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Alabama's Saban Jabs at the Hokies' Offense

With its 34-24 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday, Alabama opened its season with a statement while issuing a reality check to the Hokies. But on Monday, Coach Nick Saban fired another salvo when asked about the Crimson Tide’s need to avoid a letdown this Saturday against Florida International.

Speaking about Florida International wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, Saban told reporters, “This guy No. 4 is a better offensive player than anybody that we played against last week.”

The sentence was part of a longer response about how Alabama has respect for Florida International and how its players are not taking the opponent lightly. But the it served as another hit to a Hokies offense that has not performed well in recent seasons. On Saturday, Virginia Tech showed signs of distress against Alabama’s top-ranked defense.

Over the years, Virginia Tech's offense has been a sensitive topic in Blacksburg.

Against the Crimson Tide, the Hokies amassed only 155 yards of total offense. With the Hokies failing to sustain drives and absent an offensive star – in a big-game setting, they missed the steady and productive presence of running back Darren Evans – the preseason talk about Virginia Tech’s offensive growth did not show through on Saturday.

The Hokies’ top performer was running back Ryan Williams, who rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Williams, a redshirt freshman, also had two receptions for 42 yards.

Hilton is an electric talent for Florida International. He had a breakout season in 2008, catching 41 passes for 1,013 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 24.7 yards per reception. He was also a first-team all-Sun Belt punt returner.

As a middling Sun Belt team, however, Florida International does not receive as much recognition nationally as Virginia Tech. At 5 feet 10, Hilton was and still is somewhat under the radar. He did not end up at one of the three major Florida universities and is not a household name in college football.

No. 14 Virginia Tech (0-1) takes on Marshall (1-0) on Saturday at Lane Stadium.

By Mark Viera  |  September 8, 2009; 2:22 PM ET
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Next: Balancing Time in the Backfield


If any of our offensive players are better than Hilton, there's no way anyone would be able to tell with Bryan Stinespring calling plays for them.

Posted by: JoshCVT | September 8, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Nicely done except for the fact that Hilton is considered by Bruce Feldman at ESPN as "one of the most dynamic players in the entire 2008 recruiting class." Did VaTech sign someone similar in '08? Saban went out of his way before and after the game to praise Virginia Tech for its toughness and resiliency. He now gives what can easily be assumed to be an honest assessment of an outstanding FIU player and its considered a "jab" and "another salvo" at the Hokies (when was the first by the way?). This is a non-story and one would assume it would never have been written but for a desire to take a cheapshot at Saban.

Posted by: troutcreekpass | September 8, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

My my, a sensational headline, it doesnt however convey quite the same meaning when you read the whole quote instead of just a sentence.

(In no uncertain terms, you’re a typical fan,” Saban told a reporter Monday, his voice rising as he delivered a 3-minute answer. “That’s fine. But I respect the people that we’re playing. I respect our opponents. I want our players to respect our opponents. This guy No. 4 (FIU receiver T.Y. Hilton) is a better offensive player than anybody that we played against last week. You understand that? Whatever your perception is and what they ought to be, I don’t think it’s that. I don’t want our players to think that either.)

Bama played a great team and now are about to play a team that might not be so great. The coach is pumping up his players to avoid a letdown.

Did you notice the part about respect ? Most reporters respect the who what when where why rule too. Most reporters do !

Posted by: gccwmark | September 8, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Don't really see the "jab", especially when you see the full quote. But I guess a faux controversy helps draw in readers. I love my Hokies, but the fact is we have a terrible offense. It is consistently bad and makes me long for the days of Rickey Bustle. Relying on our defense and special teams may keep us in the game for the majority of our schedule, but when it comes to top tier programs we'll never be able to compete without some sort of offensive production.

On a side note, the Alabama fans were a class act and I thoroughly enjoyed tailgating with them this past Saturday.

Posted by: waywardhokie | September 8, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Danny Snyder loves Penn State.

Maryland basketball will finish with a 15-16 record

No NCAA bid

No NIT bid

Maryland Football will finish with a 2-10 record.

Maryland's defensive line, offensive line and linebacker corps are a joke --- no pass rush whatsoever and give up a ton of long yardage plays.

I have seen harder hitting teams in powder puff leagues.

The only hard hits the Terps make - are out of bound plays - which cost them an additional 15 yards - which are quite frequent.

I love it, when Maryland constantly gets embarrassed on national TV.

It's hilarious to see Maryland win a game - and the very next week get clobbered by a Virginia Tech - Boston College.

It is great to see Maryland go down to a crushing defeat on the football recruiting front (the kids they have received commitments from - are a joke! - taking the bottom of the barrel)

Carolina Blue - Carolina WHITE - Go Tar Heels - Let's go Tar Heels !

Posted by: hclark1 | September 8, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

In what alternate universe could that statement be considered a "jab" at VT? Now it's a "jab" when someone states that one team has a better players than another team?

Posted by: ashleybone | September 8, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

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