We’ve finally done it, y’all. We’ve made it back to football season, and you’ve survived the #SummerOfContent. Roy from Gobbler Country was kind enough to join us to break down the revival of the Black Diamond Trophy at FedEx Field.
Matt: Justin Fuente's first season was an overall success any way you slice it. How has he used that success to set up the future of the program this spring and summer?
Roy : There certainly is more excitement surrounding this year's team. Last season there was an early sense of uncertainly on how the Fuente Hokies would perform, and the fan base was energized by the success. The recruiting has improved dramatically. From day one, Coach Fuente has made the "757" a point of focus, and landing players like Devon Hunter, who should see action against WVU, prove he is having success.
Matt: West Virginia's 3-3-5 stack has a track record of confusing quarterbacks the first time they're forced to go up against it in game action. How has RS Freshman Josh Jackson looked this summer and are you confident in his ability to make the right reads against a confusing look from West Virginia?
Roy: Justin Fuente has an impeccable reputation in developing quarterbacks. If you look at what Fuente, and OC Brad Cornelsen did last year with Jerod Evans, you will see a pattern emerge. They put young, inexperienced QB's in the most comfortable position possible. Jackson winning the starting job relatively early in fall camp lends me to believe they have a ton of confidence in him. First games are always a crapshoot, so literally anything might happen, but Jackson gives us the best chance to win.
Matt: A major question mark for the Mountaineers is on the defensive line, creating an opportunity for success for the Hokie backs. Could you give us a quick rundown on your RB situation?
Roy: Fuente is known as a "by committee" guy in terms of RBs, so you will see many hands carry the ball on Sunday. Steven Peoples is a 5'9" 219 LB junior who is listed first on the depth chart against West Virginia. You will also see Travon McMillian get plenty of touches as well. Some folks were surprised McMillian isn't the "starter", but again, both backs will have opportunities.
Matt: You've kept a lot more of the old Big East rivals on the schedule than West Virginia by virtue of playing in the ACC, but this is still a game with a ton of history. How does it feel to have the Black Diamond trophy back up for grabs?
Roy: Personally it's great for me. My late father was a W.V.U. grad (Class of '66), so it will be a little sentimental. I loved watching these teams playing in Lane Stadium every other year, and traveling to Morgantown. This was such a great rivalry, and am super pumped to see it being renewed. I know we start a home and home in 2020/21, and that's the way this game should be played. I'm not big into neutral site games, but at least we get to see the Mountaineers and Hokies renew the rivalry.
Matt: How does this one shake out?
Roy: I have some bad news, Mountaineers. Josh Jackson will be nervous early, but gain some footing toward the end of the first half. Tim Settle and Ricky Walker will make running against the Hokies a dicey proposition. The Hokies' secondary will intercept Will Grier at least two times. Final score Virginia Tech 34 West Virginia 21