In their latest contest, Virginia Tech triumphed over Duke with a 43-14 victory on Saturday. This game made me feel the best about the offense I have in a long time. While it is the Bluke Doo Devils that the Hokies played, the offense did something they have not done all season: protect the quarterback. And WHAT a difference it makes. Ed Wang's return to the offensive line helped in the regard to now doubt, but the entire team really gave the passer the amount of time and protection needed to execute the play calls.
Tyrod Taylor left the game in the second quarter due to an ankle injury, and we saw Sean Glennon return to fold once again. There couldn't have been a better opportunity for Glennon to show the many dubious onlooking Hokie fans of what he's really made as a quarterback. With the extra precious seconds that a passer needs to wait for his receivers move into open field, Glennon threw for 258 yards with a 76% completion rate. Yea, it turns out that Glennon's not such a bad quarterback after all. Let's not get carried away, because Tyalor is still number one for the job because the offensive line isn't going to perform the same way against the likes of Boston College and Florida State, only to name two. But let's give credit where credit is due. Glennon entered the game as the demoted player from the position, yet took the leadership role heading the offense to some of the best performance of the season. Glennon made regular use of the Hokie receiver core. Receivers Eddie Royal, Josh Morgan, and Justin Harper all had greater than 60 yards in receiving on the day. Royal alone actually caught for 90 yards. And best of all, Glennon began to make regular use of tight end Sam Wheeler who caught for 94 yards. It's about [explicative removed] time that Bryan Stinespring once again began developing the tight end pass play.
However, I'm not all smiles on the offense. Branden Ore continues to have a lackluster season. For the Hokies to finish the second half of their season with a winning ACC record, they need the running game to improve. If that means that Kenny Lewis Jr. does more of the heavy lifting than does Ore until he shakes the funk off himself, then that's what it has to mean. Unfortunately, the game against Duke was the opportunity to try to figure out what's wrong and how Lewis could perform as the number one tailback, but offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring left this aspect of the game unaddressed for the most part.
A quick update on Talor's status, he suffered a high-ankle sprain against Duke forcing him to leave the game in the second quarter. As of October 15, he is wearing a boot until October 20, when the trainers will reevaluate him. Every player can heal differently from this injury, so there's not an immediate prognosis. It's likely, however, that the Virginia Tech coaching staff won't be too anxious to make a public announcement about who will start against Boston College. An opposing defense preparing to go up against Taylor would very likely approach the task much differently if going up against Glennon. The Eagles' coaching staff not knowing which makes their preparation just a little more difficult.
We don't rebuild on defense; we reload!
If you need evidence to support that quote, look no further than Brett Warren. Vince Hall injured himself against Clemson leaving some very big shoes to fill by one Brett Warren. And considering the void, Warren did a fantastic job. He made 11 tackles, 4 of which resulted in lost yardage and one sac. He also returned an interception for 23 yards. Don't get me wrong; for me, like every other Hokie fan, Hall can't return to the lineup soon enough. That, however, will not happen in time for the game against Boston College. That being the case, if Warren can perform as well as he did for Bud Foster's squad against Duke, I'm optimistic about the Hokie defense's ability to keep the game close.
The defensive performance didn't stop at Warren. Stephan Virgil made Virginia Tech's first punt block of the year. The Hokie defense held Duke to two touchdowns, one of which Duke scored quite late in the game. They held Duke to only 194 yards of total offense and caused three turnovers.
All in all, I'm happy with the Hokie performance against Duke. I was worried that they'd put up a sloppy win that only left me to think we have no chance to stand toe to toe with the Eagles of Boston College. But the performance of this win gives me optimism, especially since it's at Lane Stadium on a Thursday night. Stand by for "Mad" Jay's preview of that game.