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October 4, 2005

Offensive Position Grades: West Virginia

The Tech offense turned in another balanced performance Saturday led by Marcus Vick who was nearly flawless in his performance against the Mountaineers. Vick completed 15 of 17 passes and led the way with 177 yards through the air and another 74 on the ground and accounted for three touchdowns. The Tech rushing attack turned in another 200-yard performance on the ground and kept the West Virginia offense on the sidelines for most of the second half as the Mountaineers had the football for just over nine minutes after halftime.


Quarterback:

In his best outing of the season to date, Vick's accuracy and control of the offense are becoming quite evident. Vick never through the ball into tight coverage as only two passes fell incomplete out of bounds on the day. Vick spread the ball around to six different receivers and was well utilized on designed running plays.

It was also great for the Hokie faithful to finally see Eddie Royal and Vick begin working as well together as they did Saturday. Royal led the team six receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown.

The Hokies ran the football 53 times to 17 pass attempts, but I think many would love to see Vick get 30 throws a game the way he can move this offense down the field in large chunks through the passing game as Tech got more than ten yards a pass attempt Saturday. Of course, if you're winning ball games the way Tech has been, who am I to question their offensive strategy?

Grade: A


Running Backs:

All year, Tech has been playing the hot hand out of the backfield, and on this day Cedric Humes was getting the job done running hard against a defense geared to take away the running game from the Hokies.

Humes finished the day with 79 yards on 22 carries including a four-yard score that put the game out of reach early in the fourth quarter. With Humes running well, we'd love to see Mike Imoh get an off week as Marshall comes to town before Tech hits the stretch run. Imoh has been close to 100% healthy, but could benefit from the extended time off by sitting out against Marshall and having almost three weeks between the West Virginia and Maryland games.

Imoh had 13 carries for 31 hard-earned yards Saturday, but Vick and Humes carried the load adequately. The Marshall game will also be a good opportunity to get George Bell and Brandon Ore some meaningful carries to provide more experienced depth for the stretch run.

Grade: B+


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

Eddie Royal finally emerged from his shell and became a major factor in the passing game darting in between West Virginia's secondary and racking up yardage on six receptions and his first touchdown of the season.

David Clowney continued to be a solid down-the-field threat for Vick tallying three receptions for 47 yards and Justin Harper hauled in a pair of catches for 18 yards.

The receiver by committee offense for the Hokies has worked well this season as the number of viable targets Vick has in the passing game is not really fair to opposing defenses.

Jeff King hauled in his fourth touchdown pass of the season as he is quickly becoming one of Vick's favorite and most reliable targets.

Grade: A


Offensive Line:

For the third game in a row, the offensive line came in a bit shuffled as Will Montgomery moved back to his center position at times this week while Danny McGrath got his first start of his career.

Following the poor showing in the Ohio game, this unit has begun to solidify in the past two games despite the line-up changes. Tech tailbacks often hit the line of scrimmage two and three yards down the field Saturday as the line got a great push all day versus the Mountaineers.

The pass protection for Vick was incredible all day against West Virginia as Vick was rarely pressured, thus resulting in such an efficient passing attack on the day.

Granted, there is still room for improvement up front, but as the season progresses, the production of the offensive line is becoming less and less a concern as the Hokies take another step closer to becoming a complete offense and a complete team.

Grade: B+


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