Tuesday, November 14, 2017

That one stung: Georgia Tech recap

Virginia Tech falls on the road to Georgia Tech.

By: Adam Pace
November 14, 2017

(Photo: Virginia Tech Athletics/Dave Knachel)

I've had a very hard time coming up with how I was going to approach this weeks blog. I could probably rant for hours about what the play calling should have been on the last two plays or what the defense was doing that allowed the Jackets to hit big play after big play, but I think I am just going to lay out some basic thoughts on the game and then my opinion on who this team is.

(Photo: Virginia Tech Athletics/Dave Knachel)
The game

As mad as we all were with the final two plays, this game wasn't lost on that drive. Early on when Tech scored to bring the game to 14-9, the Hokies decided to go for two. In a way I understand why Fuente chose this option but I also wondered why we were chasing points. I assume Fuente thought making it a three point game would possibly make it a little less taxing for the offense later in the game but If you kick the extra point, you're only down four and the missed point doesn't hurt you later. The problem was Tech missed to conversion and the defense let Georgia Tech score again. Now once the Hokies scored, they had no option but to go for two. Of course, they didn't convert and were now down 21-16. Also earlier in the game the Hokies went for it on 4th and one instead of kicking a field goal which brought the total points left on the field to five. On the last drive of the game the score was 28-22, had the Hokies took the points they would have been down one point and could have kicked the game winning field goal. Play calling would have been much different at that point. The coaches made a few small mistakes in this one that lead to big problems down the stretch.

I still believe Justin Fuente is the perfect coach for Virginia Tech and it's going to take more than one game to change my mind. But I have to say sometimes, he gets a little cute when he shouldn't. I do love his aggressiveness but when you're playing a team like Georgia Tech, you probably should take the conservative route because the game is going to be close. I also didn't understand the aggressiveness this past week after we were so conservative against Clemson and Miami. But Fuente makes 3.5 million dollars a year and I make nothing writing this so I'm not the expert, he is. With all of that being said, we are still doing to best we can with the talent we have. I really thought that we would see more toward the end of the year, but it looks like teams are better at exposing our weaknesses than we are working toward our strengths.

Who this team is.

This season isn't over and there is still plenty to play for. The Hokies are 7-3 and realistically a lot of people would have said preseason that is about right at this point. The 7-1 start and the chance to control our destiny to a possible playoff spot, may have had us a little too excited. But to know that in year two of a complete rebuild that we even had that thought, is a good problem. Trust me when I say I'm disappointed as well, but we are a long way ahead of where we were two years ago. 

Right now this team is just a fringe top 25 team with the ability to beat anyone and the ability to lose to anyone. The defense is a very good unit but is having a hard time stopping the big play. The offense is young and is in desperate need of a big play guy. Honestly, it's that simple right now for the Hokies. I wrote about it earlier this year, but the game plan every week is simple. Play great defense, great special teams, and be opportunistic on offense. The problem the last two weeks has been all three of those phases have failed. Tech's margin of victory is extremely thin. Fuente said earlier this year, "each game is going to be a three and a half hour stomach ache." That basically wraps it up for you.

Moving forward

The good news is on paper, Tech should beat their next two opponents. The question is, can they? Pittsburgh will play tight defense on the Hokie receivers and dare them to try to get separation. So far, this group hasn't showed that they can do that consistently. Then you have UVA, who is having a decent year compared to the last few. The Cavilers will have a ton of confidence going into that game and will be ready to break the streak. Virginia Tech has the chance to still end this season with a respectable record and carry momentum into next year. Or they can fold and not have a disappointing end to a once promising season. We are going to learn a lot about the character of this team over the next two weeks. Let's just hope it's a positive one! 
I really hope that the Hokie faithful will show up strong to Blacksburg this weekend and give this senior class a well deserved send off. I know the season hasn't been what it could have but this group still needs support. They are very young and live off of the crowd and we should be there to support them. Also, I just need to throw in my two cent here, Josh Jackson is the best quarterback on this roster right now. It's not even close, so stop questioning it. A.J. Bush is a great runner but trust me when I say we don't want him running the offense regularly. He has a turnover issue and that is the last thing we need right now. 

I know that last two weeks haven't been very fun Hokie fans, but keep the faith and know this team is going to be special soon! We will be back on Thursday with our game preview but until then, Let's Go......

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