Well it was inevitable Hokie fans, our beloved team losing a game.
The Hokies dropped their first game of the season against the defending champs the Clemson Tigers, 31-17. Virginia Tech, at times, looked like a top ten team and other more often times, didn’t look like an undefeated squad. Overall, I thought the game was a good test for this new, really untested Hokie team.
The bad plays the Hokies made were more a lack of execution rather than Clemson causing a lot of havoc offensively and defensively. Now don’t get me wrong folks, Clemson is, in my opinion, is the best team in the country, but with some adjustments and better execution, the Hokies could give Clemson some trouble if we see them again.
When most people who didn’t watch the game see the score, they might say how is there anything good from this game. The score was misleading as up until the start of the fourth quarter, the Hokies still had an outside shot to come back in this game. This was a direct result of the attitude of this team.
Last year, the Hokies were a team with a never quit mentality and this season is more of the same. The boys from Blacksburg used this mentality to stay within striking distance throughout the game, where other teams might have laid down and given up. It is important to keep this mentality as I’m sure the Hokies might have to come back to win in other games.
Another good thing to come out of the loss to Clemson is the emergence of Coleman Fox. The Hokies may have found a strong weapon going forward. Fox has led the team in rushing the past two games, and has displayed an elusive nature when the ball is in his hands.
Because of his small stature, I don’t foresee Fox becoming a work horse type back going forward, but I do look for him to be more involved in the offense. Getting the ball to playmakers in space is what this offense under Justin Fuente is about. Fox is starting to become that type of player, one who can be depended on the make good things happen when the ball is in his hands.
In the first half, the Hokies could not seem to get much going offensively. A few drives garnered some positive yards but did not yield any trips to the end zone. The Hokies faced a stellar defense.
However, the play execution as well as the playcalling failed Virginia Tech. Many times during the game, it looked as though Clemson already knew what play the Hokies were going to run. Now the Clemson front seven is one of the top five groups in the business, but even with all that talent, the Hokies should have had a little bit of success.
Film on the Tigers showed they were an attacking defense that at times were vulnerable to delays, quick throws, and run pass options. However, the Clemson defense got away from their attacking nature, choosing to led their front four get pressure and have the linebackers stay at home to negate the quick hitters and chunk yards by running past an out of position defender.
The Hokie offense, however, didn’t adjust their offense game plan to the Clemson defensive adjustments. Frankly, the play calling was quite predictable and vanilla if you ask me. It seemed Fuente and company were trying to keep from making a big mistake and causing the game to get out of hand quickly.
While the Hokie offense looked stagnant at times, the Clemson offense looked crisp for much of the game. Kelly Bryant seems to have picked up where Deshaun Watson left off. The Hokies had a hard time containing the quarterback when he decided to run the ball.
Several times, he made sound Hokie defenders look silly, and nowhere near FBS talent. The recipe to beat Clemson is to make Bryant a passer where he struggles at times. Bud Foster wanted to do this but the defense lost contain multiple times, and Bryant was allowed to use his legs to his advantage. Discipline will be paramount if we see the Tigers again.
Joey Slye is just someone I can not figure out. Last year he was near automatic, and as dangerous a weapon as Justin Fuente had in my opinion. However, this year has been a completely different story.
Slye has missed almost as many field goals as he has made. What once was an easy decision for the coaching staff has now turned into a discussion. The biggest example of this was the fake field goal attempt by the Hokies. Why Fuente made that call I will never know as the entire stadium, including Clemson, knew that was coming. Last year, it would not have been even thought about, take the points and play defense.
The other extremely ugly part of the loss were the turnovers. Josh Jackson has been very good with the ball up until Saturday night. Granted one of the interceptions was not his fault. Henri Murphy has to come up with that catch, that being said a better thrown ball by Jackson might not have resulted in a pick six for Clemson.
The fumble to start the third quarter was just as bad for other reasons. The Hokies get a crucial stop to keep Clemson from breaking the game open but fumbled away all the momentum just plays later.
That fumble was the beginning of the end for the Hokies. Up until then, they were within striking distance, and the crowd was into the game. That turnover not only stopped a much-needed scoring drive but effectively caused many of the fans to lose hope in a comeback. The stadium just didn’t seem the same after that play.
Regardless of the loss, the Hokies in my opinion, are the team to beat in the Coastal. They just have to go out and play like it. That starts with taking care of business against Boston College. It will be interesting to see if an angry Virginia Tech team takes the field in Chestnut Hill. Again, this provides an excellent opportunity for the Hokies to show their 1-0 mentality, and not let a loss affect the rest of their season. As always Hokie fans, LETS GO HOKIES!!!!
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