Wofford vs Virginia Tech Preview and Prediction

The Hokies picked up their first win of the Brent Pry era. They needed that win bad. Getting a home win is what this team and fan base needed. That first game in Norfolk was a little rough on everyone associated with this program. The improvement from week 1 to week 2 looked good. The team needs to continue to build on that — particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

SP+ Rankings

Virginia Tech

Overall: 65th
Offense: 98th
Defense: 30th
Special Teams: 43rd

Wofford (FCS rankings)

Overall: 70th
Offense: 102nd
Defense: 44th

The Mike Young Bowl. A couple of years ago when Wofford was running the triple option, this could’ve been a dangerous game. But the Wofford offense has fallen on hard times. This offense has yet to score a point this season. You read that right. That’s two shut outs in two consecutive games by FCS opponents. Based on this week’s Q&A, Wofford’s issues in their football program run deep. Makes the Fuente era at Tech look tame by comparison.

The Hokies need to focus on coming out of the gate fast. This game has slow start written all over it. An 11am kickoff coming off a big conference win is a recipe for a slow start. Tech needs to show this is a new era where each game is important and they come out focused and ready. This is a game that should be over by halftime but as the Justin Fuente era taught us, things don’t always go to plan. The best game plan this week would be to focus on running the ball. Score a couple of quick touchdowns then work out some issues in the passing game in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. If all goes to plan, then get the second team in for the 2nd half.

Here are the Hokies’ last two outings vs FCS opponents:

2019: Virginia Tech 24, Furman 17
2021: Virginia Tech 21, Richmond 10

I’m not one for style points, I’d usually tell you a win is a win. But this week this offense HAS to score more than 24 points. That’s not to say I’m advocating running up the score on an over-matched Wofford team. But this team needs to show they can score points against an FCS defense. This offense isn’t good enough to take any opponent for granted. This is a good opportunity to get some good reps in against a solid FCS defense. Tech would be wise to not let this opportunity get passed them.

What I am looking for on Saturday is a good start. If Tech still has zero points after the first quarter, that would be disappointing. The Hokies need to establish the run game. They should be able to run the ball with relative ease. The best game plan this week would be to focus on running the ball. Score a couple of quick touchdowns then work out some issues in the passing game in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. If all goes to plan, then get the second team in for the 2nd half. The goal here is to put the game away by halftime and let the reserves play in the 2nd half. Watching the Hokies show up focused for an FCS opponent would be an improvement from the Fuente era. I would also like to see Wofford score their first points of the season this week. Unfortunately, I don’t see it happening.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 38, Wofford 0

Wofford Q&A with Joe James of WoffordFans.com

This week we are joined by Joe James of WoffordFans.com. You can find Joe on Twitter at @Village_Terrier.

Tell us about yourself and your blog. 

I’m a Wofford graduate who lives in Arlington, Virginia. I made the move up here during the pandemic. I’ve been watching Wofford football since 2003, the year we made the 1-AA semifinals. I’ve watched Wofford athletics for 20 years (which makes me sound old, but I’m not yet 30). Wofford had a message board for a long time that went under during the pandemic (the guy who bought the domain didn’t renew it and was MIA). So some passionate fans reached out to me, an avid poster, to start it up, and it went from there. Thankfully, we have a computer science professor at Wofford who does all the technical stuff. I do the moderation of the forum, and I also occasionally blog, because I like to write and go in-depth with “effort posts.” Unfortunately, it’s a dark time of Wofford football (and I’m not smart enough at basketball to produce anything valuable there) and so I’m laying off the blog posts because they’ll turn unavoidably negative. Things aren’t great right now… we’ll get to that in a second.

What are your thoughts on Mike Young and his departure for Virginia Tech? 

I love Mike Young so much and I’m rooting for him to win a national title at Virginia Tech. We were so lucky to have him for as long as we did, and he was probably fortunate that Wofford, in his early years of employment, didn’t have an expectation of instant gratification or winning consistent conference championships. It took him a while to find his feet, but man, when he did, it was amazing.

But also, Mike Young is a great guy and I just want to share a short story about that. For the 2018-2019 Wofford basketball season, we made the championship game in Asheville, North Carolina, and Wofford fans made the pilgrimage for the game. It sold out! My friend was a mutual Twitter follower of Coach Young and tweeted that she couldn’t get a ticket. He heard and found a way to get her in. Terriers won! That’s not even the nicest story I’ve heard about him, but the point is MIke Young is an amazing human being, and I know he’s from the Roanoke Valley and he wants to bring home a title at Virginia Tech. He also has an amazing sense of humor that I would summarize as “Steve Spurrier but not a jerk.”

Wofford still loves Coach Young. Go Hokie Basketball!

Tell us about your team this year. What are your expectations for Wofford this season?

This is where we turn negative. As I write this on the Sunday before Wofford plays Virginia Tech, I’m not sure if Wofford can win a game this season. It really pains me to say this and repeat it to other fans, because I don’t like trashing my team or flowing the virtual air waves with negativity. Players and coaches read this stuff and it can be demoralizing and I don’t like contributing to that.

Having said that, the reason why Wofford is bad this year is not because fans are mad online but because our head coach has basically run our program into the ground. When he first started out, we were good, as we had talent and staff from our previous coaching legend, Mike Ayers. We were able to tie together two Southern Conference championship teams in Conklin’s first two years. 

But even then, there were cracks in the armor that suggested some deeper problems. We have been trying to move away from the triple option, which is what we ran under Ayers for 30 years. For the first 2.5 seasons (.5=Spring 2021), we had our previous OC, Wade Lang, a Triple Option guy calling the shots, and we were actually pretty good still. We had the same typical limitations of an option team, but we scored points and we generally knew what we were doing. Heck, in the Spring under Lang (editor’s note: FCS played football in the Spring of 2021), we averaged 26 points a game and we weren’t a triple option offense at all.

Well, Lang retired before the 2021 fall season and our defensive coordinator for the two championship games also left. We suffered from lots of injuries in the fall, ran a non-existent offense, and our defense was also bad. We finished 1-10, our worst record since 1987 (the year before Mike Ayers). And our administration…did nothing? Well, they fired half the staff and brought on two new coordinators, but the net outcome is we are likely better on defense but certainly worse on offense.

We have played 120 minutes of football and haven’t scored a point, and even though our defense isn’t awful (averaging 25 points a game against decent FCS opponents) you just can’t overcome that.

There’s a lot of other things that contribute to our dysfunction, but I will spare you the details. What Hokie fans need to know is Wofford isn’t good on offense and we’re likely not going to get better. 

A big elephant in the room is that basically every fan at Wofford wants Josh Conklin fired. He tried to leave our program twice before we went downhill (once as a defensive coordinator position in Tennessee and once as the head coach of South Carolina – you can google the articles), and we’ve been awful ever since. From our perspective, he came in, rode the coattails off Ayers’ success, saw us as a stepping stone to greener pastures, failed, and is in over his head. It’s wild he hasn’t been fired yet in my opinion (coming off a 13 game losing streak in conference play, 12 straight losses overall)

What are your thoughts on the playing Virginia Tech?

I would be excited for this game if it were played at any point in 2017-2019. Now I just expect pain. Usually when a FCS team plays an FBS team, you don’t expect to win, but you expect if you’re good to be competitive for a few quarters, if not possessions. And if you’re not, well, you have nothing to lose because you’re outmatched. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But knowing what I know about this team through two games, I would rather just not think about this game.

How do you view the Virginia Tech program? 

I think they’re a program like Clemson, that has a vibe, tradition, and enthusiasm about itself that wants to compete for national titles, but things haven’t worked out. They’re 1 or 2 variables away from turning heads, they’re just not there yet. A sleeping giant.

What are your thoughts on coming to play at Lane Stadium? 

I honestly don’t have any opinion! Enter Sandman is hype though.

What are your expectations for the Virginia Tech game? 

I honestly don’t have any.

What’s your prediction for the game?

Wofford pulls a major upset by actually scoring some points, but Virginia Tech’s superior athleticism and coaching is just too much. Virginia Tech 49 Wofford 6 

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