The Virginia Tech football team opens up ACC play this weekend against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Lane Stadium. If there was ever a week for coach Brent Pry and his team to turn things around, this is it. A night game, at Lane Stadium can be just what they need. If they are going to kick off conference play on a good note, here are five things I expect from the Hokies that would go a long way toward getting a victory.
5. Limit the big plays on defense
Big plays have hurt the Hokies multiple times already this season and that was never more evident than against Rutgers and Marshall. They allowed big runs, even one big touchdown run by the Scarlet Knights that broke the game open. Pittsburgh has struggled at times this season offensively and limiting the big plays will be key.
4. Virginia Tech needs to establish the run
A big part of the game plan for this week should be to run the ball and establish it. That’s what they did last week against Marshall when they picked up 62 of the 75 yards on the opening drive, then for some strange reason, they went away from it. It was the best the offense looked at any point this season but for some reason, they decided to have Kyron Drones throw the ball more. Run, run, and more run against the Panthers.
3. Get after Pittsburgh’s quarterbacks
Like Virginia Tech, there are issues at quarterback for Pittsburgh. Boston College transfer Phil Jerkovec has struggled and last week, Christian Veilleux didn’t fare much better in relief against North Carolina. After Jerkovec went 11-for-15 for 109 yards, Veilleux was 7-for-18 for 85 yards and two interceptions. Getting pressure on them is a must at home.
2. Use the tight ends more
The wide receiver core is banged up, but Stephen Gosnell is still stepping up and making some plays, but offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen needs to get the tight ends more involved. In doing that, it opens up the playbook more and should open up the running game. Utilizing them in third-and-short should be considered.
1. Be ready to go from the opening kickoff
It sounds like not a big deal, but it is. The Hokies are coming off three straight losses, looking to save their season somewhat, and badly in need of a victory. Pittsburgh comes into the game also at 1-3 and they are a fragile team as well. The Virginia Tech fanbase is not happy with Pry and his staff and playing at night, at Lane Stadium in front of a sell-out crowd, there is no excuse for this team not to be ready. They need to get ahead early and play with a lead.