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Up-Tempo Offense Coming To Blacksburg

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Head Coach Justin Fuente wants the Hokies to move with pace in 2016.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech's offense will look different in many ways with Justin Fuente at the helm, but one difference will be the pace of play. While Scott Leoffler went up-tempo at times it was more of a case-by-case situation and was rarely sustained for more than several plays. Fuente and offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen want to "control the tempo" on offense, but what they really mean is that they want to set the tempo so that they can control it. When a team sets the tempo it forces the opponents into a reactive state, which is where the Hokies saw themselves throughout 2015. The Hokies will look to establish the run to move the ball, but throw to score. This forces opposing defenses to concentrate on stopping the run, which is when the up-tempo passing game becomes more effective because the Linebackers play closer to the ball.

While Fuente and Cornelsen will take plenty of shots down the field, air-raid is not exactly what they are looking to do with the Hokies. I expect a lot of underneath routes, which work to get their playmakers (i.e. Isaiah Ford, Bucky Hodges and Cam Phillips) into space. The most critical stat for the Hokies offense in 2016 will be yards-after-catch for this up-tempo, throw to score scheme to work. Okay, maybe Turnovers is the most important stat, but hopefully a more consistent offensive scheme will remedy the turnover plague in 2016.

This up-tempo offense will likely run the play count into the upper 70s or lower 80s, which is not much higher than the 2015 offense. However, while the 2015 Hokies ran a lot of plays many of them were for short gains if for a gain at all. Also, the Hokies offense had the ball quite a bit in 2015, but were unable to materialize many possessions into scores. This trend will hopefully shift with Cornelsen calling the plays under Fuente's tutelage because as I stated early the Hokies will be looking to get the ball down the field at a higher rate, which leads, theoretically, to more points, possessions and wins.

Go Hokies!