How good is VT QB Jerod Evans? Which players on the Hokies do ‘Canes fans need to watch? How does this game play out?
For all of that and more we touched based with Joseph Coogan of “The Key Play.”
Here’s the full Q&A:
SOTU: QB Jerod Evans has a very impressive 17-2 TD/INT ratio. Tell us about his game and what makes him so efficient with the ball.
TKP: Evans has been pretty darn good through six weeks. As you mentioned, he's taken great care of the football. But on top of his stellar game management, Evans' dual-threat ability has played an important role in the Hokies' offensive success. He's not a burner by any means, but he's showed the ability to pick up key third downs on the ground and can make defenders miss in space. Through the air, Evans has taken full advantage of Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges, two weapons on the outside who should eventually be high NFL draft picks. His arm strength won't wow you, but he's been accurate enough to allow the Hokies to move the ball fairly consistently on offense.
SOTU: Gives me two players on both sides of the ball for VT that Miami fans might not be familiar with but need to watch.
TKP: Cam Phillips is definitely a name to watch. He's often over-shadowed by the greatness of Ford, but Phillips has been a solid number two receiver since arriving in Blacksburg in 2014. Aside from Phillips, I think a lot of Hokies fans have been pleasantly surprised by the performance of Marshawn Williams this season. A redshirt sophomore tailback coming off his second major knee injury, Williams has split carries with Travon McMillian over the past few weeks and is beginning to show signs of his former 2014 self.
On the defensive side of the ball, Woody Baron is the Hokies' silent leader. The Nashville native has quietly been one of the Hokies' best linemen over the past few years, and he hasn't slowed down a bit in his senior season. Nickel cornerback Greg Stroman is another name to keep an eye on, as he's currently leading the team with three interceptions.. Stroman's also the Hokies' most dangerous return man, so if Beamer Ball makes an appearance on Thursday night, you can bet #3 is involved.
SOTU: Which players or match-ups on Miami concern you?
TKP: Miami's offense always scares me. While Bud Foster generally deals with pro-style schemes fairly well, it's tough to get the 2014 matchup out of my head. Miami physically over-matched the Hokies for 60 minutes that night in a 30-6 win, and it really wasn't that close. While I'd be surprised if that happened again, Stacy Coley, Brad Kaaya and both Miami running backs could all pose problems for the Hokies.
When the Hokies are on offense, I really think it comes down to their own execution. Don't get me wrong, the 'Canes defense is solid, but if the Hokies execute at a high level and take care of the football, I think they'll eclipse the 30-point mark.
SOTU: All time favorite moment in the series? Which game over the years Vs the 'Canes haunts you?
TKP: As I mentioned above, I still get nightmares about the 2014 game. I was a student then, and it was far and away the most depressing Thursday night game I've ever experienced. There's not much you can really say about it - Miami just beat us up.
But my all-time favorite moment? That's easy. October 8, 2011. Enter Sandman.
In the words of Mike Patrick, "these people are losing their minds."
SOTU: Are you guys missing Frank Beamer yet? What is the perception thus far of Justin Fuentes?
I think Hokies fans will always miss Frank. He was a rare breed in college football, and I know everyone in Blacksburg appreciates that. And to Fuente's credit, Beamer remains a part of this football program. From the special teams player of the week wearing number 25 in his honor to Frank popping in and out of the football facility, Fuente has gone out of his way to make the transition go smoothly.
Starting off hot helped as well. Setting aside the disastrous ball security in Bristol, the Hokies looked every bit of a top-20 team before last weekend's surprising stumble to Syracuse. It's probably still too early to judge Fuente, but early returns have been promising.
SOTU: How does this game on Thursday play out? Who wins and why?
I really have no idea. I had been been reluctant to hop on the Hokies' hype train this year, even after they beat North Carolina by 31, but I certainly didn't see them losing to Syracuse last Saturday. I think Tech rebounds at home and plays better, but Miami poses quite the challenge. The line (VT -6) seems high to me, but I'll take the Hokies, 31-27.
Thanks again to Joseph for working with us.
Be sure to check out my answers to his questions HERE.