Bits and Bytes - Virginia Tech

We prepare for the final trip to Blacksburg in this decade with a few cogent observations.






BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Series: WVU leads 28-20-1
When: 10/2, Noon
Where: Blacksburg

Stadium: Lane Stadium
Record: 4-0
AP Rank: 6
Last Week: JMU
Returning Starters: 16
Defense: 8
Offense: 8
Click Blacksburg forecast
Record: 2-2
AP Rank: NR
Last Week: NC ST
Returning Starters: 10
Defense: 5
Offense: 4
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2004 Schedule
First Meeting: 1912
Last Meeting: 2003
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2004 Schedule

STAT-MINDED

While looking through stats this week, the two different measures of ranking quarterbacks caught my eye. The Big East features two different lists for quarterbacks – one for passing yards, and one for pass efficiency. So, I got to thinking: Which one is the better measure of a quarterback's performance in the passing game?

For many, yardage is the key. A quarterback that can average 10 yards per passing attempt is a serious weapon (UConn's Dan Orlovsky and Rasheed Marshall come close to that figure right now), and yardage gains, even if it doesn't always result in points, has a huge impact on the game.

Going into Thursday night's games, Orlovsky was averaging 288.2 yards per outing, putting him 26 yards ahead of his nearest competitor, Ryan Hart of Rutgers. (Rasheed is seventh with 171 yards per game.)

For others, passing efficiency is the metric of choice. While not everyone agrees with the formula used to rate college passers, it does take into account yardage, touchdown passes, interceptions, completions and attempts. It rewards accuracy (and perhaps over-rewards for TD tosses) but provides a more balanced look at all aspects of the passing game. Using this system, Rasheed jumps to the top of the Big East with a 169.1 rating, while Orlovsky is in second with a 159.3 mark.

By the way, the formula used by the NCAA is as follows:

Multiply passing yards by 8.4, then divide by the number of attempts
Multiply touchdown passes by 330, then divide by the number of attempts
Multiply interceptions by 200, then divide by the number of attempts
Multiply completions by 100, then divide by the number of attempts.

Add the first two results, subtract the interception result, then add the last result, and voila. You have an NCAA efficiency rating. Or, you can just go here and plug in the numbers.

One other interesting note is that opponents' pass efficiency against the Mountaineers is just 106.56 this season. Last year it was 120.69.

HIGH AND TIGHT

Tech tight end Jeff King has more receptions this year (eight) than he did in his entire career (seven). How will WVU defend this solid receiver? Watch for Lawrence Audena in man matchups, but when the Mountaineers play zone, the linebackers will have to be aware of King's presence. He's not just a safety valve, but a solid weapon for the Hokies.

FLIP FLOP

After a first year snafu in making a choice after the coin toss, head coach Rich Rodriguez designated one player as a semi-permanent captain to make all the choices regarding receiving, kicking off, etc, following the flip. Linebackers Kyle Kayden and Grant Wiley held down those spots in previous seasons, but this year that practice appears to have been dropped, WVU has sent out four different players for the toss in each of its first four games.

HI DAD

Tech wide receiver Michael Malone is the son of Former NBA great Moses Malone.

BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Free safety Jahmile Addae has been flying under the radar a bit this season, but that could change against the Hokies. Opponents haven't thrown the ball deep a great deal against the Mountaineers, and that fact has kept Addae from getting on the board in pass defense statistics. That's not to say that he's played poorly, however. Addae has 12 tackles, has been solid in run support, and has covered well in the few times he has been tested.

All that figures to change this week. Although the Tech offense utilizes the running and passing skills of quarterback Bryan Randall, they will never stray from play action passes so long as Frank Beamer is at the head of the program. Like former Mountaineer coach Don Nehlen, Beamer loves the idea of pounding the defense with running backs, then faking those plays and going deep. Addae has to be careful not to get sucked in by those play action looks.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Tech actually has a section in its game notes asking readers to refer to the school as Virginia Tech. It concludes: "Those covering Hokie athletics are asked to refer to the university as simply "Virginia Tech." Virginia Tech University, VPI and SU, VPI&SU, VT or VA Tech are not recognized names and should not be used." However, the section goes on to state that the full name of the school is Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. My thought is that if you want people to call you a certain thing, then name yourself that. And if you don't want to be called VT, then maybe you ought to take that off your helmets. Isn't this almost as pretentious as "the Ohio State University"?

Wonder if that's what gave Michael Vick the impetus to request the usage of "Mike" last year? Of course, the same Tech notes still refer to him as "Michael". Nothing like consistency!


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