About last night - Things will get better... eventually

I don't even know how to start this comment, so I'll just get right to it. We don't have a good team this year. Our years of poor recruiting under Fuente and an Early Signing Day happening a week after Pry was hired have pretty much torched whatever talent and depth we had over the last couple years. And games like last night are probably going to be the norm for the next couple years. Pry has a mess to clean up, and we're just not realizing how awful the program that he inherited had become.

But

Sleeping on it and looking back, I am actually somewhat encouraged by the scheme I'm seeing from the team, at least early in the games. The first half of the game last night, we held our own against a team we probably had no business competing with. Our defense held a high powered offense in check, and we absolutely shut down a very good running game. Our offense, at least via the passing game, was able to move the ball pretty well. And even the plays that didn't connect, we generally had someone in the route tree come open. The scheme itself has signs that it is working.

The problem is, we're getting torched in the trenches and we have zero depth. We're eye openingly small across both lines. Helmet to helmet, we're just a smaller team than WVU, and a major part of that is that Fuente recruited VT as if we were a middling G5 program the last 3 or 4 years. And the coaching, especially in OL, that we've had the last few years, has been poor, so not only are we working at trying to undo the technique that they were previously taught, we're also asking guys to take on physical responsibilities that they might not be able to do. And then combine this with the overall lack of depth that we have, and the team was gassed by halftime, and got predictably gashed in the 2nd half.

I dunno, maybe I'm trying to be too optimistic about a really bad outing knowing that we're going into a stretch where we're probably going to be pummeled for at least the next 4 weeks, most likely breaking the Not Shutout streak in depressing fashion, but it feels like the potential is there, it just needs the right pieces in place to see it.

One thing is for certain. We have the former DC and LB coach of Penn St and the former OL coach of Wisconsin. I do not worry that our size is going to be at our disadvantage along the trenches in the future, even if it is now.

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Comments

Stole this one from Bar, but I think it should be re-posted regularly as a reminder of what our own head coach believes the timeline is to fix this program.

I feel like I've heard this before....

Seriously it's going to take time and work, but what indications do we have so far that we will be recruiting at a high level by 2025? Is VT equipped in this age of NIL to do that? And what is "be where they want to be?" Is that top 25? Top 35? Vague statements mean you can easily move the goal posts.

My god man, its been 4 games

This is my school
This is home

The fact remains, the 2023 class isn't exactly shaping up to be stellar. And I'm already hearing "oh don't worry, 2025 is the year!" The lack of working the portal this year already was concerning.

Yeah well.... The reality is that the situation around the program kind of sucks right now. There is no quick and easy magic fix to everything. There just isn't. Its going to take years to undo the damage that the previous staff did.

If you don't like that, I don't know what to tell you.

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This is home

He DID work the portal. We had near the limit of guys we could take. The problem was with all our attrition, knowing what to even take in the portal. We needed QBs, and based on what was available (and realistic for us - meaning he's not going to pick up a 5 star), I think did pretty well. Now that he knows what the roster looks like and what he was able to recruit during this year, he should have a much better idea what to get in this year's portal.

Why is that not realistic? WVU got Jt Daniels. I'd be excited for a 4* maybe even a well performing 3*. We essentially got two 2* quarterbacks.

Free Hugh

I agree that we could have potentially gotten a better QB than what we did in the portal.

WVU getting JT Daniels has an extremely clear connection that makes it incomparable to our QB search: Graham Harrell was his OC and QB coach for a year at Southern Cal. Not only do they have a pre-existing personal relationship, but Daniels has reps, terminology, and understanding of Harrell's offense.

JT Daniels knew Harrel from spending a year together at USC, that always helps. WVU has had a prolific passing offense more often than not in the last decade or two, which is a big draw. For Tech, a historically defensively minded school with a new defensive minded coach, a rookie OC, and not a lot of talent surrounding you in either skill positions or the big guys protecting you doesn't seem like a recipe to bring in 4* guy last year. Or even this next year. A lot can happen before the end of the season, but I don't see our offense turning into one that QB's are falling over themselves to transfer into.

So you think picking up a 5 star QB from the portal was realistic for Pry?

I was saying there were some QBs that wouldn't have been realistic for us to get. There was also a deadline to get the guys to transfer, it's not like you can utilize the portal 365 days a year. So Pry had to find QBs, figure out what they were capable of, build a relationship/recruit them (and remember, he's only taking guys with the right mentality), all within the short time he had. I think he did moderately well given all those circumstances.

He's an upgrade over what we had last year.

There is lots to work on with this team. At least he has an arm, and can be a threat anywhere on the field.

Are you ok?

You might want to take the rest of this season off because it seems like you are way too emotionally invested in the outcomes of our football games and the performance of our football team.

So, first of all, I interpret the comment as the roster will be where Pry wants it to be by 2025; NOT that we won't have a good class until 2025. So that's about 3 seasons of transfers and high school recruits.

As far 'where they want to be' - That probably doesn't correspond to a recruiting/talent composite (coaches don't think that way). My guess is that means we have the bodies to match the scheme at every position, at least two deep.

All that said, I too am a little suspect of the recruiting so far, but I hopeful that this offseason we hit the transfer portal hard (like Michigan State did, in Mel Tucker's second season).

Twitter me

Im also concerned about the recruiting. Not necessarily Pry's ability, but more of Blacksburg's. I love the place, but I can see how it might not be the most appealing to a lot of recruits. And when the team isn't competing on a national stage, the sell gets that much harder.

All of this has been said before many times. But the more we go through coaching staffs, and the more the product stays the same (or declines), the more it looks like the problem isn't necessarily just the staff.

Happy to be proved wrong...

Blacksburg is not the problem, it's the only thing that keeps us in the conversation. What does Tuscolusa (as a town) have to offer? My point is college towns are what makes college football and we have a great one. Fan support is great for mediocre football team. I don't think Pry is the problem either. He seems to be building a culture and identity. The offense needs to be better and we need to be more disciplined. Also need a big NIL donor or two but Blacksburg is a top10 college town I truly believe.

Yeah I see this from both sides.

On one hand, yes we know we have a loooooong rebuild ahead of us to get where we need to be. It's going to take several years.

But on the other hand, building the culture started when Pry got hired on November 30, 2021. And in the first 10 months, there just aren't a lot of signs that we are heading in the right direction yet considering the lack of talent brought in from the portal, poor recruiting, and undisciplined play.

Granted, it is still way too early to draw any conclusions either way.

There is tons of evidence we're heading in the right direction. We have a coach that is accessible and personable, we have significantly bumped the budget for staff, the fans and football alum have been re-engaged, and inroads all across the state are being repaved. Those are ALL precursors to success - not a magical switch that make it all better. The foundational things are or have changed - now we need to build on it with recruiting and development and that is just going to take time. Its like pouring concrete - we changed the mixture and poured, but we can't accelerate the curing process.

And maybe it's my O&M glasses, but I think I see the beginnings of an identity and a plan for what the future of VT football is.

If you feel the leather in your hand let it rip.

You have to believe the changes are happening. Otherwise the alternative is O&M depression, and I'm not going to live like that. Choose optimism, donate when you can, cheer, and hope for the best. Its a better approach than complaining, doing nothing to help fix the problem, and living miserably.

100% see this its wildly frustrating that we do not have the ability to fulfill the identity with the pieces we have but you can absolutely see what the coaches want this team to be on both sides of the ball.

(add if applicable) /s

TBH, I don't see what we're trying to do on offense quite yet. My guess is its a pro style with a big emphasis on offensive line and power running. It just isn't obvious yet considering the state of the current roster?

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

Those are good points, and all of that is great, but unless we have the right head coach and staff, none of that is going to matter in the long run. And that is still TBD.

And I don't know how many will agree/disagree, but to the average fan, Pry isn't any more 'accessible or personable' than Fu was. He gives the same run-of-the-mill press conferences every week and nothing more. He doesn't look all that engaged or passionate on the sidelines. Granted, it's only been 4 games but that's just my observation so far.

I repeat, its been 4 games and the current staff absolutely deserves the benefit of the doubt that things will get better in the long run, at least until they prove they don't deserve it, and we are a long way away from that point of determination.

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This is home

3 years. That's how long it takes to know if the coaches are moving in the right direction.

I'm not saying that if these coaches aren't winning the ACC in year 3 that they should be fired. I'm saying that after 3 full seasons we'll have a good idea of whether we're trending up or down.

First 3 years for coaches:

Coach Saban (Bama)
7-6, 12-2, 14-0
Coach Kelly (ND)
8-5, 8-5, 12-1
Coach Fuente (VT)
10-4, 9-4, 6-7
Coach Bowden (Clemson)
6-6, 9-3, 7-5
Coach Tubberville (Auburn)
5-6, 9-4, 7-5
Coach Beamer (VT)
2-9, 3-8, 6-4-1
Coach Weis (ND)
9-3, 10-3, 3-9
Coach Swinny (Clemson)
9-5, 6-7, 10-4
Coach Babers (Cuse)
4-8, 4-8, 10-3
Coach London (UVA)
4-8, 8-5, 4-8

Onward and upward

Not more personable than Fuente? Did you check out during the offseason and end of last season? The snowball fight? The stopping to throw a ball with a kid in his yard? He's had WAY more interviews he's given than Fuente did in his first 6 months. Are you looking for Richard Simmons' type exuberance or something? Post game interviews are a different beast, especially when your team isn't good, but I think it's a night and day difference between Pry and Fuente.

I'm not criticizing him for that, I'm just pointing out that the accessibility and personality of Fu and Pry is a lot more similar than people want to say.

I mean, I saw the snowball fight and the rest of the stuff you mentioned, and thought it was great, but are we honestly suggesting that Fuente never did those things either? Because there are countless stories about the things Fu did for the team and community as well. To lie and say he didn't just to boost up Pry is just goofy.

can you give examples of Fuente doing things that would be comparable to snow ball fights and throwing football in the yard with random kids? I'm not doubting you, but I honestly can't remember any examples of him doing stuff like that.

Onward and upward

If you didn't know about it, and can't think of ANY off the top of your head, that's accessibility right there. Doing that stuff and walling it off from fans is why people were so upset. I paid a lot of attention to Fuente and thought he was a great hire in the beginning, but I don't remember a single instance of anything like that.

I heard he was engaging to players at stuff like the team bbq in the summer, but that's about it, and again, that was hearsay without articles or anything. And Fuente never talked about mindset/mentality, even after it came out that players wanted to lose so they wouldn't HAVE to go to a bowl game. I think Pry has also been more open and has a better strategy for recruiting (guys within that 6 hour distance so we're not losing guys to be closer to home and that kind of thing - Fuente tried recruiting from almost everywhere EXCEPT VA it seemed, all those NC2VT or TX2VT things that they had to have expended a lot more time and energy recruiting from that far away and it never panned out).

But recruiting strategy is different than being personable and accessible, but to some extent, having a strategy and communicating it is a little related to accessibility.

Again, I was a huge fan of Fuente's, but he never did anything like that, or if he did, he didn't hire good enough PR/social media people to take advantage. But I think it's more, Pry "grew up" at Tech. Apparently one of his first visits, he met with like 11 different groups, including the band and Corps of Cadets as well as other athletic teams. That's understanding the school at a more fundamental level than Fuente ever did.

He's had WAY more interviews he's given than Fuente did in his first 6 months years.

FTFY

I did see signs of the culture. The players played hard the entire game, were interested in what was going on, and cheering for each other on big plays. In the past, they have been sitting, disinterested, and even fighting amongst themselves on the sidelines. Even getting beaten last night I didn't see any evidence of that on the sideline.

So progress is being made.

Beat me to it.

If you feel the leather in your hand let it rip.

So, nowhere to go but up?

I also have confidence that the current coaching staff are doing the right stuff, even if it's ugly in the short term.

I approve of this message.

I was happy to see some more variety on offense last night even if we didn't connect on a lot of it. The defense did a solid job against them overall. I really hope we can clean up the yellow flags. I can stomach getting beat by a better team if we're playing hard, but the penalties are killer.

If you feel the leather in your hand let it rip.

It's a mess and won't be cured overnight, but there should be a link to the portal posted on every white board in Merryman today.

Yeah I wouldn't be shocked to see a heavy use of the portal this year. And by that I mean I wouldn't be shocked to see a lot of names we recognize enter it because we're looking to go a different direction.

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This is home

yup. I didn't see anyone on the field last night where I thought "we can't afford to lose that guy"; and you can include some of the coaches in that as well. I think there will be plenty of space to sign a full class and bring in several transfers. I think coaches can look a recruit in the eye and say "you have a good chance for immediate playing time" and mean it.

Portal is not open right now. They changed the rules so that it is only open for 45 days per year - May 1 - May 15 and for 30 days after championship week in December.

A bunch of players got screwed by schools that slow played their applications at the end of August when the rule took effect.

I would take the assessment on offense a bit further and just say "what if" Wells connects on a few of those passes. Right now his accuracy and touch is just not great, and there were multiple times last night (and the games preceding) where he just flat out missed his target. A more accurate QB keeps the chains moving and that has a whole cascading impact on the game. 1) We probably score a lot more, 2) we stay on offense longer giving the D a breather, and 3) we keep the crowd in the game (and the crowd absolutely had an impact last night in the 2nd quarter).

Fix the throws and clean-up the penalties last night and we may be having a VERY different thread discussion today.

it also helps that the receivers find the ball in the air. I wont even call it a drop by Blue because it hit him right in the GD visor, but if he actually picks that thing up, again, we're talking about a drive that gets extended much deeper and energizes the crowd, while giving the D at least a few more plays to chill.

The ball bouncing off his helmet was an inexcusable drop by the receiver. That ball was where it was supposed to be.

The long balls tried to keep the defense honest, and at least one of them should have been caught. I am not sure if he was overthrowing, or the receivers were not going flat out. But a couple feet each way and we added at least 2 more TD's.

There was absolutely no defender between him and the end zone. He had the DB beat and that might have gone for a touchdown.

Hate to be that guy and say "we're X number of plays away from 4-0 sky-high expectations this year", but it's the truth. Nobody's beaten the Hokies more this season than the Hokies.

Yup. This. Yes we're getting killed at the line when we're on offense, but we've beaten ourselves more than we've been beaten by the other team. This is what gives me hope not for the future but in general for this season. We have a massive gauntlet in October and this could be the worst month in VT football history. But, if we clean up the penalties, win the T/O battle, make the opponents PAY when they make a mistake, and stop making our own mistakes then these games will at least be entertaining for more than the first half.

The fan base, the players, the alums, fans, donors, etc, needed this. We need reality to hit us in the face sometimes. It's not fun, and it's a bit depressing. Tyrod was a full decade ago. Vick is 2 decades gone. Jerod is now 6 years removed.

That's a long time between success. And it'll take some more time for that success to come back. The changing landscape of collegiate athletics puts urgency to the matter.

But I swear to God, if we only win one more game, it better be against UVA.

Remember those threads? If we go 10-1 and win the natty but lose to UVA, or go 1-10 but beat UVA? Yeah, we're staring at the latter. I'll take a win over UVA to close out the season.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

I need us to find a way to beat that dumb ass team from Lynchburg.

If you feel the leather in your hand let it rip.

and Norfolk lol

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

I have bad news for you...

If you feel the leather in your hand let it rip.

I definitely think it'll get better. What I want the most for the fanbase to realize is you have to be truly patient with this. I don't mean patient waiting game to game to see improvement. I mean patient spanning seasons. We're macro level here, not micro. Don't get lost and mad focusing on the mirco. I see a lot of frustrated comments across HokieNation and I don't want these people to be so stressed. What everyone has to realize is we are not a good football program with the way Fuente was steering the ship. Some of us knew that, plenty others didn't. For your own stress as fan, I need you all to let go of any expectations. Your game day experience will improve immensely. You will then see the program for where it is, a rebuild that has many steps in the process. We're currently in the first step. You're not gonna see significant results in the first 4 games. It's very likely you won't see many in the first year. Even if you do, there's gonna be small sprouts that will still need a lot of watering before you can anticipate are more bountiful yield. You're wasting your time stressing over stuff right now, especially in the first month. The lack of production, the penalties, all of that is a result of the state the program was left it. That doesn't get fixed over night. The corrections aren't linear either. So you might see some good things (say, cleaned up penalties) and then next game, it's broken again (ie more penalties). It's just a process. Growing pains sounds cliche but its true.

So save yourselves the mental anguish and just focus on any positive, no matter how small that positive may seem. Maybe its a younger player showing some flash to where in a year or two, they'll be really good. Maybe its a player or position group showing more poise. Maybe its the general attitude of the team and/or coaches supporting each other or embracing the fan base more. The kind of thing that on its own sounds small and trivial, but is really supporting pieces of the framework that goes into a solid foundation of good programs. That's the stuff to focus on as fans in step 1 of a multiple step rebuild that's gonna take some time (at least a couple of years). The W/L, the stats and such, don't give it much thought beyond "hey, we won. let's have some fun". The losses or any of the negative? Throw it out as soon as the clock hits zero and move on to the next. This is how you need to navigate this season.Your fandom experience will greatly improve with that approach

Useful to remember that Beamer began in 87... that perfect season was 22 years later. I remember going to games in the rain in the late 80s with maybe 25k in the stands. Was there with season tickets that UVA game when we scored 14 in just over 2 minutes to a W, but plagued with endless holding penalties.
By the 00s were were yelling in the stands every time Frank didn't go for it on 4th and short. We grumbled back then not knowing how good we had it. "The Gator Bowl AGAIN?")
My mom was a campus kid with faculty parents in the 40s and early 50s... and she simply said, "we never won a game the entire time I lived here as a kid". Probably wasn't as bad as all that, but it did give us some perspective.

Will we get back to another 99 season? With the way the game is changing, it's gone from difficult to nearly impossible. But the future of the sport can't rest on a small number of powerhouse teams (boring). For those of us that live for chaos like me, the opportunities seem likely :)

'89 Hokie alum, former staff, former faculty. Living in Jawja - a rescue Dawg married to a Fauxkie. Navigating the curious spaces between the ACC and the SEC since 2009.

Was here from 1983-88. ONLY games that sold out(and stadium was only 50K then) were WVU and UVA. Average crowd for the rest was about 40k with several at 25-30k depending on weather and talent level of VT. Any others remember the "three yards and a cloud of dust" offenses? The first few years were good records-9-2(including the glorious '83 squeaker at UVA 48-0 Hokie win where we tore down the goalposts at Lane North but didn't get a bowl bid at all-snubbed by the Peach Bowl for an 8-3 UNCheat team that got waxed by FSU 28-3),8-4, down year at 6-5,then the 9-2-1 final year of Dooley (I saw the Peach Bowl VTs first ever bowl win). Then the bottom fell out for a while with new coach CFB -largely due to the NCAA sanctions.. But even in the winning years the attendance was not consistently high except the two opponents I mentioned.

Of note- back then for BOTH football and basketball, getting student tickets required showing your athletic card at the ticket stand inside Cassell on a day 5-6 days before the game and that opened up at 830am that day. Students could "stand in" for up to 8 folks including themselves, and max group seating together was 24(with three students in the line together). Seats were randomly assigned-being front of the line was no guarantee of great(low in the venue) seats but you usually weren't screwed in the process. Tended to get the more motivated students in the stands as there was effort involved to get tickets. I didn't miss a single game in either sport 'cause I was always near the front groups in the line because I got up at 430am to get in line for ALL the games. For the big ones(WVU and UVA in football, Memphis State and Louisville in basketball) it was overnight to occasionally 36 hours in line outside. Also for basketball 4500 of the 10,000 seats were student tix including the entire east ('tennis court') side of Cassell. You knew well before gameday if you were gonna be able to attend a game. If you didn't get tickets, you could make plans to go to a bar or watch at home in your room/apartment.

Looking earlier, in the 1970s VT had only 3 winning seasons and those were 6-5,8-3 and 6-4-1 with avg wins per season at 4.7)

From the 2018 VT-uva game-"This is when LEGENDS are made!"

Same process while I was there, 88-92, except I thought you could only attend 10 basketball games.

I still have my "New Peach Bowl" t-shirt somewhere. 85-89 - was standing in the grassy hill end zone for that UVA sellout in 86? I had forgotten the ticket process until reading your post, but it seemed to work fine.
One of the growing pains I recall was the big shakeup on season ticker holders getting shifted based on donor status. Which I get, but seeing the old timers - the guys with their corps ball caps with grad years in the 40s like my uncles that had been there year in, year out for decades - getting pushed higher up because they weren't donating 4 figures or more.
I guess we may have some of those 70s season ahead. Tha KS for reminding me that the Dooley years were better than I remembered. There was life BF (before Frank) and there will be again. Even Bama had decades in the proverbial desert between Bear Bryant and Nick Saban.

'89 Hokie alum, former staff, former faculty. Living in Jawja - a rescue Dawg married to a Fauxkie. Navigating the curious spaces between the ACC and the SEC since 2009.

Honestly, it's not much different than I expected in scrimmage 4 of the 24 or so before the season begins in 2024.

As of last night, I've fully resolved myself to playing the long game. Yes - it will be years before we're good again. It's gonna suck to see our offense get abused up the middle by average teams for the next couple of years.

But man, it'll be worth the patience. I truly do think HCBP has what it takes to be the head whistle, he seems to be the kind of guy who will make the hard business decisions he might need to make. I see it in his pressers, he's someone who knows how to get the answers he needs, knows what's important (gradual improvement on and off the field, recruiting for the future and not just for now, fan engagement, etc.) and knows it'll be a long haul to get where he wants the team to be. I see it in his demeanor on the sideline, looking for player development as much as player performance.

And I'm not ready to write off his staff either. Yes, they're green, but the valuable real-world experience they're getting now will serve them well years down the road.

Nobody likes losing. Especially those that put in months of practice for 12 games a year. Stick with the team and they'll stick with us.

I wanna see the notes he writes on the sidelines every time we do something stupid.

If you feel the leather in your hand let it rip.

Can only assume he swaps out to a new notebook every commercial break.

I agree with this. And it feels like the staff is approaching this season with an eye more on development than on instant winning. The rotation of players on defense and even at wide receiver to some extent is really unexpected. They are rotating those defensive players and getting snaps to a lot of guys, which is going to pay dividends down the road.

I also think that Grant Wells has the highest ceiling of any QB we have seen at VT since Tyrod, and they really aren't comparable because they are so different. But Grant is getting very little help from the OL right now and the run game.

The OL is teh big ? mark right now. That is one position where they are not rotating guys through. They must be trying to give Moore and Chaplin redshirt years, because the OL looks baaaaad and they aren't trying any other lineups.

Let's give it time and watch the OL closely.

Pry seems focused on the right things and he doesn't dodge questions. He is fairly direct in all of his answers.

Obviously, we're absolutely terrible and lack talent. How many more games will we win this year? 1? 2? I think we will continue to be almost unwatchable in the short term.

We got <1 yard per running back carry yesterday. Presumably the staff could fix this with time, but it might take a while. We got a million penalties for a billion yards. You would hope the staff could fix this with time (they already should have)

What I am concerned about for the long term is a RB carry from shotgun on 3rd and 1 followed by a QB draw from shotgun on 4th and 1. What in the Brad Cornelsen is our new offensive staff doing?

The OL is the spot to watch right now. What in the world is happening with that group?! I'm not looking for world beaters, but they should be better. Just a mediocre run game will go a long way to open up the passing game where we actually seem to have some talent and ability.

The OL looks completely lost and tied up to me. They're not firing off the ball and they're flat out missing assignments.

I have to assume this is because Rudolph, et al have decided to go as cold turkey as possible in changing the OL approach; I just can't believe 5 guys with a ton of successful snaps (don't forget...the VT run game was pretty good last year) could get this bad, this quickly...

We did lose 3 starters on OL from last season. But yeah - it was painful to watch them get manhandled on the running plays.

Every single one of those guys on defense look like they are plating their butts off. If we had a DBU lock down corner we'd have won ODU and been a lot closer to WVU. They are fun to watch, although frustrating and shallow at many positions.

Watching the offense progress in their route trees has been interesting to watch. If we had any kind of run blocking from our oline we'd look way better. Wells has 2 more full years after this one The passing game is opening up and we have the best oline coach in the nation. Moss has pushed for playing time and has had some inexperience mistakes, but is a freshman, Duke looked to have some shimmy and shake last week.

It's a ride, if some how we learn to have a run game then we've got a chance to make some upsets this year. Outside of the oline I've like what I've seen.

Edit: outside oline and penalties.

Last night was incredibly frustrating, but when you consider the big events that occurred, that game was a lot closer than it seemed despite WVU being more talented than us. Below are a few of said plays:

  • 2nd quarter (7-3) VT fails at 3rd and 4th down and 1 at WVU 18.
  • 2nd quarter (7-6) Grant Wells missed wide open receiver in the end zone.
  • 3rd quarter (7-13) VT fails to recover muffed punt, which would have given them the ball at WVU 13 yard line.
  • 3rd quarter (10-16) VT commits roughing the passer on 4th down after incomplete WVU pass would have resulted in turnover on downs.
  • 3rd quarter (10-16) VT commits illegal hands to the face on 3rd and long after incomplete WVU pass.

VT would have been winning by at least a touchdown if even half of those plays went our way. I think any rational fan watching that game would agree and also acknowledge that there were not nearly as many comparable lucky plays that benefitted us.

With all of that said, I'm incredibly concerned with our running offense. This is not an exaggeration, I don't think there was a single well-blocked play in that entire game by our OL. This is a problem. Our run blocking is so bad, that we couldn't even luck into a big running play where the DL slants perfectly into our blocking scheme. This is what I'm going to be focused on the rest of the season.

I think this is a fair analysis of the game. It sucks because we're close(-ish) but we played ourselves out of it again and there are both easy things to fix and long-term issues that need to be addressed.

The good: I thought Wells did better in the first half, and we were able to mix in more receivers. We attacked the seams on quick-hitting TE plays. The defense prevented touchdowns in the redzone until the game got away from us.

The bad: too early to blame playcalling but I really wish we did more to get the offense going on the outside. When King and Black got the ball on the flat (without a man immediately draped on top of them in coverage), we were able to get chunks of yards. The fact that I can't remember a running back toss, or (god-forbid) a jet sweep is kinda insane. There have hardly been any screens this season, and the ones we have done have been poorly executed. But if we're going to keep running poorly executed dives to keep the running game honest, we can play the full length of the field horizontally. On defense, it definitely felt like the tackling took a step back - though this is the first real test we've had so far defensively.

The ugly: the run game was none existent, the line play on both sides was bad, and the penalties were atrocious (both in terms of us making mistakes, and the refs seemingly willing to call any bit of contact a pass interference call).

And yet, with all that, it was a 6 point game with multiple chances to get the ball back early in the fourth quarter.

I hate that I feel like I have to make excuses for this game, but it was (to me at least) kinda close dammit!

I'd like to see Bullock and/or Farrell get a shot at QB if Wells continues to play as poorly as he has so far. Perhaps when we get to the GT game. Otherwise they're probably gone after this year

One, Wells didn't (and largely hasn't) played that poorly. Two, I want to see Bullock and/or Farrell exactly where they are - watching and learning.

Yeah, Wells hasn't really played poorly. He also hasn't really played good either. He's been fine given the condition of the rest of the offense. Though as anemic as it is, I wouldn't be opposed to putting Brown in there at some point this season if the lack of offensive signs of life continue. I'm not saying next game, but I'm saying a scenario where say mid to late October, things still looking really pedestrian, throw Brown in for some snaps with the ones and see if it looks different.

Agree, everyone likes to nitpick wells but he's still fairly green with two more years he can play after this and a cannon that has all the potential in the world. If they can reel him in to read the open receivers and put a little touch on the passes he's gonna be scary good.

People are really like jumping off the deep end and I'm legitimately not that concerned. O LINE is my biggest concern like everyone else but I'm not disappointed in the offensive scheme and don't think it's "worse than Fuente". We have actual route trees providing options are multiple levels of the defense; we work zone defenses in the middle like you're supposed to; we use TE passes as an extension of the running game. The big things were missing is an o like to make the offense less one dimensional and allow our RB some room to make a move. Agree the lack of an outside the tackle run game needs to be addressed but I feel like every week I've seen the offense change slightly to address deficits in other areas from earlier in the year. I believe Bowen is probably morphing his ideology of what the offensive identity will be and what plays he needs in his repertoire as the season goes on. As others have said many of these coaches are developing their systems now that they've been given a chance. It's a development year and rebuilding project guys. Chill out and appreciate the positives. Defense looks great considering what we saw the last two years, I will take the effort they are giving all day. Just wait till kids have been in the system for multiple years.

Wildturkey said it above but I want to reiterate...

Wells hasn't played that badly. He lacks some touch on the ball and isn't the most accurate, but imo if you put him on a team with a good oline all around (not just pass pro), solid receivers top to bottom, and a playbook that isn't so reliant on passing, he'd be fine. He's not a heisman candidate, but it's not his fault that we can't rush for shit and then the defense drops back 7 into coverage. Most QBs will struggle with that.

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You don't want Bullock. He was not throwing good passes in warm ups which are as easy as it gets.

he should be the one diving forward on the QB sneaks.

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That'll help with our offensive play calling predictability. Also what do you think he'll do with the entire DL in the back field?

If you feel the leather in your hand let it rip.

It's seems like we pass block fairly well. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

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

Yah seems ok. I did see a stat in the athletic about West Virginia being one of the least blitzing teams in the country and that last night they only blitzed something like 2% of their plays. So a lot of it could be teams just living with the fact that they aren't scared of the run so they can drop more defenders back

A nice start to shifting the culture would be a little more discipline to get all those penalties under control. We don't need 4 stars to do that.

I think that Pry is establishing an identity and culture which is awesome, however I'm not convinced on Rudolph and Bowen. Alum says that OL coaching has been sub par the last few seasons, which I disagree with...pretty sure Vice put quite a few OL in the league the last few years, had a OL that helped make Herbert a star, and helped Malachi Thomas emerge last year. We were all convinced that that position group, while not deep would be effective under Rudolph. It hasn't happened this year, and I question why players that were solid against P5 competition last year have ALL played worse this year.

As far as Bowen, it seemed almost stubborn to continue to run the ball even when it clearly was not going to work last night. Also, I didn't see any zone plays or off tackle runs to try to exploit the perimeter of the defense. Hell, I joked about missing jet sweeps last night but maybe they actually would've helped. Most of our run plays, even the QB runs were up the middle it seemed like.

I realized last night I have to be patient and trust what Pry wants to do, however because it's his first year and Fuente left a mess doesn't mean he or his staff are immune to criticism. I think it's important to remember that.

I question why players that were solid against P5 competition last year have ALL played worse this year.

Who are you thinking about, in particular? Some positions (in particular, the OL and offense) are dependent on everyone, so if you lose a couple of pieces, the whole dynamic is different, and your options are limited.

Even a talented running back is dependent on an OL that can create opportunities, and that unit working as a team.

I'm going to have to give both Bowen and Rudolph a bit of time to develop the current group (and future players) into what they need. Right now it's clear they're solving a jigsaw puzzle with some pieces missing.

I was expecting this year to be a mess, and I'm more interested in the long term.

Your point about losing pieces to the OL changing things is absolutely valid. Parker Clements is the main one that comes to mind. Chris Coleman mentioned it a few weeks ago on the TSL podcast how many on the OL (and even TE's) had significantly worse run blocking grades than they did last year according PFF.

Maybe some of you are right and it's a matter of not having "their guys" in place to do what they want to do. But I believe good coaches change their schemes and philosophies to maximize the talent they do have, and hopefully we'll see that.

Nice to see some measured takes in this thread from some of our historically more... pessimistic commenters

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TL;DR most posts.

Agree 100% with your post. The game went how I thought it would go. We would keep up due to defense but eventually our defense would get worn down b/c the offense would not be able to sustain longer drives.

Now the offense did better than I thought and they had some good chances but eventually once WVU adjusted we couldn't counter with what we had. The defense still held a prolific offense to their lowest points this season and that's with helping them out with 8 first downs off of penalties and at least 2 which would have gotten the defense off the field.

I see an immediate difference in the way the defense is playing. I was surprised to see them take such a dramatic step in the right direction so soon. But as was mentioned this will take time. We all knew it would. I'm willing to give Bowen the benefit of the doubt for a bit. As with Pry he doesn't have players that necessarily fit his scheme either. So he can only do so much.

I'm still excited for the future and believe Whit hired Pry based off of his vision of the culture that VT needs to get back to.

And again we all knew this year was probably going to be pretty bad, so with that in mind going into the season can we really get that pissed at coaches when what we had been saying all offseason occurs? It's better than thinking we were going to be challenging for the ACCCG and a playoff spot to be where we are.

Lastly we are a muffed FG snap from being 3-1.

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