KEYS FOR VIRGINIA TECH
Threaten Kellen Moore from the left side
If Boise State is really as uncertain as coach Chris Petersen is letting on at the left guard and left tackle positions, Tech needs to get fleet-footed defensive end Steven Friday, a Phoebus High product, in quarterback Kellen Moore's face from that side of the field. It'll be easier said than done. With Moore being a southpaw, the left side is his front side.
Get the ball and keep the ball
What's the best way to keep Boise State from getting close to the national-best 42.2 points per game it averaged last season? Keep the Broncos' offense off the field. Though quarterback Tyrod Taylor will have to be accurate and keep Boise State's defense off-balance with a few passes, heavy doses of running backs Ryan Williams, Darren Evans and David Wilson should be expected.
Make Boise State work hard up front on defense
Tech offensive line coach Curt Newsome said Boise State's Ryan Winterswyk might be one of the best defensive ends Tech sees all season. After having team-highs last season with nine sacks and 17 tackles for loss, it's clear to see the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Winterswyk can be a handful. New Tech starting left tackle Andrew Lanier will have to be sharp, because he will certainly be tested.
Don't compound the problem
OK, let's say Tech's offense stalls a few times, giving Moore the opportunity to get on the field and do what he does best: complete passes to his play-makers. In that case, Tech absolutely must make sure Boise State's healthy running game, which was rated 26th in the nation last season (186.1 yards per game), doesn't provide a dangerous complement to Moore's passing. Running backs Doug Martin, Jeremy Avery and D.J. Harper must be bottled up.
Stay disciplined and run to the ball
Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster expressed slight concern late this week about his unit's tackling prowess. He was worried some players were relying too much on "collision" tackles as opposed to wrapping up and dragging down offensive players. With Boise State's tendency to use the screen play, Tech must stay aware and get all 11 defensive players running to the ball after screens to ensure effective gang-tackling.