An Open Letter to Whit Babcock
Dear Whit Babcock, there is still time to salvage the Hokie fanbase, but you must act now. Here's how.
First off, I know that you, probably more than anyone, is aware of just how much of a disaster this season has been. Not only did the Hokies almost mathematically eliminate themselves from Coastal contention with their putrid showing against Pitt, but the fanbase is fed up. “Fire Fuente” chants are ringing out in Lane Stadium... and there are still six games to be played. Hokie Nation appears to be at a breaking point. The 10-win seasons of the past are a distant memory now as Justin Fuente has guided the team we all love into sustained mediocrity and embarrassment.
You are currently on the verge of seeing cancelled season tickets, half-empty games in Lane Stadium, a severe decline in donations, and an overall apathy the likes of Hokie Nation hasn't seen since... well last season.
However, to your credit, you decided to stick with Justin Fuente at the end of last season. You showed loyalty and confidence in a man who you must have trusted at the time. Unfortunately, that decision appears to now have done more harm than good. Especially considering the competition this looming off-season for hiring a new head whistle, with the likes of USC, LSU, and most likely Miami coming available.
Now, this is not a letter to criticize the decision to retain Fuente. That choice appears to be playing itself out in real-time. This is a letter for how you can salvage this Tech fanbase before they eat each other and change their allegiance by season's end.
Here's how: Transparency, Transparency, Transparency
What is going on behind the scenes? Now I'm not talking about a potential new head coach search or a new offensive coordinator search; I'm fully aware those are things you cannot make public until the right time.
What I'm talking about is what changes are being made right here and right now that will help this season's second half be better than the first? Is Fuente taking over play-calling duties? Is Fuente going to run the first-team offense in practice instead of the scout team? Is Brad Cornelsen going to take a back seat to someone else on the staff? Is a new QB going to be tried? Is a new offensive scheme going to be attempted? There's nothing to lose at this point.
All of these things are changes that can be spun publicly as an attempt to make progress this season. However, in order to do this, once something is decided, it needs to be made public.
The fanbase has lost trust and faith that changes will happen, because well to be frank, they never do. What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
You can speak with Fuente and urge him to make these or other adjustments going forward as a gesture of good-will for the coming games. As well as a public display of trying to fix things for the rest of the season, which is what the fans are desperately looking for.
Separately, the larger issue is that the overwhelming majority of the fanbase want Fuente or Cornelsen or both relieved of their duties. Now while that may happen anyway at the end of the season, I am more concerned about the here and now. Having Fuente install certain operational adjustments in the current regime for the rest of the season can go a long way with fans who are looking for any light at the end of the tunnel, but if that doesn’t happen…
December is coming... and if nothing appears to change this season the pitchforks will be out more than they were going to be already.
Whit, you've done great things on every other Virginia Tech sport. From men's and women's basketball, to wrestling, to men's and women's soccer, to baseball and beyond.
Please do the right thing for football.
A concerned Hokie fan