The Virginia Tech Hokies will look to protect their national ranking on Monday night as they open their season against Georgia Tech. The triple-option Yellow Jackets like to run the football early and often against their opponents, often employing two or three tailbacks in the backfield. It will be an interesting early-season challenge for the Hokies, and one that should say a lot about where the team is right now.
SB Nation's Hokies blog, Gobbler Country, previewed the game earlier today. Here are a few highlights, including their final score prediction.
How the team stacks up offensively against Georgia Tech:
The Yellow Jackets only return one starter on the defensive line (though they do run a 3-4), so the Hokies need to take advantage of that by protecting Logan Thomas with a retooled line of their own. Keeping the pressure off Thomas will help to alleviate some of his responsibilities. This whole thing is on his back right now. Also, opening holes for Tech's young and inexperienced running backs will help acclimate them to the game and by virtue, also take pressure off Thomas. If both those things happen, Thomas will shine.
On the defensive side of the ball:
We always hear about this, but it's 100 percent true. We have to play ASSIGNMENT FOOTBALL! That means we have to stick to our assignments no matter what. Defending the option is counter-intuitive. As a defender, you can't just run at a guy and try to tackle him. No matter how much your defensive instincts tell you to go after the guy with the ball, you can't commit unless he's your assignment, without risking the chance of creating a bigger play.
And finally a prediction for the game:
Virginia Tech 31, Georgia Tech 21
Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN.
For more on the Hokies, head over to Gobbler Country.