In some ways, it is the most basic adage of defensive football. Stop the run.
Coaches say it all the time, analysts harp on it throughout broadcasts, and
players repeat it ad nauseam. If you want to win, you have to stop the run.
Against Virginia Tech, that old proverb is taken to new heights, though.
Coach Frank Beamer’s squads are 136-27-2 when they outrush their opponents. The
Hokies are 18-54 when they do not. So needless to say, stopping the run is
Virginia’s first concern.
Virginia Defense vs. Virginia Tech Offense
Let’s first address the Brandon Ore situation. His status is doubtful. Does it
have an adverse effect on the Tech running game? Maybe, maybe not. I subscribe
to the theory that an effective running game is more a function of good
offensive line play than the play of the running back. Where the back
makes a difference is when it comes to big plays and in that aspect, the loss of
Ore could limit the Hokie offense somewhat.
Frankly, I liked Virginia’s chances of slowing the run with Ore. The running
game has been average by Tech standards and the Hokies have not had the
break-away threats like Kevin Jones and Lee Suggs this season. The Hokies are
8th in the league in rushing but the passing offense is 4th. In total offense,
the Hokies are ranked sixth.
The Tech offense is driven by the running game, though. Sure they will attack
opponents with deep passes early, but it is used to soften the run defense. The
Hokies are primarily a zone, drive-blocking unit and their backs hit the edge
from cuts out of the inside running lanes. They are not a big sweep team but
they will trap opponents and will attack the force with the option at times.
But Beamer has always been a coach who believes in physically pounding his
opponents with the running game, and Virginia is eighth in the ACC against the
run. That’s where I think the Hokies will want to attack.
So for those who think Tech must now rely on the passing game to win, I say
that’s just what Beamer wants. The Hokies will have heard all week how they will
be unable to establish the running game and all week Beamer, along with running
backs coach Billy Hite and offensive line coach Curt Newsome, have been telling
their players “See, everybody says you can’t run the
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