Slept On It: Clemson's Talent Too Much for the Hokies

Putting the Hokies loss to Clemson in perspective after a poor night's rest.

While spending my Saturday consuming adult beverages, I began having flashbacks to the last time Clemson visited Lane Stadium. That 2011 game marked the resurrection of Clemson football in my eyes, for prior to that humbling loss I had long viewed Clemson through the lens of the big man on campus.

In 2011, the Hokies were no longer on the rise; they were the bastion of conference supremacy, storming into neighboring stadiums and pillaging their way to ACC Championships. On the opposite sideline stood a supposedly resurgent Clemson, with a talented offense led by innovative coordinator Chad Morris. To me, they were still a once great program desperately clinging to the past.

I sliced my thumb open at our tailgate, which required a brief stop at Montgomery Regional Hospital for a few stitches. A few hours later, as I stood in the east stands with my right hand beneath my poncho to shield it from the rain, the lidocaine and adrenaline simultaneously wore off and gave rise to shock as I watched the tables abruptly turn.

On Saturday night, it was Virginia Tech's moment to announce their presence on a national stage. But unlike that 2011 Clemson team, the Hokies showed that they still had some distance to cover. The Tigers' talent, depth and coaching were on full display as they cruised to a 31-17 win in Blacksburg. The completeness of their win highlighted exactly how far the Hokies still need to go in order to be able to compete at such a high level.

We live in a society rooted in instant gratification. Whether it's mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds during idle moments or fast forwarding through commercials, we've become conditioned to want information and results at our fingertips. But if there's one thing that college athletics has taught us, it's that rebuilding a program takes time (and if it happens overnight, someone is *likely* up to no good).

A successful 2016 season in Blacksburg gave way to increased expectations in Justin Fuente's second year at the helm, despite turnover and depth issues at key positions. Factoring in close to a decade of good-but-not-great recruiting, the concerns came as a surprise to no one.

Under Frank Beamer, the Hokies football program became a symbol for everything that was great about the college game. There were no bag men or divas (with the possible exception of Marcus Vick); there were only unheralded recruits sprinkled in with the occasional blue-chipper to form a true team. Blacksburg became the epicenter of blue collar football, making special teams and defense sexy along the way.

The college game has changed a lot since even the early 2000's. Highly visible investments in football programs paralleled increased exposure on the recruiting trail, giving the average fan a real time view of the state of the program. And for Frank Beamer and the Hokies, it suddenly became open season on the fertile recruiting grounds of Virginia. And that's one key area where a program like Clemson has distinguished itself from its intra-conference foe.

Since Dabo Swinney officially took over the helm in 2009, the Tigers have an average finish of 17.8 in the 247sports team rankings. Clemson has finished as high as #9 and no lower than #27 since 2010 — a class that included DeAndre Hopkins, Vic Beasley and eventual grayshirt Martavis Bryant. The Hokies, on the other hand, have finished with a 28.3 average ranking during that same span, never ranking higher than #21 (2012 & 2013). For comparison's sake, the Tigers have finished higher than #21 in each of the last seven seasons.

The identity that Virginia Tech was a place where two-star recruits could become conference champions and NFL draft picks has slowly eroded. Since the Hokies' last ACC Championship in 2010, developing the highly rated signees has been arguably just as much a struggle as the potential diamonds in the rough.

I don't mean to pin Saturday's loss entirely on recruiting. The talent disparity was well established prior to kickoff, and that's why they don't play games on paper. If there's one thing Justin Fuente's staff has quickly proven it's that they possess the ability to scheme and motivate their way to more wins than their peers. But when it comes to consistently competing against the elite programs, you're deluding yourself if you believe that coaching can consistently overcome talent. A win here or there? Absolutely. But fans and coaches alike want more than the occasional upset victory. They want sustained success and annual consideration for the College Football Playoff.

As we all know, history is littered with upset victories that proved pivotal to the rise of now-established powers; one could argue that 2011 Clemson team's consecutive victories over #21 Auburn, #11 Florida State and #11 Virginia Tech catapulted them out of football purgatory and back into the national spotlight. But that Clemson team was already talented enough to pull themselves out of the doldrums, they simply capitalized on the high profile opportunities.

Beating the Tigers on Saturday was about more than knocking off the defending National Champions. It was also about reminding the nation that Virginia Tech is still relevant. It was about educating high school kids — who know little about Tech's football pedigree — about how great an atmosphere Lane Stadium is, especially when the sun sets behind the Blue Ridge Mountains. Even in a loss, both of those goals were achieved.

That's the big picture view of last weekend's clash. Win and the hype train shakes off the rust to start chugging towards Atlanta. But let's pause for a second and remember that winning on a big stage is hardly a panacea.

Just a few seasons ago, the Hokies strolled into the Horseshoe and handed the future National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes a shocking loss. What was then viewed as a program-altering victory turned out to be little more than a pair of waterwings, giving a slowly drowning staff a false sense of security in the deep end of the pool. That Tech team went on to win only 5 out of their final 11 games, including losses to ECU, Boston College and Wake Forest.

A victory over Clemson would have been an amazing accomplishment in the moment, but hardly indicative of where this team is right now. It would have highlighted their potential but masked their flaws. Depth concerns along the defensive line, unproven playmakers at wide receiver, question marks galore at running back, a redshirt-freshman quarterback, an inconsistent place kicker...all of these areas of legitimate concern would still exist and would be difficult to consistently overcome week-after-week-after-week.

In order for the Hokies to win, they would have needed to play a near-perfect game utilizing a flawless gameplan. It didn't quite play out that way. And that's okay. I still think that this team has a number of special players that can do great things together. I still feel like this team is on the rise and on the precipice of sustained success. And I honestly believe that if these two teams meet again in Charlotte, the Hokies would have a legitimate chance to beat the Tigers. Tech just needs more experience.

What's important is that the team picks their heads up and realizes that they aren't that far away from knocking Clemson off their perch. Remember, Josh Jackson only had four games under his belt and had never faced a defense quite like Brent Venables' bunch. Jackson and his offense will continue to grow as they battle their way through the ACC Coastal. And a thin defensive line will continue to identify contributors to lighten the load from Tech's talented starting quartet.

On Saturday night, Virginia Tech faced a team that they should strive to be like, but in their own way. Change doesn't happen overnight. It takes time. Hokie Nation spent months hyping this game, when the reality is that rebuilding the Tech program is bigger than one game. Winning on Saturday would have been incredible, but losing has the opportunity to provide just as much, if not more, long term value. The question is how do the players and staff grow from that experience?

Comments

Rewatching the game, yes, Clemson did play a complete game. However, outside of 2 "WTF" play calls (4th and 3 WR Screen, and Fake Field Goal) I feel like our coaches put the players in a position to win the game, we just didn't execute. Take the word 'execute' however you'd like, but if we do not blow coverages and turnover the ball, it is a completely different ball game.

Those things are correctable and coachable. We'll get there - I like our staff, and think if we can add some depth and continue to recruit at a high level, we'll get where every Hokie has been wanting to go back to.

The difference in the game was 3 plays. The broken coverage for a touchdown, the pick 6, and a no call by the officials ... on the 4th and 1 you mention watch the replay ... the tackler clearly grabbed the face mask of a blocker so he could make the tackle. All this other talk on this web site and others is pure "could have, would have, should have".

I think you have it backwards. The difference in the game was they were just much better than us. Those 3 plays are the "shoulda, woulda, coulda" examples you are referring to.

Do you want to piss and moan about it? It is great to sit here and second guess and moan about how the team did not win. Let me guess ... most of you guys never played or coached football. Or at least not at the college level.

No one, in this subthread at least, is 'pissing and moaning' about anything.

And playing/coaching football at any level certainly isn't necessary to notice that we got beat by a better team on Saturday

This is embarrassing for you...sounded better your head, huh?

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)..

Which college football program do you coach at?

There are always about three plays that can be cherry picked like that. You are forgetting about the three plays that Clemson could pick for a bigger blowout score. You're also forgetting that Clemson had backups in for the fourth quarter.

They beat us because they were the better team that night. But at least we were competitive for awhile.

From the field I couldn't tell, but I don't think the Clemson second string offense ever went in.

Agree with THIS ^^^ 1k%. Also agree with the OP, just feel that the title is misleading. Don't for a moment believe that Clemson "out-talented us."

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

On defense, I think they have more pure athletes in their 2 deep than we do, however, I think our game plan and scheme on offense could offset that easily. I like our plan to go 1-0, and hopefully we end up seeing them again in December.

Don't for a moment believe that Clemson "out-talented us."

The play where Dorian O'Daniel blew up an endaround, ran down CJ Carroll in the backfield and threw him down like a child screamed 'talent discrepancy' to me.

I think the talent discrepancy is real. Maybe not as big as some may portray. But one thing is for certain. Putting more talent on the field does not always win football games. Tennessee and Texas have had a talent discrepancy against almost every team they have played in the last several years. Yet they got beat.....and beat often. This staff will continue to improve the program and I believe recruiting improvements will follow. It does not happen overnight.

"Don't go to, go through"

Exactly.

If TN and UNC in particular see some coaching changes, Fuente has an opportunity to gain a solid edge on recruiting in the region.

Good product. Exciting system. Chance to play against national championship caliber teams (Clemson, FSU), and put us right in the mix for the championship every year.

Putting more talent on the field does not always win football games.

"The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, but that's the way you bet." Talent doesn't always win games, but it wins more than it loses.

"Our job as coaches is to influence young people's lives for the better in terms of fundamental skills, work ethic, and doing the right thing. Every now and again, a player actually has that effect on the coaching staff." Justin Fuente on Sam Rogers

I know that coaches Fuente and Cornelson are smarter than I am but out of the several "questionable" calls, the one that sticks in my craw is the fourth and 3 quick out 5 YARDS BEHIND THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE! With perhaps a few exceptions, I believe it is wrong to depend on YAC to get a first down.

While i might agree with you regarding the 4th and 3, as well as the fake punt. However, on the 4th and 3 go back and look at the network's replay of that play and you will see the Clemson defender grab the face mask of the blocker ... 15 yards 1st down

Wow, I just watched that on French's great film review and you're right. Grabbed the facemask and dragged him by it for several yards, part of the reason the block was so ineffective. It was not subtle.

if we can add some depth and continue start to recruit at a high level

FTFY.

Also... Recruiting rankings tell the story that says we're pretty far from knocking Clemson off their perch. The donor and budget numbers tell that story too.

Saturday was a good start and reminded everyone that there's something great to build on, but let's not pretend like we're just around the corner. Say we knock off Clemson in the CCG (unlikely but possible), the crootin' still must improve beyond even where it was in the Beamer hay-day if we expect to consistently compete at the level Clemson is on right now.

VT has the AD and the coaches, now it needs the support. And that's the true ceiling of the program.

It's a different ballgame now. The blue collar mentality doesn't work in 2017 anymore, the media exposure makes it more difficult to find 'diamond in the rough' type players. It's now more about who is bigger and faster coming into the game rather than moulding someone to be the best they can be. Unfortunately it could be said that it was the that mentality that pulled us into mediocrity in 2012 as our recruiting misses finally added up.

Clemson and Florida State were the first ACC teams to realize that and they are reaping the dividends of it now. Miami might, finally, be doing the same (although way too early to say for sure). We are also in the process of it thanks to new blood and vision with Fuente but it will take time just like it did for Clemson starting in 2010.

I actually really respect what Clemson has been able to do in the Alabama era, and it is a process we should strive to imitate so we can get up there as well. I don't know if there's a 'right way' of doing things, but Dabo seems to have done a good job with it, and it's something I'm sure Fuente and co. can do in Blacksburg as well.

The blue collar mentality doesn't work in 2017 anymore

I agree with most of that, I certainly hope it remains a permanent staple of Hokie football personality.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Perhaps in order to keep that mentality, we will have to revise it. Instead of finding blue collar players, we will have to aim to instill the blue collar worker into new players.

I would like to see us recruit the best players who want to play as a team. If the best player at a position is a prima donna who only cares about his future in the League, and the second-best (or third- or fourth-best) player is a blue-collar guy, let the "best" player go and take the second-best. We need a middle ground between relying on two-stars and walk-ons, and kowtowing to the five-star guys who don't fit the culture of Ut Prosim.

"Our job as coaches is to influence young people's lives for the better in terms of fundamental skills, work ethic, and doing the right thing. Every now and again, a player actually has that effect on the coaching staff." Justin Fuente on Sam Rogers

Then you wouldn't get any Ryan Williams', and you need some of those guys to win. Not a full team, but certainly some here and there.

And if we're serious about winning, we don't need 2* guys. It's on the coaches to find talented guys who are higher character. One 2* or walk-on success story is nice every 7 years, but that should never be what we 'rely on' when recruiting.

Why don't you answer the posters question in regards to what college you played or coached at???? Big talk in your post and challenge to others but yet you disappeared when ask that question with all due respect?

Life's short, If you dont do it, somebody else will.

of all the comments to run back, you're really actually going to pick that one?

Chem PhD '16

/s or no?

KK posted this 2 minutes after his first post, nearly 3 hours before that blur.

Timestamps, they'll get after ya!

What now?

Clemson is definitely the roadmap. While there recruiting isn't consistently top 10 thete seems to be a strategy there. Ultra blue chip QB, WR, dline. Fill in the rest with underrated Boulware types. Meet Bama and hope your ultra blue chip skill positions elevate team above. I'm not sure exactly what our strategy is but instead of fixating on class ranking I'd love to see us nabbing blue chippers that align to Fuente/Buds strategy. (Ie. Hunter)

sol-a-rex

Great piece, couldn't have expressed it any better.

Onward men!

If it ain't orange, it better be maroon...and if it ain't maroon, it better be soon!

Said it before, say it again: this is still the same team that can play Clemson twice this year. That has been and continues to be my bar for calling this a great year.

Being the second-best team in the ACC two years running... that's fine by me after the previous four years.

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

We got beat by the best team in the country, no shame in that. Now it is time to regroup, win our division and get another crack at them in Charlotte.

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

"Under Frank Beamer, the Hokies football program became a symbol for everything that was great about the college game. There were no bag men or divas (with the possible exception of Marcus Vick); there were only unheralded recruits sprinkled in with the occasional blue-chipper to form a true team. Blacksburg became the epicenter of blue collar football, making special teams and defense sexy along the way.

The college game has changed a lot since even the early 2000's. Highly visible investments in football programs paralleled increased exposure on the recruiting trail, giving the average fan a real time view of the state of the program. And for Frank Beamer and the Hokies, it suddenly became open season on the fertile recruiting grounds of Virginia. And that's one key area where a program like Clemson has distinguished itself from its intra-conference foe."

- Well said. Excellently worded summation of how we got to where we are. Great writing Pierson.

We live in a society rooted in instant gratification. Whether it's mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds during idle moments or fast forwarding through commercials, we've become conditioned to want information and results at our fingertips.

So why did this article take so long? You knew I was checking in every hour or so. /s

Thanks for the perspective.

I think the part about sprinkling in Blue Chip players is the most valid. It is awesome how fast the foundation of the program has been reinforced/secured by Fuente. Now it is hoping/waiting for the marquee player or two that EVERY playoff team has. One offensive player like MV, KJ, Suggs or A. Davis in combination with one defensive player like Flowers, Hall, Adibi or Tapp would transform this team into the upper echelon of college football. Are they on the roster/field already but too young/inexperienced yet??? We can hope.

Getting great recruits is a battle, I just hope we do not lower our standards to get the high profile athletes. I am aware many can be "at-risk" players, but they can also turn out to be good students and great athelete, but can be "Marcus Vick"s (ugh). I trust CJF will hold a high standard.

I do appreciate the effort our players put forth in this games, and hope we can out it behind us.... but still learn from it.

Did anyone in their right mind think that Virginia Tech was a better team than Clemson?

Nope.

What people thought is that if the game were executed right and Virginia Tech caught some breaks they can compete with Clemson. I still believe that. The only disappointment that people are justified in having is that VT made some mistakes, and Clemson did not.

I don't know of anyone who thinks Virginia Tech is currently better than Clemson. Clemson has been recruiting at a very high level, they have good coaches, and they won the national championship last year. They appear to be on route to doing it again.

We should be pleased that Virginia Tech can compete with and challenge Clemson. But Virginia Tech has to hit on all cylinders to beat Clemson. The only disappointment that's justified is that Virginia Tech isn't executing as well as they could be. The offense only has a limited number of playmakers. Josh Jackson isn't where he needs to be, yet.

We can take comfort in the fact that the offense is capable of scoring, and also that the defense is pretty good.

By the way, doing more with less was never the preferred route. It's just what you do if your recruiting isn't elite. Beamer came up with Beamerball, but never got over the recruiting hump. Virginia Tech's recruiting has been good, but not elite. VT has been recruiting in the top 30, but not the top 10. There's a noticeable difference. In the mean time, the ACC overall has improved.

The Virginia Tech program is a very good one. The Virginia Tech leadership has invested in good coaches and has improved our facilities. We're in a conference that has done the same across the board.

So the real question is: can Fuente compete and win with the talent he has, and use those wins to improve recruiting? So far, it appears that he'll be able to do that. I'd say the program has a good reputation, and the coaches have a great reputation. I'd say it comes down to winning more of those recruiting battles for the elites in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and really all of the east coast. It's a process, not a light switch.

Go back and read some of the comments throughout the week leading up to the game...you might wince a bit.

I think most of the comments (at least on this site) were realistic.

Yeah, some people overstated VT's case, but I wrote that off as optimism.

Well, it is a VT football site, so homerism really can't be faulted I suppose.

Exactly.

All in all, it was not what I had hoped, but what I expected. The teams efforst were not lost on a lot of people though. Bud was able to keep them to their second lowest score of the season, and Fu/Corn were able to put up more points on their D than anyone else so far this year not named Lamar Jackson. IMO that's impressive for how young our group is.

I like to listen to ESPNU radio on sirius/XM while I sit on the beltway, and yesterday afternoon on my way home I was listening to Mark Packer (who I really like. He has some good views and does a good job of not being super biased). He had several people call in about the game asking what went wrong, etc. and one person asked if GT, VT, or Miami is built better for the future.

After fielding the same question a few times he went on a little mini 'rant' explaining how, yes, VT lost to the #2 team in the country who just won't the national title a few months ago, but that it wasn't a complete blowout and that tech was well coached, but just didn't have the dogs to go up against that defense.

He commended Tech for not quitting and continuing to fight throughout the game, and said that in his opinion (and I think a lot of TKP's opinion too), Tech is on the right track and at this point is practically mirroring Clemson's footsteps. Fuente is the man to do it and once we get some experience and are able to start bringing in the recruits, we will start competing at a much higher level.

He also had Rece Davis on for a little while and they talked for a solid ten minutes about how VT just set the bar for Gameday with the best experience the ESPN crew has had in a very long time and that they can't wait to make it back. Rece sounded legitimately thrilled with the experience, so I don't think it was pure lip service. They both talked about how high they are on Tech's program, Fuente as the coach, the direction everything is headed, and commented on how Blacksburg is a magical place and one of the best places in the country to watch a football game.

Blacksburg is a magical place and one of the best places in the country to watch a football game

Pain is Temporary
Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever
Let's Go Hokies!!

Phenomenal writing, spot on... these pieces are first rate.

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'

1) had to look up what "panacea" meant

2) as has been mentioned above, I feel that we are good enough to win the Coastal and play Clemson again. If we lose again, so be it, but winning the Coastal in Fuente's first two years and keeping Miami out of the ACCCG is good enough for me.

sidenote: can you imagine if we beat WVU, Miami and UVA all in the same season? That hasn't happened since the Big East glory days.

sidenote: can you imagine if we beat WVU, Miami and UVA all in the same season? That hasn't happened since the Big East glory days.

Actually, it happened in our first ACC season.

Still a long-ass time ago

Let's Go

HOKIES

Little known fact: Panacea is what they used to call the Earth back in the old days before a bunch of volcanoes erupted, causing all the dinosaurs to gather in about 6 small locations. This caused a weight imbalance in the planet, breaking the crust and creating plate tectonics and forever changed the shape of the planet from flat to round.

Just goes to show you how big the place was back then too, because nobody even realized this until Christopher Columbus told his first mate "Here, hold my chianti", and tried to jump his ship off the edge of the planet.

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)..

I thought it was an old, old, wooden ship that was used back in the civil war area.

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

I don't think anyone's complaining about a lack of wooden ships, Fud.

Little known fact: Panacea is what they used to call the Earth back in the old days before a bunch of volcanoes erupted,

"Pangaea"

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

No, I think you are confused. Pangaea are a type of trap that was banned by the Geneva Convention in 1980.

It's an interesting word though. Derived from Burmese, foreign tourists on safari in the jungle would hear their Burmese guide often mutter "Punjah snake!" whenever they tripped over a python, which in their language means literally, "oops, I tripped over a snake".

One nice tourist from Viet Nam thought his guide said "Pangaea stake" after tripping over the snake and impaling his Garmin GPS on a sharp stick.

He recounted this jolly tale to his compatriots, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Why did I bother going to school, when everything that I really need to know can be found on TKP?

More legit classes than UNC.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

I'm now contractually obligated to take a little offense at this statement. But, on the other hand, my Hokie side says "flame away."

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

Oh, fine. You know what? FINE!

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

Helping write the FoeRensics for when we play Earth huh?

This is some Fofth Fuller Foe'rensics level shit right here.

"I mean, you know, fuck them, but good for them." -Too Druck to Funk

Great piece, Pierson.

A lot of what you said here reminded me a bit of what Hale wrote earlier in the week in his piece about the transition from Beamer to Fuente:

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/20847563/meet-new-virginia-tech-hokies

Fuente arrived last season, convinced Foster to stay on as defensive coordinator, brought in juco quarterback Jerod Evans to helm the offense, and suddenly it was like old times in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech won 10 games for the first time since its streak of eight straight 10-win seasons was snapped in 2012, and the Hokies pushed Clemson to the brink in that ACC title game.

Fuente took a roster consisting almost entirely of Beamer's players, added a dash of offensive insight, and -- voila! -- a winner.

Only it wasn't quite so simple.

"I think it's our job to build on what Coach has done," Fuente said, referring to Beamer, always, as "Coach." "But I was concerned the perception was that we'd come in here, throw a couple more post routes, and everything was going to be fine. I wanted our kids to know that wasn't the road we were going down. The defensive calls weren't going to change, but a whole lot of their lives were going to change -- not because the way they used to do it was bad, but because I had a way I wanted it done."

It may have looked, from the outside, like a simple software update, but Fuente and his staff were building iPhone X -- something like the old product, but new and innovative and exciting. The way the team practiced, the way it handled offseason conditioning, the way coaches recruited -- there was the old way, and there was the Fuente way.

"This is a process," Fuente said, "and we're still in the middle of the process."

Leg for posting that link.

I hadn't seen it, but it's a good article.

but a whole lot of their lives were going to change -- not because the way they used to do it was bad, but because I had a way I wanted it done.

This quote is what sets Coach Fuente apart from other coaches who take over from legends or take over successful programs. Here in Atlanta, we hear Kirby Smart consistently imply that Mark Richt wasn't running a good program. To me he compounds this error by basically telling the UGA fans that he's going to build a copy of Bama in Athens, GA. While he seems to be doing good things with this years team, why throw Richt under a bus, when you don't have to?

why throw Richt under a bus, when you don't have to?

Same reason it happens everywhere else. Big ego mixed with lower self-confidence. Maybe a better way to say it would be more ego than self-confidence. I think Fuente is the opposite.

The Smart's of the world are much more common than the Fuente's.

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

Yes, I understand that it's ego driving it. I'd still ask the same of the coaches who do it. It's not necessary. The prior coach was fired, left or retired. New coach was chosen. Why be an egotistical ass and throw shade on your predecessor?

In Smart's case, I'd say he's not confident in his own coaching abilities, to the point that he wants to copy Saban. You can't have 2 Sabans. Heck, UGA doesn't offer the same recruiting opportunities as Bama. Look at QB's. UGA's are consistently better than Bamas, so why copy Bama and put a good running back at QB?

I'm not a fan of Kirby Smart and don't particular care for his methods either, but I can understand why he's making such statements.

The whole reason he was hired is because the SEC has basically deduced that the only way to win is if you emulate Saban. He's Georgia's answer to the Saban problem, which means you build your program like Nick, treat the media like Nick, and in my opinion, look aloof in doing so.

Well except Ol MIss has had a pretty good run against Bama with the kind of team that UGA could produce at a more consistent level of performance than Ol MIss. "out Bama'ing Bama" is no recipe for success.

I imagine Smart hears "you're no Mark Richt" about twice a day. That's gotta wear on you.

"Our job as coaches is to influence young people's lives for the better in terms of fundamental skills, work ethic, and doing the right thing. Every now and again, a player actually has that effect on the coaching staff." Justin Fuente on Sam Rogers

Nice point about Fuente reserving comments on last coaching staff- Winning with class trumps having an ass for a coach. Fuente has turned this program and is doing it the right way. He is going to get good quarterbacks to come to VT, and if you have a good quarterback and a defense, you will have a good team. The future is bright. we are looking up.

Richt under a bus, when you don't have to?

People do that to show just how hard the job they got left with is.

If you're confident you can improve the program, it's completely unnecessary.

People do that to show just how hard the job they got left with is.

Your not wrong, but I'll just comment that maybe "I just got hired to an SEC football coaching gig" is not a realistic time to try setting low expectations.

The thing I noticed is that Clemson altered their normal game Plan for this game. That says three things to me. One, that was good coaching on their part. Two, they respected Fuente and this team enough to know they had to change. Three, we played a relatively clean game against a defense different than what was on film. The third point is a testament to Jackson and the coaches. If we are lucky enough to see them again, the chess match could be interesting.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby