Premium Blog Preview: VT Analysis

Duke is coming off its most impressive win of the year to date, a 49-14 thumping of NC Central. The competition gets a lot stiffer this week as the Virginia Tech Hokies come to town. Chris Coleman from was kind enough to give TDD some time to answer a few questions about Duke's difficult ACC opener.

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??TDD - The Hokies are coming of their most impressive victory of the season, beating Miami to a pulp.  With former Big East now ACC foe BC heading to Blacksburg next weekend, is there any fear of a mental letdown this week?

Chris Coleman - A mental letdown is always worrisome after a September like Virginia Tech's.  The Hokies played Alabama , Nebraska and Miami in September, and human nature would indicate that there will be a mental letdown this week.  I'm concerned about it somewhat, but one of Frank Beamer's greatests strengths as a coach is his ability to get his team to play consisent football from week to week.  The chance for a letdown is there, but I think the Hokies will play a good game.

  TDD - Ryan Williams has been tearing it up this year.  What have been the keys to his success?

CC - Well quite honestly, he has the best skillset of any running back I've ever seen at Virginia Tech.  He's fast, he's agile, he changes directions very quickly, and he can run up the middle and move a pile.  Williams has excellent vision.  He's probably the most natural running back in the ACC.  Right now, he'd have my vote for ACC Player of the Year, not to mention ACC Rookie of the Year.  Also, the Hokies have a very good offensive line when it comes to run blocking.  They were even able to block Alabama 's outstanding defensive front.  Good blocking plus good running equals a good running game.

  TDD - Does Tyrod Taylor's inconsistencies throwing the football give Tech fans heartburn?

CC - The main problem here is the play of the wide receivers.  The Hokies most experienced receivers are a trio of sophhomores.  Tech's receivers have a hard time against the physical play of the bigger cornerbacks that they face.  Alabama 's corners and Nebraska 's corners mauled the Tech receivers at the beginning of their routes, which threw off the timing of the passing game.  They are fine against smaller receivers, so I think they'll be fine in Saturday's game.? ?Taylor has had a hard-luck career.  He needed to redshirt at some point, but instead he's spent his time playing behind a poor pass blocking offensive line, and in 2008 he had a group of receivers who had never played a down in a college game until last season.  He's had his own issues, but as the team matures around him, his numbers will only improve.

TDD - There's no question Tech is the heavy favorite this weekend, but the Vegas lines have been hovering around 14 points so far this week.  What do you think is the cause for this?

CC - I was very surprised by that line.  I assume that Vegas is banking on Virginia Tech being mentally down after playing three huge games in September.  Considering the injuries in the Duke offensive backfield, as well as the status of star defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase, the line is a bit of a head scratcher.

  TDD -  On the field, is there anything that Duke does in any phase of the game that is concerning to you this weekend?

  CC - I'll be very concerned about Thad Lewis and the Duke passing game, IF and only IF the Blue Devils can establish a running game.  One-dimensional teams don't beat Virginia Tech.  If the Hokies shut down the running game, Duke will be forced to pass right into the teeth of the #1 pass effieciency defense in the ACC.  Opposing quarterbacks have completed 43.2% of thier passes, with four interceptions and just one touchdown.  If Duke can't run the ball, they won't beat the Hokies.

  TDD - I'm sure you are predicting a Tech victory this weekend.  How do you think the game will unfold?

  CC - I have a lot of respect for David Cutcliffe and the job he's done at Duke.  He's stepped up recruiting and gotten some good prospects, and nobody's going to say that it's easy to recruit at Duke.  Not for football at least.  Still, those players need time to mature, grow, get stronger in the weight room and learn the system.  Cutcliffe is still coaching with a lot of guys that he didn't recruit.  I've got Tech winning 38-7.  I like guys like Thad Lewis, Desmond Scott, Vince Oghobaase, etc.  But I don't think they have the horses around them to hang with the Hokies for a full four quarters, unless Tech turns the ball over.  The Tech offense only has one turnover through four games this year (the other three turnovers were on special teams), and I see that trend continuing. 


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