Monday Thoughts: Chapel Hell

CJ McCray Virginia Tech Omarion Hampton North Carolina
Tech’s CJ McCray tracks UNC tailback Omarion Hampton in Saturday’s 41-10 loss … what, you didn’t think I could write a serious caption in Monday Thoughts? (Ivan Morozov)

This is a different situation than what we’re used to.

I’ll start off by saying this isn’t going to be a long dissertation on what the Hokies are doing wrong, whether or not they’ve got the right coaching staff, is this a talent/coaching issue, etc. Chris Coleman and our other analysts handle those discussions very well.

I haven’t spent a whole lot of time thinking about those issues since the end of the game Saturday. I’ve spent my time realizing that the on-field performance is a train wreck right now, and I’m feeling a legitimate fear that it won’t be turned around by this staff. Not just this season, but ever, leading us into the coaching carousel again.

Regarding that second feeling — the fear — there is definitely a long hill to climb from where Virginia Tech is right now to becoming a winning program again. And you know what? We have no way of knowing if they can make that climb. None. There are some bad signs, sure. If you’re asking me if what Virginia Tech is doing right now can be turned around into a winning program, I’d say no. You can’t keep doing what the Hokies are doing and win football games.

But there are a couple things I cling to, and the next 2-4 years will tell us if they’re right or just wishful thinking: (1) this coaching staff can learn quickly on the fly and improve; and/or (2) they know what they’re doing and they’ve torn the whole thing down to the foundation and are rebuilding, one step at a time, starting with culture, on-field results be damned.

Regarding number (2) … sure, but could you at least win a few games while you’re at it? 🤣

Also regarding number (2), for the second week in a row, I refer to former TSL football analyst and all-around football smart guy Raleigh Hokie, who said in this post, in response to the comment “My fellow Hokie friend is adamant the coaches are building for the future and not willing to change anything to suit our current roster”:

Pry said as much with his comments after the game yesterday. The evidence that I see on game days that reinforces it is:

– Everything is very basic, especially on offense from the sets, to the types of shifts/motion, to the blocking scheme. The game plan is simplistic with every play a “check with me” call. It’s very frustrating to watch in the moment.

– There are minimal adjustments to the offensive game plans throughout the game. Seems to me the plan is to continue to beat the same things over and over with the goal of instilling a culture of physical football where each player consistently executes fundamentals and technique first. Not there yet, by a long stretch.

– There is little question in my mind that Pry’s first priority in Year 1 was to instill a new culture in general and see the benefits of it first on the defensive side of the ball. The defense has made strides compared to what we saw last year and I believe Pry will continue to focus on that side of the ball as a representation of the type of football he wants to see across