Tech Tidbits: What the FSU Win Tells Us About the Rest of the Season, And Willie Taggart

A brief look at FSU's conspiracy theories, with some LT position battle drama thrown in.

[Cory Hancock]

With a few days to reflect on Monday night's events, I expect that I'm in the same boat as many of you: imagining all the ways this season is now set up to go right, and (of course) many of the pitfalls that could ensure it goes wrong.

The win over FSU, and the swagger with which the Hokies pulled it off, should be appreciated on its own, without wild considerations of what else it could mean.

But I know it didn't take me long to start fantasizing about how that win has instantly changed the complexion of the team's season, setting up a whale of match-up against Notre Dame and instantly making Miami's dud of a debut against LSU all the more meaningful.

Still, I am trying to be reasonable. This team, as we've discussed ad nauseam, is young and will do something stupid.

Maybe it'll do something catastrophic like lose one of these next three easy games — I'm old enough to remember similar feelings and the ensuing the post-OSU hangover of 2014, to say nothing of 2010 — or something more mundane, like regressing as the season goes on and injuries add up.

But it sure is nice to give in to the wild dreams every once in a while and dream for a bit. It strikes me that these next three games will be excellent tools for the team to work out the kinks and find its footing for that aforementioned visit from the Fighting Irish.

And if Tech delivers a similar performance on Oct. 6, well, perhaps I might not be quite so restrained.

Willie Gets Salty

Before we turn to a discussion of William and Mary (and the rest of the season), it has come to my attention that Willie Taggart is not taking this loss particularly well.

In one of the dumbest controversies in recent memories, he shared the following when asked if he thought Tech players were faking injuries to slow down FSU's offense Monday night.

"It happened too often, so it's hard not to," Taggart said during the ACC's coaches teleconference Wednesday, per Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "It happened too often."

Yikes. The only defense I've seen of this, outside of Nole fans furiously insisting he's correct, came courtesy of people like Bud Elliott of SB Nation arguing that Taggart was simply answering a question candidly and has already taken his fair share of the blame for the loss.

That may well be. But Taggart had to know it was going to play out this way, with the furious online backlash that's accompanied it, the moment he said it. Even if he believes in his heart of hearts that Bud Foster orchestrated a scheme to slow down his otherwise potent offense, he should've known this would be the end result of saying so publicly.

And that's to say nothing of whether or not he actually has a point. Andy Bitter of the Athletic has done a pretty good job of debunking the notion on Twitter, and I won't rehash his work. Justin Fuente himself also was pretty dismissive of the notion, saying his team had "numerous issues with cramping and guys battling through bumps and bruises and nicks and things" with several players needing IVs at halftime due to dehydration.

But, even if the Hokies did indeed manage to pull this off this scheme Taggart envisions, I'd argue that it doesn't exactly manage to explain why his team turned the ball over so frequently, or looked so inept in the red zone.

And even more importantly, to say that you're taking ownership of the loss (your first one at a new program, no less) and then knowingly kick off a controversy about another coach's methods indicates to me that you're not all that serious about owning the L in the first place.

More Questions Than Answers, Still, on Trevon Hill

With that bit of business (hopefully) behind us, we come to a more intriguing point about Tech's defense from Monday night: DE Trevon Hill's status.

As someone watching in a bar with, let's say, limited ability to hear the broadcast, I'd missed the fact that ESPN's commentators attributed Hill coming off the bench to an academic issue of some sort. That would plainly explain the rumblings persisting for months about Hill's status for the opener, and why he was barred from speaking to reporters in the weeks immediately before the season.

Instead, Fuente attributed it to other players practicing better, and dodged the question.

Saying it "didn't come from me" is very plainly not saying it isn't true. Perhaps something got garbled from ESPN's source on the matter, but it seems highly unlikely to me that there's nothing to this, given the rumors this offseason too. ESPN may not be perfect, but they wouldn't just make this up.

It would also be quite the surprise indeed if other DEs were truly outplaying Hill in practice, the most experienced player at the position.

Look, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter all that much, the lack of clarity is just frustrating. Hill played great, with two sacks on the night. If he didn't get the starting nod because of some sort of disciplinary or academic matter, but still is sticking with the team, it's all fine.

I hope this isn't problem to watch for the rest of the season. But it'd be nice to know, either way.

Darrisaw v. Dzansi

Another surprise start on the line Monday: Christian Darrisaw in for Silas Dzansi at left tackle.

Fuente explained that Dzansi, the top man on the depth chart dating back to the spring, was set to start until the heat started getting to him before the game.

And as, Fuente notes, it hardly went poorly.

"Candidly, the fact we played a true freshman at left tackle and we are not answering questions about why we gave up 25 sacks, I think he did a pretty darn good job against that defensive line," Fuente said, per Mike Niziolek of the Roanoke Times. "Are there things for him to improve on? Absolutely, but he certainly didn't look out of place. The moment wasn't too big for him."

It sure shows a lot of the coaches' confidence in Darrisaw to have Dzansi go down suddenly and not simply move over Yosh Nijman, who certainly has plenty of experience on the blind side. When combined with his performance there, it makes me wonder if this will indeed become a legitimate competition, rather than just a rare case of an injury replacement.

Luckily, Tech has the next three weeks to really give both guys some burn. Since Dzansi didn't really get to show his stuff at all in live game action, it certainly seems helpful that he'll have a few weeks to do so (barring further injury).

When Dzansi first emerged as a candidate to start at LT, I was struck by just how promising it is for the staff to have such a young guy ready to take over the line's toughest position. If Darrisaw is equal to him or better, that goes double.

I'll leave you today with Khalil Ladler's reminder of exactly what position he is, and a RTer you might recognize.


I feel very good about the Oline. This is a new feeling. Now I just want that to translate into a consistent run game. Unfortunately we were still without that against FSU.

The internet has alerted me to this many time. I wonder what it could be in reference to.

VB born, class of '14

Well he certainly didn't have results so he was left only with excuses. Seems more like prophecy and less like philosophy.

He did have results, BAD ones!

So are Bronco and Willie the same person?

2 time Longwood grad married to a Hokie.

Apparently he gets all of his motivation from Pinterest boards. HokieEnginerd was telling me about his other "philosophies" that were mentioned on r/CFB.

2 time Longwood grad married to a Hokie.

I wonder when someone will blame it on racism. I love the knee-jerk charge of the racisms.


Dude go to sleep. Looks like your too tired to realize you brought up race.


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)..

About an hour and 55 mins ago, give or take

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

What does NASCAR have to do with this?

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Edit this and I'll give you a leg.

I have to say I'm not really sure why this is being downvoted so much. Many FSU fans (even the esteemed Bud Elliott on his podcast) had already been claiming racism was a contributing factor as to why Taggart was on that overrated list put out by cbs a couple weeks ago, so it's not something out of the realm of possibilities. The poster wasn't saying anything that occurred had to do with race but rather that others were likely going to claim it, right? What am I missing?

Bingo! Good Lord, I'm not sure what the hell happened there.
Thank you Steve. Did anyone besides Steve actually read it, or did everyone just see the R-Word and start having a panic attack?

I didn't downvote it myself but frankly I didn't understand what he was trying to say. I'm still not sure that I do. It sure reads like something said in bad taste, and I'm not surprised others felt the same.

I did not downvote. Was going to upvote to help offset, but it's sitting at -69 so...

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)..

In all fairness he did make that tweet back in April...before he lost his first game.

We put the K in Kwality

His Pinterest motivational board still needs work though....

2 time Longwood grad married to a Hokie.

The Ladler part really did bother me during the broadcast. More than it should have probably. Glad that should (hopefully) be cleared up for future games.

Also, just another great article Alex. Joe really wasn't bluffing about the stellar content rolling out once the season started. We're a far cry from mayonnaise debates

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

What did they say about Ladler during the broadcast? I must have missed it.

Kept calling him backer over and over

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

Ah, ok thanks. I did miss that.

yea funny how they kept calling ladler a backer but calling woodbey (#20 for FSU) this hybrid freak athlete that can play in the box and cover. im pretty sure bud foster invented the position youre talking about herbie!


#Bapn ain't EZ

Wanna win put boobie in! Let boobie spin coach!

Called him a Linebacker.

Edit: whoops, fell asleep (9 hrs 19 min ago) and forgot to refresh


-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

Surely you arent telling me that we actually have legitimate depth at LT this year... that would be crazy....

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

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

Man, that was teed up...

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

But they're both Freshmen, so it's not layered like it should be. ;^)

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

What the FSU ass whooping confirms is that Bud Foster is a baaaaad man.


Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

The only problem I have with the Trevon Hill situation is that if doesn't like school, he will leave this year for the NFL. I am trying hard not to get excited about next year before enjoying this year.

He is too talented to not go to the draft this year anyway

Recruit Prosim

Ehhhhhh not so fast. Very talented, yes. But unless he is a first-team All-ACC player this year, he doesn't have the production to warrant leaving early.

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

He's a r-Jr, so he could conceivably get his degree this year so that's a consideration. I also think if he has double digit sacks he might leave early, but ultimately it will probably come down to what his draft stock is looking like in December I'd guess.

I think if he's on track to get his degree then he doesn't have an academic problem.

not all academic problems might result in you being off track for your degree?

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Not true he had good production last year and should have better this year. What type of production warrants leaving? Lets not start the needing another year thing. What production did the edmunds have that warranted 1st round. Or settle for that matter to leave 2 years early. He flashes just as good as those guys.

Better-than-Jerod-Evans production, if that tells you anything.

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

It's kind of crazy to think we have TWO legitimate options at LT that are a Fr and rFr without having to constantly flip our long established tackle Nijman back and forth. While I still am hopeful we can develop a line that can be trusted to dominate the run game on a consistent basis, it's great to know we have reliable depth. A large part of our loss to Miami last year was that we didn't have a suitable replacement for Nijman when our OL got banged up. Monday we started a backup LT and C and beat a team who recruits regularly in the top 10 on the road.

I was so impressed with Ladler and hope to see both he and Hunter flourish throughout this season. We have two 4 star recruits battling for an extremely important position in our defense, and by all accounts both are expected to be great. The competition we are seeing all over the two deep is exciting to say the least. This is a situation great teams find themselves in every year. I hope this trend continues.

How well does F$U recruit at home? /s

Excellent article.

"these next three games will be excellent tools for the team to work out the kinks and find its footing for that aforementioned visit from the Fighting Irish."

I'm afraid that this part ignores the Duke game. The Duke game is more important than Notre Dame because it is a conference, road game against a very good team. Duke is a short drive from Blacksburg and tickets are cheap. I've already bought tickets for my son and I. We're going to bring the noise to Durham!

"The Cup is going nowhere MIkey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

This. Cheap tickets, easy drive, good food in Durham and more elbow room to tailgate.

Hokies need to sell out Wallace Wade. I went 2 years ago and we outnumbered the Dukies. Let's send a message to the NC2VT players and make this a "home game"!

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

every game ive been to in NC has been a "home game" but I agree we need to keep that rolling! its huge for recruits to see. we had an AMAZING showing in tally last weekend and I couldn't have been more proud of how the hokies showed up and showed out on the field and in the stands! by the end of the game the hokies side of the field was more than 60% full with only hokies left and man were we loud and proud. I don't think any other school in the county travels as well as we do point blank period, and for the most part these are really travels not a bunch of bandwagon fans that are bama fans living in Tallahassee that think haha dix is a good come back when some one says nick sabans a cheater.

#Bapn ain't EZ

Wanna win put boobie in! Let boobie spin coach!

For fans in Northern VA / DC every game except @FSU is pretty much a home game (in terms of driving distance).

Blacksburg x7 - 270mi (~4h 30m)

@ODU - 195mi
@Duke - 258mi
@UNC - 271mi
@Pitt - 240mi
@FSU - 867mi

The boys and I were looking at tickets for the Duke game, but there are no parking passes for sale anywhere, whats the parking situation there?

They ask you how you are and you just have to say that you're fine when you're not really fine.

It's been easy going, you won't have an issue. I believe I paid $10, plenty of room to tailgate and 10 minute walk to stadium.

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

I teach in North Carolina. In email I got from Duke football offering discounted teacher appreciation tickets read;

Additionally, general parking at all of our home games will be FREE this year!

"The Cup is going nowhere MIkey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Spot on. Duke is the classic trap game. We have 3 relatively easy games. Yes, we have had problems with ECU in the past, but they seem to be beyond their glory days. Duke could be a nooner with a slow start by us. ND also has one in Stanford the same weekend (I believe). We both scrape by undefeated, could definitely get a hard look by Gameday. Hopefully Fuente has the team sharp each of the next 4 games, especially Duke.

1-0, I will take it. Now lets get this trap game out of the way

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


Willie needs to learn that sometimes it's best to keep your opinion to yourself. Own the L, take responsibility that you didn't have your team prepared and move on. Tell your wife that you thought they may have faked injuries, not the media.

1-0 every week

I was surprised that Fowler and Herbie kept calling Ladler a backer and didn't explain Tech's defense better. It is true the whip plays like a backer at times, but that's like saying the Rover is a LB as well which the announcers constantly did with Jarrett in 2014 at OSU. Ladler should just keep ballin and don't worry about it as the ESPN guys constantly have these sorts of basic misses. He played phenoms and is clearly a difference maker on the D. I loved his hustle, intellect in the screen game and emotion on the field. He has a chance to become a fan favorite and a tremendous player.

To be fair, the whip has been a pure linebacker in our scheme for decades, and Herbie has covered us countless times where that's been true. Even in recent years as it's become a hybrid, we were still calling it nickel or nickel-whip, it's only in the last year or two that whip has referred to more of a slot, cover guy.

Also, if you're an announcer, you're communicating for a TV audience that may or may not know what a linebacker is, much less a whip. If Andy Bitter used the wrong term in a column intended primarily for VT fans, that would be a mistake. But I won't criticize a national broadcast for using the more commonly understood term.

"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

To be fair, the whip has been a pure linebacker in our scheme for decades, and Herbie has covered us countless times where that's been true. Even in recent years as it's become a hybrid

???? Cody Grimm was an AA safety, but played Whip

Grimm made AA listed as a linebacker. He didn't play safety until the pros.

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

We don't love dem Hoos.

I really don't know how Andy (and I'm sure many other sane folks) do twitter. Clicked on the link and fell into a hole of FSU and Tech fans arguing on his feed. Wanted to break my phone in half and flush it down the toilet.

Anyways...Ladler played his ass off, as did the rest of the DBs. Everyone is so fast and were looking to knock someone's block off. I like.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

I stay as far away from any college football fandoms on Twitter as I can. Just read the tweets from the reporters and move on.

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

Right? These kids are FAST! We played receivers up close to the line, and played mostly single coverage. Didn't give up much in spite of that. Seldom did I see a safety playing deep to pick up gaps in coverage. That's some good lunch pail defense. No touchdown passes completed for F$U! Let's keep that streak going. Bill and Mary for two field goals...just so everyone sees they scored more than FSU.


We played a lot of cover 0. It was only when we brought 3 and dropped 8 into coverage that there was safety help.

Posted this in another thread, interesting wrap-up from the other sideline:

Not sure how you can improve on 5 🌟 talent. Someone needs to notify these guys that there is no such thing as a 6 🌟 player. #SaltyMuch

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

Not sure how you can improve on 5 🌟 talent.

Recruit smarter for your system instead of trying to be a factory.
Stars mean very little...see loluva.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

I figured this joke might fall flat because someone would take the statement literally.

I guess what I was saying was, is that they felt they lost because of a lack of talent, lack they needed to recruit better. I agree they can recruit people to fit the system, but the athleticism was on the field the coaching/preparation, not so much.

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

Bingo. Sure, recruit for your system and transition into it over 1-2 years, but there is no excuse for FSU's new staff not being able to tailor their system to make use of the talent they currently have.

Exactly the point I was making!

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

Maybe recruit 5 star coaches?

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


Well played sir, you get a leg!

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

They hit on, at least in a joking manner, what was the biggest key of the game. They got whipped in field position. Their offense was rendered one dimensional and useless when they were getting pinned back time and time again throughout the second half, to the point where they probably would have been better served to let us score on one of those series so they could have at least had some room to operate on offense. The fact they kept getting pinned inside the 10 just kinda took the game from them, and really allowed us to sleepwalk through the second half on offense.

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

Field position was a huge factor. The Noles broke off multiple big plays when they weren't getting stuffed for no gain, but with the long field our D had room to absorb the hit and recover. That 85 yard run by Akers is a TD if they're running from their 20 instead of their 6.

I saw this video and commented about it too. These guys are such homers. We faked injuries "75 times"? Really? This was right after the game too; these guys didn't have any time to actually see and make a realistic determination for themselves. Bitter talked about how it was dangerous for the media (and coaches) to be making blanket statements like this about injuries when you have no idea whether it was real or not.

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

I love how they bring up us beating OSU in 2014 and how they went on to win the national championship as a bargaining chip for hope. FSU looked bad. OSU looked competent in that 2014 game. There's no way in hell they are going to be in a position to challenge Clemson for the ACC let alone make it to the national championship

FSU is closer to a .500 team than one who will contend for the Atlantic. Wouldn't be surprised if they lose 3 to NCSU, BC, Miami and Wake on top of the guaranteed loss to Clemson.

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

Exactly. And it would make my heart grow 3 sizes if Miami continues their slide as well and the Miami - FSU matchup ends up being a 12:30 game on the ACC network

*ducks* I actually like it when Miami does well. Makes our games against them have a lot more weight to it and garners us national attention. As long as we beat the crap out of them I have no problem with them doing well. Same will go for FSU this year. I want people to look back on this game as us whooping one of the top teams in the nation on their home field.

I definitely understand what you're saying. I was at the rain game in 2010 when we stomped them after the week ESPN was hyping them up and they came into Lane ranked. It was a glorious sight to behold and one of the most fun games I have ever been to. That being said, I think they got enough hype last year and i just hate that damn chain...

I'm still waiting for some hero out there to recover a turnover against them and run over to their sideline and steal the chain. I'd re-watch footage of that everyday, three times a day for the rest of my life.

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

Agreed. Miami is our biggest legitimate rival - the only one we can beat and gain any credibility when they are playing well. For me, I think this comes from the fact that I was a student 2000-2005, and when we were in the Big East there was nobody in the conference except for Miami. We could hang our hat on that game if we won it. Now, we have to beat the best team in the Atlantic division if we want any respect, but if Miami is good, they tend to be really good and it counts for us.

I really want them to finally miss a bowl game. So that everyone can stop with the longest "recognized" BS. And we can have the longest bowl streak.

I legged you, but truth be told, I hope you're wrong. I hope they fire up and kick butt all year, showing how significant our victory was.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I either want them to be really good (but not good enough that we face them in the ACCCG) or enough of a dumpster fire that they miss a bowl.

I know it really sucks the NCAA screwed up and allowed them to go to a bowl game last year when they weren't elligible. But this is a world in which the NCAA can't enforce it's own rules. We just have to deal with it.

Fuck both of those assholes.

Prayers up for 94

Yea fuck em.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I said the same exact thing the first time I watched the video during that part. Bush league antics.

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

👋 Ooooooooh and ooooooone! 👋
👋 Ooooooooh and ooooooone! 👋

I'm surprised Herbie hasn't caught the backlask of injury-gate. This is a non-issue if he doesn't bring it up on air. But he started this, allowing the media and fans to run with it.

At the time I thought it was a crap comment, given a football player died a few months ago. And after Bitter and others have debunked the mystery, he needs to admit he has not business calling out 19 year kids for "faking injuries" when its the first game of the year and its 80+ degrees and humid. He should have at least balanced that comment with calling out the FSU fans for booing the 2 guys after an inadvertent helmet to helmet.

I guess ESPN didn't have anything else prepared when they had to scrap all of their Willie Taggert era is here / FSU is back material. But his comments are approaching Fedora-esque - have some sense of the culture around you. #ESPNSucks

Anybody watch the Falcons v. Eagles game last night and notice the Falcons had 6 injury stoppages during the game? Yet somehow the announcers, coaches, and media managed not to blow it all way out of proportion though.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi. 2014 considered old now??

I'm a firm believer that it's time to move on....with one last parting shot.


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

well, he certainly does travel. He moved across the country twice in 2 years!

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 may need to work on the "have brain" portion