clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Line of Scrimmage: How much of a threat to FSU is Virginia Tech’s Kyron Drones?

Florida State, after an undefeated September, is looking to keep things rolling as it returns to the field against the Virginia Tech Hokies

Charles Mays/Tomahawk Nation

No. 5 Florida State, after an undefeated September, is looking to keep things rolling as it returns to the field today against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

FSU is 4-0 for the second year in a row but seeking a 5-0 start for the first time since 2015, looking for a win over the squad that played spoiler in the Seminoles’ 2018 home opener — the last meeting between the two schools.

The Hokies are coming off a 38-21 win over the Pitt Panthers, a matchup that saw quarterback Kyron Drones earn his first win as a starter since taking over for currently injured Grant Wells.

(Fun fact: Drones is the half-brother of Florida State offensive lineman Jeremiah Byers.)

Each week, as part of our Line of Scrimmage series, we’ll be speaking with members of the beat that covers FSU’s upcoming opponent, getting all the details from those who know those teams best.

This go-round, we’re joined by Bryan Manning of Gobbler Country, our SB Nation sister site focused on the Hokies.

With faithful host and leader of the Line of Scrimmage Tim Alumbaugh on a well-deserved bye week, we’ve opted for a text-only version of this week’s Q&A.

Off the top, as a person who can emphasize with failing to process new information for nearly a decade, how would you describe the new era of Virginia Tech football to an FSU observer who still has Beamer Ball locked in as their idea of the Hokies?

This will be unlike anything you’ve seen in regards to Virginia Tech. The talent is down; there is no offensive, defensive, or special teams identity. The Hokies are now two coaches removed from Frank Beamer and feel like years away from competing for an ACC title again. Beamer’s later years were tough, but the team he left Fuente had talent, and Fuente had his best season.

What were the qualities that got Brent Pry hired, and have you seen a noticeable difference in his teams than Justin Fuente’s?

The qualities that got Pry hired: He was a GA under Beamer and Bud Foster in the 90s. He played high school in the area, and he has a southern accent.

(I’m kind of kidding there.)

Pry had plenty of success under James Franklin and this is his first head coaching gig, which is easy to see sometimes. Pry is a completely different person than Fuente. While Fuente was reserved and didn’t embrace recruiting, Pry does. Fuente alienated every high school coach in Virginia. Pry is working to rebuild those relationships.

Florida State has shown a weakness in defending dual-threat quarterbacks and Virginia Tech just happens to employ the services of Kyron Drones, who logged all five touchdowns this past week against Pitt. What makes Drones so special, is he a for sure upgrade after taking over by necessity at starter and how much can he hurt FSU on Saturday?

The jury is out. The Hokies were aggressive in getting Drones after he announced his transfer from Baylor. He still has a way to go as a passer, but Drones can change games with his legs. The threat of him running has opened up VT’s running game, which struggled before Drones took over.

I do think Drones is an upgrade over Grant Wells, but I am still trying to determine his upside. I think he will have some good runs against the Noles, but I think his numbers will be minimized a bit due to sacks.

Outside of Drones, who are the skill players liable to make an impact in the matchup? Does the strength of the team lie in rushing or passing?

The Hokies have some talented skill players. Running backs Bhayshul Tuten and Malachi Thomas are good. The Hokies have struggled to run block. At wide receiver, Quan Felton and Jaylin Lane are the names to know. Felton has NFL size and speed but is raw. When it comes to the strength of the offense, I will go with the passing game only because of the weapons. They are still trying to find an identity.

How has the Hokies offensive line been so far this season? Is it capable of holding up a pretty deep FSU front?

No. This one is easy for me. This is a bad matchup for the Hokies. The Hokies have youth, inexperience and a lack of talent at some positions on the OL.

On the defensive side, one of Virginia Tech’s big struggles is defending the run. Is that baked-in for the season or something that might see improvement starting Saturday?

The issue for the Hokies has been run fits by the linebackers. They benched their starting MLB from early in the season and have shown some improvement. It’s somewhat better, but still an issue. I don’t think the Seminoles will have any issues running the ball.

What do you think the Hokies approach to shutting down FSU’s pass game will be? Are there key players in the secondary who will be essential in covering the Seminoles’ higher profile receivers?

VT has some talent in the secondary, most notably cornerbacks Mansoor Delane and Dorian Strong. I am interested to see how they match up with FSU’s talented receivers.

Final question, all the marbles — how do you see Saturday playing out when these two schools meet?

Before the season I would have predicted FSU to win by 25-30 points. I still see that as likely for Saturday. FSU is the best team the Hokies will see all season and it’s not close. I see the ‘Noles winning handily.

Florida State Seminoles vs. Virginia Tech Hokies: How to watch


Saturday, October 7


3:30 p.m.






Seminoles Radio Network, SiriusXM RADIO FSU Broadcast: CH. 81

Florida State vs. Virginia Tech: Game notes

» Florida State returns to action after an open date following its 31-24 win at Clemson. The victory snapped the Tigers’ 25-game home winning streak against ACC opponents and improved the Seminoles to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the ACC.

» Florida State is No. 5 in this week’s Associated Press poll. It is the fifth consecutive week FSU has been ranked in the top-5, the program’s longest streak since 2013-14 when Florida State was in the top-5 for 27 consecutive polls.

» FSU trailed 10-0 and 17-7 in the second quarter of its win at Clemson, which marked the 12th time in Mike Norvell’s career as a head coach his team erased a deficit of at least 10 points in a victory. Clemson entered the game 83-1 at home under Dabo Swinney during games it held a 10-point lead.

» The Seminoles extended their winning streak to 10 games, the longest active streak in the ACC and the 4th-longest active streak in the country.

» FSU has scored at least 30 points in 10 straight games, the longest active streak in the ACC, the 2nd-longest active streak in the nation and the program’s longest 30-point stretch since the 2013 national championship season.

» Mike Norvell is 8-2 (.800) in his head coaching career following an in-season open date and 26-9 (.743) as a head coach with more than one week to prepare for an opponent including season openers, mid-week games and bowl games.

» Florida State’s 173 points are its most through four games since 2013- when the Seminoles scored 205 total points vs. Pitt, Nevada, Bethune-Cookman and Boston College - and the 7th-most through four games in program history. It is FSU’s 4th-highest point total after playing four FBS opponents to start a season and most since 1994.

» FSU is a perfect 17-for-17 in Red Zone trips this season. The Seminoles’ 17 Red Zone trips are 2nd nationally among teams that have scored on every Red Zone opportunity this season. FSU’s 82.4 touchdown percentage in the Red Zone is 8th in the country overall and 2nd among teams that are perfect inside the Red Zone.

» The Seminoles are one of three teams nationally to have a receiver and a rusher with a three-touchdown game this season. Keon Coleman caught a career-high three scores vs. No. 5 LSU, and Trey Benson tied his single-game career-high with three rushing scores vs. Southern Miss. Coleman is one of 19 receivers nationally with a three-touchdown game this year, and Benson is one of 32 players with three rushing scores in a game.

» Florida State’s defense has faced 30 plays inside their 10-yard line this season and allowed just eight touchdowns. In the 45-24 win over No. 5 LSU, the Seminoles faced 10 snaps inside their own 5-yard line and allowed only two scores. On LSU’s first drive of the game, the Tigers had six plays inside the five-yard line, including four snaps from the 1-yard line, and the FSU defense forced a turnover on downs with a 13-yard sack on 4th-and-1.

» The Seminoles have scored on seven of their eight opening drives of a half this season. In those half-opening drives, Florida State has scored four touchdowns and three field goals for an average of 4.6 points per drive.

» Florida State made 10 tackles for loss while allowing 0 TFLs, including sacks, in their win at Boston College. It was the first time in recorded program history FSU did not allow a TFL against an FBS opponent and the first time nationally a team had 10 TFLs while allowing 0 against a P5 opponent since Missouri’s 2017 win over Florida. The only other time FSU did not allow a tackle for loss in a game was 2012 vs. FCS Murray State.

» FSU scored 31 points after halftime vs. No. 5 LSU, the most second-half points against a top-5 opponent in program history. It also was the most second-half points nationally against a top-5 opponent in a non-playoff game since September 26, 2020, when Kansas State scored 31 second-half points at No. 3 Oklahoma. That has only happened two other times since the beginning of the 2014 season, both in 2018, when Purdue scored 35 second-half points against No. 2 Ohio State and Ohio State scored 38 second- half points against No. 4 Michigan.

» Florida State’s four 4th-down conversions vs. Southern Miss are tied for the highest single-game total in the ACC and 5th-highest nationally this season.

Florida State Seminoles vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

Florida State Seminoles vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

Pre-Game Coverage from Tomahawk Nation

2023 ACC Championship Odds, via DraftKings

  1. Florida State Seminoles (-160)
  2. Miami Hurricanes (+600)
  3. Louisville Cardinals (+750)
  4. North Carolina Tar Heels (+750)
  5. Duke Blue Devils (+1200)
  6. Clemson Tigers (+1800)
  7. Syracuse Orange (+4500)
  8. NC State Wolfpack (+8000)
  9. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (+12000)
  10. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+15000)
  11. Virginia Tech Hokies (+20000)
  12. Pittsburgh Panthers (+30000)
  13. Boston College Eagles (+50000)
  14. Virginia Cavaliers (+50000