We should know everything there is to know about the Hokies by now. This is our fifth game against them in the last three years. We've split those but they won the games that meant more (the ACC Championships). What can we expect from the 2009 squad? I've asked Furrer from the VT blog Gobbler Country a few questions. His answers are below.
1. The defense was ultra aggressive against Miami and handed Harris his worse day yet. Then last week, Duke was able to gain plenty of yards through the air. What was the key to Duke's success? Is the D any different from Foster's typical units?
Gobbler Country: The difference is we had a lot of breakdowns in coverage against Duke. Kam Chancellor had been making progress at free safety, but regressed against the Blue Devils. Chancellor just isn't an adequate free safety and we've seen a lot of broken coverages and miscommunication between he and Dorian Porch, the rover. Chancellor is a rover playing free safety.
The linebackers are still good at stopping the run, but have struggled in pass coverage as well. Teams have been successful working the middle of the field against Virginia Tech. We thought this had been fixed after the Miami game, but it reared its ugly head against Duke. The key is to get pressure on the quarterback, which Jason Worilds and Cody Grimm have had success with this year.
The key will be same as it is almost every week for the Hokies. They need to force passing downs on first downs and then get pressure on the QB. How well BC's offensive line protects David Shinskie this week will be a deciding factor in how this game plays out.
2. The preseason talk was about Taylor taking his game to the next level or at least becoming more of a passer. What do you think of his progress so far? Is he a legitimate threat in the pocket yet?
Gobbler Country: I was pleasantly surprised with Tyrod against Miami and Duke. He looked downright awful in the first three games, but has been a lot more accurate the last two games. I'm still not completely sold on him as a pocket passer yet. He still has to show some kind of consistency, which he's lacked the last two seasons.
As good as I think BC's secondary is, this will be a good test of how much Tyrod has come along as a passer. He saw a lot of man coverage against Miami and Duke, which he loves throwing against and in the Duke game, he was able to throw a lot of jump balls that his receivers came down with. He won't get those same results against BC.
3. BC hasn't played a day game in Lane since 2003. How different is the atmosphere vs the night games under the lights?
Gobbler Country: I've been to two Noon games in Lane Stadium, the 2006 and 2008 games against Virginia. The only difference comes at the beginning of the game. It sometimes takes our fans a little bit to wake up when the kickoff is at Noon. I know I did. That's the only real difference I noticed. By the end of the game, the noise and intimidation levels are the same that you'll see in a night game.
4. Finally, what is your prediction for the game?
Gobbler Country: My prediction? Pain.
Honestly, I don't know how I'll predict this one yet. Usually I know by now, but I just can't say. The way BC's passing game has come along the last two weeks scares me. Shinskie has come on strong and is going to end up being a pretty good quarterback. It'll come down to whether or not the Hokies can get pressure on him and whether or not the Hokies can establish a ground game against the Eagles. If it comes down to special teams, I like the Hokies. No matter what, this game will be close. I know that doesn't really answer your question, but I just don't really have a good feel for this game yet. Haha. Ask me again at 11:55 on Saturday.