Hokies notes improved o-line play, nijman’s status, osterloh’s effort and more football roanoke.com electricity transmission vs distribution

The coach was not pleased with the toughness displayed by everyone on the team against the Tar Heels, despite a 59-7 score. That included the offensive line, which only paved the way for the Hokies to run for 3.9 yards per carry against a porous UNC defense.

Statistically, Tech still averaged 3.9 yards per carry against Duke, but A) it was in the rain, which made passing with any kind of consistency impossible, thus allowing the defense to zero in on the run, and B) came against a Duke defensive front that was much better than UNC’s.

Nijman, who’s started every game at left tackle the last two years, limped off the field in the second quarter against Duke with an apparent lower-body injury. He did not return. Fuente was short on specifics Monday, as he always is when an injury is not season-ending, putting Nijman in the day-to-day category.

"I thought he did a good job. I really did. I was proud of him," Fuente said. "It’s nice to have him back. We haven’t talked much about him, just all the things that he’s been through just to try to get back for this season. It’s been a long journey for him, and it was nice, obviously, that he’s back, and then when called upon he was ready to go out there and play. So awfully happy. He’s obviously a guy we trust."

"I don’t know that I’d reach too much into my thoughts on our kicker in terms of my decisions," Fuente said. "We’re in that kind of area where we haven’t been incredibly efficient kicking field goals from those longer areas, and we have a fourth-and-manageable situation. … You know, we’ve got a lot of confidence in our defense. Sometimes you can be a little bit more aggressive in those situations when you’re playing well on defense, or you feel good about your defense. I know it’s a combination of several of those things that we felt just better about going for it.”

"We’re always nit-picking and trying to find different ways to give ourselves a chance to have success," Fuente said. "I’d like to make the safety in the hole miss a few more times if we could. We’ve been able to get the ball to the unblocked hat at times, and at times on Saturday.

"Eventually, you’re going to run into somebody that we can’t block, and we were able to get the ball to that person on a little bit more consistent basis last week. I’d like to see us make some bigger plays out of those, but yeah, I like where we’re headed. Certainly, the weather was a factor in terms of managing the game, but I’d put the running game in there like everything else, continuing to try and improve and get a little better.”

"Anytime you lose a player of that caliber, it makes it difficult," Fuente said. "I think they’ve done a fantastic job of picking up the slack. All that being said, he was, I would say, the best player they had. I mean, he was really electric, and they went out of their way to find different ways to get him the football both in the passing game and the running game."

"I’ve seen them kind of collectively pick the slack through their tight ends, they’ve got some young wide receivers that are out there playing, through their slot wide receiver [ Braxton Berrios], he’s a heck of a good player, and obviously, through the running game," Fuente said. "They even put another guy out there towards the end of the game last week, so I see them kind of as a group doing a pretty good job of filling in for him.”

"I don’t know if y’all saw, but coach [ Sean] McDermott with the Buffalo Bills gave Logan Thomas the game ball after the game the other day," Fuente said. "And just want to make sure Logan and his family know that everybody here, the Hokie family, has got him and his family in our thoughts and prayers as they go through a really tough time. I thought that was a pretty neat move and a neat reaction, maybe more importantly, by his teammates."