Virginia Tech Football: Previewing the Arkansas State Game

Justin CocchiolaCorrespondent ISeptember 14, 2011

BLACKSBURG, VA - NOVEMBER 04: Running back David Wilson #4 of the Virginia Tech Hokies runs with the ball past cornerback Mario Edwards #8 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Lane Stadium on November 4, 2010 in Blacksburg, Virginia.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

For the first time since 2006, the Hokies are 2-0. That's pretty tough to believe considering the Hokies have seven straight 10-win seasons and have won three ACC Championships in that time span.

Nonetheless, it's a fact. After a dominant performance over Appalachian State in Week 1, winning 66-13, the Hokies struggled against East Carolina in Week 2. In Frank Beamer's 200th win as head coach at the school, the Hokies committed 12 penalties for 95 yards, threw for only 91 yards, committed two turnovers and struggled on special teams.

That adds up to a non-beamerball performance to say the least. Beamer actually took the blame immediately after the game saying he didn't have his players as prepared as they should have been. The Hokies also lost backup guard David Wang for 8-10 weeks in the loss, hurting their depth on the offensive line.

The two bright spots from Week 2 were the running game and the defensive play. The Hokies defense allowed only 101 yards through the air against one of the nation's most formidable passing offenses, and allowed -15 yards on the ground. David Wilson and Josh Oglesby carried the load on the ground, rushing for over a combined 180 yards and two scores.

In Week 3, the Hokies host Arkansas State in their annual white out game. Logan Thomas is currently completing only 43-percent of his passes, and the coaching staff will look to get him going. The Hokies ran the ball 70-percent of the time in Week 2 after Thomas began struggling through the air, but that's unlikely to be the game plan in Week 3.

Essentially, the Hokies have two more games before they jump in to the thick of their schedule. They need to get Thomas a lot of reps, dropping back in the pocket and throwing the ball down field. Thomas still has a lot to learn about being a quarterback, so expect the coaches to throw the playbook at him over the next two weeks.

Wilson already has over 300 yards rushing on the season, but only one catch for four yards. The main reason for his lack of receptions is Thomas' inability to scan the field, or to take the easy way out and hit his running backs on check downs.

Thomas has to understand that Wilson may be the best playmaker in the ACC, and one of the best in the country. The more he looks for him in the passing game, the better chance a play or two is going to open up down field.

The coaching staff should also be working the receiving corps hard this week. This is a veteran group of guys who haven't done a great job of helping a young quarterback grow. Marcus Davis and D.J. Coles have dropped a number of passes already this season, so they need to get on the right page before October arrives.

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Bruce Taylor #51 of the Virginia Tech Hokies reacts against the Stanford Cardinal during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40-12. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Image
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Another thing to watch is the Hokies special teams. Scott Demler has been struggling as the punter, and Beamer is going to dress true freshman Michael Branthover, who averaged almost 50-yards a kick in the Hokies final scrimmage.

The defense should continue their strong performance, and look to build upon that going forward. Kyle Fuller picked off the first pass of his career last week against East Carolina, and the Hokies received a boost from senior Cris Hill. The Hokies defense continues to get stronger, but they need some help from the offensive unit in order to meet this teams potential.

The Hokies should roll with ease against Arkansas State, and look for Thomas to take a step forward at quarterback in Week 3.

Virginia Tech 52, Arkansas State 10