Saturday, September 05, 2009
Alabama vs. Virginia Tech: Game breakdown
Do you agree with Randy King's prediction for this week's game? Share your thoughts at blogs.roanoke.com/insiders
ERIC BRADY The Roanoke Times
Tyrod Taylor (left) and Ju-Ju Clayton are the top two quarterbacks on the Hokies' depth chart.
Virginia Tech stories
- Hokies start fresh at offense
- Hokies' athletic director requested 'night off'
- Virginia Tech fans need new tailgate tradition
Blog: Andy Bitter
- Logan Thomas finishes third in Dudley Award voting; live Virginia Tech football chat at 12:30 p.m.
- Sun Bowl is the Hokies’ likeliest bowl destination, although nothing’s final
- Kendall Fuller named ACC’s Defensive Rookie of the Year
- Join the Hokie football conversation on Andy's blog
Twitter: Andy Bitter
Each side prefers to establish the run first and then start mixing in play-action passes. Both teams can ill afford to lose their starting QB as neither has a proven backup. Each team has new starters up front and the one that performs best could decide the winner. WR Julio Jones and RB Mark Ingram are Alabama's biggest threats. The 6-4 Jones reminds Frank Beamer of Calvin Jones. Enough said. VT has the edge at QB: Tyrod Taylor over Greg McElroy. Multiple turnovers will be akin to unbeatable cancer tonight.
Alabama runs a base 3-4 scheme, which VT doesn't see often. NG Terrence Cody (354 pounds) occupies multiple blockers, allowing the LBs to make plays. The Tide's strength at LB, where Rolando McClain leads a savage group. UA loves to bring the blitz on passing downs. VT's best chance for ground success will be on the edges. VT will likely need some big gainers in the air or a bust-out dash by speedy Ryan Williams and David Wilson to score. Bud Foster's unit can play, too.
SPECIAL TEAMS: EDGE CRIMSON TIDE
Besides being Alabama's best DB, Javier Arenas may be the most dangerous return man in the nation. UA PK Leigh Tiffin has 50-plus range. VT PK Matt Waldron will make his college debut.
INTANGIBLES: EDGE HOKIES
Frank Beamer's bunch can make a national statement with a conquest of an Alabama team that was No. 1 most of last season before losing its final two games. Tech is 1-24 all time vs. AP top-5 teams and 1-10 vs. Alabama. VT QB Tyrod Taylor can't wait to show the country what he can do. 'Bama has faced tons of distractions lately, which can't help matters.
PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 17, Alabama 16