While the offensive line had a tough time keeping Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon upright, especially in the FSU game, the Hokie defense had no problem putting pressure on the quarterback.
The defense had its flaws in 2008, particularly in the secondary. But the play of the defensive ends was one of the biggest boons for the Hokies. Putting pressure on the quarterback is one of biggest determiners of success in my opinion and the Hokies were the best at it in the ACC last year.
The Hokies were also better than average in tackles for loss rate in ACC play once you get rid of those pesky sacks. College football treats sacks as running plays (which they aren't). These stats are with sacks taken out:
So while Tech's secondary struggled last season, the front seven did an excellent job of disrupting the opponent's offense. I expect we'll see more of the same in 2008 with the return of pass rushing extraordinaire Jason Worilds at defensive end.
Offensive charts after the jump.
Here's a look at the same stats on the offensive side:
And now TFLs without sacks:
Just as we thought, Tech's offensive line was pretty good at run blocking but was atrocious at pass blocking. Our sack rate was only ahead of the option team in the league. Fantastic.
Sacks and pressure on the QB in general have a huge effect on the passing game, something I'll tackle later in the week. Before Tech's and Taylor's passing games can improve, there has to be improvement up front.