It’s exam and graduation weeks, so there isn’t much going on for any particular sports front. It might be a really good time to reflect on the past year, and maybe take a peek into the future. What is really certain about covering college sports, though, is there will always be change. In fact change is what makes the entire enterprise so interesting. There may be dynasties, but have you noticed that those are Coach and School combinations? Bear and ‘Bama, Beau and Michigan, Blaik and Army, Osborne and the Huskers, Woody and the Buckeyes; certainly all of those historic dynasties were peppered by great players and special seasons, but the reality was the entire story was written by the coaches.
Yes, Frank Beamer will be one of those great college football dynasties, not as great as some but far better than most. That’s certainly a very difficult act to follow. Does anyone remember what happened to Bama between Bear Bryant and Nick Saban? Bet you that you can’t really put a finger on a dynastic coach of Michigan after Beau Schembechler is going to be even more difficult than finding a winning Army coach after Red Blaik. There is just a special chemistry and method that evolves and grows from some organic mosh pit of luck, experience, and ideas. You have to wonder what the secret is; because if you could trap it and sell it you’d be a dynasty all by yourself.
So, the football season ended with the Spring Game and the Draft. I had an essay all prepared about the realities of our disappointing draft performance, and how draft picks and free agent rookies are all expendable; but after I read it, I trashed it. The realist was overwhelmed by the optimist, there was a whole list of Hokies who have been handed a chance to make an NFL football team (my only beef is that none of them are trying out for any of my teams…harrumph). That chance is the dream that crossed a high school quarterback’s mind when he took a chance and converted to tight end. It also crossed another high school quarterback’s mind when he took a shot and walked on to the squad only to be moved to the often neglected fullback roll. Yes, there were some of them who “just knew” they were going to get into the NFL, but I bet you that not one of them can stop thinking about how amazing it has all been.
I can only wish the best and hope for even better for the Hokie Draft Class of 2017 (and the Undrafted Free Agents, too). May they have great experiences. May they be blessed with good health and something that they learned here, at Virginia Tech. I hope they bring their Lunch Pails with them. It might be a Defensive motivation tool and symbol; but it applied to Virginia Tech Hokie Football all through the Beamer/Foster Era. It looks like it’s going to continue to be something that motivates the new Fuente/Foster Era.
Oh? Who knows? Maybe one day there will be a Fuente and His Hokies Era. Wouldn’t that be amazing? 2017 waits. The clock is ticking and it’s a long countdown until September.
Just a baseball note: The Hokies have found themselves in a real scuffle. They haven’t played badly, but errors and pitching issues keep coming back to bite them. It’s a six game slide that doesn’t show signs of stopping. The 4-6 close loss to Georgia Tech seemed to take a good deal of wind out of everyone’s sails. That loss was followed by another close 6-8 loss to West Virginia, and then a disastrous sweep in Raleigh against NC State. The last game against the Campbell Camels didn’t go as poorly as the first game back on March 28th, but we still dropped it 2-7.
The team is on an exam week and graduation day break (some break… exams…) and will be back in action to finish the season with 8 games to go. I’d say that a week off and some rest would do them some good, but like I said before, exams are not much of a break.
It’s time to start gathering up the paperwork, tossing out old stat sheets, and grabbing new roster information. Change is happening as I write this, and we’re going to be there again this season.