With 44 seconds left in Monday night’s game, Hokie fans were surely having feelings of deja vu, as Virginia Tech has notoriously come up just short in previous high-profile season openers —most notably Tech’s heart wrenching loss to Boise State in the 2010 opener on Labor Day.
This time, however, the stakes were even higher as the winner of the Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech game has won the Coastal Division crown and gone on to play in the ACC Championship game every year since its creation back in 2005.
But the Hokies were determined to prevent a recurring nightmare and delivered a win when it counted most — no bad dreams for Hokie fans this week. But the week isn’t over yet and there’s something hauntingly familiar about it.
Austin Peay, an Football Championship Subdivision team from Clarksville, Tenn., awaits the short-rested Hokies this Saturday, much like James Madison did in 2010 after the Boise St. loss.
JMU cashed in on the lingering Hokie hangover from the Boise St. loss, by shocking Tech in Lane Stadium, 21-16.
But even in light of the victory over Georgia Tech last Monday night, fans can’t help but draw comparisons between the two scenarios and wonder what Tech is doing to prevent another catastrophe.
Defensive coordinator Bud Foster is all over it with practice and preparation this week.
“We gave them yesterday off from a physical standpoint” Foster said. “We watched film with them and saw things that we needed to do better and today we had to cram in a Monday and a Tuesday all in one. Today was full pads day, tomorrow I think we’re going shorts and shoulder pads to kind of take it off of them.”
But don’t be fooled into thinking they’re going easy on the players this week.
“You know there are some guys that got some bruises and are banged up,” Foster said. “And we’ve got to respond. Our kids are sharp, we’re not going to beat them up but at the same time we’ve got to practice well and stay sharp and we just can’t go through the motions and think we’re going to show up on Saturday, so we’ve got to continue to improve and get better.”
It’s not all about what the players are doing in practice though, it’s what they do off the field as well.
“The biggest thing right now is they’ve got to get their rest, they need to be off their feet, they need to make sure they’re hydrated," Foster said, "Especially after the type of game we played which was a really physical contest.”
Redshirt-junior Jack Tyler, who recorded a career-high 17 tackles in Monday night’s game against Georgia Tech, knows the importance of getting a little extra rest and recovery in when you can.
“Just about everybody that came in today was in the cold tub at some point,” Tyler said. “It’s just one of those things where we all know what we have to do, you just kind of have to do it on your own time.”
The players are not only recovering physically, but also preparing themselves mentally for Austin Peay.
Redshirt-senior Corey Fuller, the back-up split end who put Cody Journell in field goal range with his 23-yard catch on Monday night, wasted no time getting ready for Tech’s next opponent with the short week in mind.