10 Things I Learned Against Virginia Tech

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It is sad to see the Virginia/Virginia Tech game relegated to a noon kickoff
with regional coverage. But that’s where the rivalry is right now due in large
part to UVa’s inability to keep the score competitive in recent years. This year
was the same story, different year. If that’s the case, are there “10 Things I
Learned Against Virginia Tech?” Let’s take a look.

1. No real surprise in the outcome. Going into this game, I thought Tech
clearly was the more talented and faster team. Tech was at home in Lane against
a Virginia team that has not fared well in recent years on the road. Add to that
a young UVa offensive line and a first year QB, both of which had performed
poorly in their last trip into hostile territory, facing arguably the best
defense in the nation. In other words, it was tough to see the Hoos coming out
of Lane with a win unless VT gave them some help. But that did not happen.

To the contrary, UVa provided the help on the pivotal play of the game –
sorry if I am stealing your thunder for “The Turning Point”, Kris – with the
fumble late in the second quarter. Up until that point, Tech had not shown the
ability to sustain any kind of drive against UVa’s defense. After that fumble,
Tech’s offense played with a different tempo, a different level of confidence.

Plus, Virginia continued to provide help, primarily though missed tackle
after missed tackle. The missed tackle on third and short inside our own 10 on
that first – and very short – Tech scoring drive hurt. But the first VT drive of
the second half, where the Hokies made it a two-score game, was marked by
several missed tackles, including a few key missed sack opportunities (something
that haunted us all game long).

In addition, I was troubled by the unimaginative offensive game plan and
play-calling this week. I was a skeptic when it came to naming Mike Groh as
offensive coordinator this offseason, though I certainly can admit that I
generally have been pleased with the play-calling most weeks since Sewell took
over. But this was not one of those weeks. While I was OK with the conservative
start to the game, I was shocked when we stayed locked into a game plan that was
unlikely to