Virginia Tech Football: Report Card Grades for Virginia Tech vs. Arkansas State

Justin CocchiolaCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2011

Virginia Tech Football: Report Card Grades for Virginia Tech vs. Arkansas State

0 of 10

    Virginia Tech got their third win of the season on Saturday after defeating Arkansas State. After the Red Wolves jumped ahead to an early 7-0 lead, it was all Hokies.

    It wasn't a dominant win by any stretch, but the Hokies coaching staff did a good job of getting their young quarterback Logan Thomas a lot of snaps and some extremely valuable experience.

    Here are the Hokies' grades by position against Arkansas State.

Quarterback

1 of 10

    Thomas had his best day as a passer on Saturday, throwing for nearly 300 yards and a couple of scores. He did make some poor throws and recorded two interceptions on the day.

    Thomas is progressing, and he has a huge arm to go along with his big, athletic frame. He just needs to become more accurate. It's something young quarterbacks struggle with, and Thomas is obviously no different.

    He can now build off of this performance and look to get better against Marshall before opening up conference play against Clemson, and then Miami. Thomas is the key to the Hokies' success for the remainder of the season. How he performs will likely decide the outcome of every game for the Hokies.

    Grade: B-

Running Backs

2 of 10

    David Wilson was held in check for the most part against the Red Wolves, along with his sidekick, Josh Oglesby. Wilson ran 21 times for 88 yards and one touchdown, and Oglesby attributed only 10 yards on five carries.

    The Red Wolves defensive line was winning the battle up front in the running game, and it could be because that's what they honed in on for this game. However, Thomas threw the ball much better, which allowed the Hokies to stick to their game plan.

    It was a rather pedestrian day for Wilson, but it was still solid. He'll look to rebound, according to his standards, next week against Marshall.

    Grade: B

Receivers

3 of 10

    Danny Coale led the way for the receiving corps, with seven catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. D.J. Coles also had his first touchdown catch of the season on a screen pass that he took to the house for 49 yards.

    There were a couple of drops once again for this group. Randall Dunn dropped a wide open ball from Thomas that had the potential to go for six. The Hokies receiving corps has had a couple of big drops in every game this season, and it's something that has to stop once conference play begins.

    Grade: B

Offensive Line

4 of 10

    The offensive line didn't have a phenomenal day, but they played solid. The pass protection was much better than the run blocking. You could tell that Arkansas State focused heavily on stopping the run.

    They were pretty successful by holding the Hokies' high powered running game to 135 yards.

    This is a trend that the offensive line is going to have to get used to as the season moves on. They'll be playing much better defensive fronts than the one they faced on Saturday. This veteran line is going to have to be more physical once conference play begins.

    Grade: B

Defensive Line

5 of 10

    The defensive line had another good day. They controlled the line of scrimmage for the most part and helped hold the Red Wolves to only 64 yards on the ground.

    There wasn't much pressure off the edge from Bud Foster's defense in this one. There was usually just a four man rush, with linebackers dropping back into coverage.

    It will be interesting going forward to see how good this defense can be when they play aggressively. Saturday's game showed you a much more conservative gameplan than we're used to seeing from a Virginia Tech defense.

    Grade: A-

Linebackers

6 of 10

    The Hokies' linebacking corps is one of the fastest we've seen since 2007. They're young, big and fast. That's going to be a huge asset moving forward as the season grows old.

    The one thing this unit needs to work on is coverage over the middle of the field. There are times where the defense breaks down and will leave a receiver running open across the middle. Other than that, there's not much to complain about with this group.

    Grade: A

Secondary

7 of 10

    The Hokies' secondary had some good and bad moments against the Red Wolves receivers. Giving up a 51-yard pass to set up a touchdown on the Red Wolves' first possession obviously was a bad one.

    Sophomore corner Kyle Fuller misread the play, bit on the fake and then Taylor Stockemer blew by him for a huge gain.

    Jayron Hosley's two interceptions was obviously a good thing for this unit. One thing that looks certain for this group is that they're going to take some chances at times, which in turn could lead to a few big plays.

    However, this is one of the best secondaries, if not the best secondary, in the ACC and it will only continue to improve as the season continues.

    Grade: B

Special Teams

8 of 10

    It was once again a conservative approach on special teams. There wasn't much pressure put on the Red Wolves' punter, and Hosley continues to run laterally once fielding the punt.

    Once the Hokies' opponents become tougher, the aggression on special teams should pick up. However, Hosley needs to do a better job returning the fielded kicks.

    Cody Journell missed a 40-yard field goal, but did manage to knock a 31-yard field goal through the uprights. And Hokies' punter Scott Demler continues to struggle. He had three punts that averaged on 33 yards.

    The Hokies dressed two punters for this game, but Demler was the only one used. It was not a perfect game on special teams, and the Hokies still have some work to do with this unit moving forward.

    Grade: C+

Coaches

9 of 10

    The Virginia Tech coaching staff has taken a conservative approach to this season thus far, and Saturday was no different.

    Offensively, it would be great to see the Hokies play with a little more tempo. If a little bit of no huddle was thrown in every now and again, it wouldn't be a bad thing. The offense almost puts you to sleep at times because the Hokies tend to move so slowly.

    Defensively, the Hokies have had better performances, but they weren't playing all that aggressively.

    Look for the Hokies coaching staff to call another conservative game against Marshall and then to open up the playbook a bit more when they open conference play against Clemson on Oct. 1. Right now, the coaching staff seems to be in a warm-up phase for the rest of the season, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    Grade: B

Intangibles

10 of 10

    This Hokies team has a chance to be special, but everything is going to have to come together. Really, this season's September schedule couldn't have set up any better for a young quarterback.

    It's obvious that Thomas has loads of talent; he just has to figure out how to put it all together. Wilson and a veteran offensive line and receiving corps should help Thomas as the season moves forward.

    The Hokies don't have a very difficult schedule, but teams like Clemson and Miami are going to be tough tests for a young quarterback. You can't measure intangibles, but the Hokies will go as far as Thomas can take them.

    The Hokies have always done more with less, but there also seems to be one or two hiccups per season that kills the hopes of a national title. It should be the goal of this Hokies team to make sure that hiccup doesn't surface.

    Grade: B+