Tech Tidbits: Is This the Week Miami's Luck Runs Out?

Both the Canes and the Hokies are battling injuries of one sort or another headed into Saturday's primetime matchup.

[Mark Umansky]

Miami week is finally upon us, friends, and soon enough we will have an answer to that riddle that has bedeviled scholars for ages: is Da U finally back?

The Canes are in the top 10 heading into this one, and the road matchup could very well be Tech's biggest game of the season when it's all said and done. The hype for this game is certainly very real, what with it earning a primetime TV slot and all, but I think it absolutely has to be noted that there is a ton of skepticism out there about Miami, and I will heartily take part in expressing some myself.

As any listeners to the excellent podcast "The Solid Verbal" will note, the Canes have so far epitomized what the Verbal's hosts dub a "luck runs out team," given their variety of close calls thus far.

They needed a last-second field goal (set up by a miracle catch) to beat Georgia Tech at home, and a late rally to beat a thoroughly underwhelming Florida State team on the road. They never seemed in serious danger of losing Syracuse at home two weeks back, but they did let the Orange score 13 unanswered points to come within 20-19 before the Canes put them away with a late touchdown.

And, of course, last week they let the same UNC team that the Hokies trounced by 52 points hang around for the bulk of their 24-19 road win. Again, the Canes never seemed in any real trouble, but when the Tar Heels scored to make it 17-13 late in the third quarter, I (for one) was refreshing my ESPN app out of concern that it was malfunctioning somehow.

The point is: this Miami team has been wildly unpredictable. Plainly, Mark Richt's squad has talent. But how good are they, really, when they've never played a ranked opponent, and they don't have a true marquee win? When will that luck run out?

Don't get me wrong — you could ask many of the same questions about the Hokies, and I suspect Miami fans are doing just that right about now. But there is at least some reason to feel some cautious optimism before this one (to go alongside the gnawing feeling in my stomach I tend to experience before potentially season-defining games).

Hurtin' Hurricanes?

Part of all the uncertainty about the Canes comes down to their quarterback: Malik Rosier.

He has 17 touchdowns to just four picks, and he's powered Miami's passing attack to average 298 yards per game (good for 19th in the country). But he's also completed just 56.7 percent of his passes, and has been inconsistent early on in some of the Canes' closer contests.

While Duke and FSU are both fielding pretty solid defenses this year, the Hokies' top-10 bunch certainly represents the stiffest test for Rosier so far. Yet there seem to be some lingering questions about his health that could complicate matters.

Rosier left the UNC game for one series with some shoulder soreness after a big hit, and while he finished with three touchdowns, 356 yards and an interception, he only managed to complete 16 of his 38 passes.

Richt told radio station WQAM Monday that the quarterback "had to fight through the pain and finish the game for us," so there was certainly some consternation that Rosier might not be 100 percent for the Tech game. Richt told the Miami Herald on Tuesday that Rosier was "a little sore" but otherwise participated in all the team's drills, and he expects him to play Saturday.

Perhaps something to keep an eye on as the game progresses, especially if the front seven can deliver some big hits early on.

It also bears repeating that the Canes will be without top RB Mark Walton, who went out for the season a few weeks back. Justin Fuente told reporters Monday that he thought Walton was "the best player that they had," though the Canes certainly don't lack for talent at the position.

Travis Homer has rushed for 170, 95 and 40 yards since taking over as the starter, so plainly he's talented too. But it can't hurt Bud Foster's feelings, either, to see the Canes without perhaps their top weapon for this one.

Blind Side Uncertainty

All that being said, however, the Hokies have their own injury woes to worry about.

LT Yosh Nijman went out during the second quarter in the Duke game with some sort of lower body injury, and his status seems very much in doubt for Saturday.

"It's just going to be a day-to-day thing," Fuente said Monday. "We're hopeful that he will be able to go...Probably work out some and rest some and work out some and rest some and see how it goes."

Parker Osterloh filled in after Nijman went out against the Blue Devils, now that he's back from some injury woes of his own, and the Hokies may very well need to turn to him once more.

"I thought he did a good job, I really did. I was proud of him," Fuente said. "Obviously, we trust him. He's the first guy we grab to go throw in there."

All in all, Nijman's potential absence is a tough development for an offensive line that's really rebounded recently.

Fuente spoke frequently Monday about how he challenged the group to respond following the UNC game, and felt they lived up to challenge against Duke. The unit has certainly had its troubles run-blocking, but they've done a fine job of keeping Josh Jackson upright — in all, they've allowed 13 sacks, good to tie for 40th best in the country.

But the Canes have plenty of talent on defense (and their 24 sacks place them tied for 17th overall) so the line will be in for a test on Saturday, whether or not Nijman can play through the pain.

The "Fuente-to-Florida" Hype Train Leaves the Station

I bet some of you out there thought I was off-base in including a Tidbit about Fuente's buyout numbers last week, but lo and behold, there the head Hokie was on a list of potential Jim McElwain replacements compiled by Sports Illustrated's estimable Bruce Feldman.

Fuente is hardly a sure-fire choice for Florida, but he does fit the bill as an offensive-minded guy with plenty of shine on him after a solid 1.5 seasons in Blacksburg.

Feldman expects that guys like Dan Mullen or Scott Frost may get closer looks thanks to their SEC/Florida ties, but here's what he had to say about Fuente:

He's 17–5 with the Hokies after turning a downtrodden Memphis football program into a winner. That was impressive. Fuente is also not paid a fortune by FBS coaching standards, but has a very good situation in Blacksburg working for a well-regarded AD in Whit Babcock. He's got a good job now, but UF is an even better job. If you're the Gators, you've gotta kick the tires on this one.

As I said last week, I'm not expecting Fuente to go anywhere, and Whit Babcock has more than earned my trust to handle the whole situation.

But if you think Fuente's name won't keep coming up as the coaching carousel starts spinning, you're deluding yourself. We could see a whole bunch of SEC openings in the coming weeks (here's looking at you TAMU, Arkansas and Tennessee), not to mention some big jobs elsewhere, so steel yourselves for Fuente to appear on all manner of clickbait-y coaching wishlists in the coming days.

Babcock already moved to extend Fuente's deal out to 2023 after his successful rookie season — I wonder if this talk pressures him to do anything else, or if there's anything, financially, he can do.

I leave you this week by reminding you that can put a bet on just about anything, if you're willing to live with a little online gambling sloppiness.


Is this the week Miami's Luck Runs Out?


After watching them play over the last few weeks....

lol she is adorable.

I can't stop watching this

Florida can have "Fuentes" for all I care.

Florida getting a Fuentes as their next head coach:

Is that Miami's QB? Malk Rosier?

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

Reminds me of

That's a solid Simpsons deep cut right there

This is one of my favorite Simpsons jokes. "Why are my bones so brittle? I drink plenty of milk." Hahahaha gets me every time.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

hat Rosier was "a little sore" but otherwise participated in all the team's drills

Lets make him really sore!

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

Yep. I don't wish a true injury on any player but some soreness and timidness affecting his accuracy would be good.

Sack Rosier 6 times in the first quarter and make him not want to play the rest of the game

Tales told of battles won
Of things we've done
Caligula would grin

Pretty much what we did to UNC's QBs.

Timmy n Walk are salivating...

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

Found this interesting:

J Jackson
149-239; 2032 yards, 17 TD 4 INT

M Rosier
143-252; 2071 yards, 17 TD 4 INT

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

From all accounts that I have seen and read of both players, they are very similar. Both are also 6'1" and ~215 lbs.

The biggest difference I've noticed is that Jackson is more accurate at 62.3% compared to Rosier's 56.7%, and JJ has a slightly higher yard/attempt at 8.5 vs 8.2. Not THAT big of a difference, but if Tech can get Miami's LBs to overcommit and get out of position, that could be a game changer. I believe I read that JJ makes most of his pass attempts around the 10-15 yd mark over the center of the field.

Either way though, it's almost eerie how similar both QBs are statistically.

Also of note, on the rushing side

67 carries for 197 yards 2 TDs

69 carries for 211 yards 2 TDs

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

Looks to me that Joshie Jack has a little more downhill top-end speed. Having watched the 'Canes several times this season, though, Rosier has the quickness edge. The initial burst isn't close. And yet, seems like they don't call a lot of designed runs for him (compared to JJ). Both pretty comfy in the pocket, but Rosier has more "escapability".

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

And yet, seems like they don't call a lot of designed runs for him (compared to JJ).

I doubt that changes any this Saturday with Rosier having a busted up shoulder.

Has anyone ever seen them in a room together? I guess we will on Saturday...

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

But they won't be on the field at the same time 🤔

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

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

I hate Miami almost as much as the Hoo Boo's


I weirdly enough don't hate them anymore. Post 2009 that is. Maybe cuz they've sucked so much since Jacoraaay Harris that I don't care for them like I don't care for UVA.

UNC, on the other hand....

There hasn't been a college athlete in recent memory I've despised more than Jaberwocky Harris. The unwarranted hype train that followed that kid around made me nauseous.

Also, I hate Miami like I hate loluva, North Korea, and ISIS - with the burning passion of a thousand suns. The ol' Big East days cemented that hatred in my heart and I will never let it go.

I would root for the Russians before I would root for Virginia.

I think I give the edge to that swimmer from Stanford.

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

Come Saturday this will be our defense to Miami all night(mare long)

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

So your telling me that Miami is going to be Spitting out bones?

Tales told of battles won
Of things we've done
Caligula would grin

Pronounced: "But your luck runs ou-tahhh!"

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

How much is Fuente being paid currently? Isn't it something like 3mil/year + bonuses?

What makes UF a better job? Is it just more money? I'm not sure any amount of money could convince me to take a job where they just fired a guy midseason after he won the division twice in a row. Those are just insanely unrealistic expectations. UF, in my opinion, is a job for a G5 up and comer, not really enticing if you are already at the P5 level.

That's what I'm thinking too. The expectations on college football coaches now seem completely unrealistic. Especially in the SEC. Just look at Tennessee's record over the past 30 years. Other than the 90's, they've been stuck in mediocrity for the past 20 years with occasional breakout seasons. Seems like these SEC schools expect coaches to turn around a program and get into the CFPs within 1 year.

They fired a guy midseason at 3-4 for his record...

They fired him because he lost big to Georgia.

If he had won that game, he'd still be coaching at Florida.

He would have kept his job (with some staff changes) if he didn't just come up with some BS about his family and players receiving death threats and having no proof and not reporting to police/administration. As a coach if a player is getting death threats, you report that immediately so the school isn't liable for anything. Soon as the spotlight got a bit hot b/c his offense stunk, he went the route of making up stuff to distract from his team's problems. He wasn't in danger until he made those remarks.

As a coach if a player is getting death threats, you report that immediately so the school isn't liable for anything.

and so, you know, the player doesn't get murdered...

UF is a better job in several regards: Deep pockets, excellent facilities, location, SEC prestige, proximity to fertile recruiting grounds.

There are also a ton of reasons (documented throughout this sub-thread) why it's less desirable, but it's hard to deny that there are many advantages.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

I think Fuente has a very small list of schools that he would ever consider coaching at. I think he is smart enough to realize that his situation right now has a ton of upside. The ACC Coastal is a very winnable division, he has the best defensive coordinator (who more than likely would not go with Fuente if he were to leave) a top special teams coordinator, a fan base who adores him, and recruiting is on the rise. I think he sees just how close they are to really making a push for the CFP. So put him on every coaches wishlist so that ESPN shows his accomplishments and makes VT that much more appealing to future recruits.

1-0 every week

This has to be shared, but probably doesn't deserve its own thread. USA Today's preview of the game is absolutely savage.

The host Hurricanes (7-0,
5-0 ACC) can clinch their first trip to the ACC title game with a victory over the Hokies (7-1, 3-1) coupled with a Virginia loss to Georgia Tech. QB Malik Rosier threw three touchdown passes last week for Miami, which holds the nation's longest winning streak (12 games) and hasn't lost in more than a year.

Who wins? Virginia Tech,

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

The only reason they have that streak is because they didn't play for the ACC title last year. Clemson would have crushed them.

Great run down as always.

However one thing has to be noted and its from this line.

As any listeners to the excellent podcast "The Solid Verbal" will note, the Canes have so far epitomized what the Verbal's hosts dub a "luck runs out team," given their variety of close calls thus far.

Any TRUE FAN can tell you that Shutdown Fullcast > The Solid Verbal.

Though with them and Podcast Aint Played Nobody the SB Nation CFB Podcast lineup is pretty stacked.

Solid Verbal strikes the perfect balance between funny and serious IMO. You get a nice overview of the national picture done with a distinct voice. PAPN is when you are a complete and hopeless CFB nerd and you've chosen to lean into it.

Babcock already moved to extend Fuente's deal out to 2023 after his successful rookie season — I wonder if this talk pressures him to do anything else, or if there's anything, financially, he can do

Here's what we can do: JOIN THE HOKIE CLUB TODAY!

Click Here To Go To The Hokie Club Site to Join

If we want to do all we can on our end financially to ensure that there is no struggle to pay the man when that time comes, you have to join the Hokie Club. Seriously- just $100 per year is all you have donate to join, AND you can have that paid as a monthly charge on your credit card which is $8.34/month - the price of 2 coffees at Starbucks, or a single beer at a bar in DC, or a meal at Chick Fil A.

the price of...a single beer at a bar in DC

A single shitty beer, at that.

How do you have it set up as a monthly charge? When I am on the "Manage Donations" page and entering 100 and "Set Up Payment Plan" it comes back with an error stating "Cannot setup a payment schedule for this allocation"

So try setting up the pledge first. After the pledge is set up, click "Your Victory Account" and "Manage Payment Methods". From there I believe you can add your card and set up the plan.

If that doesn't work, try giving the office a call - they've been super helpful when I have gotten stuck on my account.

I've fulfilled my original 25 but want to donate more. I'm wondering what would help the most, football operations or Hokie Scholarship fund?

Yes. Next question

Foster on Miami QB Malik Rosier being a little banged up (shoulder): "I hope so."SOON

ESPN is drinking the Miami Kool Aid hard because they want Notre Dame/Miami for addition to the fact that all their football "experts" handed Miami the Coastal weeks ago. I hope the Hokies piss in ESPN's Cheerios and shut these people up.

I thought ESPN was really hyping "Da U is Bak!!!" this week because they are afraid it won't sell next week after they lose. They are probably working on their "U not Bak" campaign now, figuring it will get used a few times in the few weeks. They get paid to say what sells, not tell their opinion, so they don't really care if they are wrong or not. No way to shut them up, just win and the narrative will be in our favor when we win, and that Miami sux if we struggle.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

I heard Trevor Matich on the mothership yesterday talk about how the ACC has got to be hoping that Miami wins, because the ACC needs the bump that an undefeated or one-loss team like Miami in the ACCCG; because having us play Clemson again might not be enough for Clemson to get into the playoff. Well. Isn't that just special. Nice of ol' Trev to assume that we can't beat Clemson. Nice of him to assume we couldn't end up in the playoff.

Hopefully we don't end up playing the officials in addition to Miami. Best thing to do is to make sure it isn't close enough for the the refs to have a major effect. Generally, I find Matich to be pretty good, but his comments yesterday made me wonder if someone down in Charlotte might be happy to skew a booth review or two.

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

"made me wonder if someone down in Charlotte might be happy to skew a booth review or two."

I hope this is a joke, because you cannot possibly believe that this is something that actually happens. Is Swofford sitting in a room with a red phone to every replay booth, calling them when one of his chosen ones are in trouble? If so, was he asleep during the Clemson-Syracuse game?

Hanlon's Razor states, "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity". In most situations the words "incompetence" or "fallibility" can be substituted for "stupidity".

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)