I'm writing this mostly for ranting, just-need-to-get-it-out purposes, but I'd love to hear your thoughts or to hear your own gripes with the team right now.
For the record, starting off, Tech is my team. I will always cheer for them and want them to win. God willing, it will be my alma mater within a couple years. So don't question my fandom. I also think it is acceptable to admit and point out when the team is playing at a less-than-optimal level, and that's what I intend to do.
That being said, yeah, they're playing at a significantly less-than-optimal level. The first 3 games, against Western Carolina, Middle Tennessee St and Kansas, they looked like a team that would generally be dangerous for anyone that they would play all year. Sure, the defense was still a work in progress, but even in '09 the defense was the weak link of the team that we could work around with an impressive offense. Even against UNC we looked good. It was a closer game, but they're a good team, and it was nice seeing us win against a good team. Then we played NC State, and it started looking a little shaky. Something wasn't right. We won (by a considerable margin if you don't count the 14 they scored in garbage time), but it wasn't overly convincing for what it should've been. Then we played Maryland and won again, though needing a stop at the end of the game to beat a team that we should've beaten handily started showing some red flags. Now this, we lose to a Virginia team that, again, we should've beaten.
We can't kid ourselves here, we saw this coming (at least I did). We were going to lose to someone we should've beaten. I just hate watching it. Here are all of the things we're doing wrong, that is absolutely infuriating to watch:
Passing -- After the UNC game, Tevin all of a sudden lost his arm, and on the occasion that he makes a good pass, his receivers all of a sudden can't catch it. The things you're being asked to do so that your education (and Lord knows what else) will be paid for, and you can't do them. Really?
Running -- It's like holding up a sand castle in the tide. One play, we miss blocks. Then, we get the blocks right and Tevin misses a read. Then we have a good play. Then we make another dumb mistake that causes a "one step forward, two steps back" effect. All of a sudden we can't get everything right at once for more than 2 or 3 plays at a time.
Mental Mistakes -- 85 YARD RUN BY TEVIN WHAT A PLAY penalty, call it back. Pass to Orwin and OMG HE HAS ROOM THAT'S LIKE A 60 YARD PLAY bet you thought that block was legal....nope, Chuck Testa. Alright guys, here we go, gonna be a big play FALSE START. Watching this team self-destruct itself over the simple things just absolutely kills me. It's incomprehensible how the mental mistakes just continue to roll up and kill the team.
Tackling -- We don't do a whole lot of it. That simple. Can't win when you can't tackle. Arm tackles, Isaiah Johnson's patented shoulder bump, everything. Remember how we beat georgie in Athens in '08? Yeah, it was because they couldn't tackle Roddy or Dwyer to save their lives.
Run Defense -- We don't do much of this either. Somehow Virginia and Maryland both seemed to make 7 yards per carry on 3 out of 4 carries for the entire game. I realize we don't have an NFL-caliber front 7, but my word, we need to cut the crap on this.
3rd Downs -- How many times have we seen other teams have 3rd and 6+ the last couple weeks, and they get it? It's unbelievable how apparently difficult/impossible it is for our defense to get off the field. Not quite the defensive mind here so I can't tell you what's going wrong, but we have to get better with that. Our offense has too many short drives to survive when the defense can't stall the opposing offense's drive.
Kicking -- Why is it that every time we tee it up to kick off it's a damn adventure? One time it's 5 yards deep in the end zone, and then the next 3 are caught at the 15 yard line. This is one of those things that should just happen. Your only job is to kick the ball, whether it's through the uprights or down the field. How is it that guys still can't get this right when they've had nothing else to practice since August?? Just blows my mind.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Just needed to get all of this out because there are so many things going wrong that seem so simple and fundamental. I feel like fixing even half of these issues would benefit the team monumentally. These are things that we need to fix if we're going to beat anyone (maybe even including Duke) down the stretch this year. Here's to hoping they do.
You guys tell me, is the sky falling on our team? Or do we have significant opportunity to save face and make a run at the division title?