Check back every Wednesday for the Hokies Report to get all the biggest Virginia Tech headlines for each week, a recap of last week's game and a look ahead at next week's contest.
Virginia Tech 2-3, (0-1) in the ACC
In the news
Brewer resumes practicing: Quarterback Michael Brewer was cleared to return to practice on Monday. He will be re-evaluated throughout the week and is considered a game-time decision for Friday.
Playing in a game and throwing around the ball in practice where no one is trying to hit you are obviously two very different things. The fact that he's practicing again is a good sign, but is in no way a guarantee that he will be ready for NC State.
Williams out for the season: The question over whether or not Marshawn Williams will be able to return this season has been answered. The school announced Monday that Williams had re-injured his knee and needs another surgery. The setback will keep him out of for the entire 2015 season.
Williams tore his ACL last season and was working to try and return for 2015. The school also announced that he would seek a medical redshirt, but, since Williams is a true sophomore and has not yet redshirted, he is not eligible and instead will take a regular redshirt.
Stroman changes positions: Frank Beamer announced this week that cornerback Greg Stroman will make a full-time switch to wide receiver. The fact that this is "full-time" is significant as this shows it is not a scheme or a package (think J.J. Watt catching passes for the Texans). For all intents and purposes, Stroman is now a wide receiver.
Stroman was the team's nickelback corner so this is a significant move, but it is also a gamble. With Kendall Fuller lost for the year, now seems like a curious time to take another corner out of the mix, but offenses have been victimizing Stroman all season. It became clear in the Ohio State game that the Buckeyes were targeting the sophomore corner and having success.
Virginia Tech has desperately tried to find a consistent third wide receiver option to compliment Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips and Stroman may be Beamer's answer.
True freshman Mook Reynolds is expected to take over at nickelback.
Kam Chancellor ends holdout: Kam Chancellor missed the first three games of the regular season as he was holding out for a new contract from the Seattle Seahawks. The former Virginia Tech star made his return Monday night and reminded us all how good he is.
Reminder: Kam Chancellor is good at football. pic.twitter.com/Rdpomd8Bpz
— ESPN (@espn) October 6, 2015
Last week's game: 17-13 loss vs. Pittsburgh
After a promising start to the season for the offensive line and surprisingly good quarterback play from backup quarterback Brenden Motley, the offense completely collapsed in an ugly game against Pittsburgh. The Hokies managed only 9 rushing yards and 100 total on offense. That is the lowest number of rushing yards since the 2012 Russell Athletics Bowl in which they managed only 3 yards against Rutgers, and the lowest number of total yards since 1987 in Frank Beamer's first game as head coach when the offense gained only 60 yards against Clemson.
The offensive line gave up seven sacks and Motley threw three interceptions, two of which were terrible throws.
Needless to say, it was a terrible game and yet, if there is any silver lining to Saturday's debacle it is that the offense was at its absolute worst and they still only lost by 4.
The special teams contributed big plays for Virginia Tech with a blocked a punt and the defense held Pitt to only 276 yards despite playing without Fuller who is lost for the season.
That's little comfort to fans out there, but it does show that perhaps the season is salvageable if the offense can improve, but the offensive line must get better in a hurry.
Next game vs. NC State, Fri. 8:00 p.m. ET
Virginia Tech was dominated by the 4th best defense in the country last week and now they get to face No. 3. NC State is currently third in the nation in total defense as they are allowing just under 226 yards per game. Those totals are inflated by the level of competition the Wolfpack has faced this season (Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion, South Alabama and Louisville), but the totals are impressive none the less.
The big question for Virginia Tech entering this game is who will play quarterback. Brewer has been cleared to return to practice, but is considered a game-time decision. NC State does not get to the quarterback as much as Pittsburgh, but considering that the offensive line was shredded by the Panthers, do the Hokies really want to expose their starting quarterback coming off of a broken collarbone to the same sort of punishment as Motley faced?
Obviously this is all moot if Brewer is not cleared, but even if he is, there is reason to wonder if Beamer would immediately put Brewer back in.
Considering that Motley has played fairly well (before last week), the bigger question for the offense this week will be establishing the run. Despite having a stable of backs, Virginia Tech has largely relied on Motley on the ground. That is not a recipe for success. Whether it's J.C. Coleman or Travon McMillian, the Hokies need to give the ball to a running back and allow him to get into a rhythm. With a defense as good as NC State's, Virginia Tech needs to be balanced and use every weapon available to them.
NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett has yet to throw an interception, but he could struggle this week against the Hokies' pass rush. The Wolfpack have allowed 12 sacks this season already. Go back and re-read the first five teams NC State has faced and ask yourself if NC State should have allowed so many sacks against that schedule. Twelve sacks is bad. If Brissett has time, he will go after the new nickelback in Reynolds and find holes in a depleted secondary. If he doesn't have time, he will be forced to get rid of the ball early which could generate turnovers.
NC State won their first four games, but lost last week to Louisville, the first team they played against that still has a pulse. Does Virginia Tech still have a pulse in Blacksburg?
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