of our major gripes with his offense.

I hate to keep harping on this stat, but we still have only scored more than 24 points against Power 5 opponents 4 times in the last 2 years.

Where did the "Loeffler's offense is too complex" idea come from? I have heard it a lot, but I don't know its origin.

Hate to see what these numbers would look like without our QB Whisperer, Offensive Gurus at the helm.

Can we also talk about how much our special teams have regressed this year?

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

HATE THE 3 man wall. Basically defending the punt with 7 players. Add in the low line rugby kick and returner gets plenty of time to make some moves.

If you lose your lane big returns will happen and it's happened all year long.

So I have a couple takeaways

1) the promise to Bud that the D wouldn't have to win every game was a lie (or a poorly executed promise), and

2) If we eek out another ~10 points a game on offense this becomes a very different record this season. That's merely 2 more scoring drives that keeps our defense off the field and forces the opposition in to a diffferent set of play calling.

In hindsight (although many predicted this... I wasn't one) the defense had an extremely thin margin for success this year. The offensive production exponentially exposed a weakness on defense as a whole, and we ended up playing from behind in most of our games before the 1st half was over.

If we eek out another ~10 points a game on offense this becomes a very different record this season. That's merely 2 more scoring drives that keeps our defense off the field and forces the opposition in to a diffferent set of play calling.

Uh... add 10 points to our scores in losses and we force OT against BC. That's it. Not a single additional outright win.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I don't think he meant adding on 10 points at the end of the game, obviously that's a folly. He's talking about putting up 10 or so points over the course of the game (preferably in a row, instead of constant 3&outs and a random score), such that it puts the opposing team's offense/defense in a tougher position. With this tougher position, the offense sputters out because they're tense and trying to make a big play everytime, and the defense collapses because they're trying to make big plays and stops because they know they're behind by 10+ points (which sounds awfully familiar, doesn't it?)

Virginia Tech Class of 2013
Mining and Minerals Engineering

Sailing the Eastern Seas....on a ship filled with sand....

It's impressive how much we're willing to bend over backwards to ignore a defense that ranks in the bottom quartile of all of football to slam an offense that ranks (barely) in the top half

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

I think everyone knows the defense is awful, but we clearly recognize that due to recruiting misses, poor evaluations, and youth that we just don't have the horses to compete. The lack of physicality and poor tackling is concerning, but I think that is indicative of a larger issue within the culture of the program right now (toughness, physicality). No one is absolving Bud or his staff of blame though.

I think people are flat out pissed that our offense, which was supposed to be the bright spot and help what we knew would be a down defense (although not this bad), would be this ineffective. Fuente and his guys came in touted as offensive gurus and could build a successful offense with limited pieces. They have more talent across the board than they ever did at Memphis and frankly look horrible. I think people are upset and have become critical of whether or not this offensive staff has the chops for this level of football or if this scheme will work long-term in the P5 now that tape is out on them.

The defense, as flawed as we all know it is, held in there for 2.5 quarters while our offense couldn't get anything going. We could have likely put the game away early if we had a capable offense.

In general I'm in agreement with you. Our defense was terrible. Historically bad.

But at some point you also need to recognize that this offense is not very good and Fuente was hired specifically to bring offense to Blacksburg. 2016 looked promising but in the two seasons since then our offense has gotten worse and worse. Dino Barbers has done more with less at Syracuse. At some point we have to grow up and stop making excuses. I'm willing to patiently wait another season or two for offense to make an appearance in Blacksburg but one simply can no longer deny the fact that it planely hasn't shown up yet. That doesn't bode well for us moving forward. And as bad as the defense was this season the real elephant in the room is the lack of any offense.

I'm all for saddling blame on the defense. But the offense certainly deserves its fair share too! Especially when you consider the coaches we have were tasked with bringing points into Blacksburg. They've certainly done that, but not in the way they were meant to.

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

all of this.

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

Dino Barbers has done more with less at Syracuse

Dino Babers went 8-16 at Syracuse the past two seasons while Fuente went 19-8. At worst our team will finish 4-7 this season, which is technically still better than either of Babers first two teams. Meanwhile Syracuse is 8-3 and at best could be 10-3, which would be one loss better than our 2015 season. So... why is everyone now singing Babers' praises and declaring Fuente to be awful? With all the early departures, dismissals, and injuries, there was no avoiding a difficult season this year. If there isn't improvement next season, I think concern would be justified. Everyone wants to act like this season is indicative of a downward trend but the reality is if next season is better, this year's data point is just an anomaly.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Syracuse has improved offensively. Which is what Dino was paid to do. He's in year 3 and his team looks better than it did in year one. Barbers to Fuente is a fair comparison in this regard

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

Working with a QB who had played over 20 games prior to the start of the season.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

We have OL and RBs with that much experience. Good coaches find ways to protect young QBs. Our talent at wide out is almost unfair. Yet we don't utilize that. I bet Barbers would.

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

We are trying to use the WR passing offense it just 3 passes a game are over thrown or dropped. Our Running attpts are down mininamly in the 2nd half but yards are down over 20% where as for the first time in Tech's History we are majority passing offense

No, it's really not. Babers is paid to win games and that should be the goal of every head coach. Babers took his lumps the first two years with a young Eric Dungey. Now Dungey is a senior and they win 8 games and suddenly everyone is pointing to Babers as a shining example of a coach on the rise. What if they go 4-8 next year after Dungey is gone? Is Babers still a rising star or a bum whose best season equaled Mike London's?

Secondly, it's faulty comparison because you're punishing Fuente for setting the bar too high with success. But isn't he the one who found and recruited a JUCO QB to steady the ship right off the bat? Evans leaving early forced us to start over on offense with a redshirt freshman QB who was not highly ranked and recruited by the prior staff. As has been well documented, the team suffered a ludicrous amount of attrition between the draft, dismissals, and injuries. As a result, I think it's fair to judge this season as essentially comparable to Babers' first/second season.

If next year is a 4-8 season, we should absolutely be concerned about the future and probably looking to make some changes to the staff. However, what doesn't make any sense is taking one season and extrapolating that into an upward or downward trend for a coach's ability.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

However, what doesn't make any sense is taking one season and extrapolating that into an upward or downward trend for a coach's ability.

I agree. Which is why we're looking at 3 years, not one. Our offense started off hot (mostly because of Evans and Ford) in 2016 and has progressively gotten worse in 2 years since. So I don't think anyone is looking at a single season in a vacuum.

However, what doesn't make any sense is claiming everyone is looking at one single season and extrapolating into a trend when in fact everyone is looking at 3 seasons. It's by no means a perfect data set but it's what we have. Stop fabricating this narrative that we only have one season to build a trend with. That's untrue and insulting to suggest.

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

a pretty good 3 years compared to the last 15, this is slightly out of date as it was from earlier this season to now it is below 30 but Frank was never a scoring machine

Dino started out with way less to work with at Syracuse. Over three years, he has progressively gotten the team better and has them ranked and within a 10 win season in year three. Relative to where Syracuse was and the ceiling of that program, that's a great accomplishment. Also if you look at games in a vacuum, they are competitive in every game this year and typically come out highly motivated for big games.

Meanwhile we started with Fuente with more talent and won early, but have slowly been declining as Beamer players exit and his recruits enter. Defense was obviously strong last year and has been chalked up to many factors. But the regression on offense is concerning and not in alignment for the stated purpose of why Fuente and his staff were hired specifically for this job.

We were promised offense, and after some early results with an experienced cast, lightning in a bottle for one year in Evans, and a new offensive scheme in the ACC that teams had little familiarity with in year 1, we are not heading in a very promising direction.

I think the reason is the offense. They have not been ravaged by injuries, attrition, and youth. And Fuente and Corn were brought in and touted as offensive geniuses. Instead they downright stink and if anything have gone backwards this year. It's inexcusable. And all we get is blah blah blah about the offense. Fuente heard you are disappointed? Well he is more so. That makes me feel good. Not.

Dawg, we KNOW the defense sucks. You post this every time someone mentions the offense and how shitty they've been this year. The two are not mutually exclusive.

But for real, it's plain as day our defense is trash. We know this. We also know Bud knows how to field an elite defense. What we don't know is can our offensive coaches do the same. You can't seriously look at the way our offense has played and believe there isn't a problem that needs to be fixed. It's 2018, we should be scoring more than 3 touchdowns against P5 teams.


The biggest problem with this offense isn't in the booth, he's behind center.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

But who decides to put that problem behind center? I'm not really impressed by Willis but you can really only put so much blame on him. The coaches have to get him ready. They're paid bundles of money to put him in position to succeed. If he's not the best option the coaches need to play someone else. Willis might not be a great QB but the coaches have to figure out how to find success regardless

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

This is not an excuse for the coaches. After the reads and throws I watched Willis make against Miami, there is no reason why Hooker hasn't at least been given a chance. I'm in the minority in that I still don't take particular issue with the play calling, but there's no reason to still be living or dying by Willis's hand at this point. I don't care how bad Hooker might be, you do something when your starter is making this many mistakes, especially when your "starter" isn't really your starter.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

Much like JJ last year, Willis has taken a beating down the stretch and doesn't trust the OL to protect him. He's rushing throws and his accuracy has decreased with each game. I don't know why Fuente left him in yesterday late in the 4th. The game was out of reach and Willis was taking shots only to be greeted by Fuente chewing him out on the sideline. Last year when JJ was hurt, Fuente left him in against Miami when the game was out of reach and JJ got smoked a few times. This irks me.

I don't think Willis has played well but I really think we would be worse with JJ. Teams didn't even account for the QB to keep it with JJ last year. He is too slow to be a factor in the read option. Although throws the quick out and quick slant better than Willis though. There are just too many things going wrong on offense to put the blame on the QB regardless of who is behind center.

With our defense in the condition it is in, even a great performance against Pitt and GT may not have changed the outcome

Not ignored.

Bud is a known and proven product as a defensive coordinator at the P5 level. The job of the defensive coordinator is personnel execution and x/os for the defense.

Fuente is a known and proven product as an offensive coordinator at the P5 level. The job of an offensive coordinator is personnel execution and x/o's for the offense.

Fuente is new as a head coach at the P5. The main job of head coach is broad strategy and hiring, leadership of team.

Cornelson is unproven as offensive coordinator at P5 level. See above for rest.

I think if fuente likes his friend that much he better be doing some offensive coordination help and covering his ass.

Cornselson should be on a warm seat next year and fuente the following year or two after if he doesn't do anything about his offense.

This doesn't involve bud at this point in time. It's insane what he's dealt with personnel Wise.

Nice post btw thanks for summarizing and sharing.

Isn't part of what's bud is dealing with his and Wiles own making? I love Bud, but "Bud gets a pass" talk seems like we aren't being truly reflective of issues within the program.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I get where you are coming from. And i don't think I could say you are wrong cause this type of stuff isn't black and white, it's entirely opinion based.

Im not reading into it because of his long tenure of very high performance along with the unprecedented level of injuries/attrition that occurred. That's hard to deal with.

I think of it as if these are my employees. Do you fire your 30 year executive that spanks it every single year for a transition year that is totally explainable? I think no. That's how I am looking at it anyways.

I think the quickest optic saving thing that fuente could do would be to take some accountability for the offense in the off season and put some personal effort there and see what happens.

I've seen some really really stupid play calling out of cornselson. Like really really really stupid. I don't remember where I saw it but fuente only recently turned over playcalling to him while at Memphis .

Honestly I'm not sure any firings are warranted yet. People I think who need to have some responsibility publicly taken are Nix, Corn and Mitchel. But Bud and Wiles have to step up in all parts of the team also. Wiles coaches and recruits the part of the team with the thinnest margins and Bud is the overall boss on that side (to the point where Fuente gives gives him a lot of free reign ) he also is the position coach for a spot with 4 freshmen as our two deep.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I agree. I'll further clarify my post:

Cornselson should be on a warm seat AFTER next year and fuente the following year or two after if he doesn't do anything about his offense.

Cornselson should be on a warm seat AFTER next year

I think he should been the hot seat now. He's a P5 OC making $490K year. At that level on the job training is not an expectation. Maybe at a DII school. When you take a P5 coordinator job with that kind of money you need to show up ready to do the job.

Even at Memphis he was Co-OC. He has not been the sole OC since his days at Northeastern State.

Nah you were right the first time on Corn. Our offense looks like a monkey trying to fuck a football.


The buck stops with the head coach. Fuente is responsible for the overall performance of the team. It is up to him to make some tough decisions, and if that warrants shaking up his staff, then that's what needs to happen. He can't just stand idly by while there are issues on defense and claim that Bud is the boss there. He is Bud's boss and should take command of the situation. If he's unwilling to do that, then that is ineffective leadership.

At DT absolutely. But defensive recruiting has been better than offensive recruiting recently. During the later Beamer years people complained about our LB recruiting and he answered that in a big way. Obviously we have missed evals and missed DT propsects recently and we've acknowledged that. However, the defense as a whole has been relatively well recruited (per our history).

Bud and Wiles can't control injuries, nor can they force kids to not declare early for the draft.

DL, CB and safety haven't looked great. LB two deep is all freshmen. Wiles and Foster have to step up in next two years. Including maybe looking at changing what kind of DL they want.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

CB should have been fine this year with Webb and Alexander starting, adding depth with Farley, Watts, etc. having another year to develop as backups. That attrition was out of their control.

Safety is primarily an issue for free safety. All our safety recruits recently have been more suited to Rover, where we have a logjam comparatively to FS.

I agree about DL, particularly interior DL. I am holding them accountable to fix these things.

Fuente is a known and proven product as an offensive coordinator at the P5 level.

I am assuming you referring to his time at TCU. TCU was in the Mountain West when Fuente was OC. The Mountain West was not a P5. TCU has since moved onto the Big 12 which is.

Stat: can't score 30 points against P5 competition.. can't s score in the 3q against anybody... slice those however you wish.. it sucks

I keep track of teams adjusted scoring, which is how many points they score vs what their opponents allow. Virginia Tech is scoring 4.439 points below what their opponents allow on average. And their defense is allowing 5.061 points a game more than their opponents score on average. This is the second worst offense I've seen since I've been keeping track of this and by far, the worst defense they've had.

Summary of our offense

I'm going to disagree... This rhino has put in the work and is executing the shit out of that offense.

To good Friends... good health... and the besting of Hoos.

Good stuff and if we want to make a case for Whit to do something about the OC, we need to send this to his office. At the end of the day I look at our team and I can say at least on Defense we have some injuries and attrition.

What gives on offense? Our so-called star wide-receiver Hazleton has either dropped or fumbled the ball in 2 games in a row. No running game at all, the O-Line was supposed to be the highest quality we ever had and we can't even snap the ball. Then you add the 3-and-Outs consistently mainly based on play-calling and you lose any sort of momentum and rest for the defense so it makes it seem like our D is on the field the entire game.

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

I'm sure Whit's phone is ringing off the hook about this stuff.

I keep seeing comments about the D being on the field too much. We're middle of the pack in TOP, and we've won TOP 2 of the last 3 games, not that it has helped the final score. I'm curious what you're basing this on

People are having a really, really hard time processing how bad our defense is. It's way off script for most VT fans. Granted, this offense isn't good, but Hokie Nation has been conditioned to put more blame on the offense for our struggles.

Honestly, I don't know how much it matters what our offense does, this defense might be too much of an albatross around the program's neck. If we had the 2016 offense, our record world be 5-5 right now instead of 4-6. (Assuming we scored our season average in every game.)

I know the expectation was that the offense was going to have to carry the team this season, and there's no debate it has failed to do that. But given how bad the defense truly turned out to be, I don't think most Big XII offenses could have carried this team.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

I don't disagree. Even if we had Mike Vick behind center, at best I think we're 6-6 this year (maybe 6-5, not needing Marshall). Our defense is just so bad that we literally have to score every time we have the ball to win these games. We can have the best, most efficient offense in the country, and our defense is still so bad that we'll find ways to lose.

As you said, its just more comfortable for us, as a fanbase, to focus all our attention on the offense because that is our comfort zone. Its easier to speculate who we can get in here to help run this amazing offense we dream of because accepting the reality that the defense really is that bad for a program that needs its defense to survive means that there might not be a quick and easy fix, and we just might be staring at the possibility of a sustained period of legitimate bad football in the face. Don't get me wrong, there's always going to be the retort of 'oh we know the defense sucks', but its always followed up by "but we know Bud can fix this". We also 'knew' that Bud could make chicken salad out of chicken shit, and we 'knew' he could make any defense at least serviceable..... And then 2018 happened.

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

There is a clear reason the defense is bad. Over 20 different players have started on an 11 person unit that really doesn't have a two deep. We have already discussed how DT recruiting sucks. We know how many people we lost to the NFL and eligibility.

There is no reason the offense should be this bad. Willis (who we, as a fanbase, are completely bipolar
about) is neither a huge upgrade nor a huge downgrade from Jackson. I prefer Jackson, but Willis is good enough.

Saying the offense doesn't matter because the defense is so bad is like saying it's okay to fail Chemistry because you are also failing English. It's totally non-sequitur.

We have an offense where the staff has been very clear about wanting to be run through the read option/RPO, and due to injury we're starting a backup QB that consistently makes the wrong reads on the read option/RPO, and we're seriously supposed to believe "there is no reason the offense should be this bad"?

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

and we're seriously supposed to believe "there is no reason the offense should be this bad"?

In a word: yes.

You have to adjust to the players you have not the players you wish you had. Coaches are paid well because that is a challenge. For years under Beamer, if we just had another Michael Vick we would be okay. But Michael Vicks are hard to come by.

And this, again, does not absolve the coaches at all. If you have a certain offensive system, then why recruit a backup that doesn't fit?

Not what I was trying to say. I'm not saying it doesn't matter that our offense has failed to live up to expectations. I'm saying even if the offense had met expectations this year, it wouldn't matter. There's admittedly work to be done on offense. There is exponentially more work to be done on defense.

When I look at our offense, all the problems look fixable. We need a QB who can make the reads Fuente needs him to make, a dependable RB (preferably two), and for the improvement Vice has made on the OL to continue. Give us those three things, I think this offense is fixed.

On defense? Forget it. We're adrift. And yes, attrition and injury has contributed the lion's share to that, but that's also left us in a position where a quick fix isn't possible. Anyone who thinks the defense will return to form in 2019 is setting themselves up for massive disappointment. This defense is going to be bad for at least one more season, I'm betting two.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

Ever since Whit & Co no-showed the alumni tailgate at Duke after being there every time since he was hired, I am questioning how much our Athletic Department is willing to face the music when decisions don't go well. It was easy to show in 2014 and 2016, but after the loss to ODU the decision to stay back and not meet with alumni and donors was... Concerning.

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

Our offense is about the same regardless of the strength of the defense. Our offense stops our offense not the other teams defense.