Danny Nokes: Don't panic
On Saturday at Heinz Field, the Virginia Tech Hokies suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Panthers.
The Hokies’ inability to run the ball and their inexperienced offense were exposed, resulting in a mere 324 yards of total offense.
After Saturday’s game, some of you might be asking yourselves: Is it time to panic?
I’m here to tell you that no, it’s absolutely not time to panic.
First of all, the Hokies go through this same situation every year, where they don’t play up to their potential and end up being “upset” by a less-talented team. In other words, they always need a wake up call or a game that makes the team realize they can be beat.
However, the Hokies’ coaching staff is one of the most respected and experienced in the country and is going to know what adjustments to make.
Clearly, the biggest concern so far for Tech has been its running game. Through three games, the Hokies have only amassed 342 total rushing yards — 100 of them coming from redshirt-freshman Michael Holmes.
With only one returning starter on the offensive line and a brand new running back, a slow start should have been expected. It takes more than three games for a unit with so many new players to gel. Also, whether it has been David Wilson, Ryan Williams or Darren Evans, Frank Beamer always finds a way to churn out an unprecedented amount of rushing yards each season.
Look for Beamer to find a way to get Michael Holmes into a rhythm, where he’s running confidently and effectively like past Tech tailbacks. The only way to establish that rhythm is to simply feed Holmes the ball and let the offensive line go to work.
Logan Thomas also had a poor showing in Saturday’s game throwing three interceptions, and looked rattled after the Hokies got behind early. Don’t expect that to happen again.
Remember, Thomas is also establishing chemistry with new receivers this year. We all know what kind of potential the guy has judging from last year’s performance and also by looking at his 6-foot-6, 260-pound frame.
Last year, it wasn’t until the Miami game (week six) that Thomas started playing with confidence. From there, he led the Hokies to the Sugar Bowl on the way to being named second team All-ACC. This year Thomas has also shown flashes of brilliance, but has yet to completely settle in. It’s only a matter of time until he does.
The defense may also be of concern after allowing 537 total yards of offense to Pittsburgh. However, when your offense turns the ball over four times in the first half, it’s extremely difficult to stop that momentum.
Led by Bud Foster, one of the best defensive minds in college football, this squad will turn it around within a week. With the talent to be one of the best defensive units in the country, look for the Hokie defense to play with more emotion in the upcoming games.
The bottom line is that this Tech squad has only played three games together. The more games the Hokies play together, the better they get. That’s been the case for years now and this year shouldn’t be any different.
Frank Beamer’s squad will still be ready to make that late season push for the ACC Championship like it always is.