Rudderless Hokies Take a Big Step Backwards

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In the loss to Georgia Tech, there was so much promise in the way this team
behaved and in the way they played. You could see a team coming together in
focus, playing hard and poised, and improving on the field, even though they
didn’t win. Things seemed to be on the right track. But it all came unraveled in
Boston Thursday night, amidst a flurry of infighting, personal fouls, and even
… dancing. This young Tech team is almost completely devoid of leaders, and
the rest of the season is now up for grabs.

As VT was getting bounced in the second half by Boston College, the Hokies
started to fall apart in many ways. ESPN’s cameras caught it all, and as usual
made great theater of it. Since it was a Thursday night road game, the large
majority of you saw everything (and heard Kirk Herbstreit’s accompanying rant),
but for posterity, here’s what went down:

  • After BC’s touchdown that put the Eagles up 20-3 with 6:49 left, rover
    Aaron Rouse and linebacker Vince Hall argued on the sideline about who blew
    the coverage on Kevin Challenger. The two Tech players didn’t do anything
    more than jaw and point fingers, but teammates had to separate them.
  • With 5:03 left, at the end of a 4-yard run by BC on third and 15, Chris
    Ellis blasted BC tight end Ryan Purvis in the back, drawing a personal foul
    and giving the Eagles a first down.
  • As the officials marched off the personal foul on Ellis, the BC band
    played “Sweet Caroline,” a Red Sox tradition adopted by BC. As the
    band played and the students sang, Tech’s Brenden Hill danced on the field.
    He was caught on camera and criticized by Herbstreit for being so
    happy-go-lucky with his team down three scores late in a critical game.

In addition, VT simply played poorly in absorbing a 22-3 defeat, a game in
which they were outscored 15-0 in the second half and had just 21 yards of
offense after the break. But as the old refrain goes, it’s not the fact they
lost that’s upsetting … it’s how they lost.

This team is a young team, particularly on offense, and it obviously suffers
from a lack of discipline and leadership. We’ve seen this before, in 2003 and