Photo Credit: Jake Roth
Virginia Tech broke the 300-rushing yard mark for the third time in four games with a season high 350 rushing yards on their way to a dominant 40-14 victory over Boston College. In the process, Khalil Herbert became the first Hokie to break 100 rushing yards in at least four games in a season since David Wilson in 2011 while Herbert and Hendon Hooker became the first Hokie duo to each have 100+ rushing yards in the same game since Darren Evans and Tyrod Taylor on October 2nd, 2010.
With all of that said, here's 3 offensive takeaways from Saturday night's dominant victory.
Tech's Offense Is Just Better With Hendon Hooker
It was all Hendon Hooker for the Hokies on Saturday night and Tech's offense thrived with 40 points and 461 total yards of offense, 350 of which came on the ground.
Hooker was sharp all night making the right decisions on read options especially early seeing that the defense was focused on Khalil Herbert and taking his opportunities to make plays with a lot more space. Of course, BC's defense adapted as the game went along but Hooker continued to make sharp decisions in that area that helped the unstoppable force that is Tech's running game continue to be just that.
Any talk of Tech's offense being better must mention the fact that Hooker has a great feel for the pocket relative to his own abilities while also being able to make some great escapes. That feel for the pocket is the feel of someone who has loads of experience and will force defenses to adapt to his scrambling in ways that may open up things more in the passing game.
Hooker has also proven to be a great leader in the huddle and as much as pure talent matters, leadership matters almost as much, and it shows again and again.
Virginia Tech's offense had a very good start in their first two games with Braxton Burmeister, limited as a passer as he may be, but is coming even more alive with Hendon Hooker running the show in an offense that fits him extremely well.
WR Depth Remains a Concern
When asked about the progression of WR transfer Changa Hodge last week, Justin Fuente said that he felt that Tech "need to get more skills guys involved on offense." While running back and tight end have proven solid, wide receiver has been a place of greater challenge that continued Saturday night.
So far, Tech has continued to only have three wide receivers with receptions this season though Evan Fairs and Changa Hodge have both seen limited playing time. However, Fuente confirmed what we saw on the field that Tech focused on running a lot of their 12 personnel with 1 RB, 2 TEs, and 2 WRs with James Mitchell working as more of a receiver rather than TE a lot and Nick Gallo lining up in the trenches.
Tech's depth was tested in a small way when Tre Turner went out with an undisclosed injury and missed much of the BC game with Kaleb Smith filling in and leading Tech with 3 receptions.
While it looks like Turner should be just fine, Tech's wide receiver depth is fragile to say the least with Turner's injury exposing even more about how much the Hokies need receivers like Hodge and Fairs plus Darryle Simmons, Elijah Bowick, and others to take the next steps.
In some ways, it's impressive what Tech has done with some of the limitations they've had at wide receiver given the very high volume of snaps guys like Turner and Tayvion Robinson are having to play regardless of their conditioning.
Going forward though, Tech needs their wide receiver depth to step up or else the Hokies will continue to be a serious injury away from a less than ideal situation on the outside.
Vance Vice For The Broyles Award
Virginia Tech's offensive line has rightly received tons of praise with Doug Nester becoming the fourth Hokie offensive lineman to earn National Team of the Week honors from Pro Football Focus this season.
Four different OL on the PFF national team of the week in four games: @luke_tenuta, @Bigdawgchris1 (x2), @Lecitus_54 and now @Freshie74. #VICESQUAD 🔥💪 @VanceVice @HokiesFB @JoeMooreAward https://t.co/KPpxAFjIpu— john iezzi (@jni123) October 19, 2020
The offensive line should have plenty of top contenders for national awards from the whole unit for the Joe Moore Award, Christian Darrisaw for the Outland Trophy, and Brock Hoffman for the Rimington Trophy.
However, offensive line coach Vance Vice deserves tons of praise for the coaching and development job he's done and because of that, should be a serious candidate for the Broyles Award.
The Broyles Award is the most prestigious award for an assistant coach in college football with Bud Foster winning the award in 2006. While coordinators basically always win it, Vance Vice at least deserves to be a nominee for this award.
Vice has turned a mix of highly and lowly-regarded recruits along with a transfer in Hoffman and built them into arguably the best offensive line in America. This unit has helped destroy previous historical marks with Tech having 3 games of 300+ rushing yards against ACC opponents this season after having 2 total in their previous years as members of the conference.
While Vice's odds of actually winning the award are quite low since he's not a coordinator, he absolutely deserves the honor of being nominated for it and receiving serious consideration given the job he's done.