Things aren't going well in Blacksburg. The Hokies have lost two straight games and seven of their last eight at home against Power Five teams. Fans are getting restless and a lot want a change at the helm.
NC State needs to do what they did in their first two road games this season. Seize control of the game ASAP. Old Dominion and South Alabama are far from Virginia Tech in terms of football programs, but both had good crowds when NC State came to town. The Wolfpack started fast and really eliminated the crowd as a factor early on.
It's going to start off loud in Lane, but if the Pack can start fast it might get quiet... and stay that way.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer and his staff have come under fire of late for a variety of reasons, and the offense is certainly one. The Hokies have had issues at quarterback and have yet to solidify a go-to rusher.
Now, Beamer is an old school coach who may resist making any major changes to a formula that has served him well for years. However, the Wolfpack has to be prepared for some new wrinkles out of the Tech offense Friday night. The Pack could see anything from no-huddle to the wildcat formation to an expanded passing game.
No one outside of the Hokie program knows if Brendan Motley or Michael Brewer will start at quarterback, so the Pack has to be ready for anything, regardless of the quarterback.
STOP THE RUN
Virginia Tech's quarterback is an unknown, but you can expect the Hokies to try and start out by leaning on the running game. Tech wants to line up and run the ball between the tackles and wear your defense down. However, who will it be? Three tailbacks have totaled between 32 and 37 carries, but the guy to watch is freshman Travon McMillan who has 32 carries for 223 yards.
Also, don't forget about Motley, if he's the signal-caller. He's totaled 150 rushing yards in four games and last week Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson gave NC State trouble with his running ability.
It all starts with stuffing the run. If NC State can do that, it would put a lot of pressure on a Tech passing game that has been extremely inconsistent this season.
PUSH THE POCKET
Who will be Virginia Tech's quarterback? No one knows, but either way, the objective remains the same for NC State. Sack him... pressure him.
Last week Virginia Tech's offensive line yielded seven sacks to Pittsburgh. The Panthers lived in the backfield, and left Lane Stadium with a victory after holding the Hokies to just 100 yards last weekend.
NC State's defensive front has a chance to play a huge role in this game. Tackles B.J. Hill, Kentavius Street, and Justin Jones are strong against the run and pass, and defensive ends Mike Rose and Bradley Chubb have combined for 4.5 sacks so far this season.
The Hokies have skill position talent, but if the quarterback spends all game on the ground it won't matter. That should be NC State's goal.