Yes, Clemson scored 38 points against Virginia Tech's defense in a Hokies loss Oct. 20. But that hasn't deterred Virginia Tech's defense from feeling confident in itself.
And that's a good thing with a crucial game at Miami tomorrow that could position the Hokies in line for the Coastal division title or all but eliminate them.
What didn't help against the Tigers was that Clemson scored all four of its offensive touchdowns on short fields. But Virginia Tech held the potent Tigers offense to 295 yards of total offense and picked up five sacks.
"Obviously with the punts, we took a loss, but I feel like it kinda boosted our confidence still because this game, everybody sees (Miami) as a really crucial game," sophomore rover Kyshoen Jarrett Jarrett can also feel good about having a defensive line that's put plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and figures to do the same to Miami junior Stephen Morris, who's been hobbled by a sprained ankle.
"It helps the DBs with their coverage, especially when our D-line and our front seven is getting to the quarterback as fast as they have been," Jarrett said. "It helps us and I believe we help them as well. That's why it's a team game. They've been playing well and I feel like they're gonna keep doing just that throughout the rest of the season and that's gonna be a positive for everybody."
Though the Hokies' secondary has improved from a stretch earlier when it was battered and run over against teams like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and North Carolina, it will also get some reinforcement. Senior Jeron Gouveia-Winslow was moved last week from the WHIP to safety where he'll spell Jarrett and come on the field in nickel situations.
"He adds depth, but I believe he also came in as a secondary guy, so he was able to adjust pretty well, honestly," Jarrett said. "He's asked me questions, even me being a young guy, some questions about certain things to do, alignments and stuff like that. I've been able to help, but he's definitely adjusted well to what's been going on."
The changes will hopefully help end Virginia Tech's road woes this season. They're winless away from Lane Stadium, including a neutral-site loss to Cincinnati.
As with the overall defensive mentality, Jarrett said he's confident Virginia Tech can get that long-awaited road win.
"We've gotta attack each game as if it's the ACC championship," he said. "I don't feel like there's gonna be any doubt in anybody's mind. I feel like everybody is just well-prepared and we've had a couple of extra days to prepare, get in our film and get together. I feel like this is a business trip and that's what we have to treat it as."
A win tomorrow will keep the Hokies ACC title hopes alive, but as confident as they are, it still won't erase a season that's had plenty of disappointments.
"It's just the little things," Jarrett said. It's the little things that hurt and I feel like our record should be better than what it is right now. But like everybody has said, it's just the little things that kinda hurt us. We just have to be consistent with the rest of these games and hopefully everything turns out for the best and we can be playing for the ACC championship and see what else comes down the road."