Three Offensive Takeaways From Virginia Tech's 38-31 Win at Duke

Three Offensive Takeaways From Virginia Tech's 38-31 Win at Duke
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Oct 05, 2020

Photo Credit: Nell Redmond-USA Today

Virginia Tech once again relied on an impressive rushing performance breaking the 300 rushing yard mark led by 207 on the ground from Khalil Herbert on their way to a 38-31 victory over Duke.

Here's our offensive takeaways from the Hokies' win over Duke.

Khalil Herbert Deserves Recognition Among Great Hokie RBs

Khalil Herbert has had arguably the best first two games to open a Virginia Tech career that any Hokie has ever had. Unsurprisingly, Herbert's play has had many rightfully saying he's the best running back since David Wilson in Blacksburg.

However, the numbers show that it's time to consider Herbert among the Hokie greats at running back rather than simply the best since Tech's last great running back.

Through his first two games, Herbert has done something twice that the greatest Beamer era running backs did once or never achieved in a game.

The fact is clear that Herbert not only looks the part of being a great Virginia Tech running back but the numbers show that he is already on pace to put up one of the greatest single seasons for a Virginia Tech running back ever.

What may be most impressive about Herbert is how complete of a player he is which goes beyond the fact that he has great speed and is also a force between the tackles. Herbert has shown tremendous poise and patience waiting for holes or finding holes that most wouldn't while also having a great motor and toughness that leads him to turn an 8-yard run where he easily just step out of bounds into a cut back inside to get a first down and more.

It's still early in this 2020 season but Khalil Herbert has proven that he isn't just the best running back since David Wilson, but that he is also as talented as the great Hokie running backs were.

Get Tre Turner More Involved in The Offensive Gameplan

While Khalil Herbert has been a star, Tech's top offensive playmaker not named Herbert has been a bit AWOL through seemingly no fault of his own.

Through 2 games, Tre Turner has only had 4 receptions and 3 carries but when he has gotten the ball either thrown his way or received a carry, he has taken advantage. This came as Turner had a season high 3 catches this past week with only 1 carry as Tech hasn't even seemed to send the ball his way much at all.

So far, Turner has 121 total yards of offense despite the fact that he has only had the ball 7 times. The fact that Turner hasn't received more targets and that Tech hasn't tried to get him more involved in the offense. What may be more surprising is they haven't done so via screens and jet sweeps to stretch the field even more for the dominant rushing attack especially given how much we've seen those things incorporated in to solid success for Tech's offense with Turner in previous seasons.

Yes, part of that may be that teams are focusing in more on Turner especially with Damon Hazelton no longer at Tech and the junior being the clear top guy. However, given the volume we've seen to James Mitchell and Tayvion Robinson, that excuse has basically run out.

When you have someone as dynamic as Turner, it is simply irresponsible not to get him more involved in your passing game. The good news for the Hokies is that so far, the rushing attack has been way more than good enough to get the job but eventually, the Hokies are going to have to get Tre Turner more involved and that may come as soon as this week.

Braxton Burmeister Shows Limitation But Is A Gamer

Braxton Burmeister showed a couple things Saturday that will be valuable for fans to recognize and know going forward.

First, Burmeister proved that he does have some limitations as a quarterback with his accuracy being an area for improvement and his arm strength lacking somewhat with the zip on some of his deep balls lacking compared to Hendon Hooker or Quincy Patterson.

Now that didn't limit some of the range that Burmeister had down the field, but you could see it lacked some of the same velocity and his mechanics showed a little more strain throwing the ball than we've seen from Hooker in the past.

However, Burmeister also proved to be a gamer on Saturday who bounced back from his first half struggles fairly well and made some big plays in the second half while understanding some of his arm strength limitations.

Take the long completion to Tayvion Robinson who had the beat on the Duke defensive back. Burmeister made the right throw given his capabilities in leading Robinson to the left away from the Duke DB who was to his right rather than try to force one even farther down the field that he might not have or may give the DB time to get back in the play.

Burmeister did have his read option fumbled handoff but on the ground, Burmeister was sharp as a runner making good decisions in general and running aggressive and decisively including what we saw on his longer rushing touchdown. While Burmeister hasn't proven to be as good of a passer as Hendon Hooker, he has proven to be a great runner who is unafraid to play tough and be a physical runner even in short-yardage situations.

The biggest thing with Burmeister was his response bouncing back from his tough first half to step up in the second half and play a lot better, and also do his job well on the final touchdown drive after the fumbled handoff.

Burmeister has limitations but it's clear that whether Burmeister or Hooker is the starter, the Hokies have a gamer at QB who can bounce back and not be consumed by in-game struggles.