Athlon Sports names Justin Fuente its ACC Coach of the Year
The conference awards keep on rolling in for Virginia Tech after a successful 9-4 regular season. The latest award was given to Justin Fuente on Thursday afternoon, as Athlon Sports announced that the first-year coach of the Hokies has won ACC Coach of the Year.
Fuente inherited a Virginia Tech team that had not eclipsed the nine win mark since the 2011 season, and in his first season in Blacksburg, a complete team effort saw the Hokies win nine regular season games, while taking the then-number three-ranked Clemson Tigers to the brink in the ACC Championship.
The conference championship appearance was the first for Virginia Tech since the 2011 season, when the Hokies lost to a familiar foe – the Clemson Tigers (they’re pretty good, by the way).
This season, Fuente oversaw an improving Virginia Tech offense that finished the regular season as the 41st-ranked offense in the country, as the Hokies averaged 448.2 yards per game and scored 53 offensive touchdowns on the season. In addition, the Hokies averaged nearly six yards per play on the year.
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The offense was not the only area of improvement for the Hokies, as the Virginia Tech defense saw their unit jump in the rankings compared to years past. While Bud Foster’s defense has historically been one of the most consistent groups in college football, the Virginia Tech defense is much healthier, and as a result, is performing better than it has over the last couple of seasons.
The Hokies finished the regular season ranked 19th nationally in total defense, allowing only 342.8 yards per contest. The Hokies were also ranked in the top 30 nationally in scoring defense, yielding only 22.7 points per game to opponents on the season.
Improved play on both side of the ball, as well as an improved record and a conference championship appearance, are all good reasons as to why Justin Fuente is the Athlon Sports ACC Coach of the Year.
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