Heading into ACC play this week, the Virginia Tech offensive line will be tested by Georgia Tech’s defense.
Ranked 12th nationally for points allowed, the Yellow Jackets are a serious threat.
“Georgia Tech is a really good defense,” offensive line coach Jeff Grimes said. “They’re a typical ACC defense in that they have got a lot of size in the defensive line and also have guys that are active and can make plays. They are going to be a great challenge for us.”
A big point of concern for the offensive line against Georgia Tech is that their defensive line switches from a four-man front to an odd front throughout the game.
“We are prepared for any type of front, so it’s not that big of a deal," said junior offensive lineman David Wang.
Having faced both of these types of fronts so far this season, the offensive line should be ready for both looks.
After putting up weak rushing numbers against East Carolina two weeks ago, the line showed an improved performance against Marshall. The Hokies rushed for 201 yards in the game.
“The key thing is not to beat yourself up about a mistake,” said Grimes. "You have to think about what happened, and question why did you make that mistake. Then you need to find those answers before you improve.”
While the Hokies have shown improvement over the season thus far, they have been criticized for their lack of physicality.
“At times we look like that kind of physical group we want to be,” Grimes said. “We are certainly not anywhere near what I imagine a Virginia Tech offensive line as being, yet.”
One result of this was right tackle Brent Benedict taking over the starting job from Laurence Gibson two games into the season.
“He had his ups and downs and he wasn’t the only one, but I like Brent and I think that he has a real competitive fire,” Grimes said. “He’s a real tough kid. He’s always going to show up every day, not say much, and go to work.”
While Benedict has not been perfect, he is a proven hard-worker who brings intensity to the offensive line.
With a short week for preparation heading into the Thursday night game against Georgia Tech, the whole process for the offensive line is sped up. The coaching staff began watching and dissecting game film right after the game against Marshall ended.
Even though a short week means less time to prepare, it is an atmosphere that most players enjoy.
“I am excited for this Thursday night game,” Wang said. “It reminds me of high school Friday night football, it’s just a great atmosphere.”
Facing a stout Georgia Tech defense, the offensive line must continue to improve this Thursday.