Friday Football Q&A: August 15, 2008

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Raleigh Hokie and Chris Coleman are back at it this week in our Friday
Q&A. Raleigh discusses how Virginia Tech could attack blitzing defenses this
year, and also talks about what is needed from a running back in Tech’s zone
blocking schemes. Chris Coleman talks about the 2009 season opener in the Georgia Dome.

Have a question you’d like to see answered? Email it to Chris at [email protected].

1) Last year our opponents were able to apply constant pressure to our
quarterbacks. So much so that it brought out the inexperience in some of
our running backs trying to pick up the blitz. Considering the number of
new starters we will have on offense what changes, if any, have you noticed in
our offensive game planning to allow us to not only prevent the sack but to
actually take advantage of the pressure?

Raleigh Hokie: It’s no secret that defensive coordinators like to blitz
the VT offense. In some years, they have used that approach because
of OL weaknesses and execution problems in pass protection. Other
times, it is because of the inexperience at the QB position. For
this upcoming season, defenses are going to blitz a lot because of
the youth and inexperience at WR. Couple that with an expectation
that VT’s offense is going to emphasize the running game, it seems clear that
defenses are going to pack the box, read their keys and blitz, blitz, blitz.

What can the offense do about that? First, the offense cannot be
tentative in establishing the run, even if defenses pack the box with extra
defenders. Obviously, that will not work by itself, but it has to be a
integral part of the game plan. From there, the offense has to find ways
to complement the running game with specific plans to attack the blitz and the
one-on-one coverages on the perimeter.

A lot of people are going to hate to read this, but one of the most
effective ways to attack an overly aggressive defense that continually packs the
box is to get the ball outside quickly using screens — yes, those slip and
bubble screens that we all know and love. Those types of “quick
game” plays neutralize blitz tendencies and they attack the specific areas
of the field where the match-ups favor the offense — the WR’s