BLACKSBURG, Va. | Tyrod Taylor largely ignored the running abilities that make him an exciting dual-threat quarterback during Virginia Tech’s season-opening loss to Alabama.
But coach Frank Beamer said that’s not why the Hokies lost.
Taylor and the offense could muster only 155 yards, but Virginia Tech led the Crimson Tide 17-16 going into the fourth quarter Saturday night. But with the offense struggling and the defense on the field for extended periods, the Hokies faded, losing 34-24.
Beamer deflected questions Tuesday about Taylor’s apparent reluctance to run, other than to say he did not see any instances on the game film when Taylor should have run but didn’t. Beamer insisted that all three phases of the team need to perform better going forward.
Beamer was asked whether Taylor has become so attentive to staying healthy and incorporating others into the offense that he has stopped doing what makes him most dangerous.
“I don’t think so,” Beamer said. “I think we need to improve our whole football team.”
Beamer cited the Hokies’ two turnovers on punts inside their 25-yard line and the defense’s inability to make stops late. The Crimson Tide ran 79 plays, the Hokies just 51.
Running back Ryan Williams and receiver Dyrell Roberts said they were surprised Taylor didn’t use his feet more to wriggle out of tight spots.
“I’m used to seeing Tyrod make a lot more plays with his feet,” said Williams, who ran for 71 yards and two touchdowns. “I was very surprised.”
The Alabama defense had seven returning starters from one of the best units in the country last season and may well be the best the Hokies will face all year. Williams, though, said he wasn’t sure whether the size and speed of the defenders kept Taylor in check.
“I’m not sure if it came too fast for him to take off and run or make more plays with his feet,” the redshirt freshman said. “I’m not sure what the process was going through his head, but I was surprised he didn’t make the usual plays that Tyrod makes with his feet.”
Taylor, who ran for more than 100 yards three times last season, finished with 10 carries for minus-26 yards. Five of the carries came on sacks, and another was a 14-yard loss as he covered up an option pitch that went awry. On his four actual carries, he gained 26 yards.
Taylor missed games each of the past two seasons with ankle injuries and said before the season that he worked this summer on being more judicious about getting down or getting out of bounds when he did take off. The idea was to keep him healthy.
Taylor had one scramble for 16 yards against the Crimson Tide. His other runs covered 0, 4 and 6 yards.