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Five Burning Questions: Duke Edition

Virginia Tech travels to Duke.

Michael Shroyer

1. Can the Hokies rebound?

Losing three straight is never easy, but there's still something left to play for. No one wants to be a member of the team that saw the bowl streak or the winning streak over arch-rival Virginia come to an end. But in order for that to happen the Hokies must run the ball effectively.

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2. Will Tech run the ball?

Marshawn Williams is apparently 100% so that means all systems are a go on the running game. He's got two 100-yard performances so far and a total of 469 yards on the season. If the Hokies commit to running the ball they will be able to rest their defense for longer stretched of time, which should keep them from giving up the big plays that have plagued this team all season.

3. How good is Duke really?

Very good. I have to admit to liking Duke's football team to a certain extent. That's an underdog turning it around in a big way, not unlike Tech in the 90s. Anthony Boone is a very good quarterback (14 TD 4 INT). The Blue Devils have had a number of talented signal callers under David Cutcliffe including occasional NFL starter Thaddeus Lewis. Duke has a good defense and a well-rounded team. Playing at home, they should beat the Hokies. Tech is rested though quite injured. The real key as I just mentioned is Duke's defense who is currently ranked at 18th in the nation in points allowed at 18.2 per game.

4. Which Michael Brewer will show up?

Michael Brewer looked good against BC, despite the loss. He was 31/48 through the air with 345 yard and 2 touchdowns. The key to his success will be determined by his ability to manage this game. Duke won't hit VT's offense in the mouth, but will take what the offense gives them. If Brewer doesn't play smart Duke will turn him over and blitz all afternoon. Another key is to not throw the ball 50 times in this game. Virginia Tech does not need this game to get into a shootout  because Duke can score and score in a hurry, which really puts the Hokies at a disadvantage. For Michael to be successful he needs to control the game and hit his spots. 7-15 yard passes is all the Hokies need to be in the game and give themselves an opportunity to win.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Hokies?src=hash">#Hokies</a> DC Bud Foster gave animated speech to the defense after practice today. &quot;It was a good thing. We&#39;ve got to play with an attitude.&quot;</p>&mdash; Hokies Journal (@HokiesJournal) <a href="https://twitter.com/HokiesJournal/status/532677877503131649">November 12, 2014</a></blockquote>

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5. Can Bud and Scot call a complete game?

Who knows? Bud, historically, has been the mastermind to VT's success, but something seems off with his play calling this year. He is blitzing when we should be playing coverage and playing coverage when we should be blitzing. I don't think teams have figured him out as much as the players have missed a read. For Bud's group to have success on Saturday the secondary will need to play an outstanding game, which will give the front-7 time to get after Boone. On the offensive side of the ball Scot Leoffler needs to show that he can coach and make adjustments. He has been a hot-commodity the past 5-7 years of his coaching career and I just don't see what is so special about his offense. Great coaches call plays that their players can be successful running, not plays that will be good if they work. If he calls 30 running plays and 25-20 passing plays this team will have a chance to win this game.

Go Hokies!