Posted: 12:05 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013
The game has been a defensive slugfest. Alabama and Virginia Tech refused to give up easy points. The deadlock finally broke when Logan Thomas found Joshua Stanford in the end zone for a 15-yard strike after a brilliant Trey Edmunds run brought the offense within striking distance. Alabama responded on the next series when T.J. Yeldon broke several would-be tackles and rushed into the end zone. Here in the fourth quarter with the clock ticking down, the freshly installed two-minute offense by Offensive Coordinator Scot Loeffler has helped Logan Thomas engineer a drive that brought the Hokie faithful to their feet, and has the nation watching with abated breath. They have seen this before. The offense arrives into the red zone only to be hit by a wall in the form of the stout Crimson Tide red zone defense, which led the nation in that category a season ago. With the clock only seconds away from the end of regulation, head coach Frank Beamer calls his final timeout, and elects to send on clutch place-kicker Cody Journell to go for the win. Long-time holder, Trey Gresh, and Journell share a brief word before getting set. The ball is hiked. Gresh catches, sets it and rotates the ball while Journell begins his motion. The ball is kicked, it is up, and it has the distance...
The truth is we don't know how this game will be played out. In a dream scenario, Virginia Tech, a massive underdog with a chip on their shoulder, sports an angry glare at the camera, sending a message to Las Vegas and every fan of college football: "Doubt us at your peril."
What we do know is Virginia Tech is tired. They are tired of constantly being told that Alabama is the best team. They are tired of being told that Alabama have won back-to-back national championships. They are tired of being told that they are the underdog. The whole month of August, they have run their practices with intensity and laser-like focus, and they are ready to play Alabama.
Senior Linebacker Jack Tyler told members of the ACC Media that they expect to beat Alabama. Read that again. They expect to beat Alabama. Senior Quarterback Logan Thomas told the same members of the ACC Media that Virginia Tech has the talent to play Alabama.
Bravo to the leaders of the Virginia Tech football team for not backing down. They know they are the underdog. They know it is them versus the world. They know what those who doubt and scoff at them say: that Virginia Tech doesn't have a prayer or a chance of winning the game. They also know that the majority of Hokie Nation believes that Virginia Tech can play Alabama and beat them. For months leading up to August 31, 2013, the hash tag #BeatBama, has dominated Twitter for the fans who believe.
Even within the fan base, there are those who are skeptical, and doubt that Virginia Tech can beat Alabama. Those fans point to the new change in offense schemes, new faces in the wide receiving corps, starting a running back who has to yet earn his first collegiate carry and a quarterback who regressed as the season went on last year. Those fears and doubts are understandable and not unfounded. Fans also point out that the offense had a shaky showing in the spring game, while forgetting that the offense was very, very vanilla. What has been seen, discussed and analyzed from August scrimmages were basic plays. It appeared Loeffler and company are keeping their playbook close to their vest. Lastly, fans doubt because of injuries and attrition which has drained the depth chart, leading them to believe Virginia Tech won't have a chance in the opening game.
Bud Foster, long-time Defensive Coordinator, said recently that playing Alabama is a measuring stick, not a season-making or breaking game. To an extent, he is right. Yet, beating Alabama would inspire the team like never before. Losing to Alabama could be a blow, depending on how the players bounce back in the next game and thereafter.
While it is true Head Coach Frank Beamer's opening-game record recently is lackluster, it should be believed he is finally due for a major victory. He has beaten Nick Saban once before when Saban was coaching LSU. He can beat Saban again.
We will find out who the Hokies are in this game. It has been said that it is not the size of the dog in a fight, but the size of the fight in a dog. Let's see how the Hokies if the Hokies prove that saying correct against Alabama.