Hokies hope to duplicate 1995
I imagine this hasn't been the easiest few days to be a Virginia Tech football fan, worrying whether this year's 0-2 start indicates a program in decline and dealing with the backlash that comes from suffering the biggest upset of the 2010 college football season.
But lest we forget, Coach Frank Beamer and the Hokies have been in this spot before. Back in 1995, Virginia Tech also started the season 0-2, losing to Boston College and Cincinnati. But the Hokies were able to right themselves, reeling off 10 straight victories to close the year, including a Sugar Bowl win over Texas.
That season has been brought up often this week, tight end Andre Smith said. During the team's Monday morning meeting, Beamer, defensive coordinator Bud Foster and offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring all stood up and spoke about what made the 1995 squad so resilient. Secondary coach Torian Gray also played on that team 15 years ago.
Beamer even mentioned how the Hokies' loss to James Madison reminded him of their loss to Cincinnati -- an independent at the time-- that rendered the 1995 team 0-2. It was wet and rainy in both games, and each featured a long touchdown play that swung momentum in the other team's favor.
"I think you gotta have good character to come back," Beamer said. "You have adversity, and generally every team’s gonna have some adversity along the way, and how you respond to it says it all. I think that team in '95 had that, and I think this team, I know we have good leadership. We just need to come out and play better.”
The development of this team's leadership has been a common theme throughout the week with coaches and players. I'll have more on this in a story I'm working on for Saturday's paper, but with so few veterans, some seniors are being asked to leave their respective comfort zones and become more vocal.
After practice Tuesday, quarterback Tyrod Taylor gave a glimpse into what exactly that entails for this team.
"A lot of the seniors told everybody: ‘If you wanna quit, then just go ahead and quit. Don’t step on the field if you’re gonna be slacking,'" Taylor said. "There’s a lot of football to be played. We have a lot of good plays ahead of us.”
Whether they're able to duplicate the turnaround of that 1995 team, though, remains to be seen.
September 15, 2010; 1:37 PM ET
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