Before the 2013 season, Virginia Tech knew their offense wasn’t going to be immediately productive. Few offensive weapons and a new offensive staff ensured that. That’s why head coach Frank Beamer set the goal of getting things clicking by ACC play.
Now, with the Hokies set to kickoff against Georgia Tech at 7:30 p.m., that deadline has arrived.
Does Beamer believe his team is in fact ready for ACC play? “Well, I’d say we are where we are.” The answer doesn’t exactly exude confidence, but neither does the on-field product.
Even with the team’s blowout win over FCS Western Carolina, the Hokies average 341.8 yards a game (102nd in the nation) and 24.8 points a game (85).
“I don’t think we’re where we’d thought we would be. I thought we’d be a little stronger, doing a little bit better,” quarterback Logan Thomas said. “Obviously I think the offense is not doing as well on paper because we’re not putting up points in the red zone. The red zone is what’s killing us. We know it. We’ve had the ability to put up more points and we haven’t done it.”
The Hokies have managed to score on 10 of their 16 red zone visits this year, eight of which were touchdowns. Their 62.5 percent scoring percentage in the red zone is 114th in the nation.
“Offensively we left some plays out there Saturday,” Beamer said. “But there are things you can learn from, and how quickly you can learn and get better is the deal.”
Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, like Beamer, isn’t thrilled with where his team currently sits.
“Some more than others,” Grimes said, referencing the physicality of his unit. “At times we look like that kind of group, but we’re not anywhere near where I envision this group being and where I think we can be. We’re certainly not anywhere near what I envision a Virginia Tech offensive line being, yet.”
During this time of offensive turmoil, it would calm many Hokies fans to learn that their quarterback has some of his best success against the Yellow Jackets. In his two starts against them, Thomas is 28 of 51 for 439 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions.
“I don’t think it’s anything that I’ve done or anything that they’ve done. It’s just I’ve played well, nothing else,” Thomas said. He’s 2-0 against Georgia Tech as a starter.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing at Georgia Tech. It’s a fun place to play, their fans get into it and, always when your playing away, it’s fun when the fans are actually excited and ready to go.“
Georgia Tech’s defense, rejuvenated under new coordinator Ted Roof, has stepped up their play this year—they rank 11th nationally at 275 yards per game.
Through four games the Hokies’ offense is not preforming at the level it would like. The defense has done what it can to cover up that fact though, putting on one stupendous performance after the next to get the team to 3-1.
“We’re still learning,” Beamer said. “How quickly we become consistent and efficient, that’ll tell us how our year’s going.”
Now, with ACC play finally here, the task for the Hokies becomes improving as quickly as the level of competition will.