The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Coach Chan Gailey often cringes when he’s asked about Georgia Tech’s impressive pass rush.
Not that the Yellow Jackets have trouble hitting opposing quarterbacks. Georgia Tech averages more than 3.6 sacks per game to rank fourth in the nation.
What concerns Gailey is that No. 11 Virginia Tech, which visits Bobby Dodd Stadium on Thursday night, wins despite giving up a lot of sacks.
The Hokies (6-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) have allowed 29 sacks to rank 111th in the nation, but Gailey worries that his team doesn’t know which quarterback it will face.
Freshman Tyrod Taylor is 5-0 as a starter and has more talent, but he missed last week’s loss to No. 2 Boston College with a high ankle sprain. Junior Sean Glennon will run the offense if Taylor can’t play.
Taylor has been cleared to return to practice this week, so the Jackets (5-3, 2-3) must prepare as if he will play.
"The type of offense that you’re going to get is very different, which seems like it’s the same situation we have (every week)," Gailey said Monday. "It’s been a regular occurrence, to say the least."
Like former Virginia Tech quarterbacks Michael Vick, Bryan Randall and Marcus Vick, Taylor runs as well as he throws, averaging 148 total yards per game.
Glennon, who tied a 34-year-old school record by attempting 53 passes in last year’s loss to Georgia Tech in Blacksburg, uses a traditional approach as a pocket passer.
"Taylor likes to run the ball a lot," Jackets cornerback Jahi Word-Daniels said. "He is very versatile, and Sean likes to pass the ball a little bit more and roll out to let the receivers get to their patterns. They’re both good. They have their strengths and weaknesses, and we have to practice for both of them differently."
After watching Virginia Tech’s 14-10 loss to Boston College, Gailey thought Glennon did the best he could in rainy conditions.
"He’s very talented and has a strong arm," Gailey said. "He probably hasn’t hit a rhythm that has been good for him yet. It’s a shame that it was a big ball game for him the other night, and it was raining like everything. It was hard for him to be good in that type of game."
Gailey, who recruited Glennon, thought Hokies coach Frank Beamer signed a quarterback who could start for several years. Unfortunately for Glennon, a three-interception fourth quarter in last year’s loss to Georgia in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl turned many Hokie fans against him.
"I thought he was going to be an excellent quarterback," Gailey said. "I don’t think he’s hit a groove there, so to speak. He’s got all the tools, he just hasn’t found it yet. I don’t know what it is or how to find it, though."
Just as Virginia Tech did to them in a lopsided loss the previous year in Atlanta, Georgia Tech jumped out to a big lead last season, going up 21-0 with nearly four minutes left in the first quarter.
Defensive end Adamm Oliver, who recovered a fumble by Glennon that led another touchdown and a 38-13 lead for the Jackets, credited coordinator Jon Tenuta for mixing up his calls.
"I think just confusing them more than anything (made the biggest difference," Oliver said. "That has a lot to do with just moving around and showing them different formations."
When watching the Hokies on film, Oliver sees essentially the same offense he’s faced over the last three years.
"Not too significant," the senior said. "A little wrinkle here, a little wrinkle there, but basically about the same thing."