This is the space where every week I review each Virginia Tech game by doing an article on five key takeaways from the game. Well, this week is a bit different. I could write about 50 different takeaways from Virginia Tech’s embarrassing 49-35 loss at Old Dominion.
Well, this week I have one key takeaway from the game: Virginia Tech stunk. There are no nice ways to sugarcoat how the Hokies performed on Saturday afternoon in their first trip to Norfolk.
The Hokies allowed 49 points and almost 500 yards passing. Against Old Dominion. Let that sink in for a minute. The Hokies didn’t go on the road to Tallahassee and give up over 600 yards of total offense. No, they went on the road to Norfolk and allowed 631 total yards, 49 points and an average of 7.5 yards per play.
Virginia Tech’s defense looked slow, sluggish and unprepared. The coaching staff certainly didn’t look like they had an extra week to prepare thanks to Hurricane Florence. Nope. This bunch looked as unmotivated and unprepared as it has in many years; and that’s on the coaches. Losing to a lesser conference foe is one thing, however losing to a school that’s only been an FBS school for less than five years is completely different.
Let’s not take anything away from ODU. The Monarchs deserved to win. They outplayed the Hokies on both sides of the ball. They were better prepared and much more motivated. But it still does not excuse the performance by Virginia Tech.
The fallout from the loss has been even bigger. Defensive end Trevon Hill, Tech’s top pass rusher, was dismissed from the team on Sunday for failure to live up to the standards of a Virginia Tech student athlete. While nothing has publicly been said about Hill’s actions and we aren’t in the business of reporting rumors here, let’s just say this wasn’t Hill’s first issue.
Secondly, the loss of quarterback Josh Jackson due to injury. We can debate on how good Jackson is all day long and opinions certainly vary. However, this staff felt he was the right guy for 2018. That doesn’t mean he’s the best pure talent on the roster—and he isn’t—but he was the guy head coach Justin Fuente and the coaching staff felt was best equipped to lead this team. Jackson is now gone for the foreseeable future and that means Ryan Willis gets the first crack at the starting quarterback gig.
How do the Hokies bounce back from this performance? For one, there is no more talk about going undefeated. I think we all probably had some false hopes after Tech destroyed Florida State on the road in the season opener.
Now, the Hokies must regroup and not allow this loss to follow them moving forward. One loss can end a season if you allow it. Fuente must get this team up for Saturday’s trip to Durham to face a good Duke team. A Duke team that’s given the Hokies trouble in recent years.
The Hokies were dreadful last week. Now, it’s time to turn the page and look ahead to the next game. A win over Duke would move the Hokies to 2-0 in the ACC and gets them back on the right track. Another loss this weekend could quickly send this young team into a downward spiral.