Slept On It: Fuente Reveals His Flaws in Loss to Georgia Tech

After a long night's rest, attempting to come to terms with the fact that Justin Fuente puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like you and I.

[Cory Hancock]

Execution and consistency. Those are the two major tenants to a winning performance against Paul Johnson's Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Singular lapses can result in catastrophic plays. On Saturday afternoon, Virginia Tech fell victim to those pitfalls and left Atlanta in defeat.

Despite all of its complexities, the Yellow Jackets' triple option offense can sustain periods of imperfection. All they need is one opening. One blown assignment. One mental error.

Playing a team like that can have profound impacts on game planning, play calling and individual focus. It can force coaches and players to fall out of the moment, operating in an almost inorganic fashion that drives them to make poor contextual decisions: Coaches might abandon their instincts in favor of predetermined strategies; players' heads tie up their feet.

Georgia Tech knows this. It's what makes them so frustrating to play. It's what makes such a straightforward style so enigmatic. They come to play each and every week with an additional weapon that is entirely intangible.

In their two head-to-head matchups, Paul Johnson has not only defeated Justin Fuente on the scoreboard, but also between the ears.

The Yellow Jackets hit on three plays of 60 yards or more — two of which came through the air — that led to 21 points. Those three plays accounted for 52% of Georgia Tech's total offense, a backbreaking statistic for a defense that had a pretty disruptive afternoon.

Possessions tend to come at a premium against the Yellow Jackets. Thus, the standard approach is to take points as they come. It was clear in the first quarter that the Hokies were trying to maximize their scoring opportunities by coming away with as many points as possible.

We can argue back-and-forth as to whether or not Fuente's approach was the right one. There was a lot of chatter post-game about how much Virginia Tech would liked to have had those 4 lost points — from the failed 4th down and 2-point conversions — on their final drive. As always, hindsight is 20-20. The larger problem was that the play calls were head scratching.

Why bring in your backup quarterback — a guy who can throw, but is clearly in the game to run the football — on a key 4th-and-2 from the GT 8-yard line and eliminate your chances of keeping the defense honest? Why throw a low-percentage back-shoulder fade on a 2-point conversion try? And while we're at it, why go for the jugular instead of converting a mere two yards to keep yourself alive with one minute to play?

"I have coached in the past where we were made up differently, and I wouldn't chase the number early, just because I always felt like there were going to be plenty of opportunities," Fuente noted after the loss. "But this squad now, I don't feel that way. I haven't felt that way all year. We kind of talked about that with the local media, just who we are and where we're at, I don't see us having multiple opportunities."

That's a pretty sobering quote from the head coach. His quote to the local media, as he mentioned above, was equally telling. When asked earlier this week if he had any concerns about his team's slow starts, Fuente said:

"Points will be harder to come by, whether it's the first quarter or the second quarter. I think part of that is because things have to be pretty perfect for us to have success right now. In the first quarter, teams play you slightly different. You have to try and get a handle on it. When you're better or more established or older, those things don't matter as much because you can overcome them with experience and talent, and right now we're just not there yet."

Fuente has made no bones about the fact that his confidence in this offense is significantly lower than a season ago. That's entirely understandable, given the lack of experience at key positions. However, it falls on the coaching staff to maximize their potential and set them up for success. On Saturday, the staff failed.

How the Hokies would respond to the loss of key contributors on the offensive side of the football was a major storyline heading into this season. Josh Jackson's efficiency. Cam Phillips' early season dominance. Sean Savoy's emergence. Eric Kumah's recent improvement. All of these positives clouded public perception, for the reality is the offensive success came against some pretty poor defensive units.

Consider this: The Hokies' six FBS wins in 2017 have come against teams with an average rank of #87 in total defense (3 of which are ranked #102 or worse). Their three losses, on the other hand, have come against teams with an average rank of #21.

Therefore, it's no coincidence that Tech's struggles in consecutive weeks have come against two Top 35 defensive units. The offensive play calls have been noticeably more conservative. To keep blindly rolling with plays that worked against the ECU's and UNC's of the world is like kicking up the difficulty from Varsity to Heisman and expecting the same level of success. You can't truck stick your way to 4th down conversions or 4 Verts your way to touchdowns when you're playing talented, well coached defenses.

But something — or some things — got lost in the process. Diametrically opposed to Tech's cautious game plan, the truck stick and 4 Verts plays still found their way into Saturday's game at critical moments. The conservatism seems to have allowed opposing defenses opportunities to load the box and dare Josh Jackson to beat them over the top. The offensive line is struggling to keep Jackson upright. Jackson's confidence looks shot. Cam Phillips looks frustrated. And now A.J. Bush is making cameos to try and jumpstart an anemic run game.

Since arriving in Blacksburg, fans have lauded Fuente and Brad Cornelsen's abilities to put their players in a position to succeed. After watching Saturday's loss, it's clear that the game was an abject failure from a game-planning perspective. It's hard not to love the concept of being aggressive with your opportunities, but it was repeatedly frustrating to watch the implementation.

What's even more frustrating is the lack of accountability. The fan base has understood from Week 1 that the offensive depth chart lacked the polish of a championship caliber squad. But that same green unit racked up some impressive stat lines and point totals against Power 5 opponents. It's not like the offensive staff was tasked with making chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what. The pieces were there, they just needed time and experience. Now, they look neutered.

One could argue that the frustration many people are feeling has more to do with the product than the formula. If the first quarter 4th down conversion had been successful, everyone would be applauding the aggression. If the fourth quarter 4th down conversion had resulted in a game winning touchdown, everyone would be praising the savage play call. Despite Fuente's preconceptions, opportunities continued to present themselves; Fuente just appeared unprepared and the final execution fell short.

Everyone has bad games. While there were mistakes abound, it's hard not to place this one on the head whistle. That weird feeling you have is disbelief. Suddenly the mystique has vanished. Virginia Tech's hot young football coach is fallible.

Comments

So far, of the teams that we have played twice or more, Fuente has never beat Dabo Swinney or **grimaces** Paul Johnson...

Further, Paul Johnson has been responsible for knocking VT out of the Top 25 each year... assuming we are knocked out when the rankings come out tomorrow.

I think I just convinced myself to pour a glass of bourbon at 6:50 in the morning on a Monday...

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Paul Johnson's crew also take cheap shots in blocking, going at the sides of the knees of the opponents, or straight out chop blocks. You ask me, that's dirty coaching.

I'm sorry to have to say this, but the logic escapes me concerning the overly aggressive play calling that left 5 points on the field:

  • Going for it on 4th and 2 instead of kicking the field goal.
  • Going for the 2 point conversion twice instead of kicking the extra point.

Here is my problem with the logic; if Coach Fuente is not confident on the ability of the offense to score or drive the ball, then why not kick the field goal and the extra points? i.e., You don't have confidence in your offense, hence you ask them to perform more difficult tasks?

Please, can someone help me out here, I'm just not seeing the logic. Thanks to all that reply.

Go Hokies!

To play devil's advocate I think CJF meant he didn't think we would have many opportunities, i.e. be in the red zone often. So he felt he needed to go for TDs when we were there.

But I agree with your frustration. Especially because CJF said that was his mistake last year and he seems to have taken the exact same approach this year

This is how I took his comments, as well. My biggest frustration is that it's one thing to worry about your offense's opportunities to reach the red zone. It's another to earn those opportunities and not call plays that have a high probability of success. I'm not at all saying he set his team up to fail in those situations, but he didn't do them any favors.

He also said that the offense is running on "borrowed time", not sure what that means, but it sounds like he doesn't have faith in his players

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

I think if you look back to the ECU and UNC games, you will see that our offense was inconsistent even then. It was just disguised in 64 and 59 point victories, respectively. I was at the UNC game and, while it was a complete pleasure, the offense still concerned me with its knack for being unstoppable for 40 yards and then having the wheels fall off.

When you look at ECU and UNC in context of how far their programs have fallen this year it makes those huge point totals a little cheaper. And when you see 23 points on BC or the 24 on Duke it's easy to say that BC finally found their legs during our game, or the duke game had a torrential rain storm in the second half. Yet, we are the same fanbase that played "Rock you like a Hurricane" repeatedly during the UNC game because of our victory last year yet we could hardly score a point when it rained this year. Combine that with the fact that in both the BC and Duke game there was literally 21+ points left on the field in each game that the offense failed to capitalize on.

Against Miami, 3 INTs and a fumble turned into how many points? 7. That's it. 4 TO's against Miami should have put them out of the game but our offense is anemic. Fuente knows this, he has probably known it from day one. We have played three good defenses and have been stopped by all three. Miami, we well and truly had a shot to get back in it and we failed multiple times. GT we kept hanging in it and failed multiple times to do so.

So here is my positive point: This offense is so young in the skilled positions. Fuente has still only had 2(?) recruiting cycles and this is only his second season. It will get better, it just sucks getting 10+ wins after three seasons of mediocrity, and now we are seeing the growing pains that we probably should have seen last year. This team is young, they have talent, they will get better.

take your damn leg you magnificent son of a bitch.

"...sticks and stones may break my bones but I'm gonna kick you repeatedly in the balls Gardoki!"

I don't think he meant just being in the red zone. Knowing GT runs a clock control offense, I think he knew we weren't going to get as many possessions as we get against opponents who run a more traditional offense. People are using this quote to establish a distrust of the offense by Fuente, which I do ultimately believe is a problem, but in this particular instance this quote reads to me as, "We're playing Georgia Tech."

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

Good article. Think it sums up the game pretty well. Had the chances to win but execution and some play-calls decisions got away from us.

I think it's also frustrating because it's Paul Johnson and that horrid offense. I mean if we played that game against a team that ran a normal offense I don't know if I'd be that upset, I mean I would but maybe not as frustrated. I don't know. I just can't stand PJ and his offense. It's good enough to ruin someone's season yet not good enough to do anything special with.

I talked with a GT fan after the game and asked him his thoughts on PJ. He said he loved him and they were 3 plays away from being 8-1. Was getting into the car to head back so didn't really have the time to go into "You're never going to win the Coastal unless VT and Miami are down in the same year and the ACC if Clemson and FSU are down in the same year." They will definitely never get into the playoffs with it. I guess they are ok with mediocrity and ok being a spoiler. If that's what you want at GT, well, I guess "You can do that."

Hopefully we can move along to the next game now. This loss is sticking with me more than the others so far. Perhaps because I went to the game but I think more because I hate that offense and don't understand how those fans can like it. But somehow they do.

Let's go 1-0 this week and support the team and the coaches to get back on track.

LETS GO!!

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

"I want to punch people from UVA right in the neck." - Colin Cowherd

I talked with a GT fan after the game and asked him his thoughts on PJ. He said he loved him and they were 3 plays away from being 8-1. Was getting into the car to head back so didn't really have the time to go into "You're never going to win the Coastal unless VT and Miami are down in the same year and the ACC if Clemson and FSU are down in the same year." They will definitely never get into the playoffs with it. I guess they are ok with mediocrity and ok being a spoiler. If that's what you want at GT, well, I guess "You can do that."

LOL. That "3 plays away" line describes Johnson's entire tenure. Their offense is just gimmicky enough to give teams trouble (like us sometimes, UGH) but never good enough to be real annual threats to win anything of substance. They might bust out a challenge for the ACC if us or Miami stink like you said, but more than likely they're going 7-5 to 8-4 every year. If they ever got a real coach, GT could be a powerhouse given the recruiting in the region. Let's hope their decision makers all feel like that fan.

Another frustrating thing was the lack of emotion from the players. They just looked flat. It is on the coaches and senior leaders to get the team fired up to play(Looking at you Cam). Hope the coaches figure something out for the next 2 games.

1-0 every week

I know people like to think that youth is a shield from physical and mental enervation, but it's not true. Starting with the loss at Miami and the trip home time was not their friend. These guys had a long week last week and the result was as you say. I think this week we will see something better.

Play ball!

God, I hope you're right. Unfortunately, I was at this game, and aside from the pick-six by Stroman, the whole team looked like they went out and got drunk the night before. Just so damn flat. And that's not to undermine guys like Walker and Settle playing their asses off, all the while getting chop blocked to death all day. But still, everyone looked tired before they even kicked off.

Anyway, I hope you're right and we can bounce back in a big way to stick the fist of justice in Narduzzi's hole.

"You know when the Hokies say 'We are Virginia Tech' they're going to mean it."- Lee Corso

I was at the game as well, and definitely noticed the overall lack of enthusiasm from the moment they came out onto the field. I had friends at the Miami game who noticed the same thing. Disappointing, and perplexing.

Can someone who played at the college level provide any insight into the difficulties of playing on the road? Is the travel that bad? Is the opposing crowd that much of an issue? Is it something great coaches overcome and good coaches might not? Is this something Fuente is likely to "fix" in the coming years?

"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

This was a trap game win or lose against Miami. Throw in the travel disruptions and it is even more of a challenge. Coaches didn't have their best game for sure and neither did the players. We still almost won. This is a great staff in only their second year, with playmakers COMING ON board big time. Keep the faith....

Coaching is a lot more difficult than couching. Are the flaws permanent? That is the question.

Play ball!

"Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?"

I thought this was the question.

Alas, poor Yorick.

While we are asking Fuente to take a look in the mirror, I think we the fans should do the same thing. Did our expectations blossom into the stratosphere based on false hope? This team beat an average WVU team in the opener. Next we played a couple games against bad teams only to be truly outclassed by a Clemson team. We didn't quite come down to earth though, our hopes stayed intact as we were ranked just outside the top ten. After dismantling two more bad teams and perhaps our best game against BC we think we are rolling only to be shown that Miami is farther along than our young team. Then comes Georgia Tech. This game was going to be close one way or the other, we knew that. A few head scratching plays have the fans going nuclear.

So since I have slept on it, I truly think GT showed us exactly what this team is, one that needs to play flawless to win. Instead of melting down, I am going to choose to appreciate the position this staff has the team in during what is clearly a rebuilding year. I have not lost confidence.

"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

Well, maybe not flawless, though that's an excellent goal.

But giving away 14 points when receivers get past the safeties, leaving points on the field, failing to fall on turnovers when there isn't an opposing jersey within 3 yards are things you probably aren't going to get away with.

May need to focus more on basics.

Don't look now, but that "average" West Va team is ranked 25th in the country.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Okay, I looked in the mirror, I do it all the time as a fan to make sure I am not out of line, I still think that was a shit call on 3rd down. Final answer.

I'm not calling for anything other than, "yeah, we probably made the wrong call right there." That would have been really easy to do, it never happened, so yeah, I am kind of pissed.

On to next week.

@hokie_rd

You have had a number of really strong posts since Saturday, this is probably your strongest.

I don't think it's asking too much to beat a 4-4 GT team that has also lost to 40-36 to UVA. Aren't they technically in the same situation as we are? Second year coach. Rebuilding? Given their losses they clearly are not more talented.

We have a decent record against CPJ, but we NEVER score on their always mediocre defense..NEVER. That is what kills me. GT is not Clemson on defense, lets be real. And weather Beamer or Fuente..we pray for 24 points against these jokers. Nobody else really has much trouble scoring against their defense, but we do. That forces our defense to play right into his hands..need to play a perfect game against an option team that can bust a big play if just one player cheats his assignment. The way to beat GT is to score on them- get up on them, preferably early and actually force CPJ out of HIS comfort zone.

How do you propose we do that though? I'm assuming that the coaches and players are trying to score, so it's not that they don't want to. So what would you change to make more scoring happen?

(I think the answer is probably still in high school though...)

Get Angry, Bud!

We are really missing Peoples imo. The combination of the 3 rd and 4 th and 1 might look different if peoples is in the game. What frustrates me is TM has proven to be a viable threat out of the backfield. We can't scheme a play for him??? VT is cursed on executing screens.

Meh..People's is a walk on with no burst. Holston can give you more in there, IMO . We miss a better than average P5 OL coach is what we really "miss"..

If Bush is the most physically gifted player on the team, he needs to be on the field. I don't see why you just don't put him in on the 3 and 1 and 4 and 1, just to get the 1st down and move the sticks. GT would at least have to account for the QB to run it and expect it. That would be a great time for inverted veer or jet sweep to Savoy. We have zero run game, and I would rather see Bush in, carrying the load and only throwing 12-15 times, then what we have now.

And what bothers me for next year is our OL looks to be even worse, and we lose Cam.

Just based on the current trends, I say next year we're looking at another 6-6 team.

You can substitute in Bush for an entire down series, but not just for one running play on 4th down.

We lose Cam but we gain Farley and Hazleton, who should now than help replace.

The biggest need we have going into next year is finding a QB who can run the RPO. And himself gain yards on the ground. Jackson isn't that kinda QB.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Yes Fuente clearly is freaked out by GT..but Bud giving up huge back breaking chunk plays two years in a row doesn't help matters either. GT had over 400 yards of offense and an inept passing game hit for huge plays behind Terrell and Mook. This was not a good performance on either side of the ball.

Bud didn't give up anything. Now Terrell and Mook, on the other hand....

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

It seems to me Bud has developed a scheme that stops the GT offense when his players follow instructions, and doesn't stop them when the players don't follow instructions. Yes, it's his job to make sure his players follow instructions. But if they give him every reason to believe, going into the game, that they're going to do their jobs, and then at the moment of truth they don't do their jobs, it's hard to blame Bud for that.

"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

Bud's unit also scored over a quarter of our points so... while I'm not happy to see the blown coverage (twice), I have a hard time REALLY blaming them for the L.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

If GT hits on a 75 yard pass play that slips through their fingers on the opening play of the game, they score 35 with nearly 500 yards of offense. A one dimensional terrible passing team that completed 4 passes in the game had over 400 yards. No matter how you slice it, the defense did not play "well" saturday.

The defense did enough to win that game. Period. Like we've seen so often in the past, we were destroyed by being undeniably inept on offense.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I would say the DL and LBs did enough to win the game. But the secondary unit was abysmal at best.

Is it football season yet?

Disagree. They let a 95% run team beat them passing. That is the definition of bad defense- or at least bad game planning.

A coordinator can be at fault if they have their db's in a bad coverage, but a busted pass play could be the result of frozen eyes and hesistation (Mook) and cheating to the wheel for some reason (Edmunds, GT does run that wheel a lot for the record). It's never as simple as blaming every big pass play on the DC.

By the way, there have been several times that Venables' Clemson defense has given up huge busted pass plays against GT while his defense otherwise played well against the run. Wanna know the difference in those games? The Clemson offense held up their end of the bargain and nobody is talking about the defenses busts.

Bud has several times gameplanned absolutely brilliant defenses where our defense was airtight and held GT under 20 points like 2012 and 2013 when our offense was shitting the bed. To expect the defense to never make mistakes against GT is not reasonable every season. The offense has absolutely not held up its end of the bargain in our last three losses. 2014, 2016, and 2017.

Mook and Terrell were playing the two safety positions (at least the two deepest guys) on GT's only two completions. I don't think Mook has played anything close to a true safety position all season and looked completely lost at times. I can't dissect Xs and Os, but I'd like to hear some thoughts about why they were our deep coverage options when neither is particularly good at covering deep. This was my biggest question of Bud on Saturday.

You make valid points.. but let's say the 2012 Hokies played the 17th ranked team in the country and Logan was 48-52 passing for 455 yards and 5 TDs? A terrible VT passing offense that can't get 5 yards against Maryland or Pitt actually BEATS someone passing? yeah, that is terrible game planning by the other team. That's what I was trying to say. It is never a good thing to let a 54% completion %, 128th ranked passing team beat you by passing the ball deep.

Yup, pointed this out in another thread. They gave up 28 and scored 7 themselves, for a net of 21. You have to be able to count on your offense to score more than 21 to win.

Bud's GT scheme gives up chunk plays..IIWII. He stuffs the option for 15 plays in a row, then Johnson gets him for 70 yards. That's why Johnson wins 8 games a year in the ACC being 100% 1 dimensional. He is smart enough to watch Terrell Edmunds sneak down into the box with no help behind him and pop one- every year. Even when we beat them, they bust huge plays

Well, duh.

It annoys me to no end to see GT get big plays like that. But there's a trade off. Either we stuff the box and shut down all of the small stuff, leaving us vulnerable to the long bombs, or we play conservative and let them nickle and dime their way to the end zone on every drive.

I expect they're getting some "retraining" this week.

While I know many have taken to task CJF for his comments after the game.

I'd rather he speak candidly like he did than give me coach speak.

Our offensive problems didn't start this year or last, but have been an ongoing issue/project. Two years from now if the same problems exist, then bring out the pitch forks.

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

The biggest problem with our offense on Saturday was that they were out-coached. If CJF had said so, I would agree with 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

Well, I don't know if "biggest problem" is right.

The loss is partly on him, but mostly because our safeties had an inexplicable lapse. Twice.

I'm with ya, I think the candidness of CJF was a great thing, what I think many of us have a problem with though is him saying certain comments about the offensive players and not speaking to the deficiencies in his own coaching ability. I think man of us would've wanted him to take a little more blame for not putting the players in a position to succeed. I know this comes off as coach speak, but I feel like the players/fans would've appreciated hearing more about how the coaches can improve as well; things like preparation, play calling, and situational awareness.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

I would just change "coaching ability" to "coaching in this particular game."

@hokie_rd

What concerns me the most is not the fact that we've lost two in a row and the head-scratching play calling in these games, but rather the fear that this is a much deeper problem. I would love to just write these few games off to a number of excuses, but I'm going to have to wait and see. PLEASE prove me wrong!

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Hey Buzzketball is 2-0, it's roundball season. *Sigh*...

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

That's the game with the squeaky shoes and the constant whistles, right?

"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

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

Every time I see this dog, I'm amazed at how much it resembles Paul Finebaum.

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

We don't love dem Hoos.

Pffft. You're right! Nice observation. Thanks for the visual help.

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

Gut check: the bowl streak in intact and we have no chance to get back to the ACCCG. Fuente does not have the players to run his offense.

I've heard a lot of "Fuente should adapt his offense to suit the players he has now." And I disagree with this sentiment. Here's why: it sacrifices long term growth for instant gratification. It would be a disservice to the players who will factor into this offense long term to not be running the offense as Fuente wants to run it.

There were bad calls against GT. And to a certain extent I think Fuente and Cornelson are too much in their own heads right now because they know they're limited in what they can have success doing. And I think a lot of the bad calls we saw in Atlanta were the result of a mindset of "what can we do here?"

It kind of boils down to do we trust Fuente to fix the tradition of offensive incompetence VT is known for? And that is a long-term commitment. It was a bit misleading to see what we were capable of last year with a lot of good talent running the offense, and it makes regression that much harder to swallow. But it also gave us a glimpse of what we can expect if we get the right players in the system.

Nobody likes to lose, myself included. But to me, the difference between losses now and losses during the twilight of Beamer's career is that losses now still feel like we're going somewhere. It feels like we're building toward something. It feels like there's a deeper plan at work and a roadmap to a better place being followed.

If this loss has shaken your faith in that, I probably can't convince you otherwise. And maybe it's just me being okay with mediocrity, but I'll take this feeling over the 6-6 years where it felt like the program was on life support any day.

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

Here's how I've been looking at it since Saturday:

-We've already got 7 wins, which is better than 3 of the last four Beamer years. We got the bowl game secured before Halloween, without having to worry about winning our last game or two to get it.
-It took Fuente until his third year to get good at Memphis. This is year 2.

Therefore, I think we are in a better place than we were during much of the 2012-2015 era.

^^^^^this times 1000!

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

Good thought, but I offer one point of clarification.

I've heard a lot of "Fuente should adapt his offense to suit the players he has now." And I disagree with this sentiment.

Fuente and Cornelsen said many times they adapt their offensive scheme to the talent on-hand. Last season they were clear to note the product on the field wasn't their ultimate offense, my hunch is that's valid this year too. I don't think we'll know what they really are on offense until next season at the earliest.

It's still a growing process though. What concerns me is the lack of faith in their own abilities. And I still think Fuente is capable of achieving great things at Tech.

"Fuente and Cornelsen said many times they adapt their offensive scheme to the talent on-hand. Last season they were clear to note the product on the field wasn't their ultimate offense, my hunch is that's valid this year too. I don't think we'll know what they really are on offense until next season at the earliest.

Not to give a pass to some obviously questionable decisions, but ^^^^ x 1000.

Thanks, Joe, and just to further clarify, this right here:

What concerns me is the lack of faith in their own abilities.

That's precisely what I meant when I said Fuente and Cornelson are too in their own heads right now. The play calling reeks of a lack of confidence in...well...pretty much anything right now. They're overthinking themselves.

What I mean when I say I don't want them to adjust the offense to the players this year is, I don't want to to see another offense like when Lefty based his first season's offense completely on LT. That was basically a wasted year in installing a new scheme. Probably a better way to put it is, I'd rather see the offense struggle this year but be learning fundamentals of the Fuente offense rather than try to run something made up on the fly out of spit and duct tape to try to win now.

What we saw against GT wasn't the offense I've seen Fuente run in every other game he's coached here. Ultimately, I just want to see Fuente decide we're gonna play his brand of football, and if it doesn't work this season then it doesn't work. I'm down with delayed gratification.

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

Yeah, I'm on board with this perspective.

If Jerod Evans stayed, we beat GT easy and I think we have a better chance against Miami and Clemson. But that's just not how it is. How many times over the past 15 years have we wished to have simply a top 50 offense to go with one of Bud's defenses. After what we saw last year, I think that a few years of experience and a really good QB (that I think we have in the wings already) could get us a top 25 offense and give us something special.

I love Fu, great fit for VT. I hope he coaches here 15-20 years, seriously. I think he is a good motivator, great QB/Offense guy. And yes it's his second year. But several of "his" players are on the varsity/2 deep right now, and only Savoy is really making an impact. Grimsley- on a team with zero WR depth, Keene- both have had a couple moments, but not really a factor- yes I know they are freshman, but they are Fuente's guys. Pimpleton- same thing. I also thought we would see more of Bryce Watts and Dylan Rivers too- but with Bud and Charlie over there, you can't really say we are recruiting a different type of "fuente" guy on defense. So in 2 years, do we think Grimsley is an Isaiah Ford/Josh Morgan guy? does he just need seasoning? - just an example. Same with Keene- will he be a Jeff King/healthy Ryan Malleck next year? Is youth what is holding these "Fuente" guys back? Just an honest question.

Justin Fuente puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like you and I

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

Mason Naumann posted this 3 weeks ago:

give Fuente a stud like Saquon Barkley or Lamar Jackson and defensive coordinators wouldn't bother to show up on Saturday.

These ACC coaches better beat Fuente on the recruiting trail or he and Foster are going to own this conference for a decade.

I still feel this way.

I like Jackson, and I think he could be good in a more pro-style offense, but we could definitely see the difference with Evans (a "Fuente guy") vs. Jackson. I do think Josh is a good quarterback but not suited for this scheme (Imagine him at BC). Kind of sucks for him that he's throw into this situation.. But to really move forward I think we'll need the next real "Fuente guy".

I'm hoping Patterson is that guy. Could be the more hybrid Hendon Hooker (seems like a mix of Bush and Jackson from my understanding) given that he's had time to learn the offense.. But if Patterson comes in and is *blatantly* better than everybody else, AND he's the guy that perfectly fits Fuente's offense, give the dude the reins from the start. Let him grow with the other youth and the offensive scheme in general.

I have no idea where I am going with this post. It's Monday. Meh.

When Bush went in on fourth and 2 and everybody swept right only for him to turn around, I was expecting a throw back to a wide open WR or TE on the left side. It would have been a great misdirection play. Instead he kept the ball and ran around looking for an opening to run... So disappointed on that play.

The worst call of the day, in my opinion. Say what you will about the long pass on 4th and 1, at least there's the possibility of catching the defense selling out for run stop. Bringing in Bush on 4th and 2 telegraphed the play.

(Also not excusing the long pass on 4th and 1
Still a bad call.)

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

It left us all scratching our heads, thinking, "what did they think was going to happen?"

Same. I'm hoping the tape shows someone trying to go out and either got held or fell down.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Gallo didn't snap the ball on time, again. Bush had to wait on it, the blocking went to the right so they had numbers. Gallo just didn't snap the ball. Pretty much the same thing as the ball hitting Savoy on the jet sweep against Miami. Gallo just didn't snap the ball.

Which is why you don't bring the QB2 off the bench cold on fourth down.

"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

It looked to me like a bad snap. Sometimes the center will snap the ball in the direction the play is going to give the QB a little extra momentum, but it looked like on that play that Bush and the RB were moving to the right when the ball was snapped late and down the middle. Bush had to stop and adjust to catch it. By then the play was ruined.

Not to give a pass to the play call. Putting Bush in definitely told the defense that we were going to run for it. Still, with his athleticism and a good, in stride snap and we may have gotten it, either by Bush running for it or pitching it on the option.

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

Defense had the biggest let down blowing coverages. Was it only two completions and both for touchdowns?

#Hokies

We'll have to see what the offense will look like after he is responsible for recruiting all the offensive players (including the o line)! I'm hoping things will be different and he can keep his promise to Bud that he will take care of the offense, not putting it solely pin the D to win the game.

I actually appreciated his comments. He was open and honest with where our team is right now. It was a little refreshing compared the usual coach speak we are used to getting. Also, he made sure to note that this isn't on the players, that they are working their asses off and that he loves them. I think he just said this in part of frustration and in bigger part to just be transparent with where we are.

I didn't agree with the going for it on fourth early, the 2 pt instead of xp, or the 3rd/4th decision at the end of the game but I understood what he was saying. GT is a ball control offense, we are not going to get many chances to score. On the few chances we had, our offense was plainly bailed out (two throws on separate drives that were miraculously not intercepted) on 2 of our drives. If those were picked off, as they should have been, then those attempts to go for the points makes a lot more sense; they would have been our few chances in the red zone.

I don't know if it's mental fatigue, physical fatigue or just a letdown in general but Josh seems to have really regressed as well. He seems incredibly hesitant to keep the ball on the option. In this game in particular, I noticed the DE never even attempted to go after Josh because he knew he was handing the ball off. It's been that way the past few games. He also doesnt carry out fakes every time anymore. After the mesh point, he sometimes just lazily starts jogging or letting his arms down which obviously doesnt lend itself to producing.

If this point has already been posted or if these appear to be the ramblings of a crazy man my apologies, but in viewing mainly those last two play calls and the bevy of 4th down gambles from a players' perspective (I'm by no means a player) I would think that builds players' trust in the coach.

For the 4th down play: Cam Phillips is our best offensive player/threat. If the entire play breaks down and you're the QB, where are you throwing it? More oft than not Its the direction of #5.
So in the instance of Saturday I can't imagine there was any backlash from players in the huddle (or locker room afterwards) when Fuente/Cornelsen said f*ck it, were going all in and trying to get Josh connected with Cam for a TD on 4th down right in Paul Johnson's smug-faced eye a la Les Miles.

Look I know this drives us fans crazy sometimes when you see the obvious move is to grab that 1st down and work from there for better field position. But players love going for it on 4th down . 4th and 10? Yea we can get it! They will always think they can get it and that is the attitude you want players to have.

Part of me thinks Fuente is doing the 4th downs and plays like Saturday (in the 4th) to show his team and future recruits that he thinks they can pull it off . I know this would drive some people crazy if they thought this was happening because you have to win now and win them all , but while we're playing checkers good football coaches are playing chess and (hopefully) setting up huge success for VT in the future.

I know his comments have been perceived by some to say that he and the coaches don't have trust in the players/personnel but some of the play calls to me , seem that he levels with them in that hey this is the situation we're in and I'm gonna put it in the team leaders' hands to make it happen. I hope that is the case at least ,with mutual player to coach trust and respect being high.

Saturday was frustrating for everyone bleeding orange and maroon and I can't wait for this Saturday to have that miserable taste cleansed from our palate !

Basically how our football season ends up:

  • National Championship
  • ACC Championship
  • Top 25 Ranking
  • Commonwealth Cup

We're basically slightly better than the team ranked just below us in our conference and who, this year, has a real shot of ending their losing streak against us.

get some dum-dums!

Tech can still get a top 25 ranking. Easily.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

you're just saying that because we were the top team in receiving votes this past weekend and we still have three more games we could win /s

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)..

To be honest, we are back in the 8-4/9-3 range that everybody was HOPING for before the season began. We just got our hopes to high against BAD competition.

That being said, it hurts that a team that we beat, with an identical record, is ranked above us.

Yeah, there should be a "Ten-win season" line just below "Commonwealth Cup." We need to beat Pitt, UVA, and our bowl matchup.

"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

The result was a letdown but they played hard. The trip back from Miami was a disaster and made it a short week to prepare and turn around for another road trip. I chalk it up to fatigue all around and unfortunate scheduling. I'll take solice in knowing we did better than former #3 against the u.

#Hokies