Friday Thoughts: Football, Bowls and Basketball

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We’re at that time of the year where football and basketball meet. The Tech football team is closing down their season, while the hoopsters are just getting started. Today we’ll talk about football, bowl possibilities and basketball.

Tech Offense Struggles with “Great” Defenses, Dominates “Others”

I mentioned it in my NC State preview on Wednesday. The Virginia Tech offense has improved enough to dominate the normal to bad college defenses, while they are still getting dominated by teams with “great” defenses.

In three games against Alabama, Nebraska and North Carolina, the Hokies averaged 81.7 yards rushing, 148 yards passing and 229.7 yards of total offese. Why did Tech struggle against those three defenses? It’s quite simple. Each of those teams had matchup advantages over Tech at critical positions.

All three teams had the talent at cornerback to defend the Tech receivers one-on-one. Tech’s young wide receivers, who are still only freshmen and sophomores, have not progressed to the point where they can consistently beat tight man-to-man coverage.

Those teams also had a lot of talent on the defensive line, or at linebacker, or both. Alabama quite possibly has the most dominant front seven in the country. Nebraksa was able to dominate the interior with Ndamukong Suh, while using their defense ends in containment to keep Tyrod Taylor in the pocket. North Carolina was able to turn their NFL-caliber defense ends loose and use the super-athletic Bruce Carter to spy Tyrod Taylor.

Except for one huge pass play late in the game against Nebraska, the Tech offense wasn’t able to adjust against this talent and the different strategies used by opposing defensive coordinators. The Hokies went 1-2 in those games, and nearly went 0-3.

Tech has had greater success against the other seven teams they have played. Against those “other” opponents, the Hokies are averaging 247.7 yards rushing and 193.7 yards passing, for a total yardage output of 441.4 per game.

And they didn’t just dominate Duke and Marshall. They handled solid college defenses with as Miami, Boston College and East Carolina with relative ease.

How do the Hokies take the next step forward and learn to deal with teams like Alabama, Nebraska and North Carolina? It’s