As I spent my Sunday recovering from the same old disappointment and perusing other sad Hokie blogs, I came across this on Kyle Tucker’s blog.
Jason Worilds, he came up to me and he was like, ‘Are you going to be good or are you going to be great? You’ve got to make some plays.’
That was Ryan Williams talking about what happened after his fumbled punt return. It got into my head, and it just will not get out. And, my friends, I think I have stumbled upon the “real” problem.
No one can argue that the Hokies have been good. 16 consecutive bowl appearances. 5 straight 10 win seasons. 3 Big East Championships. 3 ACC titles. 6 BCS bowl appearances. And I could go on. And you know what? All that is damn good. Especially for a little team in the southwest corner of Virginia whose only early claim to fame was a bunch of cows and then Bruce Smith.
It’s good to be good. It’s good to have top 25 rankings, and upper tier bowl appearances. It’s good to be the preseason pick for ACC champs. It is. Really.
But do we want to be good, or do we want to be great? Alabama wants to be great. USC wants to be great. Texas wants to be great. Oklahoma (and God bless that poor Sam Bradford) wants to be great.
So how do you get to be great? I think it’s a complicated formula of things. It starts with recruiting. The Hokies have become almost legendary for taking 2 and 3 star recruits and turning them into stellar players. The other schools I mentioned? They don’t have to do that, because they already have the 4 and 5 star players. It continues with coaching. The Hokies have made a living off special teams and defense. You can’t watch a game without hearing about BeamerBall, and how many interceptions to touchdowns the Hokies have. All that stuff is good. The big teams, however, have balance. Offense, defense, special teams. They can beat you at any facet of the game, because they ALL are strong. Alabama’s “weakness” was supposed to be their offense. It didn’t look so weak to me, especially when they stopped shooting themselves in the foot and started really playing. The Hokies cannot beat you with their offense. They simply cannot. We even needed a Macho Harris interception against Duke last year to get it done.
I read several comments Sunday about Tyrod Taylor’s performance in the Alabama game. This was the echoing theme: “Taylor didn’t do anything awful. He didn’t do anything to lose the game for us”. Yeah, but he didn’t do anything to help win it, either. Even when we desperately needed it. And I’m not busting on Tyrod at all. I still think he’s got talent, but I don’t think it’s being harnessed the correct way. Virginia Tech does not need a quarterback to simply help us not lose a game. We need a quarterback that can spark the offense and help us win. The offensive scheme against Alabama was conservative at best, and inert at worst. No surprises. No successful plays. No sustained drives, minus the ones kept alive by Bama penalties. And I’m not one for gimmicky plays, but I am one for plays that move you down the field and allow you to score. Isn’t that why we are there?
And finally, I think, you need a vision. A mission statement, as it were. Something to strive toward. And don’t tell me about the empty trophy case. Of course we have an empty trophy case. We have an empty trophy case because if we continue to win conference championships, we consider ourselves successful. And that’s okay. If you want to be just good.
I’m done ranting now. Check out what some other people had to say after the Bama loss:
Virginia Tech Fan wondered why we didn’t get the ball into the hands of our playmakers.
Fight for Old D.C. imagined an absolutely hilarious plane ride home from Atlanta. (I particularly liked the part about Jake Johnson. Gold.)
And, the Pigskin Pit was just overjoyed that the rest of the ACC played so well.
Better luck next week folks. Go Hokies.