A few extra days to get ready for Saturday’s game against Boston College was just what offensive lineman David Wang needed after the Hokies’ back-to-back Thursday night losses to Pittsburgh and Miami.
Now Wang and his teammates hope the extra time helps them get their season back on track.
The Hokies (4-4, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) have possibly played themselves out of the Coastal Division race, and much of the damage has come at home, where they have lost three of five games.
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The Eagles (5-3, 2-2) are unbeaten in three road games.
Wang said time away was what some Hokies needed after following their 21-16 loss at Pittsburgh with a 30-6 embarrassment against Miami at Lane Stadium. The game finished before a near-empty stadium.
”It has been a reality check and it’s crazy that did happen,” he said. ”We’ve had a few days off now since Thursday and I think everybody has gotten away from it and they’ve let off any steam that they had.”
This is the third consecutive season that the Hokies have struggled to live up to the standard that saw them win at least 10 games eight years running, and as the deficit mounted against the Hurricanes, boos occasionally cascaded down onto the field. The clearing stadium also was an unfamiliar sight to many.
Wang said he has no idea what’s wrong, or what’s missing, but hopes the fans keep the faith.
”We’re giving the effort. It’s going to click, and it’s going to be amazing when it does,” he said in a message to fans. ”It’s going to be a good time when it does. And I know we haven’t been all that great so far, but stick with us out there. We really appreciate y’all’s support and we need it at this point.”
What they also need, coach Frank Beamer said, is to put everything together.
”We need to win,” Beamer said. ”… I think the rest will probably be helpful. I think anytime you can get a couple days extra during this time of the year, it’s good for your football team.”
Beamer has said all year that the Hokies are a young team that would experience growing pains, and hopefully continue to get better, and he reiterated this week that that should be their focus.
In many ways, Boston College coach Steve Addazio said, they are a lot like the Eagles.
”They’re a young team, a building team. They’re on that roller coaster ride a lot like us, but there is a lot of talent on that team,” he said, adding that Virginia Tech showed what it is capable of doing when all three units are clicking in its 35-21 victory at Ohio State early in a season.
One of the most uncharacteristic elements of the Hokies’ slide has been the defense’s inability to stop the run. Pittsburgh ran for 210 yards, including 118 by quarterback Chad Voytik, and Miami ran for 364, the most ever against a team coached by Beamer. Duke Johnson’s 249 yards was the most ever by an opposing player in Lane Stadium, and backup Gud Edwards ran for 115 more, including a 38-yard touchdown.
The Eagles’ top runner is quarterback Tyler Murphy, who averages 7.5 yards per carry.
Cornerback Kendall Fuller said the extra time to get ready means more time to watch film and correct the gap mistakes that have led to some big plays.
Plus, he said, ”it kind of stops you from thinking about the Miami game.”
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