The Blue Collar Breakdown: #16 Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech

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This is the start of a new weekly column I’ll be writing here at TSL, called The Blue Collar Breakdown.  In the column, I will provide a sneak peek at the upcoming matchup and dig into some of the game plans I think each coaching staff will use to exploit personnel advantages, and also see if I can’t call out certain players or strategies that I think will be critical in the upcoming game.  Full disclosure here is that I’ve never done anything like this before (at least not publicly – I have, of course, been tailgating and expounded on any number of matchup scenarios with my buddies) so I have no idea how accurate this will be.  It’s a little disconcerting to put predictions out on paper and then be accountable for those predictions, so we’ll just have to see how I do with it.  On the bright side, I write this anonymously, so the TSL audience is unlikely to show up with torches and pitchforks at my house when I’m wrong.

I’m going to start off with a rundown of what I think the Hokies will try to do on offense and defense and then get into some key players I think will make a big difference in the game.  Here we go:

What the Hokies Will Do

Limit Big Plays by GT & Stop the B-Back

Georgia Tech is a dangerous matchup for the Hokies and has been for as long as Paul Johnson has been in the picture.  The Hokies play a gap control defense that relies on disruption and penetration at the line of scrimmage along with opportunistic and cleverly designed blitzes in both the running and passing game to force the offense into mistakes, ie turnovers.  The Yellow Jackets’ unique ball control option offense doesn’t really allow for many turnovers in the passing game (mostly because there isn’t much of a passing game there) and it is also very difficult to get much penetration and disruption at the line of scrimmage due to their excellent and speedy execution of the option reads and their controversial cut-blocking techniques at the line of scrimmage.  What that means is that the normally aggressive, attacking style of defense that the Hokies play must be tempered a little bit into more of an assignment style of defense that gives up yards on the ground but protects against the big