Next up: Virginia Tech. To preview this weekend's matchup between the Hokies and the Eagles, we welcome back Gobbler Country to the blog for Five Good Minutes.
BC Interruption: First question is simple. How do the Hokies continue to do it? Virginia Tech currently sits at 4-1 and has an outside shot at a BCS National Championship Game appearance despite a passing offense that currently ranks 100+ through five weeks. Last season the Hokies repeated as the only team to win a BCS conference with an offense that ranked 100+ in total offense. Is the passing game better this year? Have you liked what you have seen out of Tyrod Taylor thus far?
Gobbler Country: It's incredible that just when I'm ready to give up on Tyrod he always has a game like the ones we've seen against Miami and Duke. I've been pleasantly surprised by our wide receivers this year. But Tyrod's accuracy left a lot to be desired the first three games. I don't know if the passes to Danny Coale and Dyrell Roberts at the end of the Nebraska game made something click for him or what, but he's been a completely different quarterback the last two weeks. He's confident, he's accurate and he trusts his receivers. The first three games he would have had a D- or an F, but his performances the last two weeks have been A+.
What we really haven't seen a lot out of his so far this year is the ability to escape the pocket. Part of that is teams are scheming for it and I think another part of it is he's trying to prove he can throw the ball, too. I think he's going to have to get some yards on the ground in this game. BC's secondary is good and I don't think the Eagles have the same speed from its outside guys as other teams we've seen. He should be able to get yards on the ground if he wants to.
BCI: Even with the loss of Darren Evans, the Hokies have been able to establish a very good running game this season. It seems like the Hokies simply plug and play at running back with a new back stepping up each week. How has the Virginia Tech rushing game been able to be so successful this season? Is it due to a trio of talented backs, a strong offensive line, or a little of A and a little of B?
GC: The offensive line has been great at run blocking this year, but our running backs, particularly Ryan Williams, have shown they are adept at getting through the holes quickly and knowing what they need to do at the second level in order to make guys miss and get extra yards. And Williams is a different back than teams are used to seeing out of Virginia Tech. He can make guys miss and get yards off tackle. Usually when you play the Hokies you expect them to try and get yards up the middle with guys like Evans and Branden Ore.
BCI: Tell us about your game changers on defense. In your opinion, is the defense weaker or stronger than last year’ s unit?
GC: I think it's weaker up the middle, which in my mind is the difference between a good defense and a great defense. So to me it's not as good as last year's. The defensive tackles haven't been very impressive so far this year. Jake Johnson and Barquell Rivers are improving every week, but still make mistakes that young players make. Johnson was good in the early games, but had breakdowns in pass coverage. Rivers had an outstanding game against Miami, but still needs to find consistency.
There are no secrets to who our game changers are. If Jason Worilds is having a good game, there's a good chance we're winning. If he can disrupt BC's pass game, I think we'll be fine. Our secondary looked good against Miami because Worilds and guys like Cody Grimm were able to get pressure on Jacory Harris. That wasn't there against Duke and we gave up a bunch of big plays through the air. Stephan Virgil should be close to 100 percent against BC, which is big. He and Rashad Carmichael aren't a concern to me, but the middle of the field definitely is. That's where the coverage breakdowns have occurred.
BCI: Familiarity breeds rivalry. This weekend’s matchup between BC and Virginia Tech will be the sixth game between the two teams in just a shade under three years. What do you think of the Virginia Tech-Boston College series? Nice little rivalry forming between the two schools? Also, are you a fan of having to play us every season with the way the ACC schedule is set up?
GC: Well I'm not a fan of it because you keep beating us. I'd definitely call it a rivalry. Virginia Tech fans are still frustrated by a game I won't mention and I know BC fans are frustrated by being denied the Orange Bowl in consecutive seasons. This is a series that goes back to the Big East and unlike Miami, we're both programs that fans of other teams look down on. We're the gypsies in the palace keeping other teams in the ACC from taking their rightful throne. So there's a lot of common ground and respect between the two fan bases. But at the same time, f*** Matt Ryan.
BCI: Jeff will be in Blacksburg for the game this weekend. Two years ago we didn’t partake in much of the Blacksburg night life and opted instead to tailgate for most of the afternoon outside Lane Stadium (since it was a Thursday night game). Give us a rundown of places to check out for good food and drink.
GC: I don't know many restaurants in the 'Burg because I usually stick to my tailgate, but I sure know the bars:
- Backstreets Pizza: Solid place, decent prices. When I went before the FSU game in 2007, there was a buffet and I can absolutely crush a pizza buffet.
- Mike's Grill: On Main Street, it's the best place to go for burgers and sandwiches. Be prepared to wait in line on game day.
- Top of the Stairs: Colloquially known as TOTS, it's got a good mix of students and alumni and is catty corner to VT's student union. Get a Rail, which is just a mix of everything behind the bar with a splash of grenadine. It's pretty amazing.
- Hokie House: You can't miss it because it's painted Orange and Maroon. I'm a big fan of the atmosphere because it's fun and friendly and the place just feels like a college town bar. Service isn't always outstanding if you aren't seated at the bar, but the it's a great place to go before the game.
- Champs: Prototypical sports bar. Since Saturday's game is at Noon, this is the place you want to go after the game to watch the rest of the day's slate while waiting for traffic to die down.
- Bull and Bones: I've never been but it's been recommended to me by others. Beer Control Offense is a fan and he knows a lot about beer, so it must be decent. They brew their own beer and have steaks.
- Sharkey's: Meh.
BCI: Boston College has had Virginia Tech’s number in the regular season the last 3 seasons (although it hasn’t really mattered since the Hokies were able to take the ACC Championship the last two seasons). Tell us why this year’s regular season result will be different.
GC: Easy. I won't be there. I wasn't at the 2005 regular season game in Blacksburg nor the two ACCCGs. But I was at the last three regular season contests. The Hokies have won all three ACC games against BC I didn't attend and lost the three I did. I don't plan on ever attending this game again until Tech loses with me sitting at home.
The real reason I think the Hokies will win is because I don't think BC's defense is as strong as it has been in previous years. Even though it's been playing out of its mind, this defense just doesn't have the talent of BC D's in the pass. Injuries have taken their toll and this is the year the Hokies are finally able to move the ball in the regular season against the Eagles.
BCI: We hope you are wrong in that prediction, but thanks for joining us!