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TSLMail #347- September 12, 2008    
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 Tech Sports News

Road Sweet Road
by Chris Coleman,

Virginia Tech hosts Georgia Tech in a huge ACC Coastal Division showdown on Saturday afternoon. Conventional wisdom would suggest that the Hokies have the advantage, since the game is played in Lane Stadium, which is widely considered one of the best environments in college football. However, recent evidence would suggest that VT is better off playing games away from Lane Stadium.

Let's take a look at the numbers first. Here is how the Hokies have fared in home conference games since ACC expansion.

Virginia Tech's Home
ACC Games
Year Record
2004 3-1
2005 3-1
2006 3-1
2007 3-1
Overall 12-4

That's a good record, but for all the hooplah Lane Stadium gets, you would think it would be better. Meanwhile, the Hokies are downright dominant on the road in ACC games.

Virginia Tech's Road
ACC Games
Year Record
2004 4-0
2005 4-0
2006 3-1
2007 4-0
Overall 15-1

Virginia Tech's only road loss in conference play came at Boston College in 2006. That's a very impressive stat.

However, if Lane Stadium is such an impressive environment, then why has one team won in Blacksburg every year since conference expansion? In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2000 for the last time the Hokies were unbeaten at home.

My theory is that there are very few big-time college football environments in the ACC. When a team comes to Lane Stadium, it might be that team's only chance of the season to play in a top notch atmosphere. As a result, that team comes in fired up, and sometimes pulls out a win.

The last four teams to beat Tech in Blacksburg are NC State, Miami, Georgia Tech and Boston College. None of those places, except for maybe NC State in a good year, have major game day environments, particularly Boston College and Miami. The 'Canes play in front of a very small crowd each week, and the BC fans aren't noted for their ability to rock Chestnut Hill. You think those guys are fired up when they get a chance to play in Blacksburg in a nationally televised game? Yeah, I think so. BC has won in Blacksburg two of the past three times.

Tomorrow, Georgia Tech will get a chance to become the first team since ACC expansion to win twice in Blacksburg. Time will tell if they can get it done.

Injury Update

It appears that Virginia Tech will have the services of defensive end Jason Worilds and whip linebacker Cam Martin for tomorrow's game. Worilds' shoulder popped out against Furman, and Martin pulled up lame with a groin injury. Both returned to practice this week, and it appears they will play tomorrow.

Worilds is the biggest question mark. Not only did his shoulder pop out last week, but he spent the preseason nursing a sore hamstring. If he's not effective, expect to see a lot of Nekos Brown.

The Yellow Jackets have their share of injuries as well. Starting linebackers Anthony Barnes and Brad Jefferson will definitely miss the game, and middle linebacker Shane Bowen has been banged up as well. Georgia Tech could be starting a backup at all three linebacker spots on Saturday.

At wide receiver, Correy Earles is out, and leading receiver Demaryius Thomas is questionable. Georgia Tech could be starting two freshmen at wide receiver, just like the Hokies. If that happens, the Yellow Jackets will be starting a total of four freshmen on the offensive side of the ball. 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

Keys to the Game, Matchups to Watch and Game Prediction: Georgia Tech

September 12, 2008
The ACC season opens for the Hokies with an important game against the other Tech ... Georgia Tech. The revamped Rambling Wreck won a huge game at Boston College last week, and Virginia Tech's young defense will have a stern test from former Navy coach Paul Johnson's multi-option offense. How will Bud Foster prepare his inexperienced unit for the complexities of the spread option? Will the Hokie offense be able to run on an impressive Georgia Tech front four? Lots of questions going into this key game ...

ACC Weekend Football Preview: Week 3
September 12, 2008
Chris Miller takes a quick look at all the ACC action that is coming up this weekend. UVA takes on UConn in a big out-of-conference matchup, while Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech will square off for an early advantage in the Coastal Division.

The Ten-Win Tightrope
September 11, 2008
This week was a testy one, thanks to Jason from Arlington. Jason's Monday night Hokie Hotline call sparked a circle-the-wagons response from Frank Beamer, and before you knew it, Virginia Tech's legendary coach had fallen into a verbal skirmish with the fan base. It's too early and too melodramatic to say that battle lines have been drawn -- and too tasteless, on this anniversary of 9/11 -- but you have to admit that what happened this week was almost unprecedented.

Robinson Jr. LB Lands Offers, Sr. DE Draws Interest
September 11, 2008
Robinson, a traditional high school football power out of Fairfax, Virginia, boasts a top 2010 class recruit in 6-3 1/2, 200-pound Brian Laiti. Laiti, a middle linebacker, leads a young defense that includes only three seniors and two returning starters from last year's squad. He is coming off of a sophomore season performance that has earned him two official scholarship offers thus far with more likely to come in the near future.

Football Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech
September 10, 2008
This Saturday's game with Georgia Tech is huge. If the Hokies get the win, they'll be in a good position to win the Coastal Division again. If they lose, with the road schedule that they'll see later in the year, they could very well be out of the race. In short, this is as close to a must-win game as a September game can be.

TSL Audio: The Jerry Miller Show, 9/9/08
September 10, 2008
The hot topic these days is offense, or the lack of it, and Chris Coleman and Jerry Miller covered it in detail yesterday. And it's not just going on at VT -- UVa's not ringing up the points or yards, either. The Jerry Miller Show appears on The Sports Addict Radio Network every afternoon from 1:00-3:00 pm in Blacksburg (1430 AM), Charlottesville (840 AM), and Bluefield (1050 AM), and from 2:00-4:00 in Martinsville (1160 AM) (WMA format, 3.0 MB, 12:57).

2010 Class Profile: PG Will Spradling
September 10, 2008
Shawnee Mission South (Overland Park, Kansas) point guard Will Spradling does not intend for his recruitment to be a long one. The 6-2, 150-pound junior, a first-team all-league, first-team all-county and honorable mention all-state performer last year as a sophomore, would like to have made his college choice by the time his junior season begins.

Gough Adds Three Offers
September 9, 2008
Prior to September, Liberty (Bealeton, VA) offensive lineman/defensive lineman Kory Gough had earned scholarship offers from Army, East Carolina, Hofstra, James Madison and Liberty. Just over a week into September, the 6-6, 262-pound senior has added three new offers and could enjoy more success very soon.

Furman Game Analysis
September 9, 2008
Games in Lane Stadium against Football Championship Subdivision (formally Division 1-AA) teams are rarely exciting, but usually that is because the Hokies jump out to an early lead, run up big yardage totals, and cruise to a lopsided victory. That wasn't the case on Saturday against Furman. As expected, the excitement was lacking, but so was the quality of execution by the Tech offense in the first half. After sputtering to a 3-0 halftime lead, the Hokies took advantage of two critical second half turnovers and pulled away to a 24-7 victory over the Paladins.

Virginia Tech to Receive Official Visit from Graham
September 9, 2008
Over 20 Division 1A coaches have called Silverado (Las Vegas, NV) defensive end Keenan Graham over the past week. This is certainly not unexpected, as the 6-3, 220-pound senior is one of the top defensive end prospects in the country, but Graham seems to be focusing in on just a select number of schools at this point.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 9/8/08
September 9, 2008
The guests for Monday night's show were defensive line coach Charley Wiles, athletic director Jim Weaver, Norm Wood of the Newport News Daily Press, and head football coach Frank Beamer. Coach Beamer reacted testily to one call from a Hokie fan who questioned the offense.

Six-Day Option Exercised for VT-UNC Game Time
September 9, 2008
The television networks have exercised their six-day option for Virginia Tech's football game against North Carolina on September 20. The Hokies and Tar Heels will kickoff at either noon or 3:30pm, but much will depend on the results of this weekend's games.

Monday Thoughts: Furman
September 8, 2008
You hope that games against overmatched Division 1-AA opponents don't reveal anything telling about your team, because if they don't, it means you coasted to victory and nothing you saw can be taken seriously. In the case of Tech's 24-7 win over Furman, however, the game did tell us some things. It told us that Tech's offensive struggles continue, and that Tyrod Taylor's ability to turn a busted play into a long gain is everything it's billed to be ... and that he does indeed need to be playing for this offense to be successful.

Around the ACC: Week 2
September 8, 2008
The ACC struggled again in week 2, with an out-of-conference loss to Middle Tennessee State, and three wins against 1-AA teams, all by less than 20 points. Paul Johnson got his first ACC win at Georgia Tech, while Wake Forest continues to get it done.

Is Hairston Closing in on a Decision?
September 8, 2008
Because of Tropical Storm Hanna, Courtland (Fredericksburg, VA) junior forward Josh Hairston was unable to make his most recent scheduled unofficial visit. The 6-8 prospect, one of the top recruits in the 2010 recruiting class, had planned to be in Charlottesville on Saturday to check out UVa but decided against making the trip.

Hokies Struggle, but Beat Furman 24-7
September 6, 2008
Blacksburg, VA - Virginia Tech took advantage of two Furman turnovers to create two short touchdown drives in the third quarter, then coasted to a 24-7 win. The victory makes the Hokies 1-1 on the season as they head into next weekend’s big ACC matchup with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
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