We are not the only disappointments in the ACC this season. Virginia Tech's season has been a series of setbacks and have the fanbase questioning the future. To get an understanding of what went wrong and what to expect this weekend, I asked Hokie bloggers The Key Play the following questions. Their answers below.
1. Thomas was supposed to be an elite QB. How much of this season's collapse is on him?
The Key Play: In my opinion, very little. He has definitely shown some concerns in terms of mechanics and decision-making but in all honesty he doesn't have that much around him. I think that the expectations for him to succeed were raised exponentially by his success last season, even though that team was built for him to succeed and this team absolutely needed him to. There are no David Wilsons to pick up the slack if Thomas has an off day. Nor are there any Jarrett Boykins or Danny Coales to not only catch passes, but to do the little things like block downfield. The interceptions may be troubling, but I think Thomas has been the only reason the offense has done as little as they have already.
2. What are the issues on the defensive side of the ball?
The Key Play: They have pretty much figured everything out, after struggles against Pitt, Cincinnati and UNC. The one thing that lingers is the lack of depth in the secondary, which has been made even more troubling with the injury to safety Michael Cole and the recent uncertainty of freshman cornerback Donladven Manning. There will almost definitely be holes in the secondary, and while corner Kyle Fuller have played pretty well down this stretch, and safety Kyshon Jarrett and corner Antone Exum have played phenomenally well. The only problem is that the three of them can't cover then entire field.
3. I know Beamer is not Bowden/Paterno ancient yet, but as he gets closer to social security, do fans fear him losing his edge?
The Key Play: You have no idea. There has always been a "Frank needs to go" camp, but it has certainly grown this season. I think that the general thought behind this is that there is a ceiling of 10 wins, beating the teams he's supposed to, losing to better teams and getting an Orange Bowl birth. Naturally, people have gotten a little restless with that and want bigger or better things. That being said, I think it is pretty obvious that his in-game decisions have not been particularly good for the past few seasons, and his trademark "Beamball" is nonexistent. It is sad to say..but I think everyone knows we're coming to be beginning of the end of the Frankinator (obviously when he retires...because he will never be fired/forced out).
4. What is your prediction for the game?
The Key Play: Well, honestly I think there is a huge possibility for Tech to lose this game. They haven't won one away from Blacksburg, have lost a bunch in a row and are coming off a heartbreaker against Florida State. They obviously need this win in the attempt to become bowl eligible, but I'm not convinced. I think they may squeak one out, so I'll say Tech wins 17-16.