Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
Virginia Tech won their second game in a row this past weekend with a dominant 45-0 shutout victory at Georgia Tech. In the process, the Hokies proved a few things about who they are as a football team.
Bud Foster is Not Going Out Quietly
Two weeks ago against Wake Forest, Virginia Tech honored longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster. Some fans questioned why the ceremony took place so early, considering the Hokies still had three more games left at that time.
However, anyone who has been around Foster knows that he is not one to quit before the job is done. Ceremony or not, Foster is going to pour his all into the last few games of the season, and he proved that against Georgia Tech.
The Hokies came out hungry and aggressive on the defensive end, and they maintained that urgency throughout the game. Virginia Tech held Georgia Tech to 134 total yards in the game.
In addition, the Hokies became the first team to shutout the Yellow Jackets since 1997. Yet even amid that success, Foster was much more anxious to talk about the next game than the previous one.
“As good as we played this last week, it’s going to be a different game, different mindset,” Foster said Tuesday. “We’re going to have to get ready for a 60-minute fistfight, so to speak.”
During Frank Beamer’s tenure at Virginia Tech, he and Foster both preached about not getting too caught up in the highs or the lows of a single game in a long season. Foster has continued coaching with that mindset, and it seems to be paying off on the field.
James Mitchell is a Real Threat
Since spring practice and even before, the Virginia Tech coaching staff has been very high on TE James Mitchell’s potential. In a season where Mitchell has put together multiple solid games, last Saturday’s was certainly his best.
Mitchell finished the game with four receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. He flashed his ability to accumulate yards after the catch on multiple occasions.
Saturday was Mitchell’s sixth game of this season with multiple receptions.
Against Wake Forest, Mitchell caught three passes for a career high 58 yards. Against Georgia Tech, he exceeded those marks with four catches for 90 yards, setting a new career high for the second-straight week.
It is clear that Mitchell has continued to develop throughout the season, and the Hokies are starting to see that play out on the field.
In addition to his abilities as a receiver, Mitchell has been very effective as a blocker. That allowed him to fake a block and then slip out to the end zone on his touchdown catch.
Hendon Hooker has proved many times that he is not afraid to throw to his tight ends often. Having weapons such as Dalton Keene and James Mitchell make that possible.
Caleb Farley is a Top Corner in ACC
Caleb Farley has proven time and time again that he has vastly improved since last season, his first at the cornerback position. As the season progresses, Farley is proving to be one of the top corners in the entire ACC.
Against Georgia Tech, Farley intercepted Graham in the second quarter and took it to the house. It was yet another indication that Farley is one of the most solid cornerbacks in the country.
Farley is first in the ACC with 15 total passes defended (4 interceptions, 11 pass breakups) this season. He is averaging 1.5 passes defended per game, which also leads the conference.
Defensive coordinator Bud Foster said there are two main factors that have contributed to Farley’s improvement this year.
“Number one is experience, and number two and most importantly, I think more than anything it’s his practice habits,” Foster said. “He’s working hard to be disciplined on his technique and fundamentals on a consistent basis.
While cornerback was a big question mark going into the season, Farley has solidified the position for the Hokies. He will be a big factor in the Hokies' success for the rest of the season as they make a run at the Coastal title.
Offense Clicks with Hendon Hooker
If there was any question that Hendon Hooker elevates the play of everyone around him, he answered that again on Saturday. The Hokies tallied 461 total yards en route to the 45-point victory with Hooker at the helm.
Over the last two games, Virginia Tech has averaged 40.5 points and 465.5 points per game with VT having their five highest-scoring performances of this season in Hooker's five starts.
What's become clear is that Hooker simply takes this offense to another level.
One specific aspect of the game that Hooker excels at is spreading the ball around. As an example, while Virginia Tech had 238 rushing yards on Saturday, no one player reached fifty yards.
Instead, the Hokies had eight different players see carries, and six of them exceeded thirty rushing yards. This Virginia Tech team is most effective when they can get production from a variety of players, and Hooker facilitates that style of offense extremely well.
The Hokies will need to continue that offensive production this week. Pittsburgh’s defense is one of the best in the country, so Virginia Tech will face a tough test. Hooker will need to continue his stellar play as a starter for the Hokies to pick up their sixth win in the past 7 games.