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2010 Virginia Tech Football: What to Watch vs. James Madison

The Team

  • Basically I'm watching to see if the guys come out flat after the disappointment against Boise State or motivated to get on with the rest of the season. I think we'll learn a lot about the mentality of this team against James Madison.
  • Most interesting to me will be what personnel we'll see during this game. Who's going to get the carries, will we see more guys get reps at linebacker and defensive end and so forth. What guys have earned more or less playing time based on their performance against BSU?

Virginia Tech Offense vs. James Madison Defense

  • For the third consecutive year, it's time to see if the offensive line's performance in the opener was the result of facing a tough defensive front or if we're in some serious trouble.
  • The good news for the offensive line is that they were only responsible for one penalty against Boise State (a holding call against Beau Warren in the third quarter). So while the actual blocking struggled, especially on the left side, they didn't deliver drive-killer after drive-killer.
  • I didn't think Nick Becton would see a lot of time against Boise State, but I didn't expect him to see no snaps at all. Hopefully we'll be in a position against James Madison where we can see guys like Michael Via, Vinston Painter and, if he's healthy, Becton. I'm interested to see what adjustments the coaches make to the line.
  • Look for the Hokies to try and get their ground game going with Ryan Williams early. This will also be Darren Evans' chance to get his legs under him after getting only three carries against BSU.
  • JMU plays an eight-man front, so I'm interested to see how Tech adjusts if the Dukes sell out to stop the run game. We could see another big game from Tyrod Taylor, but I hope it doesn't come to that and the three running backs all have big games. The JMU defense might look similar to pre-ACC Virginia Tech.
  • The Dukes' defensive front is obviously much smaller than Boise State's. Their linebackers only average 215 pounds, which means we should have a lot more success with the power run game than we did last week.
  • When Evans and David Wilson get their carries, watch how they both carry the ball. They held it out loose against Boise State and were really inviting a forced fumble. That's something that can be adjusted easily and I want to see if it gets done this week against JMU.
  • It looks like Wilson is going to get plenty of chances on kick off returns this year. BSU didn't want any part of Dyrell Roberts and kicked off to Wilson's side, even after he and Roberts switched.
Virginia Tech Defense vs. James Madison Offense
  • JMU primarily runs a zone-read option out of the spread formation. However, its quarterback, Drew Dudzik, isn't as mobile as the injured Justin Thorpe, who hyperextended his knee last week. Because of this, I don't think the Hokies have to worry too much about the quarterback run game.
  • The Dukes do have some playmakers at wide receiver, so you'll see the Dukes pass a lot more than you did last week then they attempted only 15. Hopefully they'll be forced to come from behind starting early in the game, which would force even more attempts against the Hokies' secondary.
  • In the run game, the Hokies' speed should be a huge advantage for them, providing they can wrap up. I'm watching to see if we have the same problems tackling that we did in the first game or if they guys have been coached up to fix those problems.
  • I'm looking for John Graves to have a big game by disrupting the middle of the James Madison line. If he does this, he'll force the Dukes' ballcarriers out East-West and toward our faster outside linebackers and guys in the secondary. The key against an offense like this is to force the play out wide where the sideline can act as another defender. If JMU has a chance, they'll need to be able to get yards up the middle and off tackle.
  • James Gayle or J.R. Collins will likely start in relief of the injured Chris Drager at defensive end. Both redshirt freshmen will get valuable playing time in this game.
  • Another area that needs to be improved, and quickly, is pass coverage by the linebackers. All three struggled against Boise State in week one, which led to a lot of yards gained over the middle by Austin Pettis, who killed us all game.
  • The reason this needs to get fixed is because we play East Carolina next week. The Pirates now run Texas Tech's Air Raid offense, which utilizes its receivers in the slot. Jeron Gouveia-Winslow played well against Boise State, but got burned twice in the red zone. He'll be tested against ECU, so he needs to step up and have a good game against the Dukes.
Watch the Box Score
  • Turnovers
  • James Madison Rushing Average
  • Virginia Tech 3rd Down Pct.
  • James Madison Sacks
Virginia Tech Players to Watch
  • 34 - Ryan Williams, So., RB
  • 32 - Darren Evans, Jr., RB
  • 91 - John Graves, Sr., DT
  • 51 - Bruce Taylor, So., LB
James Madison Players to Watch
  • 9 - Drew Dudzik, Sr., QB
  • 11 - Dae'Quan Scott, Fr., WR
  • 93 - Ronnell Brown, Sr., DT
  • 24 - Pat Williams, Jr., LB
Final Score

Virginia Tech 35, James Madison 17