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Pry Becomes Virginia Tech's Newest Head Football Coach

Yesterday morning, an old friend texted me and asks “what do you know about Brent Pry?”

Nothing, I said. Should I?

Well, you may want to check him out, was his response. So I did, and the more I learned about the man who is now Virginia Tech’s new head football coach, the more I liked him.

As I’m sure Whit Babcock had his check list of things he wanted in a head coach, I had my own. And it amazed me the deeper I dug, the more things Pry checked off the list. Sure, he wasn’t this shiny bauble who was the media darling of College Football. But everything else about him was outstanding.

Whit, old boy, I thought. You’ve done your homework. This could be good.

At the top of anyone’s list would be technical proficiency on at least one side of the ball, and Pry definitely has it on the defensive side. He’s spent the last 26 years as a college coach on the defensive side, with the last 10 as an Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator at Penn State.

I’ve found the best defensive coaches are also the ones who really understand offense first, and Pry checks that box too. His Dad was an offensive coordinator at East Stroudsburg, part of a 40-year coaching career where he coached with his son and future Penn State coach James Franklin, who was a QB. Having your Dad being your coach has its pluses and minuses, but one plus is the daily interaction over meals.

In my house growing up, my Dad and I over the dinner table may have talked about who won the game. When your Dad is a coach, you talk about not only who won, but why. What worked and what didn’t. Things to look out for next time. Many of the better coaches in high school, college and the NFL came about their analytical skills because they grew up with a coach in the house.

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Guest — Johnny Hurst

Happy

I'm happy mainly because he can and will recruit and he seems to be a people person which is sorely needed after Mr. Introvert.... Read More
Tuesday, 30 November 2021 15:07
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This Was A Moment Hokie Fans Needed....

Believe it or not, there was a time long ago when fans did not judge Virginia Tech football by the length of its bowl streak, the odds of it winning a championship, or where it was ranked in the top 25.

These were the days before cell phones, the internet…heck, even before disco and Star Wars movies. They were the golden days of the 70s, where you judged a season not on the entire year, but on certain special moments. Ones where you walked back to the dorm or your car and thought “that was nice.” Ones that were feel-good moments, even proud-to-be-a-Hokie moments. They made you feel positive about the program, and were the reasons you came back the next week to watch the team play again.

Saturday’s win over Virginia was such a badly needed moment. The team technically qualifies for a bowl, but it’s not anything that leads to anything else. It’s just one more opportunity to see a group of young men who have been through fire and rain this season, starting with a win over a supposedly top 10 team in North Carolina, then nose diving into the cruel reality of a season that was so bad, they couldn’t even wait until the end of the 12-game schedule to fire the head coach.

The experience has not only been tough for the players, but there are a lot of people I know who have gone from being fanatical about the program for decades to morphing into a certain “I’m not sure I really care” attitude. They’ve been spoiled by not only the winning, the bowls and the top 25 rankings of the past, they’ve particularly become accustomed to seeing Virginia Tech teams that no matter who the opponent was, were competitive enough to always have a chance.

That hasn’t been the case the last couple of years in certain games, and for the first time in a while, I think many of us were somewhat realistic to the distinct possibility the Hokies were going to get hammered in Charlottesville Saturday. The Cavaliers had a high-powered offense, the Hokie defense struggled against Miami, and at times the play calling has looked more like the Virginia Tech of 1921 instead of 2021, exhibiting tendencies more in tune with the single wing.

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Dave Fulton

Postgame

That was a nice postgame moment to see the 2 girls (daughters?) with arms draped around his huge neck, loving on an emotional Coac... Read More
Saturday, 27 November 2021 23:55
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Who Should the New Leader in Blacksburg Be?

Charles Huff

The Hokies clawed their way to six wins by beating their in-state rival Saturday, so now that the regular season has come to an end, Whit Babcock’s top agenda item is clear: find the next head coach of the Virginia Tech football program – with no disrespect whatsoever to J.C. Price.

Over the past couple weeks, many preferred candidates have received extensions – including our pal Ricky LaBlue’s top option, Dave Clawson from Wake Forest. That may take away some excitement about who the next guy will be, but it certainly doesn’t negate the importance of the hire.

Much like I did last season, I have written what I believe is a comprehensive list of coaches that the Hokies might consider – a discussion about 35 potential candidates, including an in-depth profile for 23 of them.

Now that I’ve talked myself into a lengthy list of coaches, here’s who I believe are the top candidates given specific criteria.

Best Veteran Head Coach: Dan Mullen

I don’t know how Babcock will feel about him – or how Mullen will feel about the program – but I believe at face value, they’re each the best that the other can do. Mullen is one of the better offensive coaches in college football, and Virginia Tech is probably the best program beneath Florida’s tier (where Mullen was recently fired from).

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Hokies Showed Heart, But Miami Showed Superior Talent...

Virginia Tech’s 38-26 loss to Miami was disappointing in many ways, as it would have been nice for interim head coach JC Price to earn a win in his debut.

But it wasn’t in the cards.

The Hokies were outmatched on the field Saturday night, and Tech’s loss confirmed what many already suspected — that there is a talent gap between Virginia Tech and some of the better teams in the ACC.

As a disclaimer, I am fully aware the ‘Canes are now 6-5 and have already lost three games to ACC opponents this season. But if you watched Saturday night, you saw the kind of talent Miami still has on the roster.

You saw what sets them apart.

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JC Price Has Waited His Entire Life For These Next 2 Weeks

Momma always said there would be days like these.

As it turns out, so did the owner of this site. Dave insightfully touched on Virginia Tech’s divorce with Justin Fuente on Tuesday, reminding everyone that if you thought the last few months were weird, you’ve seen nothing yet.

As the whirlwinds gain strength and throw the Hokie fanbase into confusion and uncertainty, I’ll be doing my best to appreciate how amazing the next two weeks will be for a special Hokie.

JC Price’s career at Virginia Tech coincided with the program’s ascendance to the pinnacle of college football. Every Hokie fan knows the importance of the 1995 team and how that season catapulted Virginia Tech into the Michael Vick era. JC Price wasn’t just a captain on that 1995 team, but also a third-team All-American.

If anyone understands where Virginia Tech should be as a football program, it’s Price. If anyone understands what it’s going to take to return to that level, it is also Price.

Price now has the opportunity of a lifetime — coach the football team he used to play for at the university he graduated from.

Price is a Hokie to his core. He was made for this moment.

All the legwork he put in to get here has paid off. All those years Price spent at Marshall, gritting his teeth as a Division I assistant coach are coming to fruition. It’s not like Price’s defensive units were struggling there either — Marshall led the nation in scoring defense in 2020 and the Thundering Herd won a Conference USA title in 2014. Price’ defensive front played a crucial part in those accomplishments.

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We Now Move On To The Weird Part Of Our Programming....

Well, we’re now officially in the “weird” part of the ongoing saga of the Virginia Tech football program.

I wrote this story a week ago, saying it was over between Virginia Tech and head coach Justin Fuente, and how we were just waiting and watching the final episodes of the soap opera. It turned out to be true, but I never thought the series’ finale would be at 7:45 AM on a Tuesday morning.

I mean, who does that? Monday 10 AM pressers are just too traditional? Did someone have to wait until their sports coat came back from the dry cleaners?

Social media is, of course, on fire this morning as some tastelessly dance on Fuente’s grave, and some are already making their predictions on who the new coach will be. This is where the weird part comes in, because I can pretty much guarantee you that every single one of those predictions are purely grounded in something they pulled out of their backside.

No one knows, although you would have to hope pulling the trigger on such a significant change 10 minutes before the second cup of coffee on a Tuesday would suggest there have been some backchannel conversations between athletic director Whit Babcock and a potential new coach.

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After Everything That's Transpired, Hokies Deserved It

TyJuan Garbutt said it best as he walked away from the podium.

“I can’t stop smiling, man.”

Virginia Tech’s 48-17 drubbing of Duke was a cathartic experience for everyone involved. It was an excision of frustration and disappointment that has plagued the Hokies for weeks, if not years.

Duke was outmatched from the start and even if starting quarterback Gunnar Holmberg was healthy, it wouldn’t have made a difference. The Blue Devils just weren’t on par with Virginia Tech, a phrase not often used to describe the Hokies’ opponents this season.

On a Senior Day with more than 20 players playing in likely their final game at Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech did what they used to do to lowly opponents. The Hokies’ defense dominated the line of scrimmage and stifled Duke’s few offensive weapons. The offense took advantage of a great matchup, scoring 48 points and racking up 573 yards, both season highs.

Raheem Blackshear exploded for 157 total yards and two touchdowns. Keshawn King emerged from the bottom of the depth chart to add 137 total yards and two scores. Braxton Burmeister battled through injury once again and threw three touchdown passes.

Tech’s performance was a needed one — a deserved reward for the players that have battled through this trying season.

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Senior Day Lineup Suggests Big Changes In 2022 Roster

Virginia Tech’s potential coaching change at the end of the season may end up being just one component of possible turnover facing the program this offseason.

The Athletic’s Andy Bitter revealed the list of players participating in Senior Day ceremonies today and boy, is this roster in for some serious turnover.

Here are the players who are set to be a part of Senior Day ceremonies Saturday — Amare Barno, Cole Blaker, Chamarri Conner, Tae Daley, Drake DeIuliis, Silas Dzansi, Changa Hodge, Brock Hoffman, Keondre Ko, James Mitchell, John Parker Romo, Austin Rosa, Oscar Shadley, Lecitus Smith, Tyrell Smith, Nadir Thompson, Tre Turner, Jermaine Waller, Jordan Williams and Johnny Jordan.

Excluding walk-ons, Virginia Tech has 17 players participating in Senior Day festivities, and many of these players are starters. While there’s no guarantee that participating in Senior Day means that a player is not coming back, it’s usually a good indicator that the player intends to either attempt to go to the NFL, possibly transfer to another school, or otherwise not be a part of the team next season.

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As Far As I'm Concerned, Enough Has Been Said...

After Friday night’s Virginia Tech loss to Boston College, fellow writer Ricky LaBlue sent me a story early Saturday morning, detailing another defeat of the Hokie football team. After posting it, I texted him that maybe we should stop writing about the downward direction of the program for the rest of the season.

Why, he asked.

Because, I replied, it’s all been said. To continue to point out how Justin Fuente has lost control of the program would be like beating a dead horse. There’s an old saying in sales that says you should stop selling once you’ve made the sale. To continue talking can only end up hurting you.

I think that’s the case now with Fuente and Virginia Tech. It’s over. There’s a divorce coming and I don’t believe anyone thinks otherwise. I have in my circle of friends the most positive “the glass is half full” Hokie fans that walk this planet, and during Friday’s game I was getting texts saying “you were right, we need to make a change.”

To continue talking can only end up hurting people, including assistant coaches, players and families.

Everyone knows.

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Dave Fulton

Piling On

I recall how it hurt to see our beloved Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr failing in his venture to coach his Green Bay Packers.... Read More
Monday, 08 November 2021 17:43
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A Week Ago, Hokies Looked Promising. Now, Not So Much...

(Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Tech Athletics)
Nasir Peoples Makes A Stop In 17-3 Loss To Boston College

Following Virginia Tech’s win over Georgia Tech last weekend, I came away thinking the Hokies’ coaches and players hadn’t given up, and were close to playing competitive football for the remainder of the season.

Following last night’s loss to Boston College, I have now come away thinking just the opposite.

I spent the remainder of Friday night and early portions of Saturday morning wondering if I was exaggerating. How can a team go from borderline competence to borderline craziness in the span of six days?

But the more I thought about it, the more I felt convinced the situation in Blacksburg is getting out of hand. Allow me to explain.

Preparation

An offense shouldn’t be completely beheaded when the starting quarterback goes out with an injury. Nobody was expecting the Hokies’ offense to light up the scoreboard when Braxton Burmeister left in the first quarter with a suspected rib injury, but the Hokies’ offense should have at least looked like a college offense.

It didn’t.

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VT Football Has Its Issues, But Quitting Isn't One Of Them

Virginia Tech football has many issues, but quitting is definitely not among them.

The Hokies’ rebound from their three-game skid Saturday wasn’t pretty — Virginia Tech failed to put Georgia Tech away on several occasions and settled for five field goal attempts, three of which came from the red zone. Regardless, the Hokies prevailed, and for at least a week, the smell of victory wafts through the Merryman Athletic Center.

(Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Tech Athletics)
Tre Turner Caught 7 Passes For 187 Yards, TD

I could sit here and poke holes in the Hokies’ 26-17 victory all day long. If Virginia Tech wasn’t 4-4 and worried about bigger problems come seasons’ end, I probably would. But for today, I'm just going to enjoy the win.

Even though the Hokies settled for five field goals, Virginia Tech’s offensive performance was one of the best we’ve seen this year. Braxton Burmeister completed multiple throws downfield to stretch Georgia Tech’s defense to the brink. Tre Turner had a career day, catching seven passes for 187 yards and a touchdown. Malachi Thomas validated his breakout performance against Syracuse, running for 103 yards against the Yellow Jackets.

In total, Tech amassed 491 yards of offense, 237 of which came on the ground. Raheem Blackshear joined the party with 83 rushing yards of his own. Burmeister chipped in 46.

Virginia Tech went 9-19 on third down and dominated the time of possession battle by 11 minutes. By this season’s standard, the Hokies’ performance on Saturday was incredibly productive.

On the other side of the ball, the Hokies’ defense held up their end of the bargain. They pushed Jeff Sims into two turnovers and held Georgia Tech to just 3-12 on third-down attempts. Even better, the Hokies got stops on two of Georgia Tech’s three fourth-down attempts.

One cannot forget John Parker Romo’s performance — four makes with his only miss coming from 53 yards away. After a shaky start, Romo is now 10-13 on field goals and a perfect 22-22 on extra points this year.

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Ricky LaBlue

Ricky LaBlue

A longtime sports fanatic, Ricky is now channeling that passion into the world of sports media. Meet Ricky LaBlue.

Stephen Newman

Stephen Newman

The only things he loves more than following Virginia Tech and Washington sports teams are dogs. Meet Stephen Newman.

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