“No intensity. No passion. Inconsistent effort. Lack of communication. Just everything,” said Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster on Tuesday following the Hokies 35-17 loss at Pittsburgh. “Those were kind of, going into the game, our keys to success. We need to be more physical. We got pushed around. We had inconsistent efforts and that’s not who we are.”
Virginia Tech will look to rebound at home this Saturday as they prepare to face Bowling Green (1-2) out of the MAC Conference.
The loss to Pitt made it clear where the Hokies weaknesses lay, most obviously in the defensive secondary and perimeter containment. With star CB Kyle Fuller forced out of the game with a shoulder injury the secondary had to shuffle players around, this forced a few young guys into the game that may not have been fully prepared for the workload they received, and it showed.
Pitt was able to do whatever they wanted on Saturday. The play-action pass game, read options, runs through the interior, and most notably outside runs killed the Hokies all game long. What, at first glanced seemed like an easy victory for the Hokies, turned into a rout in favor of Pitt. Now, after giving up the most yards since 2007 (a loss to LSU), the Hokies D has got to find a way to get back to basics and lead this team through it’s offensive shortcomings.
A visit from Bowling Green, a non-power conference school, should give VT a much needed tune-up as they head towards the meaty part of their schedule. It’s not whether they win or lose this game (obviously, if they lose the Hokie faithful may start to turn on them) but how they come out and compete after playing so flat last week.
What to Watch For
Logan Thomas played his worst game of the season at Pitt, perhaps the worst game of his career as a Hokie (14/35 with 3 INT’s). Logan was high on throws, off on many of the timing routes VT relies on, and seemed to be pressing when things didn’t go his way early on. Sure, he was under pressure all day against Pitt, but he needs to be this team’s cog and hasn’t done so yet this season.
With Kyle Fuller out of the lineup last week VT’s usually stout defense took a game off, giving up 254 rushing yards and 537 total yards; that’s unheard of from a Bud Foster defense. Their containment was poor, the tackling was horrendous, and the pass-rush was nonexistent. If this defense has any pride at all, they’ll come out angry against BG and finish the game early.
After Week 1 I wrote the offensive line and running game woes off as inexperience and cohesion issues. After Week 2 it was clear the Hokies would need to find a spark in the backfield to balance the offense out. Now, after the ugly loss, it’s put up or shut up time for this offensive line and running backs Michael Holmes and JC Coleman. Against a team like Bowling Green the Hokies should impose their will and run the football down their throats. If they can’t put things together now it’ll be a sign of things to come.
Prediction: This has not been the explosive Hokie offense they hoped it would be, an upgrade over an already solid offense last season seems like a pipe dream now. Any continuity and rhytm on Saturday will be a plus.
VT 28 – Bowling Green 14
About the Author
Written by Frank Sullivan
Frank is a graduate of Old Dominion University, sports fan, author, and founder of TheBloosh.com. He's been working with prosportsblogging.com since April 2011, and has covered the Chicago Bulls, Baltimore Ravens, Virginia Tech Hokies Football, and the Washington Wizards. Frank can be reached @franksullivan on twitter.