It’s been a rough season at Virginia Tech – attrition, injuries, young and inexperienced on defense. There have been historically bad home losses too, but with recent wins over Virginia and Marshall, Virginia Tech got bowl eligible and had a chance to salvage something out of the season.
After a 35-31 loss to Cincinnati, the Hokies still have their bowl streak and winning streak over Virginia intact, but that’s all after their first losing season (6-7) in 25 years.
If you are Hokie fan you have to be frustrated by Justin Fuente’s two coaching blunders. Facing a 4th and 1 in the 3rd quarter and running at will, Fuente elected to go for a FG. In the 4th quarter facing a 4th and 1 in the 4th quarter and running at will, Fuente correctly went for it, but called an ill-advised play action pass that never had a chance.
Cincinnati running at will on their final drive, guess what kept running on their way to their 12th victory.
I think it’s clear what happened. The Bearcats kept going with what was working, while the Hokies got cute and it cost them the game and a chance at a winning season.
That’s the game story, but going forward into next season there should be concerns. Even Bud Foster couldn’t coach this defense into a competent unit. Next year with more experience they should be better, but by how much? This is an undersized group, that doesn’t look terribly talented or athletic. You can scheme some things out, but smoke and mirrors will only take you so far.
Virginia Tech was consistently blown off the line of scrimmage the entire season defensively. There are no quick fixes here, and I think we’re a couple of recruiting cycles away from the Hokies having the kind of defense we’re used to seeing.
Ryan Willis is a gamer at QB, or if it’s Josh Jackson they should be OK there. The receiving core should be solid too. Virginia Tech won’t have trouble moving the ball, but while they can win the Coastal next year, I don’t believe they are one of the favorites.
To be honest I expected Virginia Tech to be further along in their program progression than where they are now, and that’s even taking the attrition and lack of experience into account. Justin Fuente needs to show some improvement in 2019, or the natives will begin to get restless. He is fine… for now.