Virginia Tech-Boston College Review: Defense Dominates, Offense Inconsistent

Virginia Tech
Norell Pollard and the Virginia Tech defense easily handled the Boston College offensive line. (Jon Fleming)

Well, the Boston College line wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be…it was worse. After losing their only experienced offensive lineman before the game, the Eagles stepped on to the field with two scarecrows at the tackle spots.

That’s CJ McCray looking like Lawrence Taylor there. Don’t get me wrong, McCray’s got a shot at being a good player for the Hokies, but that BC line was baaaaaad. The Hokies pummeled the Eagles, allowing the visitors only a little bit of air when the LPD second-stringers rotated in, before tightening the noose for good. As it should’ve been. If the Hokies had been anything but dominant on the line, it would’ve been disappointing.

BC brought in a few more problems, too:

One thing that I haven’t seen mentioned is that the Boston College alignment makes things tougher than they have to be. The call isn’t a bit of rare brilliance, but it’s solid—Chatman’s basically head-up and pressing, so a fade is the typical route to be called here. The receiver is aligned way wide outside the numbers in a Baylor split, though, which means he’s practically in no man’s land for the fade route, as there’s almost no room to “fade” into the sideline. He’s so wide, Chatman manages to push him out of bounds. It’s still good coverage and hands by Chatman; the video pauses and you can see that there’s not much of a way for the receiver to get clear or break for the back-shoulder throw.

Part of me thinks the pressure from last week was still in Jurkovec’s mind. I’m not sure he’s got the same oomph since his injury last season, but he’s still a good QB, as we’ve seen before. That goes to show just how important the offensive line can be, because BC’s got a talent edge over the Hokies at a lot of spots. Jurkovec, Flowers, and tight end Kovacs would be #1’s for Tech on offense, and on defense, two or three of the DL would start, along with Josh DeBerry and Elijah Jones in the secondary. Those are just the guys I’m pretty sure about.

Still-Stumbling Offense

While it did better than it did against ODU, the Tech offense had a herky-jerky game. The feeling in the fanbase seems to be that it’s about play-calling. That might be a little bit of it, but I think a bigger factor is that this is an offense that’s still uncomfortable with the scheme. We’re seeing things like receivers and quarterback not agreeing on how routes should develop. Players we know can be physical look tentative, especially up front. And the backs and the offensive line are turning guys loose:

This is a six-man protection—the five linemen and one back (Holston)—blocking. Holston’s got a dual-read block on the opposite side of the formation. Pre-snap, Dzansi has the defensive end who is on the OT’s outside shoulder. Holston has to come across the QB and execute a dual-read. If the linebacker head-up on Dzansi (#8) rushes, Holston