Justin Fuente Dishes on What Held the Offense Back Last Year, and How it Might Change in 2018

The head Hokie previews what's to come on offense this season, in the first part of his exclusive interview with TKP.

[Mark Umansky]

Justin Fuente is widely regarded as one of the premiere offensive minds in college football — but the Hokies left most fans wanting more on the offensive side of the ball last season.

Virginia Tech finished T-No. 66 nationally in scoring offense, No. 120 (3.80) in points per trip inside the 40, and No. 107 (1.07) in IsoPPP (points per play, explosiveness).

Fuente has a returning starter at quarterback on the roster for the first time since he's been in Blacksburg, yet the offense seems bound to go through some big changes as the Hokies look to replace Cam Phillips and Travon McMillian and build more depth at the skill positions (or perhaps even sort out a QB battle).

In short, questions abound on offense as spring practice opens; luckily, Fuente took some time to answer them with The Key Play last week. We discussed how the offense is changing from a scheme perspective, which players could emerge as playmakers next year and even how the proliferation of the spread at the professional level is changing recruiting.

I've interviewed Fuente one-on-one only a few times, but this was perhaps the most candidly I've heard him speak about X's and O's, when he's normally quite guarded on the matter. Enjoy, and check back for part two of our conversation later this week.

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

The Key Play: When a coach comes into a new job, I often hear analysts talk about how they need time to get "their guys" into the program, players that fit their system. As you get ready to kick off your third season in Blacksburg, do you feel like you've managed that? Which positions need work in that regard?

Justin Fuente: I think each job's different, and it's not as simple as this is year one, this is year two, this is year three. We inherited an older team in year one that was hungry and talented and ready to try and win every game they played.

And then in year two, we had all those guys back on defense and none of them back on offense. Now, we're young everywhere. It's just a little bit of a different deal.

When we took over at Memphis, we were awful to start with and it took us until our third year to really reap the benefits of what we're doing. It just hasn't been a linear approach for this situation. We're sitting here with 75 percent of our players are sophomores or younger and what's kind of cool is when I look at our offseason numbers and look at the gains we've made in the weight room, we've made huge gains, but that's because there's so much room for us to make gains.

When you're an older, more mature team, you can't make many gains because guys are already pretty strong, but for us, we made huge gains because this offseason and that's indicative of us being really young.

TKP: Let's talk about the offense, specifically. One of the problems with that youth you mentioned on offense last year seemed to be that, outside of Cam Phillips, there weren't many guys who could make an explosive play and you had to settle for long, methodical drives. What held the offense back in that department last year, and how will you make more big plays this year?

JF: At times, we didn't make them at various places. On the offensive line, at tight end, at running back, at quarterback, or at wide receiver. The best thing we can do to make bigger plays down the field is execute the base fundamentals that we're teaching.

The bottom line is we didn't make the unblocked hat miss nearly enough at running back. We got the ball to the unblocked hat a lot last year; maybe more than any other year I've ever had. And yet, we did not have the home run runs because we didn't make that guy miss. And we weren't good enough on the outside to go make big plays pushing the ball down the field.

We'd miss it here or there. It's got to be a collective effort, we've got to have another year of maturity and another year of improvement, another year of strength and understanding moving forward to help facilitate those things.

TKP: You mentioned the running backs, so let's talk about what you want to see from that position, which has delivered inconsistent results since you've been in Blacksburg. While your offense has featured the backs on screens and wheel routes, are you trying to incorporate them into the short passing game more this coming season? Our film reviewer has noticed that defenses seem to ignore the backs on third and long situations, in particular.

JF: We'll see what their skillsets are. Steven Peoples is not that guy. Doesn't mean you can't flip him the ball out in the flat, but that's not his skillset to line up at wide out and go make plays. But he does have a unique skill set that I want to use, that's very valuable to this team.

So as we continue to look at those other guys, Deshawn [McClease] is a guy you wish could do some more of that, and we'll continue to see if he can do some of those things and get those guys involved.

I do think where we're headed is maybe with a more versatile tight end set than we've had before. Between Chris [Cunningham] and Dalton [Keene] and now Drake [DeIuliis] coming off his redshirt year, I've been really impressed by his ball skills. That may be the versatile direction we're able to go. I don't know, we haven't practiced yet in the spring, but that's something we've at least talked about, that those guys may have a unique skill set that may aid us in some of our quest for versatility.

Because that's what we've always wanted is versatility. I want tight ends who can block and also line up at receiver and be a threat. I want running backs who can run the football but also catch the ball and move around and be a threat. I want wide receivers that can play wideout and also move into the backfield and carry the ball.

We've got some of those guys, they're just really young. They're not ready to take that step. They did some of those things last year, but we need to continue to develop those things.

TKP: Just watching the Super Bowl and the NFL last year, with the Eagles and other teams constantly using spread concepts and RPOs, I couldn't help but think about how similar that all looked to what you try to do on offense. Has that made it easier to sell your offense to recruits hoping to go to the NFL? The conventional wisdom used to be that recruits would be hesitant to play in the spread because it didn't prepare them well for the NFL. Is that changing?

JF: That's a fair question. I don't know the answer to it.

I know this: I coached Andy Dalton and he made the Pro Bowl his rookie year, and he called me and told me, 'Everything we're doing is the same as what we did at TCU.'

Whether you're in the gun or under center or whatever it is, you're still running concepts and you may carry more concepts in an NFL game, which I'd expect you to, or they may be more in depth or you may have more options off certain concepts because they're professionals. But at the core of it, you're still making decisions, you're still throwing off players, you're trying to take what people are giving you and ultimately you've got to win some one on one battles.

I don't know that it's made easier in recruiting. I'm not out there telling everybody we're doing the same thing as the Eagles, or that the Eagles are doing what we've been doing.

But what I am telling them is we're preparing our kids to play at the next level and if the chips fall right for you, then you will be prepared to step into that arena and succeed.

Comments

Nice work. Thanks to reading TKP religiously, a lot of that sound awfully familiar. That conversation sounds like we have a lot of uncertainty on offense - not surprising. Rebuilding had to come someday, and that day might be today. Keep up your good work of making us TKPer better educated Hokie football fans.

For someone who is usually so guarded and coach-speaky in press conferences, this has some great insight from Coach Fu. I especially like hearing him acknowledge that our RBs hardly made anyone miss last year, and also discuss how having multiple versatile TEs can help the offense moving forward as well.

Looking forward to some Hokie foobaw!

Chem PhD '16

Every year for decades we hear the same thing about how we're going to use the tight ends more, and usually, we don't. Maybe this is the year we actually do?

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I have a feeling that this isn't your father's "We're going to use the TEs more" statements.

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

That you Kevin? Well, I'm hopeful, but not optimistic that things will be much different. The years can tend to grind you down.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

No, that is not how I pronounce my name. ;^)

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

Sorry, thought the Spirit was being laid to rest.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

At some point. I'm just lazy.

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

So you're saying it's the on-field equivalent of "this recruiting class will be special"?

Very thoughtful and level headed comments

Alex what an awesome job getting this interview and doing it so well. Joe thanks for having this awesome website where an interview like this isn't behind a paywall. People reading this article think about joining the Key Players Club so we can keep articles like this coming.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

So this didn't seem to work like I thought. We are actually losing TKPC members. Guys this content isn't easy to put together. Joe, Alex, French, Mason etc all work for free. This website is free. What we need are people who can afford it to step up to keep it going. Anyone else see anywhere out there an interview with Fuente this open and candid? I haven't.
So join TKPC, share the articles on twitter, Facebook or by email with everyone you know and let's keep this site going

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I'm sorry to hear that TKP is losing members. I understand that everyone isn't in the financial situation where they can join/donate to TKP but everyone who can, definitely should! I haven't enjoyed a VT website this much since Tailgate Fever was around (I'm old, I know). If you're a VT sports fan, you know this is the BEST website....hands down and it's not even close. The fact that the staff is providing this level of insight, interviews, film review, etc... and WORKING FOR FREE??? That's unbelievable! Our fan base is so blessed to have a group of intelligent, articulate writers who are willing to donate their time to provide this type of insight to those of us who bleed orange & maroon. What I'm trying to say is PLEASE join and/or donate to TKP if you can...it would be a shame if they couldn't continue because of an inability to cover their costs. I, for one, would be lost without French's film review and many of the other articles published during football/basketball season. I love you guys and everything you do for the fans....and I'm sure I'm not just speaking for myself. Keep up the good work and let us know how we can help TKP - I'm sure many of us would be willing!

I believe.

I agree on all points. And cheers for being a TGF refuge. Sometimes I go to the way back machine and read through old TGF posts just for the hell of it. Good times.

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)..

Wait, what?!?! There is a way to go back and read old TGF articles? I gave up checking the website years ago because I thought they had taken it down for good. Please, please, pretty please tell me where I can find these archived. I am grinning ear to ear at this news, you have no idea how much this makes my day! I miss those guys and their commentary so much!

Also, thanks for supporting our new favorite Hokie website. TKP deserves tons of credit for providing such an amazing service to fans!

I believe.

The way back machine is an internet archive where can search tailgatefever.com and go to town.
http://archive.org/web/

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 haven't enjoyed a VT website this much since Tailgate Fever was around (I'm old, I know).

I'm old too and that's a top-shelf compliment. Thank you!

We are actually losing TKPC members.

There were only a couple of TKPers who actively chose to not renew their TKPC membership. The others simply did not update bad billing information, despite a series of notifications. I need to figure that out. It's not optimal though.

Guys this content isn't easy to put together. Joe, Alex, French, Mason etc all work for free.

To be clear, those guys are paid for their work thanks to TKPC.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I got your emails Joe. Got new CC#s. We're in the process of adopting our niece. we've had to cut back this year. I've been trying to justify supporting this site again this year, but I just haven't been able to. If it makes you feel any better (which I bet it won't) I cut my subscription to TSL also. In reality, sports fan's sites is the least of our cut backs this year. Priorities. LIFE.

I totally understand and wasn't trying to single anyone out. The system sends a pair of emails inviting TKPC members to cancel their accounts before the membership tries to renew. I presumed if anyone wanted to cancel, they'd do it then.

Ut Prosim.

I wouldn't say that TKPC is losing members. I'd classify it as holding steady above 600.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Thanks for a great Monday morning read. Feeling optimistic about this next season. Offense will continue to improve - QB spot will be even better than last year. Players are getting stronger. Defense will continue to dominate. Looking forward to part 2 of this interview.

JP

Well done Alex and TKP.

Looking forward to the 2nd installment

Virginia Tech finished T-No. 66 nationally in scoring offense

Dumb question - are field goals included in 'scoring offense' or would those points go to 'special teams'?

Twitter me

Field goals are included, as are point after attempts and 2 pt conversions.

This link has a clearer breakdown. I am unsure why some teams have 1 recorded under DEF PTS. Perhaps the obscure 1 point safety rule, but the frequency with which there are some teams assigned a 1 in that column might tend to indicate otherwise

Chem PhD '16

Coach talk without being explicitly coach talk. Coach Fu indeed.

Really enjoyed this piece, both because of the great questions, and CJF's candor. Also - I love the Q&A format. Would like to see this more often if possible.

Twitter me

Thought that Drake burned his redshirt one game... did he get it back?

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

Yes he got it back. He was injured not long after they burned it and he hadn't played in enough games yet so they were able to get a medical redshirt.

"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

Awesome, thanks!

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

link? Just curious because this doesn't jive with how I thought redshirts work, but I am often wrong.

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 don't remember which thread I read it in on here but it was mentioned that they would apply for one for him and that they expect for it to be granted. Here are the medical redshirt rules:

How does a player obtain a medical redshirt?
A player obtains a medical redshirt by applying for one through the NCAA following a season when they meet each of the following requirements:

The player must have suffered an injury during their senior year of high school, or during one of their four eligible seasons for college competition. (This does not provide for players who are already redshirting a season and are injured in practice.)
The injury suffered must be "incapacitating", meaning it must be a season-ending injury.
The injury must occur during the first half of the season.
The player must have competed in no more than 30% of the season or four games, whichever is greater.

Edit: Found an article from the AJC that mentions it: https://www.ajc.com/sports/college/virginia-tech-coach-justin-fuente-off...

"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

ok, did they get rid of the "second season lost to injury" clause or is this his second season lost to injury? Or am I just confusing this with a medical hardship waiver for a 6th year of eligibility.

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)..

That's for the 6th year. If a guy hasn't been redshirted before and he meets those criteria he can take a medical redshirt. If he misses a second season due to injury (and they can prove it) he can get the 6th year.

"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

One would have to meet this criteria twice to get that 6th year.

🦃 🦃 🦃

Unless he already took a non-medical redshirt like most O linemen?

In Bud we trust

Fantastic interview.

Loving the fact we could theoretically line up with three TE's , peoples, and McClease and have it be a deep pass play.

Here lies It's a Stroman Jersey I Swear, surpassed in life by no one because he intercepted it.

Awesome article!

This is a bit of what concerns me with this offense:

The bottom line is we didn't make the unblocked hat miss nearly enough at running back.

I understand that this is part of how our offense is supposed to work but does this work in the Power 5? Do unblocked ACC/SEC/B1G/PAC10/Big 12 defensive players miss tackles on a regular basis or is that the domain of the G5 and below?

I have serious doubts that we can pin our hopes on high caliber players simply missing tackles regardless of how good our backs are. We haven't had a back like that since David Wilson and they are few and far between.

In watching film of the better defenses we faced it was clear that misdirection was not going to work on them. They either weren't fooled or were so fast and so strong it did not matter. Clemson is a great example. We had them dead to rights WAY out of position and they were able to close and make a play. They aren't, however, the only example. You can pretty much look at the score of the games we played to more or less tell who had the most talented run defenses. I will consider Delaware an outlier because we had absolutely no real deep threat if the clogged middle. Clogging the middle was used by a few teams after watching Delaware do it. I do not think this will work again but I'm not confident the "unblocked" man strategy is going fly against P5 talent.

Don't NFL steams use misdirection to confuse NFL caliber defensive players? While that is the extreme example. Almost every team uses misdirection and poor matchups for the defense to get players open and break plays.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Sure. NFL caliber running backs make NFL caliber defenders miss. Travon McMillian rushed for over 1000 yards in Loeffler's offense. Not even close in this offense. And I'm not even suggesting he's an NFL caliber back. McMillian is not a fit for this offense but he's a decent back. I'm not certain we can recruit the kind of running back talent that is equivalent to the type of defensive talent we have and face. We're simply not known as RBU. Under Beamer's offenses (not that they were great) running backs got plenty of touches and racked up tons of yards. You could convince a good back he would get the kind of exposure he needed to get to the NFL (And a decent number did). In this offense there are too many backs and they are not racking up tons of yards. Touches and yards matter to backs who want to get recruited. So sure, could a Sony Michel or a Bo Scarborough make a power 5 defender miss? Absolutely. However, look at how many running backs could not make a tech defender miss. We don't have backs of that caliber (and quite frankly most teams don't) and in looking at recruiting I don't think we have a commitment from a back of that caliber. There just aren't that many amazing backs. The ones that are amazing want touches and play for the likes of UGA, Bama, OSU (J.K Dobbins) and PSU (Sequon Barkely). Basically to play for a non blue blood an elite back would need touches. We're not a blue blood and don't offer touches. Do you see that kind of talent on our roster or recruiting commitments? I don't. You have to work with the players you have and and/or can get. In our case lamenting our running backs not making a defender miss is exactly like complaining that Sean Savoy can't "go up and get a pass" against a good defender. Getting a great back to play a support role is tough. So I would suggest we revisit how we use our backs and what we expect until such time as we can recruit an elite back that's willing to get 10 touches per game and 500 yards per season. I won't, however, be holding my breath on that.

We're simply not known as RBU.

We used to be...

We did! Would love to reclaim the title.

This is a classic catch-22 argument. If we get an elite RB, the carries would be there, and Fuente has said as much. But can you get an elite RB without someone getting the number of carries an elite RB would get?

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

If we get an elite RB, the carries would be there, and Fuente has said as much.

I believe this is his sales pitch to Devyn Ford. I hope it works.

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

We don't have backs of that caliber (and quite frankly most teams don't) and in looking at recruiting I don't think we have a commitment from a back of that caliber.

yet (fingers crossed)

Chem PhD '16

Selhini, love your posts & they're very on point. That being said, paragraph much??

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Clearly not enough.

I have serious doubts that we can pin our hopes on high caliber players simply missing tackles regardless of how good our backs are. We haven't had a back like that since David Wilson and they are few and far between.

Historically we've been able to - Evans, RW, DW in recent history, and many more before then. I think Shai was that type of player too, but other stuff came up.

In watching film of the better defenses we faced it was clear that misdirection was not going to work on them. They either weren't fooled or were so fast and so strong it did not matter. Clemson is a great example.

Clemson was arguably the best defense in the nation last year - they gave up >24 points ONCE last year. That would be challenging for ANY offense. Basically, we need a 4 star running back who plays like a 4 star running back.

Twitter me

Yes, all defenders miss tackles. Sometimes they miss because they take themselves out of a play with a bad angle or bad form. The best defenders do not miss as much, better off making them miss with a hard/smart/tough running back. We've actually had a pretty good history of that type of back leading all the way up to David Wilson.

--
"It's time to go play Virginia Tech Football longer and harder than anybody else in America!!" -- Justin Fuente
"I put a brick in Sacksburg today." -- Cam Phillips

This.

I'm not completely sold on Fuente's offense, but I also realize we have been lacking in personnel and recruiting. So, I'm cautiously optimistic until we get some consistent contributors and depth.

We're definitely headed in a better direction than we were offensively, but I would love French and other more X & O oriented TKPer's thoughts on this.

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

This may not be the most satisfactory answer but to put it simply, there are 11 players on offense and 11 on defense, at some point, either a running back or wide receiver is going to have to make a play (break a tackle, make a good catch against coverage), or someone else has to account for 2 people, that could be offensive linemen getting a pancake and then moving onto a linebacker, or a defender messes up (runs himself out of position, slips and falls, gets caught up in the wash on a play) the point being at some point someone has to account for that 11th player, the most common being the ball carrier, Fuente relies on expected outcomes, if he can scheme to get a player one on one and he wins that battle more often than not its to our advantage, its better than relying on players slipping and easier to get the skill players than a line that is steamrolling 7 people as a group.

VT '17

Run plays are designed to get 3 or 4 yards, regardless of scheme. The big chunk running plays are a product of either defenders taking themselves out of position, or a back making a guy miss. We didn't have a back capable of doing the latter last year and it resulted in us being just about last in the country in generating big running plays. I don't think this is a product of scheme so much as the reality of not having the kind of game-breaking running back that elite offenses need.

I think he is referring to an unblocked defender at the second level. Winning this one-on-one battle takes a positive play and turns it into a big play.

Additionally, teams like Clemson are generally more talented and getting a defender out of position through scheme helps the VT player gain an advantage to be able to win the technique battle.

Here is hoping for: lessening the talent gap, improving scheme & having great technique.

All the Heisman candidate RB's have highlight reels full of making people miss, leaping over people, spin moves, stiff arms, lowering the shoulder. You can only scheme and block so many people before the back has to take control and ball out.

Recruit Prosim

I understand that this is part of how our offense is supposed to work

Getting a ball carrier into a one on one vs an "unblocked hat" is the goal of every offense. How offenses try and achieve that goal is the scheme. In short, both Fuente and Paul Johnson want to get their backs one on one vs an unblocked hat... but they go about that in very different ways.

Fuente is basically saying "our scheme worked and our offensive line was able to execute, but our talent level at running back let us down".

Exactly, and I'm surprised he was that forthright with it. Firing a shot over the bow at the young RBs- step up fellas!

If you go back to the WVU game, watch the play where the Crawford kid beats Mook one on one in the hole. Good RBs do that 2-3 times or more a game for chunk plays, especially against Gap responsibility defenses where the free hitter is not going to get pursuit help. Mook was in good position, and Crawford just blew through him.

I can probably count on one hand the number of times our backs made a properly positioned free hitter miss, and every one was McClease minus one (the Holston run in the bowl.) They need more of those runs to pop.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Bud Foster schemes to have an unblocked defender in position to make a tackle and our defense gets gashed when he is out of position or misses the tackle. So it makes sense that an offensive minded coach would be thinking about what the defense is trying to do on the majority of their play calls and scheme a way around it or through it. Just remember all the times you have thrown a hat (or worse) after a missed tackle or blown coverage by our defense. In each of those cases was there a Heisman winner toting the rock? Highly doubtful.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

A lot of what Fuente touched on in this were my thoughts. We are an extremely young team, yes they are Fuente's recruits, but we need to have patience with them as there will be growing pains. I'm excited about their potential and excited to see how the offense evolves with people being recruited for specific purposes.

1-0 every week

We are an extremely young team, yes they are Fuente's recruits, but we need to have patience with them as there will be growing pains. I'm excited about their potential and excited to see how the offense evolves with people being recruited for specific purposes.

I've heard this narrative before (& in principle I acknowledge and agree). The caveat to that is, how much and how long and what's considered fair to the fan base (which am us)? Just for me, I feel like if the team doesn't at least win the same number of games last season, it will be a blatant step back with some harmful (though not necessarily permanent) consequences for the program.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

It's not so black and white though. We could end up with the same number of wins next year and it potentially be a much better team. Our schedule this past year was not difficult. As much as people want to point to WVU, they really weren't that good. I know Grier was out at the end of the year but even with him they weren't a top 25 team. We got absolutely dominated by Clemson and Miami and had several wins that weren't very convincing against okay teams. This upcoming year could be a brutal schedule depending on how some of these historic programs perform.

I think he's already had solid success which gives him more room for error, but I think most coaches as long as they are either improving or staying the same, 4 years should be a minimum. Think about his first year; had to bring in a last second QB and hold onto some Beamer recruits, but he also had the benefit of Beamer talent leftover. Year 2 he loses almost all of that offensive talent and is starting to bring in some of his own guys, but they're freshman and don't really play. I think year 4 gives the coach time to establish himself somewhat recruiting wise, gives those recruits time to develop into starters, and the system is implemented. If in year 5 and 6 we win 8 games I'd be concerned.

As much as people want to point to WVU, they really weren't that good.

They were good to slightly above average. I will concede, though, that they weren't elite.

I think he's already had solid success which gives him more room for error

Solid success naturally, consequentially (and should) raise expectations. Very few are expecting him to be perfect or turn us into National Champs this year or next. But improvement, not stagnation, is reasonably expected.

This upcoming year could be a brutal schedule depending on how some of these historic programs perform. Think about his first year, etc, etc, etc

While these are admittedly a factors, they sound suspiciously like excuses and will only float so far in his profession.

I think year 4 gives the coach time to establish himself somewhat recruiting wise

I feel that with our program, budget and other factors, he should begin to establish himself recruiting wise within year 2-3.

gives those recruits time to develop into starters, and the system is implemented.

Unfortunately, the pace of the game and other things rarely to never allow for that.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

I wasn't trying to tell it like it is, you asked what is fair for the fanbase. I think 4 years at the current success level is fair. If in 4 years you plateau at 7 wins or drop off after year 2 then yea 4 might be generous at this school with his salary, but at his performance level (19 wins in two seasons) he has earned a possible down year in year 3. He's nowhere near the hot seat right now so I don't see how you could possibly give him just four years. I know the fanbase is irrational, but I was just trying to say what I thought was fair, not what the fanbase wants.

The only thing that gets Coach Fu on the hot seat is if we tanked the season with 3 wins or less.

I'd call it 5 wins or less. Losing the bowl streak immediately puts Fuente in a prove-it situation with our fanbase going into 2019.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Why are we even talking about this? Somebody give Macgruber a snickers before he starts a riot.

"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

That won't work. He just NEEDS the team to DO BETTER. /s

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Improve on IMPROVING /s

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows


/S. Vent threads after 2nd consecutive losses Gag Tech are one thing.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Simpsons take Charlottesville?

Chem PhD '16

"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

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 wasn't trying to tell it like it is, you asked what is fair for the fanbase. I think 4 years at the current success level is fair.

I know, and I wasn't trying to come at it like that. I feel like 4 is REALLY pushing it. I'm more for 3. Also, just for clarification I'm NOT saying put Coach Fu on the hotseat after 4. I ain't even touching that convo until after 5.

I know the fanbase is irrational

Some, yeah. I wouldn't broadly use this description for the entirety of Hokie Nation. But also, the business of the beast is irrational. Can't really help that.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

I feel that with our program, budget and other factors, he should begin to establish himself recruiting wise within year 2-3.

I'm sorry could you expand on this thought. I'm having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around it. Tech has never been and isn't currently a blue blood program. Tech doesn't sit in a destination city or metro area. Tech's budget is at best mid pack in P5 football. So what in these factors says Fuente should be turning the program into something it isn't in 2-3 years?

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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Sorry if I wasn't as transparent. I did not mean a FULL turnaround, but a moderate upward trajectory (which recruiting is trending upward, but this past season felt like a plateau rather than a step forward from '16). Also, I meant closer to the end of the 3 yrs vs the 2 (which I understand is ambitious). I've always felt/believed we were/are capable of doing it in 2 yrs. Hope that helps some.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Oh another post about how VT is 'so poor' when it comes to football it's unreasonable for fans to have any expectations.

4 years stagnating at 8-9 wins IS too long - especially if those wins are against trash opponents and we're not competing with the good teams on our schedule, and losing to teams like GT on an annual basis.

Our facilities are in-line or better than most non-blueblood programs, and Fuente is paid like a top 20 coach. It's not out of line to expect him to recruit at a top 20 level and have on-field results of at least a top 20 program. If he expects raises and extensions, when we've already given, I don't think anyone is out of line to think he should be exceeding top 20.

As of last year (last year on USA Today website) he is 33 highest paid coach with publicily available salary. That means with private schools thrown in he is 35-37. So using your logic he should do as well as he is being paid he is vastly exceeding those goals.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Wait a sec-I thought the raise he got at the conclusion of this season finally put him ahead of Coach Mendenhall???

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

It did. He makes 4(+) mil now.

But all coaching numbers aren't out yet so we can't say where he ranks (it won't be in top 20) positively yet.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Well as long as he's ahead of Bronco, I'll consider that an accomplishment and upward trend.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

setting the bar pretty low there, aren't we? I mean, Bronco just had his contractually obligated single bowl trip this year and is probably on a downward trajectory from here until they can his ass.

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)..

It's something I've been wanting to happen for awhile. Being that it's LOLUVA, it's personal. In terms Mendenhall getting canned, #SAVEBRONCO

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Is Bronco the only Head Coach they're paying now, or are they still paying for Timecop and Groh?

He got a raise, didn't he? His new salary would put him in-line with a top 20 coach. You can play semantics and cite salary differences that are <150k, but that's about where he is.

Given VT's resources and commitment to football, no one is out of line thinking we should be winning more than 8-9 games in year 4. You can try to derail, but that's the point.

Yes if it was in a vacuum but coaching salaries aren't in a vacuum. He will still at best be a top 25-28. So using your argument that he should recruit and win like he is paid and he is doing just that.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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Again, you're derailing and trying to pick at semantics over something that is not at all the original point that was made, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

and Fuente is paid like a top 20 coach.

Your words not mine, I'm just pointing out that your standard is way off.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

replace Travon McMillian

If we can't replace 2016-17 Travon, we're going to be in a lot of trouble. It really shouldn't be that hard since he wasn't up to his 2015 performance by any measure.

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

I am not going to lie. This didn't make me feel overly hopeful about the RB situation this year and in the years to come. Sounds like they really, really need Ford to commit to get things in the right track.

"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

I'm sure that's very similar to what Ford is hearing from the coaches: "You can be the magical last piece that elevates us to national title contender. Son, how would you like to be the next Michael Vick?"

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)..

Absolutely, and as they should. I just hope there is a quality Plan B for this in case that doesn't work out, because it just sounds like the coaches aren't at all confident the pieces we have can get us playing the way we want.

"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

if only it was that easy. would you consider Holston a quality plan B for laborn last year? if we miss on ford its going to hard to find a guy of that quality as a back up plan. I hope we can find some quality guys for sure but we cant afford to keep missing on those plan A guys.

#Bapn ain't EZ

Wanna win put boobie in! Let boobie spin coach!

Any other guy of that quality that we had a chance of landing wouldn't be a back-up plan to begin with, TBH.

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

That just sounds so disingenuous to me lol. Like, he isn't the next MV7, and playing on those emotions just feels wrong to me. Although recruiting in general makes me feel uneasy anyways so maybe it's just me.

That seems to be trending well.

I hope so. Those damn CBs have gutted me enough times that I am staying as far away from that 93% good guys for the time being. If I don't get my hopes up, I can't be let down upon signing day, right?

"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

I think McClease will be able to be the make people guys miss with his first full healthy year along with People's hard nose running and Holston's maturation. Ford (and potentially Houston as well) is the missing piece to that equation to be where Coach Fu envisions his offense running. Personally, I also think that involves a truly dynamic running QB to keep defenders honest on the RPO's and why I think Hooker should get a good long look at the starting role despite Jackson's adequate success last year.

I'm with you on mcClease. He's shown some great stuff at times. Need him to be consistent though.

It feels very good to see the Big Whistle validate some of our observations throughout the year. I hope to see some of the young players take big steps forward this spring.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Our film reviewer has noticed that defenses seem to ignore the backs on third and long situations...

I think this is you being referred to here. Nice props to you French!

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

The bottom line is we didn't make the unblocked hat miss nearly enough at running back. We got the ball to the unblocked hat a lot last year; maybe more than any other year I've ever had. And yet, we did not have the home run runs because we didn't make that guy miss.

French noted that handful of times throughout his film reviews last season. There were so many plays last season that were 4-5 yard gains, but should have gone for 20-plus yards.

Any chance of breaking down the offensive numbers before and after Nijman went out of the lineup?

Effective QB pressures from the left of Jackson went way up.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Quick work, French. ;^)

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

Great article and insights to the Running Back/passing game concepts. One Day I would love to ask Coach Fuente-- what influence arena football had on his coaching physiology, as it seems his version of the spread works a bit differently than say Chip Kelly's (UCLA) Spread or even Rich Rod's Old Version at Arizona.

Gracias
Let's Go...Hokies!!!

Well done. Good questions...not the usual paint-by-numbers stuff, but not too deep in the weeds either.

The only wrong with it...it ended too early (I know, I know...part 1, blah, blah, blah).

Basically, we just need to find a Todd Gurley or a Saquon Barkley.....problem solved.

VHokie

"Last Question Coach: How often do you personally review French's film reviews to prepare for the next game?"

The Dude Abides