OT: WVU's Situation Puts Things in Perspective

I came across an article on Twitter that was about WVU's current rebuild. For those of you who don't follow the Mountaineers, they barely squeaked by JMU in week 1, 20-13. They followed that up with a loss to Missouri 38-7, who lost to Wyoming and isn't even playing for a bowl game this season. It could have been worse honestly.

Things have been tough for us recently. Between the 6-7 season, tough opener to Boston College, and less than inspiring performance against Old Dominion, there hasn't been a lot to be giddy about recently. After reading this article, though, it could definitely be worse.

WVU and VT are similar programs. In fact, both place first and second respectively in wins for programs without a national championship. Budgets, recruiting restraints, and fan support are all similar. What hasn't been similar, though, are coaching transitions.

Frank Beamer left on good terms and left the program in a good way. All we needed that we didn't have before was a quarterback (albeit a very good quarterback, but still). Frank cared enough to get out when the program still had wheels, and he made the transition more than smooth.

Holgorsen on the other hand.... Left as soon as his offense was completely gutted and made no effort to recruit to replace them, has consistently made subtle jabs at WVU since arriving at Houston, and overall made the transition an absolute nightmare for Neal Brown.

It's no secret that we're not where we want to be right now. We would have liked to not have gone 6-7 last year, won the opener against Boston College, and dominated Old Dominion. But, at the end of the day, we have the longest active bowl streak in the country, we have a 15-game win streak over our biggest rival, we have a lot of young, talented players in our program, and the Coastal championship is still a realistic possibility this season. We are a Ryan-Willis-not-having-a-meltdown away from 2-0, and we have an opportunity to build some momentum before we get to the bulk of our schedule. We're not (knock on wood) staring 2-10 or 3-9 in the eyes like WVU is, and our rebuild is well underway (and was never horrible).

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's just a matter of whether or not Fuente can lead us there. He led Memphis there from the depths of despair. Let's see if he can do the same with us.

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Comments

Worse yet Tech could have the never ending troubles of Tennessee's football program.

Accept mediocrity because there is a risk we could (continue to) be bad in the future? I don't agree. There are always risks with coaching changes, but you can't handcuff yourself and bury the program further just because you can point at a terribly run athletic department at another school.

The question is are the odds greater for Fuente righting the ship in the next three years versus making the right hire that can do the same?

The concern of things staying the same is only exceeded by the fear of change

Get rich or die trying.

Recruit Prosim

Its not accepting mediocrity its having realistic expectations and not allowing ourselves to get overly worked up over a bunch of kids playing a sport. Its also called giving him a chance to prove himself hes had to endure alot of turn over since frank left and is going to have to prove himself this year but hold the fucking pitch forks for after the season.

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

I think I agree with your broader point -- you can't be afraid of the challenges that need to be tackled to have a successful program at the highest level.

Having said that, it always grind my gears when my buddy (who is an Eagles fan) talks about "accepting mediocrity" as if rings-or-bust every year is a realistic place for a sports fan to be, and the subtle dig being that if my idea of a successful year for the Giants is "they're at least competitive into the 4th quarter of games and daniel jones is somehow better as a pro than he was a duke" instead of his goal of "the eagles win the super bowl", that i'm a more mediocre fan than he is.

The difference, as always, seems to be a perspective of appreciating the program or team for what it is vs viewing the program for its deficiencies relative to where we want it to be.

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

Yeah I definitely don't think we're 'rings or bust' - we've got too much work to do, but I do want to see progression. We're in year 4 and have really only seen progress at the WR position, and have a lot of the same issues across the board we've seen since CJF and staff took over. Beyond that, it's hard to say we're on a great trajectory. Add in the 70some odd recruiting class and it's challenging to look at our situation and just keep saying "well at least we're not [insert terribly run program]" like that is our destiny if we go through a coaching change. I get Beamer here forever spoiled us, but caching changes aren't weird, nor are they a death sentence. To think that's the only, or even the likely outcome, is frustrating. I don't see 6-7 or 7-6 seasons that much better than 5-7 or 4-8, which is where Tennessee has been, especially considering our schedule is a hell of a lot easier.

Coaching changes aren't weird because they happen so often (largely without success). When I get time I will research to see of anybody has ever put together a good write up on the success rate of coaching changes.

The concern of things staying the same is only exceeded by the fear of change

Risk torpedoing the program at the first bump in the road with a new head coach with an eight figure buyout? No thank you.

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

Money is a human construct but a MNC is forever.

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

we may disagree where the 'first bump' occurred.

While at this moment Tenn is having some issues, let's not forget they don't have an empty trophy case. Which begs the question....

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

You're absolutely right.

The Empty Trophy Case was the source of our power. Put that baby back in Merryman!

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

There is a short list things in this world that make me happier than to see wvu suck.

I'm sorry but as much as I like to see WVU suck it doesn't make me feel any better about our program.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

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

That WVU v. Baylor game from a few years ago was one of the most ridiculous offensive performances I've ever seen

WVU is going to have a hard time going forward. Playing in a conference outside your region without real rivals, especially when your team is struggling, makes the brand go stale fast.

Our brand isn't great right now, but we are generally in the running in Nov for the coastal against Miami, UNC, and UVA, which is easy for fans to get behind. WVU doesn't have that.

also, every other year, we have the following conference home schedule:
GT, Miami, BC, LOLUVa

Conference away schedule:
UNC (home game), Duke (home game), Pitt (not terribly far outside our main fan footprint)

Easier to keep fan engagement when almost every conference game is within easy travel distance.

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)..

Fuck the ACC for making us go to Miami and Boston the same year and having our division opponents in NC on the same home/away schedule.

Click here to destroy wall.

yes, that would be the glass half empty way of looking at it. Every other year sucks, but the other years are quite nice. I can legitimately make it to 6 ACC games.

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)..

This is their 8th year competing in the Big 12. It's not a new concept. Their brand has always been regional - die hards in the tri state area really, so that doesn't change. What changes is that games against Texas and Oklahoma are a hell of a lot better than Uconn and Cincy. They should resume the Pitt series annually though but I don't think their "brand" is hurt at all playing in the Big 12.

Dana Holgerson is not in the same universe as Frank Beamer as a human being or as a football coach. One is a selfless class act hall of famer, the other is a frat boy drunk asshole that knows an air raid offense. Different ends of the spectrum as human beings and coaches. In terms of where we are as a program, the two frustrating things are that while the offense is improved from the worst of Stiney, it's still not explosive and doesn't dictate games like we all thought it would with Fuente coming in. And secondly, a lot of our issues right now are self-inflicted and things we could in fact control but did not properly. We are in decent shape, but we didn't hire decent when we hired Fuente. We hired someone to elevate the program.

Nor is Rich Rod or Don Nehlen or Bill Stewart....it's a forced comparison by those that either see it as a want for a rivalry, or just ease of proximity.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

That's my point. While our programs are similar, our transition from one coach to another was not which is why their situation makes me think we could have it way worse.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

Not being at the same level of the dumpster fires in Morgantown, Tallahassee, and Knoxville doesn't make me feel better about watching the ongoing backslide of VT football.

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

Side Note: The 76ers process sucked ass. They are not going to win a title with Embiid and Simmons- whose range is 6 feet, but gets garbage time triple doubles. They whiffed on Noel and Fultz and their fans had to sit through 3 dreaful seasons. the process was a total disater. Give me Bellichick's or Saban's "process" over tanking and whiffing on draft picks to get to 3rd in the east maybe. LOL.

Give me Bellichick's or Saban's "process" over tanking and whiffing on draft picks to get to 3rd in the east maybe. LOL.

Very realistic situation you painted here. Just go out and do what Bellichick and Saban do. Those coaches certainly grow on trees.

What's
Important
Now

You miss the point. did Bellichick purposely draft injured and foreign players when he took over the Pats? Did he draft a QB that couldn't throw #1 overall? That is not his "process". His "process" is attention to detail, out prepare the other team, prepare for every situation, find players that love football, etc. Not to "tank" and hope you find a good player from turkey

That's the strategy the NY Giants GM is currently employing. It isn't working out to well.

What's
Important
Now

That is one interpretation of The Process, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise. First, the majority (65%) of the fan base was tired of being a 7-8 seed or missing the playoffs every year and drafting in the range of "potential starters". Sam Hinkie sold ownership and the fans on tanking to increase the odds of drafting superstar(s). He never claimed that they would bat 1.000 in regards to the draft, but he increased the assets that have turned the franchise into the Top 2 contenders for the East and a Top 5 for the title for the foreseeable future. Embiid is a generational talent and Simmons is already an All-Star and last year's "flawed" team was a crazy bounce from O.T. Vs. the champs.

Fultz got hurt after the draft, but was the consensus #1 pick by just about everyone, so misfortune struck, not a bad process. If ownership would have let Hinkie finish the job (Colangelo screwed it up a bit), 76ers would still have amazing assets and be in a similar position to compete for titles for the next decade and beyond.

Regardless, most Philly fans agreed with The Process when it began and during the brutal years of losing and are now being rewarded. Are there other ways of doing it? Sure, and what Brooklyn did over the last 5 years is amazing, but they lost a lot too.

The NBA, Adam Silver, and dcwilson40 are going to keep crying about The Process, but parades are coming to Broad Street! In Hinkie we trust! Go Sixers!

I'm sorry if you purchased a ticket while Hinkie drafted players he knew had major injuries or wouldn't come right away from overseas. I feel sorry for you. And like the Oakland A's, I'll credit Hinkie when the sixers actually win something.

fan support are all similar

Nope

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

I meant in terms of alumni base, donations, and stadium capacity. VT fans who didn't attend VT are ten times better than WVU fans that didn't attend WVU.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

Nicely written, but this personally doesn't make me feel even a little better about the state of our program right now and it's future.

We're not (knock on wood) staring 2-10 or 3-9 in the eyes like WVU is, and our rebuild is well underway (and was never horrible).

I respectfully disagree with this whole statement. Barring a catastrophe, we will probably have more than 2-3 wins, but we could also very realistically only hit 4-5 if things don't improve. I think we will get more, but also wouldn't be surprised if we didn't. Also, in regards to the second part of this sentence, I just don't see a rebuild underway which scares me the most. Our recruiting has not taken off, we have not been able to develop talent at key skill positions, and I personally have very little confidence in about 50% of our coaches and their ability to produce at this level. I hope more than anyone that I can eat my words and this program revives itself with the current administration on-board, but it's just very hard for me to see the trajectory and bright spots for the future right now. However, you better bet your ass that I'll be {blindly} cheering for them on Saturday as hard as I can. Just my $0.02.

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

I also suspect we'd be looking very differently at our potential record if our schedule included NCSU instead of Wake, and Penn St instead of Furman or URI.

To be seriously talking about the realistic possibility we might only hit 4 or 5 wins when our schedule includes Furman, URI, and OSU as our OOC slate and Wake as our cross divisional opponent is... worrisome on how it would be during a typical year.

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

Why are people assuming Wake will be an easy win? They are doing pretty good so far.

C'mon man, it's a gimme. Start celebrating!

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

I realize it could be worse, but this gives me no pleasure or comfort. As much as I like seeing WVu fail, it's almost more worrisome that if we don't get our shit together, this could be us

Exactly -- it's just as much a cautionary tale as it is a consolation

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

I do not think your comparison to WVU is an apples-to-apples comparison. Nor does it make me feel any better about our program, looking at WVU, UT, and FSU. Instead I look at UVA and UNC and feel worse about our program.

But back to the WVU comparison, I will say yes, Fuente inherited a team year one that was in much better shape than WVU. However, if Fuente never got into the hole that WVU is in, so should he not be clicking on all cylinders now? He should be, but he is not.

Instead, year one was his best year, and it has been downhill from there: 10-4, 9-4, and now 6-7. The first two games this year do not look inspiring. And this is result is with Beamer giving him the year one gift!

So Neal Brown is in a hole year one, made by his predecessor. Fuente is in a hole years three and four, made by Fuente. Hate to be pessimistic, but this fact does not inspire confidence.

Have to disagree, Fuente's problem is the lack of players on the team from the 2014 and 2015 recruiting classes. When Fuente has a decent crop of seniors and RS seniors on the team, then I will judge him. The fact that Fuente did well his first two seasons with what he had for players gives me optimism for the coming years when our young pups become bigger dogs.

VTCC '86 Delta Company, Hokie in Peru, TKPC#490, One of us!

This isn't a well coached team regardless of seniority. We are averaging 2.8 YPC through 2 games. We could play 5 true freshman OL and that would still be bad. Fuente has had time. We aren't well coached.

Let's talk about these 2014 and 2015 classes: Fuente has had 2016 (not full year), 2017, 2018, and 2019 classes to help patch those supposed holes. I'll be generous and call that 3 and a quarter classes to make up for 2014 and 2015.

Here's some of the hits from our 29th ranked 2015 class:
- Tim Settle (NFL)
- Yosh Nijman (multi-year starter)
- Mook Reynolds (multi-year starter, kicked off team)
- Tremaine Edmunds (NFL)
- Trevon Hill (starter, would have been multi-year but kicked off team)
- Deshawn McClease (starter, multi-year contributor)
- Adonis Alexander (NFL)
- Houshun Gaines (starter, leave of absence for family/personal reasons)
- Tyrell Smith (utility contributor)
- Chris Cunningham (multi-year starter, transferred)
- Zachariah Hoyt (starter/contributor)

Thats 11/21 enrollees that have been notable contributors to this team, thats about the 50% hit rate you look for in a recruiting class. This was not a failed class.

28th ranked 2014 class:
- Travon McMillian (multi-year starter, contributor)
- Ricky Walker (multi-year starter)
- Isaiah Ford (NFL, VT record holder)
- Cam Phillips (NFL, VT record holder)
- Vinny Mihota (multi-year contributor, starter)
- Terrell Edmunds (NFL)
- Greg Stroman (NFL)

7 major hits right here, and that's not including guys like Shai and Marshawn that would have been long-term contributors if their careers weren't derailed by injury. Or CJ Reavis who is in the NFL now also.

The Class that many others reference as a problem is the 48th ranked 2016 class shared by Fuente and Beamer's last year:
- Jerod Evans (great snag by Fuente)
- Divine Deable (multi-year starter)
- Josh Jackson (multi-year stater, injured then transferred)
- Khalil Ladler (multi-year starter/contributor)
- Reggie Floyd (multi-year starter/contributor)
- Eric Kumah (multi-year starter/contributor, transferred)
- Phil Patterson (current starter, multi-year contributor)
- Jovonn Quillen (multi-year contributor)
- Tyree Rodgers (multi-year contributor)
- Emmanuel Belmar (multi-year contributor, current starter)
- Jarrod Hewitt (multi-year starter/contributor)
- TJ Jackson (contributor)

That's 12/22 enrollees that have or are currently contributing. If you think guys on that list like maybe Quillen or Belmar aren't up to snuff to start for VT, then consider that Fuente has had 3 classes (2017, 2018, and 2019) to find someone who is better than them.

So here's my issue. This isn't anti-Fuente, this is anti narrative that we somehow set him up for failure. Some of our biggest problems right now have been unexpected attrition and the young guys. The young guys are all Fuente recruits at this point. The majority of the roster is now Fuente recruits. If we are having problems now, it has a lot to do with how we have recruited and developed players under Fuente. This is year 4.

He never said the 2014 and 2015 classes were "failures". His whole point was that, last year, we had very little senior leadership left on the roster from those two classes, and this year we have Tyrell Smith as the only 5th-year senior and McClease as a 5th year junior due to a medical redshirt remaining from the 2015 class, due to various sources of attrition over the last few years. The rest of our "senior leadership" transferred in and is a new face in the program comparatively.

And this is result is with Beamer giving him the year one gift!

The year one gift being a 7-6 team which gave up 52 points to a 6-7 Tulsa team in the bowl game and graduated the starting QB without a single potential replacement on the roster (seriously, we didn't have any scholarship QBs with remaining eligibility)?

But yeah, who here couldn't have won 10 games in that situation?

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

Brendan Motley came back for his senior year in 2016.

Well I'll be damned. I thought he was the same year as Brewer. I'd still maintain that the 2015 was far from elite and 2016 was a significant jump forward.

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

We were really only a legit QB away from a 10 win team though. This same team was leading the Buckeyes in the 3rd quarter and fell apart only when Brewer went down. Every loss was also close. The nucleus of talent on the team was very good, albeit not incredibly deep. I give Fuente a tremendous amount of credit for bringing in a QB of Evans' caliber, but he has since not been able to get anyone of that same ability on the roster, IMO. I think our offense would be significantly better with a game changing QB despite the schematic flaws. But also, considering the overall better depth at WR, I don't think we have any talents quite like Ford and Phillips at this point (Tre showing flashes but not yet a consistent big contributor), nor a RB quite to McMillian's caliber yet (tbd on King).

The way he used Evans that season certainly won't endear quarterbacks to the coaches in my opinion. Not a lot of quarterbacks like being battering rams. Some do, but ones with NFL aspirations don't. I think that is part of why Evans decided to leave. As long as our running game struggles, we're going to have to rely on the quarterback a lot when they are a good runner.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

Not easy to find a Nick Fitzgerald/Jerod Evans/Colin Klein type battering ram, but QP seems to have the body for it.

Edit: went on sports reference out of curiosity and in Collin Klein's two years starting he had 27 and 23 rushing touchdowns.