Virginia Tech Football: Things are not as bad as they look through 6 weeks

Sep 16, 2023; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Brent Pry reacts during the first half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 16, 2023; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Brent Pry reacts during the first half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

Six weeks through the 2023 season, the Virginia Tech football team sits at 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the ACC. The storylines surrounding the Hokies are nearly endless. Coach Brent Pry has come under fire in his second season, as have his two coordinators, Tyler Bowen (offensive coordinator) and Chris Marve (defensive coordinator).

After winning the season opener, 36-17, over Old Dominion, the Hokies dropped three in a row to Purdue, Rutgers, and Marshall before opening ACC play with a dominating 38-21 victory over Pittsburgh. Last weekend, they dropped a 39-17 decision on the road at then-fifth-ranked Florida State.

This upcoming weekend, Virginia Tech is hosting Wake Forest for Homecoming Weekend before entering what is turning into a much-needed bye week. Halfway through the season at 2-4, it looks gloomy in terms of becoming Bowl-eligible, but as silly as it seems, the last couple of performances have been promising and a win over Wake Forest this weekend would give you some reason for hope following the bye week.

Virginia Tech has played better on offense the last two weeks

Through the first four games, the offense looked like a hot mess under Bowen. Starting quarterback Grant Wells was injured in the second game of the season against Purdue and Baylor transfer Kyron Drones has played the last four games. His first two games were slow baby steps, but in the last two weeks, Bowen has finally committed to getting the running game going and using Drones’ skill set and he adds another dimension that they don’t have with Wells.

Drones is a duel-threat QB and that has been evident for the last two weeks. He has shown more confidence throwing the ball and running the ball, he has been able to tuck it and run when the protection breaks down. Saturday against Florida State, he ripped off a 40-yard run in the second quarter on a very good Seminoles defense. There is a lot to like with the recent performance of Drones.

Running back Bhayshul Tuten has been the best offensive player for the Hokies in the last two weeks. He is running with confidence, the offensive line is doing a better job opening holes, and getting him going has opened up the offense. Malachi Thomas has also done a good job of spelling some time for Tuten.

Virginia Tech’s defense needs to improve

For one night this season, the Hokies defense played well against Pittsburgh. Yes, they allowed two big plays for the Panthers’ scores, but they were all over quarterback Phil Jurkovec, and heck, they forced Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi to bench his transfer QB and give him some practice snaps at tight end. Mercy.

Giving up the big plays has been the bugaboo with Tech’s defense in 2023 and after creating three turnovers in the season-opening win over Old Dominion, they have struggled to create more, which has caused them to stay on the field longer than they need to. Against FSU, you knew the big plays were eventually going to come and they did, in the second half, after Tuten returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown to cut a 22-0 deficit to 22-17. I’m not saying that the Hokies were going to win the game without allowing the big plays, but the big plays have been tough for them to overcome this season.

Despite 2-4 record, the schedule is manageable

With six games remaining, the Hokies need to win four of the six games to become Bowel-eligible and truth be told, the schedule is doable. No, seriously, it is. Beginning with Wake Forest this weekend at home, Tech has a home game with Syracuse on a Thursday night (Oct. 26) following the bye week, then games with Louisville, North Carolina State, Boston College, and Virginia. It’s not a daunting schedule.

The toughest game is Louisville as the undefeated Cardinals are a threat to make the ACC title game Syracuse started 4-0, but has lost two in a row, but they will be tough with QB Garrett Shrader. NC State is not unbeatable, while BC and Virginia are very much winnable. Getting to 6-6 is not out of the question.

I said it earlier this season, Virginia Tech caught a huge break with the ACC schedule this season, not having to play North Carolina, Duke, or Miami. Outside of Louisville and maybe Syracuse, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Hokies beat the other four teams. Three weeks ago it seemed like it would be unrealistic, but now with the way the offense is playing, anything is possible. A win over Wake Forest this upcoming weekend makes for a very interesting final five games following the bye week.

Justin Fuente returns to college football. light. Must Read