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   Welcome to TSLMail #297 - Friday, September 21, 2007    
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   Tech Sports News

Comparing Tyrod to Other First-Time VT Starters

Tyrod Taylor made his first career start last Saturday against Ohio, and he did quite well. His numbers are very comparable to some excellent quarterbacks who have come through Blacksburg. Of course, they are also comparable to some quarterbacks who aren't exactly held in high esteem by Tech fans.

First Time QB Starters Under Beamer
Player Year Comp.-Att. Yards TD INT Opponent Result

Will Furrer

1988 17-36 116 0 2


40-7 L

Maurice DeShazo

1992 5-8 195 2 0


49-20 W

Jim Druckenmiller

1995 21-42 296 1 0


14-7 L

Al Clark

1997 7-10 147 2 1


59-19 W

Michael Vick

1999 4-6 110 0 0


47-0 W

Grant Noel

2001 16-20 267 3 0


52-10 W

Bryan Randall

2002 5-12 101 0 0


47-21 W

Marcus Vick

2005 10-21 108 1 0

NC State

20-16 W

Sean Glennon

2006 15-18 222 3 1


38-0 W

Tyrod Taylor

2007 18-31 287 0 0


28-7 W

Several things stand out about Taylor's performance when compared to past first-time starters, and we'll address all of them below.

The first one is the number of times Taylor put the ball in the air. Despite being a true freshman who did not participate in spring practice, the coaching staff trusted Taylor enough to let him attempt 31 passes, the most since Jim Druckenmiller attempted 42 in 1995. Druckenmiller was a fourth year junior at the time, while Taylor is a true freshman.

Secondly, Taylor's 287 yards are the most since Druckenmiller's 296 yard performance in 1995. Druck only beat Tyrod's mark by nine yards, and it took him three more completions and 11 more attempts to do it. Granted Taylor was playing Ohio and Druck was playing BC, but the Eagles only finished 4-7 in 1995, and Druck had three years of experience on Taylor.

Perhaps the only disappointing part of Taylor's day was the fact that he didn't throw a touchdown pass. He slightly overthrew a deep post to Josh Morgan that would have gone for a touchdown. Other than that, he was pretty good.

One of the recent topics on the boards has been how it is important to get Taylor reps, so he's ready to go for more important games later in the season. It's especially true for Taylor, who is a true freshman, but it has been important for past Tech quarterbacks as well. However, not all of them threw the ball a lot in their first collegiate start.

Perhaps the most mystifying example is Maurice DeShazo's first start back in 1992. DeShazo had only attempted four passes in 1991 as a r-freshman. He was still inexperienced and needed reps badly against James Madison in the opener to prepare for the rest of the season. Instead, the staff let him throw just eight passes. The next week against East Carolina, he completed less than 50% of his passes, threw for less than 100 yards, and had two interceptions in a 30-27 loss.

Hokie Nation
The Movie


While the Tech coaching staff decided that DeShazo didn't need to throw the ball more than eight times in his first collegiate start, they did decide to let tailback Tony Kennedy air it out in the fourth quarter. Leading 42-20 with less than three minutes left in the game, Kennedy threw a 49 yard touchdown pass to Steve Sanders.

That's a couple of things that just boggle the mind. First and foremost, the Hokies didn't get their new quarterback enough passing reps. Second, they gave away their tailback pass play to defensive coordinators by running it with three minutes left while beating a Division 1-AA team by three touchdowns. Wow. If message boards had existed in 1992, they would have howled.

Al Clark was a first-time starter at Rutgers in 1997. He was a r-junior with some backup experience behind Druckenmiller, but he didn't have much experience throwing the ball in a college game. Despite that, he only aired it out 10 times in the opener against the Scarlet Knights that year. As Tech's passing attack bogged down late in the year (along with the defense, running game, and pretty much everything else), it would have been nice to have gotten Clark some extra reps early in the season.

The Clemson Tigers made the same mistake last year. They blew out overmatched competition early in the season behind the running of James Davis and C.J. Spiller, but when conference play began, they needed a passing game. They didn't work on it much early in the season, and it came back to bite them. They were a one-dimensional team late in the season, and they finished the year poorly as a result.

This year, Tommy Bowden has responded differently. New starter Cullen Harper has attempted 69 passes through three games, and has thrown 10 touchdown passes and no interceptions. The passing game should be fine tuned by the time ACC play rolls around.

Look for the education of Tyrod Taylor to continue on Saturday. He won't attempt 31 passes, but he won't have Maurice DeShazo or Al Clark numbers, either. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week

4-Star WR Talks Visits

September 21, 2007
Christchurch (VA) star wide receiver Deion Walker made his first official visit earlier this month and has another planned for the first weekend in October. The 6-3, 180-pound senior knows another official visit destination as well and is considering a handful of programs for the final two spots.

Keys to the Game and Game Prediction: William & Mary
September 20, 2007
The Virginia Tech football program took a convincing step forward last week against a solid Ohio program. Bud Foster's suffocating defense returned to form, completely shutting down the Bobcat offense in the second half. The defense tied a VT record, only allowing five first downs, and did not allow a single first down in the second half. Tyrod Taylor had a solid performance in his first starting assignment, generating considerable excitement as the Hokie offense showed more balance. The running game looked much better, but improvement is still needed to threaten the better ACC teams. So, what should we expect from this week's game with William & Mary?

A Decision Coming Soon for Ben-Eze?
September 20, 2007
Last weekend, 6-10, 225-pound center Frank Ben-Eze made an official visit to Virginia Tech. The Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, VA) senior will make an official visit to another program this weekend and could be ready to make a decision in the near future.

Injury Update: Worilds Out, Ore Will Play, Wang on the Mend
September 20, 2007
The Hokies are injury-free for the most part, but there are a few things to mention. Backup defensive end Jason Worilds will not play against William & Mary. He suffered a high ankle sprain against Ohio and has been in a walking boot this week.
Also: Tech vs. William & Mary on ACC Select; Vince Hall Earns ACC Honors; UNC Game Time Set for Noon; TSL Introduces New E-Com Sponsor

Checking in with VT Commit Cameron Demps
September 20, 2007
After a productive junior season at North Gwinnett, 5-10, 170-pound speedster Cameron Demps transferred to Peachtree Ridge High School (Suwanee, GA) for his senior year. The transition has gone well for the Virginia Tech commit, but he is looking for things to get better individually and team-wise.

TSL Audio: The Len Martez Show, 9/19/07
September 20, 2007
On yesterday's show, Chris Coleman and Len Martez discussed Tyrod Taylor's effort against Ohio, the return of the Virginia Tech defense to normal, and how Kenny Lewis fits into the Hokies new offensive scheme. (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 3.0 MB, 12:42)

Football Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. William & Mary
September 19, 2007
Although William & Mary is a 1-AA program, respect their offense. These guys put up a lot of yards and a lot of points, and no team they have played has been able to stop them thus far.

4-Star RB Set to Make First Official Visit
September 19, 2007
The top running back in the state of Virginia is set to make his first official visit. 5-10, 205-pound Ryan Williams, star senior running back out of Stonewall Jackson High School (Manassas, VA), will head to South Bend this weekend to visit Notre Dame.

Ohio Game Analysis: Taylor Impresses, Defense Returns to Form
September 18, 2007
I gotta admit, at halftime I had flashbacks of another close game against a big underdog from Ohio and the MAC. In 1997, Miami (OH) came into Lane Stadium and knocked off the undefeated Hokies, setting the stage for a late year collapse that ended with a blowout loss to UNC in the Gator Bowl.

Class of '09 Preview: OG/DT Rhodes Leads Varina
September 18, 2007
When DeAntre Rhodes first arrived on the scene at Varina High School in 2005, he made the most of his opportunity to play on the varsity level. Two years later, the 6-3, 255-pound junior has established himself as a Division 1A prospect and is on the brink of landing his first official scholarship offer.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 9/17/07
September 18, 2007
Monday night's guests were wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman, athletic director Jim Weaver, and head football coach Frank Beamer. Sherman talked about the receiving corps, Weaver discussed a cheer that turned out to be short-lived, and Beamer provided updates and comments on Ed Wang, Branden Ore, Kenny Lewis, Jr., and personal fouls.

Starmount (N.C.) Forward Commits to Hokies!
September 17, 2007
Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg picked up his first verbal commitment for the 2008 recruiting class today, when a standout 6-8, 230-pound power forward pledged to the Hokies. The prospect is rated a 4-star recruit by and a 3-star recruit by

Monday Thoughts: The Ohio Game
September 17, 2007
The Virginia Tech coaching staff and its new starting quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, are in a foot race with the schedule, trying to get Taylor ready for the meat of the ACC schedule, especially that trip to Clemson on October 6th (with apologies to UNC, coming to Lane Stadium on September 29th). The Hokies got out of the blocks pretty well to start the Tyrod Taylor era, and things are on schedule.

Class of '09 Preview: Western Branch Bruins
September 17, 2007
There is no doubt that one of the top junior prospects in the state is Western Branch (Chesapeake) star Kevin Newsome. It's been a little over two weeks since junior prospects could begin to receive "recruiting materials" such as letters and written offers from Division 1A college coaches and Division 1A coaches from all across the country have contacted Western Branch head coach Scott Johnson about his signal caller.

Around the ACC: Week 3
September 17, 2007
The ACC managed to win all but one of their out-of-conference games in Week 3, but many of their teams looked ugly doing so. There was also a big conference game down in Atlanta which established a team from the Northeast as the best team in the ACC at this point in the season.

Taylor, Defense Spark Win Over Ohio
September 15, 2007
The Tyrod Taylor era got off to a good start, and Frank Beamer picked up his 200th career victory as #18 Virginia Tech knocked off Ohio 28-7 in Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The win improves the Hokies to 2-1 on the season, while the Bobcats drop to 2-1.
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