The Hokies face Paul Johnson and his flexbone spread "Wreckbone" offense for the second time. Last time out, Virginia Tech was able to hold the Yellow Jackets to 17 points and got a win that eventually gave it a trip to the ACCCG. This year Georgia Tech is better at running its offense, but will the Hokies be better at defending it. Let's see what the mainstream media and blogoshere thinks.
Hokie Beat Writers
Jerseys and Road Games (Nathan "Tommie Frazier" Warters)
"When asked which player on the current Tech team would be popular enough to have his jersey sniped from GT’s locker room, Hokies OG Sergio Render said, "I think it’s me because I’m from Georgia, and I’m big and sexy. … Nah, just kidding. I think it would be Ryan Williams or Tyrod because they’re playing great football up to this point.""
Pesky Passes (Kyle Tucker)
"Thomas is a 6-foot-3, 229-pound junior. The second coming of Calvin Johnson. I almost just wrote that in another offense he would have crazy-good stats. Except that even in a run-based offense, he still DOES have sick stats."
Exum a Scout-Team Hero (Mark Viera)
"In order to try to match Georgia Tech’s speed, Virginia Tech has used freshman free safety Antone Exum as the scout-team quarterback instead of Jeff Beyer. Also, the scout-team center is not snapping the ball, meaning Exum already has it and can get moving fast after the snap count."
Fighting off cut/chop blocks (Darryl Slater)
"Georgia Tech creates these one-on-one matchups in the open field in part by spreading out the defense with wide splits on the offensive line. By putting more space between their offensive linemen, the Yellow Jackets widen the rushing lanes up the middle. An opponent’s inside linebackers must account for this, so they are forced to help the defensive linemen in handling the dive play up the middle. With the inside linebackers drawn up toward the line of scrimmage, now there are two fewer guys to cover the other Jackets when they fake the dive and instead run the ball to the outside."
Johnson plans to pare defense (Randy King)
"Despite the fact that Georgia Tech won for the first time at Florida State last Saturday, Johnson isn't totally a happy camper this week. Sure, his team scored 49 points and amassed 532 yards. Problem is, his defense yielded 44 points and 539 yards."
Hokies searching for a different result on second trip to Atlanta (Bill Roth)
"So you don’t really need a lot more evidence to be convinced that the last six weeks have been a tremendous period of growth for Frank Beamer’s 23rd Tech team. The Hokies are the ACC’s highest-scoring team, the league’s highest-ranked team and the conference’s best hope to be a November player for the title hunt. The question now is: can this team take the next step?"
Football Game Preview: #4 Virginia Tech at #19 Georgia Tech (Tech Sideline)
"Georgia Tech is a good team, and they could potentially upset the Hokies on Saturday. However, I'm liking what I'm hearing about what's going on in Virginia Tech's practices this week. The coaching staff is taking the game preparation up to another level, and the players are very focused. That's what I'm hearing, and the last time I heard stuff like this was the Thursday before the Miami game. A motivated Virginia Tech team is a difficult team to beat."
Guest Preview: Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech (College Game Balls)
"Meep Meep, beep beep Coach Paul Johnson hoooonnnkkkkkk. Oil oil oil beep beep honk air! Perfect option, Jonathan Dwyer eight cylinder speedster honk honk honk. Josh Nesbitt DIESEL! Dave Womack STALL. Virginia Tech at Bobby Dodd, Aooga! Vroooommm…"
Halftime (The A-Line)
"With Saturday’s demonstration that 1] Tech is pretty good, 2] Fredo ain’t and 3] promoting the DC is usually not the brightest move an AD can make, Tech turns into the back stretch of its schedule 3-0 in the ACC. While the Hokie loons keep babbling about a possible appearance in the MNC game, it is probably safe to assume that Frank and the coaching staff will not be spending the week talking about who survives the annual SEC blood bath or who might beat Texas. GT, Paul Johnson’s gimmick offense and the chance to put a stranglehold on the ACC’s Coastal division looms."
College Football Viewing Guide Week 7 (Beer Control Offense)
"I penciled in a L for this game before the season started for my Hokies. This coming off a fortuitous win last year in Bburg and the revenge game in Hotlanta. Well that was before VT found an offense and GiT lost a defense. The Jackets keep retooling this D (in-season) but to lil or no effect. It stinks. They will likely sell out to stop the run and hope Tyrod has an off game. My question is how can Bud Foster protect his middle linebackers and still stop the spread option attack. Last year they pinched down to keep the ball out of Dwyers hands and made Nesbit tote the rock, while punishing him (turnovers.) This year you know Coach PJ will have a counter and Nesbit is tearing it up. I think GiT still wins but I am not confident. I do know that the VT national championship talk by some in the media and the fact the Jackets are getting 3 at home will be used as big time to motivation. Think UM vs VT a couple weeks back, cept this time VT is the bug, not the windshield. But what do I know, I suck at picking this year!"
Virginia Tech Georgia Tech Line Opens at VT -3 (VT Fan)
"Let's hope the Hokies offense stays hot, Tyrod is on his game, Ryan Williams continues his tear, and the Georgia Tech defense doesn't have any light bulbs come on this week during practice (they've been porous). I believe the key to the game will be the VT defense limiting GT's big plays. I don't like VT's chances playing from several scores behind."
Joey Johnson, You are Kinda Dead to Me (The North End Zone)
"So NBCSports puts up this columnist, Joey Johnson, to do midseason "awards" based on what has gone on in the not-quite halfway point of the season. Needless to say, we are pretty much left out of the whole shebang. Some places where I feel we might have had a chance to take top pick but didn't."
Game Preview - VT vs. Georgia Tech (Tech SuperFans)
"So while Bobby Dodd isn't a legendary venue for home-field advantage, it's still a night game and if you're Georgia Tech it beats the hell out of playing this game in Lane Stadium. It also means that the Hokies need to try and get the crowd out of it early with a score, ANY SCORE. I recall in 2004, the Hokies got to the GT 20 yard line in the 1st quarter and on 4th and 1, with the score 0-0, instead of kicking the FG to take that early lead, they went for it (on a toss sweep to Mike Imoh for heaven's sake) and failed."
ACC and Georgia Tech Bloggers
How Fares the ACC? No, Really, Someone Tell Us (EDSBS)
"1. Virginia Tech. If the ACC were ancient Greece, Virginia Tech would be its Athens: a proud, functional state led by a charismatic enlightened leader which, from time to time, gets the plague, suffers damaging military defeats, and has long, punchless stretches on offense. This year’s model varies slightly from the usual grappler/asphyxiator model Frank Beamer likes to trot out each year. The variations: an actual number one running back of productive nature in Ryan Williams, who takes back some of the yards given up on the other side by a rush defense that by Bud Foster’s standards has spent as much time on her back as female British tourist on holiday."
Georgia Tech's D in need of quick improvement (Annette)
"Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Dave Wommack has tried just about everything. He’s moved players around. He’s switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme because he was running out of healthy defensive ends. Now, with the injury situation having limited his options, he’s given his players one more task -- have fun."
Homecoming Week! The Mini-500 (Winfield)
"I participated in the Mini-500 my freshman year. It was one of the most fun and most miserable experiences of my college career. By the end of the night, I had fallen due to cramps in my legs and someone had also thrown a trike at me. My legs were scraped and bloody, but we had finished."
An Offensive State of Mind (Bird)
"A look at Tyrod's progression as a quarterback reveals that he has improved drastically against an arguably tougher slate of opponents. A good example of Tyrod's maturity is in his passing yardage spike. He finally realized that his 2008 average of 5 yards per carry is a lot harder on the body than sitting back and hitting receivers for a 2009 average of 9.6 yards per attempt. All in all he is accumulating about the same yards per game as 2008 but he is doing it smarter (through the air). Not to mention he's turning the ball over a lot less. He's increased all the way up to 104 attempts per INT versus a 2008 average of 1 pick every 24 attempts."
This Is No Longer Football. It Is War. (Dane)
"You need to remind every Hokie that you see, especially ones that are wearing football helmets, that they are in Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field. It is the winningest grounds in college football. Nobody has played on the same patch of grass on their campus longer than we have. Tech is a haven for tradition, and Coach Paul Johnson is determined to uphold the ultimate Tech tradition - victory. It is Homecoming. It is our day. It is our victory to take."
Howard looks for much more production from OL (Coley Harvey)
"It wasn’t just the Florida State game in which he witnessed this increased production from the line. Although the Yellow Jackets’ linemen have had their struggles keeping certain defenses out of the backfield this season, they have still been able to help their running backs rush for more than 200 yards in five of the six games they have played this season. They have surpassed the 300-yard mark in four."
Georgia Tech's midseason report (AJC)
"The Yellow Jackets must win out for the chance to play for the ACC championship. And even then, they are going to need help because Virginia Tech and Miami will both likely rank significantly higher when the first BCS standings are released on Sunday. Should all three teams win out, the deciding tiebreaker will likely be BCS ranking. Unless Tech can somehow finish within five spots of the highest-rated ACC team, it will be out of the running."
The ACC and Opponents
Behind The Numbers: An Inefficient Formula (ACC Sports Journal)
"According to the NCAA’s formula, a passer would rather be Michigan State’s Keith Nichol against Wisconsin on Sept. 26 than Lewis at Duke on Oct. 10. Nichol went 7-for-12 with two interceptions and two touchdowns but 195 sacred yards and wound up with a rating of 216.5 – some 26 points higher than Lewis’ 190.11."
Meineke Bowl extends deal with Big East (ACC Now)
"Bowl officials announced Wednesday morning the extension of their previous agreement with the Big East. Under terms of the agreement, the bowl will select third from among the bowl-eligible teams from the Big East."
The replacements: Brian Kelly (From Old Virginia)
"The point here is that every stop in Kelly's career has been the same chapter of the same book, over and over. Every team he's coached has never been more successful than under Kelly. Every team he's left, he left it better than he found it, and they've managed to maintain that success. Though Kelly never actually coached in a Motor City Bowl, his Chippewas got there on the strength of his regular season, and they've been a regular participant since. Hey, they're a MAC team - that's as good as it gets."
No Need to Name Names (Block-C)
"There has been a website that many Clemson fans who browse the internet have been nudged towards as of late. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a Gamecock has taken the extra steps to get uber-creative and pose as a Clemson fan, but I’m pretty sure these folks are Clemson fans with the best intentions at heart. I’m speaking of the Avenue of Champions. No need to link it as they’ve done that enough for themselves and if you want to find them then just google it or go to our forums."
You Can Stand Under Mike Archer's Umbrella Ella Ella (Backing The Pack)
"Lewis looks immediately to the area vacated by Cole. The Duke receiver sits down like he's supposed to, State's first level defenders don't have enough time to reach the vacated area, and the safety nearest the play is still backpedaling as Lewis puts the ball in the air. Too much staring by the linebackers here and not enough haste, but they weren't going to get there regardless."
Halfway Point: What the Future Holds for Maryland (Testudo Times)
"On this note, I still have no idea how they won 4 games with their talent level. Whatever BC does, Maryland needs to start doing. Okay, with that wrapped up, here's my prediction: two more wins, against Duke and Boston College. FSU and UVA are close losses, Tech is a blowout, and NCSt is a repeat of last week, only with red jerseys instead of black ones."
Statistical Overview (Tar Heel Fan)
"UNC made a living off turnover margin and forcing turnovers last season. The defense has not done as much in that area this season, especially in terms of INTs. The Heels had 20 INTs in 2008 and so far this season have eight which is decent. However, the pass defense is ranked 3rd now versus 85th a year ago I’d consider that a better than even trade."
BC still searching for identity (Eagle All Access)
"It was very clear that Virginia Tech is not only more talented but better prepared for the game. Shinskie himself admitted he was confused by the multiple schemes the Hokies threw at him. Defensively we were lost as well."
Stuff Only I Care About
You Decide: Is the Norman Homeland Racist? (The Lost Ogle)
This place is right across the street from my house: "One of our loyal readers and a former writer both sent us these pictures taken at a Norman-area Homeland store. Since everyone knows I’m a bleeding heart liberal who enjoys accusing everyone of racism, I can’t be sure if it’s my preconceived biases or a legitimate complaint. So, I ask you guy’s to answer the question: Is this cardboard cutout of our president hocking rotisserie chicken racist?"
Sabres Win Game, Lose Vanek (Die By The Blade)
"This was the type of game that everyone was hoping for from the Sabres offense. They were tied at 1-1 after one period of play and that is when they started to light up the HSBC Arena scoreboard. The Sabres scored four times in the second period en route to a 6-2 win over Western Conference Champion Detroit Red Wings."
America Braces For Wing Crisis (Joe Ovies)
"Demand for chicken wings has become so great that wholesale prices are through the roof. In fact, wholesale wing prices have been higher than breast prices in 7 of the last 11 months. In what bizarro place does premium white chicken meat get out-priced by barely there (at times) wing meat? Apparently right here in these United States, where everybody is getting in the wing game. Pizza Hut, Little Caesar’s, and now 7-Eleven offer their equivalent of gristle with spicy sauce . As if picking up a Slurpee and nachos covered in week-old chili wasn’t a signal your concern for health was minimal — now you can pick up wings to go with that heart-attack."