Virginia Tech started the season with a big win over a quality opponent and an ACC one at that in Georgia Tech. But since then, the Hokies have dropped both if their games to other quality opponents, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
There's been a number of yards allowed in the process. Virginia Tech has every reason to feel sorry for itself, especially after the high expectations that were placed on the team before the season. But that's not the case.
"Everybody outside looking in would probably think our confidence level is down," sophomore rover Kyshoen Jarrett said at yesterday's press conference. "But when you have older guys like Bruce (Taylor)getting everybody together before practice and letting us know that we can't lower our heads and you've just gotta keep fighting. Pretty much, no more joking around, we all just have to attack in a different way than we were before."
A number of Hokies defenders have come under scrutiny after Cincinnati gained 495 yards of total offense in a 27-24 win Saturday. Among those are defensive backs, including freshman Donaldven Manning, who was burned on the Bearcats' first touchdown of the game, in the third quarter.
Jarrett said he had his own moment of rude awakening as a young defender, against Appalachian State last year when he allowed a touchdown.
"I grew up from then and it just had me go into practice with a different mentality, even as a freshman," Jarrett said. "He's gonna learn from it. We have his back, I have his back and I've experienced it so I can kinda help him. But he'll be just fine."
On Monday, defensive coordinator Bud Foster irately defended his players while also calling out a few mistakes. Jarrett said he's leaned on Foster's words as much as anyone's and that Foster is a key for Virginia Tech's defense to turn its fortunes around.
"He is the defensive coordinator and he knows, he's been here for so many years," Jarrett said. "He knows how to get in your head to keep your confidence level up and such. But at the same time, he doesn't want to let an individual player lower than what his potential is. He has to be that good supportive, but he also has to be tough on us and I respect that. I'm pretty sure everyone else does as well."
As for his own thoughts on how to improve the defense, Jarrett isn't quite sure. He does know the Hokies can't dwell on their shortcomings.
"The biggest adjustment we should make is just…honestly, I don't know," Jarrett said. "I feel like we should just keep playing ball. That's what we have been doing. Of course, there's a couple of plays that didn't go our way, but that's college football. It's all D-I athletes and that happens. At the same time, that's not gonna lower who we are and how we're gonna go out each Saturday and play ball. The coaches know what they're doing and I don't feel like we're gonna be affected by it."
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