ACC: Blacksburg 0803

Taylor new face of Virgina Tech's offense

September, 13, 2008
9/13/08
9:16
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

 
 Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
 Tyrod Taylor was 9-for-14 for just 48 yards, but also ran for 74 yards on 15 attempts. He scored on a 2-yard run late in the first half.

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- This is not about what Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon can't do.

It's about what Tyrod Taylor can do in the absence of pass protection, experienced receivers and a go-to tailback. Taylor can scramble, can make something out of nothing and he can spread defenses out.

He did all of that in Virginia Tech's 20-17 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday in the Hokies' ACC opener while Glennon watched every snap from the sideline.

The Hokies' two-quarterback system is officially down to one. This is Taylor's team now.

"Sean Glennon is a good, good quarterback," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "He's been a great quarterback for us. He's been a great team player for us. I feel for him. I really feel for him. But Tyrod just fits where we are as a football team right now. I'm all about team. How many wins can we get? You've just got to put those pieces together and Tyrod right now is one of those pieces. A major piece."

Quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain said it would've been a much easier decision if Glennon would "stink it up," but Glennon helped lead the Hokies to the 2007 ACC title and hasn't played poorly this season. This is not sitting well with him. Nor should it. But, like O'Cain said, if they want to win, they see no alternative.

"We have no other move," O'Cain said. "That's what I told him, we don't have another tight end, we don't have any more wide receivers, we don't have another tailback we can stick in the game. The only move is this one. It's unfortunate, but that's the reality of what we thought we had to do to win football games. It's not him. I don't want anybody to think we are blaming him because we are absolutely not."

Taylor is now 6-0 as a starter. He was the team's second leading rusher against Georgia Tech with 74 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries, including a 23-yard run on the final drive of the second quarter that he celebrated by beating his chest.

"He's a tough guy to tackle, I'll tell you that," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "You know he's going to run the ball, and we still couldn't tackle him."

The passing game was almost as non-existent as option-loving Georgia Tech's. Taylor was 9-for-14 for 48 yards. He said he would like to throw more, but "the game dictates how the play calling goes."

"We did call some plays that were going down field," he said. "Some protection got messed up, switched up, miscommunication and I had to check down sometimes."

That's how it's going to be, at least until Virginia Tech's pass protection improves and the receivers begin to run better routes. Taylor threw the ball just 14 times, the longest pass going for 10 yards. The staff had called three or four downfield passes that Taylor didn't get off, and another two or three pass plays expected to go about 15 or 20 yards that Taylor decided to pull down.

"That's a thing we have to live with," O'Cain said. "Sometimes it's going to be good, sometimes it's not going to be good. You live with that. I don't want to coach him and tie his athleticism down. Standing in the pocket, wanting to b a great pocket passer, that's not where he is right now. He's a good passer, but he has to be a good passer when he feels comfortable being a good passer.

"That's the way we have to play offensively. We're not good enough. It's a work in progress with us offensively, and it's going to be a work in progress, maybe all the way 'til the end of the season. It's going to be work."

That's the difference between Taylor and Glennon, though. Taylor didn't have to throw the ball to win this game.

"I think he makes a tremendous difference," O'Cain said. "He puts a pressure on a defense that nobody else can put on them in terms of their pass rush lanes and things like that. He's always a threat to pull it down, that affects coverage, that affects linebacker drops, that affects a lot of things."

Glennon the most.

Georgia Tech gave Hokies plenty of help

September, 13, 2008
9/13/08
8:09
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Even as the final 25 seconds ticked off the clock, Georgia Tech was still making mistakes. A perfect punt landed the Yellow Jackets on their own five yard line, making a game-winning drive seemingly impossible and they made it even more difficult with a substitution infraction. Make that first and 12 from the 3-yard line.

In many ways, it was a fitting end to Georgia Tech's mistake-laden story here in Lane Stadium, a 20-17 loss to Virginia Tech.

"We had every opportunity to win the game and didn't get it done," coach Paul Johnson said.

Georgia Tech has now fumbled three times each in two straight ACC games, and this time lost it twice. Only one of those occurred on an option play, so Johnson said it's not about timing or learning the offense, it's about ball security.

But they also had eight penalties for 61 yards, and one interception.

Still, Georgia Tech outgained Virginia Tech by 140 yards and ran two less plays. Would you believe Georgia Tech had 61 more passing yards than the Hokies and the only passing touchdown of the game?

"I'm hurting pretty bad," said Georgia Tech offensive lineman Andrew Gardner. "I thought we had it. I thought we were going to win. ... We were fortunate to be in the game at all in the end."

Paul Johnson not happy with helmet-to-helmet call

September, 13, 2008
9/13/08
7:50
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson wasn't shy about his feelings on the helmet-to-helmet call with the game tied at 17 in the fourth quarter, one of two costly 15-yard penalties for the Yellow Jackets. Virginia Tech beat Georgia Tech 20-17.

"We pushed the quarterback out of bounds and got a helmet-to-helmet call," Johnson said. "Wow. Wow. 17-17 game. Wow."

Safety Cooper Taylor was charged with the call when Virginia Tech had the ball on its own 23-yard line.

Johnson said Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor went down, so he's not sure how that call could've happened, and that if that's the case, "I bet you there's a helmet to helmet on every play in football." He said the same thing about holding.

Taylor said he thought it was just a late hit.

"I felt the guy from the back that was grabbing me out of bounds," he said. "I thought it was a late hit. I thought I was already out of bounds. That's what I thought the flag was, but he did hit me head to head."

One play later, Michael Johnson was called for a face mask, and Georgia Tech penalized another 15 yards. That set the Hokies up on the Yellow Jackets' 21-yard line and changed the game.

"That," Johnson said, "was a facemask."

Third quarter update: Virginia Tech 14, Georgia Tech 9

September, 13, 2008
9/13/08
5:56
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Both quarterbacks have shown their ability to make something out of nothing on third-and-long plays. The momentum is shifting here in favor of the Hokies, and that's in large part because of Georgia Tech's mistakes and the fact Jonathan Dwyer was taken to the locker room with a lower back injury.

Josh Nesbitt threw an interception and it looks like it's going to lead to a Virginia Tech score here.

Tyrod Taylor has completely taken over this offense.

Whoever wins this game is literally going to run away with it.

GT injury update

September, 13, 2008
9/13/08
5:48
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Georgia Tech B-back Jonathan Dwyer, one of the Yellow Jackets' top playmakers, has been taken to the locker room with a bruised lower back. His return is questionable.

Big loss for GT.

'Macho' Harris pulling double duty

September, 13, 2008
9/13/08
5:27
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Just wanted to note that cornerback Victor "Macho" Harris has been lining up at wideout. This is something the staff tinkered with this past spring, but backed off on this summer. He did it in the first quarter and caught a pass that went for a loss of a yard. He just did it on the last play, too.

They're clearly in need of offensive playmakers.

GT/VT halftime report

September, 13, 2008
9/13/08
5:18
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

  

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- There is a battle between quarterbacks going on here, but it's not between Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon. No, that decision appears to have been made -- Glennon didn't play a snap in the first half and his streak of nine straight starts was broken.

The duel here is between Taylor and Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt. So far, Taylor has the edge with a 14-9 lead. Both of them have proved what their coaches have been trying to tell us all along: They can run and throw. But their ability to scramble is what has kept this game close. Neither has thrown the ball more than nine times, and that's exactly what Virginia Tech needs because of its poor pass protection. Running back Darren Evans is also separating himself from a pack that includes Dustin Pickle and Kenny Lewis.

Georgia Tech didn't throw it once in the third quarter, but they're still figuring out the timing of this offense and it's shown again with two fumbles lost. While they continue to learn it, Nesbitt will continue to throw it. He found Roddy Jones wide open for a 41-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

The Yellow Jackets fumbled and lost the ball three times at Boston College last week, but the Eagles weren't able to do anything with it. Virginia Tech is being a little more aggressive.

They're also getting back to the fundamentals of Beamerball, as defensive tackle John Graves has now blocked a kick in all three games.

These teams are so evenly matched statistically at the half, it seems like whoever makes the fewer mistakes and has the better quarterback will win this game. I'm watching Sean Glennon warm up now and wondering if that's the most he'll see of the field.

1Q update: GT at VT

September, 13, 2008
9/13/08
4:11
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Maybe that wasn't Sean Glennon's game face I saw when he got off the bus. Maybe it was his mad face. This looks like Tyrod Taylor's team. He's completed four straight passes and moved the Hokies downfield quickly. He can move, yes, but he can also throw.

Glennon, on the sideline, doesn't even have his helmet on.

It looks like the Hokies might have found their playmaker. Odds are this 3-0 Georgia Tech lead won't last long.

Just saw the Hokies arrive

September, 13, 2008
9/13/08
1:42
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Well, just saw Frank Beamer and his boys get off the team bus out front of Lane Stadium, and Beamer looked all business in his tie and dark sunglasses. Sean Glennon had his game face on, but how much will he need it?

One fan yelled, "You guys better show up today!" Bryan Stinespring was bringing up the rear, but he was smiling. Bud Foster looked like he was ready to rumble, but he always looks as tough as his lunchpail.

I wandered over to the Merryman Athletic Center and checked out the hoops team, just for kicks. Lots of recruits milling about over there, and a few fans were watching them practice. I know, it's not quite hoops season yet ...

SPONSORED HEADLINES