I'm going to start this off by addressing the elephant in the room, Cody Journell. No, I don't think Frank Beamer should bench a career 78% kicker (including the ECU game). And no, I don't think this problem will linger. He made a technical mistake on what is usually an automatic extra point, and that sent Journell into a mental downward spiral, which only escalated his technical flaws. Frank Beamer likened Journell's problems to a golfer placing extra emphasis on trying not to hook the drive, but in the end slicing it instead. I think this is an apt analogy used by Beamer. I wouldn't raise the DEFCON level yet on Journell. However, his performance does point to the new reality of "Beamerball" -- that is -- it is long gone as Virginia Tech fans might remember it.
Now to the offense. Logan Thomas, outside of his first few pass attempts, looked pretty darn solid. I was a huge fan of Loeffler's gameplan and game calling for the most part. The run wasn't working against East Carolina, and a lot of Virginia Tech fans attribute that to the offensive line being subpar. I would quickly like to point out that East Carolina's defense has 10 sacks on the season, which makes them tied for fifth among all FBS teams, and only two sacks behind Virginia Tech. I would also like to point out that East Carolina has a better run defense than Virginia Tech statistically. The Pirates give up around 82 rushing yards per game on average, which is two fewer yards than the Hokies. This is not to excuse poor play on the offensive line's part, but it is to temper some of the fans who are ready to throw the entire offense under the bus. East Carolina has a pretty good defense. For a fan base that wants praise thrown at Virginia Tech's defense, there sure is a lot of hesitation to dole out the same praise for another team's defense. But I digress...Demitri Knowles looked to be much improved, catching eight passes for 99 yards. Willie Byrn proved once again to be a solid weapon, mostly running dig and flat routes as Thomas' primary check-down option. I would expect to see this type of gameplan moving forward from Loeffler and Co.
And I'll spare you on the defensive praise, because there's not much I can say that you probably aren't already thinking. Shane Carden and the Pirate offense can move the ball very quickly and effectively, and the Hokies forced them into three interceptions. Carden had some nice runs in the read-option look, but at the end of the day didn't have more than 10 yards rushing when you include sacks. East Carolina's leading rusher had a mere 28 yards. Like I said, there's not much more I really need to add.
This is a solid win against a fairly solid team. This one might not look great now, but I think it'll get better with age like a fine wine. The score could have been prettier, but that could be said for most games that are played around the country. I come away from this game feeling pretty good in all honesty.
As Ty noted, there's not much more that you can say about the defense that hasn't already been said. So I won't try.