Dennis Dodd - Fuente sitting on 2nd Hottest Seat in college football going into 2021

2021 Hot Seat Rankings: Nine college football coaches with their jobs on the line this season

Justin Fuente - 5 (Win or be Fired) - Fuente reportedly came perilously close to losing his job last season. AD Whit Babcock held a mid-December press conference to calm speculation. A program that had one sub-.500 season since 1992 suffered its second losing season in the last three. A four-game losing streak to close was interrupted by a win over Virginia in the finale. The defense has to get better right away. The unit under coordinator Justin Hamilton allowed more than 32 points per game, the most since 1973. Fuente was once one of the bright young coaching prospects. Now, he has split his last 42 decisions (21-21). Coming off the Hokies worst season (5-6) in 28 years, there isn't much ledge left for Fuente. 2020 rating: 2

We're probably going to see his name popping up on all these lists going into this upcoming season. Don't think its underselling it at all to say this is probably the most important season VT football has had in a while, and one in which we need to see immediate results within. I hope they're up to the task.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

I agree. He will be judged on WL ultimately, as he should be. I personally will be very interested in seeing the kind of wins and losses we have. I'm probably more bullish than most on this season, but I don't really have all that much confidence. Basically my gut and my head are at odds.

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

I'm really worried about this season in 3 main areas.

1 - Lack of a consistent passer. Ongoing issue, but with BB likely leading the way again, I didn't see nearly enough last year for me to have confidence in his arm this year.
2 - Running game. Herbert was a one man wrecking crew that skewed our offensive rushing numbers last year. When he wasn't in the game, we sputtered, badly.
3 - DL depth. Recent entry, but we're absolutely gutted on the line. We are going to need everyone to stay healthy and fully rested all season, or things could get very dicey very quickly in this area.

The big thing here is that we need at least 2 of the above to really improve in order for the team to take a step forward, because as stated, Herbert was an answer for #2 last year. Do we have the answers on the roster right now to make those improvements in all 3? My heart hopes that we do, but my head says that's probably an unreasonable expectation to make.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Knox Kadum playing major minutes will cost Fu his job. That's the biggest issue in 2021. What happens if Burmeister cant play? Not good.

Agree. We went from an almost crowded qb room to an empty one overnight. I will be surprised if we don't have to run the wildcat at some point this season

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

We went from an almost crowded qb room to an empty one overnight.

That seems to be a trend with many position rooms for this coach.

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

In my mind, the razor's edge Fuente is living on right now, and will have to live on for the next few years, is tied heavily to QB play. This team is a QB away from either contention or complete meltdown. I could see this season going one of three ways - all directly related to Burmeister:
1. If Burmeister elevates his game a bit and stays healthy, we can win 9-10 games.
2. If Burmeister has hit his ceiling we are 5-7 win team
3. If Burmeister regresses or gets hurt, we likely have a losing record and Fu is gone.

I am actually hopeful that Burmeister can and will improve. I think he can be very effective in this offense. I think Fuente likes what he can do, but will use Blumrick as a QP-style battering ram to help keep Burmeister healthy. One fluke hit and Fuente's job is gone. Tough spot.

BUT, then rinse and repeat for next year, arguably with more pressure on QB, as quality team depth could be worse in 2022 than this year. Not only does Burmeister have to play well and stay healthy this year, but Fuente's future likely depends on one of his QB recruits being a difference maker - and fast.

We have not won 10 regular season games since 2011. I don't see anything near that with this team given the QB situation, defense (Bud Foster is not coaching these kids up), and overall razor thin experienced depth. I think 8 wins is a stretch, to be honest.

Yeah a lot of people don't seem to realize we have not been a good team in a decade at this point. The regression of our team was why Frank was effectively retired and we have literally not improved since that happened. The plan didn't work and seems to still not be working.

Is 10 regular season wins the floor for being called good? Seems like your setting the bar pretty high for good.

9 regular season wins out of 12 games is the floor for good.

There is definitely nuance here too. 8 wins in the SEC is still good. 8 wins in the ACC isn't. Especially in the Coastal. You can't just make blanket metrics to apply to all 130 FBS teams. Each league is different and the ACC is arguably the weakest of the P5 and the Coastal is arguably the weakest division in the P5. VT resides in the weakest division of the P5. 10 wins should not only be considered good, but it should be fairly reasonable to accomplish given the competition. Were VT in the SEC it would be a different story.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

My only disagreement with your point has to do more with the SEC being held up as the gold standard. They have had a good / very good run but, they haven't always been golden. There have been decades where the premier teams were from other parts of the country and the SEC was an after-thought.

The NCAA recognizes Princeton as having the most national football championships (28) with Yale a close second (27) https://www.si.com/college/2018/12/29/what-school-has-won-most-national-... I look forward to the time when the SEC gets taken down a peg or two. I would love it to be the VT and the ACC, but don't care if it is a conference made up of schools like a St Mary's All-Girls School of the Deaf and Blind.

Ut Prosim Ad Dei Gloriam

The SEC being taken down a peg or two probably means college football has died. That is, and will continue to be for as long as football survives, the most important region of the country for college football. That is simply where all the talent is and most of the fans are, and those trends are going up not down.

Technically UGA is the only SEC team that is the #1 school in their state AND has top notch in-state recruits.

But its hard to see how a conference like the Big 10 take over the SEC, they cant even keep count of how many teams they have.

The only way the SEC loses steam is massive scandal for multiple teams in which FBI is involved, because NCAA isn't killing their cash cow.

Not sure of your criteria for #1 In State, but UF?

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

But I thought the U is back this year! /s

yeah I thought about them and right now they are a better program than Miami or FSU, but historically they have been 3rd tier. If FSU didn't screw it up with Fisher then I dont think there would be any argument about UF.

In addition, UF only had the best recruiting class of the 3 the two years Taggart was at FSU. FSU consistantly recruits better than UF, which if you're the premier destination in a massively talent rich state then another instate school shouldn't be getting better recruits.

I don't really get your disagreement. The SEC is currently the high bar. Whether that was true 100 years ago or will be in 100 years doesn't matter. They are good right now (and have been for the better part of the last 10-15 years). My point, though, is more about how the leagues are on different levels relative to each other rather than which league is the best. There can't be a one-size-fits-all metric by which to compare every team. 10 wins is a great season in the SEC. In the ACC, 10 wins is a good season. 8 wins is nothing to sniff at in the B1G. 8 wins isn't that impressive in the ACC. If you win 9 games in the PAC10 nobody really cares. But a 9 win SEC team is still considered a top 20 team.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I agree with your relative thinking but I also think you exaggerate how bad the ACC is. Even if you say the ACC is the weakest conference, it is still full of great athletes and it is just damn hard to keep winning week in and week out against any competition. It kind of comes back to the quality losses discussion. Let's say South Carolina loses 4 games and 3 of them are to top ten teams. That doesn't mean they would have won those three games against weaker competition; it just means they weren't expected to win them to begin with.

I am probably rambling too much to make sense. Strength of Schedule is a real thing but it can also be full of bias. The SP+ type stats (in need of a cooler name) are getting better at seeing through it though.

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - K

Whether that was true 100 years ago or will be in 100 years doesn't matter.

The Ottoman Empire doesn't like your post.

My 2020 Season/Covid19 Challenge: only comment with Marvel memes.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

Sorry, just obligatory for me when I saw this comment.

"The NCAA recognizes Princeton as having the most national football championships (28) with Yale a close second (27)"

Bulldog, Bulldog, bow, wow, wow! (yeah I know it's lacrosse being shown)

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

QP-style battering ram- great comment. BB will not be able to run 20 times into the line of scrimmage with his frame. I hope we have someone to tote the rock- Holston and crew must be able to take the pounding, and let BB take off to the sideline for some big gains to keep the D honest. I hope BB can hold up for 12 games, if not, we will have a lonngggg season of misery.

If we do use use Blumrick as a QP-style battering ram as you suggest - makes sense - I'm hoping that he has several plays, including some passes in his package and it is not just 98% chance of QB power so you have every defense stacked against that and able to stuff it every single play. Would love to see some creativity with the offenses design. But with Corn, I'm not going to hold my breath for it.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

@2019 ND game

If VT is serious about building the program to actually win the ACC again and not making every excuse in the book why we can't, Dodd is spot on. I'm not convinced VT is all that serious about winning at that level though, which is sad.

I guess I understand the idea behind not going all on on football right now. It has never been more difficult than now to recruit against national brands, the playoff has 3 spots all but locked up before the season even begins, and fans want instant results with championships. Basketball probably has a much higher ROI and likelihood of national success. If I was investing in a VT sports program 3 years ago, I would have probably picked basketball as the most likely to succeed. Its possible that leadership in VT Athletics saw something similar.

Definitely 100% conjecture on my part.

Get Angry, Bud!

i can see your point. I think the tourney distorts hoops a bit. The season is a success if you are in the top 68

It used to be like that in CFB with the bowls and without the playoff. As we get further away from the instantiation of the CFP, the more and more I think it was a bad idea. I am thinking more and more the sport would be better off if we went back in time a bit, in terms of the postseason.

Get Angry, Bud!

There's a bigger pool of money in college football to be earned/won, but its much easier to get a significant portion of the smaller pool of money in basketball.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Also the scholarship requirements are MUCH less, there are a lot more games to get concession sales, marketing opportunities, and it is less dependent on high-level recruiting across all recruits year to year. 1 guy can make your class great in CBB, and he could stick around for 2-3 years if you get lucky. To get an equivalent thing in CFB, you need way more players and in major impact positions.

Get Angry, Bud!

Absolutely! You can get a much quicker ROI in basketball than football, and one recruiting class can take you from the sea of mediocre teams to an upper level in a hurry. In football, you really need at least 5 years worth of momentum for it to really hit.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Does that mean we're ready to go into Year One, now?

HTHokie93

I'll be honest, my interest in VT football (and college football in general) has been waning for the past few years. The competitive imbalance has gotten so much worse in the past decade that I wonder if it's even possible for VT to win a national championship, absent some transcendent player like Michael Vick. Chances are that kind of player would be going to Clemson or Alabama anyways, because a Vick wouldn't be overlooked by the big boys with the proliferation of camps these days.

It's like the normal uphill climb (which I enjoyed, a bit, VT being the underdog that punched upwards) has gotten so steep that it's impossible to climb upwards. The state of college football is on the decline, and my interest level is going along with it.

Basketball, now that's another story.

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

This has been me since about the 2nd half of the 2017 season.

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

If nothing else, the Premier League managed their schedule extremely well during the pandemic. No fans in the stadium, so we don't have to worry about away fans getting from Southampton back to Newcastle after an 8 pm game? Ok, then let's never play two games at the same time. They were providing 20 hours of soccer almost every weekend to watch. Now that the Euros and Copa America are over, I'm in withdrawal. Very curious to see how they work the schedule now that stadiums are opening back up. I'm guessing there will be a moderate regression to the old days, but they will prioritize more games on TV over the considerations of the fans that show up in person.

VT couldn't win a NC with a transcendent player.

Edit: Solid memes everyone.

I'm not convinced VT is all that serious about winning at that level though, which is sad.

I felt this way at first, but changed my mind after hearing Sands talk at the Reach for Excellence thing. Hope it's true.

Twitter me

Talk is cheap. If Fuente wins 10+ games Whit/Sands can shove it in our faces. If Fuente loses 5+ games and keeps his job that tells us all we need to know about how seriously Whit/Sands takes football.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

As someone who ingests a substantial amount of college football content, most of which is from a perspective of people who cover the entire sport (Cover3, Split Zone Duo podcasts, among others) and communities (like r/cfb) that capture the opinions and perspectives of fans from all over the country, this is not surprising at all. While more focused fan communities like TKP tend to have more hope in the specifics and particularities of the program we can look to for optimism, the general view of VT for the last 3 years or so has been largely negative, either fans who remember VT fondly as an occasional rooting interest or key part of the sport in their childhood lamenting our fall to mediocrity, or fanbases who have no reason to like VT laughing at our poor positioning and outlook. Most of the national guys seem to think we are who are at this point under the current regime, and it's pretty common to hear someone suggest Fuente might not be there by "x" game later in the season, or similar things, and not in a way that feels like taking cheap shots or coming from a place of disliking VT.

I do agree this will truly be a make or break season, and one of the most potentially program changing in recent memory. Can the offense, without Herbert, find some way to differentiate, become less predictable, and become more reliable in the passing game? Will a full offseason to get the defense on the correct page and a lot of returning experience lead to a significant improvement? We will probably find out pretty quickly.

We will probably find out pretty quickly.

UNC makes or breaks the season I think.
-If we open the season by getting our doors blown off at home, the fan environment becomes toxic and i think the wheels fall off quickly
-have a good performance but lose, and you could maybe right the ship if we win at WVU. but lose both UNC and WVU is curtains imo
-beat UNC and you're in the drivers seat for the division

I wouldn't call UNC life or death. 1 loss in the coastal will probably win the division based on recent history. And WVU doesn't impact the coastal either. UNC could run the table, but I doubt it- they lost a ton of talent on offense, and their defense wasn't great last year. That game will be a shoot out, and VT will need to score some points to win. Mack Brown is a hell of a coach with extra time to prepare. But, VT -could- bounce back - its a long season.

Holy shit, is that some optimism?

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

Losing to UNC and WVU is definitely a recipe for some upset VT fans.

I would argue it would depend on how we win or lose those games. If we lose either/both but look competitive while doing it I dont think anyone is going to be calling for heads. But if we win sloppy or get completely outclassed on the field I think things will be completely different.

I'm looking ahead to the middle of the schedule with ND, Pitt, Syracuse, and GT. I expect that we'll be coming in to that stretch with a 2-2 record. If this team comes out of that middle stretch with a combined 3-5 record (and GT being a loss) then I dont think Fuente makes it to November.

There's no excuse to lose to GT. Same level as losing to Liberty or ODU in my book.

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

WTF no it's not? Collins is accumulating a lot of good skill talent. They've landed nine 4-stars in 3 years, three of which almost 5-stars. Jahmyr Gibbs is arguably the best RB in the ACC this season. Jeff Simms started as a true freshman last year. If Simms can avoid making freshman mistakes, then GT is a 7 win team (which is pretty big accomplishment given they have Clemson, ND, and UGA on the schedule).

If we're looking at a 5 year outlook, UNC, Miami, and GT are the three biggest threats to VT's livelihood. Miami has always been there. UNC has recently joined this grouping. GT is 2-3 years behind UNC, but trending upward IMO.

Twitter me

They just went through a coaching change, they had very little talent and certainly not the type of talent for the scheme change they wanted, they have like 0 instate support besides actual alumni, they're not dripping in donation money, they're not a historical power, they have insane academic standards. They have literally everything going against them that we use as an excuse except for location. I'm not saying we won't lose to them, I'm saying that we shouldn't and if we do it's an embarrassment. I don't care what talent they've garnered, all that tells me was that it was possible for us to do the same.

Not to mention if we are saying that UNC, Miami, Pitt, and now GT are schools that we should reasonably lose to, that leaves like Duke and UVA and us as the bottom feeders of the coastal.

And to specifically address them being "almost 5 stars" I'm not sure the other two you are referring to, but Gibbs was the only recruit even close to sniffing a 5* and he was still 44 spots away.

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

Just because GT shouldn't be good as good as they are doesn't mean they can't be as good as they are. They're recruiting well and have shown flashes of playing well. I wouldn't put GT on the same level as UNC + Miami, but they certainly aren't Liberty/ODU level

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

Not to mention if we are saying that UNC, Miami, Pitt, and now GT are schools that we should reasonably lose to, that leaves like Duke and UVA and us as the bottom feeders of the coastal.

I legged for this statement right here. The second we start excusing 2/3 of the division as reasonable losses, we've lost the mindset to win. In reality, we should be dominating this division, and we're just allowing ourselves to fall back while everyone around us builds up

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

They kicked Fu's ass every time when they ran the 3-0.

Regardless of record, I'd be shocked to see a midseason firing.

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

I don't know if UNC makes or breaks the season, but I agree it will be a strong indicator for how the season goes.

but lose both UNC and WVU is curtains imo

Last weekend, a friend asked me this season what game I think an interim coach will take over. If we lose to UNC and WVU, I think it comes after Pitt (assuming we lose to ND and Pitt)

Twitter me

I don't think we'll get an interim coach. Even if we're 0-6 midway through the season. Unless Fuente walks away on his own accord Whit will keep him around until the buyout drops again in December. At 0-6 there's just nothing left to salvage so why waste the money. Whit can take his time to evaluate the next coach and get all his ducks in a row. I can just about guarantee that if we're bad enough to even consider an interim coach Whit won't be interested in keeping any of the coaches on staff. He'll go after new blood and a completely fresh start. In that case, there's no sense in paying Funete extra money not to coach if he doesn't have to.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

The Interim coach tag just signals to the market that the job is open. Additionally, instead of forcing the players to play through a cloud of ambiguity and rumors, they can at least play for their interim coach (assuming it's someone they like).

Twitter me

yeah but to get to interim coach you have to fire Fuente which costs $$$. Is it worth it to keep a bunch of 3 stars engaged? I don't really see how naming an interim coach does anything worth the cost associated with it. The interim coach tag is also generally regarded as a "tryout" for some coach (almost always hired up from the existing staff) and I just don't see how Whit would entertain hiring a coach from a team that is so bad he's considering spending $10mm just to get rid of Fuente early. If the team is that bad (I doubt it will be) to even consider an interim coach I think Whit would find more value in just riding out the storm and making a move after the season ends. We're not trying to keep any streaks alive so there really isn't anything to salvage at this point. The streak over UVA is dead. The streak of bowl games is dead.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Yea, it's $2.5M between now and December 16th-ish. I don't know if it's worth it, but I'm sure Whit has thought about it.

Twitter me

well, you're right the net is $2.5mm but right now the buyout is $10mm. Why would we spend that in October when we can wait a couple months and spend $7.5mm instead? Is trying to salvage a 6 loss season really worth $2.5mm?

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I don't have a good argument. IF it gives us a leg up in the head coaching search, it might be worth it. I don't know if it actually does though. Like I said, I'm sure Whit has thought through these scenarios and will make a decision.

Twitter me

IF it gives us a leg up in the head coaching search, it might be worth it.

This is fair. And I would trust Whit to make that call.

I don't know if it actually does though

I also don't know if it does. I doubt it. Even if Whit has made up his mind that he's going to fire Fuente by mid October he doesn't have to actually do it until December. Having made up his mind, nothing is stopping him from pursuing other coaches behind the scenes. I don't think he needs to fire Fuente and name an Interim coach in order to shop around

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Dumb question...Can Whit just reassign Fuente to another position? Can he name an interim coach, re-name Fuente's position to something random and then fire him in December? I'm sure there is something against this in his contract, but I saw the similar thing happen at a former company so maybe it's possible?

I wonder if it's something like "relieved of his duties" where he sits and collects a check until the buyout window should it happen that way.

When Houston hired Holgorsen, that was actually the case. They were starting the hiring/"contact" process way before Major Applewhite was canned after a 70-14 loss to Army when Briles left and D'onofrio was fired.

They pretty much waited until the end of season to clean house and build back up. No winning season since.

CompSci

UH BS 20, VT MS 23.

Go Coogs, Go Hokies.

That's going to kill us. I get that patience and secrecy is Whits thing, but if there's going to be a change, he needs to get the new coach in here ASAP to lock up a winner before everyone else starts to browse the market, set the tone and perception, and let the new guy start working with his team and recruiting. A late coaching change puts us in another hole

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

he needs to get the new coach in here ASAP to lock up a winner before everyone else starts to browse the market

For the record, I don't think VT is going to be so bad that firing Fuente mid-season is even considered by most fans, let alone Whit. But if that were the case I don't think it is worth doing it. How many teams go out and hire active coaches in the middle of the season? If Whit is going to fire Fuente, he's going to want to replace him with a coach who would be actively coaching for another team. Even if he wanted to, it's extremely unlikely that he would be able to hire someone away in the middle of the season. He's not going to ask a Tony Elliot to just leave Clemson in the middle of the season to get started at VT (and if he did ask, I would expect such a coach to turn it down or at least request that they finish the regular season with their current team). It would be better for everyone involved to contact a prospective coach about the job in the middle of the season but keep it under wraps and let him finish his season with his current team before being announced as the new HC for VT.

It is still possible for Whit to "lock up a winner" before the season ends, even if it isn't announced, officially, until December. It is rare to see coaches hired away in the middle of the season. If Fuente were fired mid season he wouldn't immediately be replaced by Whit's first choice. He would be replaced by an interim coach from the existing staff (probably Hamilton, if I were to guess) and if we really are that bad in the first place I don't think Whit would be interested in entertaining the idea of keeping any of the existing staff in place moving forward. Essentially, firing Fuente in the middle of the season to promote an interim coach who has no chance of getting the HC job long term is just a big waste of time and money. There really is 0 benefit to that scenario.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

You have some good points but there's a reason why Florida, USC, A&M, LSU, Georgia, FSU, Texas (Charlie Strong, not Tom Herman) all have recent firings in September, October, November.

In fact waiting until December seems to be outside of the norm. Which again, I think makes it even worse because we'll be openly competing against some of these programs who will already have a head start

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

Look at the programs you listed...those are all essentially blue blood type programs (except A&M) who have money and resources to throw at such a move.

Meh

Whit isn't going to let the formality of a firing prevent him from lining up and securing a new coach ahead of time. By his own admission he keeps a constantly updated list of coaches he's ready to call on a moment's notice should the need arise. I mean look at how quickly we were able to move the last couple job searches in football and basketball. We had Fuente lined up in secret before the Memphis season ended, including having our current coaches meet with the guy. We had Buzz lined up quietly, and we were prepared to pivot quickly to getting Young when the opportunity arose.

If a transition from Fuente comes to fruition this year, the one thing that I am least concerned with is Whit's ability to put ourselves in the best position possible behind the scenes. He's legitimately excellent at it.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

I'm not familiar enough with those programs to know this - did those coaches get replaced with coaches from outside the program during the season? Or were they replaced by interim coaches within the program? Because what I'm talking about isn't firing; I'm talking about hiring. If you fire Fuente mid season he would need to be replaced. The logical and easiest replacement is an interim coach from the existing staff. But if Whit has no intention of hiring from within, in the long run, why waste the money to oust Fuente early? I don't think firing him mid season buys Whit anything.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Either you fire your coach mid-season, use an interim coach until the end of the season, and make a hire in early December, OR you fire your coach in early December and hire in early December. Either way, the new coach can't start recruiting until early December.

The factors to consider are:

  • Is Whit able to perform a job search behind the scenes before the job opens up?
  • Do we have the money (and donor support) to fire the sitting head coach early?
  • Is there anyone on the staff right now who Whit would want to consider for the HC position?

I'm pretty sure the answer to #2 and #3 will be no. If #1 is yes, then you ride the season out. If #1 is no, then you consider making the midseason firing.

Twitter me

You can take this for what it's worth, and I'm not pretending to be an inside guru that eats dinner with Whit. But I can tell you that the woe is VT, we are poor, we have no money for buyouts, we are held down by money its complete bullshit, relatively. If Whit wanted to can Fuente last year, he could have. Smart people know it's not zero sum and could even COST us money by keeping him. This is a multi million dollar operation, not a mom and pop store. The false narrative that we really wanted to hire xxx as defensive coordinator but didn't want to spend the money is horseshit- within reason. No we aren't paying 3 mil for a DC, but you get the idea. It's largely a BS narrative, IMHO

.
(for the record, I saw this advertised as a 'fireman searchlight')

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

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

Do we have the money (and donor support) to fire the sitting head coach early?

But I can tell you that the woe is VT, we are poor, we have no money for buyouts, we are held down by money its complete bullshit, relatively.

I'd say that having the money to spend and wanting to spend it are two different animals. Could Whit fire Fuente in October and pay the full $10mm? Yes, probably. But would it be worth it? Probably not.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

It depends on whether or not Whit thinks that fan disengagement between October and December will cost more than $2.5mm (and I hate this mm=million terminology, BTW). If yes, then Fuente is gone in October. If no, then he stays until December.

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

It depends on whether or not Whit thinks that fan disengagement between October and December will cost more than $2.5mm

This is a take I hadn't considered. I suppose it is possible that fan disengagement could cost us a lot. However, in 2021 in particular, 6 of our 7 home games occur in the first 7 games (8 weeks) so a mid-season firing would only affect maybe 2 home games. I'd wager that the reinvigoration of the fan-base with a new hire would compensate anyway.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Then use the other terminology, $2.5M.
#TeamCake

"Tyrod did it Mikey! Tyrod did it!"

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

There's nuance to it. I don't think VT is 'poor', but I also think spending has a cost/benefit. We're a top 30 revenue school, not a top 10, but also not a top 50. My guess is that Whit took everything into account (optics, current staff buyout costs, cost of another year with Fuente, cost of potentially alienating the fanbase, cost of potentially alienating his bosses, cost for a new coach, upside of getting a new coach, etc) and decide that keeping Fuente was less 'expensive' and/or lower risk than firing him.

Bring this back to the original comment... would $2.5M be better spent getting Fuente out of here 6 weeks earlier, or would it be better spent elsewhere?

Twitter me

One of many reasons why Whit should have pulled the trigger last December is that VT would have easily been a top 2 coaching destination at the time, and perhaps number one if the Reach for Excellence infrastructure support was announced at the same time. I can't see VT having the same leg-up on the competition this go around.

0 - 6? We lose to Middle Tenn State, Fuente is getting fired and Ham becomes interim head coach.

Before the 2018 season I'd bet good money that folks would say "if Fuente loses to ODU he should be fired on the spot."

I very seriously doubt we will be 0-6 but if we are I think it's unlikely Fuente will be fired before December. I just don't think there is $2.5mm worth of value to getting rid of him mid-season

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

If you told people before the 2018 season that Fuente would lose to Old Dominion, Liberty Kentucky, Wake Forest twice, and suffer the worst home loss in 45 years at the hands of Duke while breaking a 15 year winning streak over Virginia and a 28 year bowl streak, while pulling in consistently awful recruiting classes all over the next 3 seasons, I don't know many who would think he would still be our coach in 2021.

And that's before you think about all the off the field issues we've had.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

If we lose to WVa, could say that he has managed - in less than 4 years - to lose:

The winning season streak
The Commonwealth Cup
The bowl streak
The Black Diamond

Pretty impressive feat to still be here. Ugh.

Reminds me of a comment on the old Vikings' coach, Jerry Burns. Can't remember the exact quote, but it was something like 'the truly amazing thing about Jerry Burn's tenure with the Vikings is not that he's managed to take so much talent and do so little with it, but that he's managed to keep on doing it for so long.'

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

I'm just waiting for the full on bipolar swing from TKP's population that, I suspect, will occur with UNC. Lose and so many people will flip out. Win and so many people will be euphoric saying how great it is we did not pull the plug too soon. The mood swings are impressive.

Personally, the UNC game will mean nothing to me unless we lose by something like 40 points. They have way more talent and seem to have better coaching. If we lose but something like 14, it is expected. Team can bounce back and we have seen that. If they win, I'll be pleased, but we have seen early season wins and the team fall apart. Baring something extraordinary, like a 1-4 or 5-0 record, I'll probably need to wait at least until game 6 to form a real opinion. 2 teams we should lose to, 2 we should beat and 2 relative toss-ups in Pitt and WVa. Less than 3-3, and I think it's safe to say he is gone. 3-3 is iffy. 4-2 or better and I'll feel like we have turned a corner.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

4-2 or better and I'll feel like we have turned a corner.

This makes me so sad to read. Tech has fallen on such bad times and it seems the fanbase has accepted it. Gone are the days when any loss was considered a failure, regardless of opponent.

Okay, I'm over 50 and I cannot remember when any loss was considered a failure, regardless of opponent :-).

Okay, joking aside, I totally get your point. I'm just willing to accept forward progress. And 4-2 would certainly be that. Of course, could still fall apart in the second half but if we are something like 9-4 with a bowl win in there, it would be a huge step up. Plus recruiting has, for the moment, been on an upswing from the horridness that it was the past couple of years. Trying to be cautiously optimistic.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

I appreciate your levelheadedness. I am certainly a bit more hot and cold, and have been cold on Fuente since Duke 2019. I agree with you that 9-4 and a bowl win would be progress, however I have doubts that Fuente would be able to improve on that.

however I have doubts that Fuente would be able to improve on achieve that.

FTFY

9-4 with a bowl win seems far from likely. Yes, it would be progress. But I think it is highly unlikely Fuente can do that in 2021.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I'll be ecstatic with 9-4 and bowl win if the team has positive recruiting momentum (strong close to the 2022 class and early returns on 2023) and if there is reason to believe the team is on the verge of something big (i.e. breakout stars on defense + offense).

But yeah, if we see no reason for optimism beyond this year, we've got to cut Fuente loose. I don't think anybody will be happy with 9-4 being our peak.

Realistic take- the team has no depth at QB, WR and DE. The team has little proven depth on the OL. The kicking game is not an advantage. 9 wins? Maybe if zero starters get injured.

Don't think its underselling it at all to say this is probably the most important season VT football has had in a while

I feel like we say this every year. What are we going to be saying this time next year if VT finishes 7-6 and Fuente keeps his job?

I'm with others here that we will find out very quickly. UNC is about as good of a barometer as we'll get this season. If they destroy us that will probably signal the end of Fuente's tenure at VT (though I suspect we wouldn't know, officially, until December). If it's a close game either way then it's not really a done deal. As DC said, we could potentially lose to UNC but bounce back and win the rest of the league games to get to the ACCCG (if UNC loses a couple). If it's close (45-42 or something) that might actually be a reasonable outlook. Or we could win that and then lose to GT or something. The UNC game alone is unlikely to determine the future of Fuente unless it's an absolutely embarrassing shellacking. But I do think it will tell us a lot about our team. We could win that handily but then lose BB to a season ending injury against WVU and finish 3-9. Then what? Still fire Fuente or give him another shot because "he lost his starting QB and so he deserves more time to prove himself"?

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Your last hypothetical scenario (beat UNC but lose BB to injury and end up 3-9) is my ultimate nightmare... pls no.

Yeah I agree that scenario is the worst. I would hate that for many reasons. Firstly, I don't want to see anybody get hurt. I know I've been critical of BB but I would never wish him any harm. Secondly, I just know that beating UNC with him and then losing 9 games without him would throw us into a whole mess of "what-ifs" which I really hate. Plus, beating a good UNC team (lets assume they go on to win the Coastal, at least) gives Fuente yet another handy excuse. 2022 will be "year one" all over again with a new QB "because Fuente can win when he has 'his guys'" blah blah blah. It would make for an awful, awful off-season. Especially if Fuente keeps his job.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

We would be 3-9 because the 2 next QBs on the depth chart transferred out- both 4 stars that we could not develop or keep around. That is on the head coach. We have one serviceable QB on the roster heading into the season. Whose fault is that? You sleep in the bed you make

I agree. There's absolutely zero excuse if our starting QB gets injured. Our lack of QB depth is insane, especially since CJF's offense relies on our QB being able to run. Not having depth at QB is on CJF. You must have depth at QB, no matter what. Of course, we'll be okay if our first 12 RBs get injured; we're good there. Ridiculous. CJF should have played QP last year on all short yardage and goal line situations. That was a huge mistake not playing QP last year.

HH4455

If this happens, this will buy Fu another year "Well i didnt have my QB" will be the excuse...personally, i think if we go 3-9, you kick the tires and play Tahj Bullock the rest of the season. Defense should be good enough to keep us in MOST games.

We could win that handily but then lose BB to a season ending injury against WVU and finish 3-9. Then what? Still fire Fuente or give him another shot because "he lost his starting QB and so he deserves more time to prove himself"?

Honestly, I have no idea what to expect after the shitshow that occurred after the season last year with the unprecedented calling of a press conference to announce that you are not firing your head coach, and the piles of shit that Whit stepped in throughout that press conference.

As an aside, I usually avoid getting sucked into conspiracies, but nobody will ever be able to convince me that that whole shitshow was a result of Whit calling the presser to fire him only to be overruled and forced to eat the shit sandwich over it. And the whole "you don't give enough for your opinion to count" was him parroting something that either Sands or someone on the BoV said to him when he was arguing about the backlash that kind of backpedaling would introduce, fully knowing the blowback that he himself would receive by saying it. Maybe that's how it all went down, maybe its not and we really did just call the presser with the original intent of saying what we did, but... yeah....

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

As an aside, I usually avoid getting sucked into conspiracies, but nobody will ever be able to convince me that that whole shitshow was a result of Whit calling the presser to fire him only to be overruled and forced to eat the shit sandwich over it.

You say conspiracy, I say only logical explanation.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Yep.

My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

Notably, the truth is often illogical. I don't know if we will ever know the truth, but I do agree it's the most logical explanation that has been provided.

๐Ÿฆƒ ๐Ÿฆƒ ๐Ÿฆƒ

Agree, that whole episode came off as...awkward. All the promises about opening the program up more still doesn't seem to bear fruit at this time for me. It will be interesting to see what happens during fall camp in a few weeks to see if it's the same ol same ol...

Will and Chris, on the TSL podcast shortly after the press conference, confirmed that a VERY good source they had inside the athletic department confirmed what you are suggesting about the events that happened surrounding said press conference.

The whole thing is a shit show right now TBH

Is coronavirus over yet?

nobody will ever be able to convince me that that whole shitshow was a result of Whit calling the presser to fire him only to be overruled and forced to eat the shit sandwich over it

1000% agree

Twitter me

As an aside, I usually avoid getting sucked into conspiracies, but nobody will ever be able to convince me that that whole shitshow was a result of Whit calling the presser to fire him only to be overruled and forced to eat the shit sandwich over it. And the whole "you don't give enough for your opinion to count" was him parroting something that either Sands or someone on the BoV said to him when he was arguing about the backlash that kind of backpedaling would introduce, fully knowing the blowback that he himself would receive by saying it. Maybe that's how it all went down, maybe its not and we really did just call the presser with the original intent of saying what we did, but... yeah....

Justin Fuente 5 Fuente reportedly came perilously close to losing his job last season. .

Seems like the national media believes it too.

It's an unwritten law that it's my lunch pail. I've issued the challenge. If someone outworks me, they can get it.
Darryl Tapp

I'm on record from last season saying I want him gone as soon as we can afford to get rid of him, but he is here now, so I just accept it and hope for the best/that I was wrong. But if he goes 3-9, I'm pretty sure all of the excuses will be used up. 5-7 to 8-5 are what have me worried. Why I am hoping for at least 8 or 9. That is at least 8 losses or at least 9 wins. Preferably 9+ wins. But the last thing I want is for the team to do the absolute minimum to keep him around.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

I remember 2010, losing to Boise and JMU and then running the table. We even cleaned FSU's clock in the ACCCG.

If we lose to UNC and WVU, I am not sure if Fuente can pull off that type of comeback but I would love it.

I would be willing to put my salary for a month vs. your salary for a month that that wont happen. I just dont see it with this team unless BB has significantly improved.

if VT finishes 7-6 and Fuente keeps his job

If this happens, it will be the nail in the coffin for many people.

We could win that handily but then lose BB to a season ending injury against WVU and finish 3-9

Just please let those other two wins be GT and UVA.

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

Spot on... Even if the "6" are competitive losses to UNC, ND, WVU, Miami, BC, and Pitt... yeah- look at it that way, keep him after that and its going to get very ugly.

if VT finishes 7-6 and Fuente keeps his job

If this happens, it will be the nail in the coffin for many people.

Man, people said that going into last year, too. And people will likely keep saying it going forward until we are either a perennial dominant team in the Coastal or he's gone. But that's the nature of someone losing all benefit of the doubt in the eyes of many.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Correct, and there is also the non W/L stuff- the SI article, the tone deaf media engagement, a player beating a catfish to death, etc. Hard to build a benefit of the doubt that way

It has been discussed ad nauseum, but there was so much smoke around discussion that money was being rounded up for a buyout after UVA, this isn't shocking. There will be a lot of pressure to win this year. A bad showing versus UNC, while it doesn't make a season, will get the pitchforks high and torches lit

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I don't have any #sauces but I still am convinced that Babcock was ready to fire Fuente and his preferred target got cold feet at the last minute. Once that happened Whit (smartly) realized you don't fire the guy you have unless you are 100% sure you can get a better one.

I think the money was there, but some combination of his top targets not panning out and/or BOV/Sands not wanting to make a move due to Covid optics probably led to the sudden decision to reverse course. I think he likely went all in on Fickell and it just wasn't going to happen, also probably liked Elliott but not at the price he wanted.

The Board of Visitors and Tim Sands theory has been heavily rebuked by people with connections as well as by Babcock himself.

It's Time to go to Work

Those people also rebuked the "chosen replacement backed out" theory as well, right?

If *none* of those are true, then what would explain that absolutely bizarre presser?

I don't buy it, and (with respect to you and those who are connected) will always believe that his hand was forced last minute.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

If nothing else, the timing of that presser was an absolute cluster. If you are keeping you coach you don't schedule an ambiguous presser after his buyout drops, or worse - on the day the buyout drops! You do this prior to that date so there is no surprise or question about the commitment or message.

The timing was just awful. As bad as announcing Fu's friend Jerry Kill is leaving the program the same day the HC is away interviewing with other schools.

"It's always great to beat UVA, that makes us all smarter and better looking for a couple days".

At the end of the day we are obviously not going to let it go out to the public if the situation was that we were all in on firing him and had to change plans at the eleventh hour. It doesn't benefit us at all to admit that publicly, so we wouldn't/didn't.

It's the same thing with the Fuente Baylor situation. It looks way better if we just tell everyone that Fuente turned it down and believed in the project here. If it was really Baylor who turned him down... ... ... there's no reason for us to admit that publicly. It only hurts the program.

More importantly, if that situation really did happen (we called the presser to announce firing, was overruled) there is zero benefit for anyone involved in this story to tell the truth on a personal level. So even if you only cared about yourself, there isn't a single reason to tell the truth, because it would only make you look bad.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Oh I 100% am not saying Whit should have told (what I assume to be) the truth.

The whole situation is just absolutely bizarre.

You don't call a presser to let people know you're *not* firing someone. You release a statement giving them your support.

Sorry if I'm being a broken record but the only thing that makes sense is that they set the presser, were going to let Fuente know that he was being let go, and then something major changed. Either the BOV balked last minute on the buyout, their replacement for Fuente pulled out (Tony Elliott did get a big extension/raise at Clemson soon after, right...?) or something like that.

I have my criticisms of Whit but that presser was very out of the norm for him and I can't believe he just decided to have a presser for the sake of having one.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

SP+ has us at a 50% or higher chance of winning 8 of our 12 games....which I find quite dubious.

I see a lot of losses on this schedule, and very few wins for a team that I think is going to be quite bad.

I have very little faith in BB and do not anticipate the defense being good enough to cover for the offense.

Color me surprised if we're above .500 -- I think this is the last year of Fuente. I am a little concerned our 'brand' has been damaged to the point that we're not an attractive opening.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

I don't think our brand has been that damaged yet. In fact I would argue taking over from Fuente, should he be canned, would make it easier on the next coach given the relatively low bar to hurdle.

This is a fair point. Following a legend is about the hardest thing to do as a coach in CFB. Following the guy who followed the legend is considerably easier. VT may still be an attractive job if Fuente is canned after 2021 but if we wait much longer the shine is going to continue fading.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I was in the "meh" camp in 2018 after the ODU debacle, and have been fully on the fire Fuente train since Duke 2019. So I'd argue the shine has been fading for me for a while, however I am hopeful that's not the case outside of Tech circles.

He wasn't talking about the shine coming off the program for the fans. He was talking about the shine coming off the program for coaches.

VT still has a loyal fan base, reasonable resources, a decent path to postseason, some history, and a patient administration. Following the last few years, it won't take too much success to get a lot of goodwill. It's still an attractive job.

If things slide for a few more years, the program could be in such a bad state that the rebuild would look too difficult. Then it's not such an attractive job.

That's a good glass half full look at it, and I don't disagree. The Coastal is still terrible and should be winnable.

However, I'd also look at an Athletic Program ranked #42 in Total Revenue and wonder why in the world the (large) alumni network isn't donating more. It's not just because we're not winning! Plenty of programs ahead of us that also stink in terms of W/L.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

So you're saying we need to hire James Cameron to raise the bar? South parks already done it chief

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

Personally, BB is the least of my concerns. He showed enough last year that he can move the offense, and now with a proper offseason I have pretty high expectations. Given the annual exodus to the portal, and the recent transfer announcements the other day I continue to be concerned about the D and specifically the D-line. Beyond that, I'm mostly concerned about the coaches not trying to out-think themselves, calling poorly-timed TOs, and not being predictable with the playcalling.

I'm not as high on BB but I agree that bad coaching + bad defense is going to doom us.

Don't think the offense will be good enough to overcome.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

The Oakland A's haven't won anything in decades.... That's why S&P is not the gospel. Real games played on real fields....

Umm, the A's have massively overachieved compared to their payroll and historical status.

Also, if your only definition of success is a championship... college football isn't the right sport for you unless you are a Bama/OSU/Clemson fan.

So payroll- the antithesis of Billy Beans whole theory- IS important in baseball. Agreed. That's why the A's might make the wild card round, but they don't beat the better players- which make more money. Agree

I don't think it's the "antithesis" of Beane's theory. I think he admits that the A's weren't going to beat the Yankees and the Red Sox by copying them. Instead, they had to think about things a new way.

Also, baseball postseasons are more often than not a crapshoot, and the best team doesn't usually win. I don't think you can measure the worth of a franchise/manager by world series titles.

The concept of Moneyball works. It allowed the As to punch way, way above their weight class and actually go toe to toe with franchises who spent 2x-3x the money they did. Their problem was that Boston quickly pivoted to adapting analytics to their front office in a similar vein, but were able to leverage a far greater payroll which allowed them to basically neutralize any advantage that the As had. But it showed it works.

Analytics are important
Payroll is important
If you can combine both, you have the ideal situation.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

They were a one trick pony that has fizzled out

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

I wouldn't say that it fizzled out as much as it was so successful that everyone else copied the process with a much higher payroll to neutralize their advantage. At this point, the teams that aren't using analytics are few, and generally apply to those who may have big payrolls and little success to show for it (looking at you, Philly)

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

moneyball wasn't totally about keeping payroll low, but that was important too. it was about finding market inefficiencies -- what factors can we identify that correlate to success where the broader market isn't making that connection.

in baseball's case, the first thing i remember was OBP, then it was defensive ability, then it was positional flexibility and irregular platoon splits, spin rate on pitches, so on and so forth. now the zeitgeist for the more analytics-minded teams involves very involved minor league scouting so that major league players can be used as trade capital to acquire multiple (cost-controlled) prospects

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

I mean 'Moneyball' existed because the A's as an organization wanted to keep costs low and ownership forced Beane to gut the payroll. But the mindset around it, and the analytical angle could really be applied at any level, and with other teams adapting it, it kind of sank their abilities to succeed.

When you have someone like Boston with the 2nd highest payroll in baseball going all-in on analytics to build out their roster, they're going to be able to maximize talent to meet their needs much better than a team like the As would, because they're going to be able to use the same kind of data set that the A's use, and outbid them for the best players to get the absolute best fit at every position. That alone neutralizes the market inefficiencies that the A's exploited when they went this way, and why it quickly fizzled out. If anything, it showed that analytics was absolutely the way of the future and if you didn't adapt (Philly) you were going to be left behind, no matter what your payroll was.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

I think the football version of Moneyball is that HS coach who never punts, onside kicks every time, and goes for it on 4th down every time. I think he may have just gotten a job at a FCS school somewhere.

Its taken hold in hockey as well. I know at least the Carolina Hurricanes have gone all in on analytics, and its beginning to pay off.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

You're leaving a lot of context out of his comment:

The results disagree with the stats sometimes. Tech finished 2020 a respectable 27th in SP+ despite a 5-6 record. Why? Because SP+ saw about a 7-4 team.

Tech's postgame win expectancy -- which takes the key predictive stats from a given game, tosses them into the air and says, "With these stats, you could have expected to win this game X% of the time" -- was 77% against Wake Forest, 67% against Liberty and 54% against Miami. There was a 3% chance of them going 0-3 in those games ... but they lost each. They beat three decent teams by 18+ points, too. The upside was there, and if close-game fortune reverses, Tech could surprise.

Twitter me

I mean, I don't think I am?

Yes, we lost games we should have won last year. SP+ says we have a 50% or better chance of winning 8 games this coming year. I don't think we'll win 8, is all that I'm saying.

I'm just using SP+ as a baseline of how the season "should" shake out. Its a better way of predicting seasons than gut feelings from "experts".

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

SP+ expects 7.5 wins and 4.7 ACC wins, which seems reasonable. We have a >88% chance of beating Duke, Syracuse, Richmond, and MTSU. We have a <40% chance of beating UNC and Miami. That puts us at 4-2 right there.

Then we have 6 toss ups - BC @ 63%, Pitt @ 62%, UVA @ 58%, GT @ 55%, ND @ 47%, WVU @ 42% - let's say we split these 6 games, that puts us at 7-5.

SP+ isn't saying that we 'should' win 8 games; rather it's saying that (roughly speaking) we're about equally likely to win 7 games as we are 8 games, and that 6 wins (or 9 wins) is less likely than 7/8 wins.

I guess I'm asking - Looking at specific games, which win %'s would you decrease, and to what?

Twitter me

I know this wasn't directed at me, but ND at 47% seems off. Even if they've lost contributors from last years team I would've expected this to be in a closer range to UNC and Miami

I agree - I'd put ND at ~30%. But even if you do that, our expected wins goes from 7.5 to 7.35 - So 7 wins becomes slightly more likely than 8 wins.

Are there any other win percentages you feel are too high? Personally, I'd drop both GT and BC to 40-45%, and increase Miami to ~30%. Doing that puts our expected wins at ~7 wins.

Twitter me

Pitt at 62% seems a little iffy given the way they bullied us last year, but we have seemed to have their number in Lane recently.

Overall, I would agree that 7 wins seems like a reasonable ballpark for this team. Some things break their way, could see 9-3. Some things break not their way, and 5-7 is pretty plausible as well

I spoke with a fairly decent influential donor recently and he indicated that deep down inside, he's hoping for a horrible season so Whit and Sands wake up and get rid of Fuente. I'm not advocating for this, but if a relatively big donor is thinking this way, that's not a good sign.

I get it though.

Fuente clearly won himself enough good equity with the first couple years that Sands/Whit/BOV/deep pocketed donors are still gun shy on canning him. Or maybe its because everyone was so used to Beamer being around for forever.

Either way, Fuente has to go and even if next year is a good year I don't think he's *the* guy long-term, and we have an incredibly easy schedule that could make him look better on paper than I think he really is.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

My absolute best case scenario is that Fuente rebounds in a big way, winning 10 games in the regular season, taking Clemson to the wire in the ACC CG, winning the bowl game to get us to 11-3, and then leaving for another job so Whit doesn't have to spend money on the Buyout and can hire a better coach. And we keep the recruits. Hey, a guy can dream, right?

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Is this when the Tony Pony rides into town as well?

Hey, I'm not going to pretend to know anything about which coach is going to be the best for VT. I thought Fuente was a good hire at the time so clearly I know nothing.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Lol this is where I am. I am so severely disappointed in the results but couldn't have been happier when we hired him.

I just want to be good again :(

Samesies

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I'm all aboard the Freeman express

Tears in my eyes
Chasing Ponce de Leon's phantoms
So filled with hope
I can taste mythical fountains
False hope, perhaps
But the truth never got in my way
Before now, feel the sting
Feeling time bearing down

You want a new coach if we go 11-3, win the coastal and take Clemson to the wire?

Gobble Till You Wobble

Yes. Because, frankly, I don't think anybody in the world (apart from Rayo) believes there is any chance Fuente can take this team to 11 wins in 2021. It would be a bloody miracle if he could. And that's the problem. I believed Beamer could do it without miracles. But Fuente has performed at such a disappointing level since 2016 in almost every conceivable way that our standards are "just compete for the worst division in football". Winning 11 games would be a one time deal. So if he did it, great! But good riddance if he rides off into the sunset.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

If Fuente does that he'll get the job he was trying to get a couple years ago at another school and save us a buyout in the process

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Lose = bad
Win = bad

SMH

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - K

Where did I say that him winning would be a bad thing?

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

He's saying that from Fuentes perspective. If you only want Fuente to succeed so he will leave has it ever occured that maybe he wants to stay or likes it here? How would that feel if you busted your ass at your job to do well when you felt some pressure only for your employer to be encouraging so you'll leave? Not apples to apples but it's kinda messed up to say you only want VT football to succeed so Fuente will leave when we have no idea what Fuente might want for himself or his family. That's like rooting for VT to lose so he will get canned and to me isnt a very "fan" like thing to do. I know people who quit this site because they grew weary of people suggesting they wanted to see us fail on the field so Fuente would get canned and the longer this goes on I get it sometimes.

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

That's a lot of words being placed on a statement that did not say that.

But ok

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

I would like my job if I had millions guaranteed regardless of job performance too

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

If Fuente does that he'll get the job he was trying to get a couple years ago at another school and save us a buyout in the process

Win = bad

okay, man. You have a lot of pretty good takes (even if I disagree with some of them) but this one is just a bad take. Alum isn't saying anything about winning being bad here at all. He's just postulating that should Fuente manage to find a tremendous amount of success in 2021 he could use that to springboard into another job. That's a pretty neutral stance, IMO. If anything, he's suggesting that winning is a good thing...

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

There are no happy outcomes in that statement and it is assuming Fuente was actively looking for a job to go to and failed to get it. How about if he wins 11 games it is the start of a dramatic turnaround for VT football. That couldn't be true though because everybody has already made up their mind that Fuente is bad and VT is better off without him.

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - K

There are no happy outcomes in that statement

Well, this is just a matter of opinion, isn't it?

Winning 11 games is a happy outcome. Not spending $10mm (or $7.5mm) is a happy outcome (whether that's because Fuente leaves or isn't fired). Fuente getting the job he wants (granted, this assumes that he wants to be somewhere else and we don't know that definitively) would be a happy outcome...

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

At this point you are only reading what you want to read and blaming everyone else for the assumptions you are making

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

I'm not. Your statement indicates that the only way we can have success is in the short term as a stepping stone somewhere else. It is a silly argument because I don't think we will have 11 wins anyway. But, if we did, I would like to think that is a break through to sustained success for Hokie football. That is all.

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - K

Man, you're dedicating a lot of time and energy reading into something that really wasn't that deep

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Neither was mine. I will shake hands and shut up purely based on your search light comment above making me lol.

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - K

Sell high, buy low

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

Fuente has to go and even if next year is a good year I don't think he's *the* guy long-term

This is exactly how I feel, personally. Responded above to Frosty's Dad in a similar manner but I think you stated it more eloquently.

I'm basically there. It's almost a "win-win" scenario. If we win a bunch of games? Great. We're good. If we lose a bunch of games? Great, we can get a new coach.

Worst case scenario though is 8 wins. Just enough to where the people in charge could make a case to keep him even though it likely is just kicking the can down the road again. This will probably end up happening and I'm going to hate it. If it were me though? I'm firing him at anything less than 9 wins (I'm not including a bowl game). And even at 9, I want to see "how" we won to make sure its not fool's gold. Like if the ACC is total garbage and we just happened to win a bunch of one score games that were basically wet noodle fights? I'd still consider making a change.

Put up or shut up season if we're not top 2 in the coastal its a no brainer to me. Win the coastal and stay finish second with h2h determining the winner and I'm at least not distraught.

We can lose to UNC and rally but I think a lot as far as mindset rides on the UNC game if they blow the doors off of us again I don't see a lot of positivity coming out of the program or its supporters. As far as being a long term guy I don't think that's something we find in football anymore, not at VTs current level.

Also unlikely that jmecca and I are talking to the same big donors but I've heard similar sentiments.

(add if applicable) /s

and water is wet... in college football, we live in a "what have you done lately for me" world and Fuente doesn't have much to show. IMO he'd be gone by now if it weren't for the buyout.

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

The whole situation sucks because Fu seems like the perfect fit. It just hasn't panned out. If we have another mediocre year I'm not against pursuing other options, however I don't know who is going to be a better available option at this point. I was excited when it seemed like Elliott was coming over. I have no idea who else I would like right now though.

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

"I want to punch people from UVA right in the neck." - Colin Cowherd

What makes him the perfect fit

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

Nothing. I was on board till 2019 Duke loss.

I struggle to figure out what Fuente is good at. What expertise does he bring?

he's really good at excuses

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Fuente is a good coach and from everything I've read an even better person. However culturally I don't think he is a fit at Tech.

Fuente is a good coach

I keep hearing this, but the on field results don't match. What makes you think he is a good coach? Some jobs have ambiguous goals, but coaching is pretty straight forward. Just win. Objectively Fuente has not hit these metrics so why is he considered a good coach?

Everyone knows that great coaches ice a kicker attempting a game winning field goal that is 15 yards further than his career long.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Great coaches don't have their teams in position to lose to a G5 school that has been playing D1 football for 5 minutes. Great coaches give the QB that beat us a shot at QB so they can land him in recruiting too. But hey. He turned Memphis around

He was successful at Memphis, right? Beating SEC opponents multiple times during his tenure as HC there. Was that not good coaching?

It was. But at the same time he left his OC, Darrell Dickey, behind in lieu of bringing Cornelson to VT, with him managing to keep Memphis at a high level under Norvell before moving to be the OC at aTm under Jimbo, going 9-1 last year.

So the question is, how much of Memphis' ability on offense was due to Fuente and how much was Dickey? And remember, Fuente was and still is very much up front that the doesn't handle playcalling as head coach.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

He did have success at Memphis. I cannot argue that. But in order to be considered "good" at your job, you need to have long term success. Fuente has not done that at VT nor has he recruited well enough to make that a realistic future goal. A large part of coaching is roster management and managing the staff around him. He has not done a good job of roster management otherwise we would not have 32 running backs and a room full of inexperienced QBs. He also does not seem to be great at managing his staff. If he was, we'd have a different OC. Based on all of this, I have no idea how you or anyone else can come to the conclusion that Fuente is a "good coach". I'm open to facts supporting the argument of him being a "good coach", but so far the facts aren't lining up.

Memphis is better now than they were then imo

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

We hired the wrong Memphis coach.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Fuente is a good coach

Is he though? He might be good at the Xs and Os but at this level that is only a fraction of the job. He is not a great in-game coach (some of his decisions have been real head scratchers) and he has been a pretty awful recruiter which is ultimately what will lead to his downfall IMO. He was able to win with Beamer's players but he hasn't been able to win with the less talented players he's brought in himself. If he can't get the Jimmys and Joes then the Xs and Os don't matter.

and from everything I've read an even better person.

being a great guy is great but it doesn't win football games. VT is not paying him to be a great guy. VT is paying him to win football games. It doesn't really matter how great he is as a person (though, I'd much rather have a great guy than an asshat) if he can't do what he's paid to do.

However culturally I don't think he is a fit at Tech.

I keep hearing this but I'm not sure I understand it. I think this is kind of a fluffy point that people just kind of accept without critique but it doesn't make sense to me. If he was winning 10/11 games each year but his personality was exactly the same I don't think anyone would say "he's a great coach and he wins a lot but he's just not a cultural fit." In fact, I think if he was winning 10/11 games each year a lot of Hokies would really love his demeanor and folks would probably argue that he is a cultural fit. Unless you define VT Culture as "winning" I don't think you can really say one way or the other.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Culturally Blacksburg and Virginia Tech suit much better with blue collar, folksy, charismatic coaches a la Beamer, Foster, CMY, Buzz Williams, Darryl Tapp, Kenny Brooks, etc. I'd even argue that Whit fits our culture similarly.

Fuente is not that. He is rigid, has been relatively gruff with the media, and has at times come off as defensive and abrasive. Culturally, that is not a fit.

Buzz Williams

Do folks generally think Buzz was a good long term fit here? He's a great coach in the short term but I feel like Young is a better fit in almost every way.

My 2020 Season/Covid19 Challenge: only comment with Marvel memes.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

No Buzz brought his own culture and brand to VT as he does everywhere. I don't think Buzz was a bad fit for VT but Buzz was quirky and weird in his own way not in a VT is home way. Then again I think its easy to say that someone is a "fit" when they're winning or have VT roots which all of the people on that list fall into.

(add if applicable) /s

Dancing across the flying WVU logo (which Buzz did before his tenure at Tech) was a very popular gif on TKP. If that isn't culturally relevant to Tech idk what is.

I mean its a funny gif to VT fans but I don't know that a single event disconnected from VT entirely builds cultural relevance

(add if applicable) /s

I don't buy that. I think if Fuente was winning more than losing you wouldn't care about his culture. Buzz Williams was a cultural fit at VT in the same sense that a Yellow Lab fits into a family of Scottish Terriers. Buzz didn't fit VT culture but he won so you're shoe-horning him in. It makes no sense. If Fuente won the way Buzz did we wouldn't even be talking about this

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Justin Fuente is 38-26 at Tech. He is in fact winning more than he's losing.

Gobble Till You Wobble

Touche

but he's winning less now than he was at the beginning. Usually with rebuilds it's the other way around. He went from 19-8 in his first two years (with Beamer's recruits) to 19-18 in his last 3 years. If that trend continues, his losses will outnumber his wins soon enough. Recruiting has looked more promising this year but I think it is too little too late. He recruited so poorly between 2018 and 2021 that I think it is unlikely he will be above .500 over the next 3 years, even with this recent, apparent, uptick in recruiting.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Also, simply being over .500 isn't what he was brought here to do.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

yes, this is also true. Beamer didn't build up VT to be a place to be happy with 7 wins and a second place finish in the weakest division in the P5. VT should be dominating the Coastal and contending for the ACC with some regularity. That's what Beamer did for most of his time in the ACC and that's what Fuente was hired to do. And, he looked well on his way to doing that in 2016. But with 3 very disappointing campaigns since that seeming anomaly of a season it is really hard to have any faith that he will return to that level at VT. The further removed we are from 2016 the more it looks like an outlier.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Bingo.... VT fans crucified a hall of fame coach for losing bowl games and keeping Stiney around too long... He was sharply criticized but yet he didn't have a losing season his last 22 years as coach. Nobody would have signed up for fuente hovering around .500 and not winning bowls when he was hired. Nobody. Anybody saying he is doing a good job now is just defending him for no reason.

College football is a game of what are you doing now and not what have you done in the past. Les Miles can explain that pretty well.

IMHO the perfect fit for VT is a former Hokie player that isn't a national personality, much like Beamer. Someone who we have no expectations for. Let Hokies bring us back, or not, and don't play the big dogs game except as an underdog. It's what we're built on. Some folks may thing those days are gone, but we're obviously not going to win the arms race on top personalities.

My 2020 Season/Covid19 Challenge: only comment with Marvel memes.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

Eh, I think we're going to have to go away from Beamerball / LPD / Former Hokies after Fuente.

Mostly because (unless I'm forgetting someone) the pool of candidates who fit that profile and are qualified to be a head coach at VT is *very* limited.

Also, maybe we need to move on? There's only one Frank Beamer, and he's not coming back. If we find a good coach with his own shtick, I don't care what it is as long as we win.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

If we find a good coach with his own shtick, I don't care what it is as long as we win.

Well, sure, but I'll gladly be proven wrong if we can find a winning coach that doesn't have VT ties and doesn't get thrown on the hot seat by the fanbase after they fail to win the ACC in the first 2-3 years.

I know it's six in one hand, half a dozen in the other, but to me the program already moved on from all those things of the Beamer era. We got halfway there when we hired Feunte (we could have gone for Shane or another former Hokie, but didn't, and that's not necessarily a bad thing) and the rest went over the course of Bud retiring and all the drama of the last few seasons.

My 2020 Season/Covid19 Challenge: only comment with Marvel memes.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

and doesn't get thrown on the hot seat by the fanbase after they fail to win the ACC in the first 2-3 years.

the implication here is that Fuente is unfairly being thrown on the hotseat by fans because he hasn't won the ACC in 5 years. That misses the point IMO. Fuente isn't on the hotseat because he hasn't won the ACC. He's on the hotseat because he hasn't shown any measurable progress since he arrived. Recruiting has been really poor under his watch and his roster management is atrocious. In year 5 he conducted the first losing (regular season) campaign the program has seen in decades. His best seasons were his first two when he had a roster full of Beamer recruits and the rest of the Coastal was down. Since then VT has only gotten worse and the teams around us have been improving. I don't agree with painting the fans as unreasonably impatient and upset because we feel entitled to ACC Championships. That isn't the case here. Yes, we would love to win ACC titles but the reason fans are over Fuente has much more to do with the complete lack of evidence that he can make VT even half as good as it was when Beamer was coaching.

EDIT: clarified losing season

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

He oversaw the first losing campaign for the hokies in over two decades in year 3 not year 5 when he lost the bowl game. Year 5 was the first losing regular season.

fixed

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

It was a perfect fit in theory... take a winning program that was held back (we thought) by a conservative offense. Bring Fu's offense and pair it with bud Foster and - boom- you win a bunch of games. That's the theory. what didn't work out was that the old staff- even late- was able to land some upper end players and build some depth through coaching and culture. This staff hasn't done that. What also happened was the offense improved - a little - but that wasn't enough to win games alone with. In fact, against good teams and ACC opponents, the offense really isn't that much better than Leoffler's offense. It looked good on paper.

Yeah that's more of what I meant. He seemed like the perfect fit at the time. His offenses came in and destroyed teams in year one. That was it....

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

"I want to punch people from UVA right in the neck." - Colin Cowherd

Our biggest mistake was hiring a staff which apparently treats recruiting like an afterthought during an era where its quickly become the most important thing you need to do in order to win.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

The Athletic had a piece about anonymous coaches discussing Clemson and USC recruiting in S. Carolina. One question was who from outside the state has the biggest presence and half of the coaches specifically said Virginia Tech. I think we are putting in way more work than given credit for. My theory has always been showing love won't win you a recruit, but not showing love will lose you one quickly.

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - K

I am actually a fan of the way we've been investing effort in South Carolina. Clemson recruits more regionally and nationally, often targeting only a few in-state kids each cycle. Especially with SCar being down, that leaves a nice regional vacuum for us to land some quality out of state prospects from a state that makes sense regionally within driving distance. There's a little less talent density than when I was in high school, but still a lot of talent around the state. Regional connections are also a lot easier to maintain/recover after staff turnover or full regime changes.

What we are doing in South Carolina is basically a lite-version of what Clemson did during their rise where they would focus on the hotbeds of whichever Florida school(s) were down, Georgia in the last few years of Richt, the chaos around Tennessee, North Carolina void pre-Mack, etc. They did a great job of swooping in and landing key prospects from under the noses of top/home state programs who would usually clean up their best in-state kids under more normal circumstances. In the process they made lots of key connections with schools and coaches in those regional states.

South Carolina is also down as a team. Really always have been. Yet they own recruiting in SC even over Clemson many years. VT ain't making a dent among their top recruits.

Yeah I'm not saying we are necessarily eating anyone's lunch in recruiting right now, but I like the strategy. It's definitely a state we should be involved in every year regardless of the staff.

Agreed.

Urban Meyer was the best at this. A shark in the water. He crushed it in Texas when he knew Mack/Charlie Strong were in trouble. He's ruthless- which is why he wins 90% of his games. Takes no prisoners in recruiting.

Yes. Except the biggest problem with focusing on offense was that our defense has fallen apart. I'd rather have the #1 defense and scare opponents than have average offense and average defense. I miss our defense more than winning.

HH4455

I miss the strong defense as well ... but think I miss winning games regularly the most. Why do I seem to be using this image a lot laterly?

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

Save some kind of unprecedented guaranteed top-15 class this year, the sooner a new regime is in place, the better. Recruiting and roster management have been so atrocious the past few years it will take even a top tier coach 3-4 years to dig out of the hole and rebuild.

Honestly, it might take a Top 10 class to offset the damage that the debacle of the 2020 class caused without significant transfers coming in through the portal while also being able to prevent any more big transfers out.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Yeah, it seems like the roster (and just how long it takes to build quality depth at VT) hasn't ever really been weighted appropriately by the administrative decision makers in and around the AD.

This is mainly just true of QB and OL, potentially LB and DE depending on how the guys in this class pan out.

A good QB from the portal and a 6 man OL class including Givens is what it will realistically take to cover recruiting misses in the previous classes imo.

The part that sucks about this entire situation is that we have so many good former Hokies on staff that we all want to succeed. Obviously, if Fu goes, they go. And that sucks. I can tell you with 100% certainty - #sauceonstaff - that the coaches are very aware of what's at stake and they share many of the sentiments expressed in this thread. Basically, if we stay healthy and have a few breaks go our way, we have a chance to really surprise some people with a damn good season. However, we simply don't have the depth/staying power if we suffer from injuries/attrition. This is where recruiting really hurts, as our backups are just not there yet and/or don't have the juice. I think Fu may have even said as much in a press conference (though he's not my source, ha). I hope we have a good season, because I cannot actively root for us to lose football games. However, if we don't win or just miss winning the coastal with an 8-10 win season, then let's just rip the band-aid off and start over. We cannot continue to piddle in mediocrity. If we do, we may never recover.

"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.

This is a great post and I feel the same way. There are some good coaches on this staff (If Smith has the DBs playing lights out this year then i would tell the incoming coach that he has to remain on the staff in some capacity) and I wouldn't want to see them have to find another job because the head guy can't get it done.

Thanks. You raise a good point as well. I agree re: Smith. He's a keeper.

"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.

I don't want to lose JHam or Smitty, but I doubt either will survive a coaching change. Maaaaybe Smitty could be retained as a position coach who is currently establishing (re-establishing?) some important in-state pipelines. Most new HC's would want to bring in their own coordinators unless there is a proven elite one in place. JHam just hasn't had enough time to establish himself as one.

Why don't we want to lose Smitty? Not snark. What has he done that makes him untouchable?

Recruiting well comparatively

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

Young position coach who has shown the coaching aptitude to call the defense on short notice in his 20's, coach up talent effectively at his position at a lower level (James Madison), and from what I have heard has been helping establish new and reconnect some older relationships with high schools in key VA talent beds.

A younger, not super expensive coach who has flashed some potential to be both a good recruiter and schematic coach.

Good Answer, thanks

Have we done a 2021-2022 season prediction thread yet?

I assume yes, but didn't find anything.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

I would rather just start 2 different threads: "I Think We're Going to Suck Thread" and "I Think We're Not Going to Suck Thread". Unfortunately, that's what every thread on here turns into.

Gobble Till You Wobble

lol

It's a fair point, I'm just curious if I'm way off in my expectations because (as I mentioned before), I simply cannot buy into the SP+ prediction of 8 wins.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

But then there has to be a "This is the definition of Sucking" thread and a "This is what is considered Success" thread so folks can figure out which thread they should be in

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Gobble Till You Wobble

You're not wrong, but this was a topic specifically about our coach being nationally regarded as likely to be fired if he doesn't perform.

Removing features to get people to sign up for your service is something EA would would do.

I think this team could be anywhere from 5-7 to 9-3

I think UNC and ND are sure losses. I think it is possible we win one of WVU and Miami but not both. I don't think any of the games on our schedule are sure wins but MTSU and UR are the closest to it. I think we'll beat Cuse but everything else on the schedule is pretty much a toss-up for me. I wouldn't be surprised to lose to MTSU and then beat ND. Either way, the only thing I can count on is that we will be maddeningly inconsistent.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Is it bad that I actually think it's way more likely we go 2-2 or even 3-1 against UNC, ND, WVU, and Miami, but then go 1-2 against Syracuse, Pitt, and Georgia Tech? That's how I mentally prepare for the season.

Gobble Till You Wobble

I think you're conditioned to that line of thinking (as are we all). It would not shock me at all.

the only thing I can count on is that we will be maddeningly inconsistent.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

UNC lost a lot of pieces from last year. Given that and how well Tech has performed on season openers under Fuentes I think there is a reasonable chance to win that game.

It's Time to go to Work

I guess we'll see. I think UNC has recruited a lot better than VT and Mack has assembled a good staff of coaches over there in Chapel Hill. I will grant you that point on Fuente doing relatively well in season openers (though, he did lose to BC in 2019 and needed an injury to NC State's QB to derail their chances in 2020). If I thought this game was more of a toss-up I'd give the Hokies the edge based on that point alone. I just don't think VT has the horses to match UNC

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I have a feeling that UNC is going to come into this game focused on slitting the throat of a rival to establish themselves as the new regional power. If they get going offensively, they will not let off the gas until the final whistle. They'll hang 80 on us if we let them.

I am also not sure we have the horses to match them. I am less sure that we have the horses to match them if they come in primed to go.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

my favorite version of Fuente was the Fuente vs Fedora version. There was some palpable hatred there and Fuente's teams were pretty dominant over Fedora's. I don't know why he can't be that way for every game against every opponent but I just haven't seen that fire most of the time. I would love to see VT come out and smoke UNC on September 3rd but I just can't convince myself that is remotely possible.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

That's still a far cry from a sure loss. Tech has good talent in the starters just not much depth. That'll be a mid to late season issue and thankfully not a major worry for the first game. I think a lucky bounce is all it will take for Tech to pull out a win.

It's Time to go to Work

That was fun. Fedora was horrible. Wish he never left.

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - K

I know it's only year one and all, but can we at least spell his names right?

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

Autocorrect on mobile strikes when you least expect it. That being said I'm not going back to fix it.

It's Time to go to Work

I'm actually kind of excited about this season. We know Fu can coach, just look at 16, 17, and 19 (except the last 2 games). He'll have this team ready for UNC, and we may even pull an upset to open the season. Even at 3-1 or 2-2 going into October, we'll still have a shot at 8 or 9 wins to end the season.

Fuente's job and the success of this season will fall on November. We play 4 of our last 5 on the road against beatable competition. We have to win those games, especially the one game we get at home.

I'm not lost on the reality of it. We had 2 of the worst years in VT football since 1995 over the past 5. We've also had 2 of the best seasons since 2011, and played for the Coastal in 2016.

I won't rehash all the other concerns, but that 5 game stretch in November will make or break the season.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Dodd calls out the defense specifically. The Offense could be a lot better, but I think it's important to note that the national perception acknowledges our woes on that side of the ball.

Not making excuses, and the team's performance is ultimately the responsibility of the HC, but contextually, and in this conversation in particular, I think it's important to remember that Fuente only really got to reap the expected benefits of a hall of fame defensive coordinator for two seasons

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Negative spin: VT just doesn't have the horses to compete in this league

Positive spin: Bulletin board material should get the team fired up to prove the haters wrong.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Brennan Armstrong on the Maxwell list??

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

When it comes to these lists they tend to list out QBs that people think have some hope to break out over the course of the season, without regard to how likely it is to have that happen. We've had some guys on these lists before where you just look at it at the end of the year and shake your head. That we don't have anyone on either list this year is.... Not great

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Considering there are a bunch of players on the Maxwell list that I know are not as good as Tech counterparts I wouldn't waste much time handwriting over it.

It's Time to go to Work

or even typing that much about it

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

Autocorrect is kicking my ass. Send help.

It's Time to go to Work

You can make a list and put whoever you want on it.

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

I'm reminded of the line from Goodfellas and think that it applies to the expectations for Fuente this year:

Your QB goes down because you made him carry the ball 18 times a game and you lose? F*ck you, pay me.
Your 106th total defense from 2020 doesn't improve? F*ck you, pay me.
You are "one block away" on a meaningful win? F*ck you, pay me.

There is no room for error this year. They took a squad with the 6th highest returning production in 2020 and produced a losing season. There is no excuse for Fuente not to *meet* expectations this year.

And above all, when Whit is hiring for the position in December, please don't walk down the hall and hire the James Johnson of football coaches, J-Ham, just because he has a personality.

I think there is room for error but there has to be noted improvement. Here is the key though. The improvement can't be based on 2020. I am willing to forget 2020 ever happened but we need to pick up this year where 2020 should have left off and show improvement from there. For me, 2020 should have been an 8 or 9 win regular season team in a typical ACC schedule. So for me, 8 wins this year and I will judge Fuente based on circumstance, 9 I keep him, 7 or less he goes. Normally, I do not like setting make or break win totals preseason not knowing what circumstances may be in store, but this late in the game he needs wins or else.

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - K

Good take. 7 wins and I would let him go in a hurry too.

Agreed. Even if three of the wins were WVU, UVA, and GT.

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

If we have a top 10 recruiting class in December, maybe I could put up with 7 wins. But yeah it would take something that dramatic (and unlikely) to justify keeping him with less than at least 8 or 9 wins.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

I agree with you. And lets be realistic for a second, its not going to be easy to even get to 8 wins for us this year, because that means beating all of UNC, WVU, ND, and Miami without any other misstep along the way, which itself will be hard because we've had head scratching losses every year under Fuente.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

that means beating all of UNC, WVU, ND, and Miami without any other misstep along the way

I'm confused by this...we could lose to all of those teams and still win 8 games this year. Am I reading what you wrote wrong or did you mean something different? Because beating all of UNC, WVU, ND, and Miami gets us to 4 wins with 8 games remaining to get the other 4 wins. I think if we manage to beat those four there is a really good chance we'll get to at least 8.

Though, I do agree that getting to 8 wins this year is going to be a challenge.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Oh I was completely referencing this:

So for me, 8 wins this year and I will judge Fuente based on circumstance, 9 I keep him, 7 or less he goes.

Basically, its going to be tough just to get to the 'judge based on circumstances' level. He has zero wiggle room with a benchmark like that, and I really cannot argue it. If we get to 9 wins, it means we beat someone in a fairly large upset and didn't lose any games we historically think we shouldn't.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

yeah, but all of them?

If we beat MTSU, Richmond, Pitt, Cuse, BC, GT, Duke and UVA that is 8 wins right there without beating any of the four you mentioned. We don't need to beat ALL of them to get to the 'judged based on circumstances' level...that's my point. There's 12 games in the season. You're saying we have to win all 12?

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I think he's assuming that UNC, ND, WVU, and Miami are all loses, so there's zero wiggle room with the other 8 games.

I can't wait until the season starts.

I'm just saying those are the excusable losses right now, or at least the ones where it's not really a surprise if we lose. The rest? Any loss to someone else needs to be offset by a win over one of those 4, and depending on the team we lost to, possibly 2. And if I'm being honest, I think 1 win out of that 4 might be realistic.

And really based on how the last 3 years have gone, it's a mistake to say we have 8 automatic wins on the schedule right now. You almost have to hedge that we will experience our annual WTF loss at some point during the season.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

I agree with all of this. I was just confused by your wording initially. I thought you were saying we would have to beat all four of UNC, ND, WVU and Miami in order to get to 8 wins.

In general, I think 8 wins is going to be really tough for this team and it has been very difficult to predict what the Hokies will do in a given season for the last 4 years. Fuente usually manages to get one good win (ND-2016; WVU-2017; FSU-2018; UNC-2019; NCST-2020) and also manages at least one bad loss (Cuse-2016; GT-2017; ODU-2018; Duke-2019; take your pick-2020).

Otherwise, it is a complete and total crapshoot. The only really consistent thing VT does is show up inconsistently. I would not be shocked at all to Beat UNC and then turn around and lose to MTSU or Richmond. Fuente's VT is Jekyll and Hyde. We get some really good performances and then some real duds. You just never know which team is going to show up. The only thing that seems certain is that you'll see both versions of the team throughout the season.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I agree with everything you just said, but I will tack this on... There is one team on the schedule that we just cannot lose to this year, Richmond. If they pull that upset, just go ahead and let him go the next day, because at that point you're talking about a VT that managed to lose to ODU, UVa, Liberty, and Richmond in successive seasons. In my eyes, short of literally winning every other game and beating Clemson for the ACC title, there isn't much that can salvage the long term health of VT under Fuente if that happens.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

The crazy part is with the same roster under Beamer, we would expect to beat at least 1 if not 2 of the above list. We would come in with the underdog mindset and play up to our competition instead of down.

Yeah I think his wording was off but we are all on the same page. I think statistically we should win one of the upsets and will in turn also be upset which is why that 8 mark is my grey area. There is probably some formula for 7 wins where I could still be impressed with the progress but I do not think the program and fanbase can dig out of the perception a 7 win season creates.

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - K

There is no room for error this year. They took a squad with the 6th highest returning production in 2020 and produced a losing season. There is no excuse for Fuente not to *meet* expectations this year.

Point of Information: Having a lot of returning production in COVID protocols doesn't help the play on the field. How much were we affected by COVID vs other teams in the ACC? I'd definitely say upper half.

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