2012 report cards: Virginia Tech


OFFENSE: Watching the Hokies’ offense in 2012 was like staring at the numbers on a treadmill -- you’re just waiting and waiting for them to move. The Hokies went nowhere fast this year, and it didn’t get much better as the season went on. Possibly more troubling than the lack of improvement was the lack of physical toughness, both from a blocking standpoint by the receivers, and from the offensive line. There was plenty of blame to go around, and it did -- three assistants were hired, including Scot Loeffler as offensive coordinator. Former coordinator Bryan Stinespring took over as recruiting coordinator, and play-caller Mike O’Cain was reportedly fired. Virginia Tech’s running game never found a true identity, and ranked No. 79 in the country. The scoring offense was No. 81 in the country, averaging 25.08 points per game. Quarterback Logan Thomas seemed to take a step back, but he certainly didn’t get much help from his supporting cast. In the end, the losses from 2011 were too much for Virginia Tech to overcome in one season. Grade: F

DEFENSE: At least this group got better as the season went on. Against Pitt, Bud Foster’s defense was manhandled, particularly up front. It was shocking, really, that Pitt racked up 537 total yards. Against Rutgers, though, in the Russell Athletic Bowl, Virginia Tech’s defense was the difference in the game. The Hokies finished No. 18 in the country in total defense, and No. 32 in scoring defense at 22.85 points per game. It was a strong finish after allowing Pitt 35 points and UNC 48 points. In the final three games of the season -- all wins -- Virginia Tech allowed its opponents an average of 15.6 points per game. It wasn’t a complete disaster, but it certainly wasn’t as good as many had expected it would be, either. Grade: C

OVERALL: Virginia Tech, ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press preseason poll, was either one of college football’s biggest disappointments in 2012 or the expectations were far too high considering how many new starters there were on offense. An overwhelming favorite to win the Coastal Division, Virginia Tech instead was an afterthought in the ACC race as its bowl eligibility came down to the final regular-season game against rival Virginia. The program’s worst season in 20 years at least ended on a positive note with a bowl win, but the coaching was often below-average, as evidenced by the most drastic staff changes Frank Beamer has made since 2006. In this case, it was the Xs, the Os, the Jimmy's and the Joe's. Grade: D

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