The Conversation: Virginia Tech @ FSU

This week I spoke with "furrer4heisman" of Gobbler Country.  It's a great Virginia Tech site, and one of the better opposing team sites I've come across.  We swapped Q's and have now swapped A's.  It was a joy working with him and I really encourage everyone to check out my answers to his questions.

My answers to his questions are available here. 

Of course, the requisite Hank Williams Clip:

Waylon Jennings & Hank Williams Jr - The Conversation (via Slasheri)

 

I'll say that the participation this week from our readers was rather poor.  The quality was there as those who did propose brought their "A Game", but we didn't have a lot of guys posing questions.  I think part of that is on me, since I didn't give you guys (and girl-- we have a female reader now) a lot of time to post them, and the thread was sort of sandwiched between two large posts.  To fix this, I'll open a GTech question thread a lot earlier this week, in order to give the readers a larger window to post.  Let's get to it:

 

Member and longtime commentator Truecolors asked:

Q: How good is VT's O-Line?

It's been a very inconsistent offensive line. The line struggled early on when right tackle Blake DeChristopher was injured. He was hurt on the fourth play of the ECU game, then missed the next two. Our line has no viable options beyond the starting five, so it can't afford an injury like that. Fortunately, it's been healthy recently. We've had the same five guys out there for every play but one the last three games.

The line's strength is its run-blocking. Pass blocking has been a struggle, which was one of the reasons that led to Tyrod Taylor being named the starting quarterback. The play of guard Sergio Render has mirrored that of the entire line. He's probably our best offensive lineman and has made some pretty impressive blocks to break big runs. But he also has a tendency to get beat on some plays. He's been inconsistent this year.

Ed Wang moved from right to left tackle this year. For whatever reason, he struggled early with the move, but he's improved throughout the year and had his best game against BC. Center Ryan Shuman is our most consistent lineman, in my opinion, and anchors the line.

Like last year, the line has been a work in progress. However, this was about the time last season that it really came together and started having solid games. Hopefully our inability to move the ball last week was due to BC's D just being that good as opposed to our own ineptitude up front.

 

Member and frequent commentator Evenflow58 asked:

I haven’t watched much of VT, but what I have I kind of get the impression that Harris is similar to DeAngelo Hall…jumps a lot of routes, but gets quickly fooled on double moves. Harris looks athletic enough to recover against a lot of WRs when he guesses wrong though. Is this a correct read on him?

To me, he's our best player. I think the comparison to DeAngelo Hall, that he gets fooled on double moves, isn't a fair one. We play a lot of zone and sometimes he's staying in his space and expecting safety help. But there's been a few times this year, including a couple last week, where he's been beaten straight up. He's an incredible athlete and it's true, his speed and athleticism helps him when he gets beat. But he's our strongest defender. I think Brandon Flowers was the best overall cornerback we've ever had a Virginia Tech, but Macho's right up there.

Q: Who is your best WR outside of Harris and do you think that is the reason for the passing games struggles or is it more Taylor not being ready? Along the same lines, do you believe it was a good idea to take off Taylor's RS?

A lot of the problems for Tyrod have been a combination of the inexperience at wideout and the struggles the offensive line have had pass blocking. Those are the main reasons I think it was a good idea to take off his redshirt. Glennon would have been a sitting duck behind a bad offensive line waiting for wide receivers that may not know how to get open yet.

Tyrod's had his struggles with accuracy this year, but I think it's had more to do with the young wide receivers (they're all freshmen except Cory Holt, a converted QB) and the line's ineffectiveness.

Right now, I'd say our best wide receiver is Danny Coale. He's a possession wide receiver and really is the only one I trust to catch the ball at this point.

 

Member Fsued, our resident history guy,

and a really valuable member of Tomahawk Nation, threw a few out.  I'm glad we have a good mix of members here.  As a few of you know, I'm 23, and while I think I know a lot about the history of FSU Football, I don't come close to those who have followed passionately for 50+ years.

Q: Florida State has seen its share of divisive quarterback controversies over the past few years - how did the early-season QB situation in Blacksburg affect team morale. What effects of that remain?

I don't think it had a big effect. We needed Tyrod's athleticism because of the rest of the offense. We had to have a quarterback who could tuck and run in order to move the ball effectively. Glennon's a great guy and I feel bad for him. Coming into the season I thought he would have a Bryan Randall-like breakout senior year. It just didn't happen for him. He struggled and now it's Tyrod's team.

Q: What is the feeling in Blacksburg about VT being in the ACC - is it generally considered a no-brainer that this was a good move? How has the rivalry with UVA been affected, if at all?

We feel it is a natural fit. Definitely a better fit for us to be in the league than Syracuse. If anything, the UVa rivaly has been improved. It's back to being the weekend after Thanksgiving every year now and look at last year. That was arugably the most important football game ever played in the state of Virginia. The ACC has really strengthened the rivalry, in my opinion.

Q: How is Taylor being directed when it comes to running vs. passing. Is his scrambling to passing percentage where the coaches want it?

I really don't know how he's being directed by the coaches. He's missed an open guy here or there but so far there has only been one or two times where I've been watching and said "oh, he's gotta run it," or "he should have thrown it there." I don't think Tyrod has a lot of trust when it comes to throwing the ball right now. Whether it's trust in his accuracy, trust in his receivers to run a good route or trust in his receivers to catch the ball. All three of those things have to improve for the pass game to be viable.

Q: Back when VT and FSU were independents, they actually played each other quite often (esp, in the 70s if I recall) in games that were notoriously close and often quite exciting. Given that history, do Hokie fans see FSU as a friendly, long-time rival, or does the Sugar Bowl memory still overwhelm any other history?

I don't think it was very friendly on our part until after last year. We could never beat you guys! Hopefully now that the Stigma of the Spear is gone we can get back to this being a friendly rivalry built on respect between two solid programs, kind of like the dynamic between Oklahoma and Nebraska. You know, but with fewer national titles between the teams. That's what I'd like to see this game become. Of course, it will take us winning a BCS game for that to happen, in my opinion.

The Sugar Bowl experience (just everything about it) still haunts me. We were thiiiiiiiiiiis close. But being in the stadium last year for the win over FSU was one of the most satisfying experiences I've ever had. Hopefully I'll feel the same way Saturday in Doak.

 

Random Notes:

  • I really do not expect Dekoda Watson to play this weekend.  I've spoken with some people who have the means to know, and they think he's very doubtful.  Don't be surprised to see him listed as "out" on tomorrow's injury report.  Still, you never know; Jimbo and Co. have been very "Sabanish" with their injury reporting this year, and frankly, I like it.  
  • Forecast for Saturday, October 25, 2008
    Doak Campbell Stadium
    Tallahassee , FL
    Updated: 10/22/08 2:44 PM ET
    Lo: 51°F
    Hi: 75°F
    Precip: 20%
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