I wrote about how those things might be beneficial long-term, provided the Hokies are willing to take a clear-eyed look in the mirror. There are cracks in the foundation — particularly special teams and the power running attack — that must be addressed, and yes, that includes considering staff changes to improve the results. (Update: column now posted here.)
A few quotes from Beamer:
“For whatever reason, we’re having trouble putting it together. When you play a team game, everybody’s got to be together. We’re a little bit off here and a little bit off there, and the end result is you don’t do things to win a football game.”
“We just didn’t produce points. Again, we had how many, 400-something yards , but points is the name of the game. And turning the ball over in the red zone twice? That’s what I’m talking about, execution. Defensively we gave up a couple of long plays. Execution. We get a punt blocked, a guy bobbles the ball, and get a punt blocked. Execution. Kickoff coverage — we got a guy that that gets out of position and all of a sudden it pops on us. Execution. And again, for this football team, it hurts because we’re so close, and you take four or five plays and all of a sudden that gets the game going the other way.”
“All of us here — coaches, players, everyone — could’ve done some things better.”
On Logan: “I think he’s kind of like the rest of the team. I thought he played tough as heck and put in the efffort and had three plays he’d like to have back. And that could probably be said by just about everybody on our football team. You don’t get them back, though. You’ve got to make them when you have the chance.”
“I think the greatest thing you can play for, when it’s all said and done, is pride. When it looks tough, you really see what people are made out of, and things are really tough right now.”
“I’ve always said there’s a thin line between being OK and not OK. I think sometimes you just assume you should win 10 games and that should happen. But it doesn’t just happen.”
“There’s no question we’d like to run the ball better. There’s no question about that. But we’ve said that for a long time, too.”
On special teams: “We spend a lot of time on that, but it’s pretty simple: The punters catch the ball, and you kick it. When you’ve got a lane in a kickoff coverage, you stay in that lane. It’s pretty simple, and we spend a lot of time on that. You just execute.”
So here’s the deal moving forward: Tech (4-5, 2-3 ACC) has to win two of its final three games to qualify for a bowl game. Florida State comes to Blacksburg next Thursday. If the Hokies lose that one, they’ll have to win at BC and at home against Virginia, both of which are in last place in their respective divisions.
Miami, at 4-2 in the league, is your likely Coastal rep. The Hurricanes’ final two conference games are at Virginia and at Duke.
That’s it for tonight. As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
Final: Miami 30, Virginia Tech 12. Back with more later.
THIRD QUARTER: Hokies have the ball near midfield, still trailing this one 20-12. The scoring came to a halt but there were opportunities for Tech.
A second red zone turnover by Thomas, this one a fumble inside the 5, derailed the best chance for Tech. Miami averaged 1 foot per play in the period and punted on all four of its possessions.
SECOND QUARTER: The Hokies kick a 20-yard field goal as the half ends to cut the deficit to 20-12. Red zone woes, porous defense and special teams gaffes have been the story thus far, but there are points to be had for both teams in the second half.
Beamer gave the officials an earful before heading to the locker room. Appeared he called timeout during the last drive and wasn’t granted one, which cost Tech valuable seconds and perhaps at least one more shot at the end zone.
Tech is averaging 6.4 yards per offensive snap, which is good, but the Hurricanes are averaging 8.8. Tech’s defense allowed back-to-back passing plays of over 25 yards on Miami’s last scoring drive; on the scoring drive before that, the Hokies allowed a 65-yard run by Duke Johnson. Tackling has been an issue again.
Thomas has 120 of Tech’s 162 rushing yards. That’s already a career-high for him, and it was juiced by his 73-yard touchdown run early in the quarter.
So much for the paring down of the running backs. Coleman has three carries, Holmes six, Gregory four. Scales has yet to get a tote.
The Hokies are on pace for 564 yards of offense but they must do a better job of cashing in on scoring opportunities. When the field shrinks, they just don’t have the muscle to line up and run over anybody — even a Miami team that ranks 119th out of 120 FBS teams in rushing defense.
Only one turnover so far — Thomas’ interception in the first quarter.
With Demetri Knowles leading the way, the Hokies have averaged 34.3 yards on four kickoff returns. Miami (as mentioned earlier) got 81 on its only return and will get the ball to start the second half.
FIRST QUARTER: The period ends with Miami leading 14-3, and the Hurricanes haven’t had to work hard for it.
Twice, they’ve scored touchdowns on two-play drives. Twice, they were set up by special teams gaffes — a blocked punt before the first touchdown and an 81-yard kickoff return by Duke Johnson before the second one.
Tech has moved the ball between the 20s but has stalled twice in the red zone. Logan Thomas threw an interception to thwart the Hokies’ promising first drive, underthrowing a sideline pass to an open fullback. Tech later marched to the 5-yard line, but Michael Holmes got stuffed for a loss of 2 on first down and Tech wound up settling for a field goal.
You’ve got to be able to run the ball against this Miami defense, even if the Hurricanes know it’s coming. Hasn’t happened yet for Tech in those spots.
UM–Hurns 16 pass from Morris (Wieclaw kick), 8:33. Drive: Two plays, 16 yards, :11. Key play: Swasey returns blocked put to VT 16. Miami 7, Virginia Tech 0.
VT—FG Journell 22, 2:14. Drive: 12 plays, 44 yards, 6:19. Key play: Knowles 51 kickoff return to UM 49. Miami 7, Virginia Tech 3.
VT—James 16 pass from Morris (Wieclaw kick), 1:15. Drive: Two plays, 19 yards, :59. Key play: Johnson 81 kickoff return to VT 19. Miami 14, Virginia Tech 3.
VT—Thomas 73 run (kick failed), 10:39. Drive: Six plays, 93 yards, 2:29. Miami 14, Virginia Tech 9.
UM—FG Wieclaw 22, 9:08. Drive: Five plays, 70 yards, 1:31. Key play: Johnson 65 run to VT 10. Miami 17, Virginia Tech 9.
UM—FG Wieclaw 31, 3:28. Drive: 10 plays, 82 yards, 4:02. Key play: Watford 30 pass from Morris to VT 41. Miami 20, Virginia Tech 9.
VT—FG Journell 20, :00. Drive: 10 plays, 57 yards, 3:28. Key play: Coleman 10 run plus 15 personal foul penalty to UM 25. Miami 20, Virginia Tech 12.
UM—Johnson 7 run (Wieclaw kick), 7:38. Drive: Eight plays, 69 yards, 3:52. Key play: Scott 26 pass from Morris to VT 45. Miami 27, Virginia Tech 12.
UM—Wieclaw FG 37, 2:54. Drive: Eight plays, 44 yards, 3:24. Key play: Johnson 21 run to VT 35. Miami 30, Virginia Tech 12.
Virginia Tech, Tyler 4-4-0, Jarrett 4-1-0, Nicolas 4-0-0, Fuller 3-1-0, Bonner 3-1-0, Taylor 2-0-0, Vandyke 2-0-0, Wilson 2-0-0, Harley 1-1-0, Collins 1-1-0, Exum 1-1-0, Cole 1-0-0, Tweedy 1-0-0, Hopkins 1-0-0, Riley 1-0-0, Scales 1-0-0, McCray 1-0-0, Marshall 1-0-0, Hopkins 1-0-0, Malleck 1-0-0, Phillips 1-0-0, Gayle 1-0-0, Totals 38-10-0.
Miami, Johnson 6-5-0, Paul 8-0-0, Green 4-3-0, Gaines 4-3-0, Rodgers 4-1-0, Jenkins 4-0, Armbrister 4-0-0, Bush 3-0-0, Chickillo 3-0-0, Howard 3-0-0, Gunter 1-2-0, Perryman 1-2-0, Robinson 2-0-0, Wieclaw 1-1-0, McCord 1-1-0, Finnie 0-2-0, Highsmith 1-0-0, Thompkins 1-0-0, Terrry 1-0-0, Pierre 1-0-1, Swasey 1-0-0, Porter 1-0-0, Cornileus 1-0-0, Telemaque 0-1-0, King 0-1-0, Totals 56-22-1.
Greetings from Miami Gardens, where we’re 2 1/2 hours away from kickoff of Virginia Tech-Miami. Hokies are favored by 1.5 with the over-under set at 57.5.
If you want to check out the podcast Andy and I did about this game, you can find it here.
A big focus of that podcast was the Tech offense, and that’s the focal point again tonight. The Hurricanes are vulnerable defensively, particularly against the run, but can the Hokies take advantage?
Print deadline will be tight tonight, but we’ll try to do the usual format: thoughts on each of the first three quarters, then a wrap-up after the print column is filed.