Slept On It: Tech's 22-19 Comeback Win Masks Flat Performance in Chapel Hill

Reflecting on a huge come-from-behind road win filled with a lot of subpar football after a short night's rest.

[Virginia Tech Athletics \ Dave Knachel ]

52 minutes of frustration bookended by 8 minutes of excitement. That was Virginia Tech's Saturday night.

Against a 1-3 North Carolina team that has been a shell of its former self in recent years, the Hokies struggled all evening long to assert themselves as the alpha. The Tech offense sputtered drive-after-drive, while the Carolina offense steadily gained momentum before consistently pushing the ball deep into Virginia Tech territory.

The Hokies' saving grace was ultimately the same unit that struggled to contain a surprisingly pesky Tar Heel offense. Gashed on the ground by tailback Michael Carter and carved up through the air by half the population of North Carolina, the Hokies defense clamped down when it mattered most. The Heels had 9 drives end inside the Virginia Tech 26-yard line, coming away with only 1 touchdown and 4 field goals. UNC went 5-7 in the red zone, including a game altering Carter fumble into the Tech endzone with 6:13 to play. Leading 19-14 and looking to put the game away, the ball was punched free from Carter's grip, flying into the air before being corralled by Tech DB Jovonn Quillen on the Hokies' 2-yard line.

From there, an underperforming Hokies offense improbably marched 98 yards on 18 plays to score a game winning touchdown in the waning seconds and escape Chapel Hill with a victory.

It wasn't one of the most enjoyable viewing experiences for Tech fans — at least not until the final minutes. The offense had the feel of a freshly neutered pup, visibly oozing confusion, frustration and shame. Aside from a Quincy Patterson cameo, a leaping Eric Kumah grab and a Sean Savoy stiff arm, there was little electricity through the middle of the game. Oh, and each of those plays happened on the same 3rd Quarter scoring drive. The play calling felt stale, as few plays took the Carolina defense by surprise. Damon Hazelton was kept in check until Tech's final drive, though not for a lack of trying by Ryan Willis. The Tech signal caller regularly forced the ball in Hazelton's direction, often trying to make something out of nothing despite obvious warning signs.

Yet somehow the Hokies were able to cobble together an 18-play drive from their own doorstep with the game on the line. It was unbelievable, and I mean that in a completely literal and un-hyperbolic way.

On 2nd and 9 from the VT 3-yard line, Willis (finally) connected with Hazleton along the sideline for a 29-yard gain and some much needed breathing room. On a critical 4th and 9 at the Carolina 40, Willis successfully evaded the Tar Heel pass rush, found daylight and moved the sticks with a ballsy 12-yard run. And after another Willis conversion to the UNC 1-yard line, the Hokies offense was able to exorcise their demons from a week earlier. On 1st and Goal, Willis flipped a pass to a streaking Dalton Keene, who turned the corner and sauntered into the endzone for a go-ahead touchdown.

Reflecting on his offense's game winning scoring drive, Justin Fuente noted:

"Well, I think it's just a great example of just sticking with it. I think they were disappointed they weren't playing any better, but they weren't frustrated and to me there's a big difference. They just kept plugging away, and to find a way, we felt like we had some things we could do, we just weren't doing them very well."

The transfer from Kansas threw two picks on the night, the second of which was a brutal overthrow of an open Chris Cunningham deep in North Carolina territory. He regularly stared down Hazelton, his favorite target, despite little chance of success. And he made some questionable decisions with the football, looking more like the odd and aloof gunslinger that his teammates have alluded to in the past. It wasn't Willis' brightest day in orange and maroon, but you've got to give the guy credit: When it mattered most, he figured out a way to keep his team in it and ultimately come away victorious.

Defensively, the Hokies continued to look like the least fearsome Lunch Pail D Blacksburg has seen in decades. The Heels utilized a series of chunk plays to put themselves into scoring position, including rushes of 49 and 40 yards and completions of 80 and 43 yards. Michael Carter ran for a career high 165 yards on 18 carries, leading a Carolina run game whose 235 yards easily bested Tech's previous opponents.

The Hokies struggled to beat a North Carolina team led down the stretch by their third string quarterback. Nathan Elliott, who Head Coach Larry Fedora praised postgame for his team-first attitude, easily looked like the least talented signal caller Tech has faced this season. That didn't stop him from going 11-15 for 147 yards and a touchdown.

It was a truly frustrating game to watch. Tech was repeatedly carved up by the Heels, only to tighten up with their backs against the wall. Despite surrendering 522 yards and 7.15 yards per play — by far the Heels' best performance of the season — the Hokies defense limited Carolina to just 19 points.

Through six games, Tech sports the #17 red zone defense in the country, allowing a score (touchdown or field goal) on 72.73% of chances. Their 40.91% touchdown conversion percentage is good enough for 8th, nationally. So while Tech continues to rank historically low in Total Defense (#95), they're figuring out ways to keep themselves in the game.

It's an interesting set of stats, when viewed through the prism of a young defensive unit. Their lack of experience and time playing together has led to a mind numbing number of breakdowns and big plays. But many of those big plays have been chased down by guys like Khalil Ladler, Reggie Floyd and Bryce Watts. And those same drives, as well as the more conventional variety, have been stymied in the red zone. It shows that, despite the fact that they're still finding their sea legs, this defense has a ton of pride. They may be making mistakes, but they're unwilling to completely fold. This may not be a traditionally fearsome Lunch Pail Defense, but they shown that they possess the important character traits of one.

The fanbase has been regularly reminded over the past week that most level headed Hokies tempered their expectations coming into this season. Outside of the season's first two weeks, there has been little evidence to suggest otherwise. Yet here Tech stands, 3-0 in the ACC and atop the Coastal Division. 3-0 despite zero conference games in Lane Stadium. From here, the level of difficulty ratchets up a few notches, eased only by the comforting realization that 4 out of 5 remaining games are at home.

For the second straight week, I'm struggling to determine what the Hokies' performance means for this team moving forward. Traditionally, wins like these are the type that inspire. The way in which the defense forced a turnover in their own end zone, followed by the offense's methodical game winning drive, is typically enough to overshadow an otherwise flat performance. But I've seen too much Hokie football this season to know that it was unlikely to be some defining moment.

After Tech's much needed bye week, the defense will still be young, inexperienced, and prone to giving up big plays. But they're a gritty, athletic group, with a few dudes unafraid to lay the boom when the moment presents itself. Just ask Cade Fortin. The offense is talented but lacking the ever important ruthlessness that often separates the champions from the also-rans.

Could that change as the season goes on? Maybe. Or maybe this team continues to embrace who they are and figures out ways to take care of business despite the adversity they'll surely face. They figured it out in Chapel Hill. No reason why they can't do it again at home.

Comments

Be interesting to see how all this plays out. I hope VT can pull 3 wins out of the rest of the schedule. Bud and his players better get some Grit ! Fuente better let Willis play some ball. H backs & TEs should be used more, IMO. And Vice might want to use that Grit Bowl for his boys, 69 could use some.

Jack R.

I firmly believe that it is Willis holding Fuente back and not the other way around. I'm not saying HH or QP would automatically be any better, just that we need Willis to improve.

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 agree, Willis does not read the defense well once the ball is snapped. He hasn't figured out the RPO and makes the right read less than half the time. He looks like a one-read QB right now but doesn't diagnose the one read as quickly as Jerod Evans. When his read is able to break open he has all the arm talent to get the ball where it needs to go. I would like the French take to help me determine if CornFu has whittled back the playbook for Willis.

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

I said this after Willis came in for JJ. The offense looks like the one we ran with Evans. One read, and that read is Hazelton.

When his read is able to break open he has all the arm talent to get the ball where it needs to go.

And yet I think UNC showed us clearly why he was the backup coming in. Even when his read was open and he identified it, he missed quite a few throws. He deserves all the credit that's due him for the game winning drive, but if his first performance had been similar to UNC vs Duke, we would've all been making other plans for bowl season rather than dreaming of an upset against ND. All we can do is hope Duke Willis comes to play more often than UNC Willis down the stretch.

I've written this elsewhere, but after watching Willis in 2 games now I think that his main issue is mental toughness. He's clearly got a ton of talent when it comes to passing and is surprisingly (dare I say...sneaky) quick and elusive when he wants to be, but as soon as something goes wrong all of that goes out the window.

After his first interception on Saturday he started really trying to force things to happen without really trusting his teammates to help him out, and then those issues just started building on themselves - that's where he starts to walk to the sideline and isolate himself, starts overthinking things (probably along the lines of "Ok, how do I carry this myself now"), and because of that starts to tense up and pull passes or make bad decisions. Maybe it's something he's carried with him from his time at Kansas, but I think that's the main thing he'll have to overcome down the stretch.

The thing that makes a great QB (or player in general, but specifically a QB) is the ability to focus on the big picture even when it looks like things are falling apart. If the QB plays with confidence that he and the team can still make something happen together, that confidence can radiate to the rest of the team and steady them. If the QB isolates himself and starts yelling at players because they messed up on his play call, the team mentality starts to break down all together and all of a sudden you've got a bunch of individuals on the field trying to save the game themselves while ignoring how their role fits into the big picture.

So he just needs to tell his o-line something Brewer-esque, such as "as long as you guys will keep blocking, then I'll keep on getting up!"

EDIT: I misinterpreted what I think OP was saying and fired off an angry post. Sorry to OP and others.

Can you copy/paste this and reply to Jack Crow too?

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

Nothing in that statement implies that they know more than Fu or Corny. Willis can be the best option and still have the limitations described.

You are right. I misread what he said.

Don't wanna use TOO much Grit Bowl, though....

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

The play calling was questionable for most of the game. Plays we seemed inept to execute with the o-line we currently have. Also, Willlis ignored most of the receiving Corp and tried to force passes to Hazelton. He's a great receiver, but when triple-teamed, GO TO SOMEONE ELSE. Willis needs to use his progression, not stare down Hazelton. This was a frustration most of the night.

After three games, I'm pretty well convinced what most people are complaining about as bad play calls are actually Willis making bad reads and hamstringing what Corn can actually call. The RPO is basically gone, and the only reason the zone read is working at the moment is because opposing defenses still refuse to respect Willis as a run threat. That's going to change in the next couple of games, and I don't trust Willis to make the right read once defenses starting cueing on him.

It's no coincidence that the criticism of the play calling got a lot louder after JJ went down.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

It's no coincidence that the criticism of the play calling got a lot louder after JJ went down.

I don't think this is true? the majority of the criticism of Jackson was the same. made the wrong reads, tried to force the ball to the wrong WRs. didn't have the ability to run the football effectively.

all the criticism of willis "RPO and zone read being ineffective" is completely misguided. he isn't always making the right read no but he is a lot more effective than Jackson was, Jackson almost NEVER kept even when he should have. I think Jackson "looks" more effective especially in short yardage situations but our eyes are playing tricks on us because willis has been pretty effective too.

rushing stats.....
--------------attempts yards avg. long TDs
Ryan Willis ---- 40 ------ 146-- 3.7- 33-- 2
Josh Jackson --20 ------- 61-- 3.1 - 24 -- 1

#Bapn ain't EZ

Wanna win put boobie in! Let boobie spin coach!

Its obvious to me that more people are complaining about the actual play calls from the coach than they were when Jackson was in. It really seems like a lot of "fans" have some vendetta against JJ. When a play didn't work with JJ running the offense these loud "fans" blamed it on him. Now that Willis is playing the tune is different. When a play breaks down its because the idiot coaches can't call the right play for the personnel.

It's interesting to me how much more leeway the backup qb gets. It's a pretty clear example of how you can create a narrative based on who you like (or who you want to be good). A lot of these "fans" were super quick to criticize JJ for any shortcoming but the instant Willis messes up its suddenly the coaches fault? Because it's inconvenient to blame the qb those same "fans" have been pining for since they believe JJ is the anti-Christ. If the backup is actually worse than the starter then those "fans" aren't justified in their strong opinions against JJ.

So yeah, I do recognize that there is more vocal dissatisfaction with the actual play calls for Willis. Because complaining about Willis would undermine the argument that he's better than JJ.

JJ clearly started for a reason. These coaches are paid to make those decisions and I believe they are right. JJ is the better option. He has flaws, of course, but so does Willis. And the coaches believed JJ gave this team the best shot to win. Based on what I've seen I tend to agree.

That said, I really hope one of them, or HH or QP, can grow into a real threat at the position. Because, frankly, neither JJ nor Willis are currently good enough to get this team to where a lot of us want it to be.

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

ahhh I see what youre saying. I misunderstood. sorry. I agree with that assessment. instead of blaming the player now they are blaming the play call. for the record im not a hater of either. im a supporter of whoever the hokies QB is. even tua tagovailoa makes mistakes and has short comings.

#Bapn ain't EZ

Wanna win put boobie in! Let boobie spin coach!

At this point, I see JJ and Willis as basically interchangeable. They're both going to leave yards and points on the field, JJ by being too timid, Willis by making bad reads and forcing bad throws. Both are good passers and seem to be capable QBs. We aren't going to get the efficient offense we want with either of them. Switching between them is basically just switching between two different forms of frustration.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

Yeah, basically.

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Where is the evidence of solid play calling though? It seems our only competent offense was when we had true studs that could make something out of nothing in Ford, Bucky, and if the play broke down just have Jerod Evans bulldoze his way to a first down.

I said this in the game thread with no intent on being inflammatory but I don't see how this offense looks particularly better than the Loeffler years. I'm hoping CornFu will prove that wrong.

Let's Go...

we have been told that Fuente's offense is all about multiple plays from the same formation. A lot of time (though not all) that comes from the QB making a read based on defensive alignment. Over and over again, we've seen guys get open and not get targeted. So the assumption is that the QB had a choice about who to throw to and dicked it up. Especially when the bad throw was to his favorite target in triple coverage. Even if the playcall is to go to Hazelton, the QB needs to abandon that if he's blanketed.

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 know how you know that's playcalling vs execution.

Looks a lot like execution when the ball is being forced to a guy that's triple covered.

Not gonna lie, I threw in the towel and went to bed early. Was pleasantly surprised when I checked the box score the next day. I think we may go bowling this year...

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

KCCO

Could you go to bed early--say, around 7:30pm--on 25 October?

Thanks in advance.

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

I can all but guarantee it as I have to be up for work at 0500 the next day. Adulting isn't easy...

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

KCCO

I turned to the WVU - Iowa State game. Iowa State played exactly like I wanted to see the Hokies play. Their defense is tough and disciplined, always in the right place, great pass defense, hard hitting. Their offense was fun to watch -- balanced, hard-working, just talented enough to make the play calls work. There did not appear to be any exceptional athletes or five-star talent, but they played hard, they stuck together, and they got results. I just wish that team was wearing orange and maroon.

...the feel of a freshly neutered pup, visibly oozing confusion, frustration and shame.

This was Pierson's description of the offense, but I felt it suited the defense just as well. And UNC outplayed us on special teams. A really, really bad UNC team outplayed us in all three phases of the game. It's a good time to have a bye week, so I won't feel guilty watching other teams while the Hokies play.

"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

Hopefully time will correct this with stern coaching, and if necessary, new recruits. The scheme may be new, but football fundamentals should not be.

This offense is talented, but I feel like the play calling and in-game adjustments were at best questionable yet again. Our run game was literally pound it up the gut and hope it works better next time. Also, if this offense is truly based on "take what the defense gives you", that doesn't explain repeatedly trying to force the ball into double coverage. I understand Hazelton is our best receiver, but we've learned our other options can be productive.

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

Forcing the football into double or triple coverage isn't a "take what the defense gives you" play, that's an execution issue and a terrible decision by Willis.

Which unfortunately happened again and again on Saturday night.

curious on the number of plays that were "forced" -as in; said double and sometimes (blech! I saw it more than once) triple coverage... remove any that somehow were completed, but the amount of those miscues seems high in-relation to the number of passes or even total offensive plays

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

I should have been paying attention earlier in the game, but when we were pounding it later on it looked like it was against 6 men in the box. Seemed more like our line was just getting whipped by their front 4.

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

From an eye untrained to the nuances of line play, it appeared the OL has a very bad night.

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

Agree, even on the game winning drive I saw a few linemen getting knocked on their butt...Having said that..the majority of the sacks that Willis took were his fault..he's holding the ball entirely too long...

I said that so many times Saturday night. When struggling to read your progressions meets a lack of an internal clock telling you to get rid of the ball...

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

I still feel like JJ was worse about taking sacks.

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

I feel like we're debating degrees of bad

Ahhh, sounds like the old Glennon Statue Play! Although somehow we managed to ride this play all the way to an ACC championship, so maybe we're on to something.

You choose a picture from that damn game?!?! There had to have been plenty of pictures of Glennon getting sacked and you choose the Fuck Matt Ryan Game? Now I'm having flashbacks of being drenched and heartbroken.

Drenched and Heartbroken. Isn't that the name of your sex tape?

It is, but only because you already took my first choice soaked and shattered.

JJ makes better reads and can see the field, just can't deliver the ball there.
Willis can deliver the ball anywhere in any way, just can't read the defense or see the field.
HH can run it but Fu won't let him and we're saving QP for a surprise handoff one play each of the next 3 games.
What conundrum we have ourselves in

They need to combine their magic rings of Reads, Arm, Legs, and Size to summon Captain Quarterback.

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

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

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

MUST WATCH: If you haven't watched it, there is a 7 episode series from the 2017 Elite-11 on Youtube. Here is episode 1. https://youtu.be/MB1TnJz-Zwk . Great snapshot of QP. He starts as one of the last people to make the initial 25 (at #23 I believe) and works his way up to #11 to make the last group. Trent Dilfer is impressed with his ability to learn and make different reads/progressions. He says he could see him winning the Heisman not necessarily because of his physical attributes (which are amazing) but because of his smarts. He was clearly raw, mostly because of lack of experience, but also because his HS runs a funky offense. Great watch to see what is to come at QB for the Hokies.

Tu-rod did it Mikey! Tu-rod did it!

People complaining about play calling is incredibly frustrating. WIllis repeatedly made stupid decisions on throwing the ball and constantly threw into triple coverage the entire night to DH. When he finally distributed the ball the final drive we got something going.

Regarding running the ball, we did outside zone as well as inside zone (and I want to say some iso-trap plays as well), but it doesn't help when the OL can't get a push on a 4-man rush. And yes we need to continue calling run plays even though they may not work if only to keep the D honest. And I did enjoy calling more QB draws this game - Willis does seem to execute that more effectively than JJ.

You are correct, Willis did not seem to be able to execute at a very high level. I am also still not sold on Corny either. I'm not trying to argue it one way or another just putting my perspective out there on Corn.
I do think for Willis's benefit, if they rolled him out or moved the pocket on passing plays, that may give him more time to see the field and adjust to the defense and possibly even open up a running lane if he wanted to tuck it and run.

Agreed, offensively it comes down to execution. Time after time we've had guys open that were simply missed. Sometimes those runs pop for big plays. I seem to recall Willis running for a TD /s.

Be thankful we are (outside of an ODU loss) right where we thought we'd be.

Now beat the bees!

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

Yes, Willis and the OL overall had a pretty bad night, but I also feel like its a cop out to put the issues solely on them. So Willis is reading a safety wrong and forcing the ball to Hazelton in double coverage? Remove DH's route from the 1 read Willis is asked to make, or remove the read entirely because we all knew the safety was shadowing DH all night. So the OL can't get a push against a stacked box? Mayde attempt the IV, jet sweep, or a screen before late in the 3rd.

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

My thoughts exactly. The QB is responsible for doing the best he can. The coaches are responsible for preparing the team to play, calling the plays, and making in-game adjustments.

"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

Remove DH's route from the 1 read Willis is asked to make, or remove the read entirely because we all knew the safety was shadowing DH all night

That's my point. How do you know DH WAS the 1st read? That's my point. Based on the schemes Fu and company have done in Memphis and the past few years here, I would argue that the scheme isn't the issue but the execution. Willis stared down DH as if it was he was the only WR out there until he reliazed he had Kumah and Savoy open as well.

Which is why I won't be surprised if we go back to J.J. if he's cleared to play before the season ends. Usually 6-8 weeks for a broken leg so the earliest he'd be back is the Pitt game. Latest would be if we make the ACCCG or schedule a game for Dec 1.

That also depends on if they want to try for a medical redshirt, though. If so, I could see him being sat until the bowl game so he doesn't exceed the 4 games played limit.

Fuente was upset about it and the Tech radio guys were pointing out there seemed to be a lot of defense holding going on against our receivers. That probably caused some issues with reads and is why Haze only had two catches late in the game (after the D got tired).

#Let's Go - Hokies

I've been wondering for a while who Ryan Willis looks like and I've finally figured it out. Chloe Grace Moretz.

"Dick to Hyman? DICK TO HYMAN!" - Guy in Lane Stadium crowd when Richard Johnson hit Josh Hyman on reverse pass in 2004.

I don't see it. But then again, it might help to have a picture of RW where he's not in the process of being tased.

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)..

There you have it, ladies and gentelmen. In this day and age, any photographer with a fetish for electrocuting people can become a youtube sensation AND get to look at boobs. What a time to be alive.

But seriously, why are they naked?

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 explains it in the Behind the Scenes video. The ladies were wearing wraps that did not obscure their shoulders and upper arms. He wanted a clean look that clothing would not have provided. #whocanunderstandphotographers?

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

I was thinking one of these two, or a morphed version:

i was just about to post a side and you beat me too it. leg.

“I hope that they’re not going to have big eyes and pee down their legs so to speak,” -- Bud Foster

The correct answer is actually Ben the solider from Always Sunny

This is exactly who I was thinking of.

I think you mean Keith from Scrubs.

stick it in, stick it in, stick it in!

I've always thought that he looked like Jimmy Clausen and I always said that Clausen had a very "punchable" face...but Willis is a hokie so I dont want to punch his face...

Jimmy Clausen had that 'hate at first sight' look on lockdown.

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

More of a "beer bottle over the head" kinda face IMO

Bud/Wiles 2020

I've been wondering for a while who Ryan Willis looks like and I've finally figured it out. Chloe Grace Moretz.

Yeah, I don't make that connection at all.

FOSTERS: Australian for defense

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

Amazing.

"Dick to Hyman? DICK TO HYMAN!" - Guy in Lane Stadium crowd when Richard Johnson hit Josh Hyman on reverse pass in 2004.

I don't see it either, The feathers may have distracted me.

CJF has done a decent job, but I'm wondering more and more where the acclaimed 'offensive guru' and 'quarterback whisperer' came from. The defense is young, but the offense has bodies, and bodies this staff recruited for their system. QB and RB play still don't seem close to ACC caliber.

I think QB development is a multi-year process. Paxton Lynch wasn't great right away, but was solid by year 3. Fuente hasn't had a signal caller for more than one full year at this point. This year, we were supposed to see what JJ had in him, but obviously with him being out of commission, we're back to someone new again.

Understood. I just don't think JJ is the answer. I thought there were a significant number of flaws in his game last year, and wasn't as confident as others in seeing a significant uptick in production. It's his 3rd year in the system and I don't think we got much, if any of one this year, either. QB play while he wasn't hurt, still looked to be the most significant weakness on offense to me, at least.

JJ also wasn't Fuente's recruit. Who knows who the starter would be this season if Jerrod had stuck around.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

I'm sure having a semblance of QB continuity would be helpful. I hope Willis develops more so that we are comfortable having him as a starter next year as well.

Yup

VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804.
Rockin the Bakken.

Player of the game to me is Reggie Floyd. Another hustle play and game saving tackle, in addition to always being the first guy in the secondary to make a tackle on a run play

There was a couple of those this game. Ever since the Pitt game last year, there has been a TON of hustle on busted plays and then the defense does it's best brick wall impression on the next 3 plays. Obviously I hate the big runs and passes, but damn if the defense doesn't see it as a challenge to keep them out of the end zone. It really is amazing to see.

Ladler had a helluva night too. Seemed like he was in on most of the big plays in one way or another.

Oh man, all I remember of Ladler is a few missed arm tackles that led to brutal Carolina gains.

Let's Go...

Ladler kept trying to tackle above the waist and was getting steamrolled.

The game was ugly, defensively were going to continue to see every team pick on our corner because its our biggest flaw. Offensively I feel like this team lacks urgency sometimes and that made this even more agonizing to watch feeling like they were waltzing about as if they were ahead by two or three scores. But a win is a win but that sure felt like a loss.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I'm not saying they can't/won't step up but count me as a little pessimistic about the GT game. Even with the extra time the prospect of bringing this young, undisciplined defense up against the fighting chin balls makes me more than a little worried.

Using /s is for cowards.

I'm right there with you. I'm hoping Bud pulls out some wacky shit like Kyle Fuller lining up over the A gap and jumping the cut block, because I don't know if vanilla is going to cut it this time.

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

Just in the interest of clarity, Kyle Fuller was actually lined up in the GT backfield for most of that game.

"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

Point given. Bud actually turned off the offsides rule in the game settings before kickoff.

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

Bold prediction: Reggie Floyd has 1000 tackles against GT. Dude is fast, can hit, and doesn't seem to miss assignments.

Even with the extra time the prospect of bringing this young, undisciplined defense up against the fighting chin balls makes me more than a little worried.

I think that any other season, having the bye before GT is massively helpful, but for this team I think it hurts us more than it helps us.

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

all

tldr:

I was on the third row for the game and it was the most boring away game I've witnessed. And I've seen us play at Duke multiple times.

I'll say this, two guys who have been underappreciated in this win: Emmanuel Belmar and Tyree Rodgers. Belmar forced the fumble on the opening play that led to Willis' score, and Rodgers forced the 4th quarter fumble that Quillen recovered. Without either of those plays we lose.

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

I was thinking the same thing. Rodgers should get some props for that pop that caused the fumble. That was a game saver for sure.

If Quillen had looked the ball all the way into his gut that would have been 6. Ball took a perfect bounce and Quillen looked up at the offensive guy before securing it and then had to recover after it bounced off him. There was a litany of colorful language at the house when that happened right when we needed it. I'm glad the good guys were able to put a drive together and score...you don't get many chances like that as a DB for an easy scoop and score.

Yeah he was visibly upset about that. I don't know if he could have easily scored or not but he sure could have gotten our offense out past the 2 yard line to start a drive.

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

Whenever I see a defensive player -- any defensive player -- with the ball in his hands in our end zone, I yell, "take a knee!" The most upsetting play in football is a long pass intercepted in the end zone, DB decides to run it out, fumbles, offense keeps possession and improves field position.

If Quillen had fielded the ball cleanly, I would have been yelling for him to take a knee. If he had run it out to the 5 or 10 and fumbled, UNC would have had a fresh set of downs. As it was, he did well to control the ball and end the play.

I love a pick-6 as much as anyone, but when you intercept a pass or pick up a fumble, unless you have a clear view of the end zone, I would rather you just kneel and let the offense take it from there. I just don't trust defensive players carrying the ball.

"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 agree, every defensive player tries to be a hero and get a scoop and score when they are taught to fall on the damn ball. It's maddening.

However, Quillen had that ball fall right into his lap, he just was looking up to score before he secured it.

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

All he had to do was clear Elliott and it was a TD. On that one, no problems with him taking it out of the end zone. HE made the right decision, just didn't look the ball all the way into his hands. If it was a clean scoop, 90% its a TD. At the very least, a clean scoop and he has a higher %chance at TD then our offense did from the 20yd line.

--
"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

I get what you are saying, but that is the safe play. The DBU / Beamerball culture argues against that.

I hadn't been to Keenan Stadium before... How effectively that place stifles energy and fan enthusiasm is amazing, especially for UNC fans. I thought the marching band routine before kickoff actually quieted the place down... worst game experience I've had. Overall though, a Hokie win and Tarheel tears made it a nice evening.

The contrast to Wallace Wade is significant.

To good Friends... good health... and the besting of Hoos.

I attended a game there in 2006 (dated a Tar Hell* at the time) and when the 1st quarter ended and they weren't in the lead, the student section EMPTIED.

*Not a typo.

Another great write up!

I'm rarely the "Give us the backup QB!" guy. But at this point, with the offense being so terribly limited, and with Willis seemingly unable to execute even the most basic of tasks, can you lose by letting HH and/or QP loose? What does Fuente really gain by sticking with Willis for the rest of the season? If HH or QP is the QB of the future, why not let the future begin now?

Is it football season yet?

I guess you could lose the game.

We actually won this weekend.

There's room for improvement with Willis. He's got skills, he just needs better awareness, which is something you'd think he could work on.

I think Fuente is gonna ride out willis until it gets ugly if it does. He probably doesnt want to start just pulling starters willy nilly to give whoever he puts out there the confidence that he trusts them. I've always felt you could wreck a guys confidence by subbing him out too quickly. My thought process is if we get tanked by GT and miami I wouldnt be surprised at all if by then HH or QP make their way into starting role but I dont think fuente wants to burn QPs redshirt just yet so I'd expect HH to get the nod if the offense continues to sputter but not half way through the GT game atleast. The biggest worry to me in regards to the GT game is the offense in the past two years fuente and cornelson have struggled with being efficient like you need to be against a ball and time controlling team and once you fall behind GT its a bitch to get the lead back with a lethargic offense.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

did you just ask if we could lose by benching our backup QB in favor of our third stringer and/or a true freshman while we're the only Coastal team undefeated in ACC play?

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

It's Willis' second game starting. The first game he looked great. This game he looked pretty bad for much of it, but in coachable ways.

He has a bye week to iron out some of the rougher edges.

I'd like a larger sample size before calling for the next backup.

It's Willis' second game starting.

You forgot the ND game. Can't say I blame you though.

Fuente's concern with Willis is him trying to do too much. Coach does not want to see reckless play from any QB. Wants them to execute for sure but stay within their demonstrated capabilities. Trying to do too much can lead to trouble. After this game though I;m not sure what to think. Willis made some tough gutsy plays but also pushed a lot of throws..

#Let's Go - Hokies

Cannon for arm, big strong kid, cares, passionate, plays like a linebacker......
Let's let him learn the position this year under the tutelage of our Qb whisperer.
Hard to be this critical after just a few starts.........

SCHokie

Whereas I think Willis showed why he's the backup and not the starter. Focused on Hazelton way too much, made some questionable decisions, threw two picks, and then this from Andy Bitter after watching a replay of the game:

I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see us going back to J.J. if he's 100% before the season is over.

Also, this:

I wish JJ would try the deep ball more.

JJ rarely even attempted those passes shouldn't be looked at as a good thing. The deep ball was barely a thing last year, and it killed us late in the season because defenses knew it wasn't a threat. The second half of last year, or entire (bad) offense seemed to only consist of dink and dunk passes within 5 yards of the LOS.
Incompletions will happen. if you can avoid the INTs, I'm all for continuing to stretch the field.

That was this year's stats. David Hale has repeatedly posted J.J.'s stats on deep balls last year and I have no desire for digging them up, but they were pretty good as well. And I'd much rather have a QB that takes care of the ball then occasionally goes for a deep ball that he's consistent on making vs. one that seems to be going for home run balls/throwing to triple teamed receivers and the ball getting picked off because of it.

Out of Towner

Oh - Kansas is out of town. that makes sense.

Hey Ryan. Glad to have you.

Will say this:

I'm behind whomever the coaches think will give the team the best chance to win. If that's Ryan, more power to him. If that's J.J., more power to him.

I mean I'm a Redskins fan, I had to root for Rex freakin' Grossman x.x

Ugh, I feel your pain on that. Let me add the names of: Jeff George, Tony Banks, Danny Wuerffel, and Shane Matthews. Just to name a few more

To rub more salt into your deep wounds, how about Heath Shuler and Patrick Ramsey?

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

We don't love dem Hoos.

You want me to stroke out? I remember when they drafted Heath Shuler and I screamed. I was in high school, never played football, and somehow I knew that he was a flop. I thought Ramsey had potential, but Steve Spurrier's offensive philosophy basically ruined him.

There were others who had nice careers after the 'Skins, namely Brad Johnson (Super Bowl winner), Trent Green, Gus Frerrote, and Rich Gannon. The amount of ineptitude just makes me want to punch something

Trading Kendall Fuller for Alex Smith made me want to punch something >.>

I like your point about stretching the field, and I'm not sure that comparing stats against a QB that played against W&M, ODU, and FSU is exactly apples to apples against another QB that played agaist ND, Duke & UNC.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Edit: God, this gif is annoying, but Imma leave it here anyways.

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

Sounds like off-brand Logan Thomas, and he never really got better during his time here. We just got really lucky that David Wilson was here at the same time.

^ Good grief.....is that ever the truth.

Overheard as Duke assistant coaches took elevator down from press box: “Guys, they stopped the run with a three-man front.” - David Teel Tweet 2018

I hope one day, we'll again have a running back stable close to what we had in 2010: Evans, Williams, and Wilson. Wilson competed so hard in Fall Camp, he made it impossible for the coaches to Red Shirt him.

VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804.
Rockin the Bakken.

I can't ignore the facts.

Ryan willis is playing his second season in the ncaa and had a full offseason to learn the offense.

He shouldn't be throwing consistently into triple coverage like that. I don't buy it. I'm giving corny a temporary pass until that cleans up because it doesn't matter what you call if your qb is doing that. Saw it all night.

Good on him for winning it at the end.

Ryan willis is playing his second season in the ncaa

4th year junior...4 spring camps...13 starts.

The sooner we all come to the understanding that this roster is going to produce a roller coaster performance this season, the sooner we can sit back and enjoy the games. Stop it with the play calling and what not. It will be a bumpy ride but the team should get better each week.

"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

This is exactly right. It took me until after the Duke game to realize I was trying to figure out a team that you just can't predict from week to week. We are SO young that right now basically none of the conventional wisdom applies. We are capable of being great and terrible, even in the same game.

Of course, we could have been a really good team in 2018, considering the following potential All-ACC caliber players who could have been playing are not, for one reason or another: Josh Jackson, Tremaine Edmunds, Terrell Edmunds, Tim Settle, Adonis Alexander, Mook Reynolds, Jeremy Webb, Trevon Hill.

We all know about "ifs and buts," but a team with all those guys playing would almost certainly be top-10.

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

Pierson, the title of this post is absolutely perfect

Fixed Fuente's quote to say what he meant.

"Well, I think it's just a great example of just sticking with it it in.

It shows that, despite the fact that they're still finding their sea legs, this defense has a ton of pride. They may be making mistakes, but they're unwilling to completely fold. This may not be a traditionally fearsome Lunch Pail Defense, but they shown that they possess the important character traits of one.

This is perhaps the #1 reason that I continue to have hope for this season, but really mostly about the future. This team fights, and fights in a way that I didn't see in those last year's of Beamer's run when things were pretty low. They are so young, but they want to do better, they are willing and they are trying. It will pay dividends in the end, but just might be a little bit of a rocky road while we get there. Ever the eternal optimist: I refuse to give up on these kids, when it's pretty clear to me they haven't given up on themselves.

But they're a gritty, athletic group, with a few dudes unafraid to lay the boom when the moment presents itself

You rang?

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

We really need to find someone better than Gaines to play DE, he's way too small. We look like we're putting a safety on the D Line.

Tech Triumph.

Dadi Nicolas is on line 1.

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

Corey Moore is at the door.

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

Really?

"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

What team have you been watching this year? Good lord.

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

yeah I know, right? That guy is awful and never contributes /s

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

Gaines has been a beast and is our main disrupter on pass plays. We need someone on the opposite side to step up. THill leaving the program left us in a bad place.

While this shouldn't be downvoted (I upvoted to even it out) your opinion is wrong. House is 6-3 235 lbs. prototypical DE size, though maybe not NFL size. He is quick, however, and on TV he looks bigger and faster than anyone else on either team, even against Notre Dame.

Outside its night time, but inside its LeDay

This time, I want it to seem like we made the most of our Bye Week. we have a tendency to look sluggish after a break. I'd even say losing to odu was worse than jmu or temple, given the circumstances.

Should we jump on git by a few TDs early, I like our chances to finally end the losing streak to the bees.

VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804.
Rockin the Bakken.