Slept On It: Hokies Make a Statement in Tallahassee

Reflecting on the Hokies' season-opening road win against the Seminoles after a good night's rest.

[Cory Hancock]

This article kicks off my fifth year writing Slept On It for The Key Play, a journey that has given me an opportunity to reflect on some pretty amazing victories and some incredibly demoralizing losses. Some games are a blast to recap, while others can be arduous. I'm sure you can guess where this one falls. When I woke up Tuesday morning, I took a look back at the second Slept On It column I ever wrote, the day after Tech upset Ohio State in The Horseshoe. Trying to put Monday night's win in context, I couldn't help but recall the delirium of that Saturday night in 2014 where a plucky Hokies team shocked the eventual National Champion Buckeyes on the road.

No one is confusing the 2018 Florida State Seminoles with that Buckeye squad. Sure, both rosters ooze talent, thanks to years of recruiting at an extremely high level. But on the heels of a 7-win season, new FSU head coach Willie Taggart was tasked with rebuilding the program's culture while integrating new offensive and defensive systems. Unlike that Week 2 trip to Columbus four years ago, knocking off the 'Noles in a hostile environment never felt like an impossible task.

In that 2014 column, I tried to identify what the win meant for the rest of the Hokies' season. The win caused me, and probably a lot of you, to re-evaluate what we thought the team was capable of. It all turned out to be a fool's errand, as the Hokies went on to lose the next two games to ECU and Georgia Tech, infamously lost a battle of futility at Wake Forest, and needed a win over UVa to keep the bowl streak alive. In my defense (and probably all of yours, too), it's hard not to get caught up in the hype after a big win. The commentators wax poetic about the impending "statement win" as the game clock slowly ticks toward zeroes. Fans rapidly refresh message boards, amplifying the echo chamber. But most importantly, your brain has trouble comprehending the fact that the team can win a big game like that and toss a total dud the following week against lesser competition.

Allow me to throw a bucket of cold water on you. Stop trying to put this game in context. Fight the urge to forecast the rest of the season after this win.

Flash back to Monday afternoon, when most people had no idea what to expect from the Hokies, especially the defensive unit. After watching such a lopsided victory, I can't help but feel like the win provided more significant questions than answers. For instance, did we underrate the Tech defense, or did they play a solid game against a subpar offensive line, a quarterback taking his first snaps in twelve months and an offense learning a new system? Is Josh Jackson markedly improved over Year One, or is he benefitting from a deeper and more talented supporting cast?

Take the victory for what it was: a signature road win against a storied program that many perceived as superior. It didn't suddenly erase all of the inexperience on defense, depth issues along the defensive line or the inconsistency of the rushing attack.

What it did reinforce is that the Hokies are blessed with a coaching staff that has an incredible ability to put their players in positions to succeed. The offense's opening drive illustrated how surgical Fuente and Cornelsen's system can be. And the performance confirmed that Bud Foster is the best defensive coordinator in college football. Against a team full of freak athletes and highly regarded prospects, the Hokies rolled into Tallahassee with little fanfare and thrashed the 'Noles on their home turf.

The irony was that Tech hardly fielded a team of formerly unrated recruits. The youth movement that simultaneously excited and struck the fear of God into the hearts of Hokies everywhere marked the beginning of a new era of Hokie football, one characterized by the prevalence of Fuente-era recruits. The skill sets and physical makeups that the coaching staff labored over on the recruiting trail came together on national television, and lordy was it a beautiful sight. After a decidedly pro-Florida State pregame show and early broadcast, Kirk Herbstreit finally began singing the Hokies' praises by halftime, commenting on how Tech finally "looked the part" after fielding a team full of "long and athletic players." It was as though the Hokies had been running a bunch of weebles out there the past three decades and lucked their way to 25 straight bowl games and seven conference titles.

[Producer: Mr. Herbstreit, I've got Tremaine Edmunds on Line 1]

For all of the attention that the coaching staff is receiving in the wake of their big win — most notably Foster — the coaches can only do so much. Credit the players for executing the game plan and, to be frank, balling out on a big stage. To highlight the defensive performance: 9 of FSU's 15 drives went for 10 yards or less, and 35 of FSU's 63 offensive plays went for zero or negative yards. The staff prepared their squad well, but it was up to the players to consistently win at the point of attack and they did so in spades.

There were so many standout performers on Monday night that it's hard not to find one highlight play from each offensive and defensive contributor. The veterans were steady all night long, and the newcomers were incredibly dynamic. There was this beautiful combination of deadly execution and sheer athleticism on display more often than I can ever recall. I cackled like a maniac multiple times after guys like Khalil Ladler, Caleb Farley, Trevon Hill and House Gaines made electric plays. Despite its frustrating moments, the game was a joy to watch.

It's impossible not to be excited about the future of Hokies football after Monday night's performance. Whether it's near-term success against William & Mary or East Carolina, or long-term success on a national level, there's a heck of a lot of promise. Tech's domination of a perennial power showed what this team is capable of when playing at a high level. The challenge will be replicating that successful formula on a weekly basis while avoiding substantial injuries at key positions. Given the lack of experience across the roster, there will be mistake-laden games and head-scratching performances.

But as you continue to reflect on your Labor Day euphoria, resist the urge to bet your kid's college fund on a 2018 Hokies national championship. Do not take out full page ads in the Washington Post to officially announce Caleb Farley's Heisman campaign. Lose the call-in number for The Paul Finebaum Show to avoid associating Virginia Tech fans with the imbecilic (albeit entertaining) SEC diehards.

Let's take this one week at a time.

Comments

You hit the nail squarely on the head.

the Hokies are blessed with a coaching staff that has an incredible ability to put their players in positions to succeed

We need to put this game behind us and focus on each game and the season will look good.

so what you're saying is: 1-0

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

That's the goal.

Today we're once again 0-0.

Bingo, you got it

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Or Buzingo, as Sheldon might say.

"Don't go to, go through"

This game was a gift. I actually had more belief we could beat OSU in 2014 than FSU on Monday.

Thank you Bud and Justin.

And thank you TKP staff and community for such a great place to share it all.

It's Time to go to Work

I actually had a lot of belief that we could beat OSU back then. Braxton Miller was out for the season and they were starting freshman JT Barrett. Plus the week before, the Buckeyes looked like absolute poop against Navy.

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

Plus plus: we had a Sam Rogers.

THE Sam Rogers

The Dude Abides

I meant it like this:

Agreed on OSU. Big 10 team with quasi mobile QB and a nasty pass rush on our end. Plus OSU was struggling that season, barely beat Navy.

sol-a-rex

All they did was win every game after that and win a championship. If that's struggling, I want to struggle.

Bud and his Lunch Pail bunch came to Play. They did just that and I see they might just keep getting better. Our WRs and RBs show a lot of improvement from last year,plus the OL . I wished the QB and OC could , but Same ole same ole here in the first game..

Jack R.

Well hello there, sunshine!

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)..

Did we watch the same damn game?

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Isn't this the guy who consistently shit on Motu last year? I guess he needed someone new to dump on.

"Those who jump into the void owe no explanation to those who stand and watch."
--unknown

Yes, he is THAT guy. He is the bitter old man who comes on here to crap on the players and coaches.

Why even watch the games if they make you miserable?

Keep calm, Gobble on

I think this is fair criticism. It could have been delivered a little softer but I didn't see much improvement from the QB spot and at times play calling was suspect. Great opening drive. Other than that the offense stalled. I don't buy the narrative that the offense got super conservative after we got a lead. I would actually say the opposite. The opening drive was very conservative. It was just beautifully executed. A couple swing passes and well designed runs got us down the field. In the 2nd and 3rd quarter we tried to press the ball down the field and pass protection breakdowns + some poor throws + self inflicted mistakes = something like 50yards of offense over 2 quarters. Even the late Kumah TD was the result of a busted play. We have to execute more consistently against good competition to take the next step.

We're all over the moon with the outcome of the game. I have no problem with fans still being underwhelmed with the offense. I think it will improve over the next few few games but won't be tested again until Duke.

Agree with all this. Pass game and play calling left a lot of points on the field and a lot to be desired. The offense is going to struggle this year like it did the back end of last year if we can't stretch the field.

as i posted on vtscoop, i think the bigger issue was a lack of situational awareness; which will hopefully improve with film review and experience.

the play calling was conservative but effective...several times we just didn't take what was there. note that two of the changeups FSU tried resulted in turnovers. that could just as easily have been us.

Off the top of my head, one drive was killed by a young receiver losing track of where the line to make was as he came back for the ball, and another was done in by an air-mailed snap. And a TD was taken off the board because our receiver couldn't get his toe drag down inbounds. All of this in a game where the offense was never in a position to have to try and force anything.

I also still say FSU tweaked something on defense after our first series, because McClease had a much harder time running between the tackles after that first drive. I'm still waiting for a film review on the offense to see if I'm right.

All this to say, what I saw wasn't an incompetent or struggling offense. It was an offense that has some wrinkles to work out after their first game, and a young receiving corps that needs to develop a relationship with their QB.

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

i think there were also 2 other plays where the receiver/runner cut back short of the line to gain trying to get more yards rather than just taking the first down.

Youthful overenthusiasm. That should be fairly easy for Wiggins to get sorted out, though I wouldn't be surprised to see it a bunch against W&M, just because there isn't a ton of time to study film during the short week.

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

I mean I guess people are forgetting JJ pass out of the shadow of his own end zone on 3rd down to get a 1st at the 30. Forgetting multiple passes where if the WR had just fallen upfield it's a 1st. TD pass where his toe was out of bounds. Those were all great throws. I'm rewatching the game with the coaches channel I suggest y'all do so also. JJ Improved from last year and the play calls are mostly fine.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I agree about Jackson, definitely think he showed some improvement. The only real complaint I have with him on the night was that after he did really well to avoid a sack and escape the pocket a few times, he needed to throw the ball away rather than lose yards. And that'll come with time.

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

The only real complaint I have with him on the night was that after he did really well to avoid a sack and escape the pocket a few times, he needed to throw the ball away rather than lose yards.

That drove me nuts as well. I distinctly remember one play it was insanely obvious that it was time to throw the ball away and instead he took a sack for a loss of a couple yards.

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

I second that one should rewatch the game on the coaches channel. What a really good program that was/is.

No one said JJ did terrible or didn't make any good throws. All offseason we discussed whether or not he would make a sizable leap in year 2. So far, and most of us have acknowledged that this was only the first game, I did not see a noticeable difference. This is also what many including French observed at the spring game. JJ made some good throws and he didn't turn the ball over.

However, every one brings up hazelton not getting his feet in on a td but doesn't acknowledge that JJ badly missed grimsley the play before on a slant for a sure TD. Another user pointed out the almost intercepted throw to CC where Kumah was wide open down the sideline for a TD. The only other glaring mistake I noticed was on the drive we turned it over at the goal line. 2nd down from about the 12 we run read option and JJ kept it for as 1 yard loss. If he hands it off, Grimsley walks in for 6.
Obviously no QB makes every available play every game. I don't expect that from JJ. It's fair to point out the missed big play opportunities (that French and Mason have written about at length) required for our offense to become elite.

Lastly, why cant you have a reasoned objective discussion without the passive aggressive jabs? I'm here to discuss Hokie football not trade insults.

Yeah, I think the "mistakes" that JJ makes aren't (largely) going to be ugly interceptions, but rather not making the throw he should. It makes it harder to see any real holes in JJ's game in real time, but opportunity cost is important in football and sometimes the best adjectives are things like "underwhelming" or "conservative". JJ brings a high floor, but I don't think it's unfair to say that the ceiling appears to be lower than many fans want.

Chem PhD '16

I mean Jack Craw called JJ. And that's who I responded to. I didn't call you or even him names. So not sure what the issue is. Saying JJ can do better which is what almost everyone says he needs to do is completely understandable. Jack's issue seems to be he picks a player each year and rides them. Last year was Motu and this year appears to be JJ.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Once we were up by two touchdowns, JJ's job was not to lose the game, and he did that very well. It is frustrating to watch us play not to lose. However, one big turnover would have put FSU back in the game. Instead, we watched Taggart shorten his playbook from inside his own 20. It worked

In Bud we trust

47 yards or whatever we had in 2 quarters and 0 points on 4 series starting in opponents territory isn't 'playing not to lose.' Even if you're doing that, it's fair to expect more out of the O

Or do you think the OC called a game plan to not screw things up once we got up by two scores and was aided by having outstanding field position the whole second half. Also, maybe it was that the FSU defense made adjustments and played well (the ESPN coaches filmroom will back this part up). I would've liked to score more and there things that needed to be cleaned up, but this comment just seems short sighted.

"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

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Upvoted to counteract VTAlum's downvote.

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

Thanks, but it wasn't Alum, it's my TKP "stalker". Downvotes almost any post I make. But I've got plenty of legs, thanks for caring about the guidelines though. Have a leg yourself.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

TKP enhancement, we get to see who up and downvotes comments??

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I don't think that's a good idea long term.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Would be a good tool for Joe or a mod to have available, so they can stop shenanigans that's happening to you.

Joe knows all. He has, in the past, given state of the TKP addresses in which he has singled out users for being great upvoters. He has also come out and defended users accused of being serial downvoters. He has also taken action against true serial downvoters. Joe knows all.

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)..

Image result for joe tkp eye of sauron

Shamelessly stolen from VTGuitarman

"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

lol take it. I saved it to my desktop to use for the inevitable future situation. Have a feeling it'll get a lot of play this year.

And just because of the little exchange above, I'm now legging everyone in this subthread. Boom, roasted.

"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

Plain and simple. Go 1-0

Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies

Awesome write-up, Pierson! Thanks!

As soon as the final score flashed on the screen, I instantly flashed back to that OSU game. I remember expecting the world of a team that had miraculously become David to OSU's Goliath. None of us stepped back to recognize that the team was led by little more than duct tape and a prayer that night: a very serviceable quarterback who had to pop his arm back into place, a running back that eventually ran more backwards than forwards, an eventual transfer in Josh Stanford. an offensive line that couldn't keep Brewer upright, and above all, an OC who tried to play chess which checker pieces. That may have been the most frustrating season of my Hokie fandom because if you put that defense on ANY other team, we were contenders.

This feels different. I see the paper thin depth, and I see the youth and inexperience. But I also see that same youth and inexperience executing with something to prove. I see backups doing work and putting in effort that makes it feel like the depth chart after the two-deep doesn't drop off much. I see mistakes, sure, but correctable ones, mistakes that can hopefully be corrected and smoothed course of the next three games. And I see an offense that can MOVE THE BALL AND SCORE that has just turned the engine on and put it into first gear, along with a defense that might resemble that of 2014.

I'm a hopeless sucker of the moment. I know just enough about football to convince others that my team has what it takes to win. I tend to err on the side of overly optimistic, believing my team will do everything right until proven wrong. This may now be a 8-5 team, only time will tell. But until proven wrong, this team has what it takes to at least shoot out with Clemson in a few months.

It's the fan's job to be overly optimistic. But I like to think that I can trust this team, with a head coach who simultaneously sees the moment and the future, to go 1-0 every week.

Amen!

Hokie in West Africa...sadly, I can't jump up and down hard enough for it to be felt in Lane

I think another thing to consider is how well the youngsters played as a team. I spent some time in the offseason watching Mook in an attempt to assess the damage of losing him. One thing I noticed is that Mook was inconsistent. He would make AMAZING plays but other times he just stood around. That is totally the antithesis of what Foster teaches. You always fly to the ball once you know where it is. Part of what stood out about Floyd last year was his die-hard attitude. Chasing down that Pitt receiver when it seemed all was lost was classic Hokies D. Bryce Watts showed the same determination against FSU.

When faced with "superior talent" (I put that in quotes because I'm not convinced) team work is an absolute necessity. Cam Akers is one guy. The Hokies D is 11 guys.

Will this D perform this well against more complex offenses and teams that are better at playing as a team? Maybe. One thing is clear though, they bought into what they were taught and executed without hesitation. Hopefully, even if there are mistakes, they will continue to execute without hesitation.

Agreed.

"I hope our fans are here and ready to roll, because usually a Thursday night game in Blacksburg is a special situation." _ Coach Beamer

with a head coach who simultaneously sees the moment and the future

Brilliant!

I see the paper thin depth, and I see the youth and inexperience. But I also see that same youth and inexperience executing with something to prove. I see backups doing work and putting in effort that makes it feel like the depth chart after the two-deep doesn't drop off much.

Only a true fan could say, "the great thing about this team is that the 3rd and 4th string have no less experience than the 1st and 2nd string (because none of them have any)"

It's the fan's job to be overly optimistic. But I like to think that I can trust this team, with a head coach who simultaneously sees the moment and the future, to go 1-0 every week.

Bring 'em on!

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

I think that I've read every one of your "Slept On It" blogs/stories/forum topics (what every the hell you call it) and this is the best one, so far. We need to not get ahead of ourselves. This is a very young team. The media wants to throw superlatives that this team hasn't quite earned (some national pundits have gone so far as to put VT in their mock CFP). I'm glad to see well known people like Dwight Vick telling everyone to ease up on the hype train.

1-0 is all we need and the rest will come.

(Stories are what TKP staff writes and publishes to the front-page. Forum topics or threads are everything else.)

THEY AIN'T PLAYED NOBODY, PAWWWWWWWWWL.

Was eagerly awaiting this after the Finebaum reference - Coogan delivers.

“Also, a microwave has never danced it's ass off to Jackie Wilson.” - AssPocketFullOWhiskey

A reasonable statement, but let's face it: it's more fun to dream big! We can sit and be realistic in hindsight during the winter.

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

This is why people who have significant income, but aren't "rich" buy lottery tickets. As a young man that I once worked with said "you can buy a lot of dreams for a buck" (back in the old days, when Powerball was $1).

Excellent perspective. Well written Pierson. It's hard not to enjoy a win like this, but I can also see that a few of those "freshman mistakes" like Farley (who did have a generally great night) failing to bring down Akers on that long run could cost us a game down the line. In that same play is the promise of the young talent and fire, though - Watts chases the play down from behind and saves 7 points. My takeaway is that it's going to be a fun year, and that the coming years should be pretty good too.

Now, if we get through October 6th undefeated, rational contemplation might have to fall by the wayside for a bit!

I haven't really seen any talk on Rivers' play from Monday. From my (not so great) perspective (in the endzone) it looked like he was incredibly active all night long and much bigger in person than I, for whatever reason, thought he would be. Am I correct?

Pierson, I said it last year but this is probably my favorite thing put out on this site. Sobers me up a little when I'm drunk on victory and picks me up when I get the shit kicked out of my spirit. Thanks.

“Stats are for losers.” -Mel Kiper Jr.

Yes. you are correct. Guys who no one is talking about but stood were both LB's, Watts, and the OL. Very few busted assignments and no holding and 1 false start call. Not bad.

Tweedy can run like a dadgum antelope or whatever. I like to use scalded dog. Do antelopes lumber? Cheetah, OK. He runs like a cheetah. He's fast. - Bud Foster

The lack of penalties is definitely something I noticed as the game went on. I remember a few seasons back we had a couple games where we seemed to get one penalty after another from mental mistakes or lack of discipline.

"I hope our fans are here and ready to roll, because usually a Thursday night game in Blacksburg is a special situation." _ Coach Beamer

Speaking of penalties, were the PI calls throughout the game mostly suspect as hell? Sure as shit looked that way to us. There were a couple in there that were correctly called, but sooo many missed.

“Stats are for losers.” -Mel Kiper Jr.

Along with the lack of holding by FSU's O-line...

There was holding penalty where my wife even caught it during the live action, usually I'm jumping up and down in front of the TV screen, and it results in me rewinding the play to show her. One FSU lineman literally held the inner neck padding of the lineman and swung him down.

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

I think you mean she saw holding, without a penalty, right?

There was lots of holding that wasn't called. The refs were letting them play. Which is why it was a surprise when they called PI that wasn't too extreme.

And I may be mistaken, but wasn't the false start on a WR?

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

We don't love dem Hoos.

I think so - maybe Kumah

Looking forward to the analysis from French (and others) regarding the linebacker play.

From where I sat these guys were gap sound all night.... which is the typical problem for LBs learning Bud's system.

.

.

#extendbronco

Flowers, Royal, and Hall said it best on their podcast: the mistakes and struggles the offense had are all correctable.

  • The slightly out of bounds catch that would have been a touchdown
  • The passes completed just short of the first down marker
  • The snap over JJs head
  • The offensive PI in the end zone
  • The People's run coming up just short of the goal line
  • The penalty off the ball after a first down play

Also, I encourage everyone to watch the coach's film room broadcast. Those five coaches broke down every play and gave a nice insight into how the teams were playing.

Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies

How does one watch that?

Google "Coaches Film Room VT FSU"

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

You can watch it on the Espn App.

Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies

Watched the game again yesterday on the E$PN ap - with the coaches. Mack Brown and crew did a great job of breaking down almost every play. Not to take anything away from the aggressive play of the defense...but they point out on many occasions FSU's inability to take advantage of what the Hokie D was giving them. We loaded the box on many plays...leaving room for the deep ball or slot passes. FSU either didn't see it, or Willie's new staff was unable to make changes on the fly.
Bud came to stop the run, and we did that. We pressed hard, playing close to the line with their wide outs. A better coached FSU team would have scored a few more points.

In FU and Bud we trust! We've got an amazing staff, and a solid group of young players.

JP

Go watch Taggart's post game interview. Dude and his staff may be blind. He was asked why he didn't try anything different when VT was stacking the box so often and Taggart replied they weren't stacking the box, they only brought one or two.

He was straight up out of it on Monday.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

apparently Taggart think the box is stacked when there were only 7 defenders (vs 6 blockers)

what is this podcast you speak of? i don't really do podcasts, but this sounds like one i could start with.

Pierson, this may be my favorite piece on all of The Key Play. Absolutely fantastic job.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

What does this mean... asking for a friend. I've My friend has seen this numerous places.

Chris Thompson is an ex-FSU player now with the Redskins. He has a lot of ex-Hokies on the Skins. scressfull=stressfull

See, that's what I told my friend, thanks!

He is a Skins player that went to FSU. He isn't looking forward to going back to the facility today and hearing all about it all over again from all of the Hokies on the team.

Chris Thompson is on the redskins and he is an FSU alum. He has a lot of hokie alumni on his team. They are going to give him crap about the win.

EDIT: What they said

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)..

He used to play for FSU. Currently on redskins. Tons of Hokies are on the redskins roster right now. They are going to dog the shit out of him at practice.

They things that have been said above this post all convey the point nicely and were done so prior to my post posting

Not sure entirely, so someone else might have to speak up here, but I think Chris Thompson is a former FSU player who now plays for the Redskins, and he's talking about having to go to work with a bunch of former Virginia Tech players who are expected to enjoy the outcome of our most recent intercollegiate athletic competition at his expense. They may even disparage his alma mater due to the aforementioned event.

Chris is a FSU alum playing for the redskins. He's not looking forward to getting ribbed by all his Hokie teammates for the loss.

What they said above. Looks like the phone doesn't update quick enough

Great article PB, way to keep us all grounded!

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

Great write-up, and good reminder that it's a good win, but it's best to keep it in perspective.

That was Taggert's first game as head coach of a new team. VT played well, but FSU did not. In spite of the win, VT has lots to work on, and an opportunity to do so over the next several games.

I just wanted to comment somewhere, though, that the fans around me in Tallahassee were disappointed, but they were overwhelmingly a class act. That was one quiet stadium at the end of the first half, and during the fourth quarter.

So the fans around you weren't booing when Tech players got hurt then I guess?

Hokie in West Africa...sadly, I can't jump up and down hard enough for it to be felt in Lane

Oh yeah, they were pretty vocal about that after about the third time.

I don't think they were right to boo, but how would our fan base have reacted under similar circumstances? I'd like to say our fan base is better behaved, but I'm not sure how they'd react, really.

I've not attended that many home games, but I can't ever remember Tech fans booing when an opposing player came off the field injured. Rather, they usually clap to see that he's not hurt worse.

Hokie in West Africa...sadly, I can't jump up and down hard enough for it to be felt in Lane

It's because the injuries were faked mostly

The injuries were not faked.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

They weren't booing because they were injured. They were booing because they felt the injuries were being faked in order to slow down the up tempo.

Taggart doubled down on that perception today.

I must say though, the way Defensive players were swarming to the ball reminded me of the killer instinct that became synonymous with the Terrordome years. I hope we keep that same intensity throughout the year.

HTHokie93

I agree on pumping the brakes on season expectations but I will say its hard not to get excited for this team when across the board (besides RB) Tech looked more athletic on the same field as FSU's 5 and 4 star players. I didn't feel that way about OSU. Tech looked faster, bigger and stronger than FSU and it was awesome to watch.

The shining moment in this excellent write-up is the weebles reference.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Nice write-up as always.

I spent yesterday telling myself to temper expectations, specifically thinking about the high from the tOST victory and how that season ended up. Looking at Monday in a vacuum:

- FSU was installing a new system under a new coaching staff
- Francois hadn't taken a snap in 12 months
- We had all offseason to game plan for Monday
- FSU line exhibit a lot of the same issues they had last year

Add all of that up just on the FSU side, and I start to wonder why everyone was so high on FSU to win unless they figured Akers was going to run wild and carry the entire offense.

Looking forward - We have a lot of potential and as long as we execute the way the team is capable of this will be a fun season. I just have to keep reminding myself that this team is young and some inconsistencies are to be expected.... and we're no longer going to take anyone by surprise, and we should be expecting to get every team's best shot the rest of the year.

I, for one, expected Akers to run wild on us.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

I thought the same thing. We just had so many unknowns going into this game. A bunch of our biggest performers had not played, been in for competitive reps, or were backups and showed some flaws last year. Hewitt, Ashby, Rivers, Farley, Ladler, and Watts all had potential but we couldn't be certain of how they'd perform on Monday (I know I'm missing some guys here). We all knew these guys have some incredible upside, but I think it's fair that a lot of us came in with some trepidation that the young guys might miss some assignments.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

(Numbers added to more easily reference)
1. FSU was installing a new system under a new coaching staff
2. Francois hadn't taken a snap in 12 months
3. We had all offseason to game plan for Monday
4. FSU line exhibit a lot of the same issues they had last year

Not to be combative but I want to rebut some of your points:

1. I don't buy it. Spring and all Summer to get a ton of former 4* and 5* athletes ready. Our young 3* outplayed them. From a different perspective, how did Fuente do with what he inherited? I would expect the same from Taggart.
2. He was good enough to beat out Blackman so he's an upgrade from last year and he had a full year to learn.
3. So did they.
4. This is legit, but still on them and the refs gave them a free pass on holding our DE's on every play, even egregious holding, that occurred on 1/2 of the plays. How in the hell is your OL that bad, when you can basically get every recruit that you offer?

4. This is legit, but still on them and the refs gave them a free pass on holding our DE's on every play, even egregious holding, that occurred on 1/2 of the plays. How in the hell is your OL that bad, when you can basically get every recruit that you offer?

I guess that the refs, after seeing what happened to Francois the last 2 years, decided that in the interest of player safety they won't be calling holding on the FSU o-linemen.

It's a plausible theory.

Yes, there was a fair amount of uncalled holding and some uncalled pass interference.

Re: 1. Fuente's first game, VT team had 5 fumbles, 4 lost. Fuente's game two, the team was still out of sync against UTenn. so, Taggart is arguably on par with Fuente thus far.

(I think, however, Taggart will struggle all year, unlike VT in 2016 improving and getting to an ACC Championship game that year)

🦃 🦃 🦃

The team also had over 400 yds of O in both of those games and scored 60 points between the two, which was a VAST improvement from the prior 4-5 seasons (or more). Turnovers are a large part luck (see Akers fumble when he was running the read option).

The O looked good vs Tenn until unforced fumbles took over, but they still put up 24 points and 400 yards of O. FSU didn't come close to that performance, in a HOME game, with all of those *'s running around the field, including a 1,000 yd RB.

FSU looked like they spent more time doing swag videos and choreographing their kick off swag dance, than learning "Lethal Simplicity" (speaking of which, if you're going to brag to the national media that's what you call your O, then "we don't have the O installed yet", is no excuse).

Just having fun going week to week...I will say this:

With all of the "inexperience" and "young guys" out there, if this is the floor, the ceiling is going to be a fun team to watch.

Go Hokies!

Great stuff. Decisive big dog victory slept on it write ups are the best slept on it write ups.

It was as though the Hokies had been running a bunch of weebles out there the past three decades and lucked their way to 25 straight bowl games and seven conference titles.

In my head "lucked" was replaced with "wobbled"

You can change it. We won't tell anyone.

Amazing writeup as always. Thank you. One comment.

After a decidedly pro-Florida State pregame show and early broadcast, Kirk Herbstreit finally began singing the Hokies' praises by halftime, commenting on how Tech finally "looked the part" after fielding a team full of "long and athletic players." It was as though the Hokies had been running a bunch of weebles out there the past three decades and lucked their way to 25 straight bowl games and seven conference titles.

IMO, I didn't interpret Kirk's comment about this as a back-handed compliment (not that you said it was). I didn't agree with a lot that he said Monday night, but in the context he said this, I think he was just eluding to simply how long we looked across the board compared to the past 6 years. A few of my other die-hard Tech buddies made the same comment early in the game about how on TV we looked HUGE. I mean, I was really impressed how we looked more cut up and lengthier than FSU! Similar to comments made about collective team speed, we look like we collectively have the size to go along with it. Huge hat off to the work Hilgart does behind the scenes getting these guys in peak shape and huge hat off to Fuente's early recruiting efforts.

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

Who do we think will be #25 next week? In my opinion it should be Bryce Watts for that super effort play to bring down Cam Akers. If we're talking purely special teams performance, Bradburn is a shoe-in

I'm thinking Caleb Farley.

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

I would think Bradburn. If even one of those punts goes into the endzone in the 3rd quarter, it could have been a vastly different ballgame. And, 0 return yards. We gained a lot of hidden yards trading punts with FSU on Monday night.

I would love to see the "hidden yardage" analysis of this game

Chem PhD '16

One significant chunk was the blocked punt. We averaged ~25 yds/possession. That's enough to result in VT having more total yards than FSU. I'm still not happy with that, but we see a lot of games where a team that's down by 2+ TD's racks up a bunch of yards in a losing cause. ~250 of FSU's 320 yds came on 4 possessions that ended: missed FG, FG, TO on downs and fumble. The TO on downs was desperation to try to score a TD before half time.

Interesting point that I noticed in look at the drive data: FSU's last 3 possessions ended in take aways.

Cunningham

"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

I thought it was awarded based on practice?

"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

FifthFuller must've just been sitting on his couch the whole game like...

via GIPHY

Great write up!

I'm not foolish enough to try and write a narrative in my mind based on a win against a talented but completely inept team. However, I am really excited about the future of this program. To your point about the type of player Fuente is recruiting - We saw that on Monday evening, and it was an exciting thing to see.

I think we will have a really good season. But I think 2019 & 2020 could be really special!

Is it football season yet?

I rewatched the Coaches corner broadcast -

it was a little discouraging: the game really wasnt that much of a blowout as I thought in my mind, FSU was in it until the very end.

It was also encouraging in the fact that: 1 our defense played lights out, 2, the coaches were praising how well their defense was playing but also 3. the inefficiency on our offense, a lot of it, was just easily fixable things (Brandon Flowers made the same comment) - the Kumah call (they were actually saying it was pretty weak call, they know its got to be called, but throw that up 9 times out of 10 Kumah just out mans that ball for a TD) - bad snaps - penalties - all really poorly timed. There was a little bit of, hey lets keep doing what was working at first, but it sounded and looked like the defense did make some adjustments

I think next week will be telling based on how the offense performs.

Great segment, masterfully written. One of the prime reasons I love TKP.
I think as the game concluded I sounded like a broken record talking to the people I was watching with about how it felt different than the OSU game in '14. Maybe I'm just recalling it with the rest of that season in mind, but it did seem like that night was nearly error free on our part, and the guys were playing out of their minds. An incredible performance for sure, but one that seemed even then like maybe it would not be possible to sustain for a whole season. As many have said, this team looks big, strong, AND fast at nearly every position. There were a lot of things on the offensive side that can improve, but man I thought Hazelton and Kumah really looked the part. Its exciting.

I agree with the OSU game sentiment. It really felt like we played a "perfect" game to get the win, which was really only a 7 point win (the last TD was a late pick six to seal it.)

This game was far from perfect even if it appeared to be a dominating performance.

I will say, watching the coaches film room version of the game today, they point out a lot of plays FSU tried to force it instead of taking what we were giving. We offering slants and other quick passes most of the game and FSU wouldn't take them. Call it bad coaching but against a better prepared staff, that game could have been very different. Glad we got the win. A lot we can learn from and a lot of promise from a young team, but my expectations of 9-3 on the season remain the same at this point.

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

1. We clearly had the superior coaching.
2. The team speed that was perceived was not track speed, it was I know where to go speed (again, coaching)
3. Farley is special, very.
4. Our receivers were NOTICEABLY bigger than years past. Haze, Kum, and Patterson stick out to me.
5. J Hewitt, much maligned last year, is on a mission, (not unlike Motu in his early years) to prove us all wrong - it worked, so far.
6. I always thought T Hill was a stick man in years past. He looks thicker and stronger and still fast/bendy.
7. Ladler surprised. Very very savvy.
8. JJ was better than he looked IMO. Stupidity kills. Like in medicine, "first do no harm."
9. The aussie is cash $.
10. Divine looks dangerous back there.
etc.........

"I play real sports, not trying to be the best at exercising..." - KP

Yeah. Agree on a lot of those counts.

They got out coached 100%. The Hokies we're prepared and FSU, apart from some of their defensive players, weren't.

Our defense looked nasty, but watching the coaches room the second time
1. We had some blown assignments and rookie mistakes that they couldn't capitalize on
2. The second time around watching it, that game was much closer and a few plays their way they could have won it.

On the flip side, we were a few plays away offensively from just blowing them out completely.
I may be thinking of some of these on the same drive but:
1. Hazelton early had the touchdown catch that was out of bounds by a few inches
2. Kumah has a touchdown if he keeps his elbows in on that PI call
3. Peoples on the door step
4. McClease was a shoestring tackle away from a long touchdown early 3rd quarter? There was nobody in front of him
5. Cunningham has that wheel route to the end zone if their safety doesn't leap up and swat the ball away
6. We ran a sweep that the coaches room went through a few times, if Jackson reads the end properly that would have been an easy touchdown. I don't remember if that was on the same drive as the peoples stuff

You capitalize on 2-3 of those and that's at least 14/21 more points and it's 38 or 45-3. It was that close to being a potential close loss or an absolute blow out.

Like I said earlier we'll see how they do against W&M

In the immortal words of the living legend Scot Loeffler, "something something five plays."

Love everything you said.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I really enjoyed this article combined with watching the coaches room, it was clear we were the better team even though by my count the score should have been 38-20 Hokies (counting missed opportunities like red zone mishaps and missed field goals. Still super impressed with both Off and Def trust in the system. Offense still has to execute better and defense has some tackling work to shore up.

One thing is for sure, all of the 6-6 or 7-5 predictors have an uphill battle to get that poor of a season 9-3/10-2 is more realistic unless major injuries occur

Gentlemen, we feel good and saw really some good signs in that game regarding the talent on our team. Some very young players proved their mettle, older players showed their talent, and overall things worked. I feel good about our coaching staff. That said, there is still some work to be done on offense. We had some things go our way (though some of that "luck" we created). As much as we might want it, we can't expect all the turnovers in every game to go our way.

Florida State is probably better than Monday night's display. We'll meet them again at some point, and I'd guess they'll be both improved and looking to better their reputation.

So now, it's "back to work" time. We need to keep this game in perspective. Yes, it's a good sign. But there is still work to be done, and a good season is still going to be an uphill climb. Mostly, we need more consistency from our offense, and fewer unforced penalties. I don't for a minute doubt Fuente is going to be focused like a laser on this.

Let's Go.

We'll meet them again at some point, and I'd guess they'll be both improved and looking to better their reputation.

The next regular season game against FSU is in 6 years. Making assumptions based on one game is obviously a foolish proposition but I wouldn't be shocked if we never again faced a Florida State team coached by Taggert. It's hard to imagine FSU overtaking Clemson in the next few years considering the state of the programs. How long will FSU be satisfied with not making the ACC championship game? It's far from guaranteed that Fuente and Foster will be around in 6 years as well. Regardless I'd put my money on it being 6 years before we meet again and both teams being completely different when that game comes around.

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

They don't suck as much as some people think, and that game was probably a LOT closer than some people realize.

I suppose what I'm saying is that the jury is still out on Taggart and FSU. If they get some things working, they'll be a lot more formidable than what we saw on Monday night.

Florida State is probably better than Monday night's display.

I certainly hope so. It would take some effort to be worse.

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

moved