Four weeks into the 2023 college football season, Virginia Tech was sitting at 1-3 with a lot more questions than answers. Second-year head coach Brent Pry was on the hot seat and fans were wondering if he was the guy to lead them through a rebuild that they would be hoping wouldn’t take too long.
Oh how quickly things have changed.
Since ACC play began, the Hokies have won three of their first four games and sit at 3-1 in third place, a half-game behind Louisville, the same opponent that is on Tech’s schedule this upcoming weekend. A win on the road for Virginia Tech puts them in the driver’s seat for a berth in the ACC title game in December against Florida State, but as the week progresses, the question must be asked, is Brent Pry going to have his team ready?
Slow starts have been an issue under Brent Pry at Virginia Tech
In the three road games the Hokies have played this season against Rutgers, Marshall, and Florida State, the biggest issue facing Pry and his team is slow starts. He spoke about that after the 39-17 loss at FSU on Oct. 7.
It happened at Rutgers and Marshall, albeit, the Hokies battled back to make a game of things but couldn’t complete the comeback. Same thing in Tallahassee against the Seminoles. After spotting the top team in the ACC 22 points in the first quarter, Virginia Tech rallied to cut the deficit to 22-17 early in the second half on a Bhayshul Tuten 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but more big plays from FSU sealed the win.
When conference play started, nobody, not even the biggest Virginia Tech fan would have imagined that the Hokies would be traveling to Louisville on the first Saturday in November with a chance to take control of the second and final berth in the ACC championship game. Nobody.
There are several reasons for the turnaround in Blacksburg with the the two biggest being the offense and defense. Quarterback Kyron Drones has got more and more comfortable each week and offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen has committed to the run more and it’s paying off. Defensively, they have suffocated opposing offenses against Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and Syracuse. Yes, not exactly three of the better teams in the conference, but hey, you play who is on your schedule each week.
This week, Pry’s job is to have his team ready to go and avoid a slow start that has been an issue in the other road games. Louisville is 4-1 in the conference with their lone loss coming on the road at Pittsburgh. Yeah, I don’t know how that happened, but each week everyone is beatable. If the Hokies can take care of business this week, they finish with three winnable games, but the first step is Pry having his team ready to go for the Cardinals in a game that nobody saw having as much meaning as it does.
This is Brent Pry’s biggest in-season week of his tenure with the Hokies so far.