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Cheers and Jeers: Virginia Tech vs. Boston College

By Justin Cates | November 05
Screen Shot 2021 11 05 at 11 05 32 PM
Photo Credit: Zach Lantz

With Tré Turner out for the Hokies and Phil Jurkovec in for the Eagles, this didn't have a great feeling in pregame for Tech fans. It turned out to be worse than folks could have imagined.

There were shades of the 2006 trip to Chestnut Hill when a ranked Virginia Tech squad got embarrassed 22-3 on a Thursday night. Kirk Herbstreit ripped into the Hokies then for having players goofing around on the sidelines despite catching a whoopin' on national TV.

The announcers couldn't even be bothered Friday because this isn't the same program and no one was laughing. No this was a different kind of embarrassment. The Hokies have already fallen too far to make a big fuss about the train wreck we're all witnessing in real time.


Special Teams and Hard Running

The Hokies did have a couple of nice plays from the punt coverage team. After he was whistled for a penalty on the previous punt return, freshman legacy Jalen Stroman bounced back to make a great diving play to down a punt at the Boston College two. Oscar Shadley touched up another one inside the five as the first half mercifully ended. John Parker Romo also had the only scoring for Tech with a 47-yard field goal to keep the scoring streak alive at least one more game.

The only offense came from the tailbacks who continue to run hard. Raheem Blackshear and Malachi Thomas combined for 25 carries and 137 yards. They had some nice runs but no help from the passing game.

This ends any and all positivity in this space.


What on Earth Was The Offensive Strategy?

Criticizing play calls is the easiest and often laziest thing observers at any level can do. Still, there are times when the choices made by the coaches are so egregious that folks can't be blamed for crying foul. This was one of those times.

The Hokies essentially refused to throw the ball in the first half, ultimately completing one pass for three yards. After Braxton Burmeister got hurt on a designed run play it made some sense to go run-heavy. That was apparently the plan from the start however with BB only attempting one woefully underthrown ball during his time out there. Knox Kadum came in and was oddly put in the position of running outside on a third and two with an empty backfield on his first drive. It's almost like the staff didn't notice the personnel change.

There were just lots of head-scratching moments like those which go on top of the pile of head-scratching moments this season, and during the overall Fuente tenure. On this night it was a large part of the reason the Hokies didn't make a red zone appearance until the 12-minute mark in the fourth quarter and overall and once again got absolutely blasted on national TV.

Lack of Depth Rears Its Head Again

Quarterback issues aside, Tech's lack of depth was very much on display Friday night. Jaden Payoute joined Turner on the inactive list which caused major issues for the receivers. Da'Wain Lofton was forced into heavy action and struggled. We even got a Changa Hodge sighting. The defensive line was also down to four players—one of whom is freshman Wilfried Pene who began his career as a tight end—and it comes as no surprise that they were largely blown off the ball by the Eagles' offensive line.

Years of recruiting misses and player transfers are coming home to roost in a rather unpleasant way. It couldn't come at a worse time for a coaching staff in dire straits and seemingly checked out.

Drop The Hammer Whit

The players finally gave up for the first time this season and why wouldn't they? Their coaching staff quit on them by running the football and punting down 14 points late in the fourth quarter. Everyone knows it's over and the only questions left are when will the announcement be made and can Whit Babcock manage to make a better hire this time. It's not just me either.
In the postgame Justin Fuente admitted he didn't realize Turner wouldn't be available and didn't know Stroman got banged up during the game. There's a wild disconnect there with the medical staff and really basic information that might be valuable for a head coach. It appears to be a fair microcosm of how things are run. It just keeps getting worse and now the public knows all about it.

Whit Babcock has some work to do and will have the last rather expensive word on the matter of course.

Let's hope it's goodbye.

My Dad graduated from Tech in 1981 and I’ve been attending Virginia Tech sporting events since I first moved to Blacksburg in 1988. I myself graduated in 2008 with a Communication degree. During my time as a student I was the Sports Director for WUVT and helped establish and run Planet Blacksburg, an independent student-run news website. I’ve since written for numerous publications including SBNation, Inside The ACC, and Sports Illustrated's AllHokies. Currently, I host The Justin Cates Show in addition to other contributions here at Sons of Saturday and various other sites as the need arises. I now live in a fortified compound in upstate New York with my wife and numerous animals. The smell of popcorn makes me think of Cassell.

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