Oct 16, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Cam Phillips (18) makes a pass reception against Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back Reggie Mitchell (15) during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
There are plenty of bad parts for the game. In a game where a team struggles to score points, there is usually a lot of blame to go around on the offense. However, the largest amount of blame can be put on the offensive game plan itself. The Hokies struggled on third down, that is for sure, but the blame could be placed on the play calling on third down.
When the Hokies needed 8 yards for a first down, most of the routes in the play call were routes shorter than the 8 yards needed to keep the drive alive. Michael Brewer was set up to fail because of the play calling. With only one or two deep options to throw to Brewer was forced to find his short receivers.
Scot Loeffler called a very conservative game. His game plan was one that did not put the offense in a good position to score points. Loeffler needs to give the offense a chance and have a more aggressive game plan, but a game plan which can put the Hokies in a position to win.
The offensive game plan indirectly caused the second bad part. The Hokies’ inability to convert third downs was a huge part of putting the Hokies in a hole offensively. The Hokies were a horrible 2-14 on third down, having 9 disastrous three and outs. The Hokies never got going offensively, other than a couple of drives. These three and outs put the defense in a horrible position and made it tough for them to have success against Pitt.
The inability to convert and keep drives alive was somewhat an abnormality as the Hokies are usually very good on third down. What was most concerning was the pressure the defense was getting on third down. For the most part it was just the base lineman rushing or just one extra guy on a blitz. The O-line will have to protect better so Brewer can have more of a chance to find an open guy for the first down.