Slept On It: Hokies Slide Continues With 31-21 Loss to Boston College

Reflecting on the state of the Virginia Tech football program after another frustrating loss and a poor night's sleep.

[Boston College Athletics \ Frank Selden]

Since what feels like the beginning of time, Virginia Tech football fans knew that they could always lean on the Lunch Pail Defense. Regardless of how limited the offense was or how inconsistent the kicking game might be, Bud Foster's unit could be counted on to keep the Hokies' heads above water regardless of the inevitable adversity they would face.

The defenses were often faced with seasons where they needed to unexpectedly reload — maybe not quite as significantly as 2018, but major turnover has happened in the past. What aided those units was a group of experienced and productive upperclassmen that both steadied the ship and led by example.

That's been nearly impossible this season, given the off-field actions of multiple players Foster & Co. were counting on in 2018. Asking Ricky Walker and Vinny Mihota, Tech's two lone remaining senior defenders, to shepherd this young group along against a crop of suddenly capable conference foes is an impossible request. It's certainly not for a lack of trying on their part.

As the season has worn on, Tech's defensive depth has been rapidly whittled further and further down. Against a physically demanding Boston College offense, Foster was forced to start a true-freshman and a redshirt-freshman at linebacker, slide his stud free safety to whip and utilize a relatively green replacement in his place.

To their credit, Rico Kearny and Dax Hollifield played solid games in the 31-21 loss to the Eagles, finishing with 18 and 10 tackles, respectively. Divine Deablo had a great game despite the position switch, logging 14 tackles, a TFL, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. After getting thoroughly embarrassed on national television 10 days earlier, the defense bounced back and worked their tails off against the Eagles.

Against Georgia Tech, the Hokies defense let their offensive teammates down, killing their early momentum by repeatedly failing to make a stop and get off the field. Saturday afternoon, the offense repaid the slight. Despite a strong performance from the defense over the first 37 minutes, the offense sputtered on the final two drives of the first half and never regained momentum until the waning minutes of the game (after surrendering 21 unanswered points).

Tech's inability to put together a complete performance in all three phases of the game speaks to a larger issue within the program. Everyone is quick to point to the inexperience on defense and the strengths on offense and special teams and assume the defense is often the culprit for the Hokies' 4-4 record. The truth is, the team is flawed throughout.

It can be easy to look at this season as a rebuilding year of sorts. A young and inexperienced defense, injuries across the board, and some bad breaks here and there have presented quite the challenge. But rebuilding years are often filled with evidence of future promise. Just because the team is young and inexperienced doesn't necessarily equate to future success. In order cook up an award-winning program, you need the right ingredients: identity, culture, talent, discipline, mental and physical strength, and a little bit of luck (to name a few). After watching this team play 8 games, are the makings of a championship level program present? Maybe.

For the first time in years, the offense was the unit most fans expected to carry the team. Instead, the season has been characterized by prolonged droughts and drive-killing mistakes. What should fans expect from the offense next season, aside from more questions at quarterback, running back and along the right side of the offensive line?

The defense is without a doubt the least productive I have witnessed from a Bud Foster-led group. Given all of the mistakes, missed tackles and blown assignments, is anyone certain that the struggles are predominately related to inexperience at this stage of the game? Is it reasonable to expect the defense to return to the traditional dominance fans are used to seeing from that side of the ball? Or is this year's performance reflective of a larger talent-related issue that could plague the program for years to come?

You can see the worry on Justin Fuente's face. During the post-game press conference, Fuente read his usual prepared remarks where he thanked the fans for coming out and creating a great atmosphere before lamenting the result against a well-coached team. It was the look on his face and the corresponding body language that caught my attention. That sullen appearance doesn't come through in the transcription. It was the look of a man that didn't completely buy into what he was selling.

As much as fans love to chide coaches for evading questions in their own unique ways or tip-toeing around difficult topics by overwhelming the press with coach speak, it was an unexpectedly candid moment from Fuente. He looked resigned to the fact that the final few games of this season were going to be a grind, and his staff's ability to repeatedly prepare their players would be put to the test.

Fuente the Motivator emerged shortly thereafter. Like a man who has spent some time around Virginia Tech's men's basketball coach, he touched on the growing pains of a young, inexperienced and banged up group asked to repeatedly rise to the occasion. The problem is, as truthful as that sentiment is, the "youth and inexperience" card can only be played for so long. After awhile, it begins to feel like an excuse.

It's been a confidence rattling season for Tech fans. The Lunch Pail Defense no longer feels invincible. Day or night, Lane Stadium is hardly the fortress all wish it still was. Virginia Tech hasn't come close to hitting rock bottom, but there is an air of resignation that I can't quite remember sensing (even in the twilight of Frank Beamer's tenure).

Poor recruiting at the end of the Beamer era appears to be rearing its ugly head. Sure, there were plenty of early and unanticipated departures. But early departures happen regularly across the college football landscape, especially at top flight programs. The difference is that the perennially successful programs build the requisite depth to sustain premature exits. The cold hard truth is Virginia Tech struggled to do so in Beamer's final years, assisting in the current quagmire that is the 2018 season.

Dating back to last season, I've often highlighted the 'moments' that certain players or units have had. Those flashes of brilliance, athleticism or execution have given me hope that, despite all of the struggles and losses, the Hokies will ultimately come out of this as an even stronger program. They've acted as evidence of sorts, justifying my position that the only thing stopping the Hokies from returning to a perennial power was time.

But the way that this season has played out and the way that Tech has found ways to lose has cast those moments in a new, dimmer light. Have I been viewing these "moments" through orange and maroon-tinted glasses, mentally exaggerating these plays into more than they really were? Maybe it was just another moment in a football game that will ultimately disappear in the annals of Virginia Tech football.

That feeling of doubt is what frustrates me most. It makes the highlights harder to savor and the losses harder to stomach. I want everything to have some larger meaning, contributing to this greater mission of shuttling Hokies football back to the promised land.

Truthfully, only time will tell. That instant gratification that we all seek in today's society is a near impossibility in this moment. It would take a monumental reversal for this team to pivot off two home losses to win out at Pitt, at home against Miami and UVa and possibly again during Championship Week. So here I am, resisting the urge (and failing) to write about how this team just needs to put all of those moments together into one complete performance. And then do it again. And again. Or maybe just twice. I would even settle for once, if it means maintaining control of the Commonwealth Cup.

I'm reminded of another home loss to Boston College — yes, I'm going there. Eleven years ago, the Hokies failed to cash in a fourth quarter DJ Parker interception and put the Eagles away. Matt Ryan then rallied a subdued Eagles offense to 14 consecutive points over the final 2:11 to stun the Hokies in Lane. Before the two teams met again in the ACC Championship game five weeks later, the Hokies wore t-shirts with the time 6:01 — the moment in the fourth quarter when Parker picked off Ryan — printed on the front and the phrase, "A minor setback for a major comeback" on the back.

Fuente would be wise to resurrect that 2007 shirt this off-season.

Comments

I have held my tongue over the past few weeks regarding the current state of affairs, but a growing concern of mine is if Fuente has considered Einstein's definition of insanity. As the team continues to produce the same results with minimal (if any) adjustments in philosophy, I would hope that he plans to mix things up significantly this offseason. 10 years ago, it was a general consensus amongst my friends (individuals VERY close to some of the biggest names leading VT football at the time) that Beamer valued loyalty a bit too much amongst his staff. I'm not suggesting that I think it's time to consider a change in personnel. Rather, if that time ever did come, I would hate for the program to be plagued with that same problem under its new head coach.

We just got our ass kicked by a team that runs one thing religiously and will never, for as long as Chinballs is there to chop knees, change. Being committed to his philosophy is not as bad a thing as you may believe.

Disagree that Fuente is not buying what he is selling. He obviously knows he's facing challenges but he also is facing challenges at a P5 program as the HC for the first time. I'm sure the pressure is unlike any he has faced previously as a coach. That doesn't mean he's second guessing himself.

Likewise I don't think this is a question of identity. He clearly wants to get to an offense firing on all cylinders similar to what he built in Memphis. He had the luxury of that program being a dumpster fire when he arrived but still faced criticism feom detractors when he bet the farm on Lynch over more senior QBs. Fans who have gone 2 decades winning are in no mood for a bad season, which is also understandable.

Mostly I think the idea that something larger, deeper is coursing through the veins of this program causing the problems ae are seeing is just plain wrong. Fuente is not wrong, with a somewhat experienced team they set offensive records with Corn calling plays. At Memphis they didn't just succeed they established that programs relevance. And though he was a co-oc there he was still an OC there.

Defensively we simply got hammered with attrition. Edmondi jumping (smartly) to the NFL, so many dismissals absolutely gutted us. When was the last time that the LP has been carried by so many underclassmen? I can't remember a season that this has happened. So I jusy don't buy the larger problems argument yet.

Saying there is a larger problem and that claiming execution is a crutch excuse is just as dismissable as saying those problems are experience related. So it's moot to me.

I said it before but whether you like it or not VT is a long game program. It took Beamer a LONG time to build it and run the table to get a single shot at the big dance. I'm definitely not saying we should need to waiy that long again but a change of coaching staff is not going to accelerate us to get back any more than now. The program needa rebuilding, it needs statement moments along the way and it needs good recruiting. Investing in a chunk of years doing those things is the only way VT gets back. A new coach will just restart the clock.

I certainly think I am in a minority on TKP and that is fine.

It's hard to be patient when you've had an ACCCG appearance two years under your brand new regime. But we the fanbase seem to be developing a myopia and issue of instant gratification that characterizes SEC teams. Patience once defined and rewarded this football program with rising to the NCG after being in the cellar less than 10 years earlier.

It's certainly acceptable to have high expectations for this team, but don't forget that we ought to be a lunch pail fanbase as well. There are days, weeks, months even, when work is tough. We still come back and put in our best, just as our boys are doing on the field.

lunch pail fanbase

Outside its night time, but inside its LeDay

I agree with you 100%. I would also like to add a little more.

Patience is key in these trying times. All anyone really needs to do is look at the history of college football as a whole to see that these types of years happen. FSU won a National Championship four years ago, and they may not win another game this season and finish at 4-8. Notre Dame was 4-8 two years ago and they are the #3 team in the country right now. Michigan was 5-7 four years ago and they are the #4 team in the country right now. My point to this is that teams go through these types of things all the time, including the perennial powerhouse schools. Trust in the process, trust in the coaches, and trust in the team.

"That team is gonna win football games, ok, they've got good players and good schemes and all that kind of stuff, BUT NOT TODAY!!! NOT TODAY!!"
- CJF

To add even more....
Even though there are way too many bowls there are only 10 teams who have made 10 consecutive and 1 of those will drop off this year. K State and Louisville will drop off at 8 and Navy at 6

Bowl Streaks

Florida State (36)
Virginia Tech (25)
Georgia (21)
Oklahoma (19)
LSU (18)
Boise State, Wisconsin (16)
Alabama (14)
Clemson (13)
Oklahoma State (12)
Stanford, Texas A&M (9)
Kansas State, Louisville, Mississippi State, San Diego State, Washington (8)
Arkansas State (7)
Navy, Southern Cal (6)

I agree with this sentiment. I think it is way to hard to tell the signal from the noise during a season like this. Much like day to day trading on the stock market, the results of games that are happening here and now don't necessarily correlate with the direction of our program. Without being an involved in the day to day activities of the team, the average fan has no way to truly know the direction of our team.

Notre Dame was 4-8 just two seasons ago. To outsiders, their program was a dumpster fire and needed to be reset. Yet here we are in 2018 and Notre Dame still has the same coaching staff and is in the CFP top 4. I think in hindsight its clear that their 2016 season was likely just noise while the signal of their program was actually trending upwards.

For my personal well being, I'm going to assume for now that the same is true for our Hokies.

Haha spot on. Just finished reading his book so couldn't help but make the analogy.

I didn't know that Nate Silver had a book out. Thanks for the heads up.

Psst. For those who don't have it, the Kindle version is available for $1.99 on Amazon right now: clicky

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

Nate Silver and that book are dope.

Notre Dame does not have the same coaching staff. Brian Kelly dumped both coordinators that year--the DC during the season and OC after the season. Adding to that, he hired two relatively high profile coordinators in Chip Long and Mike Elko (who has been since poached by Jimbo at A&M). Bud's as good as anyone, so no need to sound the alarm there. There does, however, seem to be a real need to take immediate inventory on offense.

+1. Glad someone else noticed that discrepancy. For any who are interested, BVG ended-up being DC at Louisville and look at how well that is working out for the Cardinals.

Go Hokies!

Your comment about the coaching staff is not accurate. The offensive coordinator AND defensive coordinator were changed after that season (among other changes, as well)

He also brought in the #15 class in 2016 and #10 class in 2017

Not sure what bearing any of this has on VT, unless you're trying to show how drastically different the situations really are...

I have said this before, and I will say this again: the pent up angst and frustration from the twilight of Beamer's career is carrying over to the Fuente era, and that is both unfair and dangerous. People wanted the decline under Beamer to be a blip on the radar, immediately fixed by transition to Fuente. That is a myopic and naive aspiration. Significant problems crept into the program between 2011-2015, well beyond struggling on the field. Cleaning up some of those issues, coupled with some unexpected attrition for more commendable reasons, stacked the deck for a down year. But let me say this as clearly as I can: THE STRUGGLES OF THIS SEASON ARE UNIQUE, AND SHOULD NOT EVOKE THE FRUSTRATION OF BEAMER'S TWILIGHT.

In three seasons, we've gone 10-4, 9-4, and currently 4-4. The success with which we have restocked the QB, WR and OL positions are indicative that we are recruiting to succeed even if we miss out on some of our top targets. The only way this season is prompting anyone to press the panic button is if they're either A.) carrying over some repressed frustration from the end of Beamer's tenure, or B.) simply have no idea how, as VT fans, to react to a truly "lost" season.

As a fanbase, we've become too conditioned to expect an abnormal amount of consistency in our on the field product. You could always count on Beamer's teams to be okay-to-very-good. We might not get that consistency under Fuente. We probably won't. It was an aberration in college football while we had it. But my impression of Fuente is that he has both a lower floor and higher ceiling than Beamer. He should get more than eight games in a bad season before people start to completely lose their shit.

What we need is not a new play caller, a new OC, and definitely not a new head coach. What we need is a QB who can make the reads this system requires (instead of a capable but inherently limited stopgap), and one or two halfbacks who can play with at least the same productivity on a regular basis as Steven Peoples this season. We aren't gonna get those things this year, but that doesn't mean we aren't gonna get those things.

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

100% correct

THE STRUGGLES OF THIS SEASON ARE UNIQUE, AND SHOULD NOT EVOKE THE FRUSTRATION OF BEAMER'S TWILIGHT.

This is a quote that should be repeated ad nauseam.

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

Instead of continuing to run the same zone reads that Willis obviously struggles greatly with and are not his strength if/when he gets the read right, maybe they should play to the backup qbs strengths. The mark of a good coach/coordinator is adapting your system to the personnel you have to maximize success, not trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

CZ

I watched the Pitt/UVA game and the commentators were discussing exactly this with regard to how UVA has adjusted playcalling, not necessarily the full offensive scheme/package, but particularly in-game playcalling and especially during high-stakes or pressure-packed drives to better fit Bryce Perkins skillset and strengths rather than being stubborn in the game plan.

Agreed. Fuente's favorite statement is something along the lines of "You have to do the right things day in and day out to give yourself a chance to succeed. There's no guarantee of success even if you do everything right, but if you don't do those things right, then there is no chance of success at all." He's a long game kinda guy, and that kind of mentality resonates with me personally. I can understand the other folks out there who have a different philosophy and would maybe like to see a little more fire or passion from the HC. But regardless of style, I do believe you can be on the right path without the right W-L record in a given season.

The problem is really that we convincingly beat FSU in the first game of the season and everybody thought FS was very good.
We reset our expectations due to that game.
We shouldn't have done that.

Agree completely. If you look at most of the preseason expectations we are within a game of where most predicted us to be.

Guilty

I agree we are hearing is at every game

youth and inexperience" card can only be played for so long

But 1 week (or 6 weeks) doesn't really change that experience level much, or their age. Like it or not, it still holds true.

I noticed, especially in the Boston College game, we seemed under-sized compared to a lot the BC players. When we practice against ourselves our offense, we look very good against our defense or vice versa but when they play larger opponents everything changes.
Yes, there are exceptions, but as a whole, we got man-handled against GT and BC.

For our offense, we need to be willing to use more misdirection plays to overcome the size disadvantage.

Your eyes were spot on because BC has 14 senior STARTERS on their team. Pretty close to same with Notre Dame. The reason they look bigger is because they are bigger, having spent 4+ years in a regimented college weight training program. Hilgart is doing a good job but it just takes time for these guys to look like the Zach Allen's and Jerry Tillery's of the world.

I agree the offense needs to adjust from the inside zone insanity we have been running but some of it comes down to our QB making the right reads and our WR's willing themselves to catch a football even when being held.

I agree we are hearing is at every game

> youth and inexperience" card can only be played for so long

But 1 week (or 6 weeks) doesn't really change that experience level much, or their age. Like it or not, it still holds true.

It's worth noting that if we want to say that our players have 8 games of experience and shouldn't be considered inexperienced anymore ... all of our opponents' players are 8 games more experienced too. It's not like our freshmen have narrowed the gap on the opponents seniors from 3 years to 2.25 now ... the gap is still 3 years.

Yes... But things like false starts have nothing to do with the other teams' players being x years more experienced. Dropping passes is not related to the experience gap. Muffing punts isn't related to the experience gap. Most of all calling plays that don't work and haven't worked for 8 games is not related to the players at all.

Yes it is. The brain can tie up the body. When the game slows down, there will be fewer stupid mistakes.

"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

we seemed under-sized compared to a lot the BC players

I disagree that we seem undersized, particularly on offense.

The most recognizable (for me at least from who I have seen playing) names on the O-line per Hokie Sports:

Cannon: 6'2, 317
Smith: 6'3, 313
Darrisaw: 6'5, 295
Dzanzi: 6'5, 315
Chung: 6'3, 310
Smith: 6'3, 305
Nijman: 6'7, 315
Jackson: 6'6, 333
Pfaff: 6'5, 315
Hoyt: 6'5, 308

This offensive line is not undersized this year, especially compared to Beamer years. These guys should be road graders and Peoples should have tons of room to run. I'm no offensive genius so I'm not sure what it is, whether it's the scheme, play calling, or execution but one would think we should be gashing defensive fronts for chunk yardage and could conceivably grind out at least some first downs on the ground game. Fuente said this is a spread offense that likes to run. Well, we couldn't do anything in the 3rd quarter against a 4 man front with 5 of those slobknockers to pave the way? We don't need misdirection with that size. With those guys, no matter what their age, this offense should be able to put forth some pancakes and move the chains IMO.

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

I never played on the OL, but from my perspective, our OL do not explode off the line on run plays and create a big push up front. I rarely, if ever see them block with great, low leverage either. Low man wins, even if we were undersized, which we aren't. I am worried that our OL are being coach to perform this upright, passive blocking.

I am old school and when I played lineman for a couple of years in high school (later played tailback and CB) we had to deal with stunts and crosses and blitzes and Too Tall Jones types too, so what they do today I don't get either.

"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. " Rocky B.

I believe, in the past, French has addressed what he sees as ineffective O-Line technique.

Gotcha, thanks

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

For our offense, we need to be willing to use more misdirection plays to overcome the size disadvantage

From the beginning we've heard that Fuente's offense is built around the concept of misdirection getting defenders conditioned to be out of position. Love the concept - worked well for us in previous years (more 2016 than 2017) and I see other teams using it to perfection this year.

For whatever reason, we aren't getting that fully implemented this season. Some games have shown more misdirection than others, but my untrained eye saw very little of it on Saturday. Our o-line does not appear to be good enough (or maybe not appropriately trained) to just line up and run the ball down another team's throat. Yet, we continue to try.

It seems if we want to establish an offensive identity and get the players to execute it flawlessly, we would run misdirection over and over - with appropriate wrinkles to keep teams honest. After watching all of those videos of Fuente's Memphis offense when he was hired, I just don't see us running the same thing at this point.

Anyone with more background than me able to shed light on the variability of the misdirection on a game to game basis and why it feels like we are seeing less of it overall this season? I feel like we have the receivers and TE's, so is it a QB issue, blocking abilities of the o-line, running backs?

If Willis can't execute read option would that take away some of the misdirection. All of the runs with QP seemed more effective running against the same D.

I look forward to French's take on this. His in game tweets make it sound like it's 50/50 for the correct read.

Excellent article, Pierson. Honestly, something like this should be TKP Players Club only content - excellent.

I've said it for a while now: our offense lacks the firepower and the aggressive yet accurate play-calling, to carry the team in the event the defense is under-performing. I would be interested to see the compiled 2nd half offensive stats for the team under Fuente - as I too question our ability to make adjustments at halftime.

Here's another takeaway:

Since 2016, we are 18-0 when we hold our opponent to 24 or less points. If our opponent scores more than 24 points, we are 2-13 in those games, however - as a whole- when our offense scores more than 24 points, we are 16-3.

Ipso-facto: if we are going to allow more than 24 points, we have to go tit-for-tat on offense to win the game. We simply have not done that.

Excellent article, Pierson. Honestly, something like this should be TKP Players Club only content - excellent.

But then no one would see it since we're all canceling our memberships.

/s

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

Honestly, something like this should be TKP Players Club only content - excellent.

As the publisher, I appreciate the kudos. Thank you! I do believe all the front-page content on TKP is worth that cost. I am curious, and feel free to decline to answer, but would had this been TKPC only content, would it have nudged you to join?

It probably wouldn't have, because all he'd have seen would have been:

SLEPT ON IT: HOKIES SLIDE CONTINUES WITH 31-21 LOSS TO BOSTON COLLEGE
By: Pierson Booher on November 5, 2018, 4:47 AM | 57 comments 8 unread

Reflecting on the state of the Virginia Tech football program after another frustrating loss and a poor night's sleep.

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

Happy to answer, Joe! For me personally, I would be nudged to join if there were articles such as these behind a TKPC only tag. I know everyone has different article/reading preferences, but things that are written similar to how Bitter (or Kyle Tucker) write grab my personal attention, are easy for me to relate to, and stoke conversation.

there is an air of resignation that I can't quite remember sensing (even in the twilight of Frank Beamer's tenure).

This right here is exactly what I felt during the game Saturday and I wasn't sure if I had blocked those memories from Beamer's final few years.

Indeed, the level of resignation and apathy amongst the fans, at least this game, is something I have not seen in quite awhile.

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

There were games in 2013 - 2015 that felt worse for me than this. In 2014, our only FBS win in Lane was against UVA. The last two losses have not felt as bad as the 17-13 loss to a Pitt in October 2015 during which we put up like 100 yards of total offense. I have never left Lane feeling worse than that

The fall-off in recruiting during Beamer's last few years has more to do with where we are now than many are saying. I agree that the fan base is frustrated, but we have had 2 really good years following the coaching transition and this was set up to be the down year before the unexpected attrition.

I have seen nothing this year that says that a more experienced Fuente/Foster team won't win a lot of football games. Also, don't think that Foster can't build the guys back up. That's what great coaches do.

For me youth and inexperience is compounded each game it seems. Saturday we had new players all over the defense not only to start the game but during the game because of game ending injuries (maybe the season) for Watts and Belmar (?) but also for several plays, Farley and some other DL's. At one point a beat writer had tweeted out EIGHT of the normal starters were not in the game on defense.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

And those eight "normal" starters comes after losing our actual eight defensive starters from last year. Crazy attrition that even the best teams haven't had to deal with before.

It was the look of a man that didn't completely buy into what he was selling.

Wow. You have to be careful what you say. Not suggesting you become all rah-rah and drink the kool-aid like others, but that's purely conjecture for you and - I dunno maybe it's just me - shouldn't really be in a dire article like this. This adds nothing but to help trolls sharpen the knives.

It was simply my impression of his body language and tone after watching video of the post-game presser. I think that I made it clear this was my opinion and not fact - my apologies if it was taken as the latter.

No worries. I didn't take it as fact, but this kind of conjecture doesn't add anything IMO. Keep doing solid work, Booher.

I get what you're saying, but Slept On It is an editorial feature. Some conjecture is to be expected, and points of contention are always discussed in the comments. The second comment on this article is a strongly worded rebuttal by Fernley.

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

There is a huge gap between the physicality and mental mindset of an 18/19 year old and a 21/22 year old. Our team is comprised of the former, while most teams we are playing are comprised of the latter.

The recruiting class for 2015 and 2016 were horrid. We're not seeing that play out.

Think about what would have happened if we hadn't landed Dax this year?

Think about what would have happened if we hadn't landed Dax this year?

She can get it.

Glad to see you have awaken from your GT induced coma. I think you may have touched too lightly on a major issue that fans seem to keep overlooking: the 2016 recruiting class. The class was ranked about mid-40s by most services and when combined with early departures we have found that it hasn't distilled down to much. I think we can all agree that 2017 and 2018 classes have been two of our better classes over the past decade, the fan base just needs to wait another season for those seeds to bear fruit and the coaches have to figure out a way to put together a finish to the season.

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

Offense still looks constipated.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

"HokieMacGruber26 makes a poop reference" is a square on my TKP bingo board.

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)..

They're just kids \s

"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

It seems our issue is Half time adjustments- Joe Gibbs was the master of half time adjustments. We come out in the third quarter, and the opposing team has an answer for our scheme. We have no answers for theirs. I completely agree that we are young on defense, and our execution has been sub par. I do think the defense played tough and with heart during the BC game. We got better this week, but the outcome was still not what we wanted. We have attrition on defense, and we are certainly lacking the players of the past.
Conversely, we are not that young on offense, and haven't had the attrition minus jj. our adjustments on offense are lacking, and we shoot ourselves in the foot regularly. I just don't see any changes , and we try to run it in the middle, when it seems we are getting to the edge better and with more success. RW has a good arm, and can make the throws. Offense stalls way too many drives with penalties and dropped/bobbled balls. WE have good WR play, and the QB is getting them the ball. But they run before the catch. I feel like the offense should be better, and more productive given the good line and playmakers .

Agree on offense comments, but hard to judge whether the stalls and mistakes are on RW ability to make the right read and decision or on FuCorn to adjust the play calling. I have a feeling it is RW wanting to play a certain way, FuCorn wanting to call it a different way, and them just not gelling quite yet. RW definitely has the arm talent; he just needs to be able to make the right reads and trust in his coaches to call the right plays. They're not there yet, but I think they can get there. The ability to score in the red zone is much improved this year over the Loeffler years and Fuente's first couple of seasons. When we get inside the 20, I am rather confident we will score a TD. That's a plus.

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"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

And yet 2016 was full of slow starts and excellent halftime adjustments. The difference is in the game experience but folks seeem to be tired of that "excuse".

"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

Bud has spent his time at VT building an absolutely incredible brand of defensive football. He has reloaded the defense year after year and maintained a level of continuity and success that is extremely rare in college football. Even with a few down years here and there, his defenses were still above average, and he maintained the continuity. His defense took a big blow, a perfect storm of attrition that he and Fuente could not have seen coming (not to the this extent anyway). And now the continuity has been lost. He was all set to reload the defense, but too much attrition, and now he has to rebuild.

The question is, can he rebuild it and bring it back to where it has been? How many years does he have/want to have left in him? How many years does Wiles have left? I certainly believe and hope he can, and I have seen some flashes from these younger players, and hopefully French saw more of that against BC.

But the reality is, Bud now faces a very different challenge than ever before. He did it once in the 90's, but with minimal fan pressure at the time. Now he has to do it with maximum fan pressure.

As for the O, Fuente has been building the O, but with a lot of unforeseen turnover at the QB position. The Offense shows flashes. And I don't think it is his system, but I think it is still the QB's not making all the right reads. I don't think the play calling has completely gelled between FuCorn and Willis. They need to find a better middle ground to improve consistency. But they are making some plays.

Unless you can recruit at an elite level for several years running, it is difficult to have everything line up for success at the same time on both sides of the ball. When Fuente was hired and we looked at the roster and the recruiting many of us and probably BudFu as well had 2018-2020 circled as the years where things could line up for us.

I for one, am going to enjoy the ride, despite how frustrating it might be at times. For example, I did not like going for it on 4th down, barely at midfield, with 11 minutes left and down only one touchdown. I also don't like it when the game is on the line, FuCorn seem to think our best chance of success is a jump ball fade route to our receivers. They did that a ton last year and we knew we didn't have a receiver that could make the play. This year, we are making that play consistently, but with the game on the line, is it really the best call. idk. And it is rough when the O goes down and finally gets some life and within one touchdown, but the defense cannot come up with the stop.

But don't forget to enjoy the ride, because the staff and players are without a doubt working hard and they want to win just as bad as we do.

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"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

Does anyone think that the inexperience also makes game planning difficult. It seems like the other team has figured out by half time which of their wrinkles our coaches were able to prepare a young team against and which they were not and exploit the knowledge gap. A week is probably enough time to get all of the first time players caught up on 75% of the other team's looks but not all of them. A more experienced defense probably starts with 50% of this covered and spends the week nailing down another 40-45% leaving only a few gaps rather than starting at 10% and spending a week getting the other 65%.

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

Does anyone think that the inexperience also makes game planning difficult.

This has been my thought as well. Ever since we heard that the defense was practicing different things the first few days of GT prep than they were the last few days, I'm wondering if the inexperienced players on the team just aren't capable of executing the gameplan that the coaches want to install. It also makes me think that this is why we're not seeing so many adjustments at halftime, because the coaches aren't sure that the adjustments they want to try are executable.

This worries me in one context, mainly for the rest of this season, but it also tells me that given an offseason, things should start to look better.

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

I can't blame Saturday's outcome on the defense. They came out strong and played a great first half. Our offense was also pretty good in the first half against a strong BC defense. But our offense seems to complete fall apart in the second half every game and the defense gets tired, injured, etc.

The honeymoon is over for me, the offense (which Fuente was brought in to fix) needs to show improvement to the end of the year. If we break the streaks, I think the hot seat will be lit for next year.

That said, I think BC was the toughest game we had left on the schedule. Pitt is vulnerable, Miami is bak to mediocrity, and UVA showed they are vulnerable.

Go Hokies

Very well written. You articulated my feelings better than I could.

While the lack of offensive success is a concern, my primary concern with Fuente is game management and situational football.

When to go for it on 4th down, when to kick a field goal, when to punt, time out usage.

How we perform coming out of a timeout.

I can add when to accept and defer a penalty to the list.

Play calls in short down situations. The 4th and 1 inch that resulted in a false start and killed the drive was unacceptable. I can accept being in the shotgun on 4th and 1. This was 4th and 1 inch. Qb sneak picks that up 99% of the time. Against ND at the goal line French broke down each of the plays and why they weren't a bad play call just a missed read or missed block. I would argue that in those situations, we shouldn't run 3 consecutive plays that require perfection to get 1 yard. You know when a receiver is absolutely wide open due to busted coverage and all the QB has to do is allow him to catch the ball. He doesn't need to hit him in stride or make the perfect throw, the ball just needs to be catchable. Sometimes in critical situations I feel like Corn tries to make the perfect throw too many times.

These are areas where good coaches make good decisions 75% of the time. Yes that statistic is made up but you get my point. I've gotten to the point where I dont expect him to make good decisions in close games at critical times.