Tech Tidbits: What Does Beating the Tar Heels Mean for #NC2VT?

Sizing up the implications of a seemingly sleepy game against the struggling Heels.

[Michael Shroyer]

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I don't know about you all, but a week without Hokie football always does seem to make me appreciate the first game post-bye all the more.

Of course, it probably didn't hurt that the Hokies were off last week, considering that Tech may well have lost to some underachieving in-conference team, given the fate that befell so much of the top 25. Considering that it was during last year's week 7 that the Hokies also lost to Syracuse (the Carrier Dome: it'll get after ya), maybe the bye came at an even better time than we might've thought.

So, now we've got a struggling UNC team coming to town for homecoming, and the Hokies are 21.5-point favorites (!).

Might this be some sort of look-ahead spot where Tech gets caught napping after a bye as Justin Fuente ready for the meat of the conference schedule? It's a scenario that shouldn't discounted.

There certainly is a lot on the line for this game, when it comes to smack talk at least, which brings us to our Tidbits.

#NC2VT Implications?

As Larry Fedora has helped revitalize UNC's football program over the last few years, Tech's games against the Tar Heels always seemed to take on an extra level of meaning.

After all, the Hokies have long dipped into North Carolina to steal some top prospects (consider that Adonis Alexander and Mook Reyolds both hail from the state, among others), but Fedora's recent success made that process a bit more challenging. Lest we forget, the Heels beat Frank Beamer in his last home game in Lane, never a great look, even if UNC was much, much better than Tech that year.

So, yeah, people like Fuente are naturally going to dismiss this importance of the matchup to recruiting — "To me, if I was advising an 18-year-old on where to go to school, I don't know that I would stake a large portion of that on one football game," Fuente told reporters Monday — but it's foolish to discount the value of this game entirely.

Charley Wiles, Tech's lead recruiter in the area, certainly isn't going to.

Add in that this is Tech's homecoming game, and there's certainly an extra level here. The team is going to have a bevy of top prospects in attendance (insert a shameless plug for my future recruiting piece on the subject here), with few more important than 2018ers DE K.J. Henry and LB Dax Hollifield.

Henry is among the top prospects in the country, so impressing him will be key, though he isn't really considering the Heels. Hollifield very much is, however, even telling a 247Sports reporter that UNC is his leader (though he walked that back on Twitter).

In any case, the stakes are real for this game from a recruiting perspective. This time around, the Hokies are on the rise, ranked and, therefore, have something to lose. Asserting dominance may make for a tiresome narrative for the coaching staff, but putting a hurting on a division rival is never a bad thing when making the sales pitch to recruits.

After all, remember how good it felt last last year?

Rested and Ready WRs?

Last week, it seemed very much evident that the Hokies' WR group needed a week off to heal up from injury a bit. So, how are we doing post-bye?

Well, the first and most important question has to be about Cam Phillips, and Fuente confirmed Monday that he'd be practicing normally in the lead up to UNC.

Sean Savoy is also back with the team (which Fuente hopes will be "therapeutic" as he grieves the loss of his older brother), but it seems things are still a bit troublesome as we look down the depth chart.

As Shibest points out, those injuries will likely make the most difference on the kick return, as McMillian hasn't really worked in the return game since his debut season when he returned five whole kicks.

But Murphy showed signs of life against BC (he had three catches for 40 yards) and any injury can't help in the ongoing search to find reliable receiving options beyond Cam/Savoy.

Fuente expounded on Drake DeIuliis' work at WR a bit — in the "long term" he sees DeIuliis being a tight end, but he felt like "we didn't have a lot of a choice" but to burn his redshirt and play him at receiver after Cam went down — but the Hokies may also get some reinforcements at WR in the form of Phil Patterson. It seemed like he might not play at all this year, but perhaps the bye has finally allowed him to get healthy.

"It's important to Phil for him to make it back," Fuente told the media Monday. "He wants to go play and play at a high level and wants to do it as quickly as possible. We've been pleased with him and his progress or his urgency to get back it'll just be a matter of, some of it or most of it is out of your control how his body feels moving forward."

Considering that the Heels are thoroughly average when it comes to defending the pass — they're allowing 231 yards per game, 79th in the nation — newbies like DeIuliis and Patterson may very well get the chance to show off what they're made of.

Speaking of which, how are the Heels looking anyway?

Things Have Been Finer in Carolina

Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times had perhaps the slickest turn of phrase this week when he suggested that UNC's "biggest victory this year came against the NCAA in its academic fraud case," but he's not necessarily wrong, either.

The Heels have just one non-sanctions avoidance win so far this year, against ODU, and as Bitter notes, they've been outscored 127-73 in ACC play. Their total offense is also way down statistically — with just 358 yards per game, good for 99th in the country, it's easy to miss ole Mitch(ell) Trubisky if you're a Heels fan.

It doesn't help matters that Fedora hasn't really been able to pick a quarterback, with his indecision echoing the Trubisky-Marquise Williams flip-flopping of years past, and the Hokies seem to be preparing accordingly.

Surratt seems to be the better option if you look solely at the stats — he has six touchdowns and three picks with a 59 percent completion percentage, compared to Harris' one touchdown, six picks and a 52-percent mark — and is also shaping up to be the quarterback of the future in a way the LSU transfer just can't be.

Nevertheless, Fedora has played each player plenty, with Harris playing in five games to Surratt's six. Surratt didn't even play on Sunday against UVA after Harris had "a better week of practice," according to Tar Heel Blog. Considering that he went 7 for 18 for 46 yards with three picks against the Hoos, I would submit that Larry needs to pay a little more attention at practice this week.

That ineptitude aside, it is worth noting that the Heels have had a tough schedule, all things considered — the season opener against Cal looks tougher than we might've thought, given the Bears' performance against Wazzu, while the second game against Lousville looks a little easier than we might've thought, given the head-scratching loss to BC — so it's not inconceivable that they could simply be mediocre and are getting crushed by a tough early slate.

This is where the Hokies being such big favorites and coming off a bye could come into play, and I confess I am very glad this isn't a nooner, so at least we won't have to hear how the Hokies "haven't woken up yet" should they have trouble early.

"They've had some hard luck, but when you look at their defensive line and their skill players on offense, you know, if you're not in the right gap or you're not coming of the ball the right way they can make you look pretty bad pretty quickly," Fuente said Monday. "We have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Fedora and the program they have at North Carolina and the history and the talent that they have on that roster, so they certainly have our guys' full attention."

I leave you this week with a reminder that Charley Wiles is always good for a press conference laugh line.

Enjoy homecoming, TKPers.

Comments

Love this, thank you!

Let's not overlook the Heels. We need to play smart and get the O-line dominate. I will love to see us pull a major lopsided win...with no injuries...and Tim Settle rumbling for a touchdown!

Lol. Yeah, that.

Oh the joys of swipe typing and auto correct.

swipe typing

I remember my first 'swipe type' and hangover.

/s

who is this tom fellow

Don't deny Tom's pussy touchdowns.

#pray4tomspussytouchdowns

not sure, but Tom "runbles"!!!

Someone's knee deep in the sauce, and not the marinade kind.

I liked your original post better. Now all of the great 'Tom' and 'runbling' posts don't make sense.

I think it's a big deal especially if handled well. Recruits that are on the fence could be swayed by a convincing victory. It builds on the story of a resurgent VT and a potentially waning UNC.

UNC's records that last few years are interesting:

2012: 8-4, No post season due to sanctions
2013: 7-6, Belk Bowl appearance
2014: 6-7
2015: 11-3, ACCCG appearance, Citrus Bowl appearance
2016: 8-5, Sun Bowl appearance
2017: 1-6 to date

They show little consistency in performance probably due to staff changes. That could affect player's relationships with the coaching staff. It also looks bad to fall off a cliff like they did this year.

I think putting the hurt on UNC this Saturday would speak volumes about which program is going to provide the most opportunity.

More stability, amazing fan support and just plain winning. That's a combination that's hard to beat.

I just think it's awfully considerate of Charlie Wiles to include a translation for UNC grads.

"It makes it a lot more fun or funner."

Nah, too many syllables

Wait so Deluliis redshirt is burned?

Fuente expounded on Drake DeIuliis' work at WR a bit — in the "long term" he sees DeIuliis being a tight end, but he felt like "we didn't have a lot of a choice" but to burn his redshirt and play him at receiver after Cam went down

Yes

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

It went up in flames at BC.

hahahahahahahahahaha
we watched this exact video in Chem about a month ago and it's still hilarious

It's even funnier when they put the mannequin they lit on fire in the safety shower

You put those words together, those are my favorite words, Popeyes and bahama
- Mike Burnup

Football this Saturday is a good thing.

Me having pregame rails this Saturday makes it even more boner inducing.

Ok, I've heard enough about these Rail drinks... What are they and where can I try one next weekend?

Before you throw the book at me, I haven't had the chance to truly tailgate in Blacksburg. I've usually had my son with me (I don't drink around my kids) or I get into town too late.

Warning- Filter lost.

"Look at this... This is just spectacular.... These people are losing their minds"

FREE THE "STICK IT IN" CHANT!!!

recipe here

not tailgating, TOTS

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)..

Dear God they sound wonderful... I love how that article says "all you'll need is one"....

Warning- Filter lost.

"Look at this... This is just spectacular.... These people are losing their minds"

FREE THE "STICK IT IN" CHANT!!!

This drink...is a little pricey

God, I miss drinking in Blacksburg where you can get t-totally shit-housed on 3 drinks with a $27 tab and say that's "pricey"

Semi professional Tots Rail drinker here... (see my avatar) They are smaller and more expensive than they used to be, regardless, they will kick your ass. The original has grenadine and coke in it. I find them better as a "Red Bull Rail," which has red bull with all of the liquor. It's two bucks more.

I recommend having them when you're already feeling pretty good because they taste like hell if you are sober.

Two of them will have you seriously high, wide and handsome. (Nascar reference for when you're driving too fast into turn four.)

Most I ever had in one day was five. The next day was unpleasant.

My fraternity bro and close friend had seven in one day senior year, '07.

Our fraternity record still is holding at eight in one day, to my knowledge.

Needless to say I don't recommend more than two.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

1) There is no margin for error in the ACC Championship race, and

2) Maybe the biggest reason to win is that you never want to lose to a team who lost to UVa.
--- Yuck!

I can't figure out why on earth Fedora would still be playing Harris. It makes so little sense it's almost unfathomable.

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

Harris had "a better week of practice," according to Tar Heel Blog. Considering that he went 7 for 18 for 46 yards with three picks against the Hoos, I would submit that Larry needs to pay a little more attention at practice this week.

Bootiful.

"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

He's gone after this year and has been bad for his entire career at LSU and now UNC. What more do you need to see? At the very worst Surratt's play has been comparable to Harris (and that's a stretch), so why not let him take the reins?

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

Great scene, great movie