Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
October 7, 2013Sign-up for HokieHaven.com Wireless Text Alerts sent right to your cell phone!
Virginia Tech's running game is suddenly non-existent, but the Hokies' aerial attack was more than enough in a 27-17 win over North Carolina, Saturday. Having seen replays and thought it over, here's publisher Jason Stamm's exam of Virginia Tech's win:
Finally, senior quarterback Logan Thomas is looking more like the NFL-bound quarterback we thought he would be two years ago. Thomas didn't complete his first nine passes as he did at Georgia Tech, but Thomas was overall more efficient against the Tar Heels. He completed 19 of 28 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns. Thomas is obviously still banged up, from a strained ab and sprained right foot, but he's gritting his way through it. The fact that Thomas has those nagging injuries and still gets better each week is even more impressive.
Right now, it's tough to believe that redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds ran for 132 yards against top-ranked Alabama in the season-opener. For three of the past four games, the running game has been virtually non-existent at times. Yes, Edmunds ran for a touchdown, even with a sore hip and sophomore J.C. Coleman isn't far removed from two sprained ankles, but this is where the offense is really being held back right now. All is not lost, especially after Edmunds' pair of 100-yard rushing days (also against Marshall), but this group has to be more consistent for the offense to really take off.
We've praised Thomas for finding himself, but this is a position that needs to be equally praised. Though he might not look like it from the eye test, junior Willie Byrn is becoming one of the most sure-handed receivers there is. His knee still isn't full recovered from the injury at Georgia Tech and that might have kept him from the end zone on an 83-yard catch against UNC, but he's still a viable threat. All senior D.J. Coles seems to do is catch touchdowns. He might not be a threat the rest of the time as much, but he makes up for it near the goal line. The big play threat is finally here and the offense has opened up.
Thomas was sacked twice, which has to make offensive line coach Jeff Grimes cringe a bit. The offensive line has found its starting five, as junior Brent Benedict got his fourth straight start, but another game when the rushing game failed to really get going is never a good thing. The running backs have to find and hit the holes, but the linemen must do a better job of creating those running lanes.
Aside from a pair of neutral zone infractions called on sophomore Dadi Nicolas, it was another sold day by the front four. Ends Luther Maddy and Tyrel Wilson came up with the Hokies' two sacks on the game, though Wilson really created a stir when he was sucker punched without his helmet on by a Tar Heel in the fourth quarter. There are still times when UNC was able to run through the first line of defense, but the defensive line kept the pressure on all game.
For the times that the Tar Heels did break through or past the Hokies' defensive line, seniors Tariq Edwards and Jack Tyler did an excellent job of not letting them get any further. North Carolina's longest run of the day was for 11 yards, as Edwards and Tyler had 11 tackles apiece. Both players continue to be as steady as any group for Virginia Tech.
We're at least one more week away from the return of senior Antone Exum from injury, so we'll have to wait to see if that bolsters or hampers a steady secondary. In keeping with their tradition this season, Virginia Tech's defensive backs had a pair of interceptions, this time by junior safety Kyshoen Jarrett and senior cornerback Kyle Fuller. The Tar Heels did have some success through the air, even though a lot of it came in the final minutes of the game. It shouldn't be a big cause for concern, as this group continues to make the timely big plays.
Senior Cody Journell missed another extra point, though this one was less his fault as it was blocked. No field goal chances on Saturday. The return game still isn't there and hasn't been all season. But sophomore A.J. Hughes got his punting average back up, with eight punts that averaged 46.1 yards.
It looks being comfortable in the offense extends to coordinator Scot Loeffler, who continues to open up the playbook more. His call to throw down the seam to Byrn with the Hokies backed up at their own three turned out to be a brilliant one, even as Byrn and Thomas said, it surprised them. The only negative is now the run game, again finishing with under 100 yards. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster continues to field an impressive defense, with the main concern being against the pass. It was another lights out effort against the run.
For the first time in three home games, Virginia Tech scored a sellout. It helped being homecoming and North Carolina still being a decent name opponent. The crowd was loud, boisterous and certainly impressed a large number of recruits on hand, including Rivals250 defensive tackle Ricky Walker, who gave his commitment while on an official visit.
Virginia Tech NEWS