The Virginia Tech Hokies reached a new low in Friday’s 17-3 loss to the Boston College Eagles. If not for a third-quarter field goal by John Parker Romo, the Hokies would’ve been shut out for the first time since a 16-0 loss to Cincinnati in Sept. 1995.
The loss dropped Virginia Tech to 4-5 on the season, and the Hokies have now lost four of their last five games. And things are going to get worse.
To put Friday’s loss into perspective, Virginia Tech has now given Syracuse and Boston College its first ACC wins of the 2021 season. That’s not good. Look, this isn’t to disrespect Syracuse or Boston College, because Dino Babers has the Orange playing hard, while Jeff Hafley has the Eagles heading in a positive direction, but in previous years, Virginia Tech blew these teams out.
Remember the days of being excited for Virginia Tech football, enjoying a good tailgate, heading into the stadium knowing the Hokies were going to win, and guessing how many touchdowns Kevin Jones or Lee Suggs would score? Or, if Bud Foster’s defense was going to pitch a shutout that day, led by players such as Cornell Brown, Corey Moore, Darryl Tapp and Cody Grimm.
Now, Virginia Tech football is a doormat in a league chock full of doormats. It’s sad.
Friday’s loss represented a new low for embattled head coach Justin Fuente.
We’ve discussed in this space how bad the offense is under offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen. How the Hokies can’t recruit, develop, or keep a quarterback. Have you guys seen what Hendon Hooker is doing at Tennessee? Fuente, known as a quarterback guru, ran Hooker off last December. This, after the combination of Hooker, Foster and paid babysitter Jerry Kill rescued Fuente from what felt like a similar disaster in 2019.
Had those three men not been in Blacksburg at the time, we likely would be seeing what we are seeing in 2021.
Have I told you this is sad?
In the loss to Boston College, oft-injured quarterback Braxton Burmeister injured his ribs in the first half and did not return. It was not a surprise. Burmeister is a tough kid. He’s put his health on the line numerous times this season for Fuente & Co. Fuente went all-in on Burmeister in the offseason, knowing he was a limited passer and at his size, he struggled to stay healthy.
Fuente didn’t just go all-in, he said this version of Virginia Tech’s offense was the best passing offense in the six years he’s been in Blacksburg. Apparently, he forgot about that 2016 team that featured Jerod Evans, Isaiah Ford, Bucky Hodges and Cam Phillips.
So, you’d think he’d have a solid backup option for Burmeister, considering his injury history. His top option was Knox Kadum, a former three-star signee out of Rome, Georgia — who the Hokies flipped from JMU close to signing day. Connor Blumrick was also on the roster, but let’s be honest, he wasn’t considered the backup, he was more of a weapon. A weapon the overmatched Cornelsen did not know how to effectively employ.
This isn’t an indictment on Kadum. It’s not fair to him. He shouldn’t be starting games at Virginia Tech. That’s not his fault. But when he entered the game in place of Burmeister, any chance the Hokies had at winning was gone. Fuente was afraid of his own backup quarterback. He was afraid to let him throw the football. There was one point early when Kadum entered where Cornelsen called a design QB run to the short side of the field on third down. Kadum isn’t Burmeister. He’s not known for his running ability.
Kadum did end up throwing the football and things didn’t go well. Again, don’t blame him. Why wasn’t Cornelsen getting Kadum more reps and tailoring an offense to suit Kadum? Why wasn’t Cornelsen giving Kadum some easy reads for easy completions to move the sticks? This is football. This isn’t brain surgery. There were plays to be made.
Next up, late in the fourth quarter down two scores, the Hokies faced a 4th-and-six. Instead of going for it, because you know the Hokies were down 14 points, Fuente chooses to punt, effectively quitting on his team. Showing no belief on a team full of players who’ve remained loyal to him and his coaching staff.
Then, after the game, Fuente was at the podium and was asked about wide receiver Tre Turner who missed the game with an injury. Turner doesn’t miss games, and it was apparent early in the week he wouldn’t be able to play on Saturday.
Here was Fuente’s response, per David Cunningham of Tech Sideline.
Fuente said he didn’t know that Tre Turner wasn’t going to be able to go this week, though it was an injury from Georgia Tech last week. Mentioned that he practiced this week, so it was sort of a surprise. #Hokies— David Cunningham (@therealdcunna) November 6, 2021
Much of Hokie Nation knew Turner wasn’t playing by Thursday.
It didn’t go over well with Turner, or his mother — and rightfully so. And Turner is a player who has been loyal to Fuente and Virginia Tech.
Yes, this is sad.
Virginia Tech needs new leadership. And that’s not because of Friday night. Virginia Tech has needed new leadership since 2019. It was a sad day when Bud Foster retired after the 2019 season. Sad for us, and bad for Fuente, who could no longer hide behind Foster’s defenses winning games.
Do you guys remember that time where Fuente told Foster his defense wouldn’t have to win games anymore?
Friday was a bad night for Justin Fuente and just another sad night in the recent history of Virginia Tech football.