2005 Football: Matchups to Watch: Virginia Tech vs. Ohio

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For the second week in a row, Tech will be playing a team that appears
over-matched in terms of personnel. However, unlike Duke, Ohio is coming off of
a major upset of Pittsburgh and, at least defensively, the Bobcats are playing
with confidence. Ohio appears to have more playmakers than Duke, but similar to
the Blue Devils, the Bobcats will face a significant challenge in the trenches.
I�ll take a look at some of the key match-ups in the line, but first a quick
look back at last week�s game.

Virginia Tech vs. Duke �post mortem�

For the Duke game I identified four key areas to watch: (1) controlling the
line of scrimmage and establishing the power running game (middle drill); (2)
taking advantage of aggressive corner play with the wide receivers using double
moves (double time); (3) neutralizing Duke�s fine tight ends (tight squeeze);
and (4) applying pressure on the quarterback, particularly from the edge (can
you feel the heat?). All of these areas played a factor in the game, though some
of the Duke players identified were missing in action.

Tech controlled the line of scrimmage on offense and established the power
running game, though the Hokies used the fullback less than I had foreseen. Tech
generally lined up with two tight ends in a balanced formation (a tight end on
each side of the line) and kept Duke off-balance with a variety of runs and
passes. The identified match-up of Jesse Allen vs. Codey Lowe never happened
since Lowe was out for the game with a leg injury. True freshman Mike Brown
substituted for Lowe, but he is not the run stuffer that Lowe is, though he is
probably more athletic and played aggressively throughout the game. Tech was
very effective running behind Allen when he was in the game.

Tech torched Duke�s secondary for two deep touchdowns from Josh Morgan and
David Clowney, but to my surprise, the Hokies beat second-team all-ACC
cornerback John Talley on the touchdowns. East Carolina consistently picked on
the other corner, Deonto McCormick, but Tech took advantage of Talley�s
aggressiveness and burned him twice on beautiful deep throws. Duke�s