Will Virginia Tech look to take advantage of Tyrod Taylor's wheels against the Cardinal?
Furrer4heisman of SB Nation's Virginia Tech blog, Gobbler Country, was kind enough to answer some questions about the Hokies before Monday's Orange Bowl. You can find my answer to his questions here.
Given the success that Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas had against the Cardinal, do you expect Tyrod Taylor to run more than he has in recent games?
I honestly don't know anymore. We've run zone-read option at times this season and had success with it in the middle of the season, especially against Central Michigan. But since then, every time I've gone into a game thinking, "Zone-read would work against this team, I bet we run a lot of it," we don't do it at all. Oregon's success with it combined with the fact this is Tyrod's last game in a Virginia Tech uniform might mean we see more of it.
In the past, we tried to keep Tyrod from running too much because we hadn't developed depth at quarterback and couldn't afford to have him get hurt. Well, this is his last college game so it's not like we're trying to save him for anything. All bets are off.
Of Virginia Tech's trio of tailbacks, who do you think will have the most success against Stanford?
I think it will be Ryan Williams. He probably wants to have a big game to impress pro scouts before the early entry deadline. That's a double-edged sword though, and he might try to do too much. Against a 3-4 defense, Williams is probably your best bet to have a breakout game. It all depends on what the Hokies want to do. If they look at the 3-4 and decide they want to try and exploit the odd-man front, you'll see a lot of Williams and Darren Evans between the tackles. But if Tech looks at what LaMichael James and Darron Thomas were able to do in space, you'll see a lot of David Wilson. The three usually alternate drives (Williams-Evans-Wilson, in that order) and then we usually go with the hot hand in the fourth quarter.
In true Beamerball fashion, what player is most likely to burn Stanford for a defensive or special teams touchdown?
That would be either Wilson or Jayron Hosley. Wilson has already returned two kickoffs for touchdown and Hosley is tied for the national lead in interceptions with eight, though he hasn't taken one all the way back yet. He did have a 32-yard INT return at Joe Robbie Stadium earlier in the year against Miami. Hosley also returns punts and has returned two punts for touchdowns in his career.
What would be your offensive gameplan against Bud Foster's defense on Monday night?
Run it up the gut until they prove they can stop you and then work off of playaction. Tech has struggled mightily against the run this year, though it did do much better against UVa and FSU. However, both of those teams had injured running backs. UVa's Keith Payne played but was largely ineffective and FSU's Jermaine Thomas didn't play and Tech shut down the Seminoles' rushing attack. We've had a tough year against the run, especially giving up big plays.
It started against Boise State. We took the lead and then on the next drive, bam, we gave up a 71-yard TD run. James Madison's first TD came on a 77-yard swing pass to the running back. Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Miami all had big plays on the ground. If we can avoid the big play, I think we'll be fine against Stanford, but that's a really good offensive line you have.
Do you expect a high-scoring affair, or a somewhat surprising defensive battle?
We haven't really had a defensive battle since beating Boston College, 19-0. You might include the Georgia Tech game, but 28-21 probably doesn't count. If it's a slug-fest, I think it favors us, so that's what I'm hoping for. However, I think you'll see both teams score in the 30s. Not quite a track meet, but hardly a defensive battle. I think these two quarterbacks are too good for this game to be low-scoring.