2009 Marshall Game Analysis: Hokies Improve on Both Sides of the Ball

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After a tough, physical battle against Alabama, the doctor ordered up just
the remedy the Hokies needed: a home opener against an overmatched opponent. The
offense exploded behind two freshmen whiz kids, the defense was better and the
special teams were more consistent. But it’s dangerous to project too much from
Saturday’s performances. Last week, I reiterated a message that I had been
preaching throughout the summer – do not get discouraged over the outcome of the
Alabama game. In the interest of fairness, a similar statement can be made this
week – do not peg the needle too far in the other direction over the results of
the Marshall game. The true gauge of where this team really is will be
determined over the next two weeks when Nebraska and Miami roll into Blacksburg.

Let’s get started on breaking down this one. Is there any question where we
should start? Piling up over 600 total yards is a rarity around these parts, so
there is no better place to begin than with the offense.

Tech’s Offense vs. Marshall’s Defense

Although head coach Mark Snyder has a defensive background, Marshall’s
strength resides on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, they have a lot
of holes and the coaches have been running aggressive schemes to try to cover
for those weaknesses. Their game plan against the Tech offense was to show some
different looks up front and keep Tyrod Taylor contained by twisting their
outside LB’s on blitzes off the edge. Dealing with stunts and twists has been an
on-going issue for the Hokies the last several years and Marshall was able to
take advantage to get pressure on Taylor in the passing game.

The
problem for Marshall was they had no answer for the Tech running game. From...