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Virginia Tech On The Brink

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It's Fish or Cut Bait Time on Many Levels. How Will the Hokies Respond?

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech has lost games before.  Frank Beamer and company have been upset before.  The game on Saturday against East Carolina filled both of those boxes.  I followed Virginia Tech football when they hired Frank Beamer.  I have seen the highs of a national championship appearance, and the lows of some truly embarrassing losses.  The fact that Virginia Tech should of won that game is not lost on me whatsoever.  Over the years, the expectation was created that Virginia Tech could compete with the big boys of college football.  Maybe that's right.  Maybe that's horribly wrong.  After watching the game and the following press conferences, I am at a loss.  Before we look ahead to the rest of the schedule, I'm giving you fair warning.  This preview might upset you.  This preview might make you question our faith in Frank Beamer returning us to prior glory.  That being said, I hope you understand that this article is written from a place of respect and reverence.  It is also our responsibility to provide honest opinion even though that might not be popular.  I have personally met Frank Beamer, and he has led this school to unprecedented heights of football success. His leadership in the community is unmatched.  His character has never been in question.

"Virginia Tech Football was nothing before Frank Beamer.  Virginia Tech was the homecoming opponent of every team on the schedule before Frank Beamer.  Virginia Tech football is Frank Beamer, and letting go of that is painful and emotional."

The backlash after Saturday's game was expected.  What I failed to see was what happened on Sunday after people had time to sober up, and reflect.  As the managing editor of Gobbler Country, I watch various boards and Facebook groups.  I have never seen such a cry for upheaval in my Tech career.  This one hurt considerably and justifiably.  So many questions ended up with Beamer being the root cause of the problem.  This was new.  I'm not sure if the prevalence of social media only intensifies the immediate reaction, but what I am sure of is this:

"There is no one on any message board, gamethread, or Facebook page that knows more football than Frank Beamer and his coaches.  There's a reason he has won 233 football games.  How many have you won?"

Looking ahead to the A.C.C. schedule, it doesn't look promising.  After hosting Pittsburgh and N.C. State, the Hokies travel to south Florida and battle the dreaded 'Canes.  They then return to Lane Stadium to host the Duke Blue Devils who recently dismantled preseason Coastal favorite Georgia Tech.  What's your record after those four games? I think 2-2 is borderline optimistic, with 1-3 being more realistic.  I picked the Hokies to go 10-3 including the bowl game in our preseason picks article.  I might need to change my forecast.  Losing Brewer was definitely a shock, but if you saw the game Saturday, Brenden Motley has nothing to hang his head about.  Fuller not playing Saturday also had a negative impact for the defense, but all teams have injuries.  On the high side at this point the Hokies would be 4-4.  The pessimist version would be 3-5.  That would seriously put the bowl game streak in jeopardy.  I am on record this preseason by stating the following:

"Anything less than a Coastal division championship would be considered a failure for this ball club."

I don't think at this juncture, that record is a remote possibility. Closing out the A.C.C. schedule with Boston College, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Virginia, what do you see the final record being.  I am being kind by saying 5-7 is the probable finishing mark.  If this happens (hopefully not) what say you then?  When it comes to a coaching change as pivotal as this for our program, I err on the side of caution.  What we won't do here at Gobbler Country is bad mouth players.  That is a complete disservice to the KIDS who go to our school and leave everything on the field.  We are better than that, Hokies. I have complete trust in Whit Babcock and Frank Beamer to make the best football decision when that time comes.  One bad loss doesn't define a career, but a plan needs to be in place.

Whomever takes Beamer's place will find a program and community that are full of incredible people.  The fact that Blacksburg is known around the country is a direct result of the effort by hundreds of dedicated folks.  The quick solution is almost invariably the wrong one, and this decision has been brewing for five years.  Have faith Hokie fans, this too shall pass.  It's going to be an interesting journey, and I for one am happy to have a front row seat.