A Stinging Loss

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

On senior day, on what was supposed to be a day to honor the seniors in Tech uniforms, it was Maryland and quarterback C.J. Brown, who was the star of the show that stole the win from the Hokies.

That fumble that was returned for touchdown? Denied by what was a huge blunder by the officiating crew. The ACC should send a letter to the football team apologizing for that mistake.

Unfortunately, this football team is not good enough to overcome that kind of mistake. That's what separates Virginia Tech from the best college football teams in the nation. Those teams regroup and look at each other and say, "Oh well. We'll just have to put on our hard hats and go to work."

Fans will, undoubtedly, blame this on dismissed placekicker Cody Journell. That is not a good idea either. It's quite understandable, as human nature is to lash out at a kid who blew his chances to really shine in today's game, but a good football team finds a way to win. But this is not a good football team. If this football team could not take advantage of an injury-depleted Maryland roster, then they do not have any business going to Charlotte.

Inconsistent is what this football team is. The offense tried everything they could to score, but Maryland seemed to have an answer for everything. Perhaps the most frustrating thing was the rotation of the running backs. Trey Edmunds appeared to get hot, and for reasons that will never be known, J.C. Coleman got the bulk of carries from there on out, most of which went nowhere, predictably. This is not to knock Coleman, who plays with heart, it's simply a matter of physics and the odds are squarely stacked up against him.

It was said that Logan Thomas was 15-0 when he commits zero turnovers. Well, since he committed zero turnovers in this game, he is now 15-1. He was sacked seven times today and the offensive line followed up their best game of the season against Miami with perhaps their worst against Maryland.

Truth be told, it is not all on the offense. Bud Foster typically fields strong defenses year in and out, but today, they were completely exposed. Maryland's quarterback, C.J. Brown, was abusing the defense on the ground. If he was having any ill effects from his injuries, he did not show it today, in spite of taking some licks from the defenders.

Poor tackling, poor gap responsibilities and over-aggression by the defenders left them grasping air. It was certainly one of the worst games of Foster's career. In hindsight, the defense began to show cracks against Duke, and today, those cracks appeared to widen. For the second time this season, when the game was on the line, when the team needed a defensive stop to seal the game, the defense could not do it.

As I noted in my column, the special teams could not afford to give Maryland any signs of hope. Today, they proved me a prophet. All season-long, special teams have been incredibly lackluster, and against Miami, we saw the punt and kick coverage units giving up chunk of yardage in a hurry, but were gifted two fumbles that gave the ball back to the Hokies.

Give plenty of credit to walk-on Eric Kirstensen for coming in from the cold and making point-afters and that field goal in overtime, but it's hard to pin the blame on him for missing his first attempt. At least, he can build on this game and improve.

Unfortunately, it is becoming clear that special teams, once a staple of the program, needs a new coach. Beamer has been at it so long and special teams have almost become an afterthought in Blacksburg. Shane Beamer was a long-snapper and has been credited with improving South Carolina's special teams before arriving to Blacksburg. It's time for the elder Beamer to step back from coaching special teams and letting his son be the special coordinator. To that end, the running backs need a coach who understands the position well. In three seasons that Shane has coached the running backs, a position of strength has become a maddening, frustrating rotation of backs.

Shane brings an awesome amount of energy, fire, and passion on the sideline and as well on Twitter. Yet, that has not helped with the running backs for the past two seasons. It is time for one more coach changing.

The Commonwealth Cup game looms large now, and it is in the danger of going back to Virginia. That should be on the players' minds during the bye week. Virginia has to be licking their chops to play Virginia Tech. It will be war in Charlottesville.

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