Friday, October 3, 2008

What to Watch vs. WKU


- WKU runs a 3-4 defense, so if the Hokies wanted to, they could not run a pass play and still win by two touchdowns. I-A opponents are averaging over 264 yards per game and 6.2 yards per carry against the Hilltopper defense. The second half means it's Josh Oglesby time.

- While the Hokies could just give the ball to Darren Evans 20 times in the first half and call it a day, I think they'll try to establish the pass early. Tyrod was able to find open receivers against Nebraska's slow defense and they want to continue to build on what they established last week.

- Jarrett Boykin pulled down two catches for 58 yards against the Huskers, but that isn't exactly establishing yourself. Saturday is his chance to assert himself as the go-to guy among the receivers. No Hokie had more than two catches against Nebraska and Tyrod needs a target he can rely on.

- The Hilltoppers haven't been completely horrible against the pass when they've played I-A opponents. They're giving up 6.4 yards per pass against I-A competition, compared to 5.6 against I-AA teams. I-AA teams are actually averaging more yards per game through the air than I-A opponents against WKU, but that stat is misleading because a lot of those yards came during futile comeback attempts.

- In their three games against I-A teams, the Hilltoppers have given up five touchdowns and intercepted two passes. It won't be as easy to throw against them as you might think, but the Hokies still need to develop their passing game, rather than just be content with running the ball down WKU's throat.

- The Hokies only used five offensive lineman against the Huskers, which is a Catch-22. It's good to have Blake DeChristopher back and have the line build chemistry that was missed during the three and a half games he was good. However, the WKU game is chance to see some depth develop on the offensive line. Because right now, we're still one injury away from everything going to hell in a handbasket. Again.

- I think the Hokies should try to focus on the passing game in the first half to build momentum with Tyrod and the young receiving corps. The second half should be used to develop depth on the offensive line and get carries for Josh Oglesby.


- The Hilltoppers have made a change at quarterback and have an emerging star at running back.

- This won't be QB David Wolke's first start of the season, but it will be his first in place of regular starter KJ Black. Black was injured earlier in the year and Wolke started against Alabama and Murray State. However, Black returned last week and both quarterbacks were atrocious, combining for 15 yards passing.

- Wolke is the more accurate passer, but less nimble. He'll be a sitting duck for the Hokie pass rush. My guess is you'll see both quarterbacks and like against Kentucky, neither will be very effective.

- The Hilltoppers run the spread so you'll get to see newly-named starter and redshirt freshman running back Bobby Rainey get the ball early and often. Rainey established himself as the Hilltopper best running back against Kentucky. He ran for 99 yards on 11 carries, including a 40-yard run.

- Rainey is also a threat returning kicks. He's had 74-yard and 92-yard kickoff returns in the last two weeks. That's not good for the Hokies. Beamer said after the Nebraska game they've had trouble getting kicks into the end zone.

- With WKU running the spread, a lot of pressure will again be put on the Hokie secondary. The secondary's speed will be needed against a spread attack that features a solid running back. I don't expect the Hilltoppers to score more than one touchdown Saturday, but I think they'll break a couple of big plays. It'll be a good learning experience for Dorian Porch, who is a solid rover against the pass, but needs more work against the run.


- The Hilltoppers will keep it within two touchdowns in the first half as the Hokies do well against the spread on defense, but give up a big play for a score. The Hokies will try to throw the ball more in the first half and have moderate success. It'll be 21-7 at half and Tech will roll in the second half when the Hokies get a couple of big plays through the air and then pound it on the ground late.

Watch the box score for:
1. Tyrod YPA
2. VT sacks
3. WKU return yards
4. Turnovers

VT players to watch:
5 - Tyrod Taylor, So., QB
81 - Jarrett Boykin, Fr., WR
6 - Jason Worilds, So., DE
24 - Dorian Porch, Jr., ROV

WKU players to watch:
17 - Bobby Rainey, Fr., RB
3 - David Wolke, Sr., QB
6 - Blake Boyd, Jr., LB
21 - Jihad Morris, Jr., CB

Score: Virginia Tech 42, WKU 10

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