Overall, this season has been one to forget in a number of ways for Virginia Tech. But it's not like that for everyone.
Though the Hokies have stumbled to a 4-5 record, senior wide receiver Corey Fuller has quietly had by far his best season for Virginia Tech. Fuller has 29 catches for 547 yards, second on the team in both categories behind senior Marcus Davis.
While the stats look nice, Fuller has become more astute with making adjustments and trying new things to see what works and what doesn't. It's started in practice, against his defensive teammates.
"I think what I've done differently this year was in practice, I feel like I've been trying to get more reps, to see different scenarios, to see how people would try to defend it differently," Fuller said. "That's one thing that's been helping me lately. The last couple of games in practice, I've been going against Kyshoen Jarrett and Detrick Bonner and they both game me something different. I've been looking at that and using that to carry over into the games."
Last season, Fuller played in just six games, with two catches for 19 yards. This came after sitting out the 2010 season as a transfer from Kansas where he ran track. He hadn't played football since high school, but walked-on at Virginia Tech.
But before Fuller had his breakout season, he needed a break. It came when senior wide receiver D.J. Coles was given a redshirt for the rest of this season after the Austin Peay game after never full recovering from reconstructive surgery on his right PCL.
"Before the season started, DJ was still here, so I would be coming in as the fourth receiver," Fuller said. "When DJ went out, I just stepped into that position. I just got open on those particular plays and I just took advantage of that opportunity."
While Fuller has elevated his status this season, it's been tough to enjoy his success because the Hokies haven't had success as a team. But Fuller has found some encouragement.
"I talk to my parents, or my mother or whatever," he said. "I was telling her, she asked me how I feel about the game. I said, 'I think I did ok, but still lost.' She said, 'Well, don't hang your head, you did a good game. I was like, 'Yeah, but I feel like I could've done more.' To think that, even if we lost, I should've done or could've done or we could've done more. I don't really just glorify my moments. A loss is a loss, no matter how you put it."
That included at Miami Thursday, where Virginia Tech fell victim to self-inflicted wounds and lost 30-12. Fuller again had a solid game, with four catches for 44 yards.
Like he's done all season, Fuller has picked himself back up. He hopes his teammates can do the same tomorrow night against Florida State.
"At first, after the Miami loss, everybody was down," Fuller said. "Everybody just had their head down, like 'Wow, we can't believe it.' But then it's like, ok, we still need to make a bowl game and we still need to play for our pride. We don't wanna throw in the towel and say, 'Ok, we give up. That's it.' We're still playing for our pride and a bowl game and we feel like we can bounce back."
Maybe then, Fuller will also feel like his numbers made a bigger difference.