The Fork in the Road
On Saturday October 16th, the Virginia Tech Hokies will play the Pitt Panthers at 3:30pm in Lane Stadium to see who gets a stranglehold on the Coastal Division of the ACC. This, my friends, is what we call a big game.
Everyone wanted to beat WVU and Notre Dame, but the Hokies are not a National Championship/Playoff team this year. Because of that, honestly, those games are those small red potatoes that you grind into the mashed variety. This is that big Russet potato that you load with bacon, sour cream, chives, and everything else you can think of paired with that porterhouse cooked a beautiful medium rare and scored perfectly on the grill.
That isn’t to say that’s how the Hokies or our fanbase feels right now. Feels more like we are being offered chicken or fish at a wedding. We know that the event is important, but at 55 degrees and a possibility of some rain during tailgating time, we feel as if we are going to get some dry and disappointing food that is going to leave us wanting more from this team and somewhere between apathy and anger once it’s done.
I am forever the optimist. If there was going to be a season where the Hokies made some bacon wrapped chicken thighs that were mouthwatering after weeks of bad reviews, this is going to be that season. The offense wasn’t so offensive last week. Up 8 with under 4 minutes to go in the game. Our frustration isn’t that we weren’t close, it’s that we were. For the forever optimist that’s fuel to my fire.
Yet, the other side of the fork sits Kenny (I’m the Forever QB of Pitt) Pickett. He’s a darn good chef. Give him high quality beef or what is in the garden and he’s been there before and made a tasty meal out of it already. And Pat Narduzzi. My mom told me not to say anything about someone if I don’t have something nice to say about them.
The Hokies have a beaten up Braxton Burmeister and...not much else at quarterback. As I said after last weeks game, his grit and heart were on full display last week. Unfortunately, we are going to need that and more out of him on Saturday. He is being given a New York Strip, but is only allowed to use one arm and have a single side dish. Is it possible that he becomes Superman, yes. Is it likely that this is his Kryptonite, very.
The defense has been solid, sort of a bend but don’t break, at least until the last few minutes of the game, formula. This might be the week to allow the corners to break on the ball a little more and be willing to lose by 30 so you can have a chance to win by 3. The biggest thing to watch for might be ability of the front 4 of the Hokies to get to Pickett. This was something that Tech was able to do effectively against UNC, but not against Notre Dame. This is necessary against Pitt. Throw the kitchen sink at this one. Call Bud. Try something completely different. Deep fry that Oreo. It’s only crazy until you try it for yourself.
Finally, Coach Justin Fuente. Coach to win. This does not mean chasing points or going for it on 4th and 8. This means running 4 times from the 1 of Pitt and shaking their hands if they stop us each time. This means letting Braxton hold it on some of those quarterback reads even though you are afraid of him getting injured. It means running the ball with Raheem Blackshear on 60%-70% of the running plays and not caring if someone transfers because they didn’t get the opportunities they thought they should have been getting. That mentality will feed itself to the rest of the team. And it might be difference between a Coastal/ACC Championship and another season where we are asking, “Are the Hokies moving in the right direction?”
Fork in the road. Who is hungry?