Former Virginia Tech lineman Dwight Vick is back this week to give his unique perspective on Virginia Tech football. Today, he gives his own impressions of the Spring Game this past weekend, why some recruits choose Tech and his anticipation for the upcoming season.
My impressions of the Spring Game
Wow, how great was the atmosphere at the Spring Game! It is always so nice to come back and visit Tech. I am always so proud of to visit Tech and see the growth and development of the University. As for the game, Tech fans should be proud of themselves -- maroon and orange was all over the stadium. I thought Logan Thomas along with several other young players stood out.
It is very tough to evaluate a Spring Game because on one end you want players to execute on offense resulting in big plays but then you don't want to see players on defense get torched because you may feel players on defense may not be ready for the season. Well I feel a good Spring Game is when there is a great turnout by the fans (like this past Saturday), players on both teams perform well, and no players are injured.
With regards to the game, Tyrod is a true leader and has the respect of the entire team. I truly hope Tech fans appreciate Tyrod this season. Similar to Bryan Randall, Jim Druckenmiller, and Al Clark, Tyrod leads by example and supports his teammates. Great teams usually have a great coach and quarterback. Tyrod is a winner and he has a positive effect on the football program.
During the game, I was also impressed with Eddie Whitley, Tony Gregory, and Steven Friday. Of course, I observed the Tech offensive line and I thought at times they protected well and were physical, but do you really want to hear me break down how a guard did against a three-technique? Maybe I will touch on that later during the regular season but for now I just want to discuss the overall game.
In watching the game I thought it was a fantastic gesture of respect when Tech honored some of their current NFL players at halftime of the Spring Game. It is amazing to see so many of the Tech players who are now playing in the NFL. I mean when you think about it, it can get pretty difficult trying to remember all the teams in the league that has a Virginia Tech player on the roster. I remember back in the day, it was Bruce Smith, Tyrone Drakeford, and Antonio Freeman. Of course I am really proud that Tech fans showed all of the NFL players so much love but the response given to Michael Vick was amazing! Tech fans showed a lot of class during that moment and fans made it clear that he was home in Blacksburg (and there is no place like home).
Why some recruits choose to attend Virginia Tech?
You know some times I am approached by different individuals and we end up discussing why some players choose Tech and some players do not. The truth of the matter is that sometimes a recruit may not feel Tech is the best school for them. Furthermore some recruits may feel they have a better chance playing sooner at another program. Recruiting is not an exact science, some recruits choose a school based on location, success of the overall program, or a specific coach on the coaching staff.
However, I think Tech does a nice job of allowing the overall program to sell itself. By this I mean the players, coaching staff, University, and their fans all make a huge difference to some of the recruits. If you were able to read some of the feedback about Tech regarding the program on this site, you will notice they discussed at great length the "tightness" and "down to earth feel" surrounding the football program. This is not rehearsed and I believe their comments to be authentic.
Don't think recruits didn't see the amount of people that turned out for the Spring Game this year. Now I know we did not have the crowd Alabama had during their Spring Game, but we have passionate fans that understand as well as recognize the different situations that take place during a game.
For instance did everyone hear the cheers Darren Evans received when he got his first carry during the game? Or how about the respect the fans give Tyrod? What about the love that was shown to Kenny Lewis Jr. when he made a nice run during the game? Believe me, recruits recognize the appreciation given to the football players just like they would notice if there was minimal support given to the players.
Of course recruits pay attention to offensive systems, terminology, defense schemes, and how many players from the University go the NFL too. Yet a wise person once said, "It is the small things that count." How many times have you watched a special feature on the Hokies and you hear a player say, "When I came to Tech, I noticed the players were tight like a family," or, "I like how the coaches spoke to and treated me". Maybe you believe it or maybe you don't, but being a former player I can remember visiting Tech and recognizing the closeness of the team. The closeness is what sold me on signing with them.
In addition, I believe recruits notice that even though Ryan Williams was not playing he was on the sideline cheering on his teammates. Or how about despite being a senior, Tyrod remained willing to find time to help out the younger quarterbacks direct the offense when he could have been on the sideline finding out which teammate was going to have the cookout later that afternoon. These acts of support demonstrated through the team chemistry are intangibles that a recruit recognizes during a visit. It is no different than when you are choosing to join an organization whether it is through employment or joining a flag football team, the bottom line is that you want to feel comfortable as well as become successful.
Anticipation of the upcoming football season
Well, the Spring Game is over and now is the difficult part for many Hokie fans. The difficult part is the waiting for the football season to come. Yes the NBA playoffs can be a nice appetizer as well as the many 7-on-7 football tournaments that take place throughout the country.
However, I cannot wait until Tech opens up the season against Boise State in FedEx Field. I was there along with the thousands of Tech fans shaking my keys and yelling when USC had the ball (I can still hear the crowd now). I think every season brings anticipation but for some reason this season feels like it is going to be a special season.
Now when I refer to this season being a special season, I am not referring to our chances of winning a National Championship. No, I am talking about being a fan and truly appreciating our football program. I look forward to this football season because I will be watching all the different running backs run the ball, the new players on the team, the wide receivers, the coaching staff's ability to transform back up players into standouts in the ACC, "Enter Sandman" on Thursday night along with the lights shining in Lane Stadium, talking with fans about the upcoming game, those Tech parties, and most important Hokie Pride!
These are the moments that motivate us to go the bookstore and get our Hokie gear (Even though there are not too many that carry a 4x). We talk trash at work. We check Hokiehaven.com to see if that special player is going to sign with Tech and we get mad when some guy on television who is holding a pencil picks against our team, especially when we are at home with a top ranked defense. Call it delusional, but we love our team and yet like all Tech fans dealing with feelings of excitement, we understand we have to find some way to deal with our expectations as well as anxiety. Die hard Tech fans understand football season cannot get hear fast enough. So when this Fall when the tailgate begins and the kickoff is just moments away, let's enjoy our Hokies one play at a time!
That is it for now and Let's Go Hokies!
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