Friday, November 28, 2008

Hokie Matchup: vs. Virginia

The Virginia Tech Hokies face the University of Virginia Cavaliers (or Wahoos, if you will) tomorrow in Lane Stadium. If the Hokies win, they advance to the ACC title game in Tampa Bay. If the Hoos win, well, they advance back to Charlottesville. However, this is a huge rivalry game (fitting, because it's rivalry week in college football), and the Cavs will look to knock off any hopes of a title game their rivals may have. Expect an emotionally-charged, high-powered, hard-hitting game. If the Hokies lose, Georgia Tech, regardless of what they do or don't do against the Georgia Bulldogs (it's an out-of-conference game) will advance to the title game against the Atlantic Division opponent, who I'm referring to here as "Florida State" (we'll see if I'm right).

The real battle for the Hokies Saturday will be against themselves. Virginia is a very weak team this year. The Hoos sputtered early and often, and they got some positive press mid-season, but they have been stale since. However, the Hokies aren't the strongest team out there with their mediocre to all-out terrible offense. Defense? Yeah, the Hokies have that, though.

When I say the battle against Virginia will be a battle against themselves for the Hokies, what I mean is they have all the tools they need to win. Virginia is very beatable, and it's likely the Hokies will face the real head-to-head battle against Florida State or Boston College should the team advance to the title game — both of those teams have already beaten the Hokies once. (Though, the Hokies are good at revenge games. See: 2007 ACC title game vs. BC.)

Here are the current problems the Hokies have to address. If they can fix some of this, Virginia will be demolished:

1) Bryan Stinespring continues to call predictable, dumb plays on offense. Everyone in the stands was accurately predicting the plays against Duke, and Duke was doing a pretty good job of it themselves.

2) Tyrod Taylor is selfish and shaky. Beamer is probably regretting taking off that red shirt now. Or maybe he's glad he did so he knows now he needs to find a real quarterback before next season. Taylor runs when he has the opportunity to throw for big yards. Sometimes he's talented enough to pick up good yardage, but more often than not as of late, he's not. Not to mention he's been picked off a lot lately and he pitched the ball right into Blue Devil hands last week.

3) Sean Glennon, though I thought I would be the last admit it, has done pretty well with the playing time he's seen lately. I personally don't understand why Cory Holt and Greg Boone aren't getting more of a chance at playing, though, considering Glennon is mediocre on his best day. The good part is that Glennon is completing some big passes right now. You thought this was a list of needed improvements? It is. Glennon must learn (though he probably will not considering he's already been at this five years) not to hang on to the football so long. With a young offensive line, the Hokies can't afford the time it takes for Glennon to stare down a receiver — which has led to a lot of turnovers and sacks this season.

4) Beamer Ball is dead. The coaches aren't even trying to block punts this year for whatever reason. Most of the players stand back, and there are just enough up front in case there's a fake. Kick returns rarely make it past the 30-yard line. VT's even had punts and field-goal attempts of its own blocked this year. The signature element of Frank Beamer's teams is gone, causing embarrassment all around the sports blogosphere. Time to get aggressive on that special teams coaching!

We'll see what, if anything, the Hokies improve on tomorrow at noon!