The Virginia Tech offense has gotten off to quite the start this season, averaging 39.7 points per game. Despite that start, Head Coach Justin Fuente says there’s still work to be done on the offensive end.
“It’s kind of like we’re constantly working on a car,” Fuente said. “There’s a knock here or a knock there, and you pull over and tinker with that. That’s how I feel right now about us. There’s a couple of things that happened in the game Saturday that I wasn’t very happy about offensively that obviously we got away with, but things are getting better. We’re valuing the football, we’re becoming a more disciplined team on offense.”
Center still a problem for Virginia Tech
One thing holding the offense back is snapping issues. Virginia Tech struggled again on Saturday vs. North Carolina, as center Eric Gallo snapped the ball too early twice. Fortunately for the Hokies, neither resulted in a turnover.
Fuente said on Monday that he didn’t think the poor weather played a role in those issues.
“I didn’t feel like that was condition-oriented,” Fuente said. “I felt like that was poor execution on our part. I was upset with myself that it happened twice, quite honestly. It’s something that we’ve got to improve on and it’s my responsibility and my fault. I’m not blaming the kids, but we’ve got to do a better job being able to communicate and pull off what we’re trying to do there.”
Right tackle Jonathan McLaughlin said that the issues at center have affected the team’s chemistry up front.
“We’ll continue to work on that in practice and get the situation right,” McLaughlin said.
The weather played a big role either way. Virginia Tech fumbled the ball seven times and was forced to run the ball 66 times vs. North Carolina. Offensive lineman Jonathan McLaughlin said that he enjoyed the old-school style attack the Hokies used on Saturday.
“It was perfect weather for offensive linemen,” McLaughlin said.
Playing in the Carrier Dome
The offense will certainly need to be on top of things on Saturday. The No. 17 Hokies will travel to upstate New York to play Syracuse, who averages over 460 yards per game on offense and moves at one of the quickest paces in the country.
“Offensively, I guess you could say they’re from the ‘Baylor tree’ of going fast and throwing the ball all over the yard,” Fuente said.
“It’s difficult, just because every down is a threat,” said Brandon Facyson. “We know they like to pass the ball.”
Conditions will be much better for Virginia Tech inside the Carrier Dome. Fuente said that he’s coached inside a couple times before, including at the Fiesta Bowl while with TCU.
“My understanding is that this may be a different deal than most,” Fuente said. “I would like to, if we can make it work out, between our flights and our Friday schedule, to get there and not practice, but just to kind of see the place.”
Another point of emphasis this week will be maintaining the effort level necessary to keep up the Hokies’ winning ways. Virginia Tech is receiving much more national attention this week than they did earlier this season. Tech is now ranked No. 17 in the AP Top 25 and No. 19 in the Coaches’ Poll. Fuente said that he’s let his players know what is acceptable and what isn’t on the practice field.
“Part of it is just a feel for the team,” Fuente said. “I try not to be the coach that at the end of the game says, ‘Oh by the way, you didn’t prepare well on Tuesday.’ I try to tell them on Tuesday, as opposed to after the fact, how I feel about the way they’re approaching the game.”
Ford’s status still unknown
Fuente didn’t offer much information on Isaiah Ford, who left Saturday’s game vs. North Carolina with what seemed to be an ankle injury.
“He looked fine yesterday,” Fuente said. “I’m not going to go into a lot of details with any of that stuff.”