For just a moment, forget the quarterback melodrama. Disregard the redshirt, the reversal and the rotation. Remove yourself from the mob mentality of message boards, talk radio and chain e-mail.
Instead, chew on this little nugget: Virginia Tech could have lost to Furman on Saturday.
Think not? Believe the Hokies' 24-7 victory over the Division I-AA Paladins was as inevitable as Southern California's Week 1 housing of Virginia?
Think again. It's true, and it's a searing indictment of a quality college football program.
Recruiting failures, critical injuries and curious coaching have left the defending ACC champions lacking in every phase.
Not to say the 2008 season is doomed after only two games. Far from it. The Hokies can play better, coach smarter and get healthy.
But with impending contests against Georgia Tech, at North Carolina and at Nebraska, those upgrades need to happen in a hurry.
"We as a football team know we have to get better," coach Frank Beamer said. "There's no doubt about it."
Beamer was as glum as I've ever seen him after a victory. His team is 1-1 entering its conference opener, doesn't pass-protect a lick and has one measly sack for 3 yards on the season.
Beamer gets it. He knows that if an ineligible man downfield hadn't nullified a 57-yard Furman pass in the second quarter, the Paladins might have seized a 7-0 lead. He realizes that the Hokies might have become more skittish, the fans more unruly, the quarterback quandary more puzzling.
Ah, the quarterbacks. We must discuss, yes?
"I'm not ready to talk about our two-quarterback system now," Beamer said.
No matter how awkward, Beamer's flip-flop on redshirting sophomore Tyrod Taylor was spot-on. Taylor rushed for a game-high 112 yards Saturday, and without that spark, Tech might never have dented a swarming defense led by linebacker Brandon Williams.
Granted, Taylor foolishly took a 9-yard, third-down sack that knocked the Hokies out of field-goal range. And no doubt, rotating quarterbacks disrupts an offense's rhythm.
But given their personnel shortcomings, especially on the offensive line, Tech coaches can not afford to redshirt a playmaker who Saturday produced runs of 15, 15, 24 and 50 yards.
Would said playmaker have made a difference in the Hokies' season-opening loss to East Carolina? We'll never know.
We do know that the 50-yard scamper was Taylor at his improvisational best. Operating from the shotgun on third-and-10 from his 36 early in the third quarter, he scrambled right to avoid an all-out blitz, cut back left at Furman's 40 and sprinted to the 14 before being forced out-of-bounds.
Three plays later, the Hokies scored the game's first touchdown to start a decisive 21-points-in-2:29 stretch.
Ironically, that touchdown came on a 10-yard pass from Glennon to Kenny Lewis. The less mobile Glennon did his own scrambling on the play, rolling left and throwing side-armed around linebacker Hunter Twitty, who leveled him just after release.
To their enduring credit, Taylor and Glennon, a fifth-year senior, appear to have remained close — from last season's early benching of Glennon to this year's rash-and-revoked decision to redshirt Taylor.
Yet, the two are polar opposites.
Taylor is stoic and poker-faced, Glennon animated and emotional.
Taylor offered little insight Saturday into his take on the latest quarterback twist. Conversely, Glennon spit nails, albeit with a smile.
"I thought I was going to be the guy unless I got hurt," Glennon said. "(But) it doesn't do me any good to sulk or complain about it because that's not going to change their minds."
When Glennon and Taylor shared the position late last season, Glennon took about three-quarters of the snaps. Saturday, Taylor took 39 to Glennon's 22, and during the final two-plus quarters it was 28-9.
"I wasn't really told why," Glennon said of the shift. "All I can say is I'm disappointed."
He'd better get used to it. Though Glennon will be needed in spots for the remainder of the season, Taylor is the future and needs to assume more and more responsibility, especially in the passing game.
Only once Saturday did Taylor throw downfield — the incompletion was voided by a holding penalty. Of course, deep passes require protection, and pass blocking is the Hokies' most glaring liability.
Conversely, Taylor's running instincts are obvious.
Even while losing more than 100 yards in sacks last season, he had a better per-carry average than tailbacks Branden Ore and Lewis. He rushed for the clinching touchdown at Virginia and had gains of 52 yards against Clemson, 38 versus Florida State and 31 against Boston College.
"I'm excited to be back out on the field making plays," Taylor said.
Virginia Tech faithful undoubtedly concur.
On Page D4 Tech overcomes sluggish first half to get first win. Former Denbigh lineman gets spot duty for Tech.David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times