The First Bank & Trust Company Friday Q&A: Virginia Tech After The Bye Week

Virginia Tech
What can Virginia Tech do to improve during the bye week? (Ivan Morozov)

1) We’ve been terrible after the bye week. What can be done to reverse that trend and why? – RhinoVT

Chris Coleman: Here’s what has happened to Virginia Tech after its most recent bye weeks…

October 9, 2021: 32-29 L to Notre Dame
December 5, 2020: 45-10 L to Clemson
November 2, 2019: 21-20 L to Notre Dame
September 27, 2019: 45-10 L to Duke
October 25, 2018: 49-28 L to Georgia Tech

I think each one of those games has its own unique explanation, with the exception of the 2019 Duke game. I have absolutely no explanation for that one. Why do cows always graze facing north or south? Why do things disappear in the Bermuda Triangle? How come the aliens haven’t announced their presence to us yet? Or maybe they have, but we aren’t listening correctly? Why did Virginia Tech only give the ball to Raheem Blackshear twice against Miami? I’d have a better chance of explaining those things to you than I would the 2019 Duke game.

Here are my explanations for the other ones…

2021 Notre Dame: The Irish No. 14 and Tech almost beat them. Perhaps the Hokies would have beaten them had Dax Hollifield not been flagged for targeting, and even then they were a missed deep ball late between Burmeister and Turner that would have won the game. Notre Dame was a better team than Virginia Tech last year, so I would argue that the Hokies used the bye week to their advantage, even though they weren’t quite good enough to win.

2020 Clemson: Again, I think Tech came out with a great gameplan. The problem is that Hendon Hooker inexplicably forgot the gameplan on the very first drive and got benched as a result. Still, that game was 17-10 Clemson late in the third quarter, and Tech’s gameplan of running down the clock was one of the reasons the Hokies were still in the game at that point. Again, I’d say that the Hokies used the bye week to their advantage here, but it didn’t matter because Clemson was a top five team.

2019 Notre Dame: The only reason Virginia Tech lost this football game to No. 16 Notre Dame is because Quincy Patterson, who is now Temple’s backup, started the game. Hendon Hooker was out and the coaches didn’t trust Ryan Willis. Still, Tech very nearly won. The team was extremely well-prepared. In hindsight, I’d argue that the Hokies should have started Willis. If the bad Willis had shown up, they still would have lost. But if the good Willis had shown up, they almost certainly would have won. Also, Jermaine Waller got knocked out for targeting, and Caleb Farley was off the field injured for Notre Dame’s game-winning drive. I sort of doubt they would have scored had Tech’s top two corners been on the field, so we could have still won the game with Patterson were it not for those two unfortunate circumstances.

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