Thursday, October 16, 2008

What to Watch vs. BC

This post usually goes up Friday, but that's a travel day for me, so enjoy an early edition of What to Watch. A lot of the stats below are from


- Don't expect a lot from Darren Evans and the rest of the running backs Saturday. BC has one of the better front sevens we'll face this year, if not the best. Running between the tackles might not be an option.

- Could we see some zone-read options from Tyrod Taylor this week? We might. The Hokies will need to get to the outside to use Tyrod's speed this week. This is a game Kenny Lewis could have excelled in. His shiftiness and quickness to the outside would have helped against the Eagles.

- Eagle in Atlanta said earlier this week he expects BC to play back and force Tyrod to beat them with his arm. He's improved as a passer from week to week and could break out against the Eagles if they force it. He was able to find open receivers against the Huskers and was able to make big plays when the Hokies needed it against the Hilltoppers.

- This is going to be Tyrod's game to win or lose. As unfair as that is, he will be the one who is going to have to sustain drives either through the air or by tucking and running. If he's successful, the Hokies will be able to put up points and win easily. If he has a bad game, it could be a repeat of the '06 game.

- The Hokies have had trouble in the red zone this year. They are 10th in the ACC at scoring touchdowns in the red zone (46.4 percent). Miami is the only ACC team with a higher percentage of red zone trips end in field goals than the Hokies. On the other side, BC is the best red zone defense in the ACC. Only 54.6 percent of red zone drives have ended in points against the Eagles. Of course, they are also tied for fewest red zone chances against. For the Hokies to win Saturday, they have to do a better job with their red zone chances. And I think they'll get a few of them because the defense will be able to force turnovers.


- I think the Hokies will be able to get pressure on Chris Crane. They may not result in sacks because of Crane's mobility, but he will be forced to make decisions quicker than he wants to.

- BC always has a good offensive line, but this year's doesn't impress me as much as the last two lines they've had. They lost a lot of talent from last year's line and this one, to me, doesn't seem to have gelled just yet. I think Tech's three solid defensive ends will get to know Crane pretty well over the 60 minutes on Saturday.

- This favors the Hokies because it will negate their one weakness on defense so far this year: The deep middle part of the field. Between the pressure on Crane and BC's receivers not being burners, the Eagles won't have time to exploit the troubles Kam Chancellor and Tech's rovers have had this season.

- BC's run game is improved this year, but I don't think it has improved enough to be a factor against the Hokies. Tech is in the middle of the pack this year in run defense because they were gashed by teams running some form of option attack: ECU, GT and WKU. Against traditional rushing attacks, like the one BC will throw at them, they have been outstanding.

- Georgia Tech was able to hold BC to 2.9 yards per carry when they faced each other. I think you'll see a similar number Saturday.


- This will be a low-scoring, hard-fought game that will come down to turnovers. So far, Tyrod has done a good job of protecting the ball and not making mistakes to cost the Hokies. Tech's defense, meanwhile, has intercepted four passes in the last three games and is tied for the ACC lead in fumbles recovered with eight. I said the same thing going into the Nebraska game: Someone of defense will make a play late that wins us the game. I also like VT's odds in a close game because our special teams are far superior to BC's. Both our punter and kicker are much better than BC's options at both positions.

Check the box score for:
1. Turnovers.
2. Tyrod Taylor rushing yards.
3. Chris Crane comp. %.
4. Chris Crane rushing yards.

VT Players to Watch:
5 - Tyrod Taylor, So., QB
8 - Greg Boone, Jr., TE
6 - Jason Worilds, So., DE
1 - Macho Harris, Sr., CB

BC Players to Watch
10 - Chris Crane, Sr., QB
60 - Ron Brace, Sr., DT
16 - Brian Toal, Sr., LB/FB
1 - Josh Haden, Fr., RB

Score: Virginia Tech 20, Boston College 14


Winfield Featherston said...

Yall are good but I gotta pull for BC for obvious reasons. Go BC! Beat the Turkeys!

BCMike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BCMike said...

First, thank you for contributing to EinATL and BCI.

There were SEVERAL points that I really have to disagree with. First...

"If [Tyrod Taylor]'s successful, the Hokies will be able to put up points and win easily."

If Taylor is successful, it will give VT a chance to win, same as Crane. The notion that either one of these teams or QB's will be able to have their teams put up a good amount of points or win easily I think is laughable. There's just no way BC blows out VT or vice versa.

Remember BC is giving up 11 points a game, and that spiked up from 6.5 because of a KR TD, and four other KR's that had the ball in BC territory vs. NCSU the whole game. If you can duplicate NCSU's once in a lifetime performance on KR's, then perhaps VT will score and win "easily", but I wouldn't bet on lightning striking twice.

Next up: "BC always has a good offensive line, but this year's doesn't impress me as much as the last two lines they've had."

First, thank you for the compliment. It's nice being acknowledged as "O-Line U". Secondly, to a man, just about every BC fan will tell you this O-Line is actually better than last year's. Castonzo was a true frosh, undersized and exposed by Chris Ellis last year. He's been terrific moving over to LT this year. Last year Gosder Cherilus (NFL 1st rd pick) went from RT to LT and struggled mightily. He'll never see a snap in the pro's from the left hand side. Ramsey and Tennant have played exceptionally well, and Lapham is good, but not great at RT this year. This is also the second year they're implementing the famed "zone blocking" scheme, and by all accounts it looks infinitely better than last year.

...and on that same thread...

"Against traditional rushing attacks, like the one BC will throw at them, they have been outstanding."

BC will run inside the tackles, but I'll ask you to look at the 5 or so rushing TD's Crane has. BC actually runs the zone option quite a bit, something you guys never saw last year. I would not by any means now (to my displeasure to be honest) put BC in the "conventional" running attack category.

"Georgia Tech was able to hold BC to 2.9 yards per carry when they faced each other. I think you'll see a similar number Saturday."

GT also has the best front four in the ACC and arguably the country. You couple that with arguably the worst QB single game performance in the past 30 years at The Heights, GT was stacking the box and daring Crane to beat them on a day he couldn't get out of his own way. Thinking you're going to see the same Crane that played GT and crapped himself is as silly as thinking Crane will duplicate his 485 yards of personal total offense he had last week vs. NCSU.

Erik said...

My points of contention as a BC fan visiting:

1. Chris Crane's mobility to avoid sacks. "Mobility" isn't the right word to describe his running style. Its more like inertia. So if you give him 2 or 3 steps to build up momentum, he has decent speed and can bounce off a tackle or two and fall forward 2 more yards. He can be sacked if he's in the pocket because the quick first step isn't there.

2. BC's running game improved. Should be interpretted differently. It is way better than the low expectations at the start of the year. But last year's group could run great, had two 4 year starters (Callender/Whitworth), they just abandoned the running game every week for reasons unknown other than saying Ryan or Bust. I do think the line has improved in running phase, but the backs aren't any better than last year (yet).

Right on, good read.

Brian said...

"Leadership Are No Joke" ... neither is subject-verb agreement.