Check back every Wednesday for the Hokies Report to get all the biggest Virginia Tech headlines for each week, a recap of last week's game and a look ahead at next week's contest.
Virginia Tech 5-6, (3-4) in the ACC
In the news
Rumors name several possibilities for Hokies' next coach: Rumors are flying over who athletic director Whit Babcock is targeting to succeed Frank Beamer. Last week, FootballScoop reported that UNC coach Larry Fedora was considered a "strong candidate." On Tuesday Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports wrote that he believed Memphis coach Justin Fuente was Babcock's target and that he could be named coach as early as next week.
There are also coaching changes coming in the SEC which could make some pretty top notch candidates available very soon, such as Les Miles and Dan Mullen.
Coaching changes are very hard to report on in college sports because there are so many cooks in the kitchen. This isn't just a general manager conducting interviews like in professional sports. Boosters who may or may not be involved in the process will give information to reporters that is essentially impossible to verify. That's why you see so many different articles about multiple candidates.
Of these four names recently added to the rumor list over the past week, only Fuente and Mullen seem like viable options. A move from UNC to Virginia Tech is a parallel move within the same division. That would be an odd move for Fedora. Miles meanwhile is more likely to retire from coaching than he is to come to Blacksburg.
There will be major interest in Fuente considering the tremendous job he's done at Memphis which would explain why Babcock wants to get this done soon. Mullen has gone as far as he can at Mississippi State and seems likely to leave Starkville for greener pastures.
Ford ties receiving record: Isaiah Ford had another big day on Saturday with eight catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown catch is his ninth of the season which ties Antonio Freeman and Andre Davis for a school record for most touchdown receptions in a season.
Nicolas suspended: Defensive end Dadi Nicolas has been suspended for the first half of Saturday's game against Virginia after he swatted a referee's arm in the UNC game. Nicolas was frustrated by an offsides call against him and showed his frustration by whacking the arm of referee Ron Cherry.
Metallica salutes Beamer: Anyone who knows Virginia Tech football knows about the team's entrance to the song "Enter Sandman" by Metallica. As a tribute to Frank Beamer, Metallica recorded a video for him that ran prior to Saturday's game:
Buzz Williams shows his pride: In other tribute news, Virginia Tech basketball coach Buzz Williams also paid tribute to Beamer by wearing a Beamer shirt for the Hokies's basketball game Saturday:
— VT Men's Basketball (@VT_MBBall) November 22, 2015
Last week's game: 30-27 OT loss to North Carolina
Virginia Tech gave it their all on Saturday for Beamer's last home game, but came up just short, losing to North Carolina in overtime. The Tar Heels have lost only once all season, but found themselves locked in a tight battle from start to finish. Just when it looked like they had pulled away in the fourth quarter with a 14-point lead, the Hokies were able to tie the game after forcing two fumbles. The defense's inability to slow down UNC in overtime led to the loss, though the game ended in somewhat controversial fashion as replay showed Quinshad Davis did not appear to have possession of the ball on his game-winning touchdown catch.
While the UNC offense revolves largely around quarterback Marquise Williams, it was running back Elijah Wood who did the most damage with 115 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Virginia Tech's defense struggled against the read option and was gashed by both Williams and Wood on the ground.
Despite the loss, nothing was going to ruin the school's tribute to Beamer. Instead of the normal "Let's go" "Hokies" chants from the fans, they instead chanted "Thank you" "Beamer" prior to the game. The players also carried Beamer off the field on their shoulders.
They may have lost, but the moment was a celebration of a coach whose legacy is so much bigger for Blacksburg than just that one game.
Next game: Virginia Tech at Virginia, Sat. 12:00 p.m. ET
The Hokies may have been denied their storybook ending at home on Saturday, but they still have a chance to extend the team's bowl streak with a win over rival Virginia on Saturday. The Hokies have won 11 straight against the Cavaliers and 15 of their last 16 meetings, but Virginia now appears to be hitting its stride. UVa's win over Duke was the team's best performance of the season.
While Virginia quarterback Matt Johns is playing the best football of his career at the moment, the Cavaliers' offense revolves around running back Taquan Mizzell. Not only is he UVa's top running back, he also leads the team in receptions. Virginia uses a largely conservative offense of runs and short passes to try and open up bigger plays down the field. The focus for the defense should be Mizzell, but receiver Canaan Severin is also one of the best in the conference. While Virginia Tech should focus on stopping the run and the underneath passes, they cannot afford to lose track of Severin.
The good news for the Hokies is that this week they will not be facing a mobile quarterback which has been their weakness all season.
While Travon McMillian has been integral to Virginia Tech's offense in recent weeks, this week's offensive game plan should feature the pass attack more prominently as Virginia ranks second to last in the conference in pass defense. This should be a big day for Ford and Bucky Hodges.
The best tribute the Hokies can give their coach is to extend their bowl streak with one more win against their in-state rivals. Expect an emotionally charged game on Saturday.
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