Monday, August 11, 2008

2008 VT Stat Projection: Offense

Last year, the Hokies were No. 100 in the country in total offense and still won 11 games. Their 330.5 yards per game was good enough for 8th in the conference. However, their 28.71 points per game was 2nd behind Clemson. How? The defense. Directly or indirectly, the Tech defense helped account for a lot of points.

It wasn't just Beamerball with non-offensive touchdowns. It was creating turnovers and winning the field position battle. The Hokies worked with a short field a lot in 2007 and it attributed to both the high ranking in points per game and the low ranking in yards per game.

Of course, it didn't help that for the first half of the season the offense was inept at best. But this year, we should see a more effective offense even without any returning starters at running back or wide receiver.

The offensive line is greatly improved. It's light-years ahead of where the Hokies were at O-line last year. There will be holes for running backs to run through and I expect them to find them. There will be time for the quarterback to make decisions and I expect them to make the right ones. The O-line dictates everything on offense and Tech has a solid front.

So, on with the projections for the Hokies on offense.

Last year, Tech averaged 133.64 yards per game rushing and 196.86 yards per game passing. Those numbers won't be significantly higher, but I believe they will be improved.

2008 Hokie Rushing Yards: 155.0 YPG
2008 Hokie Passing Yards: 230.0 YPG
2008 Hokie Total Yards: 380.0 YPG

A caveat here: I think Tyrod Taylor will get a lot of rushing yards. I think he will end up splitting time with Sean Glennon and we'll see Tyrod use his feet. Also, with the improved offensive line, there will be fewer sacks. Glennon "rushed" for (-43) yards last year thanks mainly to sacks.

Glennon, meanwhile, won't have the same targets he had to throw to last year. However, he'll be upright a lot more than last year and when you give Glennon time to throw he's pretty good.

Last year, 385.0 YPG would have put the Hokies at No. 69 in the nation. That would be a big improvement over the last couple of years. It would also alleviate some pressure on offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring, who a lot of Hokie fans can't stand. Yes, the offense is stale and often depressing. But for the athletes Tech has, it works. Other than Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones, the offense hasn't been very talented since Michael Vick left after the 2000 season.

The Hokies Under Stinespring
2007: 330.50 YPG - No. 100 NCAA - No. 8 ACC
2006: 295.15 YPG - No. 99 NCAA - No. 9 ACC
2005: 380.92 YPG - No. 57 NCAA - No. 4 ACC
2004: 365.54 YPG - No. 65 NCAA - No. 4 ACC
2003: 401.77 YPG - No. 38 NCAA - No. 3 BE
2002: 371.64 YPG - No. 64 NCAA - No. 5 BE

I'm not a complete Stiney detractor. By all accounts he's a great guy and Coach Beamer trusts him. But how many offensive coordinators have been outside the Top 50 in total offense every year but one for the last six years and kept their jobs?

Stinespring hasn't had the talent the produce a top offense at Virginia Tech, but he might soon. If the offense improves this year he will get the chance to coach those players. But if the offense is again ranked as low as it has been the last two years, will the heat on him be enough that Beamer will move on? I think it might.

If the offense improves like I think it will this year, I think it will keep improving. The Hokies are finally starting to get top talent on offense with Tyrod, Ryan Williams and Dyrell Roberts. The future finally looks bright on the offensive side of the ball.

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