Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NCF Nation [Print without images]

Saturday, September 13, 2008
Taylor new face of Virgina Tech's offense


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.