2022 Virginia Tech football season Retrospective

Now that the season is officially over, it's time to take a look back at what went well, what didn't go well, and where we think we can make the biggest strides of improvement going into the Spring practices.

Personally, I liked what I saw defensively the majority of this year. I think our biggest problem there is depth. We get a competent 2 deep that doesn't tire out late in games and I think we'll have some solid foundation to work with next year.

Offensively, we need a ton of work. For a variety of reasons on and off the field that probably will be a few years in the making to resolve.

What say you?

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Comments

I'm not sure I was expecting us to do any better. I'm not sure I expect us to do any better next season, either.

Undo the calamity that is your mammaries

I thought we could beat odu. Throw away the stupidity and we win that game. So realistically could've won 4. I saw improvement in discipline and turnovers in the last two games.

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

I feel like there were signs of progress here and there throughout the season. Enough to be hopeful for next year.

Lots of work to do in filling holes in the roster and in improvement in the guys we already have.

Really proud of the effort and drive of the team through the end of the season. It has to be rough when the wins just aren't coming and the games are ugly but they kept coming out and playing game after game and got a win to end the year. Not the prettiest of seasons, but these guys played hard wearing maroon and orange.

Lots of work to do in filling holes

Without context, this could possibly be the greatest line in TKP history

uva - the taint of the ACC

Pussy Touchdowns would like a word

Amen

Happy the guys were able to end the losing streak before the season ended.

Think we need work on STs. Wish we had a mulligan on the botched FG snap at the ODU game. Hope Peter Moore gets his mojo back. But putting Holloway on PR duty was a solid improvement.

I felt like we should have rushed and attempted to block more punts.

Speaking of Holloway, did we save his redshirt by not playing against UVA?

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

His decision was made after a phone call with longtime Virginia Tech assistant coach Bud Foster. All Foster told him was, "We win. They don't."

It got burned at Liberty in his 5th game.

From a purely selfish standpoint, I didn't enjoy it very much, and I don't think it's going to get better very soon. Hope I'm wrong.

I think the fact that Pry made/let Marve call the defense for the Liberty game is a sign that he is willing to make changes to improve the team. The defense felt mostly solid, but needs more bodies and help from offense. Offense needs to make strides at all levels from coaching down. I hope Pry being more head coach and less defensive coordinator will help push that side in the right direction.

It was always the plan, at least at some point. I think he probably turned over the reigns a bit earlier than he expected when he first hired him.

And I'm glad that it worked out as well as it did, as it should give Pry the confidence to go more hands off on defense this winter and spring in order to focus on the team as a whole. He can always step back in if he deems it necessary, but it looks like we're in good hands defensively going forward.

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Zoom in on one position that is key in the Pry scheme, the Will Linebacker. To my untrained eye, Kelli Lawson made huge strides over the course of the season. He still looked like a freshman at Liberty in many spots. But the flashes were brilliant and give or take he seemed to be in the right spot most of the time. Older guys adjusting to new schemes and young guys learning how to play. That's gotta pay off in the coming years. I remain hopeful. Maybe 5 wins next year.....probably too optimistic.

"Don't go to, go through"

We lost four games by a combined total of 11 points. Take away a fumble, a few penalties and add a couple of first downs and we very well could have been a seven win team this year with a not so good product. I'm thinking 5-7 wins next year is about right. They may not be pretty, but I think it's reasonable.

uva - the taint of the ACC

I agree that Pry giving over Defensive play calling is a sign he's willing to make changes, and that's a huge upgrade over the last staff. Not sure how much Pry's input on O will help since he's a Defensive minded coach. It's got to help his time management abilities etc... though. I've expect Rudolph will have the OL playing much better in a couple years.

I'm hoping we get to hear at least an outline of Pry's thoughts on how we're going to improve the offense in the off-season.

Maybe a couple analysts come in to help meld the Pry/Bowen/Glenn/Rudolph frankenmonster offense we have right now. As others have stated I think the biggest "shake-up" we could possibly have with the current staff is a co-coordinator role for Glenn.

If you feel the leather in your hand let it rip.

Management stuff ,but also just being able to dedicate more attention to "as a D guy when your offense is showing x, y, and z we'll show or run a, b, and c" should help in allowing the offense to grow.

I do agree though that the biggest part is just him focusing on the bigger picture stuff and showing his willingness to change things up even if it is small steps for now is huge. Results are important, but he needs time as much as anyone else to get this thing turned around, so pulling the small victories like that is important to see with the bigger picture in mind.

Saw flashes of competence at every position, consistency at none.

I'm disappointed we played 11 games and we don't have an offensive identity.

I've said it a bunch, but I'm more interested in this offseason than the season that just ended. Pry needs to turn the over the roster, the offensive coaching staff, or both. I'm more than willing to accept that this staff needs another year with personnel that's a better fit. But if you're going to make that argument, you need to go out and get better personnel.

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I think our biggest position of need right now is at QB. We get someone in who can make progressions in the route tree and can find an open receiver, our offense looks a heck of a lot better than it did this year. Second biggest is probably a power back who can absorb hits and get 3 or 4 yards a carry on a reliable basis.

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This x1000. We need to bring in someone at QB. That is probably the biggest problem we have on offense after watching the last few games. Even with some issues schematically to work on and not fully being sold on Bowen right now, a better QB would have us with several more wins this season I'm positive. Way too many stalled drives.

Funny, I disagree. I would put OL, WR, and DL as my top 3. I also think we need some help in the secondary - Strong/Delane will be a strong combo, but it sounds like everyone else is playing out of position there.

At RB, I'm satisfied with King and Thomas. They are in the upper half of ACC RBs (which is fine for now).

I don't feel the need to give up on Wells. I'm not going to be upset if Pry wants to move on, but I don't think Wells is as hopeless as you do. He had zero help from anyone on offense - not only does that make life difficult, but that's gotta destroy his confidence. His stats at Marshall were way better than this. Looking at Wells' 2022 stat line, it's actually really similar to Kenny Pickett's Sophomore year, which leads me to believe that (with proper coaching) he can continue to improve.

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I agree with this. Wells got a lot of criticism and some of it is justified. But a different QB with a swiss cheese line and receivers who can't get open isn't going to fare much better.

But there have been receivers breaking open all season long. Wells just isn't seeing the open man nearly often enough. The slow developing long pass plays are part of the problem (this offense has few "quick hitter" type pass plays), but Wells routinely isn't seeing the open guy and either locks onto one person and eats a sack or too quickly checks down.

The OL needs work but I argue that Wells holding onto the ball too long and taking sacks when he should find the open man or throw it away is making the sacks and OL look even worse.

But there have been receivers breaking open all season long.

They have been open. Yet, I saw more drops this season than I ever have before. He didn't see a lot of receivers. But they didn't necessarily help him when he got the ball to them.

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

His decision was made after a phone call with longtime Virginia Tech assistant coach Bud Foster. All Foster told him was, "We win. They don't."

Oh yeah work needs to be done, but Bowen called those plays, which should have been big plays. If Wells and WRs can't execute then Bowen needs to adjust to call plays they can, however if Wells and WRs improve then there is 3-4 more wins just by hitting those plays. And at 3 more wins everyone is way happier. We beat ODU, GT and NC State and we're bowling. We beat UM and Pry has the largest 4th quarter comeback. All of those games 1 play makes a huge difference. So we do need to get better, but I believe we can get there with Wells and Bowen. We need Oline and WRs to allow Wells to have time to read progressions and maybe teach him some touch passes.

We saw a different QB every year for Fuente, Mike London had a streak will the incumbent lost the job the next year. It's a mess, having multi-year starters at QB helps every. Just switching QBs cause youv think you can get some one better so is new to the system doesn't work out a lot. Joe Burrow took two years at LSU, and that 2nd years was amazing. I don't think Wells is going to go all Joe Burrow on the ACC next year, but we can have a good year if he just progresses in the system.

ust switching QBs cause youv think you can get some one better so is new to the system doesn't work out a lot.

This is exactly how I feel. A QB in year 2 is better than a marginally better year 1 QB. Now if we're upgrading from a Wells to a Tyrod, it's a different story. But I don't see that happening.

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I would prefer that the QB see the open receiver and attempt the throw. If the receiver drops the passes regularly, you know that it's more of a WR problem then having a bad QB problem.

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Yep, I'm right there with you. There were many times where guys would be wide open and Wells never even advanced past his primary read in order to see it. And there were plenty of times where he actually did have time to make that read and that throw and just locked onto the primary target or froze in the pocket waiting for the pressure to come.

I'm not sold on him as a QB. I just don't think he has the intangibles to be a starter at this level and we're only holding ourselves back if we start him for the sake of consistency. We need to bring in someone we can work with and has the skillset we need in our offense, even if that means having another year of growing pains while he gets his feet under him.

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If we have an option to get a top portal guy then I say go for, but it seems like there aren't a ton of Day 1 successes in the portal at QB this year. It is pretty much Caleb Williams (expected since he came with the coaching staff and like half his offense), Todd Centeio at JMU (big anomaly, and G5 schedule), and Bo Nix that are the only studs.

Does a year with a normal offseason (not a full coaching staff install) help? Maybe, I honestly don't know. But not every QB who comes out the portal to a P5 lights it up immediately either.

I need to do some concrete analysis on this but I'm *fine* rolling the dice with Wells. I'm fine going portalling. I'm fine giving it to Farrell if he's ready... but more than anything I want there to be a process in place, and we follow it.

it seems like there aren't a ton of Day 1 successes in the portal at QB this year

Adding on to this... the guys who come in and make a big difference tend to have a lot of talent around them. We don't have that. I like the idea of portling for a QB when most of the other pieces are in place. A marginal upgrade isn't going to do much.

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Bo Nix wasn't today's Bo Nix when he entered the portal either. He was very inconsistent.

I want the guy who wins the job during the spring and fall camp. If that is Wells great, I will support him because the coaches feel whoever they select is the best man for the job. I take their opinion much more seriously than I do mine. They see the field work, the class work, and the weight room work, things that as fans we have limited access to.

I want the best man to win too. But we need competition to push Wells. Unfortunately I don't think it was close at all with him and Brown and the younger guys just weren't ready. We at bare minimum need someone who can push Wells through spring and camp.

Soft disagree. Spring and Fall camp cannot truly duplicate game speed - where decision making is truly tested - and Wells' biggest opportunity for improvement is likely decision-making (followed closely by putting touch on passes). Spring and Fall camp also apparently didn't fully discern that Mansoor Delane should start and that Holloway should return punts. These guys thankfully got the chance to show what they could do, in-game. This gets back to my main complaint that none of the other QBs (except a few plays by Brown - once) got a sniff of in-game reps. Sorry, but if I was coach (God help us) Wells would have sat down after his 2nd (and definitely after his 3rd) INT in the ODU game. Not saying he wouldn't start the very next game, but when a guy is struggling to that degree you gotta go to the next man up at ODU.

Spring and Fall camp also apparently didn't fully discern that Mansoor Delane should start and that Holloway should return punts.

Or more likely, they weren't ready to start/return punts coming out of Fall Camp and continued to develop throughout the season. As you mention, camp doesn't get you game speed reps, which also develop players.

Delane wasn't an early enrollee and was injured for a good part of Fall camp. I personally have zero issues with how he was worked into the lineup given the circumstances.

Spring and Fall camp also apparently didn't fully discern that Mansoor Delane should start and that Holloway should return punts.

If you listened to Pry's pressers, he explained the development of both of these players and why they didn't enter into the depth chart until later in the year. Pry seemed very honest about both situations (as he does about everything in his pressers), but I guess one could interpret his reasonings within the pressers as an excuse for lack of recognition.

Delane entered in the summer and was not a full-go at fall camp due to injury. So, not only was he not fully healthy at the start of the year, he was behind due to a lack of reps. As he got healthy and more reps, it became clear to the coaches he deserved snaps in a game, which lead to him being thrust into the starting role.

Holloway was in a crowded field at punt returner and wide receiver and he did nothing to distinguish himself in camp or early on, except he worked really hard. Over time, punt returners were not having success so they decided to give it to Holloway based on the fact he kept working hard and continued to develop through the year.

In Delane's case, it was a lack of opportunity to evaluate. In Holloway's case, it was a case where he may have been less talented but worked harder than his colleagues and it took some time to get that noticed and he took advantage of a bad GT team. And all these explanations are derived from Pry, so take it with any level of skepticism you feel is warranted.

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Follow up note on Holloway.

The hype on Holloway is a little bit too high. He deserves all the credit for stabilizing the punt return team and doing well against GT, but it's worth noting that he dominated the worst punt team in FBS and did nothing of note against all other teams.

Holloway returned punts in 4 games and his stats are as follows:

NCST: 0 returns for 0 yards (5 fair catches)
GT: 7 returns for 188 yards and 1 TD (0 fair catches) -- All time VT record!!
Duke: 0 returns for 0 yards (2 fair catches)
Liberty: 2 returns for 3 yards (1 fair catch)

Football outsiders rates all special teams units, including an assessment on punting efficiency. They define punt efficiency as follows: "Punt efficiency (PE) is scoring value gained or lost per opponent punt return." Below, I used their rankings and sorted based on PE and captured the last 10 teams. As you can see, GT is the worst in FBS (out of 131 teams) and way worse than any other team in FBS. In fact, GT is more than 4 times worse than the 121st team. (Link to FO's rankings)

All of this to say, Tucker Holloway deserves credit and is in VT record books for his historic day against GT, but I don't think we should be expecting the next Eddie Royal or Andre Davis .

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0 fumbles, we had a TE returning punts a couple years ago. Just not making mistakes I huge upgrade. It is now one less position to worry about. That's huge when you have tons of issues. Just not killing ourselves is growth.

Completely agree. Why I included the statement on him stabilizing the return game and the fair catch stats.

He will probably be more of a Danny Coale returner (sure hands) and less of a DeAngelo Hall returner (crazy athleticism in open field).

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OL would be my top priority. Some of this is recruiting, some is conditioning, and a lot of this is practice. A competent OL gives the QB way more time, opens up more holes for the RB, and both of those things contribute to longer drives and points. If that happens we could stick this year's defense right back out there and come out 8-3 and not 3-8.

I like King and Thomas but I shudder to think of trying to run them up the middle 20 times a game. They aren't built to take that kind of pounding, nor are they the kind of backs who will wear a defense down. They are both home run hitters who will abuse defenses after they've been tenderized a bit, and that's where I think the power back will come in huge for us.

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I mean I don't disagree - 2008 Darren Evans would help this team a lot - But the other issues are just glaring to me, especially OL and WR.

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That Maryland game - the days of yore'

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I dont know what I would prioritize but Oline is hard to ignore, DBs that can play in this scheme is high up there cause we might have 3 right now (Strong, Delane, Stroman)

There are lots of QBs that get better at progressing through recievers as they get better. Just off the top of my head (which didn't get to watch UM, or GT) there were at least 6 wide open TDs that were missed. My hope is another off-season allows Wells and Bowen to get on the same page to make those plays.

The QB is the easiest person to blame when things go wrong, but I am similarly unconvinced. To me he looks like a serviceable middle of the road QB, interchangeable with some of the other guys we've had in the last decade. He's not going to carry the team, but he's also not the problem to my eyes. Yeah sure it'd be better if we had a Heisman candidate QB, but let's be reasonable here. A serviceable running game and better receiver play would make a world of difference and are much more attainable in my eyes. Oh yeah and not having approximately 1000 pre snap penalties a game would really help.

The defense looks "fine" to me but needs depth at pretty much every position. IDK if we need to recruit better or if the oline just needs more West End steaks and weight room time, but I think if we figure that part of the room out a lot of things will magically click in place.

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I tailgated some at the GT game with a buddy of mine and his cousin who is a freshman at VT. She said that West End was "trash". Also, that no one eats there (or really any dining hall) anymore and that everyone Door Dashes their food from the dorm. I was flabbergasted.

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If you play it, they will win.

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That sounds expensive. But I wonder if that's a behavior created/furthered by Covid.

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on top of increased enrollment making "rush hour" a real slog. easier to just order from the dining hall via an app ahead of time

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

That's crazy! First I'm hearing of it. Maybe that's just one kid's experience. But it makes me feel old, thinking of the possibility I'm out of touch with that.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

West End is mostly empty a lot of the time, and half the restaurants are sometimes closed. Some of it (I think) is staffing, sometimes it's availability of products, and some of it is that West End is no longer the premiere dining hall on campus. Turner Place has absorbed a lot of the lunchtime rush with students staying in that side of campus between classes. And the GrubHub to-go ordering is almost all that happens at West End. It's really such a convenience, why not? Ramped up during COVID but it's staying as a mainstay.

Here I am longing for a Shultz cafe sandwich...

Fuck, I'm old now :(

Shultz Cafe? Wish that existed in my time. The food at Shultz in the early 80's was the worst on campus. And the Corps had no choice but to eat there.

VTCC '86 Delta Company, Hokie in Peru, Former Naval Aviator, Former FBISA, Forever married to my VT87 girl. Go VT!

Yeah, I've never found myself longing for Schultz.

Occasionally I find myself wanting veggie nuggets (the battered and fried corn green bean carrot mix things). Schultz was the one place you could reliably get them.

Schultz breakfast was unrivaled though! You could get a Styrofoam clamshell for a flat price, load that baby up with bacon, biscuits, yogurt and whatever you want and take it back to the dorms. I only got a year of that though before they tore it down

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Cleaned up the penalties in the last few games and Marve called plays on defense and it got better. Loved the young kids stepping up in Mansoor and Holloway.

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A bit of a clusterfuck. I expected to get out-talented in games this season, I didn't expect to get out-disciplined and out-coached. I'm glad we ended the season on a win. I didn't leave the season impressed with Pry on-the-field but appreciated the pockets of improvement.

Now the real work begins for this coaching staff. Work the phones every day to bring in kids from the transfer portal. Flip the shit out of high school kids. Dog walk the dead weight on the roster. We need improvement across the board. There are very few guys on this roster that earned a starting role for next year.

Off-season conditioning starts now. This is where Galt earns his salary. Kids need to eat, lift and put on good weight. Tired of the skinny leg bullshit.

I didn't expect to get out-disciplined

Actually, this got cleaned up the last couple of games. We had no penalties against Duke (I think there might have been 1 flag thrown against us that was declined) and only 4 against Liberty (and at least 1 of those was a PI call.)

Cancelling the UVA game (which I have no issue with) probably costs us a couple of practices.

On the field, not too much to be excited about. We won 6 games last year with a San Diego State WR at QB, and somehow win only 3 this year with an easier schedule, most of the starting defense back, and a QB that passed for almost 300 yards a game last year.

Off the field, I like a lot of what Pry is doing. The players seem to really like him. Although honestly, it's kind of disappointing that the staff wasn't able to improve on last year's class which had an entire staff on the hot seat.

Overall, I think the whole coaching staff is very green and they will improve as the players do as well. I do like Pry and hope he is "the guy." Not as excited about the staff as I was at this point ~5 months ago, though.

Our team doesn't live in a vacuum. Our opponents had their own adjustments and improvements. Just as one example, UNC whupped us this year, but we only beat them 17-10 last year.

Although honestly, it's kind of disappointing that the staff wasn't able to improve on last year's class which had an entire staff on the hot seat.

I mean, look at who we lost to the draft/NFL/graduation/portal:

  • Amare Barno
  • Tre Turner
  • James Mitchell
  • Luke Tenuta
  • Lecitus Smith
  • Jermaine Waller
  • Brock Hoffman
  • Raheem Blackshear
  • Jordan Williams
  • Alec Bryant
  • Deshawn Crawford

These aren't all americans, but they were starting ahead of a lot of the 2022 starters.

For what it's worth, I didn't think it would be this bad either, but as the season went on, the talent deficiency became apparent.

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Don't forget Robinson WR - huge loss ( that was last year, right? It all blends together)

Amen. Tayvion is an ACC type WR. We had one of those consistently this year- Smith. Tavion was a huge loss.

All of the departures from last year, especially the ones that had eligibility left, are the reasons why we didn't have a successful year. The offense would have looked remarkably different if we had Robinson, Turner, Mitchell, and Tenuta back.

I know Wells struggled this year, but he has the arm talent and is decent with his legs. I think getting better receivers and OL are the top priority on offense.

Defense is a different story. The biggest issues I think were depth. I think with the offense struggling, the defense was on the field too much this year and that is not good if there isn't enough depth.

Tyrod did it, Mikey!

Didn't Crawford portal before the 21 season?

Worse than I had hoped for, but honestly I had already chalked up this year as a full rebuild and wouldn't count wins and losses until next season.

Looking forward to seeing the progress on both sides of the ball next fall

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I'll see if I can summarize my thoughts:

- went in with low expectations, but not this low
- undisciplined football on both sides of the ball early in the season that eventually got very cleaned up by the end (progress)
- pretty consistent effort and execution on defense throughout the year, but zero depth and inability to catch a breather doomed us in most of our losses
- offense was a mess all season long with the exception of maybe a few quarters where we looked like a P5 program, and the result was minimal points and short drives that impacted the defense directly
- special teams were nothing to remember at all. It started with a botched punt that cost us game #1 and our expectations for the rest of the year were just to get the kick beyond the LOS
- I don't have a single player that I can think of that had a "great"year, and several players that either need to hit the portal or accept they'll be 2nd string

The few positive takeaways are that Pry owned the mistakes and the losses, recognized the fans throughout the season, and continued to instill fight in the team which I think is directly attributed to all of the close games. This is the part that gives me hope. Just need some fresh faces, and other year of conditioning and practice, and maybe a staff change or two and I think we can expect to be at least. .500 team next year.

I don't have a single player that I can think of that had a "great"year, and several players that either need to hit the portal or accept they'll be 2nd string

Delane?

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I think he had a good season. Not great. I know he's a freshman and played well with that context and I think it's reasonable to have lofty expectations as he grows in the position.

Edit: relative to his teammates in the secondary, yeah he had a great year. But relative compared to mediocre to piss poor play (Chatman) doesn't make a great standout season.

Quarterback play has to drastically improve. We had a no presence, one read, torpedo thrower. He'd be a great back-up but he's not starting caliber. IMO of course, that and a dollar will get a cup of coffee at 7-11.

uva - the taint of the ACC

Torpedo thrower. Yes. Excellent

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

Out of all of the Virginia Tech football seasons that I've followed over the years, this was certainly one of them.

I see lots of "qb play needs to be a lot better" and I think that's a bit unfair to Wells. He's not the best QB in the ACC by any stretch of the imagination but he was much more productive at Marshall. He didn't just forget how to quarterback. He just isn't getting any help. From teammates or coaches. I think with better coaches he has a better year.

Here's hoping our coaches are capable of improving. Because, to me, that's the biggest issue. Bowen is far too green to come into the mess we have and be successful. If he can be humble and learn quickly maybe he has a chance. I think we really need a veteran OC. Either that or Bowen better grow up very quickly.

I have no idea what to expect next year. I imagine that the defense will continue to improve. I'm worried the offense won't. I think 2023 could be similarly painful.

Onward and upward

Granted, the OL and WR's didn't do him a lot of favors over the season, but you could see going from Sun Belt to ACC he was over his head. I mean, if he had stayed at Marshall, the likelihood of him being the starter there wasn't the best.

uva - the taint of the ACC

Hate to say it but sunbelt to acc is almost a lateral move. I don't think the competition was that stiff. I just think our offense was poorly constructed around the pieces we have.

Onward and upward

going from Sun Belt C-USA to ACC

FTFY

Marshall joined the sunbelt in 2022 with a bunch of other G5 football schools.

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My thoughts --

Oline got better as the season progressed. Looks like we were able to preserve some valuable redshirts, so that's great. We should be deeper next year.

I still think Wells could have a good future here. He'll need to get better at decision making and accuracy, but he did tone down his interceptions as the season went on. Take away the terrible 4-pick game at ODU, and he throws 5 picks in 10 games. Plus having more experienced receivers should help him out. He wasn't exactly throwing to Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin out there, and with how bad our Oline and run game was most of the time, defenses could rush 4 and drop the rest basically at their leisure.

Our run game was bad, but part of that was not having the best Oline and part of that was King and especially Thomas being injured. Healthy Thomas & King + deeper and more experienced Oline coached by one of the best Oline coaches out there has me more optimistic about season 2.

I think we'll be rawer on defense next year for sure, and losing guys like Dax and Garbutt will hurt a lot. We've got some good young players though who will only get smarter and stronger, and then with some older guys like Tisdale coming back I think we'll have growing pains but will be a good defensive unit next year.

Yea, I totally agree on offense.

Losing Garbutt is really going to hurt. Kinda feels like when we lost Ricky Walker, in the sense that he was really leading and holding that line together, and it was unclear who was going to pick up the reigns when he left.

Time for #PortalSZN

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Hopefully portal season treats us more kindly than this season did lol. Although the portal really hasn't been our friend so far IMO. I'm sure I'm forgetting people, but man who are the best portal players we've gotten? It's late but all I can really think of is Damon Hazelton and Khalil Herbert. Justus Reed was pretty good, along with Raheem Blackshear.

I can think of a LOT that the portal took from us though. Nestor, Hudson, Hooker, Patterson, Hazelton (again lol), Robinson, It hurts to think about. Hopefully this portal season is a lot like the 2020 portal season where we picked up Herbert.

Need to try and bring in some DL help through the portal, and hopefully some of this year's freshmen are ready to break out. Also we do have Payne coming back after he was injured last offseason which will help.

I might be the only one, but I liked what I saw schematically on both sides of the ball. Really liked the offensive game plans for the last few games.

Defense is there, just need the bodies. Easier said then done. Elite Recruiting is the rarest and most important skill for a coaching staff.

Big question marks on this offensive staff's ability to develop personnel. It doesn't take talent to eliminate the mindless mistakes that plagued the team all year long. Expected Rudolph to develop an identity upfront way before now. Concerned that it didn't even look like a Rudolph unit schematically at times.

People always underestimate how long it takes to change an organization's culture. can easily see giving a coach a year to just get the trains running on time.

But it's been a year. Now it's time for Pry to leverage this year of relationship building to go move the needle this offseason

Maybe I am not very good at this --surely I'ma very old (7th decade) still outside ballin' in this...
So, maybe I do not know what went, best. Granted...

Tho' Eye sure as hell know what went, worst...

πŸ’―
b.street

God Bless!

I was very impressed with SCAR versus Tennessee and how Carolina adapted its play calling specifically to that game, or so Herbstreit kept talking about. Using wildcat, putting various playmakers in different positions and situations for them to succeed. I want an OC that can draw up that kind of game plan.

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

His decision was made after a phone call with longtime Virginia Tech assistant coach Bud Foster. All Foster told him was, "We win. They don't."

Lose Big
Lose Small
Win Small <--- we got to here
Win Big

Hopefully next year we pick up where we left off, but I think OL is going to have to make a leap forward in order for the team to not go backwards.

I am not sure what to do with my hands now

ODU, GiT, NC State.

The margin for error this season was razor thin. We'd feel a lot differently at 6-5, instead of 3-8.

Games where the offense failed at life, and the defense hung in there till they couldn't any more: WVU, Miami (weird game, but I'm lumping it here), Duke.

Defense struggled: UNC & Pitt

QB play has to improve. I expect Wells to start next year, but wouldn't be surprised if Ferrell or someone else steals the starting spot later in the season.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

QB play has to improve. I expect Wells to start next year, but wouldn't be surprised if Ferrell or someone else steals the starting spot later in the season.

We saw zero snaps from them this year with a poor playing Wells (who has 3 years game experience). If the scenario you state plays out, that to me is a bad indicator of eval that it takes 15+ games to realize your qb no es bueno

I will ride with Wells, but the only data point we have for the position is 'ride or die' at this moment. Expecting a mid season change next year is just wishing

Or maybe there's hope that we'll be on the giving end of early season beatdowns where we can afford to put the backups in the second half and see how they function in actual game situations.

If I'm scoring year one of the Pry era on a performance review, here's what it looks like based on what I thought was reasonable for this year:

Offense: below expectations
Defense: above expectations
Special Teams: below expectations
Recruiting: meets expectations

In summary, not ideal but there's some reasons for optimism. The next year will tell us a lot.

I'm drunk in Hawaii so forgive me if there's other categories you'd include

I'm drunk in Hawaii

Wish I could say the same! Enjoy!!

From the 2018 VT-uva game-"This is when LEGENDS are made!"

No one's job on the offensive side of the ball should be safe less maybe Thomas and King and (no sources just opinion) if both of them are in Blacksburg next year I'll be kinda surprised

Defensively the year was okay. They've go to learn how to get off the field on 3rd & 5+ especially 3rd & 10+ but I trust Pry and Marve to work on that. Give Mansoor Delane the biggest NIL deal we can muster, not only is he good enough to play anywhere but his brother is going to likely be a 5* and I don't want some asshole SEC school pulling Mansoor away to land his brother

Stu Holt probably needs to go, almost all facets of ST took a step back with the exception of Hollaway at PR

The 24' class needs to be where Pry shows his recruiting chops and we need to take some of those top in state guys, but with UNC actually not sucking completely this year it'll be hard

but with UNC actually not sucking completely this year it'll be hard

UNC always sucks.

didn't they lose to GT?

Sounds like our staff needs to earn their keep with the Delanes

Free Hugh

Absolutely agree. Small encouraging signs about recruiting in the 23 class to help stabilize things, but definitely not where the standard for an average class needs to be moving forward. 24 class is super important and needs to be top-25 with multiple blue chippers at premium positions.

On a smaller level, the message of Pry&Co needs to resonate with the few excellent contributors we have on this roster that have a lot of eligibility remaining. If Delane, Malachi, etc transfer, it's a damning indictment of the trajectory of the program. Absolutely can not afford to hemorrhage the little talent we have on the roster while trying to build depth

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

Between '24 and '25 we need at least 1 blue chip CB if not two. A blue chip DE (cause often there are more of them so easier to get) on defense, and I'd say 1-2 blue chip OLine, 1 QB, and a couple skills position players

Between 24 and 25 we need as many blue chip recruits that fit the vision for the program as possible

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

I like Pry and our defensive staff a lot. Bowen, I'm not sold nor confident. I wonder if we give him another shot, or reassign him and bring in a veteran OC. Lots of rookie play caller mistakes that cost our team - need to take advantage of Wells' arm but that also falls on getting better WRs and TEs.

Favorite play that never was - "Hooker with the dime to Pimp...leton."

I tend to agree. I've been convinced by folks here that Bowen isn't(and shouldn't) going anywhere after 1 year. In terms of culture, support for the staff, and financially its not happening. I hope he grows into the role and we come to love him, but i'm no there yet.

I'd also like to see what he can do with better players, to be blunt. I'm not saying he's the best OC ever, but you also aren't always seeing what the coordinator called on the field. All we see is what happens, not necessarily what was supposed to happen.

To the 2022 season, from VT:

I guess in the end I'm sticking to my preseason contract to give Pry a mulligan year, but goddamn he really tested that. I think the talent gap was real, and that was the single biggest problem. I did also see some things that I felt were totally in the coaching staff's control that weren't done well, and that concerns me. Way too many unforced penalties, questionable play calls, and seemingly "correctable" mistakes. I want another year of data to determine if all of that was a problem with THIS team or the coaching staff, but there were some things I just have a hard time laying entirely on talent.

I'm not sure what my expectations are for next year. Just... improvement? Some sense that we're scrapping our way up to building something, and that there's some light at the end of the tunnel, even if it ultimately takes a few years to get to where we want to be.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

I want to see what this O-line looks like after a full offseason with Rudolph and Galt. Changing from zone blocking to a power scheme is no small task, and we seemed to show some improvement in the run game this past weekend. If we can make some progress this offseason, get some of these young guys up to speed (6 OL in the 2022 class and 4 in 2023) and add a piece or 2 from the portal, I think it makes a big difference with the offense as a whole next season.

I'm here for the memes, I just stay for the football.

We will be replacing a veteran, albeit out of position, LT and center. This OL really doesn't have the chance to be good until the 24 season likely

This OL really doesn't have the chance to be good until the 24 season likely

We'd like to raise the floor though. If the OL can block for a full season like they did in the second halves against GT and Liberty, they won't be a top 25 unit, but they'll be serviceable. Agreed that taking the OL from weakness to strength will take til 24/25.

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Rudolph is probably one of the few guys who could make it happen, but serviceable would likely be the absolute ceiling. I would LOVE to be wrong as poor OL play hurts my soul

I mean it won't be good, but with a majority of the 2 deep being in their 2nd year of coaching under the current staff, you'd expect to see some noticeable improvement on the line by the end of the year. Even if the talent isn't quite there, the scheme should be, and you should be able to see what they're trying to do.

This is my school
This is home

Yea next year we should at least expect the OL to be in the right place. They might still lose the physical matchups with better teams, but they shouldn't be performing like the beginning of this year. If they are, then questions need to be asked of Rudolph.

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

We need more playmakers at WR. Really impressed with Daequan Wright at TE and hopefully he takes another big step next year. A Thomas and King backfield could be really good if Thomas can stay healthy and King can quit fumbling. Will be interesting to see if Devin Ferrell can push Wells at QB. When you lack playmakers at WR, a true run threat at QB relieves the pressure a bit. Would like to see more of actual RPO moving forward.

On defense, we have to find a way to create pressure on the QB without having to blitz multiple guys especially since we're losing Garbutt. The McDonald twins and Lawson could be monsters especially with another year in the weight room.

Gobble Till You Wobble

Would like to see more of actual RPO moving forward

PREACH!!!!

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Take as many OL and DL out of the portal as we possibly can. Seriously. 5 on each side, more if we can. You absolutely cannot win P5 games with no P5 talent or depth in the trenches. This is not meant to trash those kids, but they're just not good enough for us to win.

For all the talk about Wells, his confidence just has to be absolutely shot. The kid has no time to throw, a bland offensive scheme, receivers who can't get separation or catch, a lack of a true all around/durable running back, and a line that can't pass or run block. But, an improved line can help with the other positions before the opposite can occur. It doesn't matter how good your QB/skill guys are if the line doesn't hold up.

On the OL, I don't know how we aren't absolutrly terrified looking at what we have coming back. Chapman played in his first game at tackle, and it showed. Just think: he would've been the starter this year had Silas not gotten an unexpected extra year. We've now got a LT with total career experience of half a game against Liberty. I don't even know who his backup is. Oof.

Hansen at LG was abysmal all year. Penalties, lack of pass blocking ability, and just getting manhandled at the point of attack. I can't remember which game it was, but he got bullrushed by a DB. And he is a RS junior. He has to be benched in favor of Moore and become a rotational player at best.

At center, the younger hollifield is unproven. He came in as a defender/TE if memory serves. Now, he's expected to be the leader of the OL with no experience and working from the interior. Yikes.

RG - Moore has been okay. Nothing special. Maybe the only P5 starter on the unit.

RT - Clements regressed more than any player I can remember. Pass blocking was inconsistent. He frequently missed blocks on running plays and showed a total lack of aggression and discipline. There were several plays where the DL drove him all the way down inside past the center to blow up an otherwise good run call. He couldn't even hold his ground, much less move the defender. And that says nothing of the backbreaking penalties every game.

Beyond the starters, one of our top rotational guys was Bob Schick, a JUCO transfer. He is not a P5 player and that has been obvious since the spring game when he stuck out like a sore thumb, getting absolutely abused despite being one of the oldest guys on the field.

So, the question is do we think the true freshmen or RS freshmen linemen we've signed (none of whom are that highly rated btw) can come in and fix this? That is extremely unlikely, as OL often take the longest to develop and get on the field bc they're in man to man contact on every play.

Bottom line: we can talk about offseason unity, work ethic, eating, lifting, no skinny legs, etc all we want. But, until we drastically revamp that OL we are going to continue to be absolutely dominated. We don't even have a competent starting 5 to roll out, much less replacements when the inevitable injuries occur.

For all the talk about Pry vs. Elko, he brought in 3 OL transfers his first year and it helped them tremendously. We need to do the same if not more if we want to see any meaningful improvement next year.

"That's it guys. Let's get out of here. That cold drink's waitin' on us, let's go." - Mike Young after win no. 300.

Fuente was such a great recruiter that Jack Hollifield was the highest rated player in that class- at TE.

i'm not saying that this is going to happen... but Duane Brown was recruited and played as a TE before making the switch. Credit to Fuente for getting him here (although probably had equal or more credit to Dax)... and credit to the current staff for recognizing where his potential is best applied.

We had another LT that was TE around the time of Brown too.

I would be thrilled if it worked out like it did for Duane. I actually lived across the street from his dad in Richmond.

But he was a once in a generation player. No. 9 recruit in VA. Has gone on to multi decade NFL career.

Thus far, Hollifield wasn't athletic enough to play tackle, and we've got nobody with proven production in front of him.

"That's it guys. Let's get out of here. That cold drink's waitin' on us, let's go." - Mike Young after win no. 300.

Brown is going to the NFL hall of fame. He was one of the best ever to suit up for VT at any position. Comparisons to anyone on this years team should end right there.

I went to high school with Duane Brown and he was an absolute hoss. He palled around with a guy named Andrew Bowman that even the teachers referred to him by the nickname of "Big Body".

I believe there was an insane stat I heard about Duane Brown (years ago mind you) where he was already in the league for 7+ some odd years and he had never once false started.

HoF material for sure.

VT Marketing Class of 2009
Current Roanoke-Hokie
Go Hokies!

not much to add that hasn't already been said. but i was somewhat pleased that the defense seems to have a scheme in mind, but just needs more depth. disappointed in just about every aspect of the offense. really wish we had some receivers step-up.

if i am Whit, i am asking Pry about off-season plans, and making sure he visits some head coaches for a little 1-on-1 two or three day workshop. spend time with david cutcliffe for game management, visit matt campbell to discuss program-building...or matt rhule. and same for bowen...visit moorhead, etc...i don't know the best examples of coaches he should meet with to run his scheme, but i feel like he would benefit from some 1-on-1 time this offseason with some experienced coaches. review film, walk-through different game situations, etc...

Things I'd like to see improvement on (not to say it will be up to par by next year):

  • Depth across all positions
  • Weight room results (we were always the smallest team)
  • Game/Time Management (timeout usage and aggressiveness; feel like we got less aggressive on play calling as year went by)
  • Offensive Play calling and in game adjustments
  • Special teams (saw some improvements at end)
  • Overall team speed and separation

With that being said, 12-0 sounds about right for next year.

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

Game/Time Management (timeout usage and aggressiveness; feel like we got less aggressive on play calling as year went by)

Strong agree here. Off season activity I've been thinking about is an analysis of Pry's 4th down calls (go/no go)

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The team needs some horses on both sides of the line. Build a good offensive line and Wells will be serviceable to good. The defensive line this year was ok on the starting lineup but the depth was defintely lacking.

How to build a program 101
Step 1. Croot the best lineman you can
Step 2. Dominate the line of scrimmage.
Step 3. Insert generational QB and play for a national title
Step 4..... repeat?

I really don't get all the hate for Wells. Sure he didnt light it up like Tua out there, but I can't remember off hand a year where so many balls were straight up dropped. He certainly has many aspects to improve upon such as pocket awareness and getting through his progressions, but as echoed above I bet his confidence was absolutely shredded most of these games between the drops and running for his life every snap. I agree with the sentiment that unless you can get a defacto day 1 starter the day he transfers in, you run it back with Wells. Have your internal qb competition in the spring and if someone pops off that's great but I won't be holding my breath.

End of the day there's 1 constant with the vast majority of any successful program. Dominate the line of scrimmage and you'll win most of your games, even with average skill playmakers.

Also, an obvious offensive identity needs to be apparent on the first game next year, if not the Offensive coaches should start sweating.

I agree with most of what's already said. I really hope we bring in some offensive help in the offseason. An experienced analyst to help out a green offensive staff would be great. I think if that doesn't improve things you look at cutting ties and trying again. Depth and talent are huge issues here I can't right now point to a single player and think they have the potential to be an acc, let alone a national, talking piece at any point during the season. Our line has got to be better and hopefully more time with Rudolph improves that.

I'm still really out on a lot of the defense. Games I feel like they did poorly were mostly because they were on the field for the entire game. We need to build depth and I'm excited to see what some of the younger guys (Delane, Lawson) look like with another year in the program.

The big thing next year is I'd like for our games to be on TV so I can watch us finish out our season 15-0

Edit: I almost left off special teams. Toward the end of the season (thanks Holloway) I finally felt good about when teams were kicking to us and the completely opposite when we were kicking. Part of this was being busy and games not being on TV but what in the actual fuck happened to our punting and FG units this year. Seems like our snaps went every direction and our punter could boom it like he did all last year or trickle one 14 yards. Lets fix all of hat we can't afford bad special teams with our depth right now we need every 3pts and field position win we can get.

(add if applicable) /s

Offense across the board was not competitive in the P5. Not strong enough, not fast enough, not good enough. We had blitzes picked up and the WR drops it. We had first downs negated by false starts. We could not block a mid ACC level ACC team's stunts against NC State. We weren't competitive on offense at all against Duke. The offense- be it coaching or talent - was not at all consistently competitive at the P5 level. This must be addressed this offseason. That is the cold hard facts. The defense was decent. No better. The concern on that side of the ball is that when any decent opposing offense needed a first down- had to have one- they converted. This one small nugget DID seem to be improved against a decent liberty offense. The defense was not physically competitive in the trenches against Pitt, WVU, or Miami. QB keepers and 3rd and forevers are still a mind boggling head scratching issue across 3 coaching staffs now. Find me another team that consistently gives up 3rd and 15 or more or 4th and 9 or more over the past 6 years as VT. You won't. It is maddening and must be addressed. Those SHOULD be losing downs for the opposing offense. Need more size and strength on the DL and the LBs need more time in the system. The secondary outside of Delane stinks. Stinks. must be addressed as well. When a true frosh corner is your best player back there- you have a talent issue. A deep one. Special teams were terrible overall. I'll leave it at that. Overall, with wofford, GT, etc on the schedule I saw 5 wins at the beginning of the year. I knew we weren't beating Pitt or Miami. Anyone could see that. I thought we might be competitive with WVU- a 4-5 win team themselves, but hey. I thought we would beat a shitty ODU program too. But overall it's about what you would expect. I trust Pry to right the ship. If our recruiting is mid 40's 2 years from now, perhaps he's not the guy. I won't panic until then.

All well said. Seems the team output has finally reached a point where your skepticism and critique sound reasonable

I'm sorry that getting dusted by Duke at home and melting down famously at ODU with players fighting each other was unwarranted skepticism about the program. I was a little disappointed with the 75th ranked recruiting class too. I am trying to do better.

Might want to get those NIL deals in with our top returners. The transfer portal recruiting turned up. If there's anything Pry needs to do this off-season, is keep his best players.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Not to be a dick... but the list of must keep players on this roster is not long.

Delane and Thomas are two must haves next season

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Wright, King, Holloway, Lawson are all the types of players you want to keep, other than King, they are all freshman. They will be who helps build the team up. All the freshman showed flashes and with practice they could be big time players.

We were closer to being an average team than I think most would give credit for given the number of one-score loses. I'm optimistic for the defense, have absolutely zero hope for the offense with Tyler Bowen as the OC. No identity and the offense looked exactly like you would expect it to under a former Tight Ends coach for the worst franchise in the NFL. He's not the answer and there's no fact that can be pointed to proving that wrong

In order for Bowen's- or any "conservative" offense to work, you have to milk the clock and capitalize in the red zone. We did neither this year. It's never going to work with 3 and outs and no redzone production. No matter if Joe Gibbs himself were calling plays.

It really goes for any offense - you need to maximize your success rate - statistically speaking, it's the #1 indicator of a successful offense. Can you:

  • Gain 50% of yards to gain on first down
  • Gain 70% of yards to gain on second down
  • Gain 100% of yards to gain on third or fourth down

These are the %'s used in NFL analytics, I think college has different percentages, but the point stands: your ability to move the chains is the #1 (but not only) indicator of a successful offense.

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better than points per possession? I would figure that would be #1, but may depend on the definition of successful.

πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ

I'm no statistician but I'm guessing that success rate is more sustainable than points per possession. If Team A and Team B have identical offenses, but Team A routinely starts with better field position and has a better field goal kicker, they need to do much less work to achieve the same result as Team B.

Success rate (as I understand it) is constant regardless of those external factors relative to scoring, and probably recognizes the realities of execution inside the 10 yard line.

Gaining 3 yards on first and goal from the 5 is a success under this stat but gaining 3 yards on first and 10 from your own 25 is not.

This is correct

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I agree with JHS's comment - that points per possession is directly impacted by things happening when the offense is off the field (unlike success rate), thus, it's not the most precise metric if you're trying to assess the offense in a vacuum. However, if you're looking for a simple way to compare offenses, it's pretty good.

I would also reframe the way you're looking at it - points per possession tells you if multiple drives were successful. Success rate tells you if individual plays were successful. A higher success rate will typically (not always) result in more points per possession.

I've edited this message like 5 times since I originally posted it in an effort to clarify my comment. I'm not a data analyst by trade, I've just learned a lot from reading different folks over the years, so I want to be careful that I'm not being misleading or overly suggestive. Anyways, There's no single, universal best stat for assessing an offense; all these stats tell you different things. Success rate is handy because (1) it puts a number on every single play and looks at the cumulative success of each play (2) it's only assesses what happens when the offense is on the field, and (3) it's highly predictive of increased points per drive. I'll go back later (on a computer instead of mobile) and share some more information around point #3.

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I see. I just figured the ultimate goal of an offense is to score points, and TDs are more valuable than FGs (duh!). Being able to get more points on each possession would seem to be the inherent definition of success. When success is based on yardage gained per play, the stat doesn't really capture the nuance of explosive plays for TD and red zone efficiency. Whereas scoring efficiency (points per possession) would indirectly capture that. And I also figure that game outcome is based on pts gained (not yardage gained). Being very successful at getting yardage and new set of downs, however, should ultimately yield more points too. (Assuming success between the 20s is comparable to success in the red zone and is also equally suggestive of an ability to get explosive play TDs, both of which are probably true with enough of a sample size.)

I would also reframe the way you're looking at it - points per possession tells you if multiple drives were successful. Success rate tells you if individual plays were successful. A higher success rate will typically (not always) result in more points per possession.

I was thinking about the difference between drive success and individual play success when I posted my earlier comment, which is what I was implying it depends on the definition of success. And both are fair definitions.

And your last point is poignant. No single stat paints a full enough picture. (I'm also not a statistician, but I do come across a good amount of predictive models and Bayesian statistics in my line work and I appreciate all your posts on analytics.)

πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ

I will probably repeat most of the sentiments already mentioned here, but I'll add my own thoughts.

The season was obviously a disappointment- only winning 3 games was not what I imagine most people that the team would do this year. I, like @bar1990 think that Pry has a major task to turnover the roster from the last few bad classes of the Fuente tenure. The proof is also in the putting from scoring- we didn't break 30 points this season.

I do not agree with most folks here that Wells needs replaced. Quarterbacks typically improve by leaps and bounds after several years in the system with the same coaches- Kenny Pickett, Joe Burrow, DTR, Stetson Bennett, & others all benefited from being in a system for several years and improving year over year. Wells is not going to bring a natty to Blacksburg, but I believe he can be a solid quarterback. Over the Fuente tenure, the only QBs I would take over Wells right now are Evans and Hooker. I believe this team would be worse with Jackson, Burmeister, or Willis.

That said, there needs to be additional talent brought in to help out the QB. A solid, game ready wide receiver is an absolute must. It doesn't matter if we have Tom Brady at QB if none of his receivers can ever get open. The offensive & defensive lines could probably also use another addition- specifically a gamebreaker on the D-line that teams have to plan around. Offensive line wise, I feel better with our depth and an entire year for Galt & Rudolph to get the group up to snuff.

From an overall program health standpoint, I feel about the same/a little worse than I did at the start of the season. I believe Pry has put in major work to rebuild relationships in the state & region, and that those will hopefully pay dividends in recruiting. The 2024 class needs to be ranked in the 20s for me to believe we have truly taken a step forward. But, that may be a pipe dream given the difficulty to compete from an NIL perspective. Back to back classes with only one 4* recruit could put a damper on the work that Pry is doing, and you can't put a competitive team together with just diamonds in the rough.

While I believe the right coach can make VT competitive again, I also have a sinking feeling in the back of my head that we could continue to struggle to remain relevant. We won't ever reach Beamer peak years again without a transcendent coach, but I do hope we can at least go to bowl games and occasionally play for conference titles. Time will tell if Pry is the right man to bring us back to relevance.

VT 2016
Go Hokies

There is a lot of experience leaving (and I HATE that Dax didn't get to have his Senior Day), so I don't expect much, if any, improvement in W-L for 2023. I am thinking we will see an improvement in coaching/scheme and execution, but a step back in overall talent (unless the Portal giveth), so maybe we eek out 4 wins next year, I dunno. Like others have pointed out - it's not the W-L as much as it is how those games are coached and played.

Also, I made this point in another thread, but Coach Freeze in his post game presser said that our team was "well coached", at least as far as that last series of plays was concerned. I consider Freeze a very good if not excellent coach and his observation gives me hope for the future of of this team and staff.

A tough season, the worst full season of my lifetime as a fan (born late in 92 season), but my expectations were so low, that the losses did not hurt like they would in a season where I expected more from a VT team. The NC State and GT games in particular would have been soul crushing in a season where we were supposed to be good, but at that point in the year it was very clear what level of team we had. As such, most of the season I was watching our games with less emphasis on the result, and more with an eye to see what we have in terms of identity on both sides of the ball, and young players who could potentially play a key role in turning this program around under Pry.

Some players who appear to be a part of the solution moving forward based on on-field play this season/prev seasons: Mansoor Delane, Dorian Strong, Jalen Stroman, Keli Lawson, Keonta Jenkins, Malachi Thomas, Tucker Holloway, and Alan Tisdale. edit: Keshawn King if he returns.

Some players who I think can make strides and become viable pieces: Jaylen Jones, Jaden Keller, Jayden McDonald, Cole Nelson, CJ McCray, DJ Harvey and Jalen Hoyle.

There are other players who I think can factor in, and plenty more young players we didn't really see who may be reshaping their bodies or getting into the right shape to contribute moving forward.

Long-term, the style of defense Pry/Marve want to employ here is going to give us a chance to win most games. There are very few ACC offenses who have the weapons/QB play combo to really take advantage of the soft/weak spots in the defenses we primarily played this year. We had a few matching issues this year, and we had some personnel/athletic matchups that I'd like to see the staff mitigate for a little better. For example, one of the things I believe Venables' did extremely well during Clemson's elite run was how he protected his Mike LB in coverage. There were obviously some exceptions, but from game to game he did an excellent job of getting the most out of his Mike's thumper traits, getting the defense properly set, etc. while keeping them from being repeatedly exploited in coverage. There were a few too many times we saw Dax get put in a bad position that was asking too much of him. That's on coaching imo. The vast majority of college LB's are not going to be able to run with P5 receivers if the QB has enough time for a route to develop.

The offense is less clear to me. We seem to be focused on setting up some bread and butter plays, and then utilizing multiple aspects of it. Running split zone, then running a play where the H-back leaks out from his wham block for a catch in the flat on play action, etc. However, this is a pretty common way of building an offense so it wasn't always clear exactly what we were going for. The combo of QB, OL, and WR play for the most part made it very difficult to see what our passing game ideally looks like. I'm simply not confident in what our floor/ceiling are meant to look like within this offense when it's being executed well.

So what are the soft expectations for next season?

Free Hugh

Get to .500 and a bowl game are my expectations for next year. Another abysmal outing would definitely hurt perception of the rebuild. Getting bowl eligible would be a big step in the right direction.

Agreed. I think that's an achievable goal. Though it didn't feel like it, we weren't really that far away from winning 6 games this year.

Can't say until the roster turns over

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Sorry Bar. Can't ride the fence, gotta call your shot. Roster management is part of the deal.

Free Hugh

1000% agree that roster management is part of the deal, but I don't know enough about who is/will be in the portal and who we're competing against - those things will inform my expectations.

But, for the sake of discussion, here's what I want out of the portal

  • 3+ OLs: 2+ who can start immediately, 1+ who can add depth
  • 2+ Receivers: 1+ who is a difference maker in the ACC, 1+ who can add solid depth
  • 2+ DLs: 1+ who can start immediately, 1+ who can add depth
  • 2+ LBs: Both immediate starters, prioritize system fit over raw talent
  • 3+ Secondary: Whatever we need to do to get guys playing in their correct positions; don't need all-americans; need guys who fit the system, and will enable Marve to play toward Delane & Strong's strengths.

Now for predictions/expectations:

  • If we hit on all of these needs --> 6-8 wins
  • If we hit on half of these --> 6 wins
  • If we hit on less than half --> 5 wins

Assumes Keshawn and Malachi can both stay healthy - if their injury luck repeats this season, I think 5 wins is the ceiling.

Edit to add - if we get less than a third of that out of the portal, Pry should be on a hot-ish seat. Talent acquisition is the most important part job a college football head coach in 2022.

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I don't know how realistic it is that we'll pull 8-9 P5 starting quality players out of the portal. Maybe if you include development of recruits during the off-season to help meet those numbers, it could happen. I think development of players already on the roster is a big part of the talent acquisition you mentioned. We don't just have to get bodies on campus, me have to develop them into dudes as well. If our coaches can't coach 'em up better than the last crew then they aren't going to be in Blacksburg for long.

I agree it's a tall ask. But others have overhauled multiple position groups in a single offseason (see Mel Tucker, Shane Beamer, Mike Elko, etc). Fuente had offseasons where he did well in the portal - if we pulled a Hoffman, a Hazelton, and quality depth players, our offense would be much better.

I'm less concerned on defense because (a) I think we have significantly more talent on that side of the ball and (b) I think those coaches are more proven.

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Beating UVA, duh

We need to do better than that.

That...was really rough. For the first time ever, we were as bad as I was afraid we would be in my worst case scenario of how 2022 would go. The back-to-back blown-lead losses on top of all the other losing was one of the hardest things I've gone through as a fan of this team. As was the whole season, really.

I know what I might have said or implied, but with a little perspective I'm not yet out on CBP or any of the defensive coaches. The on field talent is just going to be a multi-year fix and there's no way around that, no matter how hard we Portal this offseason.

Offense could do with a hard reset. You can't run a power scheme with featherweights. Unless the plan is to show the scheme to OKGs at OL and skill positions as we recruit them, and tell them how they could just run buck-wild in Blacksburg in an effort to get them in the door. That would be something.

I wonder if Bowen will have his job a year from now, considering the frustrations Pry voiced with the offense more than once in front of a mic.

I would like some improvement to come next year. I don't know if it will. And that scares me.

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