Extra time helping No. 16 Hokies prep for Ga Tech
Virginia Tech is ranked 16th in the country and viewed by some
as a national championship contender.
The Hokies will have to be ready to look the part when they open
against Georgia Tech and its triple option Monday night.
Having extra time to prepare for the Yellow Jackets’ dynamic
offense has been a plus, Hokies coach Frank Beamer said Thursday.
They have also spent time preparing to face the Georgia Tech
defense because it also presents some different challenges.
For cornerback Kyle Fuller, a defensive leader and signal
caller, the added time has been especially helpful.
”It is definitely a little bit more difficult than going
against a regular offense just because of how unique this offense
is,” he said. ”You have to be very focused on the key reads and
things like that, so it’s definitely good to have a lot of extra
time to prepare for these guys. But we’ve been preparing all
summer, just looking at past games, anything we can get.”
The Hokies’ recent history also serves as a reminder that
starting fast is a huge plus.
Virginia Tech has opened with big games before, with little
success recently. The Hokies lost to East Carolina to start the
2008 season, fell to Alabama to begin 2009 and stumbled against
Boise State to open 2010. The biggest differences between those
neutral-site games and this one: The Yellow Jackets are Virginia
Tech’s chief rival in the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal
Division and the Hokies are playing at home.
Add two consecutive losses to end last season, and Logan Thomas
and company are raring to go.
”Somebody asked me earlier today. `Does coming off the last two
games make it harder to get ready for the first game?”’ he said.
”… It makes it that much easier. It makes us want to come out
and work in the summer. It makes us want to get better in the
spring. I think we’ve done so, and having Georgia Tech as the first
game is awesome because we get to play a really meaningful game the
first game of the season. Georgia Tech is a great team and we think
we’re a great team as well, and it’s a good test of confidence for
In the seven-year history of the ACC championship game, the
Hokies have represented the division five times, Georgia Tech
”It doesn’t get any harder than this. This is a team that, if
we don’t win, they win the division, so that shows how important
this game is,” Fuller said. ”The coaches have put that in our
head … so that’s all we can do is come out, prepare and be
Virginia Tech has won the last two meetings against Georgia Tech
and has nine starters back on defense. The newcomers are safeties
Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett. Linebackers Bruce Taylor and
Jeron Gouviea-Winslow are back after injuries shortened their 2011
Even with the inexperience on the back end of the defense, the
Hokies’ goal is to make Yellow Jackets quarterback Tevin Washington
throw the ball.
”Really, we’re focused on the run and that’s what we want to
stop,” Gouviea-Winslow said. ”I think if we can get them to pass
the ball … that’s where we’ll have the advantage. Put the ball in
the air; give us an opportunity for turnovers, incomplete passes,
loss of downs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out and tried
to throw the ball on us, but I don’t think that’s what they’re
”It would be interesting if they did do that. I think it would
help us actually, if they put the ball in the air.”
Washington, in his second full season as the starter, was third
nationally in rushing yards by a quarterback last season with 987,
and third in rushing touchdowns with 14. He was also among the
leaders in passing efficiency, but completed just 74 of 150
Against the Hokies, he ran for all three of Georgia Tech’s
touchdowns in their 37-26 loss at home.
”He hurt us on some plays last year,” Beamer said. ”He’s run
(the offense) enough where he feels very comfortable in it and I
think there’s no question about his ability to run that offense.
He’s hit some big passes against us last year throwing the
The Hokies hope to force him to try to do it again on Monday