During his debut as Virginia Tech's starting quarterback in last Sunday's 20-16 victory at North Carolina State, junior Marcus Vick looked a lot like his older brother, former Hokies all-American and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. The younger Vick frustrated the Wolfpack with his running and showed a very strong arm in throwing the winning touchdown during the fourth quarter.
Vick's statistics were modest at best, completing 10 of 21 passes for 108 yards and one touchdown with 13 rushes for 31 yards. But Hokies Coach Frank Beamer said Vick's ability to avoid mistakes against the Wolfpack's aggressive defense was the best part of his debut.
"The guy played really fantastic for an opening ballgame, very much in control," Beamer said. "I think he had one poor check, and that was it. For a game that was moving as fast as that one was, I think that was a great opening game for him. I think you'll see him get better each and every week."
Vick and the rest of the No. 7 Hokies should have a chance to get much better in today's game at Duke, their first trip to Wallace Wade Stadium since beating the Blue Devils, 22-21, in 1982. The Blue Devils, who haven't had a winning season since 1994 and have lost four games in a row to Virginia Tech, were beaten by East Carolina, 24-21, in last week's opener.
Pirates quarterback James Pinkney completed 17 of 21 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown in that game, and the Blue Devils already rank near the bottom of Division I-A in pass defense.
Beamer indicated earlier this week that he wants to get Vick more involved on offense.
"We called a couple more plays to get him running in the second half" against N.C. State, Beamer said. "Other than that, as we go back and think about our offense, I think getting him more involved in that regard, and getting our receivers more involved when teams are bringing so much pressure, which N.C. State did quite a bit there in the second half."
Duke's offense also struggled against the Pirates in former Maryland assistant Bill O'Brien's debut as offensive coordinator. Junior quarterback Mike Schneider threw three interceptions, including two in the final 4 minutes 43 seconds, was sacked three times and was 15 for 28 for 139 yards.
The Blue Devils led Virginia Tech, 7-0, during last year's game in Blacksburg, but the Hokies scored the next 34 points in a 41-17 victory.
"It is obvious that this particular football team has very little margin for error with where we are and want to build our program," Duke Coach Ted Roof said. "We have to be opportunistic and take advantage of the opportunities we make for ourselves or are given by the opposition. At the same time, we turned the ball over four times and gave up a couple of big plays, but still had a chance to win at the end. So I think there is some progress but it is still disappointing."