BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech defensive back Caleb Farley took to social media less than 20 minutes after last Friday night’s 45-10 loss to Duke to deliver a message to disappointed Hokies football fans.
“That is embarrassing, I apologize to anyone who has any emotional investment to VT. Back to work,” he tweeted.
Farley, a soft-spoken member of Tech’s defense, is an infrequent tweeter, but he felt compelled to share a message after the program’s latest setback.
“It was embarrassing,” Farley followed up on Tuesday. “It was something I wanted to put out there and let the fans know and my teammates that it’s over and we are going to get back to work for Miami.”
While Farley shared his disappointment publicly, he wasn’t the only Tech defender to come into work on Sunday still upset about what went down at Lane Stadium on Friday night.
It was exactly what defensive coordinator Bud Foster wanted to see from the group.
“Everybody wants to win. Let me say that. Everybody wants to win. OK?” Foster said Tuesday. “You want a group of guys that hate to lose, though. That it really bothers them. That they put so much into this thing, so much strain, so much work, so much effort, so much preparation, that if you do get beat, it should hurt.
"And we’ve got to make sure that we have enough of those guys. And that’s what I was hoping, that we’d have guys that were hurting and really disappointed.”
The Hokies' coaching staff put players through an intense practice for a Sunday and didn’t let up when the team reconvened on Tuesday. Farley described them as two of the “most competitive” workouts he’s seen during his time in Blacksburg. Now the next step is to maintain that level of intensity the rest of the season.
“That’s something we have to practice like that every time not just because we got embarrassed from a loss,” Farley said. “We have to execute and take the field on a day to day basis.”
Tech has lost six of seven ACC games dating back to the middle of the 2018 season and surrendered at least 30 points in all seven of those contests, with opposing teams averaging 447 yards per game. The Hokies have struggled against the run in particular, giving up 1,899 yards during that stretch with opponents averaging 5.9 yards per carry and scoring 25 rushing touchdowns.
Foster said the most frustrating part for him is that he has seen brief flashes of brilliance from the defense — providing blips of what the unit aspires to be.
Take the long-since-forgotten first quarter on Friday, when Duke wasn't just held scoreless — the Blue Devils didn't even earn a first down — as they were stopped cold at the line of scrimmage on three of the eight plays they ran and managed 5 yards of total offense in the first 15 minutes.
Looking back their opening-day ACC loss to Boston College, the Hokies had a similar span of play in the third quarter, forcing three straight three and outs.
For Foster, it all goes back to the defense’s inconsistent practice habits of a young team still learning to “roll up their sleeves” on a daily basis.
“You’ve got to do it every day at a high level to achieve what you want to achieve,” Foster said. “And that’s kind of what these guys have to buy into and then go do that. That’s where the leaders need to step up is really challenge those guys that if they see they’re going through the motions, that’s not good enough, man. That comes from us as coaches, but it comes from the players too.
"When you have that peer pressure from within, then that means you’ve got a pretty good situation.”