My Heart will always be in Blacksburg

It all started when I was 6 years old. It was 1999 to be exact, and Mike Vick was a freshman quarterback at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. AKA Virginia Tech.

I remember a young Mike Vick out there just having fun. He made the game look so easy and effortless. He was my favorite player at the time and from that point on, I was a Hokie fan for life.

From the Mike Vick days, to Bryan Randall, then Marcus Vick and Tyrod Taylor, VT always was a competitor. We were always ranked in the Top 15 and Coach Bud Foster always led a feared defense.

Most importantly, you can’t talk about VT Football without mentioning the special teams. I mean where do you think the name “Beamerball” came from. That was Coach Frank Beamer’s specialty. He took pride in special teams and always had his best players on the field during the special teams portion of the game. Believe it or not there were multiple games we won because of a blocked punt or KR returned for a touchdown. That’s just how things were done at Tech.

Do I even need to speak on the defense? I mean, come on now, everyone knows that VT is DB University. The numbers speak for themselves. Lets just think about the guys that came out of Blacksburg. Brandon Flowers, DeAngelo Hall, Jimmy Williams, Roc Carmichael, Macho Harris, The Fuller Brothers (Vincent, Kyle, and Kendall), and you can’t forget about Kam Chancellor. That’s just to name a few, but I think you get the point.

No disrespect to the other guys that played on those great defenses for Tech, but I just wanted to mention the DB’s since that was the position group I watched the closest.

For a while it was easy to be a Virginia Tech Hokie fan because we always won. It was like second nature, I just expected greatness as a fan. Then, something happen.

I don’t know if it was the recruiting, the players becoming complacent, or what, but all I knew was that Tech wasn’t the same. From 2012- 2015 , we had three 7–6 seasons and a 8–5 season. Yea, that doesn’t sound to bad, but its not acceptable at Virginia Tech. Something had to change.

Although it was sad to see him go last season, Coach Frank Beamer retired from coaching football. It was officially the end of an era we referred to as “Beamerball.”

(Please don’t think I was trying to infer that the stretch of 7–6 seasons was Coach Beamers fault because I’m not)…..Anyway

With Coaches departure, Coach Justin Fuente came from a Memphis program that he helped turn around. When I first heard the news, I was happy with the hire. I saw what he did at Memphis and I was optimistic he could do the same at Tech. How fast he would get us back on track? I wasn’t sure about that, but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Fast forward to present day. Its December 3rd, 2016 and my Hokies are back in the ACC Championship which is something I was used to as a kid growing up. We’re 9–3 (Ranked #23) and we are matched up against the #2 team in the nation, the Clemson Tigers. We’re huge underdogs tonight but you know what, I’m OK with that. In all honesty, we deserve to be underdogs especially with losses to teams we should have beat like Syracuse and Georgia Tech.

Regardless, we’re here now. So let’s do something with this amazing opportunity.

To the current Hokies , Coach Fuente, and the rest of the staff, have fun tonight. Just play the way you know you’re capable of, execute, and don’t worry about the hype that comes along with the team across from you.

Oh yea, one more thing, don’t forget your lunch pail.