Miami hired Mario Cristobal to revive the sagging fortunes of the Hurricanes. Virginia Tech brought in Brent Pry to do the same with the Hokies.
How is it going lately for the new Atlantic Coast Conference coaches? Not well.
On Saturday afternoon when Miami (2-3, 0-1) visits Virginia Tech (2-4, 1-2) in Blacksburg, Va., it will be a matchup of two teams mired in three-game losing streaks.
Last weekend, while Miami was falling at home to North Carolina, 27-24, Virginia Tech was on the wrong side of a 45-29 verdict at Pittsburgh.
The Hokies’ loss was most humbling as they surrendered 320 yards and six touchdowns to Panthers back Israel Abanikanda. It was the most rushing yards a player has ever rolled up in one game against Tech.
“We missed a couple of tackles that were critical that led to explosive runs,” Pry said. “Anytime you let the ball outside your defense, you’ve got issues. We didn’t edge the defense well enough.”
Help is on the way for Virginia Tech’s edge defense, however, as linebacker Alan Tisdale makes his first appearance this year after clearing up an unspecified eligibility issue.
Tisdale shores Tech up at will linebacker, a trouble spot for this year, according to Pry. Tisdale is one of the most experienced Hokies, registering 195 tackles over the past three seasons.
Helping boost the Hokies offense is Malachi Thomas. The running back, who missed the first five games with a leg injury, produced 84 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in his return against Pitt.
The positive last week for Miami was the play of quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, who passed for 496 yards and three touchdowns. At a school with a long list of quality quarterbacks, Van Dyke’s passing yardage was the second most in program history.
It was a nice rebound after Van Dyke struggled in a 45-31 loss to Middle Tennessee State, throwing interceptions on his first two passes — including a pick-six that gave the Blue Raiders the lead for good. By the third quarter, Van Dyke had been benched.
Cristobal said he looks for a strong start at Virginia Tech. During the three-game skid the Hurricanes have not held a lead.
“I wish it came bottled up and you pour it out there and you knew what you were going to get,” Cristobal said. “You want to make sure your team is mentally revved up, but not anxious. Anxiety is the killer of peak performance. We really do spend a lot of time on mental preparation.”
–Field Level Media