A crisis of confidence

Leadership is about confidence. To be a leader you need to have confidence, but to effectively lead, others need to have confidence in you.

Here's a little about me, so you know I didn't learn this from a book, video or seminar. I have been managing people in high pressure environments (relatively, not like combat or anything) for almost twenty years. I am effective at what I do because people at all levels, inside and outside of my organization have confidence in my ability to lead. That confidence is placed in my decision making, assessment of situations and people, and integrity. Confidence is important in hiring. As a small company I have acquire highly talented people because we're small and every person is critical to our success. In doing so I have to beat much larger companies for talent. I have had plenty of success in that area because the person I'm recruiting has confidence in my ability to positively affect their career path.

What does this have to do with football. Absolutely nothing! I was just trying to brag.

J/K. Pretty much everything unless you're Alabama (which isn't entirely fair. Saban has good assistants).

I'm not going to go through every coach on our coaching staff and talk about confidence, I am going to pick a few that I think inspire confidence and a couple who I doubt do so.

When you are young football player and you want to play at a Power 5 school, there is little doubt that getting to the NFL is on your mind. When you are being recruited by a lot of schools, you have to choose the school and coaching staff you believe will get you to where you need to be. Some of what convinces you of that could be the coach's resume. It could be your interpersonal actions with that coach. In reality it's probably a combination of both.

Coaches that I believe inspire confidence

Why not start at the top with Justin Fuente? The conundrum with Fuente is that by all accounts, this guy should be a successful coach. His resume is good, it appears he understands football. From what I understand the current players (no need to go into the past, we're at year 1 after all) take to him well and believe in him. I have to believe that based on how hard this year's team fights. He's definitely lost the confidence of the fan base, donors and potentially the athletic department. That's unfortunate and I believe that is due mostly to his assistants, sound familiar?

Justing Hamilton is a coach that inspires confidence. Last year was awful, but he has the defense looking good this year. Is it astounding? No, but they play hard and they don't give up. His players believe in him. He played in the NFL and played safety at Virginia Tech. When he coaches a safety, you know they are going to take his advice seriously. He's been there, done that and he was good at it. I feel the same is true about JC Price and Jack Tyler. Trying to advise someone on something you have never done before is hard. These coaches also appear to be well liked by the players and recruits. That should help defensive recruiting greatly.

Vance Vice appears to be a good coach who inspires confidence. His offensive lines have been good and he seems to recruit talented players.

Coaches that I do not believe inspire confidence

The top one on my list is Brad Cornelsen. His resume is lack laster starting as a player. It's long with no notable stops. He had two stints at Oklahoma State; One as a GA and one as QC. But maybe we can ignore that because he has demonstrated a mastery of offensive football. Perhaps he's an amazing recruiter and as the QB coach top notch QBs want to be coached by him. Unfortunately none of that appears to be true. If you, as a quarterback had to put your development in someone's hands. Would it be Cornelsen's? Probably not and for good reason. Not a single quarter back under him has gotten better. They've only gotten injured.

The next on my list is Adam Lechtenberg. By all means a great recruiter and probably great guy. Again, if you are a talented running back, are you going to place your development in his hands. It's almost infuriating that the Hokie Sports website lists three "Prominent Pupils". One of them is Khalil Herbert. The other two are wide receivers from University of Tennessee Martin back in 2016. The last time we were able to recruit good running back talent was when Billy Hite was the running backs coach. Since then it's been hit or miss. Shane Beamer will probably be a good head coach. He wasn't a good running backs coach.

How can the confidence of the fan base, donors, the administration and recruits be regains? It's not going to be easy. It starts with winning. Then it has to move on to putting the right coaches in the right places. There are probably two things that really stand out to a recruit when they have to choose between two schools/coaching staffs that they like. Are you winning and are you putting people in my position group in the NFL.

For quarterbacks and running backs that answer (other than Herbert) has been no for a decade. A decade!

If Fuente wants to keep Cornelsen then he should hire a competent and accomplished QB coach. Lechtenberg should eventually move onto more administrative duties. I'm sure he's got a future in sports and I see him as more of a "business type." We need a running backs coach that has toted the rock.

As an added note, does anyone know where Galen Scott, the once future DC is? He's the linebackers coach at Louisiana University. Looking back Scott did him a favor.

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My apologies... Not done yet. I assumed save didn't mean post. This is a work in progress.

No worries. I've done it before, too

No need to worry about a premature postulation

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Just the other one.

Blink twice if Fuente is in the room with you right now

The Dude Abides

I laughed out loud! This has to go plaid!

This is what I was trying to get to yesterday but couldn't articulate. (Bristol Motor Speedway somehow allowed me to text and stream the radio from my phone, but using the internet was a step too far).

I took Whit at his word that Cornelsen needed a chance to be humanized but if you listen to the HokiePod with him and Hamilton, you would probably have a tough time guessing which one was a second year coordinator. I don't think the concepts have changed much since Jerod, but I think how we let the QBs play has. With the exception of Willis, who legit could have been good if he actually learned to reign it in, the depth of throws feels like it's gotten shorter and shorter each year. (Would love to check this if I ever got PFF.) We need to stop putting the fear of god into making a mistake and let the guys ball out. If I have to choose between throwing ourselves out of games Willis style, or hoping 160 passing yards and a cloud of dust wins the game... I'd rather us go big. Scared money don't make money.

Bingo. I believe we have enough QBs who have moved on from the "QB Whisperer" to understand that the coaches have basically said something to the effect of "Make a turn over and you will get pulled!" Look at all the players we have lost over the years since Fu became Head Coach. Sure, the transfer portal is new, but our school seems to have a turnover problem. Something is rotten in Blacksburg, I just cannot figure out what it is.

Go Hokies!

I buy Athlon's college football magazine every summer (it's my Christmas in July) and in the "what other coaches are saying" portion they always mention how Fuente has been bleeding players in the Portal and can't understand why. While the Portal has affected all teams, it's showing how much it's affected us.

I am the heartbeat of Blacksburg. A fortress built out of stone but made with champions.

I said this in the other thread, but its hard to overlook how a genuine nice guy like Cutfliffe was willing to run trick plays while already up big in the 2nd half to bury us at home in 2019. You generally don't embarrass other coaches like that unless there is something going on behind the scenes.

I will not donate to Virginia Tech Athletics as long as Justin Fuente is the head coach of VT Football. Enough is enough.

I think David Cutcliffe really admires VT and their fans and at the time I was pissed about it but in retrospect I think he was really trying to do us a big favor. Respect


I've been thinking this for several years now, too.


Galen Scott got caught using VT money on recruiting trips to sleep around with women. Favors be damned.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

So, figuratively, Galen had confidence?

#MakeTheMove . . . "Vick, dashing back . . . here he comes again . . . Electrifying . . . and have you ever seen anything like this?"

I think hubris is closer.

I also take issue with the Lechtenberg critique. Herbert was damn good last year, NFL good this year. Holston and Blackshear have been doing well this year. Holston looks like things are clicking.

Add to that, Lechty is one of our best recruiters.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

I already recognized that. That doesn't make him a good position coach. That also doesn't convince recruits they want HIM to be their position coach. I work with a phenomenal IT recruiter. She's amazing, but the software engineers she hires for me would not take the job if she were their boss.

How do we know that Holston and Blackshear didn't benefit from being around Herbert? I reject the idea that Lechtenberg made Herbert a great back. He was already that good.

But that's where we are. Get players that were coached elsewhere who aren't getting playing time.

I don't think you have coherent argument against him. He's only been the running backs coach for all of 1 COVID season and 3 games this season.

Herbert still needed to come to Blacksburg and get film and polish up. He wasn't going to the NFL after Kansas. It's great if he rubbed off on Holston and Blackshear. We are seeing those results this year. That's how a position room with a good leader works.

You are complaining about recruiting. We have Ramon Brown, arguably one of the best running backs in this class nationally, coming to Blacksburg. He brought in Herbert. Lee, Black, Christian, Thomas plus others in only 2 years. What exactly are you arguing against?

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

He's a good recruiter. We agree.

Fire Cornelison today. Me and you will take the offense over. We sure as hell couldn't do worse. Watching Howell throw a short roll out to his right to the TE was a perfect first down play for us. And they scored easily against LOLUVA. Surely we have that play.

We are way to conservative. It makes it too easy for the D to recognize the next running play. I'll bet I am correct 85% of the time. My wife says if you know that so does the D.

Getting very close to re-evaluating my monetary commitment to the football team next year. I guess the only way Corney goes is if Fu goes. If he doesn't go, my nearly $10k will go as well.

US Navy Vet

Well, you know what they say. Money Talks and Corny Walks... Or something like that.

Corny send willing to burn an entire quarter "setting up plays" instead of a series. I think Braxton's YPA in the first half was -1. Adjustments need to happen more quickly and he needs to take what the defense is giving. WVU was crowding the LOS all game and we kept on the screens and reverses.

I am not sure what to do with my hands now

This has always been Corny's M.O.

He'll run 5-6 "throwaway" plays in order to try and hit on one long play. Problem is, when that play doesn't hit, the entire scheme falls to feces.

The guy has zero ability to call plays that are designed to actually attack the weak spots of the opposing Defense...its all about cutesy window dressing that hasn't been fooling anyone since 2017.

After that, we have QB draws and fades..that's pretty much the extent of the Playbook.

We have jet sweep right then jet sweep left.....after year one all the D's we play know it's coming and are ready for it. Sure it works occasionally but we do not execute it well. Watch a team run it this weekend for a big play. They put a big receiver and big tight end play side to block. It was a big gain! We use small receivers to block who cannot sustain blocks long enough for the runner to have a chance. Plus if you use the big receivers to block and the other team adjusts play side for that formation it opens up a counter the other way. Thats what a jet sweep is for to cause the defense to defend the entire width of the field. It's a good play if schemed correctly. Problem is our OC has no clue for drawing up a decent game plan. I remember the staff complaining we are not blocking well enough on the edge etc. etc. but I have not seen any adjustments. Put guys out there who can block not small receivers. I have no confidence in this staff. Kill was right Corn has no idea how to break down tape and make a game plan for the players we have. Well thats what I'm seeing anyway but I might of had a few to many cocktails!!

Yep- all a jet sweep is is a WR reverse that teams used to run maybe once a game in the NFL or college. Its a misdirection side-ways play that you hope to fool and or outnumber the defense with. I think its part of a much larger problem in that the offense has no identity. We aren't up tempo, we aren't i formation, we aren't a true spread team. We have GRIT on our helmets,, but we don't impose our will in the running game much. It's a mess really. Pick a scheme and perfect it.

Posts @11am on a Mon:

I might of had a few to many cocktails!!


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

It's almost like Corn is a simplified Loeffler 2.0.

Loeffler's passing structure and route concepts were actually fantastic. He developed arguably the second best and definitely most productive receiving corps VT has ever had (Ford, Phillips, Hodges). Now he did get way too cute with formations and personnel groupings, and the offensive line never really materialized either. But as far as passing concepts, he was in a different stratosphere from Fuente/Corn.

I felt that Lefty's system was too advanced for college. The team literally isn't allowed to practice enough to get it down. I'd be intrigued to see him try in the pros.

But Corn's just throwing darts in a Madden playbook and trying to look smart. And should be fired.

Lefty just couldn't see the forest for the trees. I remember a quote from Shane years back about how he came into the office early one morning and Lefty had stayed up all night there watching film on the 49ers running game or something random. He got so in the weeds with different concepts or formations that developing a functional offense that the players could actually grasp fell by the wayside.

On the episode of Don V Fridays where Eric Kumah appeared, Kumah said that the way Corn calls a game does nothing to inspire confidence in the receivers. When it's 3rd and 10 and you call a quarterback draw while you have receivers who know they can get open, it really hurts morale.

The issue now vs. when Kumah was on the team is that I actually don't think the receivers can get open in most obvious passing situations. So now, in addition to the lack of confidence from the offensive coordinator, there is a lack of confidence in their own abilities internally because they're not getting open from what Williams is teaching them or not teaching them.

I'm not sure how much of a Cornelsen's playcalling tendencies are on Fuente. Is Fuente the coach to let his coaches coach, or do they follow a strict blueprint laid out by Fuente? I don't know. I also did not watch Memphis at all when Darrell Dickey was running the show rather than Cornelsen. Fuente is in a position, though, to change these things one way or another.

I have no desire to go through a full rebuild. A) I don't think it's necessary at the moment and b) there is never a guarantee that the grass is greener on the other side. If Fuente wants to avoid getting canned this offseason assuming the team underperforms again, though, the only way he even has a chance at keeping his job is by finding a new OC and WR coach.

Marshall University graduate.
Virginia Tech fanatic.
Formerly known as JWillHokieAlum.

In many ways Fu is more conservative than Beamer. Certainly in late game/half time situations - Beamer took many more chances at times. The issue is that he wants a power running game, to stay ahead of the chains, and have a mis direction passing game. it works when he has guys like Evans and Herbert. But he is not very good at adjusting his scheme to the players. Anyone excited how we are using Blackshear? a little more than last year sure, but not setting the world on fire.

I think the criticism of Adam L is unfounded. I think a TBD might be fair, but the guy has brought in great transfers, thins out the RB room which will continue on this season/off-season and has gotten Ramon Brown on board (who is a legit talent).

With all of the recruiting criticism you have to give credit also and the guy has barely been in the role and thus far has done some pretty outstanding stuff.

Bottom-line is I think you are letting bias in that he isn't some "proven coach" steer the opinion vs what has been actually accomplished in a short period of time in conjunction with the trend line of where that group is going.

I agree to an extent...and that extent is largely I don't think we have enough data on Lecht to make a firm conclusion either way.

He seems to be a plus in Recruiting as far as a position coach, mostly unknown since Fuente makes zero effort to give us any insight into what happens in practice.

From a concern standpoint, he might be the lowest on the Offensive side on my list.

  • Corny is #1 with a Bullet
  • Williams is not far behind, what he has contributed here is a mystery to me
  • Vice - has had some ups and downs..losing his 2 best recruits to the Portal definitely wasn't great and the '21 OL has not been particularly impressive thus far particularly Run blocking

I definitely agree that the OL isn't nearly as good this year as last, but I also wonder how much of that comes down to opponents being able to figure out what we're doing relatively quickly and easily and being able to just attack the run with less regard for the pass.

Presser a few minutes ago, OL has injury issues.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Nester and Hudson transferred, Clement's didn't make the trip and Dzsani got hurt. We aren't Bama, we don't have 12 OL that can play as well as the top 5.

Oh, I get that for sure. Dzansi going out in the game definitely didn't help us at all and I don't think I realized that Clements was out. Just a secondary thought really about the OL being affected by our overall offensive scheme being easier to attack.

I think Vice had earned some cushion for a rough game or two as the OL has looked like the only functional part of the offense the last two seasons. Rebuilding years and injuries will happen, not ready to take any umbrage there. Williams might be able to blame Corny enough to keep his job as the WR have won 1v1 battles when called upon, question is: do they run routes badly or are they running bad routes?

I am not sure what to do with my hands now

The offense is so hyper conservative due to this extreme CornFu philosophy that you avoid turnovers at all cost. While that's generally good advice, we are shaping our entire offense around not ever risking a turnover at any cost. It shows with our horrendous passing game and situational playcalling. The only way it could be more conservative would be if we just punted on first down every time.

We've gone from assurances of an up-tempo offense that attacks and doesn't put the game on the defense to an offense that seems like it's purpose is to run out the clock and get into the locker room without making a mistake.


sometimes, ya gotta open things up.

VT '10--US Citizen; Virginian By Birth; Texan By the Grace of God.

Rick Monday... You Made a Great Play...

Romanes Eunt Domus

That is 100% problem. Playing "not to lose" is antithetical to the spirit of competition. As you touched on, it's a morale killer. "Go out there and don't screw up" is way different message than "Go out there and get those points." Ryan Willis had a great attitude, he needed to rein it in a little bit. My experience is that risk takers can learn to take more calculated risks, but risk averse people are just not "wired" to take risks.

Six years in hearing about "execution" is not going to cut it.

One of the major issues I harp on with Fu and Corny that give me so little confidence as a fan is the tepidness in and around half time. We never and I mean never push it within 3-4 minutes of halftime. It does little to inspire or give your guys confidence when you send them out to simply waste time to get to the half instead of trying to do something and get points. To me its a huge waste and in close games is one of the main reasons we lose those kinds of games. Coach players to be scared or hesitant and you get what we had against WVU where your qb hesitates and misses the windows to hit his guys and by making him hesitant he tends to hold the ball and take meaningless sacks due to him not being confident enough to sling it.

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

Lotsa malaise these days. Yep.

VT '10--US Citizen; Virginian By Birth; Texan By the Grace of God.

Rick Monday... You Made a Great Play...

Romanes Eunt Domus

except the cause isn't hard to identify

The idea that Fuente can be a good coach is moronic. He refuses to fix problems because of loyalty. The same pattern has been repeating itself for years. He was hired so that the defense would not have to carry the team. Yet here we are with the defense carrying the team.

There is no unit on the team that he makes better. He has not developed a QB, he has not installed an offensive staff or system that gets players into the NFL. He has not recruited well.

These are facts.

Shots deep. We have got to be able to take some shots down the field. It's just killing us t- teams have zero respect that we can get behind them.

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

Confidence level? Fuente has Cornelson's back. Put out publicly. Let's see how the rest of the year goes from here.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Here's the big question..

Does Babcock have Fuente's back?

Because JF has essentially said you're gonna have to fire him to get BC outta town.

Apparently, scoring points is also now considered "minutia" rather than the basic method of achieving victory in Football.

Hiring Fuente as an offensive minded coach has not worked out. End of story .

Sad but True.

VT '10--US Citizen; Virginian By Birth; Texan By the Grace of God.

Rick Monday... You Made a Great Play...

Romanes Eunt Domus

It's been offensive. To my sensibilities!

I have little confidence in Jafar Willliams. That position group has not lacked athletic talent but still struggles to perform. Tech will struggle to find someone as good as Holmon Wiggins but they need to try again.

I disagree with the Lechtenburg criticism. It's weak. He's one of the better recruiters on the staff and has had success with running backs during his short time as the coach. At worst he is to soon to tell.

It's Time to go to Work

I second this

Recruiting does not inspire confidence nor does it suggest that the head coach inspires confidence in the kinds of players VT needs to sign to win championships.

Good observation which is not in conflict with what I wrote. If you can't inspire confidence you can't recruit top talent because players don't believe in your ability to develop them and get them to the next level.

Fuente's best recruiting class is not significantly different than Beamer's best. He should not get credit for what the expectation is.

Furthermore, he hasn't developed/maximized enough recruits.

Lurking in the back of my mind is also this:

Does any of this even matter? Of course it does to us...but does it matter in a general competing for the National Championship sense. It doesn't appear that winning a NC will happen even if the football program reaches is realistic max ceiling.

Suppose, the next head coach comes in recruits consistently in the 25-15 range, and is in the mix for an ACC championship every couple of years, is a borderline CFB playoff team every 4-5 years. Can they beat Alabama or Georgia?

The answer is yes, see Clemson. But if Whit's goal is 7 wins a year then I guess Fuente might be close enough.

I hate hate hate that we are 2-1 when we should be 3-0. The wins should have all been by a bigger margin. This season already feels lost. Teams know how to plan for us now, Corn has nothing else left in the playbook, what we've seen is what we get. My wife and I were talking and our confidence in this OC is completely gone. I cannot believe we were naive enough to think this year would somehow be different with him. We have a lot of offensive talent going to waste at WR and with the transfer portal I question who all we will lose after this season. I hope our current recruits do not lose confidence and decide to decommit after the season. After seeing U.VA I don't know if I am confident we beat them. Would really be bad to lose the Commonwealth Cup and Black Diamond Trophy in the same year but it could happen. Their QB looks and plays the way I wish ours did.


after that Brown Recluse bit me in July 2004, (in Pamlico County, NC), I don't take kindly to Spiders.

Get things back on track, CornFu.

At least JHam and Company, have shown marked improvement on their side of the ball.

VT '10--US Citizen; Virginian By Birth; Texan By the Grace of God.

Rick Monday... You Made a Great Play...

Romanes Eunt Domus