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Hokies Notebook

Virginia Tech Will Need Balance in Game Against Boston College

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By Mark Viera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 6 -- While Virginia Tech's 34-26 win over Duke last Saturday left much to be desired, it also provided an exceptional showing from an unusual source: the Hokies' passing offense.

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With the Hokies' one-dimensional offense previously relying on its rushing attack, the performance against the Blue Devils was a promising sign as No. 5 Virginia Tech (4-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) prepares to face Boston College (4-1, 2-1). Offensive balance should be particularly important Saturday against the Eagles' strong rush defense.

"I think we're getting closer to being a good, balanced offense," Coach Frank Beamer said. "We're able to run it, we're able to throw it, and one helps the other out. I think we're getting closer all the time, and we need to be that this week."

Although Virginia Tech has been lacking a viable passing game in recent years, a 327-yard passing performance last Saturday by quarterback Tyrod Taylor was evidence of the development in its aerial attack. Virginia Tech needed to rely on its passing when the Blue Devils stifled its rushing offense, which gained only 150 yards.

Although Taylor has lacked polish as a passer and completed only 54.3 percent of his attempts this year, he made strides against unranked Duke, which has struggled with its pass defense. Moreover, there was evidence of chemistry between Taylor and some of his targets. For example, he had the trust to loft a pass to Jarrett Boykin in the end zone in the second quarter, and Boykin came down with the jump ball for a 28-yard touchdown.

Boykin had a career-high 144 receiving yards against Duke but was matter of fact about his relationship with Taylor, saying, "He just seems to find me."

Against Boston College's tough run defense, the Hokies might again find themselves relying on their passing offense. Averaging 173.8 yards per game, Virginia Tech is ranked only 103rd nationally in passing offense, so that might seem like a tough task. But last Saturday, the Hokies showed that their passing offense has grown and has the potential to be an effective complement to their ground game.

"You can tell everything has developed more than last year," Boykin said of his fellow wide receivers' progress. "We've got a lot more confidence. We're older and learning the offense a lot more. We're playing a lot faster and can read coverages."

Beamer on Bowden

With mounting pressure on Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden to retired after this year, Beamer was asked Tuesday for his take on the matter. Among active coaches, Beamer's 223 career wins ranks third behind Penn State's Joe Paterno (387) and Bowden (384).

"I think if you're winning, you're okay," Beamer said. "If you're not winning, you're not okay. And sometimes you can't win enough."


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