Kansas Is Busy Preparing For An Offense They've Never Seen Before
Virginia Tech began its two-quarterback system nine games into the season
Dec. 31, 2007
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- To people who watch football instead of playing it, Virginia Tech's dual-quarterback system would seem to be making life simple for Kansas in the Orange Bowl.
Look for the run when Tyrod Taylor's in the game. If Sean Glennon breaks the huddle, expect the pass.
Wrong, say the men who'll actually be on the field attempting to stop the two-headed Hokie attack.
"I wouldn't say it makes it easier. I would say it might make it a little more difficult, two quarterbacks who are both good players," said Kansas defensive end Russell Brorsen. "It's like preparing for two quarterbacks for one game instead of just one."
Virginia Tech (10-2) began the two-quarterback system nine games into the season and proved a lot of skeptics wrong by making it work.
With freshman Taylor and junior Glennon alternating, the Hokies broke in their new system by beating Florida State and snapping a 12-game losing streak against the Seminoles, then rolled to the ACC championship and right into the Orange Bowl.
"What it all comes to is this," Kansas linebacker Mike Rivera said. "It's the same offense and they do it well."
Still, the two quarterbacks do have distinctive abilities. The 6-4 Glennon hit 130 of 207 passes for 1,636 yards and eleven touchdowns, including three TDs in the victory over Boston College in the ACC championship game.
After serving as No. 2 behind Taylor for four games, Glennon regained the job when Taylor got hurt. Then when Taylor healed up, the two became a quarterback tandem that's been unbeatable ever since. Glennon ran for only one touchdown while Taylor ran for six. Taylor's 431 yards rushing, in fact, made him the team's second-leading rusher, although he also threw for five TDs.
"One can throw real well and he can run pretty well," Brorsen said. "The other can run real well and throw pretty well. They have their different styles. It makes it quite a bit different out there."
Nevertheless, the Jayhawks will have one important advantage that was denied to Virginia Tech's ACC foes -- time to get ready.
Everybody else had only one week to study the Hokies and prepare a game plan. But it's been more than a month since Kansas learned it would play Virginia Tech on Jan. 3.
These Kansans are no slouches when it comes to defense. They finished fifth in the nation, allowing a spare 16 points a game.
Aren't the Hokies concerned that Jayhawk coaches, studying film every night until their eyelids droop, may spot trends and tendencies that more hurried foes missed?
"Absolutely," Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring said. "From week to week, I don't think there was a pattern. I don't think it was an opportunity to create a pattern. As this thing has unfolded, I feel like if you went back and looked at the last six games, you can probably see a pattern develop about which quarterback is running which plays.
"Is there a common denominator for each quarterback? I think so."
It's probably too late to return to the traditional one-quarterback way. So what do the Hokies do with their tricky offense?
They make it even trickier.
"We'll try to at least throw enough wrinkles in there where I run some of the more typical Tyrod plays and he runs some of the more dropback, throw-it-down-the-field plays that I would run," Glennon said. "Just to keep defenses off balance."
A good way for the Hokies to fool the Jayhawks would be NOT to do that very thing.
"I'm sure they'll have some new wrinkles that they've installed for the ballgame," Kansas defensive coordinator Bill Young said. "But we've been able to study their film."
Study their film? The Jayhawks have practically memorized it.
"It's to the point now that you put a tape in there and you know what the next play is," Young said. "You've seen it so many times."
The Hokies know that Kansas has dissected their tendencies like a medical student carving into a frog. Kansas naturally knows that the Hokies know this. So it'll be up to the Jayhawks to adjust to Virginia Tech's adjustments. This Orange Bowl, perhaps more than any other BCS Bowl this season, could turn into a chess match in shoulder pads.
"You took the words right out of our mouth," said Young. "It's what we talk about all the time in the defensive staff room. We know they'll have some new wrinkles.
"And we will, too."