Sports / Virginia

Hokies aim to ruin BC assistant coach’s return to Blacksburg

FILE - In this April 19, 2016, file photo, Virgina Tech head coach Justin Fuente signals to his players during a spring football scrimmage in Blacksburg, Va. Fuente arrived from Memphis and is trying to get the Hokies to play at a faster offensive pace. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP, File)

FILE – In this April 19, 2016, file photo, Virgina Tech head coach Justin Fuente signals to his players during a spring football scrimmage in Blacksburg, Va. Fuente arrived from Memphis and is trying to get the Hokies to play at a faster offensive pace. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP, File)

There will be a very familiar face in the visitor’s locker room at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Scot Loeffler, the Hokies’ offensive coordinator for the last three years of Frank Beamer’s tenure at Virginia Tech, is now holding the same position with Boston College. The Hokies hope to ruin his return to Blacksburg on Saturday.

It’s the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for Virginia Tech (1-1), and the Hokies expect to see some familiar looks from the BC (1-1, 0-1) offense.

“I think we’ll see a lot of familiar things. I think he might try to change it up a little bit, but I think as far as using the same personnel for trying to get in different formations but stay with the same personnel, I think he’s still going to do that type of stuff,” Hokies linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka said this week.

The Eagles also have the nation’s No. 3 defense, allowing just 180 yards per game. BC has the No. 6 rushing defense, allowing just 48 yards per game despite having played run-oriented Georgia Tech in the teams’ ACC opener.

Under first-year coach Justin Fuente, the Hokies have had no trouble moving the ball — they average 429 yards per game — but they have had difficulty holding onto it with nine lost fumbles in their two first games.

Still, Eagles coach Steve Addazio knows the Hokies are working on that, too.

“They’ve got a host of great skill players starting with their quarterback Jerod Evans,” Addazio said this week. “Travon McMillian, I really like the way he runs with the football. Sam Rogers I think is just an overall great player. Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges and Cam Phillips, just a long list of skilled players.

“I know they’re a tempo team. I know they want to get to the line really fast. I saw them against Tennessee. They came out of the blocks really, really fast and (I’m) really impressed with them as a football team. They’re well-coached on both sides of the ball and special teams, so this will be a great challenge for us.”

Boston College has lost nine straight ACC games.

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Some other things to watch when Boston College visits Virginia Tech:

BALL SECURITY: Virginia Tech leads the FBS nation in fumbles with nine, including three by quarterback Jerod Evans and another on an errant snap. They need to fix that to have any chance of success.

FAMILIARITY: Loeffler’s offense was slow going initially at Virginia Tech and has been the same for the Eagles. Boston College ranks 106th in total offense through two games, which puts a lot of pressure on the defense.

RUNNING GAME: BC allows just 48 rushing yards per game, a stunning statistic considering they have already played Georgia Tech with its vaunted triple option. The Hokies, led by Travon McMillan (83 ypg), average 196 yards per game on the ground and could make a statement by having success against the Eagles.

WHERE’S ISAIAH? The Hokies have tried to incorporate multiple receivers into their passing game, trying to keep everyone fresh and dynamic, but they haven’t figured out a way to minimize their best receiver, Isaiah Ford. He’s got 16 receptions in two games and is averaging 10.5 yard per reception. That’s a first down.

HISTORY: The Eagles have typically been a tough matchup for Virginia Tech, winning two of the last three matchups and four of the previous 10 at Lane Stadium.

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Online: The AP’s college football page: http://collegefootball.ap.org

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