I have a secret for my fellow Virginia Tech Football fans, but before I let them in on it, let me first apologize.
Sorry, Virginia Tech Football fans, but if you thought this season would be any different than the others, you were not only wrong, but naive. Being simply “good enough” has become the norm for Frank Beamer and the Virginia Tech Hokies and it’s not about to change.
I wrote an article in the middle of June which was agreed with by national college football fans, but ripped to shreds in forums by Hokie faithful.
In the article, I described how the Hokies have already reached their peak and have gone as far as they can go with Frank Beamer as head coach. Complacency and a long list of questionable decisions have kept a program that has boasted the likes of Michael Vick, Kevin Jones, and DeAngelo Hall from becoming synonymous with the USC’s, LSU’s, and Ohio State’s of the college football world.
It is not a lack of talent. Virginia Tech was second last year only to USC in the number of players drafted in the NFL. It is not a lack of knowledge.
It is a lack of desire, lack of accountability, and lack of good decision making that starts with the head coach; the leader of the program and the face of the university.
Is this claim harsh? Yes.
Is it true? Absolutely.
Virginia Tech headed into the 2008 campaign with arguably the easiest schedule out of any of the Top 25 teams. The No. 17 ranked Hokies opened up at Eastern Carolina in a stadium where over 50% of the fans donned the Virginia Tech Orange. There was no reason for the Hokies to drop their first game.
The defense is young but led by an always aggressive Bud Foster. The special teams is filled with talent. The offense brings a solid running back in Kenny Lewis Jr., new but talented wide receivers, and a decent offensive line.
The most important position on the field was assumed to be Tyrod Taylor’s; another dazzling quarterback prodigy with a cannon arm and lightning quickness out of nowhere else but the Tidewater Region of Virginia.
After showing signs of improvement and understanding last season, Hokie fans were geared up to see Taylor grow with his young corp of wide outs and make plays out of bad situations; much like Michael Vick and Bryan Randall had done in the past and will the Hokies into a BCS Bowl game.
Frank Beamer saw it differently.
Sean Glennon was named the starter for a second straight season as Tyrod Taylor was redshirted. Why a coach would play his five star quarterback one year and then redshirt him the next in favor of a below average quarterback is beyond me.
It would be the equivalent of playing Peyton Manning his rookie season in the NFL, and then benching him for his second season with the hopes that he’ll suddenly pick up where he left off in his third year. The way of thinking Beamer showed was absurd.
Sean Glennon’s first pass was inside the red zone and sure enough, an interception. He finished the game 14/23 for 139 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. The Hokies lost the game 27-22 on a blocked punt run back for a touchdown.
As ECU’s T.J. Lee ran 27 yards towards the endzone with the blocked punt in hand, I saw the Hokies season running away with him. Without any big games to make up for this inexcusable loss, the Hokies have zero chance to play in the National Title game. Zero. But, that’s okay with Frank Beamer.
It was okay with Frank Beamer to continue to let Brian Stinespring lead a terrible and uncreative offense, year after year. It was okay with Beamer to let the less talented, more mistake prone quarterback lead a young team with a very favorable schedule.
And at the end of the day, it was okay for Beamer to have unprepared players on the field for the critical punt formation in which it seemed like more guys got through the front door than a Virginia Tech party.
Being good enough has become the standard. If the Hokies finish 9-3 and make a bowl game, that will suffice. After all, winning 9 out of 12 isn’t that bad, is it?
The silly decisions didn’t stop this week either. On Tuesday, it was announced that Virginia Tech will be removing Tyrod Taylor’s redshirt status. It took a loss to an unranked team in the opening week and a premature death of a season for the Hokies to make a decision that anyone in Blacksburg could have made in May.
What’s likely to happen next it this: the Hokies will go back to a two quarterback system with Glennon and Taylor. They’ll run off a few wins in a row, some by a large margin. They’ll have a 5-1 or 6-1 record and suddenly, you’ll see forums lighting up with Hokie faithful talking about how VT can measure up with other one loss teams in the nation.
You’ll hear how VaTech can go toe to toe with other top tier teams.
But when that time comes, and believe me when I say that time will come, remind them of their zero national championships. Remind them of their four losses in their past five bowl games.
Being a lifelong fan and an alumni of the great school, it pains me to have to be the one who says it, but one has to put emotions aside and hold everyone accountable. If we can rip Glennon for having the decision making of a drunk co-ed, we should be able to call out the higher ups. That being said, here’s my secret.
As long as Frank Beamer is the head coach, Virginia Tech will not win a National Championship. To some, finishing fifth, tenth, or fifteenth in the country is good enough. Unfortunately, Beamer fits that bill.