With the shortened game week, the Hokies held their weekly interviews on Saturday and Sunday.
Here are three storylines for Thursday night’s game against Miami.
One characteristic of Frank Beamer coached teams has been consistency, particular on the road. This year, however, has been a different story.
Dating back to last season, the Hokies have lost six games away from Lane Stadium, including four losses in 2012.
That statistic is troubling for several reasons. The Hokies are especially young at several positions, making Thursday night’s game under the lights at Miami problematic.
Also, Beamer’s longest losing streak away from Lane Stadium is nine — the first nine of his tenure at Tech. For the Hokies to avoid reaching that number, they’ll need to focus on the task at hand.
“It’s real now,” said Bruce Taylor, linebacker. “It’s win or go home for the most part. If we win this game and two more ACC games, we’re at the ACC championship game and could go to the Orange Bowl. Or, we could lose this game and it could be completely out of our hands and it wouldn’t be good for us.”
Taylor, a redshirt-senior, has been through plenty of battles with the Hokies. He feels the Hokies play a little differently on the road than they do at home.
"I just feel like we have a different enthusiasm for home games than we do away games, which we can't have," Taylor said.
Beamer summed up the collective mindset of his team during his Monday morning teleconference.
"At this time of year, you want your games to be important, and this one certainly is," he said.
After suffering a right ankle sprain in the season opener against Georgia Tech, defensive tackle Luther Maddy has been struggling to find consistency.
Maddy was a big part of the Hokies ability to sack the quarterback 10 times against Duke and Clemson after recording only eight sacks in the first six games.
“(He’s) a hell of a pass rusher,” Taylor said. “Probably, no lie, the best one we have.”
Maddy played last season as a true freshman, surprising his coaches and teammates when he arrived on campus. The fact that he was only a two-star recruit by Rivals is only one motivating factor.
Bud Foster and the defense as a whole has improved greatly over the last two games. They are, however, aware that there is a big difference between good and great.
“You can’t be good eight out of 10 times on this level, because that 20 percent of the time is going to get you beat,” Foster said. “But yeah, I like how we’ve worked. These kids are not satisfied. They know that they’ve got expectations here and they’ve got accountability.”
Hokies getting healthy
Although the Hokies defense seems to just be hitting its stride, Foster and the Hokies are getting some key players healthy.
Backup center Caleb Farris, who has been fighting an ankle injury for several weeks, is back practicing according to Beamer. His status is uncertain for the Miami game.
Cornerback Kyle Fuller, still battling a shoulder injury, also has a groin pull to deal with. He was injected with something that held him out of a few practices, but he’s back in there now.
“He looks very good to me right now,” Foster said. “He looks healthier than he’s been.”
Linebacker Tariq Edwards, who is still rehabbing from a knee injury, played sparingly against Clemson. Foster is still working the linebacker rotation to get him more snaps, but it all depends on practice performance and game situation.