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Virginia Tech football: What can Justin Fuente learn from Dabo Swinney?

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Swinney has outlined a path to a national title. He took over a dormant program and built a juggernaut. Can Justin Fuente replicate that model at Virginia Tech?

CFP National Championship Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

They say overnight success takes about twenty years. Clemson Tigers head coach, Dabo Swinney, did it in half of that time. It’s hard to believe the man that was the interim coach in 2008, is the polished natty title winner we see today. People forget that Clemson was a back to back participant in the national championship game. They lost 45-40 in an epic contest to the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2015. Many would hang their head, and go back to the drawing board. Not Swinney. He seemed energized after the loss, and Clemson was a preseason favorite heading into 2016.

It was completely perfect that Swinney would have to battle Nick Saban again in the national championship game. Swinney played at the University of Alabama, and beating the modern day Bear Bryant would be his crowning achievement in his stellar coaching career. Deshaun Watson and company eventually won a game for the ages (it’s not a pick if they don’t call it), and Swinney joined the exclusive “champion” club.

Justin Fuente, believe it or not, is in a very similar position at Virginia Tech. The Hokies have invested heavily in facilities, revamped recruiting, and brought an offensive philosophy that looks more at home in the Pac-12 than the A.C.C. . Skill players are wanting to play in this offense. Defensive players want to play for Bud Foster. Everything is lining up for the Hokies to make a title run. It may not happen in 2017, but remember: overnight success takes awhile.