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Is Virginia Tech trending in the wrong direction?
Even though Virginia Tech has been one of the ACC’s most consistent programs over the last 10 years, there’s some uneasiness surrounding Frank Beamer’s team in 2013.
The Hokies finished 7-6 last season, which was the program’s first year under eight wins since 1997. Under Beamer, Virginia Tech has recorded a winning record in every season since 1993. Prior to 1993, the Hokies were just 24-40-2 under Beamer’s watch.
Virginia Tech has played in 26 bowl games during its program history, with 20 coming during Beamer’s tenure. Of course, there are more bowl games in 2013 than there were in 1993, but that statistic shows how much of an impact Beamer has had for Virginia Tech.
Is this program in decline or was 2012 just a one-year blip? Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Analyzing Frank Beamer's Tenure at Virginia Tech
Win/Loss Record over the last 11 seasons
|2002||10-4||3-4||4th Big East|
|2003||8-5||4-3||4th Big East|
Virginia Tech’s win-loss record over the last 10 years has been solid. The Hokies have just two seasons under 10 wins during that span and played in five BCS bowls.
Virginia Tech also has finished in the top 25 of the Associated Press poll eight out of the last nine years, including a 10th place finish in 2009.
Something else to consider during Virginia Tech’s run in the Coastal: Miami. The Hurricanes have yet to win the Coastal Division and have not won more than nine games since 2003. Miami has significantly underachieved based on its program potential, which has helped the Hokies dominate the Coastal in recent years.
There’s room for both programs at the top of the Coastal, but Miami’s recent improvement under third-year coach Al Golden will have an impact on the rest of the teams in the division.
The win total history shows the program is trending down slightly, as the 7-6 mark featured three victories in overtime.
* Ranks using 247sports.com
|Year||National Rank||Conference Rank||5* Signed||4* Signed|
|2014||21st (as of Sept. 24)||5th||0||3|
So far, Virginia Tech’s 7-6 record isn’t having a huge impact on recruiting. Of course, it’s only September, so it’s hard to judge where the Hokies will finish by signing day. However, the program’s recruiting classes ranked 21st in 2012 and '13, which was the second-highest ranking in the last seven years.
The amount of five-star and four-star prospects signed by Beamer and his staff has stayed about the same, as Virginia Tech has reeled in two five-star prospects in 2012-13, compared to one from 2009-11.
Has Virginia and fourth-year coach Mike London had any impact on Virginia Tech’s recruiting? In terms of top-10 prospects in the state of Virginia, the Hokies signed three in the 2010, '12 and '13 class. In that span, the Cavaliers signed five in 2011, four in '12 and two in '13. Virginia has a slight edge within the state’s top-10 prospects, but the bigger issue for Virginia Tech is the 2011 class, which included zero of the state’s top-10 prospects.
What to make of the recruiting data? Virginia Tech hasn’t slipped in the national ranks and has finished in the top four or five of the ACC in five out of the last six years. The Hokies aren’t bringing in elite talent, but Beamer and his staff continue to maintain a solid pace on the recruiting trail.
Performance on Offense
|Year||Rush||Pass||Total||Scoring||Yards Per Play|
The offensive numbers for Virginia Tech are not particularly impressive. The Hokies finished 35th nationally in total offense in 2011 but have regressed to 82nd in '12 and 102nd so far in '13. The offense has also watched its yards per play decline for three straight years, including a 4.7 mark thus far in 2013.
The rushing attack has been up and down, but nowhere near as bad as the passing offense. Virginia Tech has not finished higher than 64th nationally in passing offense since 2001, and the Hokies have five finishes of 90th or worse.
Offensive style is a big part of Virginia Tech’s statistics, but it’s clear this offense needs to be more aggressive and can use more help from its passing attack.
Beamer has tried to jumpstart the offense by changing coordinators, but Bryan Stinespring and Mike O’Cain had similar success. And new play-caller Scot Loeffler? Needless to say, that hire didn’t inspire much confidence the offense can turn things around in 2013.
Virginia Tech isn’t the best job in the ACC, but it’s among the top 25-30 in the nation. The Hokies have experienced a tremendous amount of success under Beamer, and the program is only one season removed from a BCS bowl.
As long as Beamer is on the sidelines at Virginia Tech, the formula for success will rely heavily on a strong defense, while the offense does just enough to win games. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster is one of the best in the nation, and the Hokies have one of the best defenses in the ACC in 2013.
However, a struggling offense isn’t getting much better, and the Coastal Division is improving. Miami is back in the top 25, and North Carolina seems to be trending in the right direction under Larry Fedora. The addition of Pittsburgh only adds to the competition in the Coastal.
While the stats don’t clearly show a decline, it’s clear Virginia Tech is not the same program that went 22-6 from 2010-11.
Beamer isn’t in any danger of being on the hot seat, but the 2013 and '14 seasons will be critical. Can Virginia Tech return to being an ACC power? Or are the Hokies in danger of slipping like Florida State did in the 2000s or what Texas is going through now?