Behind Enemy Lines: A Q+A With a Virginia Tech Blogger

We invaded the territory of furrer4heisman, from the excellent Virginia Tech blog Gobbler Country. After capturing us and holding us hostage for 37 hours, he agreed to let us ask him some questions about the upcoming Maryland-Virginia Tech matchup on Saturday.

Ok, so we just emailed him. It was still really difficult.

Let's cut to the chase: Virginia Tech has lost 2 of their last three, with one of those wins over ECU. Because the only of those games that I watched in full was against ECU and I'm not going to try to find (or watch) the others, what weakness of the Hokies has been exposed the past few weeks?

A lot of people knew coming in that this team had a very thin margin for error. In order for them to be a true BCSCG contender they were not only going to have to stay healthy, but also see young players flourish in key roles, primarily linebacker. Well, neither of those have happened.

The two places the Hokies couldn't afford to have injuries, defensive tackle and the offensive line, have seen injuries. John Graves got hurt and defensive tackle and that was coupled with two young linebackers, Jake Johnson and Barquell Rivers, who haven't been playing as well we thought they could. That led to the defense being weak down the middle, it's weak period. So our defense was exploited by two offenses who had run games that could take advantage of it.

Coupled with that was poor offensive line play. There has been some questionable play calling, but when your offensive line doesn't play well it doesn't matter what plays are called. I thought the offense played well against Georgia Tech, but the defense just couldn't make a key stop. The same thing happened against North Carolina, but in that game we left a lot of points on the field with poor play on the Tar Heels' side of the field. It was a perfect storm of ineptitude from the offense, defense and coaching.

The road has not been kind to Virginia Tech in ACC games, with the Hokies dropping 4 of their last 5, with the only win coming at Duke by 8. Is there an underlying reason for this trend - Tyrod Taylor gets rattled, good teams? - or has it just been a strange coincidence?

It's been a strange reversal of fortune for the Hokies. Before the last five road games, the Hokies had won 16 of their first 17 ACC road games. I actually think Tyrod has played well in the road games. He had to run for his life, but was able to do so effectively against BC last year. Then he was injured on the first play at FSU and even though he was back for the Miami game, I still don't think he was the same player. Then he had a pretty good passing game this year against GT.

Really, it's been that our offense puckered in those road games as a whole. It's weird because we went on the road and had a big game against Nebraska last year and that's the toughest crowd we've faced any of the last two years. It's just been lack of execution and taking ourselves out of our game and what we usually try to do on offense.

Tyrod Taylor has been pretty up and down since entering Virginia Tech, but he seems to have finally put it together this year. What makes this Tyrod different from previous Tyrods?

He has a lot more confidence in his receivers this year. Remember, he wasn't a bad quarterback at all in 2006, so when people saw his 2007 numbers they thought he regressed. But we had a horrible offensive line and one returning catch going into last season. He had no faith in his receivers to even run the right route. But the receivers and Tyrod's rapport with them has grown by leaps and bounds this year. It seems like every game someone else steps up and has a good game from the receiving corps.

It seemed like a light turned on for Tyrod in the fourth quarter against Nebraska. Ever since then he's been a more confident quarterback and more confident in his own abilities.

There are plenty of players to talk about on Virginia Tech, from the aforementioned Taylor to Cody Grimm to Jason Worilds to Kam Chancellor. Who's a Hokie that most Terps might not know about that could have an impact Saturday?

Well you don't mention Ryan Williams and I hope he has a big impact this week after having a season-high in rushing yards against East Carolina. But as far as guys that fly under the radar, look at cornerback Stephan Virgil. He's been quiet of late and should be due for a big game.

Beamer and Friedgen agree to swap players. If you got your choice of any Terp starter to suit up for VT, who would pick? Likewise, if you had to give up one starter to Maryland, who would be your first choice to boot off the team?

I'll take left tackle Bruce Campbell (assuming he's healthy) to start in place of Ed Wang. You can take free safety Kam Chancellor. I'm had enough of the missed tackles and blown coverages from a guy who should be playing rover instead of FS.

Moment of truth: which looks better - Maryland's army jerseys or VT's combat jerseys?

Maryland's. Any uniforms that honor a great organization like Wounded Warriors is beautiful in my book.

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