Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What to Watch vs. Virginia

Most stats are from

Noon Game

- I hate Noon games and I'm sure the team does, too. As bad as we've played at times this year, we've been ever worse at Noon. Typically, it's the same for most teams. By the time kickoff comes around, neither the fans nor the teams are completely awake. Expect our effort and the atmosphere to be a lot less than what it is at 3:30 or later.


- No matter how you slice it, no matter what words you use to describe it, our offense is bad. Whether Tyrod Taylor or Sean Glennon is taking snaps, we have had a difficult time moving the ball. The running game has been average and good at times, but we have nothing resembling a passing game.

- Unfortunately for the Hokies, UVa has been pretty good at stopping the run this year. In their last eight games, the Wahoos have held their opponent under four yards per carry. Their last two games have been especially dominant against the run. They held Wake Forest to 2.9 YPC and Clemson to 1.44 YPC.

- Since UConn hung and astonishing five rushing touchdowns against the Wahoos, only one team, Georgia Tech, has had more than one in a game (2). The reason for Virginia's recent losing streak can't be contributed to its defense. Instead, it has been the offense that has failed it.

- The Wahoos run a 3-4 defense, which on the surface would appear to be disadvantageous to stopping a run-first team like the Hokies. However, the 'Hoos have a strong group of linebackers, led by senior Clint Sintim. Hokie fans know Sintim as the guy who took a cheap shot on Glennon when he was taking a knee last year. Watch for Sintim to be involved in just about every tackle for the 'Hoos and for his name to be booed vigorously every time it's said over the PA.

- Virginia's secondary mirrors Virginia Tech's. The 'Hoos have two solid cornerbacks in Vic Hall and Ras-I Dowling, but have not gotten solid play from their safeties this year. Look for the Hokie tight ends to have a good day as there should be room in the middle of the field for them to make catches against the Wahoo safeties and linebackers.

- However, this game will as always, come down to Virginia Tech's rushing production against Al Groh's 3-4 defense. The 'Hoos have done well recently against the run, but the Hokies have been producing on the ground of late. The battle between the Hokie offensive line and the Wahoo front seven will decide this game.

- Who will quarterback the Hokies on Saturday is not nearly as important as how they quarterback. I don't care if it's Tyrod or Glennon out there as long as they keep from turning the ball over and wasting good field position and good drives.


- Marc Verica reminds me a little bit of Sean Glennon. Very rarely will he do anything to cost you the game, but you can't expect to put the game on his shoulders. He does a very good job of managing the offense for the Wahoos. However, their offense begins and ends with running back Cedric Peerman.

- Peerman was carrying the team during its four-game win streak, but has been shut down during the three-game losing streak. He went over 100 yards in three of the four wins. But in his last three games has had 166 yards on 46 carries (3.61 YPC) and no touchdowns. He had six rushing touchdowns during the winning streak.

- The Hokie defense has been strong against the run all year and is allowing an ACC-low 3.03 YPC in conference games. Should the Hokies shut down Peerman, they will shut down the UVa offense.

- In their five wins, the Wahoos average over 135 yards per game on the ground. That number dips all the way to 51.5 yards per game in their six losses, lowest in the ACC.

- When the Wahoos do throw the ball, they have two solid options in wide receiver Kevin Ogletree and under-utilized tight end John Phillips. Phillips is the latest in a long line of good Wahoo tight ends, but probably doesn't get the ball enough. Ogletree is a reliable, consistent receiver who is one year removed from injury.

- As with all drop-back quarterbacks, the key to stopping Verica is to pressure him and force him into bad decisions. However, Virginia has allowed the fewest sacks in the league this year with 13, nine in conference play. It will be tough for the Hokies to apply pressure to Verica, particularly from his left side, which is protected by tackle Eugene Monroe.

- In their five wins, the Wahoos have allowed only four sacks. They have allowed nine sacks in their six losses.


- As a Hokie fan, I can't pick UVa to win this game. But as I said earlier in the week, I'm worried. Not because I think UVa is a good team. Because Georgia Tech is the team that deserves to represent the Coastal in the ACCCG and I don't think the college football gods will allow Bryan Stinespring and his offense to win the division. It's a Karma thing. I'm sure I could devote an entire post to Bryan Stinespring as an ethos instead of as an offensive coordinator, but I'd rather enjoy my Thanksgiving instead of spending too much time thinking about what we call an offense.

Watch the Box Score for:

1. VT rushing yards
2. UVa rushing yards
3. Field Position
4. Turnovers

VT Players to Watch:

32 - Darren Evans, So., RB
70 - Sergio Render, Jr., OG
95 - Taco Thompson, Jr., DT
33 - Brett Warren, Sr., LB

UVa Players to Watch:

37 - Cedric Peerman, Sr., RB
6 - Marc Verica, So., QB
51 - Clint Sintim, Sr., LB
54 - Jon Copper, Sr., LB

Final Score: Virginia Tech 17, Virginia 13

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