2011 Virginia Tech Football: What to Watch vs. Appalachian State

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers

Overview

Look, we're all tired of seeing this team start the season 0-1. I'm certainly tired of it. The Hokies have lost their opener every season since I started doing this blog and... wait a minute. What if I'm the jinx? OK, here's the deal. If we lose to Appalachian State Saturday, I'm done doing this blog after the season. It's only right and it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make so Tech can start the season in the win column. And hey, quitting a blog is far from the most drastic thing anyone has promised to do if the Hokies lose.

But let's hope it doesn't come to that. After losing to an FCS team last year and going up against the team with arguably the biggest upset in the history of the oblong under its belt there is zero excuse for the Hokies to come out unprepared. If Tech loses this game, everyone should be fired. The coaches, the equipment managers, the security guards, the Cadets who fire Skipper, the Hokie Bird, me, you, everyone. Just burn the stadium down and start over.

But again, let's hope it doesn't come to that. After the jump, a more in-depth look at the game.

Virginia Tech Offense vs. Appalachian State Defense

  • One of the best things a team can do against an option-based team like Appalachian State is to score early. If the Hokies offense can have success on offense early in the game and keep the Mountaineers from having the upset in their sights, they'll be able to win this one easily.
  • Tech's had some success running against the 3-4 in the past and they need to take advantage of App State's first game running the defense. The question is whether the ASU's new defense will be a disadvantage for the Hokies, who have never seen them run it or for the Mountaineers since they're still getting used to it.
  • My hope is that Virginia Tech doesn't focus on what the Mountaineers are or aren't doing with their 3-4 and instead focus on themselves and executing their offense. If they start trying to get cute, that's when they might get into trouble.
  • What I'll be watching when the Hokies have the ball is how many carries Logan Thomas gets and whether those are out of designed runs or on zone-read plays.
  • Another big thing to watch is how much success the Hokies have running to the right side, where Blake DeChristopher missed most of preseason camp with a strained pectoral muscle.
  • Really, I'll just be watching the offensive line in general after the way it's started the last few seasons.
Virginia Tech Defense vs. Appalachian State Offense
  • This isn't the flexbone we've seen against Georgia Tech and it isn't the pistol we saw against James Madison. Appalachian State's spread option offense is more similar to what you saw out of Urban Meyer at Utah and Florida and Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia and Michigan. There's good reason for that since those are the two offenses Jerry Moore has patterned his offense after.
  • App State's offense features a lot of zone-read and a lot of motion from receivers and backs. They have a few guys who can carry the ball, but their best running back is Travaris Cadet. In this offense Cadet's extremely dangerous because he's good at reading his blocks and can accelerate quickly.
  • Despite being an option-heavy offense, Appalachian State still likes to throw the ball. When they do, most of the passes are quick slants and outs or swing passes out of the backfield. When they do go downfield, a lot of times it's out of play action. Quarterback DeAndre Presley is good at distributing the ball quickly to his receivers and backs, but isn't that accurate downfield.
  • Appalachian State's offensive line isn't very big, but that doesn't matter as much in this offense. They utilize the wide splits you're used to seeing from Texas Tech's Air Raid offense that doesn't require them to block for long in the passing game and asks them to be quick and agile in the run game.
  • The key for the Hokies against the passing game is getting pressure on the quarterback and limiting yards after the catch. Open field tackling is huge against their pass catchers.
  • As for the run game, it's similar to what they've had to do in the past against the option. Gum up the gaps, play your assignment and don't get frustrated when they pop a big play because it's bound to happen. If Appalachian State is able to sustain drives, the Hokies have to hold them to field goals. Bend, don't break.
Watch the Box Score
  • Turnovers
  • VT Yards Per Carry
  • ASU Red Zone Percentage
  • VT Sacks Allowed
Virginia Tech Players to Watch
  • 3 - Logan Thomas, So., QB
  • 62 - Blake DeChristopher, Sr., RT
  • 43 - Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, Jr., LB
  • 1 - Antone Exum, So., FS
Appalachian State Players to Watch
  • 7 - Travaris Cadet, Sr., RB
  • 81 - Bobo Beathard, Fr., WR
  • 99 - Lanston Tanyi, Jr., LB
  • 95 - Gordy Witte, Sr., DE
Final Score

Virginia Tech 35, Appalachian State 24
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