Virginia Tech came in to 2009 season with high expectations, and many fans felt, and still feel, that the Hokies have a shot at the national title.
Saturday night, the first game of the 2009 season, had Hokie fans saying, "If we only had an offense."
In a battle of two top 10 teams, Virginia Tech and Alabama seemed to be mirror images of each other on special teams and defense. Alabama had a slight edge on defense, and the Hokies a slight edge on special teams.
However, the biggest difference between the two teams was offense. Alabama doesn't have a great offense, but they have an offense that's capable of making adjustments throughout the game.
Virginia Tech obviously is not to that point. Bryan Stinespring, the much maligned Virginia Tech offensive coordinator, called a very conservative game on offense. Yes, the Hokies were going against a top 10 defense, but so was Alabama.
It surprised me when Alabama lined up in the wildcat for their first offensive play, but they didn't have much success from the formation. They were, however, willing to take a risk.
After talking with a few Virginia Tech fans in Atlanta this weekend there were three things that really seemed to bother them:
1. Virginia Tech didn't take the game seriously enough
By this, fans were upset throughout the week with quotes by Beamer about how this game isn't do-or-die, and it won't hurt our season if we don't win it.
My guess is Nick Saban and Co. approached the game a little bit different, and it showed offensively.
The problem with the Hokies in the past is their coaching staff hasn't been aggressive enough the first time round. Here's an example.
In the 2008 Orange Bowl against Kansas, Frank Beamer told the media that he told his team that reaching the Orange Bowl was quote, "a reward" for their hard work that season.
In that game the Hokies were outplayed and lost by three to an inferior opponent. Beamer addressed the situation after the game, and said that he would take a different approach next time. That "different approach" resulted in tougher practices for the 2009 Orange Bowl where the Hokies beat Cincinnati by 13.
The fact of the matter is, Beamer needs to start being more aggressive the first time round when it comes to big games. If you lose, well, that's fine. But you can't tell me and other Hokie fans that the coaching staff and the offense threw everything they had at Alabama.
2. Tyrod seemed hesitant to run
There were multiple times throughout the game where Tyrod Taylor had no receivers open, but then he would take a shot down field. Yes, Taylor needs to become a more productive passer but he can't be outside of his comfort zone.
There were times when Taylor had open running lanes and he refused to take them. I don't know if the coaching staff was telling him to stay put or what, but most of his rushes came while he was blitzed by a linebacker.
Taylor's greatest asset to the offense, right now, is his legs. He needs to run the ball more, which will open up the pass.
3. The Hokies are settling for Conference Titles
When I heard Hokie fans complaining after the game about another Orange Bowl this year I was a little bit surprised. The Orange Bowl is a BCS Bowl, but, right now, it's probably the weakest BCS bowl out there because of the conferences affiliated with it.
The Orange Bowl gives an automatic bid to the ACC and an at-large bid (The Orange Bowl used to be ACC vs. Big East).
After watching some of the games around the conference this weekend there's no doubt in my mind Virginia Tech is the favorite to win the conference. If they can somehow find a way to score on offense, which I think they will, the Hokies have a great shot at running the table from here on out.
The problem is the fans are becoming a bit restless. Virginia Tech has never won a national title. The Hokies have only played in the game one time, and year after year Hokie fans are left with a bowl that doesn't have a crystal ball as its trophy.
The Hokies have fielded great teams in the past, but seem to have at least one disappointing loss each year.
Saturday's loss was more frustrating than anything because Virginia Tech couldn't keep their offense on the field. The Hokie defense was on the field for 37 minutes. That's outrageous, and the biggest reason Alabama scored 18 points in the fourth quarter. Defensive fatigue was evident for the Hokies.
There's still an outside shot that the Hokies can reach the national championship, but they will likely end up in the Orange Bowl once again.
The Hokies take on Marshall this Saturday and what the fans want to see more than anything is offense, because they're tired of the offense being the continuous demise of the team.
Beamerball needs a new dimension.