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It's Jeers All The Way Down for Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh

By Justin Cates | November 21
Locked Arms min
Courtesy: Zach Lantz.

How many times can a program hit rock bottom?

This is one of those games where you half expect to return to Blacksburg only to find the locks on the coaching staff's office doors have been changed.

I'll start by reminding readers that this column forces me to find good and bad things to say every week. Sometimes it's easy, lately it has been a struggle. That's why I enjoy it but man have the Hokies made it difficult to find nice things to say. I always try to find three of each but that's just not happening this week.

Three Jeers

Brad Cornelson

Criticizing the offensive coordinator is a time-honored tradition at most every school, and Tech is no exception. Still, things have been trending in a bad direction recently and while there are many reasons one can point to, situational play-calling and personnel usage by Cornelson has been a huge issue. There were a few glaring examples in this game, starting with an ill-fated double reverse on first down deep in Pitt territory. Tech later ran consecutive QB runs up the middle on third and long and an unconverted fourth and short. After Hendon Hooker completed his longest pass of the game to that point, he was promptly pulled for Quincy Patterson who just ran up the middle and threw bubble screens.

Let's not even discuss the awful sequence with Tech blowing it at the goal line.

This is probably worthy of a column in itself, but there are serious issues for an offense that has been regressing as the season has dragged on. There's no creativity in the calls, no interesting use of personnel, just a listless unit with occasional bursts of excitement for a play here and there.

Program Reputation

Well, if things weren't already tarnished enough after the Liberty debacle and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against Miami this game should do it.

Virginia Tech football is staring down the barrel of a losing season and a terrifying match up against Clemson in two weeks. As Mike alluded to in the above tweet, it's awfully difficult to justify making an incredibly expensive coaching change this season but if Tech loses out it may be hard not to do it. With six or seven wins maybe you could get away with just making changes to the offensive staff, but at this point it's hard to imagine that's going to be enough. Then again the money may dictate that's all Tech can do which is an entirely different issue.

Changing the offensive staff certainly won't be enough to placate the fans, media, and most dangerously recruits. I don't envy Whit Babcock right now that's for sure.

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

This was not a good Pitt team. They have an all-world defensive line but they entered at 4-4 for a number of reasons. Tech got worked by a .500 team in what has become the calling card for the Justin Fuente era. Just a miserable outing against a team they have the talent to beat. I really feel for guys like Hendon Hooker or Khalil Herbert who are out there still gutting it out in a lost season. Hopefully we don't see a rash of opt-outs now that the season is completely lost.

One Cheer?

The Game Ended

That's it. I had a solid sandwich in pregame which was nice and there are some comical memes floating around now as every Hokie watches things burn to the ground. I stand by my previous articles. I think there were some positive things to point out after the other recent losses. Not so this week.

I made the joke recently with a Liberty alumnus after their win that, "I said Liberty hasn't played anybody coming in to the game, and I think that may still be the case."

No one's joking now.


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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