Al be home for Christmas. Hoo can count on me. In most of the country, Thanksgiving Day ushers in the holiday season of carols and consumption. Not so in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In this neck of the woods the official start of festivities comes a couple of days later. That is when Tech beats the Hoos. It has become an annual rite.
Tech beat the Hoos, again. The number of days the Commonwealth Cup has spent on campus is now in the thousands. Does anybody in Hooville even remember what it looks like?
This one was a bit closer than usual. This had much to do with Tech having serious trouble in the Red Zone. While the Hokie offense had little trouble moving the ball between the twenties, once into scoring territory they quickly reverted into the bumbling bunch that had so thrilled Tech fans this year. A missed field goal from point-blank range, an interception in the end zone and a very curious call on Fourth down from the Hoo one all contributed to keeping this game closer than it perhaps should have been.
It isn’t often that Bud Foster gets caught flat-footed, but Tech’s resident genius sure did when algroh trotted out Vic Hall at quarterback. The ultra-fast Hall scampered by and around Tech defenders to the tune of a 14-7 Hoo halftime lead.
But, as is his habit, Bud adjusted at halftime and basically shut down Hall in the Second Half, along with it most any semblance of Hoo offense. It then became a question of whether Tech could figure out how to keep from continually shooting themselves in the Red Zone foot. They did, and that was that.
Of course, making halftime adjustments is a concept that seems to be a familiar one to only one coaching staff among those vying for the Commonwealth Cup. That was certainly on display as algroh trotted by an ESPN guy on his way to the halftime locker room and his exclamation of, “My god, we’re ahead.” When asked whether any adjustments were forthcoming, algroh responded that in Hooville, they are made “on the fly.” We can tell, oh Great NFL Legend.
The biggest Hoo adjustment had come during the week. It came when algroh was walking past the crib of boygroh and heard the little fellow exclaim, “Du…Du.” As algroh was changing boygroh and marveling that he was finally learning to talk and hopefully potty training was next, it suddenly popped into algroh’s steel trap mind that boygroh might have been referring to Duke.
A week earlier, Duke coach David Cutcliffe had tried the ‘Let’s get the heck out of this cold’ strategy of running the ball and the clock, shortening the game and keeping the score close. It had mostly worked.
While copying anything to do with Duke football might seem odd, certainly nothing much algroh had tried against Frank had worked, so why not give it a shot. The ‘keeping the score close’ part must have been especially appealing, since that had proven very tricky for algroh over the years against Frank.
Since Hooville academics and criminal justice system had caused algroh to have no quarterback on hand who could make it more than a couple of steps without tripping over his own feet, enter Vic Hall and lots of running. Nice try, algroh. It worked for a half.
There was the nagging question put to algroh, again, of with the best quarterback on his roster playing cornerback, why the Great NFL Legend had waited so long to make the move. algroh refused to answer, obviously in a hurry to begin making plans for an old-fashioned family Christmas at home. That ‘Back to Boise’ vow can take its place alongside all of those promises of multiple championships, or, increasingly these days, winning records.
The decision by algroh to keep his best quarterback in the defensive backfield was certainly applauded by Hoo AD Craig ‘Only three more years, Tubby’ Littlepage. Just back in the office after observing first that sterling effort by Fallback Dave in losing to Liberty and then algroh’s annual futility against Frank, Littlepage wasted little time in announcing that algroh’s contract would not be rolled over, again. That certainly interjected a buzzkill into the weekend celebrations by Tech fans. Hopefully Craig will, in the spirit of the season, find things to be thankful for, such as not having thousands of unsold bowl tickets cluttering up his office.
The Great NFL Legend can now head out recruiting, after, of course, that wonderful holiday season at home, telling prospects that the chances are pretty good that they will be playing a chunk of their careers for another coach. Given how algroh’s recent recruiting has gone, hoo knows, it might help.
On the other side of the field and state, Tech prepares to head to Tampa for yet another ACC Championship Game. After all of the trials and tribulations of this season, the offensive ineptitude and the wailing, pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth by most everybody who follows the program, Tech is right where they were forecast to be prior back in August. They certainly chose a most interesting way of achieving the goal.
This year’s roster had been decimated, first by graduation, then by a heavy thug factor and finally by key injuries. Despite constantly shuffling players and plugging new ones into the system, Frank and his coaches did manage to keep the team together and focused on the prize.
Though all of the pitfalls and pratfalls thrown their way and in the face of withering criticism from a media that crawled out from under Fran’s thumb, the screeching of message board loons and some hard questions from fans who most definitely do not qualify for loon status, Frank and his staff held this team together.
The end result was their third Coastal championship in four years and they will play for their third ACC one in five. Certainly the competence of Stiney and whether he will or should remain on the staff can and will continue to be debated but credit must be given where credit is due. These guys won. A lot of it goes to Bud, who most likely will not be on hand when Clemson introduces its next coach.
Tech now moves on to Saturday’s re-match with Fredo for all of the ACC football marbles and an Orange Bowl crack at Li’l E traditional power Cincy. Tech and Fredo playing for the ACC championship is becoming a habit. Tech winning them would be a nice one to continue.
Win or lose Saturday, Tech will be playing in a bowl, Frank’s sixteenth straight. Several thousand of us will be enjoying the holidays in a bowl city, hopefully a warmer one than Blacksburg has been the last couple of weeks.
After last Saturday’s result, algroh and the hoos will not. They don’t seem to be too thrilled over the turn of events at the Scissors. It is most definitely not a happy crowd, as my Sunday habit of finding amusement by reading the message boards of losing teams revealed. I certainly feel for them. In an effort to make their homebound holidays a little brighter, I do have a present for them. Enjoy, Hoos.