Following Virginia Tech’s 22-21 defeat in Raleigh Thursday night, I packed up my car after a poor night of league bowling and set up Spotify to console me on my half-hour drive home.
In eerie fashion, Spotify began playing “Something Has to Change” by The Japanese House.
Who knew Spotify could be so aware of my emotional state?
Much like they have for most of the season, the Hokies found a new and yet equally heartbreaking way to lose. Thursday’s loss was the Hokies’ fifth in a row, all but locking Virginia Tech out of a bowl game for the second time in three seasons.
Thursday’s loss brought new forms of pain as the Hokies leapt to a 21-3 lead in the third quarter. Virginia Tech erupted for 21 points and 251 yards of offense in that period, providing a fresh dose of hope to a fanbase that felt like a win was finally on the horizon.
Instead, Tech allowed 19 unanswered to a Wolfpack offense led by third-string freshman MJ Morris.
In other ways, the loss reopened old wounds from previous games. Tech’s offense was late to the party once again, mustering zero points and just 46 yards in the first half. The Hokies committed 13 penalties, 10 of which were false starts. Every starting offensive lineman jumped early at least once, and the unit collectively allowed four more sacks.
Standing at 2-6, Virginia Tech is in a running gun battle with Commonwealth foe Virginia for the title of Worst Football Team in the ACC. The Hokies are one of the most penalized teams in the country and save for two quarters of football over the last two weeks, Tech’s offense is among the worst I’ve ever seen in Blacksburg.
Like the band said, something has to change.
Brent Pry’s upbeat encouragement isn’t producing results. His assistants have overseen varying levels of regression across the board, whether it be the offensive line, the defensive line, the linebackers, the secondary or the entirety of the special teams units.
Even in Year 1, regression isn’t something that we should be consistently talking about. But for the Hokies, that’s been the major point of discussion. Even in a rebuild, there need to be signs of growth and progress.
To that, I ask an honest question — what’s improved this season?
Virginia Tech’s season will likely end after these next four games. Tech hosts an improved Georgia Tech next weekend before two more road trips to Lynchburg and Durham. After that, it’s a barnburner in Lane Stadium against the ‘Hoos.
Over these next four games, it is imperative that Tech show signs of growth. Progress must be made. Players need to execute more consistently and play with more discipline. The coaching staff needs to have their players better prepared.
Should the Hokies play their next four games and not show signs of a hopeful future, Pry will enter one of the most critical offseasons of his career with little to no momentum. That’s not a good place to be after Year 1.
Something has to change. Until it does, Spotify will keep recommending this song.
And much like losing, the song gets tiring after a while.