Wow, what a weird season it was for football at Virginia Tech. After a week, we jumped up to twelfth in the nation by the AP Poll and were showing a lot of promise with our young core and senior leaders. As you probably know, that all changed very quickly with a loss to ODU, and then spiraling down to 4 and 6 with two weeks left. Somehow, the Hokies rallied and grabbed six wins and the Military Bowl saving the season in many ways (and 2 weeks of extra practice which is very needed). As on campus student, I went and asked a couple of students two simple questions to get their perspective on this year...
After high expectations, a big win to open the season, and a high ranking early into the season, are you disappointed with the end results of the season? If so, why?
Student 1: “We lost a lot of guys, but we shouldn’t have been this bad at a school with this much legacy and pride.”
He’s a big football junky so he was very disappointed with how the season went. He felt our high ranking was premature, got people overexcited, and gave some false hope to the team. However, he was happy the fan base continued to show up at games week in and week out.
Student 2: “After being ranked high before losing to ODU and falling to 6 and 6, it was very disappointing.
A little bit less intense of a fan, but still opinionated and disappointed. He didn’t have much to say but was optimistic about the future.
Me: Very disappointed, but not surprised. We lost a lot of talent, had a lot of young guys, and our coach hadn’t faced adversity with this coaching staff yet. Against ODU, you could see everything crumbling: our defense could not defend a pass play to save their lives, our offense couldn’t score unless we were down by a score, and our QB broke his leg. I hoped it was a fluke, but it really wasn’t. We lost every home ACC game until UVA and needed every ounce we had to beat them. It wasn’t a pretty season. It wasn’t fun at many times, but we got young guy experience and still have a bowl.
After seeing a lot of young guys get meaningful playing time, are you excited for the future? And what players stand out?
Student 1: “Two words: Quincy Patterson.”
This man is a beliver in Quincy Patterson and thinks he’s the future. He’s followed him since his junior year of high school and believes him, Hollifield, and Turner can take them great places. Being a freshman, he hopes to have a contending team in the next couple of years.
Student 2: “Definitely the wide receivers. With Hazelton and Kumah back, along with Tre Turner and Grimsley showing up, we should be dangerous down field.”
Like many, he is hoping our passing game finally evolves under Fuente. He thinks with either Willis or Patterson under center, we should be able to beat teams deep and open up the run game.
Me: Oh yes I’m excited, very excited. A lot of freshman and sophomores got a lot of reps and I’m hoping will be ready to go next year. The defense was the main issue, but we’re only losing a few guys who have done their share to prepare the newby’s to takeover. Walker and Gaines (and maybe Floyd if he declares) will be tough to replace, but Hollifield and Watts grew up this season and will be a solid foundation. On offense, “Big Play Tre” showed a lot talent and maturity late in the season, and I’m still hoping Fuente gives the keys to freshman Quincy Patterson. Them, as well as others, have shown the potential to revive Virginia Tech from this season over the next couple of years.
This season was a downward spiral for a big part of it, was hard to watch, and immensely disappointing, but there’s hope. We won two games to close out the season and will hopefully grab a third at the Military Bowl (and are getting a lot of extra practice time). With a good off-season, and some patience, the young roster we have now could be dangerous a couple of years from now. I expect a better season next year, but the hope is the year after that to make a run at the ACC title. The talent is their, it’s up to the players to work and the coaches to develop them.