Four weeks into the 2010 season, the Virginia Tech Hokies are now 2-2. Their offense has been largely disappointing, and their defense has encountered a steep learning curve.
There have already been a season's worth of story lines for Virginia Tech, and their Week 5 matchup against undefeated N.C. State provides another.
However, there are a five things we know for sure about Virginia Tech heading into the rest of the season after only four weeks of play.
Virginia Tech is consistently struggling to score touchdowns when they enter the red zone. Settling for a field goal drive after drive isn't going to work against good teams. Basically, they're college football's version of the Washington Redskins right now, and that's not a good thing.
Teams that can't score touchdowns in the red zone don't win games. In the Hokies' two losses this year, they struggled to score touchdowns in the red zone, and only one of those games was against a good team.
The Hokies got away with it against Boston College, but Dave Shinskie was taking snaps under center. When Russell Wilson—or any capable passer for that matter, is on the opposing sideline, Tech's offense will have to score touchdowns consistently to win.
The offensive line is one of the main reasons the Hokies can't score touchdowns on a consistent basis. The Hokies have some of the best running backs in the country, and the guys up front are preventing them from carrying the ball effectively.
Ryan Williams, Darren Evans, and David Wilson look pedestrian because of the pathetic play from the offensive line. Yes, Tech lost two starters from last year's team, but that shouldn't be a monumental task to replace.
Curt Newsome has done a poor job of having his guys ready to go on that unit, and it's beginning to take its toll on the season. How you can be on scholarship, weigh close to 300 pounds, and start for a school like Virginia Tech, but can't block a four-man rush is mind-boggling.
Coaching is to blame, but the players should be ashamed of their performance as well.
If the Hokies want to have a legitimate shot to compete for another ACC title, they will need Ryan Williams on the field as much as possible.
Darren Evans and David Wilson have played decently in his absence, but Williams makes more happen in the passing game. Tyrod Taylor often looks to Williams when the blocking has broken down, and Williams is the best receiver of the three.
It's still unknown if Williams will be ready to go for N.C. State this Saturday, but the Hokies chances of winning will be much worse if his hamstring isn't ready.
That being said, he must be ready to play. The coaching staff can't and won't rush him back too soon, for fear of losing him for the rest of the year.
A number of times against Boston College, the Hokie defense allowed receivers to run wide open in the secondary, but the Eagles were unable to take advantage.
That may work against teams like Boston College or Georgia Tech, but it will not work against N.C. State. Russell Wilson is too good, and the holes have been too big in the Hokies' secondary. It's not something that they will be able to fix by this Saturday, either.
These missed assignments have happened all season; the coaching staff will have to minimize them. The defense is young and they'll be good next year, but right now Virginia Tech has nothing more than an average defense at best.
Frank Beamer's special teams unit continues to make mistakes. Running into the kicker, roughing the kicker, or whatever the penalty is on this unit is just inexcusable.
Beamer Ball is no more, at least right now. Beamer Ball is taking a vacation and hasn't told anybody when it will be back. Tech has been awful on special teams this year, already costing them a couple of games.
Beamer doesn't even know how to react to it. He complained to the sideline reporter about the roughing the kicker call in the Boston College game because he thought it should have been running into the kicker. Guess what? Neither should happen.
That's been the problem with the coaching staff and this team the entire season. They just seem to have the wrong mindset, and they're arguing about things that shouldn't happen to begin with.
Who knows? It may take another loss or two for this team to realize they just have to play smarter. Until then, expect the same underachieving, penalty-prone team that we've seen in the first four weeks.