Where do we go from here?1) Bronco's end of season presser needs to be detailed and encouraging. He needs to convince skeptics that he "gets it."
2) Anae's offense needs to be very critically examined and vetted. That'll happen behind closed doors and we won't hear anything about it, but it needs to happen.
3) Three more OL in the 2017 class. Becton, Hunt, Swoboda, hopefully.
4) At least one more DL in the 2017 class, preferably two or three.
5) Playmakers. Darius Wise is a must-get, imho.
6) Get a head start on 2018 and 2019 recruiting. No bowl game, so use that time wisely.
7) Build some actual toughness in spring ball. Find guys who want to kill Hokies. Major focus on getting Jordan Ellis ready for the bellcow role.
8) Work the transfer market for big uglies and a mobile QB, along with whatever WRs with actual speed you can find. Bring Tim Harris back as a medical redshirt.
9) Choose a QB early in training camp. I hope it's Cross or a mobile guy who transfers in.
10) Install read option stuff heavily in camp. Anae's offense has to be spread-to-run, that's his wheelhouse.
11) Work miracles to get an offensive line that can pass for below-average instead of comprehensively awful.
12) Find a way, hell or high water, to feature Olamide Zaccheaus in the offense.
13) Get another wave of youngsters ready to play on defense. Trucilla, Brooks, Simmons, Stalker, Sharp, namely.
14) Be ready to start the season and not shit the bed against an FCS team.
15) Find a fucking offensive identity early in the season.
16) Win some games. At least four. FOUR IS BARE MINIMUM.
17) Meanwhile, deliver the goods on a top-40 2018 recruiting class.
At that point, the arrow begins pointing up.
Gonna be a grueling offseason. Glad Bronco wanted a challenge.
Why'd it go so bad this season?I fully expected, at worst, 6-6. My call was 7-5.
Our o-line as a whole was worse than I thought it'd be. Disappointed in Smith, Matteo, English, and McDonald, none of whom were as good as I thought they'd be.
The poor OL doomed the running game. Too often plays decayed into Mizzell generating his own yards, which were never enough, and never reliable. He was plenty shifty, but not big, strong, or fast enough to serve as a true bellcow. For his part, Reid ran tough, but there weren't enough holes, or carries.
We never found a consistent go-to weapon at WR. Oz showed the potential, but lacked consistency/reliability. Other guys flashed at times, but couldn't keep it going. Drops were a problem. Again. So was a general lack of speed.
Benkert's arm talent was exciting, but poor pocket presence (unwillingness to step up into the pocket to deliver throws) and terrible pass pro ended up shattering his confidence. He clearly has a fragile psyche; a microcosm for the entire team.
DL was meh. Wilkins ate blocks, rarely made plays. Brown was inconsistent. The other guys battled, but were green and/or typically outclassed.
Kiser was a beast all season. The OLBs were young and played like it too often, even though they made some great plays at times. I wasn't impressed with Bradshaw, wanted more Word.
Blanding was hurt the first 2/3rds of the season, struggled to make the big plays we needed out of him. Rainey sucked.
Our top two corners missed the season. I thought Thornhill and Hall progressed well, but their youth held them below a glass ceiling. Injuries killed us at cornerback; we never had enough bodies.
Kicker was obviously a friggin disaster.
Conte was great, he'll be missed.
Overall, I thought ST play was much improved (other than the kicking). Hamm was a revelation returning punts. I was impressed by how the staff built longsnappers from scratch.
I expected much more this season, I'll admit. Main culprits of disappointment: offensive line, injuries in the secondary, youth across the roster, kicking, lack of psychological toughness (especially at QB).
But mostly, I just don't really want to talk about it right now.