Hokies eye Coastal title and a return to winning form

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Virginia Tech football fans are getting restless. Following two down years after eight consecutive 10-win campaigns, they expect better results to come out of Lane Stadium.

Though defensive tackle Luther Maddy doesn’t necessarily hear the rumblings from the Hokie faithful, he doesn’t blame them either.

“I can’t really sense it,” Maddy said. “I don’t look into the media too much, but if it was me I’d be disappointed, so I understand that.”

That’s not the case throughout the Tech locker room.

“Reading that stuff makes me frustrated a little bit,” wide receiver Willie Byrn said. “But you have to take it with a grain of salt because a lot of the times no one outside of our team meeting room knows anything that they’re talking about.

“So you know that they want to win and that’s good. You appreciate that because they’re so passionate, but you know what you have to do, and you guys know the full truth.”

No matter the player’s opinion on the restlessness of Tech fans, both Hokies representatives at ACC Media Days know the only way to change it: win more football games. Specifically, win more big football games.

“I think that the national perception of us in big games is that we don’t win the big games, and that’s something I want to change,” Byrn said. “I certainly don’t want our team to leave with the legacy of the down years, the transition years. I want them to be the winning years, the championship years. So in order to do that, we need to win the big games.”

A non-conference matchup with Ohio State in week two could disperse the cloud that has covered Tech in big games over the past few years.

“I don’t think we have a winning record against Top 25 teams,” Maddy said. “I think we have a chance to change that with Ohio State, Miami, North Carolina, real good teams. I think that this year will be the year that we change that and get the respect that we deserve.”

Tech is 3-7 in its last 10 games against opponents ranked No. 25 or higher.

There are also questions about whether or not this team has the pieces to be as successful as they desire.

  • Will a quarterback step up and lead in Scot Loeffler’s offense?
  • Will inexperienced linebackers be able to fill in the void left by Jack Tyler and Tariq Edwards?

If those questions and others are answered in the affirmative, the uncontrollable circumstances may play in Tech’s favor in 2014.

A relatively easy ACC schedule and a wide-open Coastal Division could be two parts of the recipe Tech needs to return to its winning ways.

“You talk about that we haven’t been as successful in the last couple years as we’ve been used to, as our fans have been used to,” Frank Beamer said Monday. “And I’m almost sure they like it better when we’re winning at least 10 games a year, almost positive about that.

“I think any time you haven’t been as successful as you feel like you need to be or want to be, then it’s incentive for the following year. No question.”

 

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