Old Dominion Week Presser 9/2/19: Justin Fuente

The Head Hokie discusses Virginia Tech's loss to Boston College and the Hokies' upcoming game against the Monarchs.

[Virginia Tech Athletics]

Publisher's Note: Nico Naha contributed to this transcription.

Alright let's skip all the needless small talk. Give me the questions. ODU this week, let's go. You guys don't care about the opening statements. Let's go.

Injury updates. Anything long term coming out of Saturday?

We will be without [Jalen] Holston for a little while.

[Zachariah] Hoyt too?

I don't know about all the rest.We will be without Jalen for a little while.

Coach you played a couple of your true freshman Keshawn King and Tayvion Robinson in prominent roles. What did you see from them and how do you think they adjusted from kind of going from playing in front of friends and family to 35-40,000 on national TV.

Well they were productive. There are a lot of things that we've gotta, just speaking about those two guys in particular they've gotta get better at. I think Tayvion got a little tired and at times didn't play as fast as he needs to play in order to be a productive every down player. Keshawn was not in there for as long of stretches. So that didn't happen to him quite as much, but I thought they handled the moment. Like I said, they were productive when they were in there. They, like the rest of us, have plenty of things to work on as we move forth.

The ODU game last year was actually a pretty big turning point in the season. How do you feel like your team, a year later, has responded to that or dealt with the adversity that came out of that game?

That was obviously a big event.The next week we came out and played the best game we had all year against a really good Duke team. How we've handled adversity. I think our guys have done a great job of that. I think we can continue to preach that. I'm not trying to get corny, but things don't always go your way in football, in life. You can't just sit around and complain about it. You gotta stand up and roll your sleeves up and go back to work. I think our guys understand that. I think they're anxious to go play again.

I think for us this week it's about all the things that we need to go improve on as a football team. In terms of, in all three phases of the game, preparation wise, there's kind of two phases of that game, and last week we battled, played hard, all those sorts of things which are good things and we can't lose that. But we've also got to obtain this level of consistent play from all of our guys. Not just our young guys, but some of our older guys. We've gotta play at a higher execution level while maintaining this level of effort and discipline and toughness. That'll be our focus this week as we move into the ODU game.

Have you reviewed some of the turnovers from this past Saturday? Were there any that were particularly galling to you or did you think that most of them were correctible issues for Ryan [Willis] in particular?

Well I think that they are correctable. I think that one, the screen was a little bit kind of in between, kind of a tough deal to be honest with ya. If we get it over his head, I think that we've got a big play. But there's some things in there that we've gotta do a better job teaching. A better job learning and executing. I think that we should be able to.

With the offensive line, how did you think they did in the run game specifically?

Well we've gotta run the football better. That falls on everybody. That falls on the quarterback, it falls on the coaches, it falls on the offensive line, and the running backs. We've all gotta do a better job. We get the ball to the unblocked hat a few times. We've gotta make him miss and get more yards. We've gotta get the ball to the unblocked hat on a more consistent basis as well. Plenty to work on there.

Do you think that with Holston out. You weren't sure if King, how much of a role in he'd have in the first couple weeks. Do you think that he's ready for a more increased role with [Deshawn] McClease.

It's kind of to the point where he'd better be. I mean the line is getting short.

Coach obviously the first home game of the season. Just talk about the excitement of that. It's gotta be a fun opportunity to get a home opener. Right?

Sure is. We're excited to play in front of our fans. These kids have worked incredibly hard. Looking forward to getting a chance to kind of show how hard we're going to go play for the Hokie Nation.

Coach going back to Keshawn. What about his game makes you think that he can step up into this more increased role.

It's a small sample size so far. I just know he's got, he's some explosiveness, some quickness. He's got some genuine toughness. Doesn't seem to be in awe of what he's being asked to do. He just kind of goes out there and plays ball. I think he genuinely enjoys the game, enjoys getting out there and competing. You like to see that from these young guys.

How do you feel about the pace of the offense you guys kind of had a few extended methodical drives. Would you prefer to be faster at times? What was your kind of thoughts on the pace of the offense.

To me the pace should be manipulated. At times you'd like to be able to push the pace a little bit, and at times you try to slow it down a little bit. I don't know, I'd like for it to be a mix. I've always said that I do not believe in, and some people do, in going as fast as you can all the time. I just don't think that's productive for your entire team. I think it's good for yards and stats and that sort of stuff, but I don't think it's good for your entire team. Some balance in between there of those two is kind of what we're shooting for.

You said you wanted to reserve comment on Brock's [Hoffman] situation until it was decided finally that came in last week. Can you now kind of share some impressions of kind of how the last couple weeks unfolded. What happened and kind of your take on it.

Yeah I'd be happy to if you'd like. I think there's a lot of different ways to look at it. At the risk of sounding like a guy that's just up here complaining. I'm gonna try not to do that. You look at Brock and his family and what they've been through and how they've handled the situation there in. I think its admirable. He's a kid that did not quit on his football team. He did not leave them in the middle of the year. He did not leave them right at the beginning of the year, when some people have. In my estimation, he went about this thing the right way and was penalized for it, and I think that's unfortunate.

When you look at the decision that's one thing and then you look at the process with which we got to this decision that's another thing. The process to say that it's disappointing would be an understatement. What we put that family through, or what the NCAA put that family through in terms of requesting information. Chasing their tail for lack of a better term constantly every time providing feedback, requesting new and different information every time the family, doing everything they can to provide that information, and then again requesting different subjects and different questions and then ultimately having it come down to the timing of his decision to leave. It's pretty disappointing. Like I said a young man that stuck with his team, that tried to make it work, that tried to go do things, that tried to commute, that tried to not leave his guys, and ultimately he was penalized for that. And I think it's disappointing, but I think we can learn a lot from Brock. I really do.

Things didn't go Brock's way and you know what he did? He showed up and he went down there and he ran the scout team. And he busted his tail doing that. And he had to lift with our developmental group. You know what he did? He led that freshman group in their developmental lift. This is a guy that doesn't let other people determine his attitude or his effort. And I think that's admirable. And I think we could all learn a lesson from Brock. And I'm certainly not lecturing to everyone else I'm just admiring the young man. We talked about when you're in a certain environment do you let that environment change you or do you try to change the environment, and Brock has done a fantastic job not allowing what he's been through to change him and who he is and what he's about. He's a fantastic student. Makes great grades. I'm disappointed for him because I've seen how he works and how he interacts and I also saw firsthand how he went about trying to do the right thing and it didn't work out.

Just one more question about it. I know during the season I know you're sort of removed from the process, but is that something you tell Whit [Babcock] or administration like look we should push to get, this should be on the rule change docket or this should be something that I want to see information?

We have those discussions as a group. And the ACC coaches have a discussion. And we have someone from the NCAA come in and they present it to us. It's interesting. And Whit is on one of those councils or boards, however you describe it, and we have those conversations about a myriad of things. And I appreciate Whit for listening on those things. But the key is, ya change, but what does that look like? It's like I tell our coaches all the time it doesn't take anyone to point out the problems. It takes somebody with some intelligence and some thought to create some solutions. Standing around and for a lack of a better term just bitching about the problems does us no good. Finding ways to try to create solutions is the answer. And there have been some good suggestions that I think merit conversation. And you all would probably be surprised to hear my thoughts. I'm not going to give them to you now, but you'd probably be surprised to hear my thoughts on the amateur models. Probably different that what you think it is. But I do think it would be wise for us to get people that are genuinely vested in the best interest of collegiate sports and these kids together to try to find an amicable solution to our model and transfer policy, waiver policy is just one of them. But that's easier said than done. Here I am again just pointing out the problems and not giving a solution.

Bud [Foster] said the defensive performance in the first half wasn't really what the group had shown all along. Was that your same impression, that they looked a little more like themselves the second half?

The third quarter I thought we were pretty good. We just weren't, I don't know what the word is, as sharp or as aggressive, as I really thought we'd be starting out the game. Played defense a little bit on our heels there. And it hurt us there in the first half, in the second half. We're playing a good offense. They're gonna have some success, but we buckled down and played much better in the second half.

Coach, not to harp on the Brock stuff, but β€”

But.

The decision itself is disappointing, but you got a lot of national attention. Scott Van Pelt dedicated the whole segment to kind of talk about it. Does that kind of galvanize your group or is it at least cool to see the support you've gotten nationwide on that whole situation?

Certainly. Creating discussion on what we're dealing with I think is important. Again, I go back to meaningful discussion is important. Typing on your phone, complaining on your phone is not meaningful discussion. But finding solutions to what we're dealing with, how we're legislating these issues, I think if it creates that, if it creates more meaningful discussion. More intelligent people joining the conversation to try and find an amicable solution, then I think that's a positive.

You were headed to the game. You knew it was going to be hot. You're playing a team that plays two tight ends a lot and is big up front. Likes to run the ball so you knew you were going to have to rotate a lot of defensive linemen which you guys do anyway. You played, what, nine defensive linemen I think it was. How'd you think a lot of those young guys did especially considering everything they were facing in that game?

I think they played like we, like what they are, which is really talented young players. Certainly there's room for improvement. I think we saw flashes of them doing what we think they can do, particularly I'm talking about the inside guys. I'm excited about that. What they can be. We don't have time to put them on the shelf and let them marinate. They're going to have to get out there and get ready to go. They're part of, they're certainly not the only part of, this is all encompassing in our team, they're part of the improvement we got to make moving forward. Continue to teach and bring those guys forward. Now it's a whole different animal. That's the part that's hard for young players is we're playing a completely different offense now, completely different set of issues and completely different, and you only have, whatever it is, five days to get ready for them now. It's not two weeks. That's part of the challenge for us and those young guys.

[TyJuan] Garbutt was injured on the first series and Coach Foster said that play might've been a blind side block. I don't know if you've had a chance to look at it but he had complained about that rule, what a blindside block is. I was just curious if you had looked at it was it, did it fit that definition?

I did look at it and we turned it in and we'll see. My opinion doesn't matter. We'll turn it in. I'm anxious to get the interp from the league to see if we are all on the same page of what we're looking for and how the block is going to be officiated.

Is that hard to teach, what that rule is?

It's been a little bit challenging. Like a lot of things, I don't think the rule is bad. It's just all of the fringe plays out there trying to make sure you're teaching everything correctly to your players. Probably like everything else, you'll probably have some innocent guys get penalties that are trying to do it the right way in the name of safety I think that type of collateral damage is a good thing for our game. But we've drilled it and we've spent time with it because it affects everybody too. Affects the guys on defense as well. So we think we've done a good job teaching it. I'm anxious to see what the league thinks of that play and how it's going to be officiated.

So they'll tell you if they should have called a penalty?

We turn it in and say in my opinion this should be called. Give me the interp tell them to talk to me and they'll say either yes it should have been or no it shouldn't, this is why, and sometimes if you're not satisfied you just pick up the phone and call them saying coach me through this so we can coach our players. That's all we want.

Comments

Nice to hear about Brock, hope this kids pancakes the shit out of people in the next two seasons. On a personal note we have to beat ODU, the ish talking from my wife and her friends who barely watch sports has been unbearable this past year...

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

KCCO

Note to everyone who believes that we were promised a 'fast' offense when Fuente got here.

I've always said that I do not believe in, and some people do, in going as fast as you can all the time.

Sometimes I feel like the only one who remembers that he's been on the record as saying that fast for fast's sake isn't his MO.

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

He wants the Hokies to dictate tempo, no matter what the speed is. Tech wants to deal the cards. They aren't very adept at that yet either. There are some drives when the pace (no matter its speed) is great and everything is clicking. There are plenty of other times when it's stuck in neutral.

The best offensive drives against BC were the two where we pushed Tempo!

Did we turn the ball over both drives we turned up the tempo?

Twitter me

feels like the first two or three drives of every game are stuck in neutral and I thought that would end with Beamer.

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

Actually, the opposite was true last season. The first two drives usually ended in points, and then the next 3 quarters were slow af.

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

Opening statement translated: You don't want to be here, I don't want to be here, let's just get this over with.

Coincidentally, the same way I feel watching games these days.

I don't think this is the case at all. He's succinct and to the point. No fluff, let's get this thing rolling. That was a pretty long presser and he took a lot of questions, especially about Brock. He's focused on moving forward and preparing for the game this weekend. I actually appreciate the fact that he didn't add in a bunch of BS to the opening statement.

β€œTHE CUP IS GOING NOWHERE MIKEY!!! THEY DID IT SOMEHOW!!”

First instead of reading the transcript go and watch the video you don't get that impression at all.

Second when someone asked have a met anyone who will just stop watching the team, well here is that kind of person.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Nowhere did I say I would stop watching the team. But it is getting less and less enjoyable. Watching and rooting for sports teams should be enjoyable, and we don't have near enough of that these days. You just get numb to losing after a while and it doesn't mean as much. That's my issue, not that I won't watch the team.

Bingo. I refuse to let Tech football dictate my weekends. If I'm going to enjoy spending time with my wife or being productive instead of getting frustrated at a football game then I'm going to do that. Shaming people who would prefer to not watch the games is so stupid.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

The point others are trying to make is that you can actually watch a game without letting it ruin your weekend. Considering Virginia Tech has never won a national title in any sport, we've had plenty of opportunities to practice being disappointed in an outcome without letting it affect your quality of life.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

That's fine. And the point we are trying to make is that if there's something else we'd rather do and get enjoyment out of we will opt for that instead of being disappointed. Easy concept.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

I find it ironic to see fans threaten to no longer sit on their couch and watch a football game, as if that's some sort of commendable sacrifice, when so many call out players entering the transfer portal as quitters. Just saying.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Reach a little further Chief. It ain't that deep.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

See, I specifically said "so many" fans instead of "you" because I don't keep a spreadsheet of every poster's stance on every issue. But would you dispute that many fans have referred to transfers as quitters?

Anyway if you want to spend an extra 3 hours on Twitter instead of rooting for your team, be my guest. It's a free country after all.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Then why say it in response to me at all? You keep putting words in my mouth. I won't spend three hours on twitter. And just because I don't watch a game doesn't mean I'm not rooting for Tech. I am dumbfounded by your argument here.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

Anyway if you want to spend an extra 3 hours on Twitter instead of rooting for your team, be my guest. It's a free country after all.

If this was your attempt to not look like an ass, it failed

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

It was more of a response to condescendingly being called "Chief," as most people will recognize that as popularized on Twitter. I'll apologize to VT_Warthog for taking the bait and escalating on that one though.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I swear I wasn't trying to bait you. It's just a word. I feel very strongly about the NCAA's transfer rules and didn't appreciate being accused of calling transferring players quitters when I'm simply choosing to spend my weekends in other ways. It's not fair to me or others that choose to prioritize their weekends in different ways.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

I replied to your post because my observation was spurned by that conversation but it was not directed specifically at you. I see how it would be interpreted that way based on the message board format but I would have quoted you if I was specifically addressing something you said.

I do disagree that calling someone chief is unknowingly innocent and believe it's intended to be subtly condescending and assert dominance but I have no desire to get into an argument over it.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Catching downvotes on multiple threads usually means it's time to stop for a while.

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

I've seen frequent posters with the most a relatively high total of legs on TKP cuss out other users and minimize the lifelong impact of a player's broken neck compared to a 1-0 start. I'll live with a few downvotes from the folks that have self-proclaimed to have given up on VT football.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

pretty sure MacGruber isn't close to the most legs but forget it, you're rolling

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

Ahh I was wondering WTH was going on with that comment.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

He's talking about the assholes at the top of the big board, duh.

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

Being an asshole is a process that takes dedication and determination, and shouldn't just be handed out all willy nilly. I find it appalling that shakeitallabout we be so careless with the use of this description across the entire top of the big board, lumping in a bunch of people who just don't deserve it, that's just uncalled for. I take great pride in my assholery and find it horrible that we would be bestowed such an honor when it was so well earned by someone else.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

West Philadelphia born and raised...

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

KCCO

I used the plural noun posters because I wasn't referring to the singular poster with the most legs (and yes we all know who that is because Alum07 would never let anyone forget). MacGruber is top 50 in legs so personally I don't think it's disingenuous to include him when referring to posters with the most legs. So no, I don't believe my post was deceitful.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Holy shit you love you some semantics don't you?

I am a strong proponent of being as objective and specific as possible for in-depth discussions but believe me, I had zero expectation that someone was going to try to call me out on that part of that post.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I had no idea he was top 50 tbh, I just assumed he wasn't close to the top based on how many times I've seen his posts blurred out

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

Quantity over quality

See I don't look as wins and losses as the end all of enjoying the games. Otherwise how would the Browns have any fans the last 20 years for example. Only one team each year in modern football win the championship should every other fan base not enjoy the games and the season. Hell even in bad losses like Tech has had way too many over the years is is still not fun to see the tea, play, individual players doing something fun to see or if lucky enough being able to go to the games?

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

See I don't look as wins and losses as the end all of enjoying the games

Yea I really agree with this. Boise state weekend and the two Alabama games in ATL were some of my favorite VT Football weekends, because I got to spend time and do fun things with my friends.

Twitter me

Ain't gonna lie.

I have WAY more fun when the Hokies are stomping some poor team into the ground. I want the TerrorDome back. I want to see Dblock swag. I want Sacksburg.

But I'm not gonna get mad either way. #sports

Leonard. Duh.

Gotta love the Leonard.

#LeonardFanClub

But it is getting less and less enjoyable. Watching and rooting for sports teams should be enjoyable, and we don't have near enough of that these days.

Yep that's me.

There were times in the past where a game like the one this year would have pissed me off. Now? Meh, what's the point in getting frustrated over something you knew wasn't going to be good anyway? I'm finding I'm just not invested at all in the team right now. Will I watch all the games? Sure. Will I head up to a game? Probably. Am I going to care if we lose? Nah, probably not, in fact for most games its the expected result anyway.

And yeah, that does mean that apathy is starting to sink in. Down the line, will this mean I will probably skip games if I find something better to do? Most likely. I'm not going to be going out of my way to avoid it, but if something else pops up, it would no longer be a huge weekend priority. I know this, because I just went through it with the Carolina Hurricanes down here, and I saw it happen on a wide scale, and I am seeing the early stages of that apathy set in here.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

My earlier comments on the press conference intro just made me think of a larger issue I've been wondering about: is our fan base, program, and football culture just becoming normalized to losing at this point? There was a time when VT football expected to be in the national championship picture every year, and when we lost it hurt like hell. When we no longer meet that standard, we simply said ah 10 wins and play for the ACC is good enough. That eroded, and it was the bowl streak/win streak/UVA as the new floor. Its upsetting to watch this program fall from what it once had going for it and slowly spiral to what it is becoming: a no identity team that has forgotten how to win.

The 1-0 mantra works great when you're winning - compartmentalize the highs so you don't get complacent. I'm worried that it's not working when we are losing. Are we getting upset enough when we lose that we dig down deep (players and coaches) and figure out what we have to do to improve from week to week? They say the definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results. Wins be damned, Fuente/Corn are going to play their scheme and not adjust to patterns we've seen play out for some time now. Do we truly learn from anything when we lose anymore? Or do we say let's just move on, and the season's meaning is only the numbers in the win loss column?

I won't stop watching the team, but I simply feel numb when we tally another loss. I know we will just march into the next week and try again. But that's the sad reality of where we are now, we don't have an identity that knows how to win anymore. I just want to have that feeling that we went out and did our best, didn't beat ourselves, and to actually feel like losing means something again.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I'm not advocating for folks to stop watching the team play but for me, win or lose, I'm going to enjoy every minute of every game this year. I've spent the last 6 years deployed at one point or another during the football season. I've missed more games over that 6 years than I've seen. Missing as much VT football over these last 6 years has made me realize that given the opportunity to watch every game in a season I'm going to take that opportunity and enjoy the crap out of it.

β€œTHE CUP IS GOING NOWHERE MIKEY!!! THEY DID IT SOMEHOW!!”

Typing on your phone, complaining on your phone is not meaningful discussion.

I feel attacked.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Do you need a safe space to go to?

Edit: /s?

β€œTHE CUP IS GOING NOWHERE MIKEY!!! THEY DID IT SOMEHOW!!”

Please respect me, I am a special snowflake.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

I'll put an insane amount of money on ODU's first play of the game being a fade to Kumah and i pray that the best case scenario for them on that is getting a defensive PI. If we let him catch it, i might just turn the game off.

Gobble Till You Wobble

Thanks for writing this up. I begrudgingly read through it to see if there was anything to assuage my concerns. I think most fans feel this way as we got a lot of talk during the off-season and the on-field product did not backup a word of it. All of these press conference just feel like lip service and I won't really take the words into consideration until I start to see some changes on the field.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

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

I don't understand what anyone thinks Fuente could possibly say in a press conference that's going to be some sort of magical panacea. Hell, a central theme in his press conference was essentially that he knows the team needs to improve but there are no overnight fixes so they are going to get to work. How do people take issue with that? Isn't that the exact blue collar, lunch pail mentality we claim to embrace?

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I mean I thought people would be happy he said "coaches need to improve".

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

It's becoming clear to me that many fans, or at least the most vocal ones, are not going to be happy no matter what at this point. It's especially disappointing because we all thought we would be the exception when replacing a legendary Hall of Fame coach- after all, Virginia Tech supports their own and values loyalty. When Fuente was one of the hottest coaching names only a few years ago, he upheld his end of that bargain. He publicly stated he didn't even entertain those openings and was exactly where he wanted to be for the long haul. Yet here we are... one 6-7 season and the fanbase has become a bloodthirsty mob, abandoning the program and demanding that Fuente be fired.

The thing is, I hate losing football games. For a large portion of my life, I let the outcome of games dictate my happiness and ruin my nights and weekends, as others here have discussed. Life and kids changed things to the point where it's not an option to let a football game ruin my weekend because that's not fair to my family. Even though I rarely get to watch games in real time these days, I appreciate it so much more when I get the chance to relax, watch a sport that I love, and support my school. Losing is no longer the end of the world.

Anyway, my view is that Fuente took over program that had already significantly declined and he almost accomplished something very special in 2016. We did fairly well in 2017 considering Josh Jackson was not a superstar recruit and only a redshirt freshman, we lost most of our offensive playmakers to the NFL, and Phillips battled injuries much of the season. Last year was brutal, there's no getting around that, but I'm willing to show some patience with a coach who fully embraced Hokie Nation and demonstrated loyalty to VT when he likely had other opportunities.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I think winning cures all ills, and the program has had some setbacks that I'm not sure can be overcome with coaching. The team can do some big things this year. I think we have the talent to beat Notre Dame, for example. However, the attrition the program has faced in the last 18 months will have a fairly long tail, and some of those setbacks are DUE to the type of leadership at the top. Fuente is a great football mind and I like him, but football knowledge alone doesn't cut it at this level. The language he uses at times is really negative, part of step 1 is eliminating that variable.

"How you doin', Randy?"

I think you're making a really good point here.

Fuente is clearly frustrated and it comes out. But he needs to turn that fire into a different kind of energy for the team.

Damn right!

"How you doin', Randy?"

When Fuente is talking to the media, he is also speaking to his team - to compare to the professional world, this is a performance review in public. I thought the tone here was way better than the post-game, especially regarding the defense. These guys need some inspiration and beyond the 'finger pointing' that I sensed last year, Fuente also tends to have a negative skew on things. For example, regarding the defense after BC, "I thought they played decent", was the primary point of his response, ending with "It certainly could have been better".

What the heck are the players and coaches supposed to do with this type of commentary? You can EASILY convey the same challenges but exchange the glum commentary with high notes of the day, and END on a high note for your organization. Whether any one likes it or not, the leaders words make a huge impact on their team. Has anyone here ever worked for someone like that? One might say that he or she 'sucks it up' when the boss is focusing on negatives, or avoiding praise, but in my experience this does not work well, especially with large groups.

These kids are out here working their tails off so focus on the positives, especially in public, and address the negatives in a productive and inspirational way. If Fuente can do this, I think the incremental effects start to snowball inside that group.

"How you doin', Randy?"

I agree.

Inspirational comes across better than muted after a tough loss. Doesn't seem to come naturally to Fuente.

Thanks, yeah, I think 'muted' is slightly generous. Saying that the defensive group played decent is by definition a middle of the road eval, but ending it with "it certainly could have been better" tints the assessment.

"How you doin', Randy?"

I agree to an extent. What (and how) Fuente and the coaches say to the players directly matters a lot more. If that channel of communication isn't going well, the press conference doesn't matter at all (at least in how it affects the players).

Totally agree! This still matters though and I think the issue is the PARADIGM through which Fuente views and expresses his thoughts on his team and their performance. I have a hard time believing that his PARADIGM is totally different in one room versus another.

Take the negative, and turn it to the positive. That's all.

"How you doin', Randy?"

This is a great post and I just want to say this is one of the reasons I think Dabo has been so successful. Having said that Nick Saban and Bill Belichek are the opposite but they both win. All of these coaches demand excellence and they have the track record to prove it but they have surrounded themselves with great coaches and they act as a CEO.

One thing I noticed that Coach Beamer started doing around 2008 or 2009 when his beamerball website was still active is that he would always convey(I think Bud did this as well) how much effort the players put forth. He would always start out with "I dont question the kids effort, we know they are playing hard" and then discuss what adjustments need to be made. I think Coach Fu could be better in this department, but as long as he starts winning, he can stand up there and give one sentence answers like Belichek.

These aren't one sentence answers in this presser though. I agree that he needs to try and be more positive after a loss, or just show an energy that can help motivate the team instead of possibly making them more depressed about the loss.

--
"It's time to go play Virginia Tech Football longer and harder than anybody else in America!!" -- Justin Fuente
"I put a brick in Sacksburg today." -- Cam Phillips

I was using hyperbole. My main point was that winning cures everything and I don't think people care how you act as long as your winning. Like Bruce Smiff states below, if he was winning and saying the defense was playing decent, that could be seen as a motivational tactic to get them to play better. If you go too negative(I dont think his comments were that bad, just his delivery) then that can get into the teams psyche and make them try TOO hard..

Thanks for the comment/compliment on the post. You're right about Saban and Belichick. No one style works for every person, team, or situation, but when your team went through what they went through last year, and after the very difficult loss on Saturday, I don't think Fuente really has an option but to continue to do certain things differently. I don't care what the surrounding circumstances are, there is always room to recognize and praise the team, and there is no time it is needed more than now.

Negativity can undermine your teams talent and your coaching staffs abilities. Fuente can ensure that this isn't the case. I hope he does. I think he has too much talent elsewhere to let this be the thing that tamps everything down.

"How you doin', Randy?"

Just put 50 points on ODU this weekend and I'll forget about last year and last week.

These pretzels are making me thirsty.

... as long we dont give up 51+ points in the process

Just put 50 100 points on ODU this weekend and I'll forget about last year and last week.

Brock sounds like such a hardworking dude. You love to read stuff like that.

I really like the statement about Brock. While not attacking the NCAA, Coach Fu basically said they were a bunch of idiots that were not in the business of looking out for student athletes. At least that's what I took from it.

I liked everything he said, but I wish he had just one small line in sprinkled in there somewhere that had been more direct. Something like, "If the NCAA had used just an ounce of common sense they would have done the right thing, the common sense thing, and declared Brock immediately eligible. But I guess the NCAA doesn't have that much common sense to spare."

Okay, so maybe that is way more direct than Feunte would ever be. He just didn't want to call out the NCAA, rather he called out the process. I wish he would call out the people who have created, established, and continue to arbitrarily regulate the process.

But I do appreciate Fuente opening up about it, and it was a very measured statement.

--
"It's time to go play Virginia Tech Football longer and harder than anybody else in America!!" -- Justin Fuente
"I put a brick in Sacksburg today." -- Cam Phillips

I mean, he basically called them "asshats" in coachspeak.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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How do you feel about the pace of the offense you guys kind of had a few extended methodical drives. Would you prefer to be faster at times? What was your kind of thoughts on the pace of the offense.

To me the pace should be manipulated. At times you'd like to be able to push the pace a little bit, and at times you try to slow it down a little bit. I don't know, I'd like for it to be a mix. I've always said that I do not believe in, and some people do, in going as fast as you can all the time. I just don't think that's productive for your entire team. I think it's good for yards and stats and that sort of stuff, but I don't think it's good for your entire team. Some balance in between there of those two is kind of what we're shooting for.

This right here tells me that the team has identity crisis (As per French in his review) particularly on offense. So far we had a Solid year 1 in the Fuente system. Year 2 and beyond, things just haven't been very clean on offense. I particularly look at the lack of a running game and the turnovers. We can't setup any of our throws off the running game because there is not much of a threat, they aren't even faking the Jet sweeps anymore hence, the defense goes in zone knowing that we are going to throw the ball. The interceptions and turnovers are not all on Ryan Willis either, On one of the plays you could tell Mitchell is too far wide, he later adjusted and cut in to make a TD grab. On the Willis fumble, he was hit blind sided, even the announcer was saying, a man cannot come in that free on your QB especially that far back in your side of the field. Another was on the OLineman where he didn't even put his hands on the BC Dlineman, We need better protection. As for the running game, this is year 4 - no more excuses, I mean if they want to do Jet sweeps and dink and dunks with the Running backs thats fine but its not even that anymore, all we were doing was a delayed hand off. King himself looks very promising so that design for the running game needs to be better. McClease is fine too, if it is speed that we have why don't we do the pitch, a little pitch toss and get them going outside, something is better than nothing.

As for the Defense, yes we could be better and hopefully there are no injuries. I would say that we certainly looked like an improved unit. Feels like they at least have that Bud Foster Identity. We'll have a hard time against the Notre Dames and Pitts and UVA but overall, its much better than last year.

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Not trying to be a dick but I don't see the connection between what you quoted from the press conference and the rest of your post.

I mean if they want to do Jet sweeps and dink and dunks with the Running backs thats fine but its not even that anymore,

The difference between a running play looking like dink and dunk and a big play is making a defender miss. For some reason it doesn't seem like the RBs are able to slip tackles even when they do break into open space. It certainly hasn't happened enough in recent years, but even when it has I think about Dalton Keene's TD against Duke and a few of Willis' first down runs. I don't know if I can recall a single specific play with the RBs and that is a huge problem.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

King did it against BC. He took a run through the tackles after making a beautiful foot in the ground change of direction behind the LOS. Got 10 or 11 on it.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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Yeah, I have to think we need to be able to pop at least a few 10+ yard runs each game and then the occasional 30+ yard run. Not having that threat severely limits an offense any time you get behind the chains.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Said it in 2016. If the Hokies had run a Fuente/Corn style offense in 2010 with Tyrod, RMFW, and David Wilson...

Good Lord, man.

Even in 2011 with LT and David Wilson. Logan could run read option just as well as or better than Jerod Evans.

Leonard. Duh.

See last offensive play of the Miami game. Everyone was so scared of what Wilson would do to the outside that they forgot to cover the Tank Engine steaming through the middle for the TD.

Click here to destroy wall.

probably the best playcall of the Ocainspring era

1 or 2 Plays later King was pulled. He wasn't asking for a Sub. Difference in other games I saw this weekend is that running backs got a whole series, if they get tired, they tap their Helmet to ask for a sub. I think this makes a whole lot of sense in terms of not getting into Rhythm. I could see them maybe pulling the RB out on third down but just switching personnel willy nilly doesn't make sense at all

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BC subbed out a lot. It's the new normal King even talked about it as part of his recruitment and something he liked about Tech. The days of one back getting a majority of carries is coming to an end.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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If youre referring to the series i think you are (3rd quarter scoring drive) the next plays were passing plays. Maybe they preferred a more experienced rb in there for passing plays

Agreed, I'd have to go back and watch, but I remember rewinding a single play once or twice that was a King carry. It was the first I've seen in a while where one gap was closing and one of our RB's (King) planted and switched to left (I think) side of a blocker for an additional 5 yards. It was vision.

I feel like McClease has been on the verge of these runs so, so many times, but has not been able to put it together. I remember another play where he put his head down and ran into 2 BC defenders, one was being blocked. Had he run with vision, there was open room to his right and in front (northeast, if that makes sense)....which also means he wouldn't have had to stop his momentum. One of the defenders would've had to dive and grab an ankle to get him, but instead he just plowed into the defense.

The difference between a running play looking like dink and dunk and a big play is making a defender miss. For some reason it doesn't seem like the RBs are able to slip tackles even when they do break into open space. It certainly hasn't happened enough in recent years, but even when it has I think about Dalton Keene's TD against Duke and a few of Willis' first down runs. I don't know if I can recall a single specific play with the RBs and that is a huge problem.

I tend to agree with this. All i'm saying is that there is no real identity of any sort of a running game, even a mix of it or the type of plays. I just don't see making someone miss as a strategy. Sorry maybe I'm spoiled from the Beamer days of having strong running backs

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