Last time we checked in, our heroes were on their way to Brooklyn in order to play the best team in the country. Did I have confidence in them? Of course not! But that game happened, and then they played three more games after that. Let's look at a few quick game summaries before we break this team down.
Michigan State 96, Virginia Tech 77: This was probably many of y'all's first endeavor into watching this team. Well, what you witnessed was somewhat of a bipolar game in which some things went incredibly right, and others went "Oh God, just burn it all down" wrong. What went right? Jarell Eddie was unconscious in the first half, knocking down a ton of jumpers, and with the help of Adam Smith, kept the Hokies competitive for most of the opening half. In fact, an Eddie three-ball cut Sparty's lead to three with just three minutes left in the half. That, however, was when the wheels fell off the bus (which, apparently, was on an elevator). State went on a 10-0 run to extend their lead to 13 going into halftime, capitalizing on a few poor turnovers and bad perimeter D (two of the things that went extremely wrong, another being the eight shots taken by Devin Wilson and Ben Emelogu combined, but I'll get to that).
The Hokies finished the season on a positive note with a decisive if ugly win against the pretenders from the University of Virginia. Congratulations to the seniors who finished their career with four wins against the bow tie neighbors to the north. Nothing about the 95th edition of the Commonwealth Cup was pretty, but the Hokies succeeded in achieving victory with a combination of superior effort, some trickery, and a significant helping hand by a University of Virginia offensive staff which managed to do everything but hand Bud Foster their playbook with a silver bow prior to kick off.
The Hokies did not finish the game unscathed. Trey Edmunds had an outstanding game, but was lost until fall practice with a broken tibia early in the fourth quarter. Brandon Facyson, who UVa did not seem interested in challenging with the exception of a go route prior to the Edmunds touchdown run in the second quarter, suffered an AC joint sprain. Now, Virginia Tech enters bowl season looking for a way solidify depth because of injuries, while also using the extra weeks of practice to identify which players are most likely to replace the ten key contributors who will be playing their final game for the Hokies.
Coffee is on me this morning.
Virginia Tech's regular season is over. I hate this time of year. I'm sad there's no game to look forward to next weekend. Although, now there's a complete body of work to reflect on.
Tech's 8-4 record was a reasonable expectation at the beginning of the season. Lose to two-time defending national champion Alabama in the Dome, on the road against Georgia Tech on a short week, against a talented Miami in Sun Life Stadium for the second season in a row, and stumble against a random unexpected team. If there's a neat way to go 8-4 against this schedule, that'd be it. Instead, over the course of the season Tech edited and rewrote its narrative.
We'll get into the minutia of the game over the next week, but for right now, celebrate.
Normally, my film previews are straight-forward high level overviews of Virginia Tech's next football opponent. I identify opponent's strengths, reveal challenging matchups, and suggest potential strategies on how the Hokies can take advantage of weaknesses. I don't make predictions, although I would be lying if I said that I didn't think the Hokies would beat UNC, and that I was stunned that they lost to Duke.
But, this is Hate Week, and this 2013 Commonwealth Cup has presented a unique case study of Virginia's offensive unit and maligned offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild. Fairchild's criticism of Virginia Tech's campus prompted a response from Hokies running back coordinator Shane Beamer. Perhaps Fairchild should devote more time and energy to studying his own personnel and tendencies. Unlike a competent coach, who understands how to morph a scheme to maximize the strengths of his players and hide their weaknesses, Fairchild seems insistent on leaning upon the short passing game to win football games.
There are many reasons to hate UVa, but let me give you one more. As my father finished his undergraduate work in college he was preparing to go to law school at UVa, where he had been accepted and was enrolled. At that time we were at war in Vietnam, and many young men were being drafted to serve and honorably did so whether they wanted to or not. My father was among them the summer before he was to start at UVa, and instead of starting his law degree he went overseas as a non-voluntary member of the US Army.
You may have noticed that last week's theme was very festive, and you're probably wondering why, with Thanksgiving being tomorrow, I didn't cover a turkey day theme today. Well, let me put it simply. It's hate week y'all.
In the spirit of everyone's disdain for the University of Virginia, we have to acknowledge two things: how terrible that program has been for the past four years, and that Mike London could potentially be coaching his last game as the head man in Charlottesville.
With that being said, I wanted to take a look at just how miserable UVa has been in conference play under London's tenure. Sure, you can just say that they've gone 8-23 in almost four full seasons, but that just doesn't quite put it in enough context. So here, I'm going to bring up London's record against each team, and the highlights (or lowlights) that came in each series.
Enjoy, I know Al Groh would.
Connecticut to interview Bud Foster? According to a report from Pete Roussel of CoachingSearch.com, yes.
UCONN: A source tells CoachingSearch.com that UCONN is expected to interview Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster
I would've never thought UConn would be the place to give Foster his shot at running a program, but it's a I-A program, that's fighting for relevance post conference expansion, with a recent history of losing. Also, UConn has a new stadium and the university made a commitment to football when it transitioned from I-AA, to I-A in the early 2000s. Given Connecticut's recent slump, and position in the AAC (instead of say the ACC) they're not going to fetch a big name coach, and they might have to take a risk and hire a someone without head coaching experience. I can't imagine a retread like Paul Pasqualoni will go over well with their fan base. In that case, and given his track record, Foster would be an excellent option for Huskies if they decide to hire a coordinator.
Hello. Welcome to the last regular season "Foe"Rensics. While the chance still exists for us to have one more edition before the bowl game, we find ourselves in the unique position of rooting for Duke to lose in order to make it. That feels very weird to me. I'd prefer to focus on this: we have before us an opportunity to help LOLUVA finish their conference season 0-8. Whatever happens in the Duke-UNC game, being the final nail in a winless conference season for the Hoos would warm my soul.
In fact, I think now is the time to remind everyone that LOLUVA Athletic Director Craig Littlepage may not do the right thing without the appropriate level of public outcry. He may be swayed by the nine game losing streak or the dwindli...continued lack of attendance. But, and I feel this in my heart, that would be a mistake. I think it's time to resurrect an old campaign, but change the target slightly. Everybody, join me in saying:
Posting quotes is not something I do much of, but after watching Virginia Tech's weekly media session on Monday, and reading what the Virginia players had to say, I decided to. I get the feeling that the Hokies, at least the ones made available to the media, are focussed on the Hoos, and want to win this football game every bit as much as we do.
Don't ask Bane Gayle what time it is.
Despite giving up 35, 35, 59, 45, and 45 points in the last five games, the Wahoos have an experienced defensive line that gets into the gaps and shoots up the field. This poses a tremendously challenging matchup for a Virginia Tech offensive line that has excelled against base looks, but has struggled with communication on stunts and blitz pick ups against variable fronts that are more interested in getting up field and creating chaos instead of maintaining gap control. If the Hokies can't control the Virginia defensive line, a Virginia offense that stays committed to running the football can score enough points to pull off a major upset in Charlottesville.
Defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta utilizes a 4-3 scheme, often eagling right defensive tackle Brent Urban on the inside eye of the left guard.
Massaponax D lineman Steven Sobczak has orally committed to Virginia Tech— Taft Coghill Jr. (@tcoghilljr) November 26, 2013
This is news via Taft Coghill Jr. of The Free Lance-Star.
Thank you to everyone who donated to the Women's Resource Center of the New River Valley and tailgated with us before the Maryland game. Both the turnout and generosity were much larger than I anticipated.
Pam Beale, my contact at the Resource Center, emailed me a few days after the tailgate and I want to share what she said with everyone.
According to 247Sports Ryan Bartow, South Carolina native and defensive lineman Michael Barnett committed to Virginia Tech. Barnett is rated as a 4-star prospect by, Rivals.com, ESPN, and 247Sports. He's Virginia Tech's second verbal commitment of the 2015 cycle. According to 247Sports, Barnett had offers from Clemson, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina and Tennessee among other schools.
Barnett tweeted his intention to commit today early Saturday morning.
Announcing Commitment on Monday.— Michael Barnett (@JermaineJr77) November 23, 2013
Barnett visited Blacksburg many times over the past year, most recently November 16th when Virginia Tech hosted Maryland. This is what Barnett said 8 months ago about his offer.
Hokies-Hoos will be broadcast on ESPNU at 3:30 PM. North Carolina will host Duke at noon. That game will be on ESPN2. If Duke loses and Virginia Tech wins, then the Hokies head to Charlotte to play Florida State.
And yes, courtesy of VTBox, we announced game times with a GIF.
"Do you want basketball tickets for Christmas?" That was the (pretty ironic) text I got from my mom about ten minutes after Tech lost to USC Upstate two weeks ago. It was at that exact moment in time where I wondered whether my nine-win prediction for this team was too kind. If this was how the entire season was going to go, I would rather have spent an entire year in solitary with Bruce Pearl than watch this team.
That was, however, only the first game of the season and I will admit to being a bit irrational. The team has since ripped off three straight wins over West Virginia, Western Carolina and VMI, sparking a very small hope in the fan base that this team is better than anticipated. Well in short, they probably are, but not for many of the reasons we expected.
Now, before I talk about what's been going on with the team I need to clarify something: this team won't be good. Now, let me clarify something on the point that I just clarified: this team's record won't be good. They'll almost definitely finish in the bottom two or three teams in the conference, so read all of the following through that lens.
Editor's Note: TheFifthFuller is writing about recruiting. Everything going to hell during a bye week is a continuing theme this season.
In a surprising development, Thekeyplay.com has exclusively learned that Virginia Tech has offered fanship to five-star Comedian/Actress Tina Fey out of Upper Darby, PA. The offer is notable since Fey has ties to rival school Virginia, graduating from there in the early 90s. Tech, however, has a recent history of gaining commitments from recruits with ties to the school, including brothers of current players. That strategy is a small part of the overall "Bitch, please" mentality the Hokies football program has to its in-state rival.
Fey would be a big get for the Hokies. She has demonstrated versatility and a broad reach to a large audience, something that can only help the Hokies national profile. She would also reach a vastly different demographic than recent high profile fan commit Britney Spears. Sadly, as has been the trend with many high profile recruits recently, some overzealous Hokie fans are already strongly lobbying Fey to pick their school.