The biggest game on the Week 2 slate in the ACC is clearly Virginia Tech's showdown with Big Ten powerhouse Ohio State, and while the Buckeyes will be favored to win, the Hokies think they've got a chance to pull an upset thanks to a playmaking defense that promises to give Ohio State's young quarterback fits. To preview the game, we caught up with Virginia Tech cornerback Brandon Facyson to get his thoughts on the matchup.
David Hale: Is there much you can take away from the Week 1 win over William and Mary going into this game against Ohio State?
Brandon Facyson: We practice every day like it's a championship game. We want to always come out and do our best and be able to execute, even when things might not be going our way. Our big thing is getting better from the first game to the second game.
Hale: So what needs to happen during practice this week to get you ready for the Buckeyes?
Facyson: You've got to just come out with a mentality of wanting to be great. No one goes into a game looking to lose. You've got to be mentally prepared, physically prepared. The first game was a great game, we got our feet wet, that's the big thing for most teams. We're looking to come out in the second game and try to narrow down the details and get the little things right -- even the littlest of things.
Hale: After a couple years that weren't probably up to Virginia Tech's standards, do you view this as a statement game for your team?
Facyson: We've been down the past couple years, but we've never been a team people should take lightly. We're not just going to lay down for anyone, no matter the ranking or what kind of program they have. We have a great program. We've been down, but the losses make us stronger and made us even more hungry to come out in a game like this and perform well.
Facyson: He's a very dynamic player. He can control the offense pretty well. With Braxton being out, that doesn't change the way we practice. Every man that steps in is potentially dangerous, so we just don't really pay as much attention to it. We try to get our things right and pay attention to ourselves. If we get our little things right, big things will happen. We game plan against a certain team, but our biggest thing is to get the things we need to get done taken care of. We need to look at the fact we need to get better.
Hale: You obviously lost some top players from last year's defense, but there's a lot of talent back, too. Do you feel this is still an elite defense?
Facyson: We have a great defense this year. We worked hard in spring and took all those opportunities to get better really seriously. I think our defense is going to be great, to continue to get better week by week. I don't have a doubt in my mind that we'll be once again one of the best defenses in the nation.
Hale: A lot of young players got a good look in the opener, particularly on offense. One that stood out was true freshman receiver Isaiah Ford. What did you see from him in camp that led you to believe he could make an instant impact?
Facyson: Isaiah came in ready to go. He's a dynamic player. All camp, he was making big plays. He focused on the little things and made himself better. He's very athletic. He knows the little stuff that goes along with the position. He's bound to make a play every time he gets his hands on the ball, and that's what struck me as a defensive back, actually playing against him and guarding him.
Hale: If Virginia Tech goes into Columbus and leaves with a win, what do you think that does for people's perception of the program?
Facyson: If we come out and play like I know we can play, we should obviously open up everyone's eyes. We're definitely not a team to sleep on, regardless of our record from last season. We have a great tradition here, and even if we have a down season, we're not letting it effect what we're trying to do this season. And going in and playing a great game against Ohio State should definitely open up a lot of people's eyes because I feel like a lot of people are doubting us and not having us in the category of having us as a contender for this year.