Inconsistent Play Allows For Easy Upset

by JustinC on September 12, 2010 · 9 comments

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835692a6e54d4c0da96255c73928d2c0 mn 300x204 Inconsistent Play Allows For Easy UpsetI really don’t want to write about this game.  I don’t.  It’s just not one I want to relive or even remember.  The Boise loss was tough but it was understandable.  The Broncos have a good team and they did what they needed to in order for them to win.  However, to think that an underdog JMU team could beat Virginia Tech, I never really gave it one thought.  Why should I?  Even with all of our inexperience, our team is still better than any FCS opponent.

Yet yesterday happened and today it’s time to come to terms with what truly occurred on September 11th 2010.  I will admit that I was one of the one’s who decided to leave early.  Not because I was giving up on the team I love but because I was cold, wet, and frankly not enjoying what I was seeing in front of me.  Like a man glued to his couch, I simply needed to change the channel.

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To be honest, I thought for most of the first half; the Hokies played well but were doomed by mistakes and inconsistent play.  Tech opened with a 17-play drive that resulted in a touchdown.  After that I thought the Hokies had this one in hand.  However, after that drive Tech could never finish any of their other four drives off.  Instead, Tech settled for field goals allowing JMU to stay in the game.

Yes, yesterday was real and not an unfortunate nightmare.  Which means it’s time to come to terms with the ramification of the loss and try to predict what will happen next for this Virginia Tech Hokies squad.

Where Does the Blame lie?

Look on any Virginia Tech message board and you’ll see plenty of disgruntled posters giving their two cents on what they think the problem lies.  The blame goes all the way from Frank Beamer’s complacency to Stinespring inept playcalling to Foster’s youthful and rather lackluster defense.  People like having only one issue or one thing to focus on.  Fans don’t like hearing that it’s a combination of factors that led to a loss, they like hearing that it was the offensive coordinator’s poor play calling.  That way they can focus on one thing and pinpoint the person who’s to blame.

In this case, I think the blame needs to be spread equally throughout every facet of the Virginia Tech program.  First, the coaches need to figure out what’s wrong with this team then proceed to fix it.  I know Tech is young but we were young in 2008 and still managed to beat Furman.  Next, the players need to decide whether or not they want to continue playing this year.  To take the field five days after a loss is tough but Tech just didn’t come out with the emotion they’ve had in past years.  There was no workman like quality to yesterday’s game.  Instead, they were just a bunch of kids who acted like they didn’t want to be there.

That sounds harsh and I guess it is but I say that because once I found my seats in Lane Stadium I didn’t really want to be there.  Once I sat down and watched the two teams warm up I just had a feeling that this was going to be a tough game.  It was.  Combine that with the terrible conditions and I can understand what was going through those guys’ heads.  This was JMU’s Super Bowl but to us, it was barely more than a scrimmage.

Finally, the last bit of blame needs to be placed on you HokieNation.  Yes, you showed up five days after a major kick to the groin only to receive another, even harder, kick to the groin inside Lane Stadium.  However, that’s still no reason to leave the stadium looking half-empty by halftime.   Many of the people I sat around left well before or at halftime due to the rain.  For those of you who stayed, thanks.  Somebody needs to thank you since this program very rarely does.

Righting the Ship

By no means is this season over with but there is a long, long way to go to return to the level we’ve been at the last few years.  Tech will need to fix their offensive line, solve the running game riddle, and patch up the defense all before taking the field again on Saturday against a talented ECU team.

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However, if the past tells us anything it’s that Beamer and his staff does their best when their backs are against the ball.  I’ll use some real world examples.  In 1989, Beamer’s 3rd year in Blacksburg, he faced a daunting task of traveling into Morgantown and playing the 9th ranked Mountaineers.  With a sketchy 2-1-1 record, he upset the Mounties 12-10, which led to the Hokies first winning season under Beamer.

Fast-forward a few years to 1995 when the Hokies started off the season 0-2.  Tech found a way to rebound against the 17th ranked Miami Hurricanes and went undefeated the rest of the way including a Sugar Bowl win over the Texas Longhorns.

In 2006, after losing two straight ACC games, the Hokies dominated Southern Miss at home in a 36-6 route.  That win sparked a six game winning streak that lasted until a disappointing Georgia loss in December.

So, we’ve had seasons where we’ve lost two straight games and rebounded back to have solid seasons.  I think that can happen but it will be a slow process.  Thankfully, if Tech can find a way to beat ECU, then it will at least put them on track to potentially start a winning streak this season.

What To Expect Out of Tech This Season

Honestly, I expect the Hokies to get back on track but I have a feeling that this season will go down as a major disappointment.  The good news is that I think this is what the program needs, as crazy as that sounds.  The 10 win seasons and BCS bowls are nice, hell I’m happy with 11 wins and an Orange Bowl trophy.  But, in recent years the National Title phrase has been tossed around too much and I think all of that just needs to disappear.  This program is at it’s best when expectations aren’t sky high.

If the Hokies can get back to eight or nine wins this year, then I think it will be a success. Anything less will lead to a very long and very strenuous season that will ultimately cause a lot of riveting “who should keep their job” discussion in the offseason.

I guess with this team, we’ll just have to take this season one game at a time.  Hopefully the Hokies can find a way to beat ECU and get this team and program back on track.  If not, I’ll see you back here next Sunday night for another article trying to explain what's gone wrong.

 

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

HokieGuru September 12, 2010 at 7:12 pm

You’re the voice of reason…. glad you are in the Hokieverse.

Reply

justinc September 12, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Thank you sir!

Reply

hokiepoppa September 12, 2010 at 7:25 pm

We need to move Morgan to whip and Exum to rover NOW. We need to get Tweedy, Rivers and Becton back healthy. And somebody needs to teach the o’line to run block. Get Jimmy Martin to do that ASAP. Tyrod can survive until we get a run game going and then down the road maybe we can learn to pass block too.

Reply

justinc September 12, 2010 at 8:03 pm

I thought the line did a better job yesterday but we are not even close to where we need to be. We’re still very inconsistent on the line, which puzzles me. Nosal got a lot of reps last year and played well but he’s struggled this year. Not sure why that is.

I’ve heard some rumblings today about Morgan moving permanently but wouldn’t be shocked if that’s held from the public for a few days. No reason to notify ECU of that change.

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fishermoon September 13, 2010 at 12:23 am

As an ECU fan, I truly hope that the Hokies misplace their Mojo for just one more game. I fear however, that they’ll be pretty POed and take it out on a young ECU team.

Reply

Liveoak September 13, 2010 at 5:20 am

It’s amazing that this is the same coaching staff that did such a magnificant job instilling discipline and cool nerves in a very young and inexperienced team in 2008.
I might have to rewatch the dvd’s of the Georgia Tech, UNC, and Nebraska games of 2008 in order to cleanse my eyes and mind of the junk from this early season.

Hopefully, the JMU game was an ugly mix of a massive Boise State hangover combined with a very underrated opponent and not an indication of Tech’s intrinsic talent.

Despite the horrible start, there’s no reason to give up on the season.
From a conference perspective, VT is still in the preseason and has a good chance of winning the ACC title if they can get refreshed and correct some obvoius deficencies.

Reply

justinc September 13, 2010 at 9:37 am

That’s a good point, especially since Saturday was less than a banner day for the ACC. Miami really looks like the only team worthy of being in the top 25 and thankfully we get them in November. GT looked horrible against Kansas, same with FSU and Oklahoma, and UNC will likely be without a lot of players this year. So honestly, if we can get this thing straightened out, we do have a chance. After these first two weeks, you can’t ask for anything more than that.

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Chris September 14, 2010 at 3:58 pm

“The Broncos have a good team and they did what they needed to in order for them to win.”

JMU also had a good team and did what they needed to win. Just because the media doesn’t care about the FCS doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. I hope this is a lesson to all FBS schools: stop paying ‘cupcakes’ like JMU half a million dollars to pad your win column and start taking them seriously.

Reply

justinc September 14, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Coaches and players take them seriously, I think its the fans and the media that don’t.

Reply

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