Hokies, Cavaliers reload with new leadership in ACC Coastal

4 teams in the division have new coaches

Brent Pry was sporting his new Hokies attire at the ACC football kickoff. (WSLS-TV/ Virginia Tech Athletics/ACC)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It was a little shocking to hear Silas Dzansi say on Thursday that he’s never won a bowl game in his five years, going on six, at Virginia Tech. That’s ultimately a big reason why that COVID year came into play. Both he and Dax Hollifield wanted to return to change the culture of winning, and Tech’s Head Coach Brent Pry is in Blacksburg to help them make that happen.

“They didn’t come to Tech to go 6-7, they came to Tech to compete for championships. Well, how many of you have won a championship? Put your hand up! Only the former players can put their hands up right?” Pry said.

“That’s the biggest thing for me, get a ring that says championship on it, and that’s my biggest thing for real, bring winning football back to Blacksburg. We‘ve always had the talent to win, it’s just never turned out the way we want it to which is extremely frustrating,” explained offensive lineman Silas Dzansi.

Every team in the ACC wants to win including UVA, and they said it ultimately starts up front.

UVA has their skill members returning – Brennan Armstrong and Keytaon Thompson – but one of the things Tony Elliott said he regrets is not retaining key players when he got to the program.

UVA lost four linemen to the transfer portal, and two graduated, so there is work to be done by the start of the season.

“We brought in some ready-made guys that we believe can transition quickly, and we have some developmental guys on the offensive line that we think over time are going to be really good players,” Coach Elliott said. “So the key is can we get two or three of those guys that we brought in this summer to be ready to be depth guys?”

“The guys that are in there coming up now have … they’re older,” Cavaliers quarterback Brennan Armstrong said. “Four third-year guys or maybe even fifth-year. It’s just the experience Coach E eluded to in the press conference, it’s just they don’t have too much experience.”

Coach Elliott said that the group, which includes a few grad transfers, will need to be quick on their feet and quick learners to help the balanced attack they want on offense.

Virginia will open the season at home with Richmond on September 3. Virginia Tech will hit the road to open at ODU on September 2.

About the Authors:

Brooke Leonard is the newest addition to the 10 Sports team, joining in June 2019.

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.