Facing Tech in the Military Bowl will be some familiar faces, though they aren’t familiar from VT’s prior tilts versus the Bearcats. Head Coach Luke Fickell was co-DC at Ohio State when the Hokies split a two-game set, and Offensive Coordinator Mike Denbrock was OC for Notre Dame when Tech got them in a comeback win. In a twist on this familiarity, though, the scheme and tendencies for both coaches are different than what you saw at their prior jobs.
They coach a veteran team with an aggressive defense, and talent-wise most of their starters would start for the Hokies or push for playing time. (Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.) Nine of their players were either first- or second-team All-AAC, and this was an AAC conference that in 2018 went toe-to-toe with the ACC in the first half of the season. As far as health goes, this feels a bit like Oklahoma State last year, with the Bearcats coming in at or near full-strength, while the Hokies have key pieces hurt or missing.
To prep, I watched the Bearcats’ last two games of the regular season against UCF and ECU. First, they were pummeled by a very good UCF squad 38-13, and then they took out some anger on a completely hapless ECU squad by a score of 56-6....
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