The Battle at Bristol is almost here with the Virginia Tech Hokies looking to pull off the upset against the favored #17 Tennessee Volunteers. Now, let’s take a look at the three Hokies to watch against the Volunteers from Henry Skutt.
QB Jerod Evans
After a decent opening weekend against Liberty (20/32 and 221 yards), Jerod Evans will need to improve against a much better team. While he had four touchdown passes, he also had two messy fumbles. If the Hokies want to have a chance at pulling off the upset, the turnovers are going to need to be at a minimum — especially from the signal caller.
On a positive note, look for the playbook to be much more open for this game. As we talked about last week, the offense against Liberty was very vanilla. Now that the coaching staff doesn’t have to worry about Tennessee needing film to study, expect some more freedom for the offense. Watch for Evans to be given more opportunities to run and improvise.
OG Wyatt Teller
An odd player to watch, but a key one. There has been some kind of issue going on with Wyatt Teller and the coaching staff — leading to him playing behind Colt Pettit on the offensive line. During the Liberty game, he came in during the 2nd quarter, and the Hokies run game immediately improved. This trend continued throughout the game — whenever Teller was on the field, the running game gained a boost.
All that being said, pay attention to how much playing time he gets. He is still listed as 2nd on the depth chart, but I would be shocked if he doesn’t play for less than 80% of the game. He is an NFL-caliber player, and the coaching staff needs to understand that. If given the chance, make sure to pay attention to the difference in push the offensive line gets when Teller is in the game compared to when Pettit is.
DB Adonis Alexander
This should be one of the more interesting players to watch on Saturday. Alexander will be returning from his one game suspension after being arrested for marijuana possession following the spring game. He was initially listed as the starting cornerback over Greg Stroman — who played great last week — but Coach Foster has said that Stroman will be starting against the Volunteers in Bristol.
Look for how Alexander performs in his first game this season, and first real action since the Independence Bowl last December. He will be matched up against a wide receiving corps that is known for its athleticism and abilities. I am excited about this defense because after how well they played last week, they will only be getting better. Watch for how well Alexander acclimates to the speed of a real game, and expect an inspired return from him.
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