The Tipping Point

Unpacking the current and future state of Virginia Tech football after a devastating 38-35 loss to Liberty.

For posterity's sake, let's start with the final sequence of events of Virginia Tech's 38-35 loss to Liberty. Yes, in a Fuenta era bulleted by head-scratching in-game coaching decisions — from overzealous field goal attempts to clock bungling — this, the day he graduated with his degree from the Mike London School of Game Management™, needed to be documented. What unfolded — the magic of BeamerBall mismanaged and overthought into another demoralizing loss — was a microcosm of the Justin Fuente Era.

There's the elation of the walk-off blocked kick. Virginia Tech stood on Marvin Gardens, stared down a street of houses and hotels straight through Boardwalk, and somehow rolled an 11 to fall ass backwards on GO, collect two-hundred dollars and walk away unscathed.

But it was for not. Fuente called a late timeout which negated the effort. Moreover, it provided walk-on kicker Alex Barbir a practice crack at a long attempt, the exact opposite of what Fuente intended.

"I've always done this," said Fuente. "I don't believe in waiting until the last second to call timeout on those situations. Because I don't like ever letting the kicker get a free swing at it. I hollered, 'time out'. I guess I waited too long."

Fuente noted he burned that final timeout in order to ensure he had the proper personnel on the field to execute the block, for a kick that ultimately wound up blocked. Barbir was a paltry 2 of 6 (33%) on field goal attempts between 30-49 yards this season, with a long of 42. Instead of letting Tech's chances of a miss ride against a low-percentage FIFTY-NINE YARD FIELD GOAL, and moving to overtime, or having a shot for a completion, timeout and kick of their own, Fuente decided to make sure he had everything tidied up.

The situation then unraveled further. The uncertainty of whether or not Tech had to defend another field goal attempt or an offensive play perplexed Fuente and the rest of Tech's braintrust. Forget for a minute that the FIFTY-NINE YARD FIELD GOAL had just been blocked and Fuente could've hedged that Liberty probably wouldn't stick another fork in the light socket, but Tech had the benefit of the aforementioned 30-second timeout to organize itself and prepare for either contingency. This was the result:

Predictably, Liberty took the free 8 yards to the boundary and Barbir won the game on the subsequent 51-yard field goal attempt. The result was maddening and a product of an unorganized and incompetent organization. Full stop.

It's another step into the basement for a program that over the last three seasons on Fuente's watch has consistently lowered the bar. Pick your favorite or insert your own:

  • Loss to Old Dominion
  • Recruiting 📉
  • Duke Debacle (worst home loss in 45 years)
  • Handpicked Bud Foster replacement's affair during recruiting trips is publicly played out over social media.
  • Loss to Liberty
  • Snapped UVA streak

Fuente's vision for Virginia Tech football is to become the best developmental program in the country. Reconcile that notion with the fact that his Hokies in Year 5 lost to Wake Forest and Liberty as double-digit favorites both according to Vegas and SP+. Tech stands at 4-3 with a roster Fuente was publicly bullish on leading up to the season. And for those who don't understand the difference between relaxed expectations of making the ACCCG with a 10-game conference schedule in a COVID-climate versus falling flat against Wake and Liberty, I will try to help you.

Consider this litmus test: What if this column was about UVA football? How happy would the schadenfreude and incompetence of your rival make you? What if the Hoos were set to sign a full recruiting class without a single 247Sports Composite four-star, the class with the goal of being "elite" according to the head coach in February? Would you feel good about Tech's chances against them down the road? How about knowing the previous class was among the ACC's worst?

Personally, I would laugh my ass off and make memes.

Talk about a look in the mirror.

Virginia Tech has its share of hurdles to overcome. It's not a financial institution with blue-chip pedigree. However, Fuente has ignored two natural advantages: the media and fanbase. He does the bare minimum to placate both. He wants to be just a football coach in a role which demands more in order to achieve success at Tech. Fans have been cut out of the loop, unless the athletic department needs money that is. Long gone are the days in which you could spend a summer or spring day in Lane at an open scrimmage or practice. Instead of regular one-on-one interactions to yield a bevy of different stories from unique voices, media access has been limited to the point of homogeneity. Beyond a few infrequent exclusive conversations with Fuente, the most media access to his program was provided to SI to pull the onion apart on the shitstorm that was the 2018 locker room. Makes sense.

To put an exclamation mark on the point, a friend sent me this disheartening and thoughtful post from CZYHOKIE, a founder of VTScoop.

Horribly stressful at times, but we always did it for you guys, AND for the guys in Bburg. At one point they needed a mouth piece, and that's the vision we had here.

I've fallen on the sword many many many times for VT, so many I became numb to it. It's not reciprocated, and it's not solving anything. I am done doing that

Fuente is clueless to even leverage friendly media. It's simply a complete lack of understanding across the board for how to manage a free platform and reach the fanbase.

The goalposts have moved so much that a couple of quarantined Friday nights filled with a handful of @CoachFuente tweets was a magical and beloved occasion. Parts of the fanbase have talked itself into believing it can build an ACC contender largely from the transfer portal and that every 3-star with a single Power Five offer (Tech) is the next Christian Darrisaw. (It can certainly supplement with transfers but not enough to overcome its inferior recruiting and they aren't, respectively.) Fans have come to terms with the next on-field disappointment.

For all the excitement he created in 2016, Justin Fuente has sucked the fun out of Virginia Tech football. The honeymoon was over after the Georgia Tech loss in 2017. It was evident he wasn't as advertised after Duke demolished the Hokies last season. And now a divorce looms, with Tech stuck in the relationship for all the wrong reasons: the (buyout) money.

Comments

Make some moves , Babcock. Monetary costs now, are more economical than having the fan base abandon the program.

VT '10--My avatar will flip, when things are right at VT again.

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

Romanes Eunt Domus

The honeymoon (2016-early 2017) is over, and we had our fights (late 2017). Things got ugly (2018-early2019). Counseling helped for a while and the situation seemed salvageable to some (mid 2019), but now, things have gone from bad to worse (late 2019-2020), and I think it's time to end this for good.

Coach Fuente, we were all attracted by your beauty on offense early on, as it was something Tech fans had never been around before. But now, we're not getting along and many do not like your personality. Even worse, the relationships with our in-laws (high school coaches / recruits) and getting worse and worse. We're having some of the ugliest fights I thought were possible (losses to UVA, ODU, Liberty), and we may never be able to forgive you or move on from those.

Moving on will get ugly financially and emotionally for both of us. But i think it's time to take our losses and move on.

Well said Joe.

Amen and Amen.

#MakeTheMove

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

I've honestly not seen this fanbase this united in frustration and anger across all forms of social media right now. And that's a big, big problem for Whit. That anger isn't going to go away. It's only going to fester and grow until the move is made. Once you lose that trust, it doesn't come back, and the trust is gone.

So to hear that we are stuck with this for another year, two years, maybe 3 years because of money... We are due for some truly dark days ahead for VT football is this comes to pass. You'll see anger turn to apathy real quick, and then you're looking at starting back at the level that we were in the 80s when Beamer was hired. We are at a crossroads right now and there is way too much complacency in the wrong path.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

If we can see, much smarter people who run the AD should be able to see it.

I dread the day where when fans are 100% allowed in stadiums again and we only see a half full Lane Stadium..just thinking about that breaks my heart, but that's where it seems to be headed unless moves are made.

I've never felt so apathetic as a fan/supporter of Virginia Tech before and it sucks.

I'm definitely not driving 4-5 hours from Tidewater and spending over 1K to witness a possible complete debacle against inferior talent or undressing by an average team.

O, and Enter Sandman to 3/4 or 1/2 full Lane would be really embarrassing. Maybe that should be retired in the interim if Lane is empty.

Last thing, BRING BACK Bill McChain!!! I mean, how unfun are they trying to make VT Football?

You mean you're not a fan of "It's THIIIIIRD DOWN!" or in other words, "It's about to be FIIIIIRST DOWN!"?

Posted in another thread, but this one is probably more appropriate:

If he missed the field goal, we would be singing a different tune.

We have to recognize he has brought us an offense that can score. JHam is in yr 1, you are being harsh in yr 1.

"If" is meaningless. He tried to ice a 59 yard FG. That we blocked...and his excuse was he wanted to make sure he had the personnel on the field to block it...which we did. He didn't miss the field goal...because our guys blocked it.

As for being too harsh, seriously man? Hamilton called a 4 man soft rush with deep prevent when all they needed was to get 6-8 yards and out of bounds.

These coaches are professionals. Don't make excuses for them. There is no "different tune". They blew it. It's not unfair to say as much. And by "they" I mean the head coach that will make more money than any of us ever will (especially if he gets fired), and the guy that is probably over his head as a DC, but that doesn't mean he is exempt from legitimate criticism

Has anybody had the strength to rewatch the play to see if the early whistle actually led to Liberty holding up which allowed the easy block? I swear I heard whistles and the entire Liberty side just sort of stood there after the block.

AZHokie22, this was just a logical place to ask the question, not a direct reply. I still would not have called a timeout and the hail Mary defense was either a huge coaching blunder or a huge miscommunication, neither excusable.

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

The block seems legit; the whistle blew late enough that Liberty's line didn't hold up and it was a really low kick to account for the distance.

The recovery and return? That was definitely affected by the whistle; could've still happened with how the ball bounced, but we'll never know.

I like our chances with Conner Waller running away from the big boys on the FG unit.

Alas...

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

I was at the game, no whistle was heard from the west stands 6 rows up.

If you were going to ice the kicker, do you not think you would have informed the kick block team so they don't show anything special? We went from elation to absolute despair when the stands heard the official say put 8 seconds back on the clock... and they started rolling the points back off the board.

I have never wanted to can a coach more that those first few minutes. Who ices a kicker who is trying a kick 15 YARDS farther than he has ever made it before? Not only that but he is STILL trying to defend the call. I don't recall him ever really trying to ice a kicker before.

Of course you ice the kicker there. Duh!!! /s
It's just like golf. You try to psyche out your buddy on a 12-foot putt. But you really, really try to get into his head for a 50-foot putt. Or a chip shot from the sand trap. Because those are the ones where it is truly skill rather than luck.
The whole story just sounds like b.s. rationalization to me. Trying to make sure we had the right personnel or some similar baloney for a miracle kick.

I am not here to defend anybody or anything that happened this Saturday. I've been too pissed about the game to really even dive into the discussion about it and really don't want too but I've got to say this because it's a reoccurring topic on all these threads.

Had Fuente not called the time out prior to the first field goal attempt and somehow, someway that kid makes the 59 yarder, this board would have ABSOLUTELY roasted him for leaving a timeout on the board and not icing him. I could already see the "YOU CAN'T TAKE THEM WITH YOU". I 100% agree that you don't call a time out there. I 100% agree that you don't just go full prevent on the next play with 8 seconds left. But I've just come to know this board well enough to know how it would have gone had he not called the timeout.

Gobble Till You Wobble

Number one, I think that's overstating things a bit. Quite honestly if a kid who's sub 50% from outside 30 yards made a 59-yarder, I think many here would have simply said that it was a hell of a kick and it was their day.

Number two, there wouldn't be so much scrutiny of how he manages timeouts if he didn't have a history of such mind-numbingly poor clock management.

Yea like I said I'm not happy with how it was handled either, however if you're selling that a majority of this board would have been rational if that kid had somehow nailed a 59 yarder without getting iced then I'm not buying it.

Gobble Till You Wobble

We certainly would have been mad if that happened, but I think it's a fair bet to say we would have been mad at the coaching as a whole for the failure of the entire game, not necessarily icing or not icing on a 59 yarder. I'm thinking of my own experience as a Philadelphia Eagles fan. I've witnessed a guy nail a 60+ yarder to beat them (Tampa Bay), and watched them nail a 60+ yarder to win (Giants). In neither case can I even remember how many timeouts were left for either team.

It's a moot point though, because the actual coaching decisions that followed were worse. If that kid had made it, sometimes you just say "well..."

But instead we got to get really excited, then not excited, then watch a trrrible defensive play call, then lose anyway.

No matter how you want to slice it, people are going to be pissed at Fuente after Tech loses to Liberty. And rightfully so.

Can't argue that. I guess that's why I'm not getting caught up in the icing of the kicker. The fact that it came down to that is more than I can handle and then the prevent defense was the cherry on top.

Gobble Till You Wobble

His intent wasn't to ice the kicker. He fucked up calling the timeout to do a personnel check ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Sometimes he can't get out of his own way.

The most egregious thing was not using the time organize before the next play.

Either way, he recruited and prepared a team that played Liberty (!) down to the wire and lost.

I thought I heard a whistle too and that's why I didn't celebrate when the kick was blocked and returned for a TD.

Can't say anything about the Liberty kick protection, but wouldn't be surprised if they let up a little.

Very disappointing that Fuente got caught playing checkers when Freeze was playing chess on the next play.

Honestly if he missed the field goal and we won I'd still ask why tf would u attempt to ice at that distance let alone at all. As fr as Ham. I wish people would realize that we had no time for spring practice meaning no time to gel together w/ the new-ish-er scheme. That being said I'm pretty sure that defensive playbook is not opened up. I believe things are being kept simplified in a way. I'm not so much for not against ham. I'm honestly Moreso concerned w/ recruiting, development, and offensive play calling. Those are issues that draw the most questions to me

I can't hammer him for that. Every single coach in college football calls that timeout. It was the worst possible outcome.

Now, if you want to scream about something, how about Cornelsen calling a run with 14 seconds left at the edge of the red zone, and then the following play a fade took 4 seconds off the clock. If VT has a TD instead of a FG there, the second half dynamic is likely very different.

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

Now, if you want to scream about something, how about Cornelsen calling a run with 14 seconds left at the edge of the red zone, and then the following play a fade took 4 seconds off the clock. If VT has a TD instead of a FG there, the second half dynamic is likely very different.

But the offense put up 35 points!!!!! 400 Yards!!! Ranked 20TH S&P!!! Don't criticize the offense french! /s

Virginia Tech Class of 2013
Mining and Minerals Engineering

Sailing the Eastern Seas....on a ship filled with sand....

While certain plays here and there can be questioned, a la the fade which I also didn't like. Said it in a group text that Im in on gamedays that I didn't like that play, the offense overall is not our problem. If we had the offense we have now with a defense that was anywhere close to what Bud normally fields then we are crushing people. The defense is losing us games. Not the offense.

We can debate a play call here or there but overall they aren't the problem. Again, while I agree with French that one play does not determine the outcome of the game if we score a TD there.

I think the biggest play to our detriment was the muffed but by Robinson. That gave Liberty a TD where our defense had stopped them for once. I don't know why he's trying to catch a ball inside the 10. They normally let those go and play the fake catch a few yards ahead of 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

Why didn't they run more tackle to tackle? That number 99 was wearing Hoffman out.

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

The fade was infuriating. It made it obvious that the staff (I'm assuming the playcalls come through Fuente's headset like they did for Beamer) was not aware of the situation. Call a quick play that allows you to get another shot at the endzone.

Before that play I turned to my wife and said "if we throw a fade here, I'm going to be pissed. Needs to be something quick."

Be mad at the clock operator. No way it took that long.

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

our fade took 4 secs from the 8 secs left before half time. leaving 4 secs for us to kick a short FG.

there was 8 secs left for LIB at the end. I mean, how obvious is it that they should/could/would run a quick out pass to get closer, AND then try a hailmary. There was 8 secs left!!!

I can't hammer him for that. Every single coach in college football calls that timeout. It was the worst possible outcome.

I think this misses some nuance though. A kick there was ill advised. Our chances of a block or returning a short kick were very high, and his chances of making it were low. Freeze made a mind boggling decision and we let him off the hook. Even if you like to ice a kicker, there was no excuse for giving him a chance to reconsider.

Not to mention, icing kickers is a terrible idea in general. The pressure is there no matter what. Icing just lets them settle down, pack in the dirt around the kick spot, and take their time. I'm convinced there is a conspiracy among the kicker community to not tell coaches the timeout helps them.

Fuente says he didn't call that timeout in order to ice the kicker, and I believe him on that.

Edit: Added the italicized part to clarify that I'm talking about intent - Fuente called the timeout.

So who did

Recruit Prosim

Fuente called the timeout, but he said icing the kicker was not his intent. He says he wanted to make sure he had the right personnel out there or something to that effect

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

Fuente said it was to make sure the proper FG block personnel was out there. As someone who knows next to nothing about FG units, can someone explain to me what other alternative there is to the "FG Block" unit? OK, maybe you have taller people or longer wingspans but why aren't they out there every FG? Why is there an alternative that made Fuente have to think about even using the timeout?

Saban has his end of the game punt personnel team figured out. So does Brian Kelly. So does Mack Brown. You get the picture.

Kick Six might disagree re: Saban

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

Did we have a guy back there to return a missed kick? Maybe thats what Fuente wanted to change?

We did. I think Blackshear was under the goalpost.

ME Class of '16
VA --> AL
I'd rather be golfing.

Fuente directly admitted to calling the timeout after the game and today at the conference.

Edit - sorry see you were saying about his intent not whether he actually called the timeout. My bad.

I thought my statement was clear, but I'm talking about intent.

To clarify, he did call the timeout.

I believe him too. It still was a terrible decision.

Hokie Club member since 2017

I agree. It certainly turned out that way.

It's not even a hindsight is 20/20 thing... Even if we hadn't blocked the kick... there was too much time on the clock to let Liberty think about all their possibilities besides an outrageous kick. Fuente knows this and was almost crying post game

Hokie Club member since 2017

If I would have called the timeout, it would have been to emphasize defending the fake. They had OT in their pocket, a fake field goal wouldn't have been a bad call.

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

Still an indefensibly stupid call. Your opponent made the absolute worst possible decision they could have made. They basically conceded and gave you chance the win it (maybe extreme, but the chances of making a 59 yarder were slim-to-none). Calling the timeout just allows the other team to change their mind.

Honestly, you don't call timeout there for any reason. The kid is 2 of 6 from beyond 30 on the year, and his career long is 17 yards shorter than that kick. If you see those stats, you take your chance and let the kid psyche himself out. I would have been absolutely floored if he had made that kick.

Warning- Filter lost.

"Look at this... This is just spectacular.... These people are losing their minds"

I like Fuente as a person and I thought he was a great hire when he came in. He's represented the school fairly well as a person. Unfortunately, it just isn't working out for all of the reasons Joe listed and it's time to move on. Optics aren't great to buy him out in December, but it doesn't make sense to keep this going any longer.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

It's gotta be a discussion Whit is having...

Do you wait 4 more years of Fuente and see VT football continue to dwindle to a point of being a bottom feeder of ACC, and as a result, less fan base support, continued poor recruiting, and less donations

OR

Do you cut your losses now, find a way to pony up the money to fire Fuente, in hopes to find a replacement to spark the fan base excitement and donor support, and get this turn around quicker

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

I'd hope Whir is considering this as well. The tough part is, what if the new guy you bring in isn't the answer either? These buyouts can pile up on a program if it doesn't work out. I think Whit is smart enough to give a new guy 4-5 years so he has enough time to build his own team and to make sure the previous buyout is gone. But, the financials can easily be worse. This next hire has to at worst get this team to 9 wins a year and raise the floor. And that is not a guarantee by any means.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

So much this.

You keep Fuente, he might work out.

You roll the dice with a new guy, you are out the $10 million, PLUS if the new guy hasn't worked out in three years, you're REALLY in a bind.

I'm guessing Whit understands the spreadsheet on this better than any of us.

To counter this, the fanbase is checked out... Without making any move the donations and fan interest will plummet. Hiring someone different might at least generate some interest and excitement for 2021.

Hiring someone different might at least generate some interest and excitement for 2021.

With people so ready to go back to games and tailgate, etc, this would just amplify revenue IMO

Warning- Filter lost.

"Look at this... This is just spectacular.... These people are losing their minds"

You keep Fuente, he might work out.

What makes you believe this? Recruiting is tanking, and in a year that was supposed to be a statement year, we got outplayed and outcoached by Liberty.

You roll the dice with a new guy, you are out the $10 million, PLUS if the new guy hasn't worked out in three years, you're REALLY in a bind.

Why do you think that Fuente might workout, but the new guy won't?

Twitter me

Welcome to The Vtkey Experience. Don't forget to buy a souvenir picture in the gift shop once the ride is over.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Did we?

Get outcoached and outplayed?

I'll be interested to see the French analysis, because without some stunning lapses in execution on defense, I don't think we lose that game. Is muffing a punt coaching?

We've been struggling on defense for years now.

Are you trolling?

I'll be interested to see the French analysis

Let me give you a little preview:

Poor recruiting and player development have created a conundrum where Tech doesn't have the talent to overcome a disinterested effort, a bad game plan, or a talented and motivated opponent.

A shorthanded offense, fighting off the loss of Khalil Herbert, James Mitchell, and Nick Gallo, couldn't overcome their counterpart's abysmal effort plus two coaching blunders that left the Hokies to swallow a bitter pill.

on the defensive side of the ball... the issues with recruiting, player development have left the cupboard bare for the next wave of defensive talent to replace the Bud Foster holdovers.

A college football coach has three jobs: Acquire Talent, Develop Talent, and Deploy Talent. I honestly believe Fuente is pretty good at the latter two (many here will disagree with me, and that's fine), but he is so bad at the first that I see nothing that leads me to believe that this team can compete for the ACC coastal annually.

I don't have insight into our financial situation, so I cannot definitively say that replacing Fuente is the right move, but I do believe that risk of inaction can be greater than the risk of action. I trust Whit to make an intelligent, logical decision that accounts for risk/reward.

Fuente can still change my mind - (1) win out (including Clemson) or (2) win three of the next four while flipping enough key recruits to get us a top 25 class. If Fuente does either of those things, I will be back on the 'Fuente should not get fired' bandwagon. Unfortunately, I don't see either of those things happening.

Twitter me

I am right there with you dude. I'm less sure about Fuente's ability to develop talent. But I do think he's a good Xs and Os guy and he tries to get the most out of his players. I would actually like to know how involved he is in game planning and game day coaching. There has been a ton of speculation (to which I have willingly contributed, admittedly) that Cornelson is mucking things up and making Fuente look bad but we don't really know that.

In any case, our offense has improved over the 5 years and even though there are real stinkers we do have some games offensively that we never would have had 8 years ago. It just begs the question, how much better could our offense be if we had recruited a lot better?

If Fuente wins out and/or signs a class in the top 25 he deserves more time. But like you, I just don't see either of those things happening.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I'm less sure about Fuente's ability to develop talent

Everyone who has transferred in or out of Virginia tech during Fuente's tenure has peaked at VT (with the exception of Trevon McMillian, but literally everyone else has done better here), which leads me to believe that Fuente is pretty good at maximizing the players he gets. But he has to get better players.

Twitter me

Fair point. I'll concede that he's developing players. I would love for him to get better talent

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Was listening to the TSL podcast last night and Chris Coleman made a few good observations. You look at recruits under Beamer and the gains they made in the weight room from their freshman to junior/senior years. You used to see us sign a player and easily see him growing into a certain role based upon anticipated gains in the weight room. We just aren't seeing that anymore. Case in point: he mentioned how Isaiah Ford went from around 178 to the mid 190s by his junior year. Tre Turner came in at 187 as a freshman and is 187 as a junior. Now that's not to say we haven't seen certain players or position groups making gains. But as a whole, the program's culture does not seem to have the same commitment to offseason development and gains as before. It's a major problem, and we are very undersized at a lot of critical spots, leading us to getting pushed around easily. This isn't new to this year because of Covid either - it's been an issue overall for the Fuente era. Is it a culture issue, or is he just not getting the right players?

I'd want to see those numbers at the end of last year; COVID fucked up progress for so many players... Players were sent home from March through August, Most without access to a proper gym due to COVID, and some sent back to food insecure environments (AKA their families are too poor to afford enough food to feed a D1 football player). I would expect players to shed a lot of gains in this offseason.

Twitter me

CC mentioned that he'd been watching these numbers for 10+ years now. And also that he'd been sitting on this data for quite some time, as well as talking to professionals in the business, so that he could say with certainty this was happening. He was reading data driven analysis to back up his point.

I'm not sure what is going on with the S&C program, but it isn't working.

Is coronavirus over yet?

I agree with you, for the most part.

I don't think we have enough talent on defense to beat Clemson, and our offense would have to have the game of their lives.

Right now our defense isn't disciplined enough to even squeeze the best out of our current players, and that's pretty tough to watch. It's a transition, and the players heads aren't there yet.

The reckoning on our defense has been on order for years now. We were always going to have to pay the piper eventually.

My only issue is with folks who say "Fire him, whatever the cost!" That makes no sense to me. It's a marathon, not a sprint. And if the replacement doesn't walk on water, then we've wasted five more years.

What exactly have you seen in the last 5 years that makes you feel confident that Fuente is going to have Virginia Tech competing for ACC titles?

My only issue is with folks who say "Fire him, whatever the cost!" That makes no sense to me. It's a marathon, not a sprint

If this was years 1,2,or 3 I'd agree with you. But the marathon is in mile 20 and we're losing steam rapidly. Getting lapped by Clemson and completely dusted by just about everyone else.

Do we really need to finish the race to prove what we already know? Fuente isn't going to elevate this program. Hell, he can't even maintain the level it was hovering at when he took over. We are bad and getting worse.

So again I ask, what have you seen in the past 5 years that makes you feel confident that Fuente is going to compete for ACC titles?

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I've seen VT with an offense that can work with any of three different QBs that we currently have.

If we had any modicum of a defense this year, we'd be undefeated right now.

In hindsight we should have just changed up the defense when Fuente arrived. We thought it was going to be a renovation of the offense to combine with a re-load of the defense. The defense never got reloaded.

Well you certainly think more highly of our offense than I do. If not for transcendental talent K. Herbert I think this offense is probably in the middle of the pack. It shouldn't take a single phenomenal talent to make an offense good. That's just not sustainable. When Herbert is gone our offense will sink right back down into the 40s or 50s. Because in the previous 3 years without Herbert that's what we've seen. And in 2016 Evans carried this offense on his back and he got a lot of help from Ford, Hodges and Phillips. We haven't been able to recruit players to fill those voids.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I think you're exaggerating by saying it's just Herbert - HH is playing great, as is James Mitchell, as is the OL (most games at least). Receiver depth is really hurting us this year.

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I think HH and, by extension Mitchell, have looked good because of the threat Herbert presents. I'll grant you the OLine. They've looked good most of the time and Herbert certainly owes a lot of his success to them. But it's weird that he's the only back on our roster who is a real threat to take advantage of the holes opened by the OL.

We'll see if he plays against Miami. My hypothesis is if he doesn't play our offense will look like it's stuck in mud and this time next week we'll all be moaning about how bad our offense is without him.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

The offense didn't look 'stuck in the mud' (except for the first quarter) against Liberty. They're probably a top 15 offense with Herbert, and a top 25-30 without him.

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I'm saying they'll look stuck in mud against Miami. Miami has way more talent than Liberty. I would expect a top 30 offense to easily score 40 points on Liberty's talent. Even on a rough day without their best player.

Even so, if you're suggesting that the presence of Herbert constitutes a 15 point swing in our offense that kinda makes my point. He's almost the sole reason our offense is good and that's not sustainable.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Who has great offenses without great players?

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

Well that's a different story. Recruiting is bad which should be reason enough to move on from Fuente. But the point I'm making is that our coaches aren't necessarily putting the best offense on the field but rather a phenomenal talent is masking coaching deficiencies. Tyrod Taylor is a great example of this. The 2010 offense was statistically very good but nobody here would say that's because Stinespring is a good OC. Tyrod made the offense. In a similar fashion HH and Herbert are doing the same. For 3 years we had no running attack to speak of. Enter HH and it improved. Add Herbert and suddenly we're a running juggernaut. Is that coaching?

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

that's why you have to scout and recruit properly. so if one player goes down, another can step up.

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No argument here. But every great offense has great players, and yes they mask stupid mistakes every coach makes. It is not surprising that the offense looked a bit worse without the top running back or tight end. Even still, the offense wasnt horrible. Yes to be great consistently we need better depth and more equality in playmakers.

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

Can't have it both ways. Fuente got Herbert in, the line IS better. The o has improved- that is to Fuentes credit. The d has gone the opposite direction unfortunately.

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

Well you certainly think more highly of our offense than I do. If not for transcendental talent K. Herbert I think this offense is probably in the middle of the pack.

We don't have an effective defense, and have somehow managed to win some games.

I remember periods in VT football when if the other team scored points, it was over, because we knew we couldn't.

Yes, I notice a change.

One of the things that we haven't really considered here is that in some cases, coaches will negotiate down these buyouts to avoid the indignity of being fired publicly and having their laundry aired out.

More so, if there's some skeletons in the closet, they'll talk the buyout down to avoid having the AD badmouth them to anyone who might still retain interest.

I think Whit would have a few things to say about Fuente's public Baylor stunt and possibly other things that even those with "sauces," don't know about..closed-door type things. ADs all know each other and if they think a guy is difficult to work with or is going to backstab them, they might not consider him.

When Florida was ready to cut McElwain loose, he had a huge buyout too. Then they came up with some sort of legal mumbo-jumbo and eventually went behind closed doors and negotiated terms that were never released. You can assure the University found a way to get themselves off the hook for a chunk of that money...although I must say that whole naked shark picture probably didn't help ole' Jim much.

Fuente is still young and I'm sure sees his future in coaching. Landing well from here could make a big difference in whether he turns out like Mike Locksley or Turner Gill.

But, we keep throwing around 10 million, when in reality, it VT wants to play hardball they might be able to get out of the Fuente business cheaper than that.

And no, Fuente is not going to "work out" there is a mountain of empiric evidence that he is taking this Program in directly the wrong direction. That kind of statement is reaching towards Baghdad Bob levels of ridiculousness.

Agreed

VT '10--My avatar will flip, when things are right at VT again.

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

Romanes Eunt Domus

You keep Fuente, he might work out.

LOL what are you drinking? I need some. If Fuente was likely to work out we would know by now. In year 5 we wouldn't be having these debates if he was going to make us better. You're basically saying "well I just keep rolling snake eyes so I'm not going to roll the dice anymore because I don't think I'll get anything better than 2"

You roll the dice with a new guy

If this was year 1 or 2 I'd agree. I was there. I was #teamkeepfuente after the 2017 debacle. Even after 2018 I thought it was too early to cut the cord.

But with how this team is shaping up in year 5 its pretty clear that we need to roll those dice. If we get snake eyes again then I guess we can tell you that you were right. But I like the odds of rolling something better.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

At this point I think it's clear Fuente isn't going to work out. The best players he's recruited are mostly Juniors or Seniors and this is the product we have. So either he isn't developing them to their potential or they aren't being used effectively. And we have worse recruiting classes in the pipeline with no signs of improving that side of the program either.
I'm all for a change of coaching staff at this point as long as the next guy will energize the fan base (and makes football sense) along with giving him 4ish years so the Athletic Department work off the buyout.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

I can't find much to disagree with in your post.

Seems like a lot of money in a COVID year, but in Whit I trust.

I don't think Dabo was ever considered anything more than an average Xs and Os guy. But he has a vision that he can sell. He can sell it to fans, donors, administrators, and most importantly, recruits.

I'm not expecting to get the next Dabo. But I do see the value in hiring someone who is a great salesman and recruiter who is humble enough to understand the importance of hiring coordinators who are smarter than him to elevate the program.

Fuente, by all accounts, is supposed to be a great offensive mind. But he's a rubbish salesman. I don't even know what his vision is. Our team's identity is elusive.

I don't care if the next guy is some sort of Xs and Os genius. I want a guy who can sell a clear vision and recruit well.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I just want to make sure all the fire Fuente supporters realize that under their criteria, we would have fired Beamer. My biggest worry is recruiting where ANY head coach at VT is going to be handcuffed by the lack of funds. In some ways, I am thankful that Fuente is willing to continue to swim upstream. Frank gave the fan base the ability to enjoy really good football and we now feel privileged somehow. What has the fan base done to help Fuente? Does anyone really think that all the calls to fire Fuente HELP recruiting?

What if Fuente went 2-8-1 in any season?

We spend enough money that we should be beating teams like WF, ODU and Liberty. We aren't asking for national championships. Fuente is the 25th highest paid coach in the country.

We aren't some school that has zero resources. Too many people just echo not enough money spent instead of looking at what we actually do have.

Adding specialized recruiters or film watchers doesn't help if the head coach can't recruit himself. All of these extra positions that the large schools have are complimentary to the head coach not some magic bean that grows a recruiting class.

+1000

Excellent points and ones I don't think enough people are considering. We are paying a lot of money right now. Certainly enough to win the expecting games. The extra money/new ask was supposed to get us competitive with the top of the conference.

We put the K in Kwality

We aren't asking for national championships.

It's funny you say that, there was a time when we were seriously talking about what VT needed to do to get to that next level. The goals have slowly slid in the last decade from "win a natty" to "win the ACC and/or 10 wins" to "for fuck sake win this weak ass coastal division" to finally "please don't lose to teams like Liberty". The fans aren't being unrealistic.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

Don't forget 2018s rally cry of beat UVah (in OT) and squeak into a bowl to continue the bowl streak. I would put that between win coastal and please beat Liberty/ODU

Hokie Club member since 2017

I'm ok with being perennially competitive and occasionally special. We don't need a billion dollars for this.

this is a questionable take for several reasons (some of them laid out above) but one thing that is being ignored is that Beamer was operating in a completely different environment. He was coaching in an era where even the game of football was different. It was not unreasonable to give him 8+ years to build something back then. And he did. He did build something. He built enough, unfortunately for Fuente, to make it reasonable to expect the next coach to make noticeable gains within 5 years. Fuente hasn't done that.

And the biggest concern with Fuente is that he has utterly failed to recruit well. I'm pretty sure Whit has said that he wants recruiting to be a big focus. Despite that, we just aren't recruiting well. In fact, we're recruiting worse than before. That's a serious problem because this day in age recruiting is paramount to success. If we can't get the types of recruits necessary to compete in the ACC (which is one of the weaker leagues) we're not going to get any better any time soon. We need recruiting to get a lot better. I'm not asking for top 5 classes here (though, that would be fantastic). We just need to be better than 11th in the ACC. We should be pulling in classes in the 20s every year and maybe on some really good years we sneak into the teens. That will go a long way to making us competitive in the ACC which is what the fans really want at this stage.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

essentially, they're looking for free labor.

The message (which I don't buy, BTW) is that they recognize recruiting is an area they need to improve but they don't have the finances to do what the think they need so they're resorting to getting free labor for the extra help. They probably think they're cunning.

It's obviously not going to work. Ultimately, Fuente needs to be able to sell his vision when he's sitting in living rooms with recruits and their families. He's not doing that very well. It doesn't really matter how much money we throw at recruiting - if the head man can't sell his vision (or even articulate it) it won't amount to improved recruiting.

But, and this is a big but, if you WANT to throw money at recruiting the best way to do it is to cut 100k from the salaries of Cornelson and Shibest and use that money to pay 2 or 3 dedicated recruiting staff professionals.

Again, though, I don't think that will improve the recruiting. There's a lot of talk about needing more recruiting support staff and everything but until you convince me that Fuente has a clear vision and the ability to sell that vision I just won't believe that more money will fix our problem.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I couldn't agree more! I actually laughed when I saw it while scrolling on Twitter. To me this is like putting duct tape on a tire with a nail. It makes you feel like you're doing something, but your efforts are likely useless.

Haven't students always helped in recruiting though, particular during visits.

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

Depends on how "qualified" (cough, cough) they are.

I want us to improve, but not the way some places would do it.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

Kind of random but...

I read through some of the 24/7 thread that was linked...someone claimed that Sands lives in NOVA and somehow is a commuter as VT president?

My understanding is that board has a few seriously loose cannons so I don't know, but if true that's kind of a shocker.

I was told a few years ago by a department head at tech that Sands vision was for the main VT campus to eventually be in Nova. I don't know anything about where Sands lives.

That's ambitious (and that's me being polite).

If that is really his plan, it would take decades for that to happen. The Alexandria campus couldn't possibly support the move.

I think it's more likely that they meant certain programs will be mainly hosted at the Alexandria campus.

*tries to contain rage*

I really really hope that's not true and its just a baseless rumor. Because Sands will not survive my ether if he even begins to attempt that feat.

Sorry, but Department heads don't know anything first hand. The only ones who might know of such a vision would be part of the President's Cabinet. He/she would know more than to talk outside of that circle if that were true.

Kind of numb at this point, last few years if Beamer and all but the first year of Fuente have pretty much killed my enthusiam and financial support of Tech athletics. At least I have my memories of 99-00 seasons to fall back on

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

I've been saying for years how bad Fuente is with fans. We need to get back to the basics and try to get our in-state recruiting turned around.

Pour some Beer on it

Let me just add a little clarification as to WHY yesterday was the tipping point. Yeah we lost to Liberty. In itself terrible, but not world ending. The real problem is since watching Tech football since 1966 (for you young pups, Beamer was playing then), I always felt that the product on the field represented the school well. Yes there were some hiccups (Marcus Vick and his ilk) but I was always proud of how the football team represented the school. Yes there were bad losses, but everyone has those. I even tolerated the bad losses under Fuente but hoped the team would improve. The Liberty game is the first time EVER that I felt the football team was not representative of Va Tech. Not who we are, not what we stand for. This is compounded by Fuente's closed media approach and the sense that improvement is nowhere in sight. In short this football team is not a product the Va Tech fanbase is proud of or has any interest in supporting, it is a bad reflection on the school.

The LewDew, Professional Golf Bum

Man I hate to read that. I have been there as a fan since '67, and remember a lot of truly bleak years for VT football. Bleaker than these years we are so upset about now. I get it, but I'm just a VT fan. Year in, year out, regardless of coaches, players and media coverage. Losing to Liberty is definitely a major league bummer, but let's not fool ourselves into thinking they're as inferior this year as we have believed all along, myself included. Mostly I'm sad and dispirited, but I'll definitely be there for the next game.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

It's frustrating because we had the talent to beat the hell out of them

Apparently not.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

It was absolutely infuriating that we drove the length of the field twice in less than 2 minutes to score before half and the end of the game. Where was that offense the rest of the game, stuck in neutral because we kept trying to run against a team that was selling out against the run.

1st down - run Hooker
2nd down- run Hooker
3rd down- run Hooker 80% of the time, hand it off to Blackshear 15% of the time, pass 5%

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

That team has gone through hell this year to play for fans like us. Be unhappy about the product but don't say the players are not representing the school.

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

Did not say that. This is exactly how I often feel about the military. May think the mission/war/etc is just plain wrong, or that the way we are fighting is moronic, but I support each and every American soldier doing his duty 100% (Iraq, Viet Nam yada yada). Will I watch the rest of the games and root for the players (and cringe when Fu is on the screen). Heck yes. But all my Hokie gear is going into the closet during football season(s) until Fuente is gone because the pride is gone. Thank goodness we have a legit basketball coach so I can get the gear out in January.

The LewDew, Professional Golf Bum

I get that we "can't" make a move now b/c of money. But we are quickly headed back to the good ole 80's as it relates to VT football. I'm not sure the stadium will even be 60%-70% capacity next season. Lost ticket revenue, lost donor support, and lost interest from the general public will cost VT way more IMO than hanging on for a few million $$.

Is coronavirus over yet?

I'm in agreement with most of the fan base that a change would be best for both parties. Although I'm not so confident in the organization as a whole (VT) succeeding with just a change in coaching staff. The university must be committed to football for whoever is the coach here to be successful. I don't think we will get that.

I watched the postgame press conference this morning and I will say I admire Fuente as a man. He owned the loss as he should. He didn't throw any of the players under the bus. He didn't throw Jham under the bus. He didn't blame the officials. He looked visibly ill ( it looked like he might cry or puke at the start) and was clearly in anguish. When asked about the muffed punt and Robinson's struggle, he said they had been working to build back his confidence and he thought they made good progress but these things happen and his first concern was making sure trob knew he cared about him and loved him no matter what happens on the field. All of the players who spoke at the presser were gracious in defeat and made you proud to cheer them on.

I suppose I'm just lamenting that a good man is publicly failing. I have a high pressure stressful job and although I've never felt like I don't have what it takes to successfully do the job, I can see how crushing that would be. Imagine your worst career mistakes happening in front of millions of people, your wife and kids included. Sure he makes a great deal of money but that kind of public humiliation is no easy burden to bear. I hope he is successful wherever he ends up.

This is a great take and articulates my feels pretty well. I think Fuente genuinely is a quality guy. But this is a results driven game. Has has been given millions of dollars to produce. It is kind of amazing to me that I, generally a Fuente fan, reached my tipping point right here at the same time as so many others. Alum07 nailed it above:. Anger means you have an engaged fanbase. You must do something before they become apathetic.

Well said.

I think Fuente is generally a good person and generally would like nothing more than for VT to be wildly successful.

The problem is, he is clearly over his head when it comes to actually achieving that.

His personality doesn't mesh well with engaging the fanbase and clearly isn't an asset in Recruiting. Moreover, his Game Management is way too lackluster for major P5 football. You just can't be successful at this level without those elements.

It just isn't going to get better here for him. Its time for a new start for both sides. Maybe Fuente needs more seasoning, and after a few years at a lower level he will come back and be successful P5 coach, but he's just not there now and VT doesn't have more time to wait.

I get the money side of it, but we really only gain $2.5mil for every year we continue to keep him on board. The damage to the program in keeping him on is going to be orders of magnitude greater than 2.5 million per year.

Yup. I agree on all counts.

I appreciate this post.

Dudes got a wife, family and it sucks. (But he gets paid large....)
I've seen other posters mirror the same: 'Respect to Fuente the man, but question the coach.'

I am reminded, as a long-time Hokie, that Coach Frank Beamer went 2-8 in his 6TH season (after a 5-6 5th season).
The faithful were vocal to fire Beamer... His AD (Dutch Baughman) made the unpopular decision to stick with Frank.
Frank made some tough changes and so it went....

I'm wouldn't be surprised if Fuente etal are let go... It's hard to argue against.
But part of the situation is that 12.5 million will be hard to come by.
Whit's got a tough call but it may come down to the $$, unless someone steps up... And the possible replacement thread doesn't give me a lot of confidence....

Frank made some tough changes and so it went....

What tough changes did Frank make? His turn around was long before my time as a football fan, always wondered what changed.

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Long story short he let go of some staff that he'd been with a long time and were friends.

He's made more money than I ever will in my life. If he was fired tomorrow he could buy the biggest house in Blacksburg and keep his kids where they are or he could take them back to his home state. You should not pity him. He is a professional

Recruit Prosim

He's still human though my guy

And? If being human was the only job requirement nobody would be unemployed. I say that half tongue in cheek.

Human guy with millions of dollars

Recruit Prosim

This. He's not going anywhere. Honestly if he got canned after this year it would be surprising and that's mainly due to money. One his buyout and two the cash shortage that COVID has induced into the program this year. He may have gotten a pass on getting fired purely due to COVID but I have to hope Whit is stressing that things need to start trending up, which I'm sure Fu knows.

He knows this isn't acceptable at VT. I think he gets 3 more years, including this one, to pick it up. I don't know where we go at that point but I also think Whit needs to put more money into the football program. Fu's flirtation with Baylor was an effort to get him to do that.

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

He knows this isn't acceptable at VT. I think he gets 3 more years, including this one, to pick it up. I don't know where we go at that point but I also think Whit needs to put more money into the football program. Fu's flirtation with Baylor was an effort to get him to do that.

Fu might have tried to get more money (and good for him, he should have), but then he goes out and puts this product on the field. It's not a good way to instill confidence that you're going to use the money correctly.

Virginia Tech Class of 2013
Mining and Minerals Engineering

Sailing the Eastern Seas....on a ship filled with sand....

If he gets a ton of money that doesn't turn the ship on a dime. It takes a little bit of time.

And as an issue to the product that he ahs put on the field it's more about the defense than the offense.

In defense of JHam he hasn't even had an offseason with his defense and that seems to be the glaring issue with the team the past few years. We can argue a little about the offense but overall they haven't lost us any games. I haven't seen a game this year where I was unhappy with the offense overall. I mean a play call here or there sure, but overall the offense isn't losing games. The defense not being able to stop anyone with a pulse is why we are losing.

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

We can argue a little about the offense but overall they haven't lost us any games. I haven't seen a game this year where I was unhappy with the offense overall. I mean a play call here or there sure, but overall the offense isn't losing games.

Wake Forest?

From French:

Now, if you want to scream about something, how about Cornelsen calling a run with 14 seconds left at the edge of the red zone, and then the following play a fade took 4 seconds off the clock. If VT has a TD instead of a FG there, the second half dynamic is likely very different.

Some people just don't understand complementary football. We know the defense is bad, we've projected that there were going to be growing pains with going to a new scheme (maybe not this bad, but still...), the offense has to be better and put up more points (and yes, they put up 35 [28 before crunch time]). Slow starts and playing catch up makes the stat box look good, but putting them in a hole early stresses their offense, and allows the defense to play better.

Virginia Tech Class of 2013
Mining and Minerals Engineering

Sailing the Eastern Seas....on a ship filled with sand....

Ok so we score a TD there and now at the end of the game are up by 4 forcing them to score a TD. If we don't miss the FG we are up seven at that point. But it's the offenses fault bc the defense is so bad there we just don't worry about them.

Hey offense, the defense sucks. So if you basically don't score a TD on every drive then the loss is on you.

That sounds like awesome complementary football.

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

Complementary football is us running 5 yard qb powers down the field to allow our defense to breathe after the ten minute scoring drive they just allowed. The offensive game plan has been built around protecting the defense all year.

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

Lots of us fail, sometimes in front of our wives. Sometimes in front of our kids. Sometimes both at the same time.

We all deal with that. The difference is that we don't all get paid millions of dollars and get built in excuses (the buyout is too big!!!) to cushion us.

Saying that someone is just not performing up to their job requirement is not the same as saying someone is a bad guy.

Fuente is not performing to the job requirement. And Virginia Tech is going to lose money because of it, one way or the other. That's business.

Unfortunately the UVA fail chart is exactly what came to my mind in the closing play of the game. Great minds think alike? Man we are so fucked.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

I honestly don't even want to watch the Miami game next week. If we lose, I'm pissed off. Even more so if we get embarrassed. If we win, it just helps things stay the same as they currently are. Idk what the heck is going on behind the scenes at the university. I don't know if there is actually a disconnect between the academic and athletic sides, but something needs to change.

"The Big Ten is always using excuses to cancel games with us. First Wisconsin. Then Wisconsin. After that, Wisconsin. The subsequent cancellation with Wisconsin comes to mind too. Now Penn State. What's next? Wisconsin?" -HorseOnATreadmill

My best friend and fellow season ticket holder had the pleasure of sitting with Coach Fuente and Ricky Walker at a Hokie Club Dinner last year. He said Fuente had the personality of drywall. Personally I just feel like it's time to part ways. It might cost the school a little upfront but in the long run I think it's what's best. Fans and alumni could be permanently turned off and stop supporting VT altogether.

#MakeTheMove

I think the first moment that I began to really think there was something systemically wrong here that wasn't fixable was with the Cam Goode situation.

One of our better rated recruits of that class, and at a position of absolute dire need, and we kick him off the team literally weeks into him showing up on campus.

Yes the word is that he showed up quite out of shape, and with a poor attitude and work ethic, but the way it was handled was so incredibly tone-deaf it was unbelievable.

There's no doubt in my mind that it has hurt us in recruiting significantly, and particularly in the DC area, as Goode came from one of the power programs which consistently produce is D1 Talent. We really couldn't have done a more thorough job of deep-sixing our recruiting efforts in DC. And now we wonder why all the NOVA kids are committing to PSU and OSU and not even giving VT the time of day...🤔🤔🤔

Moreover Fuente's profession is a coach and that word is supposed to mean something. If you have determined within two weeks, that you don't have any possibile hope to motivate a player and turn things around...what does that say about your own abilities??

Although, I think that question has more or less of answered itself.

Solid point. A strong coach would latch onto a player like Cam and take it as a personal challenge to ensure he develops into a great player and man.

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

did we "kick him off the team" or did he voluntarily transfer.

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

At best, he was strongly encouraged to leave. No one other than those directly involved know exact specifics.

He tweeted afterwards that it was not a mutual decision, which prompted one of his former teammates to Tweet something along the lines of..
No St. John player will ever go to VT again.

Well done, Fuente, well done👍

Scuttlebutt was that his apathy was starting to piss off even the nicest guys in his position group. Apparently, the coaching staff wanted them to succeed or fail as a unit so if any one player failed a drill/sprint/whatever, everyone had to do it over. #sauces told me that the DL group was constantly getting run into the ground because Goode and only Goode was coming up short and showed no interest in bettering himself on his own time. It started being a drag on morale and player leadership was done with him, not just the coaches.

Not saying this absolves the coaches or anything. Just trying to shed some light on what led up to the coaches deciding to pull the rip cord. Seemed like they were trying to avoid another Trevon Hill situation where a potentially talented player demonstrated that he was not going to be motivated by "doing it for the team."

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Goode- 10 career tackles in 16 games. 2 sacks thus far. Not saying we handled this well, but he is not a difference maker either.

I don't necessarily have a problem with letting Goode go its how it was done that was the major error IMHO.

He seems to be a mostly a backup at UCF and maybe he really has a work ethic issue and it wasn't resolveable.

But the way it was handled..in Public, in July made the optics of it look terrible. Fuente was in a position where he needed to restablish Recruiting relationships that withered due to complacency prior to his hiring. Instead, he burned them down. This isn't Clemson or Bama--VT can't generate bad press like that and just move on to the next 4*. It was a powerplay without the power to actually make it stand up. It was a clear demonstration of Fuente's lack of understanding of relationships and their impact in Recruiting.

What would the harm of keeping him through the end of the season been? Let him work on the Scout team and hit the weights. At the end of the year, if yu still haven't made any progress, sit him down in the office and tell him that things aren't working out and you'll help him find a place to land. Afterall, isn't that what our coaches tell these players' parents when they are sitting in their living rooms?---that they are going to take care of their sons...? Somehow, pulling the cord after 2 weeks doesn't quite seem to meet that standard.

Cutting a kid in July makes you look like a ruthless jerk who left the kid in a lurch and with no time to catch on somewhere else.

I've been pretty slow to get on the Fire Fuente bandwagon but I guess I'm on it now. The on-field results are bad but the off-field nonsense is the same or worse. Why should any of us get serious about giving while the fans are shut off from access. The closed practices are demoralizing. I mean, the JHam press conference last week was the first time he addressed the media since being named DC.
If you run the program like a tyrant and things keep getting worse, then you totally own it. The worst thing is I'm more numb than anything else. In years past, I'd be feeling glum all afternoon. Yesterday I didn't care. Any disappointment was pretty much offset by the hope that every future loss brings us closer to a coaching change.

Want to get this train moving back in the right direction as in winning (games we should win), recruiting better/establishing the VA pipeline, donor support, and just reigniting this fanbase?

Hire Mike Vick.

He may not have the coaching experience but he could hire the right coach to surround him with. He doesn't even need to be head coach, but get him in there so he can go into the homes of these kids and recruit them... I'm just a couch coach over here, but you can't convince me recruiting and fan base excitment/support wouldn't drastically improve.

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

You think Mike Vick wants to come out of retirement to work 70-80 hour weeks at a job where his every move will be scrutinized in a town that lacks diversity?

Twitter me

in a town that lacks diversity

what does this have to do with anything??

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

If you watched the Vick 30 for 30 he talked about how strange and different it was for him to move to Blacksburg compared to living in the 757. He's obviously now lived in a lot more places since then and has seen more than a few white cities.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Right so why does it have anything to do with if MV7 would want to come back to Blacksburg or not?

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

People like to live around people who are culturally similar. That is pretty evident even in similar economic status groups. MV7 might not feel that Blacksburg has a lot of cultural similarity to his own preferences due to its ethnic makeup.

This isn't a knock on anyone or making any claims about preferences being better in one group than another, simply noting that it has been shown that people like to live near people who are like them.

Get Angry, Bud!

I get that....nevermind, perhaps I read the initial comment wrong or something.

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

I don't know... many coaches have done that before... Can't speak for him, just an idea I think would work.

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

So I gave the Hokie Club $1100 dollars to cancel the ECU series what like a year ago.

I just now went back and calculated what I would have given the Hokie Club if I had IPTAY'ed correctly. Starting in 2000 when I was a freshman, and IPTAYing $10 for all the years I was in school (I took the 5 year plan) and then $10 more every year after that I ended up with ...

$1570.

So I'm $470 short of being an IPTAY adherent and I would be giving $180 next year. That's not bad I can catch up. But I don't want my money to fund a buyout.

To me this is the ultimate tipping point: I used to hope so bad VT would be ranked and be pissed if they weren't. Now I am so relieved to not be ranked because it means our next humiliation won't be as bad.

Hokie Club member since 2017

That's fair. However I should point out that this Liberty thing was posted in alllll of the season rewinds that I read. We're a punching bag. And we're getting hit.

We truly are at a tipping point. 5ish years ago, we replaced our school's three figureheads: Beamer, Weaver, and Steger. None of them had perfect tenures, and all could have done better at times, but they were aligned and convinced of their identity. The current administration is not. Our university is lacking an identity, as is our athletic department, as is our football team.

No coach is going to be successful here until that's fixed.

Twitter me

I will be sad to see Tapp and Teerlink never really get to build a nasty line together and will not be happy to start over on OL when things are finally coming together. I also think the new DB coach is an up and comer and would be nice to keep around, but the rest, dead men walking.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

I like JHam and his staff. I think they got the short end of the stick this year with all the COVID bullshit. I wonder if the thought "we have players fit for the old system, we all (those that played here) played in the old system, so we know it, and we're not going to have ANY spring football. Maybe we should run the old system for a year" ever ran across anyone's mind. I totally get wanting to put your system and style in, and don't blame him. But i truly wonder if more of Bud's style would have been a better choice, considering the circumstances.

As far as Fuente, I'm obviously on, and have been on, the Fire Fuente train since ODU. I'm sorry, but there's no excuse for a school like Virginia Tech to be losing to schools like ODU and Liberty. Duke/Wake, ok, it sucks but at least they are Power 5 teams.

I get that Liberty is up and coming and has all sorts of money, but as of right now, they just became an FBS team 2 years ago and still have a good bit of their FCS recruits. They shouldn't be competing with VT on the field after a single quarter. But our recruiting is lackluster at best and our on field attitude is absent more often than not, and it bit us in the ass, HARD, twice this year and multiple times over the last 3 years. Couple that with the offensive firepower that goes almost wasted with playcalling, I'm far past done. $10M after December 15th is pennies compared to what it could get to be if the fans become apathetic, and frankly, that might be the way a good portion turn if UVA wins again this year.

Warning- Filter lost.

"Look at this... This is just spectacular.... These people are losing their minds"

Fuente's vision is to be one of the top development programs in the country?

Seems like he's developed less talent than Beamers staff did.

Is Fuente not able to implement his vision because the AD doesn't spend enough money on football?

Also, why is recruiting such garbage if he wants to be a top development program?

What are the concrete reasons Fuentes staff can't get and develop talent?

Fire Fuente, and bring on the full re-build. Part of why I think this is so hard for the fanbase is that we're trying to fly the airplane as we build it, in year five. Fuente & Co. were supposed to be up and running by now.

I'd sign up for two years of a new coach and sub .500 football if we get recruiting going again, we beat UVA, and there's a program vision that I can get behind that doesn't focus on alienating the fanbase and strangling Dasanis when you're asked the hard questions.

Strangling Dasanis...that's 100% accurate! At any moment it looks like he could rip the podium in half.

If it ain't orange, it better be maroon...and if it ain't maroon, it better be soon!

Guys there is one thing we cannot forget: hindsight is always the smartest person in the room. What I mean is did Fu mess up the FG TO? Yes. But what if the kicker made it? Then he'd look like a genius. Does this excuse his past losses? Heck no. Did he have the guys ready? Doesn't look like it by the box score.

But we should have NEVER been in this position to begin with. Our fast paced offense the last two drives was unstoppable. Why weren't we running at this pace all game? How did we give up THIRTY FIVE POINTS to Liberty??? I don't care if they're halfway ok, shouldn't happen. All day long I am a Fuente fan, but something has to give. I love VT and became a VT fan bc of the game day atmosphere and bc VT played with an "I'm gonna kick your ass today and you'll feel it all next week" attitude, and it's gone. We need to do what we have to in order to get back to that place

That's the thing though, this game should NEVER have come down to a field goal. NEVER.

Cornelson's play calling is atrocious. I understand that we can't play up-tempo forever without wearing out the boys, but it only seemed like we played it when necessary and even then there were bone-headed decisions that just gummed up the gears. How LUCKY are we that Hooker hasn't hurt himself yet? I see that kid juking and I'm cringing as all it takes is a bad tackle and an ACL evaporates. It doesn't take much...look at Saquon Barkley earlier this year.

Agreed 100%. It is atrocious the amount of work Hooker did that game. I even saw at one point when a QB run was called, he dipped his head in disappointment when he got the signal out of pure frustration/exhaustion.

We have way too many weapons to have relied on Hooker to carry us on his back all game even with Herbert out. Blackshear, Big Play Trey, Mitchell, Rodgers , King, Kaleb Smith, Robinson, QP even if you are just trying to get those yards. I'm sure I'm missing some. That is enough weapons to beat Liberty if you are calling a good game. We should NEVER have to rely on Hooker like we did against Liberty with those weapons and that OLine. Period.

My suspicion (without any hard evidence): Fu gets involved in the play calling at some points during the game. When he's involved or over rules Corney, the plays are more creative, more balanced. When Corney calls them, it's absurdly predictable and often not situationally the right call. I just see a dichotomy of brilliance and stupidity from drive to drive (almost like a multiple personality disorder) where it does seem like multiple people are play calling. If there is any truth to that, Fu is covering for ineptness of a buddy and needs to let him go, no matter how hard he works (which I've heard on here that Corney works crazy hard).

You are probably missing some because information about players is so tightly controlled by Fu. With Herbert out, my thoughts immediately went "next man up" - Holston, Marco Lee, King, Taj Gary in some order. But no idea who is actually available. The few Gary sightings we have had he was impressive and that was before this Oline reached awesome. Why did three of those four not even see the field yesterday? In short, was good talent sitting on the bench while we ran Hooker endlessly?

The LewDew, Professional Golf Bum

Yep, you are so right. Mind boggling to me that none of those players got much, if any, looks. Meanwhile Hooker gets ridden all game. He won't last all season doing that. And Liberty was certainly a game we should have been able to get those other guys involved.

Combine that with either a) the other team has figured our plays and/or signals or b)we have multiple personality play calling from FuCorn. It just doesn't look good for the home team.

The QB run up the middle call on 3rd and 6 drove me up a wall.

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

If the opposing kicker with a long of 42 hits a 59-yarder to win you give him a pat on the back and move on.
If the opposing coach is willing to risk a highly likely block (kickers past their range kick flat, thus more blocks) and a kick-six return you let him do that every day of the week.

The CZYHOKIE guy seems like a smart dude/dude-et. One thing to gather the dough to do it in normal times...where in the fuck is the athletic department to get said cash right now? Clemson voted to eliminate other programs to elevate one 10-15 yrs ago. Doing that today, in today's climate? They were well ahead of that curve. Buckle up.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

Great post Joe and unfortunately it's all true. It's unfortunate that the outreach isn't there because it's easy to see that the VT fanbase just wants to be included. We don't want to control the program like some of the SEC schools, we just want to get a glimpse behind the curtain and see the magic. It's too bad that hasn't happened and I don't see it happening. That's just not who Fu is.

As for what the Fuente program is...I don't know. It's year 5 and we've seen inconsistent & poorly called offenses, a declining defense (remember when the defense carried the team and not the offense?), sub-par recruiting classes that have only been saved by the transfer portal, and some minor development. We got insanely lucky with the Fullers and Edmunds but those days are over and based on our most recent recruiting efforts they're not coming back.

I can't fault Whit. The man has done a pretty good job since showing up. He got Buzz and then CMY after Buzz skipped town. Fuente was the hot shot and EVERYONE praised Whit when he locked him up early in the 2016 coaching carousel. Other athletics are doing much better and he's the ATHLETIC DIRECTOR, not the football director. Yes, football is the money maker, but you can't abandon the other sports to pay off a buy-out or pay for more assistants. That money needs to come from donors and the school and the latter isn't chipping in enough it would seem.

I think that there needs to be a frank discussion had between Whit & Fuente where they do something to negotiate his buyout down to a manageable level where the fans/donors can then be put in a position to "put up or shut up". Get it down to the $3-5mil range and then put your hand out for the money.

Tim over at TLP sums it up best: Fuente may end up being a really good coach, but it's going to be elsewhere and it'll most likely be because he had to fail here first. It's not personal, it's just business.

A key paragraph in the article you linked:

We can talk all we want about how Tech needs more resources for football to reach higher and that has some truth. But there's no reason why this program should be losing to Liberty and Wake Forest in 2020, UVA in 2019, Old Dominion in 2018 with an extra game against Marshall needed to make a bowl game, recruiting outside the top 70 in the 2020 cycle and outside the top 40 in a 2021 class that is as good as any in Virginia, and still keeping the program closed off to the point where this past week was the first time former Hokie Justin Hamilton spoke to the media since his appointment as defensive coordinator.

Is coronavirus over yet?

I remember the honeymoon being over for me after the 2017 Miami game. Up to that point, we had two questionable losses: one to Syracuse and one to Georgia Tech. We chalked the former up to the Carrier Dome curse and the latter to GT starting a different quarterback and running a different system. We knew there would be growing pains, but we still won the Coastal, almost beat Clemson, and won ten games.

Fast forward to 2017. We beat WVU and ended the FedEx Field curse. We take care of business against three bad teams and get the opportunity to play the reigning national champions at home with College Gameday in town. I'm not sure many of us thought we would win, and that's how it played out. We didn't embarrass ourselves, though. The crowd was electric, and the team didn't get run out of the stadium. We ran through the next three games pretty easily. We were still on track.

That 2017 Miami game is when it all went horribly wrong. Miami at the time was struggling. Leading up to that game, they had won their previous four games by no more than one possession, and every single one of those opponents were unranked. Most of us were expecting a win. Then the game starts.

The offense was shockingly conservative. It was clear the coaches were afraid someone was going to mess up. Maybe they were right because the guys turned it over four times that day. Maybe it was the young guys not doing well in a hostile environment. Either way, that wasn't what upset me.

What upset was me was that by the middle of the fourth quarter, Josh Jackson was visibly hurt. The game was out of reach. Miami was up by three possessions, and we weren't really doing anything that showed we were that interested in coming back. Fuente/Cornelsen still kept calling Jackson's number to get murdered out there. That was the first time I said to myself "I don't know what Fuente is doing and I completely disagree with it."

Next week, embarrassing loss to Georgia Tech for the second year in a row. Team ends the year 2-1 despite being pretty banged up.

Now it's 2018. The defense is young but promising. The offense is returning a decent amount of production and adding talent at wide receiver. Maybe we lose to some of the more experienced and talented teams, but ultimately 9-3 or even 8-4 isn't that bad.

Now it's late November. We've suffered several historic losses up to that point. We are scheduling Marshall to keep our season alive, but the players aren't really buying in as the SI article detailed. Fortunately, Marshall hadn't really bought in either and was even less excited about playing that game, so the bowl streak stays alive. We flounder in a loss to Cincinnati and finally end that dreadful season.

Now it's 2019. Supposedly all the toxic players are gone. This is finally Fu's team. Any player who is on this team wants to be there and Fuente and wants them there. The defense will be much improved, the offense will execute better, and we won't lose any stinkers. That came to an abrupt end week 1 when the quarterback chosen to start by the coach who preaches "expected outcomes" turns it over four times. Then we win in less than inspiring fashion over Furman and Old Dominion.

We all know where we are now. Not going to go into detail, but it's essentially where we are now. Only this time, it's different. We all know the saying "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Well Fuente fooled us for the first time. Losing to Duke 45-10 at home should be grounds for firing. I don't care what you did after that (by the way, we lost to UVA after that). Unfortunately, most of us were still somewhat confident.

On November 7th, we realized we had been fooled a second time. That's on us. No matter what happens in these final four games, it's over. I don't care if we go 4-0. It's done. I can't take anymore of these horrendous losses. I don't look forward to watching the 2020 and 2021 recruiting classes. Every week I get mad about the same things. Why are we not taking the ball? Why are we running a jet sweep to the boundary side? Why are we throwing a fade on third and short? Why can't we pass block? Why can't our receivers get open? Why are we not using a timeout here? Why are we using a timeout here? I could go on and on.

Sorry to sort of hijack the post, Joe. I started typing and just never stopped. This is the first time I've been able to rant because no one around me really supports VT football. I'll still watch them when it isn't a conflict, but I think I'm going to invest most of my time and energy into Marshall for the remainder of the season. They're 6-0 and ranked 16th, and I can actually go to the games (safely). Plus, this is where the tuition is going. Sorry if it sounds fair weather. I'm just exhausted and ashamed I was fooled twice.

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

If we go 4-0 he should absolutely keep his job lol. But it's definitely not going to happen

Good stream of thoughts here. It's tough when this is his best team of his guys and we are looking at a 6-5 team.

Can't spell DBU without Bud

Guys you have to stop saying if the kicker made it he'd look a genius. No we'd be excited Nd then still pissed because it's a wasted time out and there is nowhere that you can find that the "icing" technique actually affects the kicker. All you're really doing is giving him a practice kick and potential confidence for the next kick. He's earned every right to be scrutinized, him and corn both tbh. On the field off the field they've earned the ire of the gobbler fan base.

I feel like one of the most telling things about this game is that we couldn't move the ball without getting HH hit all game. It's Liberty, I don't care if they're 6-0 or 100-0 we should be physically dominant over a program that's barely and FBS team. We shouldn't have to do anything fancy, we shouldn't have to worry about "icing" a kicker at 59 yards. Our team should be dominant and cover up any coaching over thinking and schematic errors.

(add if applicable) /s

Fantastic article Joe. You basically hit the nail on the head and drove it through the board. A lot of post say that the cost to buy out the HFC is too much much and we don't have those type of funds (and that may be very true). However, you need to consider the cost of not doing anything and the long term effects on the university and all the sports programs. I have seen the bad years of VT football and it wasn't fun. Sometimes, as a decision maker, you just have to cut your losses otherwise you all might get cut down the road.

Anyone else notice we're 2.5 point *favorites* against #9 Miami?

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

Whoever made that line just gifted a lot of easy money to serious bettors.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

The only reason I think we'd ever have a [extremely] small chance, is the pattern for this Season:

W-[close] W-L-W-L-W-L

We could even have a convincing W against Da U (definitely not expecting that), but I'm still over Fuente.

VT '10--My avatar will flip, when things are right at VT again.

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

Romanes Eunt Domus

I mean if you look at Fuente's history he comes to play after a WTF loss. That's what Vegas is leaning into I guess...

Hokie Club member since 2017

Not even a WTF... his VT teams win at almost a 3:1 ratio after a loss (excluding bowl losses). Playing the averages though that means for this season we've already had 2 wins after a fat L, meaning we should expect to be 50/50 on this next game. Given that this is a ranked opponent I suspect we're going to have a bleak afternoon. The game is at 12, and we're 0-3 on the season when the game starts before 4pm.

Can the VT offense score 45 on them? If your answer is no, take Miami in a huge money-line parlay. We couldn't deal with Malik Willis behind a line with few P5 offers combined. D'erick King? LOL. Lock of the century.

here's the thing that is so infuriating. This offense has the capacity to score 45 points on Miami. But the wildcards are the game plan and the play calling. Fuente has fairly consistently followed up bad losses with wins. My completely uneducated reason for this is that he gets much more involved in the offensive game plan during the week after a loss. So I expect the game plan to make some sense against Miami. The play calling, however, is still a mystery. Cornelson has his moments. There are times where we put a drive together that works out. Then there are drives where we don't do anything that makes any sense.

I'd say that we'll probably manage 41 points against Miami. Great game plan and focus going into the game but a couple of real head-scratching offensive drives sink the Hokies in a dispiriting loss 49-41

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

I know, right? Has the defense actually stopped one single drive all year? Serious question. Take turnovers and the other team not stopping themselves with penalties out of the question, and has the defense actually forced a stop? 7 games in, and I bet that number is in the single digits.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Even worse, other teams are noticing, and going for it on 4th down.

did some quick #s. These include all drives (84 drives total if i counted right) and dont account for the other team shooting themselves in the foot (penalties).

  • Punt: 29 / 34.5%
  • ToD: 4 / 4.8%
  • Forced Turnover: 13 / 15.5%
  • Half: 5 / 6%
  • FG: 6 / 7.1%
  • TD: 27 / 32.1%


Putting a different lens on it:
- we make a legit stop (punt, downs, turnover) 44.8% of the time
- we allow the other team to score on 39.2% of all drives
- of the drives we allow a score, the other team is in the end zone 81.2% of the time

That last bullet point is the issue. Its not that we're allowing too many scoring drives. Its that the vast majority of the drives result in 7 points, not 3. We're averaging 12 possessions per game, and ~4 of those end up in a TD, with the other being a FG made, ending up at ~31 points per game on average.

Yea... Don't know why, but I bet the house on Miami +2

If I'm wrong, cool we win and beat a "top 10" team.

If I'm right... $$$$$

Fucking sad where my priorities are now with the state of VT football

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

Great article. Coaches owe the players an apology for taking the win from them with boneheaded moves. Yet still, how does a moderately talented, at least, P5 program keep coming up so small, year after year, against less talented opponents? IMO, that is preparation, attitude, effort, and execution, all of which fall largely at the feet of the coaches. Don't wanna hear about covid, injuries, whatever the excuses are this time. Either accept systemic and routine mediocrity, which most of us on this board aren't ready to do yet, or make the change.
Serious question for those in the know. So Tech has 35K students, just built a medical school, with all that entails, is building a super adjunct campus affiliated with Amazon in one of the wealthiest areas in the US with all the income dividends that pays, and yet can't come up with $10M to do the buy out? Why is that?
Again, great article! Go Hokies.

.

Herndonrules

The state of Virginia Tech football is in a precarious position:

- We're headed for an apathetic fanbase.
- We have a school administration that doesn't seem to care one way or another about athletics (i.e. the people that can direct extra funding to athletics). Extra funding was reportedly being seriously discussed this week by the board of visitors, but this loss is horrible timing.
- How many bronze hokie level donors like myself are they going to lose? I know the past few years I've asked myself why I keep dumping $2k/yr into this program with no indications of improvement. Don't even get me started on the nickel and diming by the athletic department.

Lets be honest -- with COVID and a $12.5m buyout, Fuente isn't going anywhere any time soon. I personally feel bad for Justin Hamilton who seems to be the new James Johnson of the athletic department.

Exactly. The wife and I decided to try and get ourselves some better seats this year and made the move from Bronze to Silver. Moved some money around and made it work. Then COVID happened and we saw the opportunity to help ourselves with those extra priority points and the university so we "donated" everything to the school vs. deferring. And then all the little bits and pieces which we've bought into every now and again because...why not? It supports the school.

AND THEN WE GET F*#@ED WITH THIS SHIT?!

I'll make my donation and buy my tickets because at the end of the day we LOVE Hokie football. But after this dumpster fire I sure as shit want to hear some sort of plan about how they're gonna unf*#k this.

And yes, I truly feel bad for JHam. Guy gets selected for DC and then doesn't get spring practice or fall practice really for that matter to make the change. But that last play...come on man. I saw them moving into prevent and I started screaming at the TV.

Dude worst part for me is I ended up getting WORSE seats this reseating than I had before.... and I was charged an extra $100 for that pleasure.

Look at the bright side, your seats will likely improve next year.

Yea, we didn't get anywhere close to what I was hoping for with the extra cheddar we forked over. But next year...soooo many priority points (hopefully).

I'm happy to see the reality of piss poor recruiting for years being acknowledged on here now. No -it's not a "small" class, it's not uncertainty around VT legend Bud Foster -perhaps- being suddenly gone, it's not state of VA HS talent being "down", it's not that our kids have "more P5 offers than 15 years ago". No- it's shit recruiting. And it's refreshing to see it acknowledged by most.

man you really know how to phrase some of your comments in the most baiting way possible

pretty difficult to say Bud Foster was "suddenly fired" when there was a whole football season in between when he announced he was retiring and his final game

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

You missed my point- many on here pointed to poor DL recruiting to "Bud's uncertainty"- laughable, I was being sarcastic regarding that lame excuse.

the recruiting is bad, bottom line. that doesn't mean that all of the things you mentioned weren't also true and therefore contributed to the bottom line.

A small class doesn't preclude recruiting from being bad, and the recruiting being bad doesn't also somehow mean the class in question wasn't actually small (as I have pulled the numbers before and don't want to do again)

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

As I said, recruiting is bad. What's unfortunate is that there are thousands of posts on here contradicting that fact and it took Liberty putting our defense on roller skates for people to stop making lame excuses that I listed above.

When was Bud fired?

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

VT's recruiting is bad. But, for perspective , the upper classmen at Liberty were recruited to an FCS program. The 40-70th rated classes are clearly more talented than what Liberty had to offer. Would better talent won that game? idk, based on the lack of fundamentals and execution, it's hard to undeniably make that conclusion.

VT does need better recruiting. But it also needs to win handily when their athletes outclass the competition.

🦃 🦃 🦃

Very well said. Joe has a gift for summing up the reasonable (IMO) thoughts of the fanbase, particularly after these far-too-frequent, bad losses.

Another gripe I have is how we appeared to get largely whooped on the line of scrimmage, despite us apparently having this all-world OL. Liberty was largely running into open space and we, while we still moved it OK, relied on our QB taking a beating. If they had a 3rd and 2, it felt like a guarantee to be converted, and you can't say the same about when we had the ball. This is Liberty, not someone we should have trouble dominating in the trenches.

There were also numerous times when the defense did not run to the ball. The RB would get stopped and held up and you could see guys like Dax just stand and watch as he pushes forward for several more yards. Maybe it is conditioning but that type of effort is not something I'm used to seeing. That has nothing to do with your head tying up your feet.

I'm guessing that comes down to us thinking we can just go through the motions and win these games. That's what it looked like versus Wake too. If you're going to do dumb things in-game as a coach, it would at least be nice if you could get your team fired up and ready to play.

you could see guys... just stand and watch as he pushes forward for several more yards

It was multiple players and it happened all game long. For all that the end of the game was a huge emotional swing for us, this giving up on the play/lack of effort is what really disappointed me on Saturday.

A few players looked like they were putting in an effort but time after time others kept looking like they wanted to be somewhere else.

Perhaps we were gunshy after the 15 yd penalty for slinging a wide receiver.

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

It is a shame. The offense is legitimately better this year, and you have to give this staff some credit for that. Defense didnt have the benefit of spring to learn a new system, and lets be honest, they are the reason for 2 of our 3 losses.

I personally think Fuente has done a nice job, but is the victim of circumstance. I also think in the end it doesn't matter and recruits and donors aren't going to look at the hows and the whys. Only winning matters, and I don't see a way out of the forest for this staff. I won't be upset if we hit the reset button, but Im having a hard time seeing how we can afford anyone who would be a home run hire.

100 % this. Leg.

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

When we got down a grand total of 7 points against Liberty, FU and Corny panicked and this great offense turned into the "QB Keeper" every play, because we can't run a coherent offense against Liberty unless we have a 2 score lead.

I didnt say we had a great offense. But they have put a ton of points on board one way or another in every game but one.

I'm sure we're in the minority right now, but this is the camp I'm in, too.

I think he's the victim of his own circumstance though. He's blindly held onto Corny even though it was heavily suggested by Kill that he let him go, we've lost our last 3 bowl games, recruiting for 20/21 is atrocious, and we've lost two games in the past three weeks that we were favored to win.

These aren't things that are thrust upon him, these are his issues that VT pays him FOUR MILLION DOLLARS a year to solve.

Agree. I think ironically that Corny is the very reason Fu is in this situation now. If he would have just let him go 2 years ago (or even last year when Kill came in), I believe the fan base would have given him a few more years pass to wear in a new OC. The optics would have been that Fu is continually trying to do the right thing for the Hokies instead of prioritizing his friend the OC over us. Instead, he doubled down on Corny. Ironically, it may be the very thing that is his downfall at VT. I'm not out to smear Corny either... by many accounts he is a good dude and works really hard. But I think that Fu's decision to keep him around will be his undoing.

Bingo. There circumstances have been building for the past 5 years. Whose to blame for them? Only one person. Fuente. He cannot continue to lose games when favored by double digits. It's not an outlier anymore with him. It's a ritual. Every year.

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

Film review is coming tomorrow. Simply put, while you can pick apart lots of things, the three losses have one thing in common- the secondary of the opposition tackled much better than the Hokies secondary tackled. Given how JHam played, this is what I can't reconcile.

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

Looking forward to that writeup, even as I dread it.

My goodness, I'm not the only one who has been seeing it. We can't tackle if our life depends on it right now. Conner had a good one, but the very following play (4th quarter, I think?), he had another chance, and just whiffed.

Following around on Twitter, former players are noticing, and they are NOT liking what they are seeing with this defense.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Oh, it's not just you. The game threads have been rife with people screaming about poor tackling. Poor tackling and poor discipline with the line getting either manhandled or pushing through and into the backfield but way out of position.

I also counted more than a couple blitzes where our player would come rushing in at Mach 2 and Willis just sidestepped, the blitzer whiffed bad, and Willis was able to scamper through the new hole.

*BOV putting the final touches on their presentation for a big fundraising during the final moments of the Liberty game.*

"Might have our asses saved by a 59 yarder, thank God. This meeting is going to be huge. Let's just finish this baby off and move on."

*Hits save moments before the kick goes up.*

"BLOCKED, WE BLOCKED IT!"

*SCREAMING*

[SUDDEN SILENCE]

"Why is the ref waving his hands in the air?"

@hokie_rd

I feel for Joe and the other Tech fans running the sites. I normally would have been on here for 2-3 hours between Sunday and Monday, barely spent an hour tops and didn't have the urge to come check on the latest info. I am also pissed that I got a set of VT facemasks for my birthday and I definitely did not want to wear them Sunday and may not for awhile. Apathy is setting in.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

Don't worry, others surely picked up the slack, coming here for therapy.

Oh, it was bad in our house. I had to apologize to the wife on Sunday for my childish behavior after the game and Sunday I drove out to the airport and just went for a flight by myself to relax. I reached for my new VT hat before walking out the door and then stopped myself and left without it. :(

Yeah wife was real unhappy with my attitude and behavior Saturday afternoon.

Which is the real problem with nooners, especially in the mountain time zone when you're whole saturday can be wrecked by 1:00pm (or like 11:30 when it's obvious from the jump that we're gonna shit the bed).

Old sigline: I've been cutting back on the drinking.

New Sigline: lol it's football season.

Been there. I was living in SLC during Beamer's last year in a rented room that didn't have TV or cable. I found a bar that would both be open and show Tech at 10am. During the UNC game some nice USCe fans sat and took Wild Turkey shots with us. I was so far gone after the game ended I left my then GF, now wife, at the bar while she was in the restroom thinking that she was the one that left me. We both walked home in about a foot and a half of snow angry at the Hokies and each other. I don't know why she loves me, but I'm glad she does.

Rock, Flag, and Eagle!

On the bright side:

My furloughed wife just got called back to work - although she has said she really enjoyed staying home and helping get the house moved.

Good news from Pfizer. Assume we should not discuss this - but it is still very positive. Tentative, but positive.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

Glad to hear some positive news for your family!

Congrats on the wife getting called back in. Gotta pay the bills.

Funniest part is that it was like the inverse of Office Space with Milton supposed to be laid off but they never told him or payroll. She was supposed to start today. Her team thought HR was going to contact her. HR set things up but did not contact her as that is her team's job. So no one bothered to tell her she was starting today. She gets a call in the middle of the day asking if she knows this is her first day and can she log in? No, we have no childcare set up, her work computer is in the old house, her office here is not set up, nobody gave her the log in access codes ... She will start next Monday.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

Extra vacation time. I remember when I was changing jobs about 2 decades ago. The new company wanted to know if I could start midweek. Sorry, I'd rather not do that since Thursday is my wife's birthday. They said I could start next Monday. So we went to Vegas, ate a bunch of great meals, saw a championship fight (back when boxing was a thing), and lived it up. Hopefully you two can enjoy the rest of her time off before it is back in the rat race.

Thank you for this post, I believe all these points are spot on.

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

I am sad, but I love all of you. <3 Hokies

Planning to do some analysis on the trends in VT football. Anybody have examples of other schools that have had similar downturns in on-field success as Tech has had in the last decade or so? I'm going to look at recruiting trends. Don't need too many schools to look at, just a handful would work. I'll make a new thread once I've gotten this all compiled. Thanks!

Texas, USC, Nebraska, WVU, almost FSU.

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

Does Michigan count? They started their downward trajectory slightly before us. The year they beat us in the sugar bowl was arguably their version of the 2016 season, with a random good season.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

out of random interest, could you throw a random "stable program" in to whatever comparison you're doing? Just as an oddball control? A team like TCU or Ok St that (over the last 20 years) never seems to be a real contender but also never seems to be absolute butts

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

You got it gobble 👉🏻

i hate when when we are absolute butts

we haven't been absolute butts for decades now tbh

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

Absolute butts is -273°Ass.

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

I would love to have a look at NCSU. Unfortunately we are a lot like them.

Before the ACC expansion NCSU was a fairly decent team/program, though never a power by any means, and since that time they've largely fallen off the map.

Is coronavirus over yet?

Lurker here. I check this site daily, but I haven't actually sat down and watched a VT football game in probably 2 years. When I heard the Liberty score on Saturday, I just laughed (bitterly). I fully agree with Joe's quote: "Justin Fuente has sucked the fun out of Virginia Tech football." Fixing this is probably more important (and easier, but maybe not with Fuente) than getting back to 10-win seasons and ACC championships.

Stepping back from the ledge for a better perspective. I know that it starts and ends with the head coach, however, I'm very interested in what folks truly believe are the biggest impediments to our team making progress since Fuente took over. I can list potential reasons.

1. Abysmal recruiting (lack of talent)
2. Lack of funding of the program from higher ups.
3 a bad offensive coordinator
4. A bad defensive coordinator
5. Bad in-game management by the head coach
6. Players don't like the coach
7. Coach can't get the best out of players

That is a short list of possible reasons for the lack of success we've had. To me, it seems very clear why we aren't improving - I believe reasons 1 and 2 are most responsible with the jury still out on reason 4(how long though?). I'm curious of other's opinions because many seem to be focused on reasons 3 and 5.

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

I'd go with # 1, maybe related to #2.

while is not on the field, don't forget
8. Coach cuts off fans and boosters from any visibility into program. (which leads to looming funding decreases similar #2).

I don't think abysmal recruiting by Fuente can carry any of the blame for Fuente's troubles - yet. He probably did about the best one could do in the transition year. Then he had a couple of solid if not great recruiting years. The horrific recruiting last year and pretty bad recruiting this year has not had a chance to get on the field and cause any of the problems we have seen the past 2.5 seasons.

With that said, the main reason Fuente will be fired if he is fired should be the recruiting. In a couple of years when the 2019 class is supposed to be playing major roles and the 2020 class is supposed to be starting to get in there, we are set up to be one of the worst teams in the country at the P5 level.

I'll leave to people who know much more than I do (the large majority of the people on this board) to say what it is, but I don't understand how players who are not playing yet or have not officially signed with the team on signing day can be causing the problems of the past few years. And he had a very good year with the talent that was on the team when he took over.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

Here's one for the 'good news, bad news' crowd, SI just published an article: 'Forde-Yard Dash: Ugly Week Sinks Big-Brand Programs'. I opened it fully expecting to see another national rehash on VT's loss to Trinity. The article covered Michigan, Penn State, Tennessee, Georgia, UCLA, and Nebraska under 'Big Brand Misery'.

Good news: VT wasn't mentioned in the article.

Bad news: VT wasn't mentioned in the article.

Edit: spelling

Sounds like a good article not to be mentioned in.

would stand to reason we're not a big brand, either

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

We're a big brand, but we lost to a team that was ranked higher than us.

I think we think we're a big brand.

That wasn't sarcasm - I'm saying that we are.

1. We're a big brand.

2. We lost to a ranked team.

it was still a colossal upset

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

I didn't think that you were, and I wasn't either. I'll point to our Nike deal though. If we were as big as we think we are the Nike deal wouldn't be brought up constantly.

- TSL Analysis (May 2016)
- Daily Press Interview w/ Whit (Teel, August 2015)

To the best of my knowledge we haven't renegotiated. The only reason I bring up these two bits of information, though dated, is that it helps us put ourselves in perspective. Either the AD doesn't have an understanding of our value, or the market does.

We want to be a big brand

Fuente was supposed to get us there. He hasn't.

We're not a big brand. We're a team that can reliably lose games a big brand shouldn't. We are quickly becoming the team that upsets other teams

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

rankings are a farce. we were 17 point favorites at home and lost. this game should've been a rent-a-win. it's shambolic.

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

You certainly can't prove it by that game.

I can't even figure out if you're stanning more for Liberty or a bad VT team now.

(add if applicable) /s

I'm saying it's poor form not to give a team who just beat you credit for being a decent team.

Okay and all everyone else is saying is that VT should never have a worse team than Liberty. We currently do.

(add if applicable) /s

LIBERTY OKAY ME WANT VT BE BETTER

is it that tough to grasp? there's no universe where the loss this past weekend is excusable.

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

I'm not at all saying it's excusable.

But the reality is that they're a decent team, and we couldn't really afford to gift them points.

There has been a trend in all of our games to gift the other team some points on a botched play. Until we fix that, we can expect these kinds of results.

All I'm saying is that even if we feel superior to the other team, we can't afford to give them one or two scores.

C'mon....you can't really believe what you're posting at this point.

Liberty "gifted" us more points than we did on Saturday---and we still lost!

2 Willis fumbles led directly to a TD and an FG for us in the First Half.

Liberty Out-gained us, Out-possessed us, and sure as hell Out-coached us. They were 10-17 in converting 3rd and 4th Downs!!!!

This wasn't a fluke. It wasn't an anomaly. We gifted them NOTHING. They came in and pushed us around and took what they wanted.

No amount of vague generalizations is going to make this something that it was not--the only team that was lucky on Saturday was us--we were lucky to even have a shot at the end. We got worked. Period.

Don't forget that that phantom facemask that set up the TD to tie

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

there was a facemask penalty on this play, but they didn't show a replay of it from a useful angle for a while. It was slight, but it wasn't non-existent. We definitely benefitted from what could have been a no-call though.

It happened right in front of where I was sitting in the stands. It was slight, but present.

BTW. Tavion's family was there and are a very nice bunch of people. I ended up sitting 6' away from them for the game.

Both Blackshear and the defender were wearing #6, the ref that threw the flag only had the angle to see Blackshear rip the defenders head sideways. If they were calling the defenders facemask, it woulda been a 5 yarder edit forgot about that

Personally, I think the guy that announced it just mixed up who the flag was on, and they let it ride to try to make up for blowing it on the early fumble that shoulda been a TD for us.

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

They eventually showed an angle from the front and it looked like the defender may have tugged Blackshear's facemask, but it could've easily gone uncalled. There are no 5 yarders anymore.

What I'm saying is that the ref that threw the flag only had the angle to see Blackshear ripping the defenders head sideways.

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

I thought at the time that it was a makeup call for the botched fumble blown dead in the first half

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Usually I agree with you but it feel like you're just being stubborn here. This should have been a win. Most likely a big win since we were double digit favorites. This feels like losing to ODU. Granted Liberty wasn't 0-3 but they should not have looked better prepared than the Hokies.

We did all the right things to lose. Give up a TD on first drive after a big 4th down conversion. Sputter out of the gate. Mismanage the clock at half to go up 6 instead of 10. Come out in the second half and sputter again rather than put the game out of reach.

For all the what if's, we did got the occasional lucky break. What if Hooker doesn't make the sick toss when going for 2? What if their guy falls down when we let them score with under 2 minutes to go and Liberty runs out the clock before kicking a winning FG from the 3?

I don't disagree with anything in your post.

I see it as more of a "we lost because we just plain gave them too many points".

I think it hurt particularly bad because if you were like me, you were celebrating big time when you found out we called a timeout that negated our punt block and return for a score.

NC State (a low tier ACC team) will prove it when they play Liberty and knock them from the rankings

Hokie Club member since 2017

I don't doubt that they will beat them.

But it won't be because they took them lightly or gifted them points. And we would have, too, had we not done those things.

That's the only point I'm trying to make.

To me it's hard to chalk a loss up to gifting a team too many points when you win the turnover battle. Don't disagree on taking them lightly though, team looked very soft/unmotivated out there.

Do you really think we took them lightly?!? Seriously? Did we take ODU lightly? What about Furman? What about Rhode Island? Because if so, there is a question of what is the common thread in all of those disappointing games. Hint: it is the coaching staff.

I'd argue that the staff makes bad choices when things aren't going our way. They play not to lose. They get super cautious with playcalling and rely on the talent to win.

They get super cautious with playcalling and rely on the talent to win.

LOL, what talent? For a long time I haven't really fully bought into the idea that we need to recruit in the top 25 in order to play in the top 25. I figured great scouting and player development were real things that might contribute to "punching above one's weight" so to speak. But given the last few years and the direction recruiting has gone under Fuente I'm starting to understand that recruiting is much more important than I thought. We are not recruiting well, we haven't recruited particularly well for several years now, and it is showing up on the field. We can't tackle. Outside of Herbert and Hooker, we can barely break tackles. Our receivers got better at catching the ball in the last couple years but now they can't get open. I never hear the announcers talk about our big strong receivers because we don't have any. But every team we play against, including Liberty, does, apparently. How is it that we just don't have any talent on our team?

Clearly the answer is that we're not recruiting well. And we certainly are not developing the players we do have well enough to compensate. I supported Fuente and was in favor of keeping him around longer than most. I know there are a select few who will continue to support him but Liberty truly was the last straw for me. I'm done with Fuente. We desperately need someone who can recruit. It doesn't seem that difficult to find someone who can scheme the Xs and Os, review tape, and scout other teams. We don't need the next great offensive or defensive genius. There's plenty of coordinators out there who know what they're doing. We need a guy who has a vision and can sell it to recruits. That is something we haven't had in Blacksburg in a long time. I think Beamer's success was due to him developing a vision and selling it to recruits. Beamer recruited well during the peak of his career at Tech. I think he lost it a little bit in the later years but that's kind of understandable. Fuente has not satisfied that requirement and I think that's a big reason we are where we are right now. Move on and find a guy who will recruit.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

This is nonsense.

Fuente stated clearly that the team wasn't taking Liberty lightly. He was effusive in his praise for Willis and how dangerous he could be.

It simply looks like we are taking opponents lightly because our Staff has such limited talent in Film Review and Recognition.

I think he is talking about fans taking Liberty likely. The "We should NEVER lose to a team like Liberty" sentiment, which a lot of fans have. I think losing to Liberty is a fireable offense, but it's ignorant of the current state of VT football to discount it offhand.

Get Angry, Bud!

The comment was regarding NCSU beating Liberty in 2 weeks.

The implication was that they will win because we took Liberty lightly which they will not.

The implication is also made that we are losing games because we are "gifting" points to the other teams--which is only applicable to the WF game. We had 0 turnovers vs UNC and won the turnover battle against Liberty.

Fan opinion on the strength of opponents has no impact whatsoever on the outcome of the game.

I'm more than willing to have a discourse about the problems with VT football in 2020, but at some point, when people repeatedly post things that have no factual basis it simply becomes static and doesn't really contribute anything meaningful.

They have to tackle better. More than every other problem, that is damning VT right now. Tackling, pursuit angles, and pursuit. Improving on those three basic fundamentals would at least be a very large band aid on the other ills.

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

Unfortunately that's not fixed with a snap of the fingers (at least consistently). Thinking more on it, they've been a poor tackling team for a while now, with issues under Foster-Fuente too.

Tackling was an issue at times throughout the Foster regime. It was really bad in the 2002-2005 timeframe where it seemed like the players were more interested in throwing the big hit rather than just wrapping up. They got it fixed shortly thereafter and had multiple years of legit top flight defensive units.

The difference now is that I just don't trust this staff to get it fixed.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Tackling is down all around college football right now, my guess is due to missed practice due to COVID. I think it's why defenses are struggling so much compared to offenses.

Twitter me

b/c the talent has decreased over time and now, here we are with a few good 1st stringers and no backups worth a damn. and it is not going to get better -- our recruiting sucks.

if this were baseball we would be talking about half the infield having a case of the yips. They're probably in their own heads overthinking everything, when all they need to do is rely on instinct and muscle memory. Unfortunately, this isn't anything that can be coached or quickly corrected. They need a confidence boost, and they need it now. If that isn't possible then there are really only 2 solutions - change the player's position, or replace the player entirely.

So true. I remarked to the wife how at multiple points our D/tackling looked like we were playing "follow the leader" with the ball carrier more than taking proper pursuit angles.

And this has a whole lot to do with toughness and football intelligence. Outside of the last 6 weeks of last season, I don't recall Fuente's teams really embodying the Hard - Smart - Tough mentality, at least not consistently.

I never would have thought that Liberty would bully us around all day...

Is coronavirus over yet?

Part of me wonders if we just ponied up a few extra 100 grand for Barry Odom these problems would be sorted and we wouldn't be talking about eating a whole 10 mill. The refusal to invest there was questionable at the time and may have sunk the program in the short-to-medium term.

I was wondering the same thing myself. We also just paid Liberty to beat us. Talk about poor "personal finance..."

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

I think the fan base is turning apathetic at this point. I know I am. I used to make fun of UVA fans for their apathy over their football team, yet, we are becoming that very loathsome thing ourselves. My VT gear is being mothballed for the winter. Maybe I'll pull it out again in the spring.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Apologies if some of this has been stated elsewhere, as I've not had as much time to read all the threads as I would have liked, but I've tried to collect my thoughts over the last few days...

First, I said this before the season, and after the UNC game, but JF's in-game management continues to be a serious cause for concern. We can talk about other issues all we want, but when you have a head coach that continues to make the same kinds of head-scratching (Dasani-crunching?) mistakes that directly lead to losses (at least debatably so), that is a huge problem. Honestly ask yourselves this question: "Do I have confidence that we won't lose at least one game next year because of a questionable game-management decision by JF"? I know I certainly don't.

Second, and on that point, I just do not buy his efforts to explain away what happened at the end of the game. When Andy asked him about why he thought it might be necessary to ice the kicker on a 59 yard field goal, he said "I'm not sure what you mean, Andy." Seriously? Then, one explanation was that he "always" calls a timeout so that the kicker doesn't get a "free swing" at the kick. If that's true (even though always having done something isn't a good reason for anything), then the moment you see them run the FG team out there, you call time out. You don't wait until the kicker has taken his 3 steps back, about to give the nod for the snap. You don't give the ref a chance not to hear you over the deafening sounds of 1k fans in Lane due to the pandemic. So that one is out as well. In other words, even if you are to be believed, you flat out panicked/took too long, so it is a coaching mistake. The next explanation was that it was really more about making sure we had the right people out there. Again, you do that the moment they run the FG team out there. Also, it shouldn't be lost that we DID have the right folks out there. So I don't buy that either.

Third, and a related point, he said that there was "pandemonium" out there trying to get the team lined up after the blocked FG/TD. Nonsense. You just called a timeout. Get your team together in two groups and say "guys, if they run the FG team back out there, gimme FG block. If they run out the offense, D go out and get into a deep cover 2, DB's don't give up any cheap ones to the sideline, and safeties, nothing behind you." This isn't hindsight. My dad and I were having this exact conversation in real time. Bottom line, not being able to get the right defensive personnel out there after a timeout (never mind the actual alignment) is inexcusable. And that's on the head coach.

Fourth, we have severe issues with roster mismanagement. I'm not talking about recruiting, per se, so hear me out. A few years ago, I think we had 87 WRs (kidding) because Wiggins wanted 6-8 that could contribute. Coming into this year, we had a notoriously injured Turner, and a converted QB coming off a good true freshman season. Our next leading receiver was a former walk-on (Kaleb Smith). How do you let that happen? How do you fail to retain Damon Hazelton with this serious lack of proven depth? Similarly, a few years ago, we begin to notice a serious lack of DT depth (which we've yet to fix), yet we run off Cam Goode in summer workouts. Again, how do you let that happen? I said this before the season, but we do not have a Power 5 level defensive tackle on this roster. We just don't. We can talk about linebackers being out of position, but when your defensive tackles are getting eaten alive by Liberty and WF, that's on the head whistle. Last but not least on roster management, I think back to the decision to runoff Travon. Before Herbert this year, we have not had a P5 level running back since he left. I'm an App State grad, and I can tell you that they've had 2-3 guys on the roster every year since 2005 that are far better than the likes of McClease, Peoples (love that guy btw), Steward, Fox, Wheatley, Holston, etc. Travon ran for 1k under 2 different staffs, was far more talented than those guys as well, yet we ran him off.

So, if we are asking ourselves about a tipping point, to me, it comes down to: 1) have we improved in-game coaching? (nope); and 2) can we address the roster management issues? (again, nope). I had not reached this point definitively until yesterday, but after this year, I think it's time. I understand the buyout situation, but a few more seasons like this and we will be to the point of no return.

"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.

A few other coaching decisions are bugging me:

1. Why is Kalil Herbert Returning Kicks?
I know we have a long standing tradition of having some of the best Special Teams but knowing that he carries our offense and we have a guy like Keshawn King and other running backs waiting for a turn, can't we give the duty to someone else?
2. Why is Tavyion returning Punts?
Ok, at least I know we need some talent. But I gotta say this is at least the 2nd or 3rd time he has made a mistake on catching the ball, he's also misjudging the ball, it often goes over his head. Plus in terms of receivers we are somewhat thin, can a guy like Terius Wheatley or King return Punts. I would have said Dorian Strong but we are also thin at Corner.

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

I have no problem with Herbert in general but he shouldn't have been there if he had a nagging injury and was questionable this week.

We have had a hard time finding punt returners for some reason. Tayvion is great if he makes the catch. I dunno what you do if he is the best we have.

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