BLACKSBURG, Va. | The quarterback situation has gotten most of the attention so far this season at Virginia Tech, especially since Frank Beamer took just a week before scrapping plans to let Sean Glennon have the position and to redshirt Tyrod Taylor.
Taylor, Beamer said this week, will add a running dimension to the quarterback spot that the Hokies were clearly lacking in a season-opening 27-22 loss to East Carolina.
The new plan is to have Glennon and Taylor share the job, as they did last season, but the onus to improve beginning with Saturday’s game against Furman doesn’t even start there.
“It’s ultimately on us,” offensive guard Nick Marshman said. “It’s an offensive line thing that we need to make sure we’re moving the guys off the line of scrimmage and getting the holes open for the running backs.”
Marshman is one of four starters back on the line, which struggled last year and again against the Pirates - when the Hokies managed only 104 rushing yards. During the game, they also lost their fifth starter, tackle Blake DeChristopher, to a leg injury. He’s expected to be out two to four weeks.
Even though the linemen stayed at school and worked together over the summer, Marshman said, “there’s still stuff we need to work on.”
The line’s play is always key for an offense, but perhaps even more so for the Hokies, who lost all four of their top receivers, as well as tailback Branden Ore, following last season. Developing a running game that can grind out yards would make everything easier as the rest of the offense gains experience, Beamer said.
“I don’t think with young receivers you want to rely on throwing the football 40 times a game,” he said.
Furman coach Bobby Lamb expects Virginia Tech to be eager to avenge last week’s loss when it takes on his Paladins, an upper-tier Championship Subdivision team.
“I think we are probably going to play a very angry Hokie team after what happened last week,” he said.
Beamer, though, indicated he is taking nothing for granted with the Paladins, who defeated Mars Hill 62-14 in their season opener.
“There are I-AA teams and there are good I-AA teams, and this is a good I-AA team,” Beamer said.
Virginia Tech and Furman haven’t met in more than 60 years, when both were members of the Southern Conference.
The Hokies’ traditionally stalwart defense may be less formidable than in recent years, having lost seven starters to graduation and the NFL after last season. But they’ll have the services this week of senior cornerback Victor Harris, who missed the first game with a sprained foot. The former star high school tailback could also see some snaps on offense.
“Virginia Tech has a lot of guys starting for the first time, and it showed against East Carolina,” Lamb said. “I think they’re basically going to get back to basics and try to just mash us on offense.”
That would be just fine with Beamer.