Despite Bowl Streak, Tech Has Work To Do This Off-Season

by JustinC on November 25, 2012 · 21 comments

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  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Despite Bowl Streak, Tech Has Work To Do This Off Season
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Despite Bowl Streak, Tech Has Work To Do This Off Season
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Despite Bowl Streak, Tech Has Work To Do This Off Season
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Despite Bowl Streak, Tech Has Work To Do This Off Season

Frank+Beamer+Virginia+v+Virginia+Tech+KY96DlrFW6Zl 300x200 Despite Bowl Streak, Tech Has Work To Do This Off SeasonWith Virginia Tech’s 9th straight victory over UVA, the Hokies will head to their 20th straight bowl game. In today’s modern landscape of college football, bowl streaks aren’t what they used to be. Still, anytime you can real off 20 straight seasons of six wins or more, it’s something to celebrate.

Despite those streaks, there is still a lot of work to be done to our program this off-season. Virginia Tech ran 95 plays on Saturday but managed only 303 total yards. Really, when you think about it that’s an impressive accomplishment. How do you run that many plays but be that bad and inconsistent offensively?

The offense sputtered for most of the first half on Saturday. Going into halftime, the Hokies had more punts, eight, then points, seven. That’s not a recipe for success. What’s even worse is UVA gave Tech great field position on numerous occasions but the Hokies were unable to take advantage of it.

Yesterday’s game could have been a blowout of epic proportions but Tech failed to capitalize on UVA’s mistakes and were largely unable to run the ball until the 2nd half. It’s been amazing to watch this team seemingly find new ways to struggle. In most years, Frank Beamer’s squad improves over the course of the season. This year, there may have been a small regression if anything. Boston College and UVA are both terrible football teams and the Hokies did everything they could to try and lose both.

The Hokies 9th straight win over UVA is sweet for so many reasons. My favorite one is this is our worst team in 20 years and UVA still couldn’t beat us. Let that sink in for a moment. But, changes are still needed this off-season no matter what happens in our bowl game.

The offensive line is still a mess. I guess I didn’t get the memo that UVA had an Alabama quality front seven. It just amazes me that our front five can make even the most pedestrian of defenses look good.

Hopefully, Beamer recognizes a problem there and makes the correct move to fix it. 2013 has the potential to be a very good season and I would hate for that to be jeopardized.

Defensively, you have to hand it to Bud Foster. This isn’t one of his better units but he held the Cavalier offense in check. The Hoos managed just 217 total yards, including just 30 on the ground. It’s awful tough to beat the Hokies when you can’t run the ball.

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During this nine game winning streak over UVA, the Hoos have yet to post more than 299 total yards. That 299 yard total came in 2004 when the streak began. In the Mike London years, the Hoos have managed just 291 yards (2010), 241 yards (2011), and 217 yards (2012). That’s a very negative trend and not one I would want to analyze further If I were a UVA fan.

The Bowl Game

The Hokies will head to their 20th straight bowl game but right now, the destination is at best a guess. Tech won’t know for sure where they’re headed until next weekend, likely Sunday night. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t take a wild guess at it.

Right now, there are only three bowl eligible teams in the ACC with a better record than the Hokies. They are Florida State, Clemson, and NC State. Clemson’s loss to South Carolina really hurt the ACC’s chances at having two at-large teams. That means that Florida State (hopefully) will be the only team playing in a BCS game from this conference. Next, Clemson will head to Atlanta to play the 5th best SEC team. With the SEC sending likely 4 teams to BCS bowls this year (remember there’s no conference cap this year), they could end up playing Mississippi State.

That leaves NC State and Virginia Tech to duke it out for the ACC’s 3rd best bowl. Right now, that’s the Russell Athletics Bowl (formerly the Champ Sports Bowl)  in Orlando, Florida. Whoever plays in that one would have the honor of playing either Rutgers or Louisville from the Big East. Oh joy!

The next option would be the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. This one would be my preference because of two factors. A.) The Hokies aren’t going to travel well this year regardless so having a bowl game in Texas isn’t an issue and B.) we would play a PAC 12 opponent. Right now, USC is a possibility in this matchup and I’m sure that’s a game the Sun Bowl people would jump at. If USC goes elsewhere, Washington and Oregon State could both wind up there.

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One funny note, if we do end up playing Washington, they have a nearly identical “Let’s Go Huskies” chant. On TV, they sound very similar.

Of course, those scenarios revolve around Florida State beating Georgia Tech next Saturday. If GT wins, it would bump FSU out of the BCS and into the Chick-fil-a bowl, Clemson likely to Orlando, NC State to the Sun, and would send Virginia Tech to the Belk Bowl in Charlotte versus Cincinnati, Syracuse, or Louisville.

So, I would probably pull for Florida State next Saturday.

2013 Season

For all intents and purposes, the 2012 season is over. With Tech headed to a lower-class bowl game, I could really care less who we play or what happens. A cool game against USC would be fun but I don’t think we’re good enough to beat most bowl teams.

So, I’m ready to peak ahead to the 2013 season. As it stands, the Hokies will return a good amount of talent next season. Tech will return 10 starters on defense with the only defection being Bruce Taylor. Bud Foster will also lose Antoine Hopkins who was our primary backup at defensive tackle, Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and Alonzo Tweedy at WHIP linebacker. Other than that, Tech will return almost fully loaded on defense.

Our front four will likely stay the same (Collins – Maddy – Hopkins – Gayle). Our linebackers will likely be go Ronny Vandyke at WHIP, Jack Tyler at MIKE, and Tariq Edwards at Backer. Then our secondary will be similar although I expect some personnel changes there like Kyle Fuller to safety and Detrick Bonner back to corner.

Overall, our defense should be better and deeper than it was this season. With guys like Kendall Fuller, Nigel Williams, Deon Clarke, Davion Tookes, Donaldven Manning, Dadi Nicolas, Ken Ekanem, and a few others stocking the two-deep, Tech should be deep at almost every position next season.

Offensively, this off-season will hopefully be one of change and re-birth. If Logan Thomas returns, he should have more weapons to utilize in 2013. Tech will have JC Coleman, Trey Edmunds, Drew Harris, Michael Holmes, Tony Gregory, and Chris Mangus at running back in the spring. Hopefully, we can pick out one or two off that list that can actually run the football next year. It wouldn’t shock me to see a Coleman and Harris tandem if the youngster out of Pennsylvania impresses when he enrolls.

At wide receiver, Tech will return DJ Coles, who redshirted this season, and a host of other young players. Demitri Knowles, Kevin Asante, Joel Caleb, Mark Irick, Joshua Stanford, Christian Reeves, and E.L. Smiling will be looked to for expanded roles.

On the offensive line, the Hokies will need to replace both of their tackles and that’s probably the biggest concern. Augie Conte is a name to remember but he’ll be just a redshirt freshman next season. My guess is you’ll see Mark Shuman get the nod at left tackle and Laurence Gibson at right tackle. But Conte could play a major role if he continues to develop properly.

The good thing about January 8th 2013 is that everybody goes back to 0-0 and optimism begins to build. The Hokies will have a chance to be good next year. How good will depend on the changes made this off-season, the ability of some of our younger players, and how we fare against Alabama in week one.

But, after this season, I’ll be happy getting back to 0-0 for awhile.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

bob young November 25, 2012 at 3:12 pm

While I certainly agree with a lot of things written, I cannot agree that next year things will be better. We may win more games but all the basic problems will still be there…namely an awful offensive line, inconsistent defense, terrible special teams and receivers who do not catch the football. LT is a very good(not great) talent but makes bonehead decisions and play calling is so predictable it’s sad to watch. Everything at VT has gotten too comfortable starting with FB. We need major changes on many levels to truly compete on an elite level. We could never begin to compete in the SEC, we would be doormats. We need a rededicated “hunger” to achieve true national respect and currently, in my opinion, we are headed in the wrong direction. We need to get younger, hungrier position coaches and more aggressive recruiting(I like what Shane is doing thus far) for top talent. Only then will we begin to create a consistent foundation year in year out.

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LJ November 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Hopefully Justin this is the last time you discuss the UVA game on the site…they are 4-8 and we struggled to beat them at home…And yea whopie we beat 2-9 BC…It’s like celebrating a touchdown behind by 14 points? Enough already because are looking at a losing season square in the face! We can’t win on the road so how do we expect us to beat a team outside the ACC with a 500 or better record in a bowl game? We were one uncalled holding penility (Exum) from burning down land statium…changing the subject – I am hearing Vandy in the Music City? If that is the case we are a solid 10 point underdog…

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LJ November 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Sorry “Lane Statium”

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justinc November 25, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Nashville is in play but it depends on how the ACC Championship plays out. I think we go to the Sun or to the Russell Athletic Bowl. We’re a little bit better draw than GT or NC State, especially now that they’ve fired their coach.

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Chachi November 25, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Justin, while I share your enthusiasm for the talent that Tech has in many positions, our Achilles heel will continue to be the O-line and the offensive coaching in general. This year’s numerous failures can be put squarely on the shoulders of our inability to run the football, a crucial element of any pro-style or pistol offense. Running requires good blockers, good backs and good play-calling to keep the D guessing. Watching the near-debacle at Lane Saturday was so painful b/c I knew LT was the only player that was going to carry the rock in many situations. Why UVA didn’t just key on Logan is beyond me. Any well coached front 7 would have shut us down all day.

Next season will be more of the same unless we get some new offensive coaching and a renewed sense of urgency from the players and the coaches towards winning in the trenches when we are on offense. If HCFB fights change and retains all of the current offensive coaches, I do not see us winning more than 8 games next year during the regular season. All I want for Christmas is a new OC and staff.

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Brian November 25, 2012 at 10:19 pm

I agree with LJ and Chachi.

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justinc November 25, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Definitely. I completely agree but my point was we have a lot of people returning. How many seniors are leaving that played meaningful roles? 6 or 7? The only one we’re truly going to miss is Bruce Taylor. The rest I feel are replaceable. As long as we make the right changes, next year could be another 10 win year. But, we have to make the right coaching changes and right internal changes as well.

Really, this offense is going to require a complete overhaul of how we do things. Whatever we’re doing with our S&C program and our off-season workouts, it’s not working as well as it used to.

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ray November 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm

actually, next year i think we will be back. yes we struggled but you cannot blame the staff for our mistakes, fumbles and int were all on the QB’s and WR’s not the staff. times the staff called good plays but they were thrown poorly by LT, or not caught, we actually do the same thing UGA does as look how good they are when the complete RB screens and their WR’s catch the WR screen pass unlike Marcus Davis, and you have to factor in that we do not have a true Power back, last year we had ogelsby who got the tough yards when wilson was ineffective, we’ll have Harris next year, and coleman, and mangus whould be ready, we desperatley need edmunds at LB though. and our D which is playing better now only loses Taylor and 2 whips, A Hop is replaceable with Harley, and Vandyke will be ready. Tyler and Edwards ahould also be ready to dominate, no questions on ST other than Kickoff’s. But we know Journell and Hughes are gonna get better and be ready, we know Jarret, Comleman, and Knowles will be ready, and we have 6 sophmore OL who will have another year under their belts. then you add in the freshman who redshirted, the prep playes and the stars we have commited, I’m excited for next year, you guys stay pessimistic and act like uva fans. I’m optimistically Looking forward to this bowl and next season.

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Brian November 27, 2012 at 12:00 am

If we were acting like UVA fans, we’d be reading books and not even paying attention.

No doubt we have the pieces to bounce back and have a very good season, but a lot of the problems we saw this year have been festering for some time when you really go back and look at it(namely the O-line). We just had outstanding backs and receivers to bail us out. Marcus Davis, for as athletically gifted as he is, is not Jarrett Boykin or Danny Coale. I do wish Corey Fuller had another year. I think he’s the senior I’ll miss the most.

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69HOKIE November 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I agree with RAY. This year has been a combination of problems, the perfect storm if you will. I too am optimistic about next year.

BUT, I also think we need some coaching changes. We need help getting back to the smash-mouth style of VA Tech football. Sometimes change is good.

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Vhokie November 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Didn’t Collins get moved from DE to DT? You mentioned him back and starting on the DL for next season. I thought Tyrel Wilsona and Cory Marshall were sharing the starting role at end?

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VT4SEC November 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm

LT3 .. obviously .. is the wild card as far as our players go. He needs to work out his kinks (and I think he will) in the off season. The other areas of concern: the tackles. We’re breaking in two new tackles .. Benedict has much room for improvement, Farris played well, who knows with Miller — but our oline will again be the determining factor next season. If they play as poorly as they did this season, and LT3 doesn’t improve A LOT, we’ll be in for another long season.

But .. I think that our defense will recover from a mediocre season and be a top 15 defense next season.

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LJ November 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Can’t agree that the mistakes are all the players’ faults! 3 or 4 games of player and coaches mistakes is in itself hard to except but a season full of inadequacies is a TREND! This problem is now officially a trend…It is like you telling the doctor that it hurts when I do this and he replies “then stop doing that”.. We need to stop doing that! Coaches were terrible as a whole and it can’t be sugar coated any other way. Question: What was our biggest win this year? 6-6 Georgia Tech in OT or 6-6 Duke? We busted all day yesterday on UVA but they beat Penn State and 7-5 NC State on the road, so on paper they had better wins. I will be shock (Pleasantly) if we win our bowl game and have a winning season…VT4SEC, did we come close to defending the spread offence this year? Bud has work to do and that is the strength of this team

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hokiegrad November 26, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Penn State (4 missed FGs, as I recall) and NC State (5 TOs, I believe) beat themselves…

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VTnyc November 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm

All I want for next year is the coaches to coach up the players before each game. In recent years VT has all ways played to the level or expected level of the opponent. I’m tired of it. I want to see the offense and defense to come out and play to the level we all know they can. No more slow starts.

How about in the off season they bring in Corey Moore to give pep talks. Some crazy talk with crqzy eyes should teach these boys what intensity is.

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hokiegrad November 26, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Collins was moved from DE to DT and no longer starts. I don’t expect him to win that back next year, but you never know. And you really think Fuller moves to safety? I could see that working if some young CBs step up, but I wouldn’t have pegged this as likely.

I expect us to be better on D next year, but I still foresee issues there. Our DL may be about as good as they’re going to get already (overall… Dadi could really improve, and someone like Ekanem could come in and stir the pot, but we’re already pretty good at DE, and how much will we miss Antoine if we have an injury at DT?). At LB, losing BT is big. Will Edwards get back to 100%? Will RVD make the next leap? The secondary is where we could really improve, with Fuller getting back to 100% and young guys maturing, but we’re still talking young.

As for the O… even if they bring in the perfect answer when it comes to coaching, how long will it take for the players to pick up the new system, etc.? And do we really expect the perfect answer here? Will LT bounce back strong? Do we have enough talent for the coaches to piece together a good OL? How will Coles come back from injury? Will Knowles makes the next step? Someone else? Etc… just too many questions to feel very comfortable here.

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justinc November 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Collins and Marshall rotated at that position this season so it wouldn’t surprise me if that continued into next year. But both guys are Tapp-like. They can go inside and outside depending on who we’re playing and the situation. As for Fuller, he’s just a better player when he’s facing the QB. He’s not quite big enough to be a WHIP but I think him playing facing the LOS would be a good thing. He’s not a true cornerback.

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Mark November 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Hey Justin, any plans on doing a review of our incoming recruits and how they played this year in HS? I have been following it a little but it would be great to hear who took big steps forward this year and who was underrated by the recruiting analysts. Sounds like we have some great players coming in. Shegog seems to be better than advertised…..

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justinc November 26, 2012 at 8:51 pm

We’ll have more of that in late-December and into January. I’m starting to plan out all of our Signing Day coverage now.

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kenroe November 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm

This seasons failures should b placed mostly on the coaching staff beginning with FB sorry :(. Dont get me wrong i like frank butt he seemed to be in a daze all season until the Thursday night games that on ESPN and then he finally showed some emotion uuummmm wonder why!!!! To let MD continue to start with his lack of effort you know must have pissed the rest of the team off i mean just think about it if you were on this team this year and witnessed it firsthand would’nt you be pissed?!!!!! I mean would it make you want to bust your a..? Seriously ask yourselves that! FB problem is even tho he sees a players ability to help the team he wont play them if they are freshman with a few exceptions. Bobby Bowden did tho and look at how many championships FSU has won!!!! Our two best players in fall camp were arguably Stanford and Edmunds butt where were they this year? In Blacksburg and in the meantime we sucked all year long. It sucks cause it seems as if the fans care more about winning than the coaching staff!!!!! Still pissed over this year cause we have the talent nomatter what anyone says!!!!!!!

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69HOKIE November 26, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I agree!! We did have the talent this season, but not the coaching to put the players in a position to win. The D came around, but the O DIDN’T. Coaching!!!

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