Virginia Tech Football: Report Card Grades for the Hokies' Second Game

Justin CocchiolaCorrespondent ISeptember 12, 2011

Virginia Tech Football: Report Card Grades for the Hokies' Second Game

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    Virginia Tech traveled to East Carolina on Saturday with expectations of another victory. However, the Hokies didn't consider that they'd also have to fend off themselves in the matchup.

    Frank Beamer ended up winning his 200th game as Virginia Tech's head coach, but it was one of the Hokies' sloppiest victories in recent history. Virginia Tech committed 12 penalties for 95 yards, compared to East Carolina who committed no penalties.

    Turnovers and a non-existent passing game also led to the Hokies' struggles, who dropped back to 13th in the AP poll after Saturday's performance.

    Here are the grades for each position in Saturday's underwhelming victory against ECU.

Quarterback

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    Pictured above is Tyrod Taylor. If you remember correctly, Taylor also struggled in his sophomore year as Virginia Tech's quarterback. Now insert Logan Thomas into that sentence.

    Thomas is a very gifted athlete who is undergoing a very large learning curve, which is playing quarterback full time. He came to Blacksburg as a tight end who played quarterback in high school, so the learning curve is even greater for the young QB.

    One thing Thomas has going for him is his running ability. He's extremely powerful when he pulls it down, and can definitely move out of the pocket. Against ECU, Thomas fared well on the ground, but only completed 8 of 20 passes for 91 yards and an interception.

    Thomas did make a couple of nice throws that were dropped by his receivers, but overall, he has a lot of work to do to become a feared pocket passer.

    Grade: D

Running Backs

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    If David Wilson and Josh Oglesby had struggled in this one, the Hokies likely would have been upset. But, both running backs played very well in the victory.

    Wilson is putting himself in a position to be considered for the Heisman. He has more than 300 yards rushing already this season and is obviously the most valuable player on the Hokies offense.

    Oglesby is a great compliment to the speedy Wilson, and did a great job of being the short yardage back and punching the ball into the endzone twice. The two combined for 181 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.

    The only miscue of the day came when Wilson fumbled the ball in the third quarter. Besides that, not much more could have been expected from these backs.

    Grade: A-

Receivers

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    Jarrett Boykin set the school record for most career receptions and led the Hokies' receivers with 4 catches for 48 yards.

    The other receivers didn't fare so well.

    Thomas only completed eight passes on the day, and the receivers, including Boykin, dropped a few passes.

    Marcus Davis had his second big drop of the season, and this time he dropped it in the endzone. D.J. Coles also had a drop that would have been a first down deep in Hokies territory.

    These receivers have to do a better job of helping a young quarterback through the growing pains that come with learning the position. There are never excuses for dropped passes, and it's beginning to happen far too often for the Hokies.

    Grade: D+

Offensive Line

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    The offensive line has been playing pretty well so far this season. There were a few miscues with penalties, but other than that, they seem to be getting a good push up front and giving Thomas adequate time to throw the ball.

    These guys need to continue their strong performance, especially in the running game. However, if the Hokies' offensive play calling doesn't become a little less unpredictable, it's going to be tough for the offensive line to open up a lot of running lanes on a consistent basis.

    Grade: B

Defensive Line

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    The defensive line has been stellar in the first two weeks of the season.

    The Hopkins brothers continue to plug the middle, and James Gayle has been a force off the edge.

    Even true freshman Corey Marshall got in on the action with the first sack of his career. The defensive line was a huge reason that East Carolina rushed for -15 yards on the day.

    However, there were multiple times this unit jumped offsides, resulting in longer drives for the East Carolina offense.

    You can't give good offenses more chances than they deserve, and East Carolina had multiple chances to take advantage of the Hokies' miscues, but they had some mistakes of their own when their receivers dropped a few wide open passes.

    Grade: B-

Linebackers

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    Virginia Tech's defense definitely looks like it's returning to old form. The linebackers had another great performance on Saturday, helping shutdown one of the nation's top passing offenses.

    There were a few blown assignments over the middle of the field, but all-in-all, it was a great performance by the linebacking corps.

    Grade: A-

Secondary

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    The secondary may be the strongest it's ever been in Blacksburg.

    Jayron Hosley and Kyle Fuller on the outside with Eddie Whitley and Antone Exum covering the middle gives the Hokies a young, fast and athletic backfield that opposing offenses are going to dread facing.

    Hosley did pick a pass yesterday, but a questionable pass interference call brought it back. There were a few miscues at certain points in the game, but they were saved by the ECU receivers who dropped a few wide open balls.

    This unit also committed a couple penalties, but also held a high-powered passing offense to 127 yards through the air.

    Grade: B

Special Teams

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    The special teams certainly wasn't special on Saturday.

    There was a lack of pressure to try and block the punts, and Hosley had a hard time positioning himself correctly to field the punts. This resulted in Hosley running backwards multiple times and being taken down for a loss.

    Adding to the poor performance was a missed field goal by Cody Journell and another lackluster performance by Hokies' punter Scott Demler.

    Beamerball was absent from Saturday's game and the Hokies will need to improve on all facets moving forward.

    Grade: C-

Coaches

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    When the team doesn't perform like they're expected, the blame often goes to the coaching staff.

    However, before anyone could blame the coaching staff, Beamer announced that it was his fault because he didn't have the guys as ready as they should have been.

    That's a little difficult to decipher.

    Was he being sarcastic about his teams' performance or did the coaching staff really not prepare like they would have for the game? A lot of times teams get caught looking ahead, but the Hokies play Arkansas State next week, so it's unlikely that was a factor.

    Whatever the reason, the coaching staff underachieved on Saturday.

    Mike O'Cain who now calls the plays on offense also had a poor day. O'Cain came out throwing the ball more than running to start with, and then when that didn't work he abandoned the passing game all together.

    It led to predictable offensive play calling, which isn't going to hold up as the Hokies schedule strengthens as the season goes on.

    Grade: C

Intangibles

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    You have to give a lot of credit to the defense in this one. It looks like they're going to be relied on very heavily this season, and they showed they can answer the call on Saturday.

    Wilson also showed poise after fumbling the ball and then coming out and finishing the game strong. The Hokies rode his back to the finish line, and it likely won't be the last time that happens in 2011.

    This team looks very similar to the 2007 roster. A formidable defense with an offense that's going to hold the team back. The biggest differences between that team and this one, are that there's a better offensive line and rushing attack on the 2011 squad with no quarterback controversy.

    The Hokies have two more weeks to get their young quarterback settled before jumping in to their ACC schedule. They still have a lot of work to do and will likely use Saturday's game as motivation to get better moving forward.

    Grade: C