2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Virginia Tech Offense
It would be nice if there was more offensive pop. The O wasn’t bad – the running game improved over the 2017 version, and the passing attack was good enough – but the offensive scoring punch is missing.
In Justin Fuente’s first year, the Hokies averaged 35 points per game, putting up 34 or more in ten of their 14 games – including in an ACC Championship loss to eventual national champion Clemson. In 2018, the O slipped, scoring 34 or more just three times, but the defense made up for it.
Last season, the defense needed help, and the offense couldn’t pick up the slack. The attack blew up against William & Mary of the FCS world, needed overtime to hit the 34 point mark against Virginia, and lost to Old Dominion 49-35. In all, the Hokies scored 34 or more just four times.
Biggest Key To The Virginia Tech Defense
The run defense has to be the Virginia Tech run defense again. The 2017 Hokie run D was a brick wall against the run, allowing a mere 1,554 yards, seven touchdowns, and just 3.36 yards per carry. But the defense had to undergo an overhaul going into 2019.
There wasn’t enough of a pass rush, and there weren’t enough plays in the backfield, but most of all, the defense just couldn’t come up with stops up front. The Hokies were hit for 200 rushing yards or more in six of their last eight games and was rocked for 33 touchdowns overall.
Worst of all, they were gouged for 5.46 yards per carry and got worse as the season went on. There’s experience in place now, and there’s enough depth to keep everyone fresh. The production in ACC play has to follow, which means …
Key Player To A Successful Season
DT Jarrod Hewitt, Jr.
He’s not a mammoth space-eater on the nose, but he’s strong, he can anchor the defense, and he has the experience to be ready to do more after coming up with 15 tackles. He’s not going to get behind the line, he has to be able to hold up – he missed a few games banged up – and there’s not a whole lot in place ready-made to handle the job as the anchor. No pressure, but he needs to have an all-star caliber season, even if the stats don’t show it.
Key Game To The Virginia Tech Season
at Georgia Tech, Nov. 16
Of course the date at Miami on October 5th is the big one for the Coastal, and beating Virginia can’t be taken for granted as late-season tradition – even though it now is – but to win the division, the Hokies can probably afford losses in both of those games and still be okay.
This is the year to get Georgia Tech again.
It’s been the Achilles heel of the Justin Fuente era – Virginia Tech wasn’t able to figure out the Yellow Jacket option offense. Georgia Tech ran for 1,035 yards over the last three years against the Hokies – all wins – and have won four of the last five in the series. But now the Paul Johnson attack is gone, the Geoff Collins O will be more conventional, and the Hokies finally get a break.
– Virginia Tech Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Virginia Tech Fun Stats
– Fumbles: Opponents 25 (lost 12) – Virginia Tech 20 (lost 6)
– Kickoff Returns: Virginia Tech 41 for 928 yards – Opponents 8 for 160 yards
– Average Yards Per Carry: Opponents 5.5 – Virginia Tech 4.4