Post-Game Quotes and Video: Virginia Tech-Miami

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Virginia Tech Head Coach Justin Fuente

Opening Statement

I’m going to tell you this, that was a tough football game and a well-played ballgame. I just told our football team that I feel better about our team than I have at any point. To stand up to all of the stuff that they’ve dealt with this week after what happened last week and to prepare like they prepared as deep and talented and highly-ranked as Miami is, we’re not happy with not winning the ball game, but my gosh our guys laid it on the line today. So many great examples on both sides of the ball of guys that refused to give in to negativity and refused to give into all of the things that are out there. These kids are all volunteers. They could have easily packed up, tucked their tail between their legs and gone home. I hurt for them because we came up a little short today, but it wasn’t from a lack of preparation or a lack of effort or a lack of guys caring about each other. I’m hurting for them because they were so close to getting what we wanted throughout the week of preparation.

On the offense in the fourth quarter…

They basically played man-press in the fourth quarter. We were in passing situations and they were bringing people from the field and from the boundary. On normal down and distance stuff, when we were not in two-minute offense, they lined up and played press-man. We tried to take a shot with a post and a deep crosser. The post got flattened a little bit and Hendon threw it a little bit behind him and it got intercepted. They’re pretty darn good up front. Those ends are great players and big #1 in the middle is a good player too.

On the two-minute offense…

I think it was a little different cats. These guys are blitzing from everywhere, they’re athletic and can rush the passer. Last week, in two-minute offense, we just moved down the field. It was a different animal out there today.

On punting across midfield…

I wanted to get into fourth-and-short so we could run it again. We were treating third down like second down and we didn’t get hardly anything. Now, we’re at fourth-and-seven and punt it and down it on the five-yard line. Our defense went out and got a stop. It was just a long field goal and we had missed one earlier. Our thought on that was to get it to fourth-and-manageable.

On Hooker’s interception…

I wouldn’t say it was a miscommunication. I would have to see the replay. I think that Kaleb [Smith] got flattened a little bit, which happens. I don’t know if he didn’t read the release. It wasn’t like, ‘I thought you were going to run left, and you ran right.’ The ball was just a little bit behind him. I don’t know if he didn’t see his angle because sometimes it’s hard to see when you’re standing there in the pocket.

On the final play of the game…

The last play, we can’t get the ball into the endzone from there. We can’t hold the ball long enough; we’re not going to get it off. We had to throw it 70 yards or whatever and I didn’t think we would have enough time to do that.

On whether Hooker held the ball too long…

I’m not going to go there on that; the kid just played his tail off. We’ll look at it and diagnose it, but that’s not an urge that I felt on the sidelines.

On third-down defense…

I was pleased with the way we played defense the whole game. That was an explosive, dangerous unit. We threw the kitchen sink at them and our guys executed well. We defended in the backend against some pretty explosive players. I thought the guys played their tails off.

On Devin Taylor…

I’m proud of Devin because, to play that position you have to be able to get those guys on the ground some. I thought that was some tremendous improvement, not just from him, but from everyone compared to a week ago. We were in better position and were getting guys on the ground a little bit better than we had the last couple of weeks. I would say that there was improvement across the board. Last week, y’all asked me about tackling. It’s hard to line up and scrimmage in the middle of the season, but between getting in better position and doing a little bit of fundamental work, I felt like it paid off a little bit.

On Miami’s game-winner…

It was a deep-skinny that they had gone to several times during the game. You can play inside leverage and be vulnerable to the fade or you can play head-to-outside and have to rally to the skinny. They had thrown it several times and we defended it well. They hit it versus cushion and got a step on us.

On Raheem Blackshear as a punt returner…

I’d like for us to field the ball better. That’s not Raheem, that’s everybody. There’s so much hidden yardage when that ball hits the ground that doesn’t necessarily show up in the stat sheet. We have to get the ball fielded. It is a little bit difficult with the way that kicks the ball that isn’t like a traditional punt. I also know we have guys out there that are trying not to make a mistake in punt return. We’re just giving up huge chunks of yards by letting the ball hit the ground.

On Jalen Holston…

I was proud of the way he was running the football. It was like he was angry. I didn’t like that he extended the ball over the goal line, don’t do that unless it’s fourth down. We talked a little bit about ball security, but I was really proud of the way that he was running the football.

On Khalil Herbert…

He said he felt good. He’s a really positive kid though, so he started to work in and got a little bit more work each day. I was really conscientious about not trying to set him backwards. He’s got a big, strong hamstring and you can imagine that we could have issues with that. Those can linger on for weeks and months if you’re not careful. He did more and more as each day went by. I didn’t know how much or how little that he would be able to do today. He certainly was not ready for a full load. I just didn’t know if it was going to be one play or 15 plays or 25.

On shuffling the offensive line…

I think that we have several guys that deserve to play. I think we struggled a little bit today with those guys up front, so Vice pulled some of those guys off and put some other guys in.

On running the scout team…

I think the look that our scouts provided helped our defense. I think it forced us to practice better. I don’t know that it was centered around the quarterback as much as it was centered around everything. I thought we were much more efficient. I thought our kids on the scout team had more fun and were playing harder. Ultimately, I think those kids played a role in how our defense played today.

On how the team bounced back…

It was not a one-day healing process. It was a process through the week, but while we were trying to fill our emotional cup back up to get ready to play Miami, our kids did a really good job with their work. We weren’t emotionally ready to play a game on Tuesday. It was hard and we had to keep pushing through, but in the meantime, while we were trying to heal and get ready, we were doing the work and preparation to give ourselves a chance. I’m really proud of the way they handled it and I’m hurting immensely for our kids because, you can imagine all that they’ve dealt with through the week. This season is just the most unique season ever in terms of COVID. Guys could have folded up shop, but they refused. They really sold out to go get the job done, but we came up a little bit short. You hurt for guys when that happens.

On the week ahead…

I haven’t started worrying about that yet. I haven’t started to worry about Pitt and whether the game will be played yet. Give me a couple of hours and I’ll start, but right now, I’m still handling this last one.

Khalil Herbert Virginia Tech
(Virginia Tech Athletics)

Khalil Herbert

On how he felt this week…

During the week, each day it felt better and better. Coach did a good job of getting me back and the trainers did a good job of getting me healthy. Each day I was doing more. I wasn’t really worried about what the workload was going to be. I just wanted to be healthy and help the team.

On a possible long-term issue with the hamstring…

Today I felt pretty great. I was just going to go out there and cut it loose and lay it all out on the line for the team.

On the offense’s late struggles…

I don’t know. I’ll have to go back and watch the film and see what we need to do to fix it.

On Jalen Holston…

Every day, he comes to work with a positive mindset, ready to go. I just keep telling him that it’s going to come. Being able to come to practice every day, ready for the opportunity, he came today and fully took advantage of it.

On the two-minute offense…

I can’t really speak on it yet, I have to watch the film. They did a good job of bringing pressure. We have to get better and pick it up. That’s all I’ll say on that.

On bouncing back after another tough loss…

We’ll be straight. We have a bunch of guys in there that love to come to work each day. Nobody likes losing, but we have a bunch of guys in there that don’t quit. We’ll bounce back and we’ll be good to go next week.

Jarrod Hewitt Virginia Tech
(Virginia Tech Athletics)

Jarrod Hewitt

On third-down defense…

Having a scrambling quarterback like we’ve had the last couple of weeks, on third down, we’re always looking for him to run. Coach Hamilton put us in some great positions to succeed. It hurts, but I thought we did a lot better on third down this week.

On Miami’s offense…

They have as many skill guys as anybody in this league. When they get going fast, it can be tough sometimes to get in the right gap and make the call and execute your assignment. They’re a pretty efficient offense and at times, they really got their tempo going, but I felt like we were able to win first down and get them out of their rhythm.

On the mood of the team…

Nobody likes losing here. Everybody is pretty upset, but I’m proud of our guys. Coach Fuente kind of echoed that by talking about the preparation we had this week and how we came out against a really good football team and gave it our all. It really came down to the wire. It doesn’t feel good, I’ll tell you that, but I’m proud of our guys. I love every one of them and I love this program.

On Tech’s offense…

I’ll always count on our offense and Hendon Hooker and our offensive line and Tre Turner, all of those guys. I’ll go to war every day of the week for them. It’s not about pointing fingers. Everybody could have done a little bit better to get this win, but I’ll take our offense ten times out of ten.

On the team’s potential down the stretch…

I said early in the week, I feel like if we prepare the right way and come out on gameday the right way, we can beat anybody. We can also lose to anybody. We don’t want to play the what-if game. It is what it is, and we have to move on and come back to work tomorrow.

On his performance…

I always get a little extra motivation playing against a Florida team, but it’s not about individual success at all. It’s about my guys. We played so hard and so fast. I don’t really care about the stats, I just wanted to win. We came up a little bit short and we’ll have to go back to work next week.

On moving on after a tough loss…

It’s a tough sport and this sport is not for everybody. It’s a very physical sport. Sometimes you win by a little, I’ve played a lot of games here that have come down to the wire. We’ve had a tough couple of weeks. You don’t just get over it in an hour. These things take a while, but as next week comes around, we have to lock in. We have Pitt, they’re a good football team historically and Virginia Tech has not done well in that stadium. We’re going to have to have the right mindset and be ready to go play again. We’ll fill up the tank and be ready to empty it next Saturday.

Brion Murray

On Miami’s tempo…

We see their tempo all week and we studied that. At first, it takes a little bit of an adjustment, but as the game goes on, it becomes kind of normal.

On the secondary’s performance…

Today, I feel like we went out there and played for each other and supported each other no matter what. As far as the last touchdown goes, when you play corner, it’s going to happen. We wouldn’t like for it to have happened at that time, but they still got more possessions and we still got more possessions. We just have to take advantage after that.

On his development this year…

Since the Belk Bowl, I’ve spent a lot more time studying and just knowing the game of football. I don’t have too much background with football up to this point, so I’m just trying to understand everything with concepts, spacing, down and distance. I’m trying to get all of that and go from there.

On his background before football…

I played basketball. I love basketball. Then, my senior year, after I had graduated, I decided to go to my community college and play football because I was looking for a basketball school.

On bouncing back…

Any loss is a tough loss, but one like this, it does hurt. You’ve got a day to sulk in and then we have to go back to work to prepare for Pitt.

On the scout team…

This week was definitely one of our best weeks of scout. We’ve got a lot of good scout players that are going to be players when it’s their time. They locked in and went hard, ran their routes how they were supposed to do and did everything that coaches asked them to. It really did help us a lot.

On third-down defense…

It was a big emphasis going in to get third-down stops, but we were prepared for all four downs. We thought they were going to go for it on fourth a lot more. We were locked in for this game and we prepared all week.

On struggling against slants…

We were just trying to make sure we didn’t get beat. I had a little bit of help inside, so you understand that you’re going to give up some plays, but you have to make sure you don’t give up the big play. We can tackle and rally and keep it in front of us, that’s easy.

On the improvement in tackling…

Building up to this game, we’ve been doing a lot of tackling circuits. We’ve been focused on taking the right angles. We saw in the beginning of the year that we weren’t that good at it, today was just a glimpse into how much we’ve been working.

On the defense’s performance…

You come out as a defense, it’s different for corners, but up front, you know what type of day you’re going to have if they’re doing their job up front.

Hendon Hooker Virginia Tech
(Virginia Tech Athletics)

Hendon Hooker

On whether he thought they were going to go win it late…

We were definitely in that mindset. It was just one of those days, it was a tough one.

On the last few drives…

We just didn’t execute how we usually do. I just have to get back to work, look at the film and see what I can do better next time.

On facing a lot of pressure…

It wasn’t too bad. My offensive line did a great job when we needed it. Down the stretch, we started to communicate a bit more and check the protections. Gradually as the game went on, the protection improved.

On his interception…

It was just a miscue. The receiver was thinking one thing and I was thinking another, it happens.

On the two-minute offense…

I was waiting for different windows and different plays to develop. I was just trying to be alert and move around with the pressure on me and set my feet. The pressure did affect it a little bit, but that’s just football and I need to be able to make plays.

On not having James Mitchell…

James is a great player and anytime when your main guy goes down, you miss him. We still have guys that can step up and make plays with Drake Deluliis and Nick Gallo, as well as Ty Eller who stepped up this week in a big role. It helped us out a lot.

On running on third down and medium…

We were thinking that it was kind of four-down territory. It was third-and-six, so usually on that play early in the game, we had a significant gain. We thought we could capitalize on it again. They did a good job getting that clogged up.

On how to keep the team motivated…

Everyone faces adversity and our team responds well to adversity. I’m looking forward to going out and battling with these guys next week and throughout this week of just getting better.

On Jalen Holston…

Jalen has kind of taken on the role of the more experienced guy in the offense. He came in with me in 2017 and made an impact early but had an injury. Him battling through that and getting back to his usual self has been great. He does great things in practice and it’s translated to the games. I was talking to him in the huddle today and I said, ‘Go get you one, you deserve it.’ He ended up getting two, so I was excited to see him back out there with me.

On the last play of the game…

The last play was pretty much a toss-and-lateral thing. I was looking for a running back on the other side of the field and the defense was just right there. If we had taken a shot to the endzone, I would’ve done my best to get it there.

On the defense…

They did a great job today. Every week, we come into the mindset of everything being a team effort. They did a great job today as they do every week. They go out and go 100% to try and fulfill their assignments. Our confidence is with them as well, so I can’t wait to get back out there and work with them this week.

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7 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I ‘M NoT USuALLY NEGATIVE because we have a good head coach but with a little over 6 minutes to go and a first down why do we throw the long pass instead of a combination of running the ball and using short passes to use the clock AND POSSIBLY SCORE Miami may not have got the ball BACK also why don”t we step up and catch some of those punts keeping us from starting deeper in our own territory

  2. I was hoping for Fu’s 1st signature win which he came close yesterday, but instead we landed with yet another stinging loss of what could have been! The pattern that seems to be consistent is that when we have some head scratching losses, they’re always followed by comments by Fu that team will focus on what amounts to good sound fundamentals which didn’t seem evident in the play calling or execution after Cane’s last score. Why not steer towards O’s strength of run game instead of chucking the ball deep on 1st down by a QB who really doesn’t have a deep ball throw along with receivers who have struggled all year? Burn some clock and take the short field and at least try to get in range for winning FG with running plays that have higher percentage chance than passing plays that has been our weakness most of this season? 2 minute offense was turrible…some plays took forever burning valuable time, stupid snap penalty by BH and HH holding the ball too long instead of running killed our chances! Lastly, since it’s unlikely Fu is leaving soon, can Whit please get Fu some press conference training in the off season! The obnoxious swigs on the water bottle, snorts and strange facial contortions throughout his time at the microphone, and more often than not a stoic and not upbeat tone. I realize on losses that it’s not fun for him to answer the media, but it’s just not a good look for VT! I hope that it turns out that Fu just needed that extra time that Beamer was given to turn things around and next year we get the bounces to go in our favor, however, that doesn’t seem likely based on his 1st 5 years! Will cheer for Fu as long as he is here! Go Hokies!

  3. This L, is on Corny from the middle of the 3rd quarter on. He needs to GO, but CJF (like CFB) is too loyal to him. Whit needs to tell Fuente to fire Corny come Dec.6!

    1. It’s going to start making me angry if we continue to keep losing games due to playcalling and no offensive adjustments because our OC isn’t the right guy, but our head coach is buddies with him. At what point does the athletic admin step in and demand a change? Does Fuente want to win or not?

    2. Uh .. they have one of the best O’s in the ACC and the country.
      Gonna have a 1,000 yard back hopefully.
      #realitycheckaisle3

  4. In the fourth quarter we decided to make Holston and Herbert disappear after we ran it down their throats in Q3. Corny has no feel for the in game action. Why did we not continue to give it to Holston who was running angry???? All of a sudden in Q4 we think HH is Tom Brady when all we had to do was pound the rock with 2 21 and 0.

    SMH.

  5. This is a game that VT should have won, but the play calling leaves a lot to be desired. It’s the same plays over and over again. If we don’t win 2 of the next 3 games, our run on post season games is over.

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