CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The 2017 ACC Football Kickoff’s 14 head coaches, 28 football student athletes and media packed into the The Westin Charlotte on Thursday for the second day of the ACC Kickoff.
On Friday, the Coastal division teams took the podium for Day 2, producing a day full of predictions and expectations for the upcoming 2017 college football season.
Virginia Tech’s head coach Justin Fuente, linebacker Andrew Montupuaka, and wide receiver Cam Phillips spoke to the media about their goal of returning to the top of the ACC.
Here is what we heard:
Last year, Virginia Tech and Clemson faced off in Orlando, Fla., for the 2016 ACC Championship game. The Hokies didn’t get the job done, and were sent home by the Tigers, 42-35.
With a chip on his shoulder, revenge over the Tigers is in the forefront of Phillips’ mind.
“I know it definitely means a lot to me just because of how we lost in the ACC Championship,” Phillips said. “I think it’s an opportunity for revenge, so I speak for, I think, the whole staff and the team when I say we’ll be ready for them. We’re not going to take them lightly at all. Like you said, they are the defending National Champions.
“But I think it will be a great opportunity to show our growth in the season. I believe it’s, what, the fifth game of the season, so it’ll be a nice test for us to see where we are.”
Although Virginia Tech made a run to the ACC Championship last year with 10 wins, Clemson and Florida State have dominated the talk of the ACC recently.
Montupuaka is keeping his mind away from the distractions, all the while chasing success to earn the respect that Clemson and Florida State have acquired.
“I mean, I think speaking from Virginia Tech, I think we don’t really — personally I don’t really feed into all that stuff,” Montupuaka said. “I’m just here to play ball. That’s what really matters at the end of the day. Just like the — not being mentioned and stuff like that, little things like that really just kind of fuels us to go get our respect.”
Instilling that chase for respect, Fuente and his team’s goal is to claim a spot at the top of the ACC. Fuente is trusting the process.
“I mean, our long-term mission is return Virginia Tech back to the top of the ACC,” Fuente said. “I mean, that’s our goal. But to me, it’s about the process and it’s about are we going about the process that’s been proven over time that leads to our improvement.
“As we move forward, for us, it’s all about focusing on the process and making sure we’re giving ourselves a chance.”
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