Third down conversions critical in Tech’s win

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The defense added some more turf to the lunchpail on Saturday.
The defense added some more turf to the lunchpail on Saturday.

The running game, third down passing, Willie Byrn and the defense are all topics of today’s article.

Rocky Day for the Running Game

Virginia Tech’s running game struggled against East Carolina.  After blocking well against Alabama, and blocking well for three quarters against Western Carolina, they couldn’t get much of a push on Saturday against the Pirates.

Jeff Grimes did not start Laurence Gibson at right tackle, instead opting for Brent Benedict at that position.  I assume that Gibson didn’t have a great week of practice, and Grimes decided to hold him accountable.  That’s the correct decision as these new coaches continue to try to change the culture of the offense, and decisions like that will be a benefit in the long term.  However, in the short term they could hurt.

Benedict isn’t a natural tackle, and that showed on Saturday.  Combine that with the fact that right guard Andrew Miller didn’t practice for most of the week because of that ankle sprain, and the right side of the Tech offensive line just wasn’t set up to have a good game against the Pirates.

As far as the other guys go, Jonathan McLaughlin had the worst game of his young career, and you know it was going to happen at some point.  True freshmen are inconsistent players, particularly up front.  At center, Will Stewart told me he thought he saw David Wang limping at some point, so perhaps that would explain Wang not playing well either.

Virginia Tech doesn’t have the depth up