Virginia Tech Coach Brent Pry says his team is still learning the “Art of Winning” and needs to correct the details and communication.
But he told reporters this week there were a lot of positive things that came out of last week’s loss to Marshall.
“There has been every week, we need to build on those. There’s mistakes, there’s execution errors, there’s things we can do better as coaches,” he said. “We’ve got to minimize that and get better there. I think a sign of development of a player is minimizing weaknesses, building on strengths. We have to do that with our football team. To me, we keep searching for consistency for complementary football that generally is a path, a roadway to a win. And so that’s what we have to keep working towards. Because I think when we do put this all together, we can fall on the right side of things more often than in the losing column.”
Mastering all of those things and having a team that understands that and believes in those things, according to the first-year coach, is a key.
“That’s our job as coaches. We have to do better there. We have to keep investing there. Those are the differences in the teams and units that I’ve seen that are really good and the teams that are just below that line, that can’t quite get over the hump. There’s good signs all over our film and the weaknesses that are there, a lot of them are correctable. Some of its youth, some of its injury, but a lot of it’s very correctable.”
Today’s (Saturday, Sept 30) Pitt-Virginia Tech contest is slated to kickoff at 8 p.m.
Other game notes:
This weekend’s game will mark the 23rd meeting between Virginia Tech and Pitt. The series is deadlocked with each team boasting 11 wins and 11 losses.
Pitt has won three straight games against the Hokies, including four of the last five meetings. The two programs met 11 times as BIG EAST members between 1993 and 2003. They have also met 11 times as ACC foes.
The Panthers enter this week’s contest with a record of 1-3, beating Wofford (45-7) while losing to Cincinnati (27-21), West Virginia (17-6) and No. 17 North Carolina (41-24).
The Panthers have three players on the roster who call the Commonwealth of Virginia home, LB Jordan Bass (Hampton), RB Rodney Hampton (Norfolk) and OL Isaiah Montgomery (Virginia Beach).
Through Week 4 of the football season, the Tech defense is tied for first place in fourth down conversion percentage. Georgia Southern (0-for-3), Michigan (0-for-7), UAB (0-for-3) and Virginia Tech (0-for-3) defenses have not allowed a fourth down conversion this season.
The lunch pail defense also checks in at No. 2 for passing yards allowed. Opponents are 59-for-102 and 554 yards through four games this season. That puts the yards per game at 138.5, just half a yard behind Penn State in first place.
After missing the entire 2022 season due to injury, DL Pheldarius Payne made a big impact in the maroon and orange on Saturday afternoon. The Suffolk, Virginia, native claimed his first career sack as a Hokie late in the second quarter, which helped force a Marshall punt two plays later. Payne finished with his best outing of the season, amassing four total tackles and an additional half-sack following halftime, wrestling down the quarterback alongside teammate Mario Kendricks.
Over the first four weeks of the season, numerous true and redshirt freshmen have played snaps in-game. Following the contest in New Jersey, 17 players in that grouping have found themselves on the field in some capacity. The eight true freshmen to see the field so far in 2023 are LB George Ballance, STAR Caleb Woodson, STAR Antonio Cotman Jr., CB Dante Lovett, CB Braylon Johnson, S Mose Phillips, WR Ayden Greene, and WR Takye Heath. Greene has played in four games, recording three catches for 24 yards.
One pair of three sets of brothers currently on Tech’s roster, TE Benji Gosnell and WR Stephen Gosnell, accounted for more than half of the offense’s receiving yardage last Saturday. Benji recorded the Hokies’ longest reception of the game with a 22-yard reception on the team’s first possession of the second half. The younger of the two Gosnells, Benji, led the team with 52 receiving yards on four receptions. Benji now has eight receptions for 96 yards on the season. Looking at the senior wideout’s production, Stephen hauled in three passes for 32 yards, highlighted by an impressive one-handed grab to start the second half. Stephen has registered nine catches for 133 yards through four games this season. Combining their receiving yardage totals, the Gosnell brothers produced 84 of the 160 receiving yards on Saturday afternoon.