Somewhere on Earth-27, we're all freaking out about Tech's playoff chances after a program re-defining win against Clemson — but here on this Earth we're stuck with, it's a much more familiar feeling.
If you've been a Tech fan for any period of time, the feelings of depression and/or frustration after a loss against a ranked team in a game with plenty of national attention are like old friends. I certainly expected to welcome them back after the West Virginia game, given its setting, so it's hardly a complaint to only be experiencing them now.
However, perhaps because I did get to spend the weekend in Blacksburg after acquiring a ticket at the last minute, I think there's no denying that this particular loss felt a bit different from past missteps in the Beamer era.
So, it's BC week, and there's a lot to talk about with an impending matchup against Scot Loeffler's dudes (that's a night game, for some unknown reason).
But first, indulge me a bit in looking back.
"The Wheels Are Already in Motion"
This quote from Justin Fuente is really key to understanding why so many people still feel so hopeful after the Clemson game, myself included.
I think it got lost a bit, coming on a Monday night and all, but a hat tip to Ricky LaBlue at Tech Sideline for transcribing this bit of Tech Talk Live so we can really dig into it.
The object is to win the game, but the atmosphere that came along with it, that we showed those kids, we've already won. We've already taken a huge step forward, we know that Virginia Tech is on its way back, ascending up. I told them, we're going to catch those guys. It may not be, and it wasn't Saturday night, but that's a fact. The wheels are already in motion. Those things are occurring on a daily basis, and I have never been more sure of that than I am right now, in terms of where we're going and what we're doing, and the type of people both on and off the field that came to our game and saw it, and got a chance to see what we're all about.
I'll expand on some of these sentiments a bit in a recruiting piece later this week (keep refreshing TKP until you see it and give us those pageviews!), but this is the sort of thing that will very ably console you after that Clemson loss.
It was French himself that wrote last week that "Virginia Tech, in many ways, is where Clemson was in 2011," and that is the sort of point Fuente is making here.
It's unseemly to take shots at Frank Beamer now that he's a happy retired grandpa, but there's no denying that he presided over a decline in the team's recruiting efforts in his last few years. The Hokies were never national powerhouses in that department, and even a small slip became really noticeable, particularly against a team like Clemson that's been excellent on the trail.
Fuente and company haven't created some huge change in that arena overnight, but they're getting there. And the atmosphere in Blacksburg last Saturday, as featured on ESPN first thing that morning and then in primetime, goes a huge way towards changing the perception of the program in a way we haven't seen in years.
And even with all of Tech's baked-in disadvantages against the defending national champs, the numbers from Saturday hardly look all that discouraging!
The Hokies, particularly on offense, made some boneheaded mistakes. Undoubtedly, Clemson's superior athletes (looking at you, defensive line) forced those mistakes to an extent, but they also come with youth.
Listen to Fuente — don't lose hope after this loss, because there's every reason to believe the best is yet to come.
Harold Landry, and the Offensive Line
Alright, enough Clemson, let's talk about the real most exciting team in the ACC: Boston College!
Oh, you think I'm wrong? Well, keep in mind that they have DE Harold Landry, last year's nationwide sack leader and a legitimate first round prospect!
He only has two sacks so far this year, but it is worth taking a moment to marvel at the fact that Steve Addazio's team features one of the elite defenders in all of college football. He also has elite hair game, judging by his team photo.
Considering that the Hokies struggled enormously at times on the offensive line against an elite DL, that's worth keeping an eye on. Vance Vice admitted Tuesday that the unit has "a bad taste in our mouth" following the Clemson game, and it seems as if the Eagles won't exactly provide a bunch of amateurs for the line to push around and redevelop some confidence this week.
Vice also noted that the right side of the line, as manned by Kyle Chung and Braxton Pfaff has left him "encouraged," if not "pleased" so far this year, and hinted that Parker Osterloh might still find the field this season.
That's hardly a warning that jobs are on the line, and just about everybody in the country would struggle against Clemson's defensive line, but it's also an issue worth monitoring against BC. Josh Jackson plainly suffered from a lack of time in the pocket against Clemson, and it could very well become a problem going forward.
A "Two-Headed Monster"?
Bud Foster said Tuesday he was "extremely impressed" by Loeffler in his brief time in Blacksburg, which will surely color his preparation for the Eagles' offense headed into this week.
If your eyes have not yet rolled out of your skull at that comment — the Hokies ranked 100th, 96th and 53rd in Lefty's three seasons at Tech — then let us take Bud at face value and see what the Eagles have cooking on offense.
They're only scoring 17.6 points per game, good for 118th nationwide, and it will likely come as no surprise to anyone that's followed the ACC recently that they're not slinging the ball all over the field — they're 116th nationally in passing yards per game.
Where the Eagles stand out, to Foster at least, is the run game.
BC is near the middle of the pack nationally (at 71st overall) when it comes to rush yards per game, and they have been successful with two different backs, as Foster alluded to. Junior Jon Hillman has 325 yards and two scores on 87 attempts, while freshman A.J. Dillon 298 yards and two TDs on 79 attempts.
So, if the Eagles are going to sneak up on Tech somehow in a big night game in Chestnut Hill, it sure seems as if they're a surer bet to do so on the ground than through the air. Not a shocking statement, I know, but just highlighting that not much has changed in Beantown under Addazio and Loeffler.
I leave you with a semi-regular reminder that Bud is a treasure.