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Jun
13

While Loss Was Disappointing, Season Meant Something For Hokies

If you've seen the movie "Moneyball", you may remember when Brad Pitt - who portrays Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane - masterfully delivers this blunt quote in the middle of the film:

“If you lose the last game of the season," Beane says, "nobody gives a s***.”

While this quote oversimplifies every team’s season but the one left standing at the end, the sad reality is that there is some truth to it. No matter how outstanding a team may play for a majority of the year, losing the last game of the season puts a damper on everyone's memories of the journey to get there.

Virginia Tech baseball is experiencing this sad truth right now. The Hokies’ 11-2 defeat to Oklahoma in Game 3 of their NCAA Super Regional series will probably leave a bit of a bad taste in the mouths of everyone associated with the program. Fans will undoubtedly be disappointed in how things ended, but nobody will be more upset than the players and coaches who lost the game.

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Jun
08

This Could Be A Special Weekend For VT's Hammerin' Hokies

In case you haven’t noticed, Virginia Tech baseball is on the cusp of doing something that's never been done and shattering the program's glass ceiling: doing something of national relevance.

The Hokies entered the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship tournament last weekend as the No. 4 team in the country and hosts of a regional in the first round. They scored a combined 39 runs in their first two games, and then defeated Columbia 7-2 to earn a trip to the Super Regionals – which they will also host at English Field, starting Friday at 3 PM.

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May
10

If This Is A Dream, Try Your Best Not To Wake Me...

Perhaps it’s just me, but at times I’m having a tough time believing what’s going on with recruiting for the Virginia Tech’s men’s basketball team.

It’s nothing bad. Quite the contrary, in fact, to the point I wonder if this is just a dream and I haven’t woken up yet. In my 50-plus years of watching Hokie basketball, there are certain hard truths I’ve learned, and one is that while there will be good years and bad, there will never be a year that blue chips flock to Blacksburg.

The Hokies will be in the dance with many. They’ll be included in the final two with a few. But typically when final decisions are made, most times they’re left at the altar watching the bride drive off into the sunset as a blue blood school makes a late move and sweeps a recruit off their feet. Doesn’t mean the Hokies haven’t had great players come to Blacksburg, but the marquee players among the nation’s recruiting elite tend not to end up in Southwest Virginia.

This year has felt different.

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May
06

Hokies Depth Chart Right Now Is One Big Unanswered Question...

(Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Tech)

It’s been nearly a month since Virginia Tech wrapped up their spring practice schedule and since then, I’ve spent far too much time thinking about hypothetical depth charts and special packages that we might see in 2022.

I’ve also spent a fair amount of time coming to grips with a hard truth — this year’s roster has too many questions for my liking.

Surprisingly, my main concerns have nothing to do with quarterback. Grant Wells played rather well in Virginia Tech’s Spring Game and while Jason Brown wasn’t very productive, he spent much of his afternoon trying to escape Tech defenders.

And that’s a great place to start.

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Apr
30

Four Hokies Selected In Final Rounds Of The 2022 NFL Draft

This year's NFL Draft was never going to be a flashy weekend for prospects from Virginia Tech, but during the three-day event that started Thursday, several were projected to be picked during rounds 4-7 on Saturday.

By and large, the process played out as expected. Tight end James Mitchell (pictured above), defensive end Amare Barno, offensive tackle Luke Tenuta and guard Lecitus Smith were each selected by NFL franchises on Day 3 of the draft and will have their football playing dreams live on.

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Mar
13

One-Trick Ponies No More. The Hokies Are Now ACC Champs

It was March of 1973, Bobby Stevens hit a last-second overtime jumper to give Virginia Tech an NIT championship, and I went running through my house in Norfolk as only a teenager can do, yelling and screaming about how “the Hokies did it.”

What is wrong with you, my mother asked.

Now in my 60s, I watched last night as the Hokies claimed their first Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament basketball championship with my arms held high and maybe something moist in my eye. I’m too old now to run through the house and my wife of 41 years already knows what’s wrong with me.

But it felt just like that day 49 years ago.

Last night for long-suffering Hokie fans wasn’t just a basketball victory. It was an exorcism, a confirmation that after decades of being the red-headed stepchild, the Hokies belong. If you grew up in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina or South Carolina in the 60s, there were certain regional and cultural entities you enjoyed, and when it came to sports, ACC basketball was one of them.

The ACC was that group of cool kids at the table who scoffed at the notion of you even talking to them, much less sitting down at the table. And for most of my life, Virginia Tech has tried its damnedest to pull out a chair at the ACC basketball table and say “hey, what’s up?” For decades, however, the Hokies were turned down for admission into the league, and really only because they had developed a good football program at exactly the same time the league needed more good football teams due to television demands did Virginia Tech gain admission in 2004.

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Apr
07

From The Blue Waters Of The Chesapeake, To The Hills Of Tennessee...

The decision will not help gain a single yard, point, or first down for Virginia Tech’s football team this fall.

But when you turn on the radio for the Hokies’ September 2nd game in Norfolk against ODU and hear “From the blue waters of the Chesapeake to the hills of Tennessee, the Virginia Tech Hokies are on the air,” you’ll realize it made football season just a little bit better.

Bill Roth is back.

He will be the radio voice of the Hokies for football only, but he and Mike Burnop will now be back together to call every moment of white lines and green grass at Lane Stadium and beyond.

David Teel broke the news in the Richmond Times-Dispatch this morning, and I have to say, it may be the best news regarding Virginia Tech I’ll hear all month. Roth has been like that favorite, well-worn sweatshirt you wear on game days that just makes you feel comfortable. He was the radio voice in lean times, the radio voice in great times, and over several decades, became part of the family to many older Hokies.

He is also one of the most impressive people I think you’ll ever meet. In life, you get to come across people who are just genuinely good, and Bill is one. Poll 50 people who have had interactions with him, and odds are you’ll get 50 stories about what a good guy he is. He embraced the Hokies and all that Virginia Tech stood for from the very beginning, and has been an incredible ambassador for the school.

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5
Mar
31

Spring Has Sprung For Hokie Football And It Feels...Different

Things really are different this spring in Blacksburg.

We’ve officially rotated back to football season and nothing feels the same. Literally every aspect of the program feels dramatically different right now — and that’s a good thing.

(Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Tech)

We can start with the football program’s roster of players, which has new faces at many positions. Nobody knows who is going to play quarterback, though two of the favorites — Jason Brown and Grant Wells — are new to the town.

The lack of familiarity continues on offense. Jadan Blue probably has a starting spot locked down at wide receiver, but he’s still learning his way around campus. Da’Wain Lofton has a new number (3), but at least he knows where the position rooms are. Kaleb Smith is the lone Blacksburg vet in that position group, meaning several fresh faces are going to get a look.

The offensive line is a toss-up as you generally don’t replace three starters overnight. Johnny Jordan, Slias Dzansi and Kaden Moore are still around, but most of the remaining offensive linemen on the roster are newbies.

Linebacker might be the only spot where many of the same players are still around, but more guys are getting added to the room. Brent Pry’s preference for the 4-3 defense means the Hokies need more bodies there. JR Walker has already transitioned over to linebacker, as have the McDonald twins. One of those brothers, Jorden, has already shifted to defensive end. Who knows, more changes could be coming.

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Mar
22

If You're Going To Celebrate Winning An ACC Title, Do It Right

An old friend just sent me these with a note that said if you’re going to celebrate winning an ACC Tournament, you might as well do it the right way. Cold drink, good cigar, nice weather, good dog. Doesn’t get much better than this…

 

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1
Mar
20

Former Hokie Target Tyrell Ward Decommits From Xavier

With the season over and everyone turning their attention to recruiting for next season, Virginia Tech fans might want to keep an eye on Tyrell Ward, who announced today he is decommitting from Xavier.

The 6-foot-7 Ward played at DeMatha (in Hyattsville, MD) under current Virginia Tech associate head coach Mike Jones, and is a teammate of Hokie signee Rodney Rice, so there is a clear connection and relationship there. He announced on social media he was decommiting after former head coach Travis Steele parted ways with the program.

“Due to the recent coaching changes at Xavier University, I've decided to ask the university for my release from my NLI (national letter of intent) and will reopen my recruitment,” Ward said in a graphic he posted on Twitter. “100 percent Xavier will still be an option. I'm grateful to Xavier for the love they've shown to me and my family throughout the process.”

The Hokies were among Ward’s final 8 the first time around, as Ward considered LSU, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Indiana, Miami, Xavier, Maryland, and Georgetown before paring it down to just Xavier and the Hokies, then committing to Xavier last July. Less than a year later, half of those schools have made or are in the process of head coaching changes, while Virginia Tech is coming of an ACC Tournament championship and 5 straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

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4
Mar
20

Friday's Loss Shouldn't Overshadow One Great Season

One week ago, we all woke up to a glorious Sunday. The Hokies had won the ACC Tournament, an NCAA bid was coming later in the day, and hope was springing eternal.

Then Friday happened.

To say it was disappointing is to put it mildly. “I get so tired of us always losing these big games” said one of my young friends, who is all of 27 years old.

Imagine how I feel, I countered, as I’m close to 40 years older.

“Yeah, but you should be used to it by now,” he replied.

Nobody ever gets used to losing, I answered, and truth is, every team breaks their fans’ hearts. Some just do it slower than others.

I knew how my young friend felt. Heck, we’ve all felt that way one time or another. And yes, the Hokies could have played better Friday, as Texas manhandled them the same way Memphis and Xavier did in earlier losses. The strength of Mike Young’s offense requires an inside presence to draw the defense inward so the ball can be kicked back out and find the open man for a 3-pointer. Teams that play assault and battery defense down low against the Hokies seem to negate the inside threat, so the ball doesn’t come out to wide open players at the 3-point line.

The only two ways I know to combat that is either have an officiating crew who calls a tight game, or have players on your roster just as comfortable hacking and pushing underneath. The first is the luck of the draw. The second is directly related to recruiting a certain type of player Virginia Tech currently doesn’t have.

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