Maurice DeShazo was the first one that I experienced, if memory serves me correctly. From there we went to Jim Druckenmiller (as an aside, when one is in college it is always fantastic to have a QB with the name Druckenmiller. Don’t know how many times I thought it was funny to say “Drunk-On-Miller instead. When you are 21 it is a joke that evidently never gets old. I’m sure I annoyed the hell out of a lot of people).
Drunk-On-Miller (Drunk) sticks out in my mind because the guy had the size and attitude of a linebacker. In fact, I would have put money on Drunk in a one-on-one with any linebacker at the time he played, except for maybe George Del Ricco (ah the good old days of Virginia Tech football).
Drunk also threw one of the most memorable passes of VT history (to me at least) in the ’95 Sugar Bowl when he hit Bryan Still for a long touchdown bomb against the Texas Longhorns.
Now, that was memorable either because it was our first huge bowl game against a big-time opponent since prohibition was signed into law or because it was the same game where my fraternity brother had to convince the Superdome security that I had Tourette's syndrome and not to throw me out for cursing more than a George Carlin routine.
Whatever the reason, I saw the play and it was tremendous. And yes, I was allowed to stay and watch the game. I was just not allowed to speak anymore. Thank you for your convincing oratory skills Aaron. I’m glad I didn’t miss the rest of that VT victory.
After Jim Druckenmiller, the next memorable VT QB for me was the now tarnished but still jaw-dropping Michael Vick. It is officially Michael again, folks. He went with Mike for a while but let’s face it, he also went with cornrows, middle fingers to the Falcons faithful and a few other not-so-wonderful things as well. So, if you ask me, and nobody ever does, the switch back to Michael was a turn in the right direction.
To get a grasp of the impact this guy had not just on the Virginia Tech football program but also on the university as a whole, wrap your head around this gauge.
I remember reading a statistic that provided the average SAT scores for incoming freshman (known as “first years” if you are a fancy Wahoo) for the University of Virginia and for Virginia Tech the year before Michael Vick wowed us by taking the Hokies to the ’99 Championship game.
The same article also gave us the average SAT scores for admittance into both institutions the year following Vick’s departure.
If I remember correctly, UVA had Tech beaten hands down for quite a while with a higher average SAT score. It was known in the state of VA that UVA was more difficult to get into than Tech but that VT was more difficult to stay in than UVA.
After Michael Vick however, so many applications were submitted for acceptance to Virginia Tech that VT could afford to be selective enough that the average SAT score for incoming freshmen sky rocketed passed that of in-state rival UVA's. This was directly attributable to Michael Vick.
The VT Hokie quarterback that I have the most respect for however, is Bryan Randall. He was a class act. Probably still is but I am not sure of his whereabouts and thus am unable to confirm. I believe he is playing for the Richmond Revolution of the Indoor Football League. He is the MVP, actually.
I liked this cat because he was just a hard working, grind-it-out type of QB. He didn’t have the talent of either Vick, nor the arm strength, but he did have the will and perseverance to be successful. He was fun to watch and he always gave VT a chance to pull out a win.
Bryan Randall is the QB of memory that I can most compare to our current senior quarterback, Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is a four-year player and holds almost every quarterback record at Virginia Tech (remember, Michael Vick left us after two years).
Tyrod has been amazing ever since he came out from under Sean Glennon’s shadow. We all new Taylor was the heir apparent to the VT QB crown and he has not disappointed. He kept us in the rankings and took us to bowl victories in his tenure.
We hadn’t won back-to-back bowls in quite a long time at Tech until Tyrod came along and now it is his job to end his VT career with a bang and chalk up another W over a formidable foe.
Florida State has long had our number when it comes to big time bowl games. I remember two in particular because I attended them both. The ’99 National Championship with Michael Vick, referenced above and more recently, an ACC Championship game played in Jacksonville—or was it the Gator Bowl? I’m not sure. All I am sure about is that I was at both of those games and we lost both of those games.
I think about this fact as I sit here in a Starbucks in Charlotte, NC on this cold winter day writing this column the Bank of America Stadium sits ten minutes away and there is a ticket to the ACC Championship game with my name on it just waiting for a credit card number to ensure that it’s mine.
What’s the call here coach? I liken it to Boise State’s place kicker situation. He missed an easy kick to win the game in regulation and keep their National Championship dreams alive. He then missed an easy kick in overtime to keep their National Championship dreams alive. So if, in fact, you ever found yourself in a fourth and a couple of yards on the 30-yard line while down by three points or fewer situation, what would you do?
Would you roll the dice on your not so trustworthy kicker or would you call in the jumbo package and QB sneak it behind the 356 lb. right guard named Bubba? Now the current circumstances are thus: You are in Charlotte and haven’t been to a VT game in a very very long time.
The last two major games against Florida State that you attended, Virginia Tech lost. Do you roll the dice and go to this all-important ACC Championship game or do you find a nice warm bar and have several drinks with your friends and watch it on a big screen while hitting on Heather, the ridiculously beautiful mixologist.
I am undecided at this point and the game is literally hours away from kick-off. Whatever my decision I can feel comfortable about one thing. Virginia Tech is going into this conference game with the best quarterback we have ever had.
He is a senior, he is talented, he is a leader, and he is the ACC Player of the Year. He is Tyrod Taylor and he will win this game for us and take us to the Orange Bowl.
Congratulations Tyrod, you deserve it. Now finish the job.
Oh, and by the way Hokie fans, look who is waiting in the wings: a beast of a QB, 6’6” 238 lb. redshirt freshman Logan Thomas. I don’t know about you, but I’m jonesin’ for this kid to hit the field next year.