The Virginia Tech System is Broke

by JustinC on October 23, 2012 · 18 comments

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  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px The Virginia Tech System is Broke
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px The Virginia Tech System is Broke
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px The Virginia Tech System is Broke

106811313 300x201 The Virginia Tech System is BrokeAs a college football fan, it’s easy to freak out over a down year and claim that everything we once held to be true has now gone to the wayside. But, with each passing week it’s becoming more and more clear that this “system” we once highly praised is now defunct and in need of replacement. There’s no longer a debate on whether it’s broke or not. The only raging debate left is to discuss how to fix it.

The Virginia Tech philosophy is to recruit physically, mentally, and emotionally tough kids. Maybe they’re not the five star type but their athletes who are naturally good football players. For some reason, we’re lacking players who are strong in all three of those aspects. Perhaps, that happens when you have some success and the “underdog” principles you built this program on no longer apply to a player like Logan Thomas, who could have gone to any school in the country out of high school.

The problems at Virginia Tech run deeper than coaching, deeper than athletic talent, and deeper than the fanbase. Although, I’m going to take each one of those to task in this article. The problem with Virginia Tech is that our core message, our lunch pail mentality, no longer applies to our team. There’s no emotion, no grit, and no physical toughness.

Virginia Tech has been the most successful team in the ACC since joining the conference in 2004. Until this year’s trip to Chapel Hill, the Hokies were undefeated in the state of North Carolina in ACC play. That’s incredibly impressive. Perhaps, that success has caused a decline in mental toughness. Why panic when you’re 3-2?  "Virginia Tech has been 3-2 before and stormed back to win the ACC. Tech will do that again this year". To me, that’s the wrong way to think about it and I bet that logic of thought passed through many of our players minds after the Cincinnati game.

Virginia Tech needs a reboot. I was an Advertising major at Radford University so I’m trained to take a product and promote the positives. There are still a lot of positives surrounding this University. But, the Hokies need to tweak their philosophy at each level. Let’s start with everybody’s favorite topic; coaching.

The Coaching Staff

Really, this section is going to cover the offensive side of the ball more so than the defensive side. Bud Foster has a long history of success and even though he has some deficiencies that he needs to address, I have more faith that those problems will be ironed out by next season. Offensively, Frank Beamer just needs to get his head out of his ass. Sorry, there’s no other way to put it.

Did you know that Billy Hite still has a say in the play calls on 4th down? I didn’t until this past week when the Hokies tried to run Michael Holmes off the left side on a 4th and one attempt. First off, why do you run your least explosive running back behind your least healthy lineman? 2nd, why are we even running it in the first place in that situation? 3rd, If Logan Thomas can’t pickup one yard then what makes you think the offensive line will get enough of a push to pickup for Holmes to pick it up? Lastly, why can’t we be more creative with 4th down play calls? If you’re Frank Beamer, you have to ask yourself "what is the opposing team going to expect us to do"? If I’m an opposing coach and it’s 4th and one, I’m defending Logan up the middle or a HB dive. That’s what Clemson did and they stopped us. The Tigers scored on that next possession.

At this point, Billy Hite shouldn’t be on the sidelines. Or, at the very least, let’s not consult with him on 4th down attempts.

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Although I’m in the mega-minority here, I believe that Bryan Stinespring is a capable offensive coach. But, he’s never had the training to be a successful Offensive Coordinator. He’s never spent time under a Pete Carroll, a Nick Saban, or a Steve Spurrier. He’s been employed at Virginia Tech since 1992. His only other experience came at Patrick Henry and Lexington High Schools.

I would truly hate to lose Stiney because of his recruiting prowess and his dedication to the program. Plus, bringing in an outside Offensive Coordinator could backfire if say, that coach leaves after two years for a Head Coaching job elsewhere. In fact, I would love for Stinespring to take over as Offensive Line coach this off-season on a full-time basis and keep him as Co-Offensive Coordinator. Stiney was the Offensive Line coach back in 1998 and 1999 when we had, arguably, the best offensive line in the country. Since then, Bryan has been forced to take on other tasks and that diluted the amount of time and focus he was able to give to the offensive line. Thus leading to our struggles in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

But, we’re going to need a new Offensive Coordinator. I don’t know how we can stay static on that position going into 2013, especially if Logan Thomas goes pro after the season (I’m hearing there is still a good chance at this). If Thomas goes pro, 2013 would probably be the best time to break in a new coordinator since we’ll be replacing a quarterback.

If Frank Beamer truly wants to win a National Title and keep Virginia Tech at an elite level, he’ll need to make some tough decisions this January and February. That much is for sure.

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The Players

There was a good post over on VTScoop from a rational poster (not all of them are) about how the attempts of the  Virginia Tech coaches to fire up our players have been met with apparent apathy. I noticed this during the Cincinnati game since I sat behind the Virginia Tech bench, albeit down in the endzone. After a turnover, Shane Beamer went to fire up our offensive linemen but the reaction from the guys on the line was less than stellar. They slowly jogged out in the field the same way a fat kid would slowly jog around fat camp, secretly wishing he were elsewhere.

In a lot of ways, our coaches have failed our players. You have to put your players in a position to succeed and I don’t think we’ve done that this season. In that instance, the main problem is coaching. But, when you have a tight end, in this case Ryan Malleck, run through four, yes count them, four Clemson players and not block a single one, yes, zero of them I don’t exactly know what you say in that instance. How are you the lead blocker and you fail to touch a single opposing player?

Maybe that’s on the coaching. Obviously, Stinespring has a lot on his plate. He recruits Virginia Tech’s most talent-rich area, he’s the Co-Offensive Coordinator, he coaches the offensive tackles, and the tight ends. He has four jobs where as everyone else on the team has no more than two.

Maybe in that case, Malleck just hasn’t received proper coaching and he’s confused on what to do on that play. Then, that’s coaching but at some point as a player, even if you block the wrong guy at least you blocked a guy.

To me, the Hokies have talent but I’ve harped on attrition recently. I do think attrition has a lot to do with our struggles this year. We’ve lost 10 defensive backs in the last four years; we’ve had offensive linemen not pan out, running backs leave early, and injuries occur at some crucial positions. That will cripple a program if it happens too often.

The Fans

This is the shortest of the three segments but dear student section please stop sucking. First off, you do not leave a game at the end of the first half, no matter what the score is. Second, Lane Stadium can be extremely loud when you guys yell and scream all game, not just on crucial plays.

I will turn you over to this well written piece of literature on just how much you suck over on The Key Play.


The Virginia Tech system is broken and the Hokies are in dire need of repair. The best way to fix them is to find a suitable offensive line coach, an intelligent offensive coordinator with a more modern offense, and figure out who’s going to coach the offensive line. Get rid of Coach Newsome and Mike O’Cain.

On top of that, the Hokies need to try and compile depth to assist with attrition, especially on defense. That goes back to better scouting in recruiting as well as bringing in more vocal players.

Also, the Hokies need to find a way to get back to playing a physical style of football. Perhaps, go back to having more physical practices or installing more mental toughness in them before spring practice starts.

Let’s just hope the coaching staff makes the necessary changes in the off-season. I don’t think staying status quo is an option heading into 2013.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

hokiefan4life October 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Wow, Justin you’ve hit it on the head. There is no other way of putting it. I would also hate for Stiney to leave especially since he’s a good recruiter, so with that being said I agree we should get rid of O’cain and Newsome and hire a OC and move Stiney back to coaching the O-line. There is one problem that has always had me to think and that is why does our coaching staff double and triple there duties this makes no sense to me what so ever especially since its coaches that have important spots. I think I would want my coach to have time to focus on a certain area for our players to be successful. IMO.


69HOKIE October 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm

EXCELLENT ARTICLE!! There are too many people ranting and raving about what none of us like — the VT football team isn’t very good this season. Why? Lots of reasons, but trashing the team won’t help. I think a lot of people (including me) have felt that we needed changes in the offense for several years. This season has only made it worse. Your comments about Stinespring are interesting, and I tend to agree. Let him do what he does best, and bring in someone to run the offense and coach the QB. I also agree that we can bring in some offensive guru that might do wonders for the program. But we had better be ready to pay him, or HE WILL be gone.

One thing all of us can do is to support OUR TEAM no matter what!!


dizzydean October 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Great Points – all! In watching Logan Thomas from last year to this….it’s clear he has regressed. Given his lower passing accuracy and consistency….while some of it is due to line protection and some due to wide receiver performance…..there has to be some problems with his mechanics. I would think a good QB coach could help him work thru his deficiencies. I’m sure he’s giving it 100%…maybe evening pressing a bit a times. But I have to question the guidance he’s getting


bbqrules October 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm

I would tend to agree with the article – but especially with regards to the fans but I would say it’s not just the students. I know the team is having a down year, but I can’t help but wonder what has happened to Lane Stadium? I am wondering if the normal Hokie Nation members were somehow switched out and replaced by some wine-sipping Wahoos. I used to say that I’ve done my job if I can barely speak the day after a game and the people around me have done their job if my ears are ringing. No ringing at all this year.
I also don’t understand leaving a game early. Up by 30, down by 30, I don’t leave until the clock says 0:00, no matter what. In my entire life, I have only left a VT sporting event early ONCE. It was an early season basketball game and I had food poisoning. I made it until there was about 4 minutes left in the 2nd half, but the smell of buttered popcorn eventually got to me – enough said.
C’mon Hokie fans – show up early – stay late and be loud and proud always!


statsrule October 23, 2012 at 7:26 pm

If there are any doubts about what is holding the Hokies back over the last 10 years, just look at the numbers. Offense is ranked 73rd while the D is ranked 5th ->


Gbd October 23, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Very simple Newsome and O’cain need to go they bring nothing to the table and o’cain is one of the worst recruiters ever at Tech. Beamer has to get his head out of his ass I agree 100% he doesn’t have many more years coaching and if he ever wants to improve his image of not winning the big games and only beating 1 top 5 team he needs to make changes that should of been done 2-3 years ago. Beamer has to be the only coach in all of sports who doesn’t fire staff members it doesn’t make sense we have alot of dead weight on this staff that has to go their is no way Weaver and big money boosters let this continue to happen people need to stop looking the other way and fix this mess.


Danny October 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Great article Justin.

One thing I will say about the current students at VT is they aren’t of the same mind set as a few years ago. My younger brother is still at tech and has watched the changes since 07. He has told me on multiple occasions the student body is just different (softer) than it was when I came through. Maybe we just have too many communications majors and not enough from CALS; drunk farm boys are passionate and loud.

Kids today…they all got their participation trophies for showing up when they were young. We keep score in the real world, the weak lose, and losing sucks ass. I think you could hear a pin drop at the Duke game, that’s unacceptable. Let’s get that 12th man back and help our team!


norm hall October 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Great assessment, I agree everything you say.It seems so apparent that our defense has carried us for a long time with Bud Foster at the Helm. I believe that a lot of players play with the personality and passion of their coach.Bud Foster has that and I don’t see it on the offensive side.I have set behind the Tech bench for many years. When the O line comes off of the field after a miserable series I’ve noticed Newsome getting down on one knee and talking to the players with their heads down like they are sandlot kids and he dosen’t want to hurt their felling. Watch Bud Foster, he shows he’s emotionally involved, good play or bad play.Our D may not be having one of their best years, but they are getting better and Bud’s record stands for it’s self over the years. I trust in him to get the job done. I have no confidence at all in our out dated offense and the terrible play calling. It’s time to make a change.


Scott October 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Great article and thank you for writing it; I couldn’t agree more. The question remains though; what if ANY changes will be made in the offseason? Justin are you hearing any rumors about offensive coaching changes?


justinc October 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm

There won’t be anything concrete until after the season and I’m almost convinced that there’s at least a 70% chance (kinda throwing out a random percentage there) that we stay status quo going into next year. I don’t know what our coaching contracts for our assistant coaches look like. $150,000 may not sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things but if that’s say what Newsome is making and he has 3 years left on his contract, it may be tough to let him go. We’ll have to swallow the rest of that. Plus, knowing Weaver that’s an added expense that he won’t want.

With that being said, I think Weaver and the rest of our Athletics Department understand the frustration within the fanbase and could push for changes this season. Jim already admitted that he and Frank have a meeting plan after the season to discuss things. This isn’t based on performance, just a usual post-season meeting they have every 2 or 3 years. But, I have a feeling some issues will be addressed there.

But as far as rumors go, if you here any right now go ahead and disregard them because they’re not true. If any changes are made they won’t be made until after Signing Day.


Gbd October 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm

What weaver needs to do is force Beamer to get rid of Hite and Cavanough that will free up tons of money. Those 2 are making 6 figures for no reason nobody in the country would do this but Beamer he’s to loyal you can’t be that way in sports you have to do whats best for the school and fanbase.


Brian October 24, 2012 at 6:36 pm

If Frank needs to have a nice guy on the payroll for $100,000 or more per year to do nothing but talk to or play golf, I am available for hire ;)

Hell I’ll settle for $95k


VTnyc October 24, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Thanks for the honest article. It was tough to read about the student section even though I had already noticed it myself. I never left a football game early even if it got really ugly (keep it classy Miami fans). I always left barely able to speak. Hell I graduated in 2002 and I just got a noise warning from our community association after the Pittsburgh game.

I always love watching away games when the “lets go hokies” cheer can be heard over the opposing teams crowd and band. Makes me proud!


sam October 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm

gettin kinda tired of hearing everyone bash the student section, i feel like you guys are way over reacting. i sit in the north end zone and a vast majority of the kids dont leave before the game is over and the ones that do are usually people that aren’t paying attention in the first place so not much noise is lost when they leave. i look around the stadium and i see a lot of the rest of the stadium sitting down for the majority of the game except the students in the east stands while we stand and cheer the whole time.

lets face it were not used to the hokies losing that many football games, now that we are this year it can discourage people. when a team isn’t performing very well, its natural for the support of the team to waver sometimes. now that we have had a taste of what its like to be not one of top teams in the country, i think we will start to see fans appreciate wins a little more. my point is this means ALL the fans, so stand up and cheer as loud as me and my friends do before saying the student section is soft and it sucks.


Chachi October 24, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Thanks for the great article Justin. I agree with much of what you wrote, except that we need a “more modern offense” if what you are proposing is the spread offense. VT’s offensive problem this season is that we are unable to run the football effectively, which is the bottom line requirement to have a successful pro-style offense. We are experiencing a perfect storm of 1) weak interior line play due to injuries and inexperience, 2) inconsistent performances by our RB’s due to injuries, inexperience, poor line play and an unwillingness by the coaching staff to commit to one or 2 backs and 3) suspect play-calling, though that may be due to factors 1 and 2 more than bad coaching.

I understand the desire to see us score points like the Oregon, WVU, Clemson style programs and their less successful clones, but my money is on smashmouth pro-style teams to continue to win the majority of championships out there. Try telling the SEC teams that the spread is going to beat ball control offense and a well-rested aggresive defense. Cases in point, KSU vs WVU and LSU vs TAMU this past weekend.

I blame all of our losses this season on the offense’s inability to run the ball effectively, which puts a ton of pressure on the defense to respond with stops after brief rests from our offense’s continuous succession of three and outs. When our O-line blocks better and our RB’s have more experience/talent, we will dominate once again. “Defense wins championship” is true, especially when the defense is well-rested and fired-up after the offense runs off a ten minute drive and leaves the field with 7 more points.

As far as coaching changes go, Stiney is over-assigned and needs to keep recruiting and coach one aspect only of the offense, preferably the O-line. Newsome is a failed experiment IMO, though last year’s line had some success. O’Cain does not seem to be able to develop top level talent from the QB position in the passing department, but I doubt he gets the boot. A new OC who has loads of experience in the power running game would be my top Christmas wish list item b/c I don’t see CFB ever going to the spread.

Keep up the great work, GO HOKies!


Vhokie October 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm

What have you heard about Logan leaving? What are the sources saying? I hear is now a 3rd-4th round pick, although I am sure he could lift that with a combine and a pro day….It would be a shame to see him go when he could come back another year and lift himself into the first round again.


Jack October 29, 2012 at 12:38 am

So what’s the deal with the running back rotation? Did it get cut?


Vhokie October 30, 2012 at 10:55 am

We can put the Logan leaving rumor to rest…Logan has publicly stated he is staying for his senior year.


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