Alabama-Virginia Tech: Three Things Each Team Will Do That Will Surprise

Larry BurtonSenior Writer IAugust 18, 2009

Though no game goes as expected, it is sure easier to pick winners and losers than the things most fans won't expect to see, but here's this author's feeble attempt. 

The things that will surprise Virginia Tech are:

1. "Boy, that QB doesn't look like a first game starter." John Parker Wilson was a game manager; Greg McElroy is a game changer. Look for some deep balls and quick scores.

Though Nick Saban will go to the grind-it-out game at times, he's going to let coach Jim McElwain loose for a few good plays that will scare the rest of the teams on our schedule to death.

2. "I thought Bama wasn't supposed to have a pass rush." Uh-oh, Tech, Nick brought over one of the best sack coaches from the NFL to work with the defensive line this year, and boy, is it showing up in practice now.

Sal Sunseri, a former linebacker himself in college and the pros, spent the last six years with the Carolina Panthers and helped develop the NFL's best sacker.

Known for his intensity and great on-field coaching ability, he'll have the Tide causing Tyrod Taylor all kinds of problems.

3. "Alabama's offensive line wasn't supposed to be this good this year." Despite the fact that many thought last year's line was one of the best, Saban says this one has more potential.

Not only that, but he says it may actually be more physical. Uh-oh, Tech, somebody didn't get the memo on this one.

But before you think it's all one-sided, I think the Tide fans should hear the following warnings about Virginia Tech:

1. "I thought this quarterback was an interception machine." Frank Beamer is one of the smartest coaches on a sideline today. Yes, Taylor threw a lot of picks last year, but he won a lot of games too.

Beamer lets him loose in games he feels he can overcome a pick or two. In this game, Taylor will stick to safer throws and one-on-one coverages. I don't think you'll see him try to force anything into two-deep coverage.

Plus, he's a year older and a little wiser now. I think his numbers in the INT category will settle down, and he could surprise Bama with a long one or two himself.

2. "Hey, I thought this was going to be another ACC defense." Virginia Tech will bring a SEC-type defense that can muscle with the best of them.

Alabama's best hope of consistently cracking that line with their running backs may be for McElroy to live up to surprise No. 1 on the Bama list and make them respect the pass.

3. "What just happened? I thought they lost their best running back with an injury!" Well, they did lose their most experienced, but maybe not their best.

Ryan Williams is lightning in a bottle, and if he gets a step on the outside, Alabama better pray that Javier Arenas has an angle on him.

Plus, they have sophomore Josh Oglesby, who is similar to injured star Darren Evans. He's a little less physical but maybe a step faster.

In all, Tech has a good stable of backs and plenty of time to prepare them.

So one can only hope your game isn't spoiled with giving all the surprises away beforehand. Tell your friends what's going to happen and take credit for being so "in the know," and if it doesn't happen, then we'll all be surprised together.


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