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Pry's First Season Will Show Us A Lot About The Hokies' Future...

First-year coaches generally get a pass in college football, but I’m taking a different approach this year with Virginia Tech’s new Head Hokie Brent Pry.

The future of the Virginia Tech football program will become a lot clearer this year. Pry has his work cut out for him — the Hokies weren’t very good last year and many of the returners from that roster have been inconsistent throughout their careers.

Theoretically, this will be the worst roster Pry ever coaches while in Blacksburg, but it is also the perfect time for us to get a framework of the kind of coach Brent Pry can be. Rather than coast on the traditional hall pass that is Year One, we should be able to see Pry flexing his coaching acumen.

The strength of the decisions he makes, as well as wins and losses, will matter quite a bit this year.

Those in Year One often rely on moral victories to serve as benchmarks of success. The team may not be winning on the field, we are usually told by coaches and sportswriters alike, but they’re “competing.” Good coaches, however, don’t just put competitive teams on the field on a weekly basis. Good coaches win games, and Virginia Tech’s schedule gives Pry plenty of opportunities.

Outside of a four-game stretch in October at Chapel Hill, at Pittsburgh, vs. Miami and at Raleigh, Virginia Tech couldn’t have asked for an easier schedule. The Hokies’ toughest opponent on paper is arguably Miami, and the ‘Canes are coming to Beamer Way this fall.

That stretch ends with games against Georgia Tech, Duke, Liberty without Malik Willis and Virginia, which by rule cannot play Brennan Armstrong at all 11 positions on offense. Each of those are winnable games, and I’d argue that Tech should be early favorites in all four.

Anyone expecting Pry to engineer an eight or nine-win season this year is asking too much. But seven seems like a fair ask, while six wins seems a meager one.

Pry probably knows he's the beneficiary of a relatively manageable schedule to lay the foundation for his program, and as per usual arrangement, the ACC Coastal is wide-open. I don’t believe Tech will win that rat race, but I do believe the Hokies can and should keep it interesting into November. Otherwise, those following the program will be forced to be hanging their hats on “hanging tough” with Miami or not getting blown out by Devin Leary’s Wolfpack.

Virginia Tech wasn’t built on moral victories, and fans shouldn’t lower the bar to allow for that to change. Pry can stake his claim as the best coach in the Coastal this season — let’s be honest, his competition isn’t all that — by leading his flawed team past expectations. The best coaches are force multipliers on the field, and Pry has a chance to show he can be that in 2022.

We are this close to spending our Saturdays watching college football, so buckle up folks — 2022 is an important year.  


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Tuesday, 07 February 2023

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