Hokies more experienced heading into this fall

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Justin Fuente's win totals have dipped from 10 to nine to six in his first three seasons as football coach at Virginia Tech. Last year's 6-7 record marked the Hokies' first losing season since 1992.

Many of Tech's struggles last season can be traced to the inexperienced lineup the team had to field for much of the fall. Now many of those young players are more seasoned heading into the 2019 season. The Hokies will return 16 starters from last year.

But at ACC Kickoff in Charlotte on Thursday, Fuente conceded that that added experience would guarantee nothing for the Hokies this fall.

"Well, just because you've got experience, you all know this, doesn't mean that you're going to be any better," Fuente said. "You've got to take those experiences and learn from them, and continue to diligently work to improve."

Fuente was joined in Charlotte by senior defensive back Reggie Floyd and junior tight end Dalton Keene. They hope the young players who were forced into action in Blacksburg last season will be more prepared to make the Hokies a better team this fall.

"Last year we were forced somewhat to grow up and mature faster than we expected," Floyd said. "So that was like a plus for us."

"Young guys are so important," Keene said. "And when you don't have that drop-off; guys are going to get injured. If an older guy goes down, we need a young guy to step in right away and have it be a seamless transition. So that's definitely really important."