Thursday, September 11, 2008

What to Watch vs. Georgia Tech


The Hokies will wear orange jerseys for Orange Effect weekend. Here's my best guess as to what they'll look like. I like the white numbers better. The ones with maroon numbers are on sale at various Web sites.

While I'm sure they'll look great, it kind of worries be because the last time the Hokies wore orange jerseys they lost to UVa, 42-23 in Blacksburg while wearing orange jerseys with orange pants.


Frank Beamer defended offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring on Monday's Labatt Hokie Hotline, calling caller Jason from Arlington "out of whack" for thinking the offense has under-performed the last eight years. He then defended Stinespring again at Tuesday's press conference, inviting Virginia Tech fans that could prove they knew how to run an offense better than Stinespring to come air their grievances about the offense and the offensive coordinator.

This puts more pressure than ever on Stinespring and the offense to come up with and execute a solid offensive game plan against the Yellow Jackets. Another lackluster performance after Beamer went to bat for him would no doubt turn up the complaints from Hokie fans from "mild roar" to "DNC protester with a megaphone near the MSNBC set" levels.

The key Saturday's game for the Hokies will be the offensive line. I'm interested to see where Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson will line up. Will he line up on his usual side and go head-to-head with Ed Wang or will he move to the right side of Virginia Tech's offensive line and go after the less experienced and more inconsistent tackles?

Also, because of the offensive line's struggles against the pass rush I don't expect to see Ryan Williams play on Saturday. He has had trouble with pass blocking and that's what's kept the true freshman from making his Hokie debut. He can be magic with the ball in his hands, but when the play isn't designed for him, he hasn't been as good as Kenny Lewis or Darren Evans in pass blocking.

My hope is the Hokies give more carries to Evans Saturday as he's been the most explosive and most constant when carrying the football. However, Lewis is great for third downs because he is quicker to the line of scrimmage when carrying the ball and is the best pass blocking and pass catching running back.

I think the writing is on the wall for Sean Glennon. He is a victim of circumstance this season and Tyrod Taylor will get most of the snaps the rest of the way. Glennon simply did not improve as much as he should have from his sophomore to senior year. Also, the lack of playmakers at skill positions and inconstant play from the offensive line means the Hokies need a mobile quarterback this season. Taylor will be the guy Saturday and beyond.


Both sides of the ball will have big plays Saturday when Georgia Tech is on offense. The flexbone can lead to big plays, but it can also lead to costly turnovers. The Yellow Jackets have seen both in their first two games.

They faced a superior run defense last week when they played Boston College than they will see this week against the Hokies. Last week, the big plays came when the run went to the outside and there were missed assignments from the secondary. The interior linemen and backers on BC's defense did a good job of stopping runs between the tackles.

I think the opposite will be true this weekend. You'll see the Hokies play assignment football and execute well on options to the outside. However, I think Georgia Tech will break two or three big plays on fullback dives and runs up the middle. Jonathan Dwyer can be a difference maker when given space to run juke when off tackle. However, he will need to be more of a north-south runner to have success against the Hokies. Virginia Tech has too much speed in the secondary and at linebacker for him to have success running to the outside.


Both teams will be trying to stop eachother on first and second down to force passing situations. Both are at their best when defending the pass. As with most Hokie games, it will come down to turnovers and rushing yards.

Because the Hokies have been able to force turnovers and capitalize on them and the Yellow Jackets have had trouble hanging on to the football with the new offense, I believe the Hokies will win a close football game. This one will be exciting to watch, particularly when the Jackets have the football.

Check the box score for:
1. Turnovers
2. Team rush yards
3. GT sacks
4. VT third down percentage

Players to watch for GT:
9 - Josh Nesbitt, QB, So.
28 - Jonathan Dwyer, B-back, So.
93 - Michael Johnson, DE, Sr.
1 - Morgan Burnett, S, So.

Players to watch for VT:
5 - Tyrod Taylor, QB, So.
77 - Ed Wang, LT, Jr.
1 - Macho Harris, CB, Sr.
91 - John Graves, DT, So.

Score: Virginia Tech 23, Georgia Tech 21

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