The Miami Hurricanes will head north to Lane Stadium to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies. The U leads the series 24-15 and has won two consecutive games over the Hokies. However, times change and the ‘Canes are now led by Mario Cristobal while the Hokies are starting the Brent Pry Era in Blacksburg.
Info: Miami @ Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA)
Day/Time/Channel: Oct., 15, 2022 / TBA / TBA
The Justin Fuente Era ended like a wet fart in church. Fuente is an ‘offensive minded’ coach but the Hokies were 97th in the nation in scoring offense his final season. New head coach Brent Pry comes to VT from Penn State. Pry was a GA with the Hokies from 1995-1997, under Bud Foster (DC) and Frank Beamer (HC). Pry is a former safety, but has coached defensive line, defensive backs, and linebackers.
2021 Record: 6-7 (4-4 in the ACC)
Bowl Game: Lost the Pinstripe Bowl 54-10 vs. Maryland
“I remember that guy!”
The Hokies flashback player is linebacker Ben Taylor. Taylor was a starting inside linebacker in Bud Foster’s 4-4 lunch pail defense in the early 2000’s. Taylor led the Hokies defense in tackles in 2000 (103), and 2001 (121); while also being named an All-American in both seasons.
After Tech, Taylor was a 4th round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns in the ‘02 NFL Draft. Through five years in the NFL, Taylor logged 218 tackles and an interception. The six-foot-two, 245 pound former linebacker is now a wide receivers coach at Shenandoah University in Virginia.
Below- Taylor ranked 2nd all-time on the Virginia Tech “hardest hitters” list.
Data & Personnel
Virginia Tech heads into the 2022 season as the SP+ projected 61st ranked team in the country.
SP+ Projection Overall: 61 (Miami 14)
SP+ Proj. Offense: 81 (Miami 21)
SP+ Proj. Defense: 37 (Miami 23)
Virginia Tech will need to reload their talent pool ASAP in order to have the Brent Pry Era go smoothly. Tech doesn’t have an Athlon ACC preseason All-Conference player until the second team specialists. Punter Peter Moore is the only Hokie in the first two teams. Moore averaged 44.5 yards per punt in ‘21.
Running back Malachi Thomas and offensive lineman Kaden Moore are on the third team offense. Thomas rushed for 440 yards and three scores last season as a backup to Raheem Blackshear.
Linebacker Dax Hollifield and safety Chamarri Conner made the third team defense. Hollifield recorded 92 tackles, with nine TFL’s, 4.5 sacks, and an interception last season. He’s the rock in the defense that Pry will lean on in ‘22. Conner logged five PBU’s with 85 tackles of his own a year ago.
VT scheme on O and D
Because this is an entirely new staff, and a mess of new players via the transfer portal, it’s easier to just use the TV cut of the spring game for the Hokies.
Tyler Bowen is the offensive coordinator for the Hokies. He comes to Blacksburg from the Jacksonville Jaguars. The defensive coordinator is Brent Pry. I think it’s a huge mistake for a first time head coach to be caught up in calling plays on game day, but it’s not my career.
2021`’s starting QB, Braxton Burmeister, is on to his third school as a college quarterback, leaving the Hokies without their starter. All things point to Marshall transfer Grant Wells (above) to be the starter. Wells has scored 43 touchdowns (nine rushing) and averaged eight yards per pass attempt last year.
Above- The offense is in 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end) and a 3x1 winged formation. The defense is in a standard 4-2-5, 2-high safety look.
Above- Offense: Take what the D gives you. The second that over hang LB/S shows blitz, you have that throw available. TE runs a slide (“Arrow”) and it’s an easy catch and throw for the 1st down or close to it.
Above- Offense: Pressure almost gets home, the easy drop out leads to a broken tackle and an explosive play. Make the guys who hate tackling (cornerbacks) have to tackle, especially all alone in the open field.
Above- Defense: If the QB hands you a gift, don’t throw it away. The U has three Blue Chip safeties, but in ‘21 they came away with only three interceptions and six PBU’s in 24 games between the trio. Miami needs more playmakers and defenses need big plays.
Above- Lessons to be learned on both sides here. Offense: The WR’s stalk block on a screen has to do just enough. It doesn’t have to look like the Nebraska O-Line in ‘95, just do enough without the holding call to force the CB to tackle in space.
Defense: TACKLE IN SPACE. Holy crap VT’s defense is leaving their feet a ton on contact and not consistent in their strike accuracy.
Above- This works out perfectly for the offense. The safety is rolling to the middle of the field and the CB has no help. The CB starts under the hard deck (7 yards) so he’s an easy mark for a vertical from a good WR. The play action keeps any linebackers from helping, pressure just misses, and the QB drops a dime.
Above- This will be a Canyonero key to victory, soften them up and then take ‘em deep. VT has hit screens, drop outs, etc.
Above- Run game is non-existent. VT lost their top two rushers and three of five starters on the O-Line if I’m not mistaken. If they become one dimensional, Miami’s defensive backs should be a strength in ‘22.
Canyonero keys to victory
1- Contain Wells. He’s not a pure runner, but he is a athletic enough to pick up first downs with his legs.
2- On offense, don’t get greedy. Pry plays a fairly safe defense with his corners especially. He’s not going to allow a ton of big plays and Van Dyke / Gattis need to soften them up before taking them deep.
3- Stop the run. Make the Hokies one dimensional and then pick them apart. They had no run game in the spring and have lost both leading rushers.
Way too early prediction: Miami by 9.