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Virginia Tech Football: Previewing The Virginia Offense

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Breaking down the rival Cavaliers offensive unit

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Coordinator: Steve Fairchild

Scoring Offense: 26.4 PPG (83rd nationally)

Passing Offense: 232.8 YPG (59th nationally)

Rushing Offense: 146.8 YPG (91st nationally)

Quarterbacks:

A pair of sophomores, Greyson Lambert and Matt Johns have seen plenty of action for Virginia this season, with the former getting the majority of the teams snaps. Johns has arguably outplayed Lambert, but head coach Mike London has been hesitant to make a full time change.

London could feel committed to Lambert out of obligation, as he was a  highly recruited talent two years ago and has all the physical tools of a successful quarterback. Lambert stands at 6'5", 235 pounds, has a cannon of an arm, and excellent field vision. As anyone who adheres to baseball sabermetrics would attest to, a "good body" doesn't always mean success, and Lambert has struggled. In 2014 he has completed 139 of 229 passing attempts for 1,421 yards, along with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Johns has outplayed Lambert when utilized, and the Cavaliers have often been more competitive under his guidance. Johns differs from Lambert in many ways; he doesn't have the same arm strength, but plays more efficiently and his more mobile. On the season Johns has thrown for eight touchdowns with only five interceptions and 1,044 yards on 86 of 156 passing.

Running Backs:

Senior Kevin Parks shoulders the bulk of the Virginia rushing attack, having accounted for over a third of the teams carries in 2014 (168 of a total 416). Those carries have garnered Parks 675 yards and four touchdowns through 11 games. Last week against Miami Parks was limited to only three carries due to an injury, but should be ready when the team rolls into Lane Stadium Saturday. The 5'8", 200 pound Parks' bread and butter is his ability to cut and elude defenders -- both on the run and after a reception.

Another strong contributor to the Cavaliers rushing attack is senior Khalek Shepherd with 348 yards on 81 attempts and a pair of touchdowns. And Virginia, looking to life after Parks, have seen a solid effort from sophomore Taquan Mizzell. Mizzell has converted 63 rushing attempts into 278 yards and two touchdowns as understudy to the departing Parks.

Receivers:

Parks and Mizzell account for two spots on the team's top six in receptions, but Virginia also has a group of capable receivers as well. Junior receiver Canaan Severin is a big target at 6'2", 210 pounds and leads the team in both receptions (38) and touchdowns (5). Darius Jennings has had a solid senior season, leading the team in receiving yards with 498 on 26 receptions and two touchdowns. Senior Miles Gooch and Andre Levrone have both missed time, but have been effective when they have played. Gooch has 24 receptions for 371 yards, while Levrone only has caught 14 passes, but two have gone for touchdowns.

Outlook:

Despite Lambert's growing pains, Virginia can cause the opposition trouble, and seem especially suited to frustrate the Hokies. Johns mobility behind center could play on Virginia Tech's weak spot, and the dual threat of Parks and Mizzell in the backfield could spell disaster. Virginia Tech should win, but these match ups with the Cavaliers, coupled with the schools rivalry has the makings of another disappointing loss written all over it.