TSL Roundtable: Beating Alabama

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What do the Hokies have to do to beat Alabama?

Baltimore Hokie: In Bama we are facing a program that is better developed and has more talent across the board than we do.  So in order to win, two things have to happen: 1) we have to bring our A-game on defense with zero mistakes and 2) we have to force Bama into a lot of mistakes which lead to VT scoring.

James Gayle and the defensive line must stop Alabama’s running game.

Consider the 2009 game.  We scored an easy 10 points off of two Bama miscues – poor kickoff coverage, and a turnover deep in their own territory. Those easy scores kept us in the game early on and nullified Bama’s advantages in other areas. And we limited Bama’s first quarter scoring to three FGs (much like Michigan limited VT early in the 2011 Sugar Bowl).

But that alone won’t cut it this time.  In 2009 we allowed them to roll up 500 yards of total offense (almost 270 on the ground).  Our defense must control the line of scrimmage and significantly reduce that.  Like in the FSU game last year, we have to effectively eliminate their running game and force them to pass.  In other words, we have to take them out of their preference and capitalize on opening-game miscues.  If they are allowed to have their way on offense between the tackles (ala the Notre Dame game), they will pummel us.

I am less certain what we need to do on offense other than take advantage of what they give us.  I suppose that’s because I don’t know what our offense is capable of, yet.  I believe in order to win the offense needs to score in the high 20s/low 30s and rely on the defense to come through.  And the more of those points that come in the first half, the more Bama will be pressured out of their game.

Nova Hokie 95: No doubt, it’s going to be tough — and it’s going to be a pretty big early-season upset if the Hokies do win on Saturday. But that doesn’t mean it can’t