Virginia Tech’s loss to Pittsburgh yesterday was an embarrassment for a prideful program. The entire team laid an egg against the Panthers at Heinz Field, but one problem has reared its ugly head during the first three games of the season; the offense.
The offense has always been the weak link for Virginia Tech, but it is hard to remember a time where the offense looked this bad. Logan Thomas has been inaccurate and in yesterday’s game he threw a career high three interceptions. The starting receivers (Marcus Davis & Dyrell Roberts) have been backups for most of their careers, and receiver D.J. Coles was lost to a season ending injury in the Hokies very first game this year. However, Thomas and the receivers aren’t the problem.
The problem is the running game and the offensive line. This is the first time that I can remember that Virginia Tech can’t run the ball. The Hokies have always been a run first offense, but they simply can’t do it this year. Starting running back Michael Holmes has a total of 100 rushing yards in the first three games combined. Backup J.C. Coleman only has 54 yards on the ground during that stretch.
Now the Hokies have to face a tough question: are these issues due to poor running backs or poor play from the offensive line? The answer seems to be a little bit of both. The offensive line hasn’t been spectacular in pass protection but they haven’t been poor either, but the line doesn’t appear to be able to open up running lanes for the tail backs. That is the opposite of what usually happens, because offensive linemen tend to be better at run blocking.
This is also the first year in a long time that the Hokies didn’t come into the season with a known commodity at running back. That lineage dates all the way back to Lee Suggs in the late 90’s. Holmes was only a two-star recruit coming out of high school, but for the past year his coaches have talked him up to the press. Until this point he hasn’t deserved that praise. On the other hand Coleman was a 3-star or 4-star (depending on the site) recruit, but he is only a freshman and he is so small he seems to have trouble running between the tackles.
If Virginia Tech’s offense can’t run the ball, then they will have issues on that side of the ball for the rest of the year. Logan Thomas is a very good quarterback but it is a problem if he has to throw the ball more than 25 times a game. The receivers are talented and can break plays wide open as Marcus Davis proved yesterday, but without a running game this offense doesn’t work. For now, the Hokies offense appears to be in some real trouble.