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September 25, 2008Virginia Tech running back Darren Evans doesn't see much difference in the Hokies' offense no matter who is under center, whether it's Tyrod Taylor or Sean Glennon.
Now Hokie opponents' defenses? That's where Evans sees a difference.
"People tend to blitz a lot more when Sean is in the game," said Evans, who leads the Hokies with 267 yards rushing and four touchdowns this season. "And they tend to sit back a little more when Tyrod is in the game. There's not a lot of big differences in how we play, its about our mindset and making the plays or not."
After four games with mixed success by Virginia Tech's offense (271.8 total yards per game) and varying production by Tech's quarterbacks (just two combined touchdowns), its safe to say the Hokies' mindset will likely involve both Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon seeing the field in Saturday's nationally televised battle against Nebraska at Memorial Stadium.
Who will have more success remains the question.
Taylor, who is nursing a sprained ankle he suffered in the fourth quarter of the Hokies' 20-17 comeback win over North Carolina last Saturday, has started the past two games, both Hokie wins. Glennon, a senior who started the first two games of the season when Taylor was a presumptive redshirt, has played in all four games and finished Saturday's win when Taylor went out of the game.
With the scrambling Taylor, the Hokies are more ground oriented. In three games he has played since forgoing a planned redshirt, the 6-foot-1, 206 pound sophomore has led the Hokies to three straight wins. In those games, the Hokies have passed for an average of 83.5 yards and rushed for 195.6 per game.
Taylor has passed for 199 yards and ran for another 221 so far this season.
Glennon is the more accomplished passer of the two. The 6-foot-4, 224 pounder ranks seventh all time at Tech in both career passing yards (3,964 yards) and career touchdown passes (24). In four games this year Glennon is 18-for-32 passing for 197 yards and one touchdown. He has been intercepted three times.
If Hokie coach Frank Beamer has a game plan in mind involving both of his talented signal-callers, he isn't saying.
"I'm not going to talk about quarterbacks - will get to that some other time," Beamer said at his weekly press conference. Both Glennon and Taylor were also off limits to the media this week.
Beamer spent most of that press conference talking about Nebraska's size up front and the wide-open defensive game planning of the Huskers so far this season.
"They mix it up," said Beamer. "They bring man free, pure man, they bring blitzes. Bo didn't get to be a good defensive guy by not coming after you."
Beamer knows what he speaks of when talking about a Bo Pelini led defense. The Hokies were embarrassed in Baton Rouge last year in a 49-7 loss to LSU when Pelini was the Tigers' defensive coordinator. Pelini's defense that night held the Hokies to just 148 yards.
Evans, the running back, did not travel with the Hokies to Baton Rouge last season but he's heard enough horror stories and comments from teammates to feel like he was there.
Evans thinks the Hokies will face a similar tough road test and, likely, a similar defensive scheme to what they saw in Baton Rouge last September.
"They did really good against us last year," Evans said of the LSU loss. "I wouldn't be surprised to see some stuff they did at LSU show up this year when we play Nebraska
"I'm pretty sure he (Pelini) brought his same type of stuff. He ran the defense and their defense really got us. I wouldn't be surprised if the Nebraska defense did the same things LSU's defense did."
No matter who is under center, a talented and experienced, and now newly svelte offensive line will be blocking for them. The interior of Tech's offensive line, guards Nick Marshman and Sergio Render and center Ryan Shuman, lost nearly a 100 pounds in the off season. They team with returning starting Ed Wang and first year starting right tackle Blake DeChristopher as best in the ACC before the season started.
"They've been practicing hard and working hard and they've been doing real well on their assignments," Evans said. "They've become better players and they've sacrificed a lot. Nick Marshman lost 30 pounds over the summer and they've gotten better and that work has shown up. We've been running the ball a lot better than last year. Hopefully that shows up against Nebraska."