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Orange Bowl Preview : Part 2 : The Passing Game

Part 2 of a 5-Part series. I know I am way, way, way behind. I will try to catch up before my plane leaves Wednesday morning...

Quarterback #1 --> Sean Glennon

Entering the season, Sean Glennon was the starting QB. He was coming off of an average sophomore season, a season where he replaced the outgoing Marcus Vick. Well, less than average. He only completed 56% of his passes and had as many INTs (11) as TDs (11). However, he began this season on a rocky start, completing only 2 passes on 10 attempts in their blowout loss to the Bayou Bengals of LSU. He barely saw the field the next four weeks, giving playing time away to true freshman and planned redshirt Tyrod Taylor. However, the "new" Sean Glennon, the Sean Glennon since the 41-23 win in Death Valley where he didn't see the field of play, has been a completely different QB.

Tyrod Taylor was injured in the next game, a home game against the Duke Blue Devils, and Sean Glennon took over right then-and-there. Here are his stats before and after his DNP against Clemson.

Before --> 32-55 (58%), 325 yards (65 a game), 1 TD 2 INTs
After --> 98-152 (65%), 1,311 (187 a game), 10 TDs 1 INT

His numbers went up even further up once Tyrod Taylor came back from his injury, in the Florida State game, an they adopted the two-quarterback system they now employ. Glennon by himself doesn't scare me. He doesn't make a whole lot of mistakes, at least not now, but he doesn't have the gamebreaking ability of a Chase Daniel, the only QB who has really "lit us up" all season long. We have enough talent in our secondary, this year, to stop an offensive passing game like Va Tech's, led by Glennon. He is only a good-but-not-great QB, a QB that can be handled by a good secondary.

Quarterback #2 --> Tyrod Taylor

Tyrod, on the other hand, scares me. A lot. I hate playing running quarterbacks, especially ones as sick as TT.

Actually, I'm sorry, TT isn't his nickname. According to the beginning of the video, his nickname is the tremendously overused "Superman". How original, I've never heard it before. But don't worry about it, nicknames mean nothing the way he plays.

They key will be, this is tremendously predictable, I know, to force Glennon to beat us with his legs and force Taylor to beat us with his arm. I'm a genius. In all actuality, "Superman" can throw it better than Glennon can run it, thus the increase of anxiousness when #5 is on the field. After he came back from his injury, just in time for Florida State to come to town, he began to split the snaps with Sean Glennon. We've been over this. However, here are his pass attempts and rush attempts in those 4 games:

...Passing Attempts; Running Attempts...

* Florida State --> 15; 17
* Miami --> 2; 7
* @ Virginia --> 6; 9
* Boston College --> 6; 9

That will likely change with 4 weeks to prepare and the abundance of practices for "Superman" to build some chemistry with his receivers. Still, every single time he drops back to pass, we should have a spy devoted solely to following his every movement. Any of the three LBs would work, but I like Joe Mortensen the best. A couple of hard hits by JoMo, and he will probably will think twice before scampering past the line of scrimmage again. I am legitimately scared of JoMo. Not even lying.

The Receivers

No standout WR on the Hokies, but they have three solid threats that are on the field a lot. The most well known is Eddie Royal, who exploded late in the year with a combined 10 catches and 210 yards in the last 2 games. Justin Harper never caught more than 5 passes in a game, but was a solid performer in nearly every single game. However, the leading receiver is Josh Morgan, whose 43 catches barely outdoing the 37 and 32 catches of Harper and Royal respectively. All three are seniors, all three have played for awhile, and all three are threats at all times. There is no clear #1 threat, no one for Aqib Talib to follow around, so just assign him and the starter opposite him (Chris Harris, most likely) the other side. Kendrick Harper can come in and be the nickel back, a defensive formation we will use more often Thursday night than usual.

They don't really have a receiving threat at TE, the only one who caught a pass all season was Sam Wheeler, and he only caught 15 passes all season. 7 of them were in the first game of the year, and he didn't catch a single pass after the first meeting with the Boston College Eagles. He doesn't figure to be a big factor in anything other than the running game.

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We will take a look at Va Tech's running game a little bit later, hopefully before the ball drops in New York. If not, I will get it up early tomorrow morning. We will also cover Va Tech's defense tomorrow, before moving to special teams and, in the fifth part of the preview, predictions and all that jazz.

ROCK CHALK!