Topic: Observations of the VT program
Replies: 13   Last Post: Nov 29, 2016 5:19 PM by: 864Hokie
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Replies: 13  

Observations of the VT program

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 1:00 PM

Thought you all might be interested in hearing this. I've followed VT football religiously since I was just a young kid. I also took a Sports Management class at Virginia Tech which was taught by one our associate AD's who was also director of football ops when Beamer was coach.

He and other members of the athletic department came and spoke to our class throughout the semester and gave us incredible insight into the football program and process of rebuilding VT into the national power it was throughout the late 90's until Dabo, Chad Morris, and Sammy Watkins came along.

The one common theme I picked up on is that VT is using Clemson's rise as a bit of a blueprint. The athletic department members who came and spoke all mentioned Clemson's football program and the increase in recruiting staff as well as evolving the offensive system. Throughout this past season I've noticed this blueprint of sorts sort of manifest itself. The HokiesFB twitter account has produced amazing content for recruiting including hype videos, etc. Much like the Clemson football twitter. Whit Babcock also brought in Justin Fuente, who as you saw from that story on here, almost ended up at Clemson. Fuente and Chad Morris' offense are almost identical with different terminology.

VT has more than doubled its football support staff in the past 3 seasons and Fuente's first year looks awfully similar to Chad Morris' first season. Our offense has looked worlds more potent than it has in years and is putting up the best numbers since Mike Vick was here in 99.

VT still has a ways to go to be on Clemson's level, but I have found it very interesting to watch VT's approach in rebuilding and its a real testament to what Dabo and the entire Clemson athletic department has done in the past 6 years.

Re: Observations of the VT program

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 1:05 PM

thanks for sharing. I grew up a Hokie fan till I wnet to Clemson. I knew Fuente would be A GOOD HIRE THERE. I am hoping we have too many weapons for you. That said I hope you start dominating your division as I have no use for most of the others there especially UNC and Va.


The realistic football fan in me says y'all have way too

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 1:14 PM

weapons for us to handle. However, I do think we have the talent to stay in the game. Depth is where Clemson has a major major advantage. VT will have to play near perfect to have any sort of shot.

Re: Good Post, HOWEVER.....

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 1:06 PM

....as an undergrad at Clemson in the late 70s, I recall we used to whoop up on VPI with regularity back in those days, too....

Just an observation.


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You weren't the only team to whoop us in the late 70's.

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 1:07 PM

VT won its second bowl game ever in 1986. One year before Frank Beamer was hired.

Wekcome & ThX "864Hokie"..great school, beautiful campus, super Fans..

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 1:36 PM

And I have fond memories of many trips up to Blacksburg..with Family in 70's & first time seeing rolling hill sides & grazing animals, like Clemson..

Or Having a Motor Coach almost blow up at gas station due to spillage onto exhaust pipe & entire station parking lot was evacuated for 1 hour with volunteer fire dept making sure all ok..

Having my best extra-long tiger tail stripped from my RV's rear by student on bike on beautiful main street & I couldn't get out & hope to retrieve since I had case of bronchitis..

The game where VT apparently won when Clemson missed FG in last second but a penalty was called & the 2nd attempt won game after clock expired..

Or the game where my 7 year old hadn't picked up the 2 tix I'd bought at small ticket booth outside stadium, and when we got up to gate, no tix! So, we both ran back to see if they were still there & during the whole frantic sprint I kept telling him if they were gone then he would not see the game while I would buy a 3rd tix just for me, but ticket seller saw what had happened & was holding them, for us!

YeP, some great times up there & at the ACCCG 5 years ago in Charlotte when I truly thought the Hokies would kill us due to earlier embarrassing loss at Lane Stadium on national tv.

Cheers..Take care, drive safe to Orlando, yell hard for your fine team and I will do same for my beloved Tigers too!

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To All CLEMSON TiGERS..Sending you Bright Light from the Carolina Coast and hoping you get to witness a huge Orange sunset tonight. Go Tigers!

I liked the Fuente Hire for VT

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 1:17 PM

I was actually worried that S. Carolina was going to grab him but fortunately for both of us their AD is a bonehead.

I grew up a VT fan and go back to the Bill Dooley days. There were some good teams, one 10 win team if I recall correctly (Back when it was and 11 game season plus a bowl game for maybe 24-26 teams), but all in all they were tough on defense but unimaginative on offense. Hard to play 3 yards and a could of dust when you are only getting 2 yards a carry. I saw Bruce Smith play in Blacksburg and you could just tell he was on another level.

I also remember how close Beamer came to being let go, but fortunately for all involved he stuck around and built that program, stadium and to some degree the entire university to something I couldn't have forseen back in the 80's.

And I do remember Clemson basically waxing VT every year in that decade. I think the closest game played was about 20 points.

All that said I really hope VT can become the program it was in the 2000's. If the ACC's current division alignment remains as is, the coastal really needs a dominant player to emerge and of all the teams over there, I'd prefer it to be VT. So as long as all of that starts after next week I'm good with it.

Awesome to hear you talk about that era. My dad graduated

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 1:42 PM

with Bruce Smith and remembers his dominance well. However, he also remembers the runs up the middle on third and long that Bill Dooley seemed to love.

Can Fuentes recruits like Dabo though ?

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 1:29 PM

That's a tall order.

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His first signing was Jerod who was the number 1

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 1:40 PM

JUCO QB and has been one of the best QBs in the country this year. We're also in serious contention for 5 star Devon Hunter as well as number of other blue chip recruits.

Whether or not he can recruit to Dabo's level is a different story, but he is off to a very good start and if he can close on a few guys, VT will have a top 20 class. Fuente is also known to have a great eye for young talent and developing players. We have seen a ton of offers to class of 19 guys. It'll take a year or 3 for Fuente to get all of his pieces together, but early signs are good.

Re: Can Fuentes recruits like Dabo though ?

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 3:52 PM

Fuente and Swinney are two very different people, much less different coaches.

I wasn't impressed at all when he took over for Bowden and I would think a lot of Clemson people were skeptical as well. However, what I was impressed with (over time) was his ability to understand who he was as a coach and the best way to get the Clemson program going in the right direction. Most notably, hiring a solid coaching staff and letting them do their jobs. Swinney also figured out he was best at recruiting and motivating the troops (no disrespect to his X and O abilities but that's not his forte IMO). Right from the start, Swinney hit the trail and sold kids on the future. Swinney could (as they say) sell ice to the eskimos.

Fuente, on the other hand, is not what I would consider a great recruiter from what I've seen thus far. In the Spring, I felt his path to success on the recruiting trail would hinge on his ability to A) have a great first season and B) show that he has the ability to put a very good offense on the field and C) develop QB's. In less than a year, he's shown he can do all three. The real test comes when the season concludes and he hits the recruiting trail. Can he parlay on-field success in recruiting? The jury is out yet but we've seen some positive signs.

So to your question regarding recruiting, I don't know if he'll ever be at the same level but if Fuente starts pulling in higher rated kids, it'll done in a different manner compared to Coach Swinney.

Re: Can Fuentes recruits like Dabo though ?

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 4:08 PM

Fuente has a very good reputation in the coaching community, and players who have played for him speak very highly of the guy. Words like "fantastic" and "intelligent" and and "focused" keep coming out of their mouths. He's apparently not super warm and fuzzy but he's known as a very reasonable guy and players seem to find grooves under him.

I thought he was a much better hire than, say, a retread Mark Richt at Miami and I thought Fuente would resurrect VT in short order and he has indeed. He injected a whole lot of juice into the Hokie offense and held onto Bud Foster and the Hokies' defensive identity, and he also embraced the old "Beamerball" emphasis on special-teams. Fuente obviously knew very well what VT's culture was and built on it rather than try to re-invent anything. If I was a VT fan I'd be thrilled with what I was seeing.

This very likely will not be the last time we see VT in the ACC Championship under Fuente.

Well said. Regardless of the outcome of the game Saturday

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 5:19 PM

VT fans will be ecstatic about the direction of our program. Obviously we all want to pull off the upset and will be sad if we don't just like any time we lose a game, but its nice coming into this game with little pressure in the grand scheme of things. This is the first real measuring stick for Fuente and even if Clemson wins convincingly, this season was a huge step in the right direction.

Re: Observations of the VT program

Posted: Nov 29, 2016 2:12 PM

Welcome Hokie, you've not engaged in mindless flaming and I hope you get none in return. While I got tired of y'all thumping our sculls in the 1990s and early 2000s, I've never developed a resentment of Tech ( like UNCheat) and actually welcomed the addition of Tech to offset the Tobacco Road Mafia, not that it has helped much. Congrats to your coach. Won't necessarily say he is the clear choice, but certainly reasonably. I agree VPI is on the rise, but don't see the formula as much different: tough ball hawking defense and special teams that make yours look bad. I think and certainly hope you are not quite ready to dethrone the Tigs, but good luck otherwise. I'd like to think you'd get looked at for anOrange bid if Clemson beats you. But I'm afraid the cake is baked for whining Cardinals.

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