clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Virginia Tech vs. Western Michigan 2014: 5 burning questions

New, 10 comments

The Hokies are reeling after losing two straight and the Broncos have won two in a row. What does it all mean?

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

1. Who's the real Michael Brewer?

Through four games, the bulk of Brewer's stats are impressive. He's completed 64.6 percent of his passes for 1,045 yards and seven touchdowns. Those are great numbers for any QB, but almost unthinkable for a Hokie signal-caller. The problem is his eight interceptions. Brewer continues to force throws and his habit of throwing wildly over the middle of the field is quickly becoming tiresome.

The above ball should have been thrown at everyone's feet or not at all. You just can't make a mistake like that and ultimately, it may have proven the difference in the game. Brewer has been playing well overall, but he has to clean up the mistakes.

2. Can the Hokies limit a plethora of unforced errors?

Once again the Hokies were plagued by substitution penalties against Georgia Tech. Last week it was the offense while the defense was the primary culprit the previous week. so far, Tech has been flagged 40 times for 325 yards. That's 81.3 yards per game compared to just 65.5 for the Hokies' opponents. That's simply unsustainable. Tech has to get their substitution process in order and make sure everyone is on the right page. It's a communication breakdown as Led Zeppelin would say.

3. What's the mindset of this Virginia Tech team?

If Willie Byrn is any indication, the team is painfully aware of what's going on the last two weeks.

Byrn also addressed the team's sloppiness and preached more attention to doing the little things right in practice. It's a concern to hear this was an issue at all, but it's encouraging to hear a senior leader step up and take charge on such young team. Frank Beamer noted that the last two times Tech started 2-2 they won the ACC but he conceded, "You can’t assume it’s going to happen again. We’re not a good football team right now."

4. Can the Tech defense overcome mounting injuries?

Corner Brandon Facsyon is still hurt to the point that a medical redshirt may be in the cards, tight end Ryan Malleck is still banged up and now second-string linebacker Dahman McKinnon and starting defensive tackle Luther Maddy are both out 2-4 weeks after meniscus surgery. The good news is that Chuck Clark and Donovan Riley have helped stabilize the corner spot and Nigel Williams who will start in place of Maddy has experience. I'm sure Bud Foster would feel better with his full compliment, but there's still plenty of talent on his side of the ball and the unit will likely continue to improve as the young players gain experience.

5. Is Western Michigan the pushover everyone is expecting?

The Broncos are 2-1 and have already improved on the 1-11 record in coach P.J. Fleck's first season. They're 19th in the country in total offense (515 YPG) and 23rd in scoring offense (41.3 PPG) albeit against a weak schedule. WMU has faced Murray State, Idaho and Purdue so far, losing by nine to what appears to be a pretty mediocre Boilermaker squad. The Hokies should be able to handle Western Michigan comfortably, but homecoming games make me nervous. Tech never seems to play well on homecoming even in victories. Let us not forget the dreadful late nineties losses against Miami (OH) in 1997 and Temple in 1998 (though many Hokies claim the second game never happened). Vigilance will be rewarded and the Hokies have to get better starting with this game.