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Oct
04

Asking For Patience Is Reasonable, But Only If Eventually Rewarded

Following North Carolina’s rout of Virginia Tech Saturday, Brent Pry asked fans for patience.

“It’s not going to be an overnight process,” Pry explained in his post-game press conference. “It’s going to take time. We’re going to do it the right way. We’ve got to recruit better, we’ve got to create better practice habits and we’ve got to keep working on our culture… We’re making progress in all three areas. Sometimes it’s hard to see, but we are.”

Still, Pry should forgive some fans if they are struggling to see the progress claiming to be made.

The Hokies’ 41-10 loss at Chapel Hill was possibly the most incomplete performance of Pry’s short tenure as the head whistle in Blacksburg. We knew that Tech had a talent disadvantage, but a 31-point disadvantage?

I don’t think so. Florida A&M, for example, lost to North Carolina by 32 points earlier this season. Are we to believe that Tech is that close to Florida A&M?

The offense, though, might be worse than the Rattlers. Tech scored just 10 points for the second consecutive week, this time against a Tar Heel defense that allowed 61 to Appalachian State, 28 to Georgia State and another 32 to a struggling Notre Dame offense. The Hokies showed no substantive improvement from the week prior — the Hokies averaged just 2.8 yards per rush attempt and Grant Wells inspired little confidence in his 16-of-26 for 139 yards performance.

In fact, Wells’ errant interception in the second quarter provided a lot of ammunition to fans who believe he isn’t the long-term answer at quarterback.

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1
Oct
03

If You're A Hokie Fan, You May Want To Keep An Eye On Wisconsin

If you’re a Hokie fan and are not doing so already, you may want to keep an eye on Wisconsin.

There’s a soap opera going on up there that has already benefitted the Hokies 10 months ago, and with the Badgers unbelievably firing head coach Paul Chryst Sunday, there’s a possibility of more to come.

It seems something has been brewing up in Madison for a while if you put the pieces together. I was absolutely elated that the Hokies were able to hire Joe Rudolph away from Wisconsin at the beginning of the year, because he was the architect of their run game, particularly when it came to the development of offensive linemen in their program.

He was exactly what the Hokies needed to start the process of re-establishing an identity in Blacksburg back to the days when if Virginia Tech needed a few tough yards between the tackles, the Hokies were able to get it.

But even with Rudolph coming to Blacksburg, I privately wondered why he’d do it. Rudolph played for the Badgers, coached tight ends from 2008-2011, spent three years at Pitt (including a short stint as interim head coach) and spent the last seven years back at Wisconsin in charge of their offensive line and run game. He was a Badger through and through, much like Frank Beamer has blood type orange and maroon plus.

Based on Sunday’s developments, maybe he saw something coming before the rest of us.

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2
Oct
02

Sometimes It's Best To Sit Back, Be Quiet, And Watch...

There are times when judging the quality of a football season that it’s perfectly fine to say what’s on your mind.

Then there are times where it’s best to sit back, watch, and see if what you think you are seeing is a trend or a mirage.

I’ve kind of reached that second stage after yesterday’s loss by Virginia Tech to North Carolina.

Doesn’t mean I don’t love Brent Pry, doesn’t mean I’ve given up on what I still believe is going to be a turnaround in the program, doesn’t mean anything other then there’s a time to speak and a time to be quiet.

Now’s the time to be quiet.

If you’ve read my ramblings over time, you know I equate coaching with sales. In both professions you need to keep people fired up, have to make tough decisions on who you keep and who gets let go, and despite everything you do, you know it’s a produce or perish situation. You’ll be given years to turn around bad situations, but you consistently need to show signs that there are new ideas that can produce a turnaround, or you won’t get those years.

That’s where I’m at with Virginia Tech football on this rainy Sunday morning. The initial months of a new coach’s regime have been filled with all the right moves off the field and all the right words behind the podium. Hope has sprung eternal to the point “it’s going to take 4 or 5 years to get this turned around” has become a mantra for most fans.

That’s huge if you’re the new guy because managing expectations is a crucial task in the first year.

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9
Sep
24

The Highlight Of The Game Has To Be More Than "Enter Sandman"

(Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Tech)

All that pomp. All that circumstance.

Dulles District Overlord Dave Scarangella noted right before Virginia Tech’s showdown with West Virginia that the Thursday night broadcast was, “one big ol’ commercial for Hokie football.”

Dave couldn’t have been more accurate.

Virginia Tech’s athletic department staff and fans put together one heck of an atmosphere for Thursday night. They sold out Lane Stadium. We got the full round of pyrotechnics before the game. The ACC Network again displayed the novelty and excellence of Enter Sandman and plenty of people noticed on Twitter.

But Virginia Tech got routed by their rivals to the west, losing to West Virginia 33-10.

It only means so much.

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3
Sep
23

If You're A Hokie Fan, You've Been Here Before...

At 6:58 AM this morning I found myself out on the patio, enjoying the cool 47-degree temperatures, and wondering how many times I’ve found myself feeling this way after a disappointing Hokie loss.

Let’s not put lipstick on the pig, shall we? Last night’s loss to West Virginia was bad.

Having experienced these kinds of mornings for the last 50 years, I pretty much know how to handle it. Sitting outside and enjoying nature is far better than, say, looking at social media, where I can see folks like the very overrated Pat Forde call Lane Stadium “the most overrated home venue in college football.”

You see, when you’ve never been good, people don’t say things about you when you have a bad loss. That’s because they don’t say, think or care about you at all, as it’s like you never existed.

But when you have been good, then go through the rebuilding process Virgnia Tech is now dealing with, that’s the morning they dance on your grave. Opponents taunt you on everything from your team’s losses to the song you play entering the stadium. One UVA fan even suggested it’s time to retire the tradition of Enter Sandman after the defeat.

Dear UVA fan: fill your stadium first. Then we might consider anything you have to say.

In many cases it’s not even your opponents. A lot of the vitriol last night and this morning is coming from Virginia Tech fans themselves. They want to fire Coach Brent Pry, Athletic Director Whit Babcock, the mayor of Blacksburg and probably the guy that didn’t make their coffee to their liking this morning.

After only 4 games.

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2
Sep
20

Running Game Continues To Be A Concern For The Hokies

(Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Tech)

It’s been over 48 hours since Virginia Tech’s 27-7 win over Wofford, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to organize my thoughts for consumption.

I’m not sure I’m there yet.

For now, I guess my perspective is this — Virginia Tech held serve Saturday, specifically on offense.

In some ways, Saturday was a no-win situation for the Hokies, as my colleague and friend Dave Scarangella noted this weekend. Virginia Tech’s first-team defense was more than up to the challenge — the Hokies contained Wofford to their side of the field until the fourth quarter, when Tech’s starters had already exited the contest.

Defensively, Virginia Tech was stellar. But it was against the Terriers, who are in the middle of a transition akin to Georgia Tech. Wofford has historically been an option offense, but now embraces a spread-style attack similar to the rest of the sport.

So Virginia Tech’s defense did their job. How much praise is that worth? I’m not quite sure.

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3
Sep
18

They Didn't Win By 100, But Hokies Took One More Step Saturday

You just knew coming in that Virginia Tech’s game with Wofford was a no-win situation, as the game was such a mismatch, even if the Hokies won by 100 there would still be people saying “yeah but it’s Wofford. You should have won by 107.”

Virginia Tech didn’t win by 100 Saturday – the margin was 27-7 – and yes, there were fans who said it wasn’t enough of a margin.

But there were enough good things that happened that give credence to the belief that each week this program is moving in the right direction.

Everyone had their hair on fire after the season-opening mistake-filled loss to Old Dominion, and for good reason. Improvement needed to start the next week against Boston College, raged the barbarians at the gate, and continue each week.

Despite not gaining 1,000 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns, I believe that’s what the Hokies did Saturday. Against Boston College the previous week, they showed they could fix the mistakes, committing only 5 penalties (after 15 against ODU) and zero turnovers. My initial thought was if you do it once, it could be a fluke. Do it twice, and you’ve got a positive trend.

They made it two in a row against Wofford. Again, only 5 penalties and again, zero turnovers. And unlike either previous game, they had zero pre-snap penalties. No illegal procedure or jumping offsides before a play began, which really is a nice indicator of a team’s discipline. No special teams miscues, no fumbles, no interceptions.

No instances of shooting themselves in the foot.

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4
Sep
14

Hokies Have Some Position Groups That Have Played Well So Far...

(Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Tech)
Connor Blumrick

While Virginia Tech’s 27-10 victory over Boston College successfully reset the narrative surrounding Brent Pry’s first season in Blacksburg, it also got me excited about specific aspects of this football team.

Despite all of their flaws, the Hokies do have some position groups and players that have played well, if not great, in their first two games.

I’ll start with the defensive line, which has far and away been the most productive unit in Virginia Tech’s opening contests.

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2
Sep
12

Hokies Reset The Narrative By Cleaning Up First-Game Issues

(Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Tech)

Few things have as big of an impact on society as a narrative.

For better or for worse, narratives matter.

The narrative around Brent Pry’s tenure at Virginia Tech got off to a rough start in his debut, but the Hokies’ dominating 27-10 win over Boston College allowed Pry to push the reset button on his first season in Blacksburg.

Virginia Tech did this by cleaning up its mistakes from the week prior, while also winning in a fashion that reminded fans of the program’s glory days. And while the win wasn’t perfect, it sure was rewarding.

“I think we took care of some things that were obviously a thorn in our side last week,” Pry said in his postgame press conference. “We protected the ball, we attacked the ball.”

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3
Sep
11

Pry, Coaching Staff Answered The Question. Resoundingly...

It is a question asked about all new coaches.

It doesn’t involve a new coach winning. Conversely, it asks how a coach will react after a loss. Does he have his finger on the pulse of the team as to what buttons to push when it comes to fixing what’s broken? Getting more talent is a season-to-season thing, but can a new coach make the adjustments half to half or week to week to incrementally make his team better?

Where the answer is yes, those coaches usually end up being the good ones.

Brent Pry showed last night that he, indeed, is going to be one of the good ones.

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5
Sep
04

This Week's Preparation For Virginia Tech Needs To Be Intense

I walked into SB Ballard Stadium Friday night feeling rather confident, as despite Virginia Tech’s thin roster and brand-new coaching staff, I figured Brent Pry and Co. could overcome that and escape Norfolk with a win.

I left SB Ballard Stadium Friday night envying those fans that stayed home.

At least they could get to bed sooner.

For the second time in two trips, Virginia Tech returned to Blacksburg with a loss at the hands of the Old Dominion Monarchs. From my seat in the stands, this year’s defeat seemed less to do with a thin roster and more to do with coaching and preparation.

The only proper place to begin is with the turnovers, of which Virginia Tech committed five. None were as brutal as the poor snap from Enzo Anthony on a field goal attempt that sailed well past midfield. Peter Moore, the holder, attempted to fall on the ball, but instead caused it to bounce off the ground, allowing Old Dominion to scoop and score, forever changing the complexion of the game.

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Ricky LaBlue

Ricky LaBlue

A longtime sports fanatic, Ricky is now channeling that passion into the world of sports media. Meet Ricky LaBlue.

Stephen Newman

Stephen Newman

The only things he loves more than following Virginia Tech and Washington sports teams are dogs. Meet Stephen Newman.

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