Virginia Tech Quarterback Update

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Virginia Tech
Knox Kadum played for the first time against Clemson (Virginia Tech sports photography)

Late in Saturday’s loss to Clemson, the Hokies were left with just one active quarterback available to play, redshirt-freshman Knox Kadum.

“Knox went out there and competed his tail off. I was proud of the way he went out there and hung in there and competed,” Head Coach Justin Fuente said following the game. “I have no idea what that means moving forward, but he did a good job going in there.”

Had Kadum been forced out of the game, there would not have been any other quarterbacks dressed to take his place. Fuente said that tight end James Mitchell would have been the next option to take snaps if the situation presented itself.

“We never approached him about that, but if it had gotten to that point on Saturday, we probably would have put James back there and had him hand the ball off,” Fuente said. “It would have been past the point of being able to conduct a football game.”

The quarterback room went from a strength of the Hokies’ roster to a large question mark in just one week. Early last week, redshirt-sophomore Quincy Patterson announced that he would be entering the transfer portal. This move weakened the depth of the group behind center, but Patterson was sitting at third on the depth chart for most of the season.

What the coaching staff didn’t anticipate were the issues that starter Hendon Hooker and backup Braxton Burmeister would encounter against Clemson.

On the first series of the game, Hooker fumbled a snap, leading to a punt. When the offense took the field again, it was the former Oregon Duck, Burmeister, in the huddle.

“We broke the huddle with 25 seconds left on the play clock, and that was not the plan, then we dropped the snap,” Fuente said. “Our deal was that we wanted to get [Hooker] calmed down, focused and ready to go play.”

Burmeister led the Hokies to a touchdown on his first drive and took over for the remainder of the first half and well into the third quarter. However, after taking a sack that forced a punt, Burmeister was sent to the locker room and didn’t see action for the rest of the game.

Although his injury knocked him out for the fourth quarter, there is optimism that he could be available for Saturday’s game against Virginia.

“I don’t know yet. Braxton came in and worked out yesterday, so I would anticipate that he’ll be fine,” Fuente said. “We’ll know more this evening when we have our staff meeting.”

Hooker re-entered the game, and just two plays later he fumbled another shotgun snap. This one was returned 66 yards the other way for a Clemson touchdown.

Following his second miscue in two drives, Hooker went inside as well, having issues with the cold. The belief is that Tech’s most-experienced quarterback is fine moving forward, but the issues that Hooker had health-wise and performance-wise on Saturday leaves some room for concern.

“He was fine yesterday and fine after the game. I’ve never seen that, and I don’t know that our medical staff has seen an issue like that. We’re trying to do everything we can to take care of him moving forward,” Fuente said. “I would anticipate that this Saturday night will be chilly as well. We have to look at what we can look at because this is a guy who has had issues with being cold. We have to find ways that we can help that out.”

With good prospects that both Hooker and Burmeister will be available against the Cavaliers, the Hokies hope to not have depth issues like they did against Clemson. However, with Burmeister’s injury issues this season and Hooker’s strange night against the Tigers, there may need to be some safeguards at the position to avoid a disaster.

“We’ll talk about it this week. Hopefully it doesn’t get to that, but those are conversations we’ll have to have. We would consider a lot of things,” Fuente said. “We’re a long way away from making decisions on who is dressing and who is not dressing. Depending on who is available, that certainly could affect who we call up to dress.”

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30 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Call me a boo bird if you like, but I am out the obvious that the commentators see (but coaches do not every week):
    Offense – long sets that allow the defense to read and react before the play, slow developing plays easy to stop, and no consistent plays down field allowing defenses to crowd the box = coaching problem
    Defense – giving 10-12 yards cushion before every play, only a 3-4 man rush, zone defenses covering areas instead of players = coaching problem
    The solution is obvious. There is a lack of aggression in the players but they are tired of following bad coaching.

  2. I hate to comment on individual player’s performances, but I don’t trust HH in crunch times. I’m sure it’s not the case, but against UVA and Kentucky last year, he fumbled or got intercepted when we needed comebacks. This year, I saw the same thing at Wake and/or UM (all loses are kind of blending together). It’s weird because he is capable of making good decisions and passes. Yet, other times like Saturday, he is a disaster.

  3. I agree with a previous post that Hooker looked like a deer in headlights, “scared” during the first series. I also agree he should have been pulled from the game. It looked to me like the ESPN crew kept panning over to Hooker and each time Hooker was saying something but I couldn’t hear washstand he was saying or read his lips? I think he was pouting and chirping negative shit to the coaching staff for pulling him out of the game. I’m guessing that Hooker was causing a problem and they escorted him to the locker room. I’m a skier so go take a hot shower and put some GD Under Armor on and come back out and compete! Actually Knox Kadum played honorably well without having many practice reps!

  4. Win or lose, I hope Fuente stays & every single whiner leaves to cheer for another school. 😂😂😂😂

    1. Well said.
      Everything we read here says Tech is behind in facilities, staff salaries, recruiting staff and the solution? Dump the coach? Crazy!

      We’re just now getting a DC who will recruit, D L coaches who can get some better talent in, better families being completed…..let him dig out and make the moves to make us better

  5. Hooker looked like he was having some sort of Psycho-physical attack, similar to tics that are common with to those with Tourette’s Syndrome. My daughter has Asperger’s so I reminded me of that type of thing . ‘Uncontrollable’ is another description that sounds familiar. Although I’m sure it’s not either of those but I think it’s SOMETHING.

  6. I bet Hooker will transfer to another team next season. Why are there so many players transferring out in the last 2-3 seasons? Is Fu that bad of a coach? At least Fu won the Time of Possession against Clemson : )). Sadly i think UVA will beat VT because UVA have better coach. Another sad note is VT might still be going to bowl game with losing record. Crazy year.

  7. When hooker came in, the tv did a closeup before the snap. My wife said, my god, he’s scared as sh**. Then they snapped the ball to him. COLD? That’s funny.

  8. Ahhhhhhh yes the Boo Birds come out in force. No matter what Fuente said after the game would satisfy this crowd.

  9. Goodness – its just You – no mocking of Hendon happened…he is serious that they HAVE to be better prepared for this saturday and NOT let it happen again if possible.

    Hendons dad had a similar event in cold per his story in RT…so this seems to have some “nut not far from tree” aspect to it…both are great QB’s!

    We need to have HH and BB ready to go and a few packages for KK as well!
    GO HOKIES – BEAT the HOOS!

  10. Don’t think he is mocking Hooker. I think he understands it looks and sounds strange. I think VT should have had an offensive staff member over on the sidelines with him immediately when he was convulsing, as it made us look totally unengaged. Given this a guy who touches the ball on every play, I also found is strange from a strategy standpoint.

    It was basically a microcosm of what has been wrong with the program the last couple years: 1) Lack of empathy and communication with team; 2) disorganized in general.

  11. I wish Herndon the best. But you don’t come Blacksburg, if you are afraid of the cold. Got to be something more than the temp

    1. He’s had a lot of issues in pressure moments. There Is no way I’m buying that he was just cold.

  12. I seriously doubt the HC is mocking one of his QB’s in a public forum – he may not understand what happened, but that would be a terrible approach to resolving the issue. As for beating UVA, I would take that no matter the outcome of the Fuente melodrama.

  13. When I read this: “I would anticipate that this Saturday night will be chilly as well. We have to look at what we can look at because this is a guy who has had issues with being cold. We have to find ways that we can help that out.”

    Is it just me or does it have the undertone of Fuente mocking Hooker? His post game quotes surely seemed to throw Hooker under the bus in general but this sounds really petty.

    2nd question: would you rather we win Saturday and Fuente stay or lose Saturday and Fuente leave?

    1. If winning means Fu stays for another year, and I am on that thinks we need to seriously consider moving on, I’ll take it.

      A win against UVA is always worth a lot, and I don’t think there’s much reality to a coaching change given the difficult year with COVID/Finances.

      I’ll take the win over LOLUVA

        1. I agree.. Let him go find another fair weather team to pull for…NOT a guy I’d want in my corner when the going got tough.

          REGARDLESS of what you think of the coach, you NEVER pull for your team to lose (if they really ARE your team)…ESPECIALLY to FREAKING UVA!!!

          Disgusts me!!

    2. 1. I don’t think Fuente was mocking Hooker in any way shape or form.
      2. lose Saturday and Fuente leave – this is the classic 1 step back, 2 steps forward.

      1. HokieGuru-Pretty naive to think that a loss to UVA would be the final reason to fire Fuente. What “real” Teach fan actively hopes for the Hokies to lose to UVA? Seriously!?!

      1. extremehokie-Hate on the coach as much as you want, but to wish for the Hokies to lose!? And against UVA…seriously!?!

        You should change your screen name.

    3. 1) Don’t believe Fu was mocking HH

      2) While I would like to see a coaching change, I never root against VT teams. Add in the opponent and I am rooting for a VT win/blowout.

    4. The impression I got from listening to Fuente talk after the game about Hooker’s situation was he was slightly puzzled but more frustrated with Hooker and his performance.

    5. Yeah…..hes mocking Hooker. He mocked him during the Mike Burnup Kroger locker room point after interview too. Any one who doubts it, go pull it up and listen. That mocking was well before Fuente even had a clue what just happen to his quarterback.

      I understand you and we just lost the game and one is going to be a bit emotionally charged but where’s your empathy and abundance of concern for your star starting QB? Fuente’s comments to Burnop in so many words essentially called out his QB and hinted and implied that Hooker or Hookers performance was mentally and physically soft tonight because as a player it’s a players responsibility to be mentally and physically ready to compete in this game. I guess thats coming from a guy that’s never made a player evaluation mistake or coaching mistake in his life.

      Dont get me wrong….each of us probably have at least 4 to 5 Blacksburg winters under our belts. Blacksburg can get cold but Saturday was by no stretch sub cold. If Hooker was simply just cold then dude I might be having the same conversation as Fuente but it’s in an office on Sunday not publicly for the world to see or hear.

      1. So I went back as you suggested and listened to CJF comments after the game. There is not a way that I could (absent just trying to find something to make up a narrative that supports your position) that indicated that he was mocking Hendon in anyway. Please, step back and listen to what you are putting out there. I get you don’t like Fuente, fair enough, but to think that he would publicly demean a player because of a medical issue is beyond reason. Again, not being in the situation, I doubt you have any way to know what the demands are on the coach at the completion of the game. He sounded like he honestly did not know what the situation was with Hendon. Sounds like neither did the medical staff really know what was happening, and how many times do see a staff member go up to at player that has been removed from a game due to performance issues and ask them if everything is okay (unless some obvious injury occurred). Most of the time they allow them some space to get their mind back in the game…especially with distancing protocols in place. There is so much that is not known, that to make an informed judgement on why the situation played out the way it is impossible for the layperson. IMHO

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