2021 Virginia Tech Hokies

Pitt is coming off a bye week. They will enter Saturdays game with an overall record of 4 – 1 (1 – 0 ACC). Their opponent the Virginia Tech Hokies (VT) are 3 – 2 but are tied with Pitt for the Coastal division lead. Here are the standing from the ACC season web site.

The Hokies are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Notre Dame (ND). After taking an eight point lead with about 3:45 left on the clock, VT allowed ND to first tie the game with a touchdown and 2-point conversion. After a VT punt, ND won the game on a field goal with 16 seconds left.

Here are the standing from the ACC season web site:

Year to date schedules for both Pitt and VT.

Both Tech’s (Georgia and Virginia) have played North Carolina. Georgia Tech won by 23. VT won by seven. Does that mean anything? Nah. Just a factoid.

Here is the NCAA stat comparison. Those highlighted in yellow are Hokie advantages. A new layout. I hope it makes it easier to compare.

The Individual NCAA stats. Same old Layout. Those in a pale orange are transfer portal entries. Those in blue are out either for the year or this game. I will be using those coding throughout this article.

On to the individual stats. Of course, starting with the QB’s:

VT is concerned with the loss of Conner Blumrick for this game (and probably more). Blumrick, in for an injured Braxton Burmeister, was the QB who was leading the charge to VT last score when he was injured. Burmeister in obvious pain replaced Blumrick.

Will Burmeister be fully recovered? If not, VT is left with Knox Kadum (Rivals 2019  5.5  3*) and Tahjamell Bullock (Rivals 2021  5.6  3*). I would be concerned if Pitt was down to Davis Beville and Nate Yarnell as the backup to Kenny Pickett.

What about the running backs and receivers?

A comparison of GT and Pitt.

See anything interesting?

Some defensive individual stats. From ESPN team stats and compared to NCAA statistics for accuracy. I did find a discrepancy in the NCAA stats. The NCAA in the above individual leaders has Nasir Peoples with 40 tackles. But he has only 39 in his individual NCAA stats.

I again used the top 15 in tackles for both teams. In total, Pitt has 36 and VT 28 players who made at least one tackle (solo or assisted)/sack/pass defended (PD)/interception/forced fumble(FF)/ fumble recovered(FR). I did add some stats to compare the “chosen fifteen”.

As usual, I do not have any stats for offensive line play. But I do have sacks and tackles for loss (TFL) allowed. Maybe I need to open my shackled wallet and subscribe to Pro Football Focus (PFF).

As to turnovers here is a comparison.

The below is a question from the SBNation Notre Dame site One Foot Down and an answer from the VT site Gobbler Country. Read the whole article at:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football: Virginia Tech Hokies Q&A with Gobbler Country – One Foot Down

2. How do you and the Hokies faithful feel about Justin Fuente? Obviously following a legend is always tough, and he started his tenure strong, but he’s 22-19 since 2018. Do you still think he’s the right guy for this job? Is this a critical season for him to prove himself?

Bryan D. Manning: Justin Fuente is a nice guy. A good family man. But Virginia Tech fans have been ready for a new regime for two years — at least. He came here as a “QB guru,” but yet QBs get worse under his watch and leave.

The offensive scheme is boring and unimaginative. Be ready for 20 jet sweeps on Saturday. Fuente has never endeared himself to the fans, the community, or to former players, so he isn’t a popular guy. If he won more games, people could overlook that. He doesn’t. Some big streaks have ended under Fuente’s watch.

82 thoughts on “2021 Virginia Tech Hokies

  1. Folks, subsequent tests have shown that my son has small cell cancer in both his lungs. We start chemotherapy next week. With that I’ll not have the time (or energy I expect) to do much with the POV. No need for sympathy comments – you have all been very gracious with that already and thank you.

    Both Rich in SC, author of many recent articles, and Mike (ex-editor) have been doing all the work. Thanks to them for that. The VT Gameday & predictions piece will post Friday evening at 8:00.

    Have a good Pitt football experience from this point on, it looks like the best year in some time.

    Reed

    Liked by 9 people

  2. Fuente was considered a ‘hot’ hire coming from a successful stint at Memphis. His replacement there at Memphis was the hot hire when FSU hired him (Norvelle). Bronco, Manny , and Collins were also considered real good hires

    Hafley seems to be the best new ACC hire; yet he has no HC experience (considered to of prime importance by the recent ex-communicated)

    Best coaching jobs thus far this year is at Arkansas and Mich St. yet, both hiring were frowned on at the time .. especially Mel Tucket at MSU, which was considered big reach

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 2 people

  3. After the North Carolina game, I was a believer in VT going far behind that defense. But as we’ve seen since, UNC is not good and Tech gets more disappointing by the week. Giving up so many points/yards to a ND team playing 3 different QBs was a head scratcher. Three weeks ago, I thought Pitt would have no chance in this one, but now am very optimistic. Hopefully the offensive momentum continues.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great stuff Rich.
    It is always the interpretation of stats that is telling.
    The Pittsburgh stats are so inflated by the UMass and New Hampshire games as to make the meaningless.
    In VT’s soft games they did not run the score up as much and they had two tough OOC games vs our one.
    We won the close one they lost two close ones.
    Based on the numbers we definitely have the advantage in QB play, especially if Burmeister is not 100%
    I would say that they have a defensive advantage, based on our WMU game and their special team are historically much better than ours.
    They have a huge home field advantage.
    If our running game continues to improve, I think we have an advantage there.
    Of course we have the history of not playing well after bye weeks and of playing poorly in Blacksburg.
    They have the unknown of how well they bounce back after their fourth quarter meltdown.
    Does their targeting guy have to sit out a half and does that make a difference?
    With a potentially wet windy day increase chance of turnovers, hopefully that goes our way.

    Like our last game this one is crucial for both teams potential success or failure this year. A loss makes it much more difficult to achieve ultimate team goals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GC.. on Packer and Durham this am Packer said VT’s in conference home field conference record is 16-17 in the last 33 games. Roddy Jones and Wes Durham were thinking the same as we all do because of their great support/ environment but that fact sheds a different light on there home field (maybe no so) advantage! I

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  5. I see Tech throwing those quick outs that Narduzzi has never adjusted to move the ball on Pitt. When Pitt runs those it never works and sometimes can be disastrous (last game Shockey got blocked into Addison).

    I know Tech came into the season thin up front on defense. I’d love to go jumbo with Gonclaves as an extra blocker to pound the ball.

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    1. Kenny Pickett spoke up on the quick outs (bubble screens). Said they are a vital component for the offense because they force LBs to commit in that direction. Was able to cite a few running plays in the GT game that worked because they were set up by th ose bubble screens. Hearing thaat from him, I have to re-assess my own disdain for those plays.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. However it would be better if we actually executed some substantial yardage on this plays. Pitt has come real close to having those passes picked off in past games. We have tried it so often that our opponents are always looking to step in front of those passes. After all don’t you think our opponents have seen enough of those plays to not not be looking for them each game? Maybe a pump fake to a bubble pass might be a better call.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Pounding the ball is not what Pitt does best on offense. If Whipple decides to go that route he would be playing into VT’s hands. Scoring points without using up much of the clock is the game plan going forward. If Pitt gets a big lead we could attempt to bleed the clock in the 2nd half.

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  6. When coach’s jobs are on the line, it can produce reactions that are hard to predict. For example, will the VT players rally around the head coach to help save his job? Will they sense the blood in the water that he is gone and lose all discipline? Are they focused on game preparations or spending all their time reading the newspapers and social media? I wonder which team Pitt will encounter on Saturday.

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  7. My reality is that no ACC team has the personnel to dominate the league, and it would be unrealistic to think so

    Clemson still has the personnel and maybe they will come back reborn after the bye, but they are the only I would expect to be able to run the table

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rich, thanks so much for you outstanding effort and the great information. Helps make it fun for all of us.

    It’s the classic game of Pitt’s dynamic offense (even without the UMass and NH games) against VT’s stout defense. Seems like no matter the coach, VT has the advantage with special teams. If Pitt’s defense can play VT tough slowing it’s running game down and just pressuring it’s QB, Pitt’s offense should be able to put enough on the board to come away a winner.

    However, the last rainy, miserable game in Blacksburg shows us what can happen to Pitt in these conditions.

    If Pitt loses this one, I’d consider it a very disappointment given the lack of QB depth and limited offensive weapons for VT, but if VT starts off strong with special teams and/or TOs, at home, all bets on Pitt are in jeopardy.

    Not hard to imagine VT’s offensive strategy, shorten the game with running game and defense and win with special teams. Can Pitt keep stay patient, not turn the ball over or penalize itself and get VT off the field? If the answers are yes, yes, and yes, Pitt should be in a great position heading into the Clemson scrum.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I smell a lawsuit… they better not replicate my WUP’s creation… thanks for the scoop… Randy, you need to get Bob Medwid to Red5A… it was great BSing Dave Havern when he stopped by the tailgate !!!

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  9. Thanks, Richard. Good stuff.

    Walt always seemed to do well against the Hokies – have him talk to the team and maybe give them two plays… 😊

    I’m anxious already about this game! Can KP and the offense carry us to a win?

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I used “factoid” in my article. You used “factoid” yesterday in a comment. Her is another factoid. Pitt since Narduzzi became HC in 2015, is 7 – 2 after a bye week. Losses were in 2016 to VT and 2017 to UNC. In 2019 they were two byes and 2020 there were 3 byes (due to scheduled(1) and covid cancellations.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Thanks RICHARD! I really do love looking over those stats provided.

    My bookie retired, I wonder what Patsy would have said if I would have asked him to lay a bet down for me? Anyways, He was mostly a numbers man anyways.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I have to admit I am enjoying Wisconsin (Potato Paul) and Hawaii (Todd the Fraud) having bad years. I can’t forgive Paul for losing to Akron and Youngstown State…the worst two losses in program history.

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  11. Could the misconception of Pitt’s record after a bye week be juxtaposed with Pitt’s record on Thursday night games and the following Saturday?

    Pitt is 1 – 3 on Thursday games and 0 – 4 on the following Saturday games.

    Somewhat offsetting that are Friday games 2 – 0 and 1 – 1 the following Saturday.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. It’s time for Narduzzi to string a bunch of wins together one game at a time…. This is the year it has to happen… most of us oldsters remember that great feeling of PITT FB power/dominance…. Would love to feel that once more… but for not I’m still trying to get that sh#%%y taste out of my mouth from losing to lowly WMU who got thrashed by an even lower Ball State…..

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Stay positive BIG B. By sundown on Saturday the Hokie faithful will be herding toward the exits. Kenny hasn’t had any luck in Blacksburg; this is his redemption tour.

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    1. It wasn’t clear in that article whether the problem was with covid protocols or just general bad behavior. It did seem that pushing and shoving and overcrowding was part of it.

      Pitt won’t have that problem at Heinz.

      Except maybe getting on the busses after the 3rd qtr ends😂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. GC – PN told his players not to read the POV 4 years ago then when I interviewed the kids at Media Day that season in 1 on 1 talks, every one of them knew about and read the POV. A SR player told me that.

    No HC is going to be able to stop 18-22 year old kids from reading anything that might mention them…their egos are too large (not a bad thing at that age when you are asking them to go beat the crap out of the kid across from them on Saturday.)

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Pretty quiet on a Friday before a huge game.

    On Packer and Durham. If Pitt’s defense plays any good at all, they win and he wasn’t just talking about tomorrow.

    Honestly did anyone see this offense coming?

    I remember at the end of last season the negativos all saying how we would stink this year and few KOol-Aid drinkers being very positive.

    Of course it could all blow up again tomorrow, that’s the nature of Pitt and the POV.

    But when things are looking good this place gets pretty quiet.

    This is a lot like the Canada year with a strong offense except that we do have a pass rush this year and guys that can get to the QB. That year’s defense was one of the weakest ever. This year’s may not be as god as the last one, but there is still some talent and a lot more depth. Need those splash plays every week though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gordon, I thought the same thing about comparing this season to when we had Canada and Peterman. We wasted so many huge offensive outputs with putrid defense that year. Packer and Durham are spot on with their assessment as well.

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  16. Just heard Johnny McGonigal, who covers the Panthers for the PG, talking very positive about Pitt’s chances tomorrow. Likes them by 3 TDs.

    Oh crap!

    Go Pitt

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  17. I thought this set of Pitt LBs would play a bit better. I’m hoping SirVocea is settling in and gets more aggressive at the MLB spot.

    Would be great to see a big game from the LBs tomorrow – with lots of TFLs…

    Go Pitt.

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  18. Does anyone else have a feeling of dread about tomorrow? I just don’t have any faith in our defense. If Joe Milton of Tennessee could have thrown and the GA Tech qb could have been on target, we may have been toast in those two games.

    I expect a shootout at the OK Corral tomorrow and hopefully we have the last possession. Blitz it up defense and please limit a little of the man coverage.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Duzz is and will remain susceptible to the big play and giving up big yardage along as he is at the helm of the ship… occasionally running aground on his islands!

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    2. This is the kind of game Narduzzi typically loses especially after a week off. I hope I’m wrong but VT represents a transition point. A win will put us in or close to the the Top 25. A loss, well, that’s just typical Narduzzi.

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  19. Heard this from the AD of BC on Packer and Durham “Coach Hafley, staff and team have created a buzz about FB around the campus… people are flocking back to games.. there’s excitement in the air!”( reminded me of “ a Major change in PITT FB!)

    We all would love , need and deserve a good FB buzz… maybe after this week!!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Chris Peak said it best in his 3-2-1 column today and I agree, if the Pitt front 7 get pressure on the QB the D does well and if not the D is less than good to be kind. The only solution I can see is to get better play from Morgan and Alexandre at defensive end with the results being more added pressure on the QB. Does anyone here really feel much comfort in watching many less than great QB’s have a career day passing against the Pitt D?

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  21. The Pitt secondary scares me. Pitt’s DL and LBs should play average or better, which is good enough to slow things down. But that Pitt secondary can give up some big plays. I’m still thinking about them letting WMU score 44 points. The secondary is surely capable of playing very poorly on a bad day.

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    1. VT’s secondary scares me. A great CB and a great Safety.

      Think we will see some man coverage, allowing LBs to give Kenny a lot of pressure. Won’t be surprised to see Vincent Davis in early and for them to throw screens and TEs underneath.

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      1. GC – “did anyone see this offense coming?”

        No one here, including me. Much of what folks hang there hats on here in making a case for or against a point is historical data. A rear view mirror.

        The truth is that people around the program saw this coming. By people around the program, I’m referring to some of the major donors who get more access than we do. I’m aware of three people.

        When I first heard about this optimism, I didn’t think much of it. After WMU, I really doubted. Let’s see what happens during the next three weeks. Hope they could see what I and others couldn’t.

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  22. Guys… such is life under Narduzzi’s style of D….will they shut VT down or give up 400 plus yards and get torched multiple times…..IMO, He ain’t no Foge as a D specialist/ coach…

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    1. The Narduzzi/Bates problem is they only play one style of D and if it ain’t working that day they continue to play it anyway. My major problem with Narduzzi as the head coach has been his(and assistances) lack of any half time adjustments that might give our opposition something different to look at.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. But every look is man to man. They just switch assignments!

          WMU has been thoroughly shut down by zone D. It’s beyond embarrassing that Pitt lost to them cause of Duzz obsessions of leaving his men on islands.

          Maybe after Burmeister RPO tears them apart tomorrow, he’ll change it up! Nah

          Liked by 1 person

  23. As a side note tonight Clemson versus Syracuse on ESPN at 7pm. I’m just wondering if Syracuse just might give Clemson some problems to make this game competitive.

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    1. Syracuse OL banged up but Clemson isn’t the same team without Travis Lawrence… could this be a precursor of what to expect from PITT next year….

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  24. jrnpitt forgot the link to the free 3-2-1 column on the Panther-Lair site.

    https://pittsburgh.rivals.com/news/the-3-2-1-column-the-path-ahead-what-to-expect-in-blacksburg-and-more

    I read Peaks 3-2-1 column every Friday. I especially liked this column because he talked about red zone offense (Pitt – #33), did some number crunching (which really got my attention) and Pitt is #4 in red zone scoring,

    Peak also addressed the DB/DLine pressure issue.

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  25. Just back from the shore, and first thing I do is check this blog, says something about my mental health, huh? Anyhow, good news is it looks like showers only in AM. That’s good because I believe KP is not very good in the slop.Bad news is it’s still gonna be windy. I hate having the game rest on one kid, but hey, that’s college ball.

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