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  TSLMail #354- October 31, 2008    
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 Tech Sports News

Stats Unimpressive, but Hokies Still Alive
by Chris Coleman,

The Hokies are one of just two teams who control their own destiny in the ACC Coastal Division. Looking at their season statistics, you wouldn't know it. The Hokies rank at or near the bottom of the ACC and even the NCAA in many important offensive and special teams categories.

Let's start with the offense, which as we all know, hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire this year.

Offensive Stats
Category ACC Rank National Rank

Rushing Offense

4 50

Passing Offense

11 112

Total Offense

12 113

Scoring Offense

6 70

Pass Efficiency

12 99

Sacks Allowed

12 113


9.5 92.83

Those offensive rankings are propped up by a few things. First, Tyrod Taylor's legs have gained quite a few yards on the ground for the Hokies. Many of Tech's rushing yards aren't traditional runs, but rather scrambles when no one is open downfield.

Also, scoring offense is ranked sixth in the ACC. However, that is a misleading stat. It includes scores by the defense (3 TDs) and special teams (one safety on a blocked punt, one PAT return), not just points scored by the offense. The Hokies rank 112th or below in three categories, and almost rank 100th in pass efficiency as well.

The defensive rankings are much better.

Defensive Stats
Category ACC Rank National Rank

Rushing Defense

6 40

Passing Defense

7 31

Total Defense

5 28

Scoring Defense

8 39

Pass Efficiency Defense

11 72

Tackles for Loss

4 29


5 29


6.57 38.29

The Hokies have a strong defense, and they are playing in a conference filled with strong defenses. Of course, they are also playing in a conference filled with bad offenses.

The Tech defense ranks worse than 40th in the nation in just one category: pass efficiency defense. The Hokies have given up some big plays through the air. However, it's quite likely that ranking will improve as the season draws to a close. Defensive rankings have been trending upward from game to game.

Virginia Tech is used to getting good special teams play, but not this year.

Special Teams Stats
Category ACC Rank National Rank

Net Punting

12 114

Kickoff Return

8 77

Punt Returns

3 29

Kickoff Return Defense

3 25

Punt Return Defense

12 118


7.6 72.6

Tech's kickoff team is solid, and Macho Harris is obviously a top notch punt returner. However, Frank Beamer's punt team needs a whole lot of work. They have allowed two punts to be returned for touchdowns this year, and they've also had two punts blocked, one of which was returned for a TD. Special teams has arguably been the deciding factor in all three losses this year.

So if Tech has subpar play in two of the three phases of the game, why do they still control their own destiny at this point? Part of it is luck, but part of it is discipline.

Misc. Stats
Category ACC Rank National Rank

Turnover Margin

2 7


7 40

Penalty Yards

2 15


3.67 20.67

With so many key players out on the offensive side of the ball, everyone knew the offense would be limited this year. The least they could do is not turn the ball over and put the defense in a bad position. That's exactly what they've done. The Hokies rank seventh nationally in turnover margin, their only top 10 statistical ranking. They also do very well in penalties and penalty yardage.

Another thing that helps is the overall poor play of other offenses in the ACC, particularly in the Coastal Division. Virginia (97th), Duke (98th), Georgia Tech (72nd), UNC (86th) and Miami (99th) aren't particularly affective on the offensive side of the ball. Although they rank a little ahead of the Hokies, Tech's penalties and turnover margin advantage has been enough to keep them in the race. 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

Handicapping the Coastal Race
October 31, 2008
In case you didn't notice, the ACC Coastal Division race is pretty tight. No team has lost more than two ACC games, but five of the six teams in the division have dropped two conference games. Virginia sits at the top with one loss, and they are one of two teams in the conference that controls their own destiny. Virginia Tech is the other.

ACC Weekend Football Preview: Week 10
October 31, 2008
The ACC race is still up for grabs in both divisions, with only two teams checking in with more than two conference losses. This weekend's games will help shake some things out in each division. The Miami-UVA game in Charlottesville is very important in the Coastal Division race.

McCray Enjoys Success On and Off Field
October 31, 2008
6-5, 235-pound Brookville (Lynchburg, VA) defensive end/tight end Zack McCray, one of the top juniors in the state of Virginia, claims to have been offered by Boston College, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia. Not all of these offers are official offers, but the ones that aren't are expected to become official soon.

2008-09 Men's Basketball Preview
October 30, 2008
In less than a month, Virginia Tech's men's basketball team will begin its most anticipated season since the 1995-96 campaign. The Hokies return four starters and all of their backups from a team that was a game away from making the NCAA tournament. Tech made it to the quarterfinals of the NIT and won 21 games, with six freshmen as part of the playing rotation.

Deep Run Star Talks Senior Season, Recruiting
October 30, 2008
Antone Exum has performed extremely well in his senior season, leading Deep Run (Glen Allen, VA) to an 8-0 record heading into a big-time district match-up against the Hermitage Panthers tomorrow night. The 6-0, 200-pound athlete has gotten the job done in all areas, scoring touchdowns passing, rushing and on special teams.

The Latest on Logan Thomas
October 30, 2008
Brookville (Lynchburg, VA) star athlete Logan Thomas narrowed down his list of schools in July and he has taken unofficial visits to most of those programs. Is the 6-6, 225-pound senior close to a commitment or, at the very least, close to narrowing his list again?

Florida State Game Analysis: Hokies Show Mettle on the Road
October 29, 2008
I am not sure what to make of this game. The Hokies lost, but they actually played pretty well for long stretches of the game. The offense rebounded after a miserable performance against BC, only to lose both of their experienced quarterbacks to injury. The defense continued to represent, only to be struck again by the big play bug. And the Hokies got a couple of long kick-off returns, but the special teams continued to struggle with key mistakes at critical junctures. It all added up to a strange, roller-coaster of a game that was both fun and frustrating at the same time.

TSL Audio: The Jerry Miller Show, 10/28/08
October 29, 2008
On Wednesday's show, Chris Coleman and Jerry Miller talked about the quarterback situation for the Hokies, and they discussed VT's chances to run the table, with three of their last four games at home (WMA format, approx. 3.0 MB, approx. 13 minutes long).
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).

VT Commitment Notes
October 29, 2008
TSL caught up with Pulaski County (Dublin, VA) running back Nubian Peak for a "Q&A." Peak, a 5-11, 190-pound prospect who is being recruited to play wide receiver, is turning in another fine season for Pulaski. Through eight games (Pulaski is 8-0 on the season), the versatile speedster has totaled 100 carries for 874 yards, 12 receptions for 190 yards and totaled 15 touchdowns.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 10/27/08
October 28, 2008
This week's guests were offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring, athletic director Jim Weaver, and head football coach Frank Beamer. They talked about the Florida State game, the status of Tech's two injured quarterbacks, and the upcoming game against Maryland.

Sims, Hailes Headline Oscar Smith's 2010 Class
October 28, 2008
When college recruiters make their stops in evaluating the state of Virginia's 2010 recruiting class, the first stop likely is Oscar Smith High School (Chesapeake, VA). The Tigers boast two top juniors, including one - quarterback Phillip Sims - who promises to be one of the most highly recruited prospects in the country. As a sophomore last season, the 6-2, 215-pound standout threw for 2,797 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Monday Thoughts: Florida State
October 27, 2008
Once a season, you get a game that is jammed full of drama and more twists and turns than Watkins Glen. Some games are snoozers, some games are doozies, and this one fit the latter category. The Hokies absorbed their second loss in a row, which is never anything to be celebrated, but in the loss were encouraging signs, despite the injuries to Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor.

Around the ACC: Week 9
October 27, 2008
Another week of ACC football is in the books, and there are still just two teams in the conference with more than two losses. Clemson and NC State are pretty much done in the Atlantic Division, but every other team in the league has a chance to play its way to Tampa.

Hokies Picked Sixth in the ACC
October 27, 2008
ACC men's basketball players and coaches met with the media on Sunday in Atlanta. During the meetings, the media revealed their 2008-09 preseason ACC selections and predictions. As expected, North Carolina is picked to win the league.

David Wang Adjusting Well to DT
October 27, 2008
Primarily an offensive lineman last season as a junior, 6-2, 302-pound Stone Bridge (Ashburn, VA) star David Wang has primarily played the 3-technique defensive tackle spot this season. It has been a transition, but as the weeks go on the standout senior is getting more and more comfortable with the new position.

Taylor and Glennon Questionable for Maryland
October 26, 2008
Quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon were X-rayed in Blacksburg on Sunday morning, and the X-rays turned out negative. Taylor injured his ankle on the first play of the game, while Glennon hurt his lower leg in the third quarter.

Seminoles Knock Out Taylor, Glennon, Hokies, 30-20
October 25, 2008
Tallahassee, FL - Virginia Tech lost both Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon to injuries and managed to battle Florida State to a statistical draw, but the Seminoles took advantage of Hokie mistakes to post a physical 30-20 victory. The Hokies led 13-10 at half time, but a big roughing the punter call on Tech helped FSU score the go-ahead touchdown, and the Noles held on for the win.
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