Bryan Stinespring threw a headlock on his son. Then he cradled one daughter in his left arm and another in his right.
You could tell. He didn't want to let go.
Hard to blame him. After what must rank as the most trying week of his seven seasons as Virginia Tech's offensive coordinator, Stinespring wanted, needed even, to bask in Saturday's 20-17 victory over Georgia Tech with those he holds dearest.
"People don't know what we're going through," said quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain, the Hokies' only assistant coach who spoke to reporters. "They think they know, but they don't know. They're not in meetings 80 hours a week. They're out there on the fringes."
Don't misunderstand. This is not to absolve head coach Frank Beamer and his staff of the curious decisions that marked the Hokies' staggering start.
Nor to suggest that glaring concerns — think anemic passing attack — do not remain.
But following a turbulent buildup that included Beamer's impassioned defenses of Stinespring, beating a quality opponent was sweet, indeed.
"A great, great team win," Beamer said, "and I love team wins."
Notice that Beamer didn't say "great performance."
Virginia Tech needed two 15-yard defensive penalties to fuel its drive toward Dustin Keys' winning field goal. Moreover, the Hokies passed for a meager 48 yards, their lowest production in five years.
Defensively, Virginia Tech yielded 278 yards rushing, 151 to quarterback Josh Nesbitt. The Hokies also allowed a 41-yard touchdown pass and darn near a repeat — Nesbitt overthrew a wide-open Roddy Jones on the same deep route with about 2:30 remaining.
How did Virginia Tech (2-1, 1-0 ACC) survive? The Hokies forced three turnovers and committed none. They committed three penalties for 15 yards, compared to the Yellow Jackets' eight for 61.
By such disparities are taut games decided.
But those are numbers. They are rooted in people.
Redshirt freshman tailback Darren Evans rumbled for 94 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Henceforth, he ought to be Virginia Tech's featured back.
Despite missing several tackles early, fifth-year senior linebacker Purnell Sturdivant sacked Nesbitt on fourth-and-7 with less than 2:15 left. Vince Hall he's not, but give Sturdivant credit for persevering.
In his first start of 2008, sophomore quarterback Tyrod Taylor rushed for 74 yards, scored a touchdown and hurdled a Georgia Tech equipment trunk after being forced out-of-bounds. The offense generated only 273 yards, but his playmaking skills were essential and again showed the folly of Beamer's original intent to redshirt him.
Taylor's defining moment came as he went under center on third-and-goal from the 2 with 14 seconds remaining in the first half. Virginia Tech trailed 9-7 and was without a timeout.
The play called for Taylor to quickly scan the end zone for a receiver and, absent one, heave the ball out of bounds to set up a chip-shot field goal. Instead, Taylor dropped back, scrapped the plan and scooted into the end zone.
Had the Yellow Jackets tackled him shy of the goal line, time would have expired. But as Beamer said with a smile, "Tyrod's Tyrod."
Or, as O'Cain often tells Taylor: "You do what the good Lord has blessed you with."
No matter how well Taylor might fare on "Dancing With the Stars," the Hokies will not fare well in the ACC's Coastal Division without some semblance of a downfield passing threat.
Of Taylor's 14 throws, none gained more than 10 yards. One, a deep incompletion intended for Macho Harris, was more than a dink.
Beamer insists Taylor is capable of throwing more intermediate and deep routes. Maybe not as well as former starter and current backup Sean Glennon, but certainly more than he's shown.
Those of us who saw Taylor — the Hokies are his team until further notice — perform at Hampton High School agree. Then why does the Hokies' pass offense appear so constipated?
O'Cain said that three or four longer patterns were called but that Taylor elected to run instead. Beamer mentioned protection problems and uncertain routes run by inexperienced receivers.
"I'm itching to let it loose," Taylor said.
"Trust me on this," Beamer said. "We're going to get more and more throws down the field. Tyrod can do it. ...
"I just know with the threats that we have in the backfield, there's going to be some linebackers that get out of place, and some safeties that get out of place, and some cornerbacks that get sucked up. That's going to be an emphasis."
The emphasis will start today, after what surely was a satisfying Saturday night.
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime.