Greetings from the pit of despair Hokie fans. I’m sure many of you are just as disappointed, angry and downright befuddled at the events that occurred in Norfolk last Saturday. I talked about taking care of business in my last article.
Well, the Hokies managed to do nothing of the sort against Old Dominion.
The Hokies suffered a not only embarrassing but historic loss in the 757 Saturday afternoon. The game was ugly, uninspired, and as I stated before, befuddling. Old Dominion, a previously winless team, dominated the Hokies in every aspect of the game.
The Good: Small Silver Linings
What was good about this game? A valid question for anyone who watched what was supposed to be an easy win.
Well the answer is very little, but there is a little. As in most cases like this, the small bit of good comes from a situation that you would rather not have happen. That little piece of good is Ryan Willis.
When Josh Jackson went down, all of the fans watching the game along side of me at our local watering hole went into full-blown panic mode. What are we going to do? There goes the season. These were just a couple of the statements I was hearing as the TV continued to show the injury over and over.
But friends was I concerned? Yes, I was for Jackson's health, but not for the season.
Fans can take heart in knowing Willis is a very good replacement for Jackson, and should be able to keep the offense improving every week. Fans will have to be more than ready for Ryan Willis QB1 as the news about Jackson’s leg was less than stellar. As he gets added reps with the first team, I believe his talent will shine.
The Bad: Defensive Disappearance Act
For the first two games of the season, the young Virginia Tech defense was playing like a seasoned unit. Against Old Dominion, they showed their actual age.
The Monarchs did what they wanted with the ball when they wanted. Need to run off tackle and gain positive yards no problem. Need 7 yards for a first down, 7 yard slant or quick out coming right up. No matter what the defense tried ODU seemed to have an answer. In a very rare moment, it appeared Bud Foster was out coached by an offensive coordinator. Fans, when was the last time we could say that?
Foster’s defense has been a stalwart of the Hokies, but the Hokies gave up a staggering 632 yards of offense.
Old Dominion shredded the Hokies young secondary to the tune of 495 yards through the air. The Monarchs boasted two receivers with over 100 yards receiving each. The odd things was the simplicity of the routes which torched the Hokies. Quick out and dig routes were the Virginia Tech press coverage's kryptonite. Not once did a cornerback sit on the out route and jump it to make a big play. More times than not, the receivers just wanted the ball more, and just went up and made the play.
Also, the defensive unit didn’t create any short field opportunities with turnovers or defensive stops. For the most part, the unit was man handled and ineffective; a trait which has never been the calling card of any Hokie defense, and a trait I hope was just a one game anomaly.
The UGLY: Winners Respond to Adversity not Come Unraveled
As Justin Fuente said in his post game remarks the Hokies found themselves in a fight. They found themselves in a close game where things were not really going their way. How did the team respond? Well obviously not very well. The Hokies lost composure and didn’t help themselves out at all. They were flagged for penalties 7 times for 95 yards, with FOUR being the 15 yard unsportsmanlike variety.
Trevon Hill was a major offender with a couple big penalties himself. However the major part of Hill's story came less than 24 hours later as he was dismissed from the team for conduct not aligning with the standards of a Hokie football players. Reports were floating in that Hill got into an altercation in the locker room after the game with some teammates.
If that were to be the case, it would be a prime example of a player losing composure and costing the team. Hill was by far the Hokies best pass rusher and was a force on the outside. By losing him the defensive front, which was by far the strongest part, the unit takes a huge hit. That hit will make building the unit's confidence back a harder task.
Let’s face it, this loss was terrible. Did it knock the Hokies out of the national spotlight? Most definitely, but in past seasons the Hokies have overcome a crippling loss to reach great heights.
It all starts this weekend at Duke. If the Hokies can find their edge as a defensive unit and the offense can score when called upon as they've done at times this season, Virginia Tech can still have lots of successin 2018. Even though we are at the lowest of lows right now, (well I shouldn’t say that, we could have lost to UVA) the light at the end of the tunnel is bright. As always fans LETS GO HOKIES!!!!
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
Stay up with The Tech Lunch Pail for the latest on Virginia Tech. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our email updates.