College football is quite unstable, and this uncertainty makes it difficult to have fun conversations about the sport knowing that it all might be tilted onto its head over the next 10 years.
So instead, I’d like to write a little about the past. After all, now that I’m the ripe age of 28, I can start providing some historical context that I actually lived through and didn’t just read about.
My journey to Virginia Tech football fandom began in earnest in the early-to-mid 2000s. I could start to understand the game at this age, and NCAA Football 2005 was the never-ending fix I never knew I wanted.
This was an exciting time for the Hokies. The National Championship Game berth wasn’t that long ago, the Hokies were moving into a larger conference with a better future and Tech was always competing for conference championships. BCS bowl games were a regularity. Something was amiss if Bud Foster’s defense wasn’t one of the best in the nation.
Two linchpins of Foster’s defenses in that era are two of my favorite players to ever watch — Xavier Adibi and Vince Hall. Adibi was inducted into Tech’s Sports Hall of Fame last year and this coming fall, we’ll watch his battery mate join him.
Adibi and Hall combined with James Anderson to create one of the best and most explosive linebacking corps in the country. Adibi and Hall, in particular, were especially intimidating up front. The pair started together for the first time in 2005, immediately helping the Hokies finish first in the nation in yards allowed and second in scoring defense. Tech finished first in scoring defense the following season and in 2007, the pair’s final season, Tech finished third in scoring and fourth in yards allowed.
Both Adibi and Hall were cornerstones of those defenses. I made that even more so the case when I fired up the NCAA Football video game — using Adibi or Hall felt almost unfair.
Neither Adibi nor Hall had a relevant NFL career, but this Hokie couldn’t care less. In this day and age when defense seems optional and increasingly harder to play, Adibi and Hall played with a level of execution and intensity that isn’t seen in Blacksburg very often anymore. I’d give my right arm if it meant the Hokies had clones of Adibi and Hall on this year’s roster.
Ideally, the two Hokie legends would have been inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in the same year, but it is fitting that one goes in right after the other. The two played as a cohesive duo, feeding off the other’s energy and performance.
Two other notable Hokies from that era are being inducted too. Mike Gentry did wonders with Virginia Tech strength and conditioning and helped the Hokies become one of the best developmental programs in the nation. Kam Chancellor played almost as big a role on the Hokies’ defense as the two aforementioned players, especially when he took the leadership mantle in 2008. Chancellor is deserving of this recognition, no doubt, but Hall’s induction just hits home more for me.
So, while we watch and wait to see what the powerbrokers in college football think is best for the sport, I’m appreciative that I can now look back on some of my football heroes and watch them grow up and get the recognition they deserve.
Just wait until I’m 40. That’s when things will get really sappy.
I'm so old Dandy Don Strock is ny first VT football hero. Allen Bristow in basketball and Franklin Stubbs in baseball..Stubbs was a little later than the other two. Struck was a career backup in Miami. Bristow played as a pro then. Over into the front office at a couple of places including Charlotte. Stubbs played a little imajor league ball.