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Ga. Tech WR a Big Threat

While Georgia Tech’s offense runs, runs and runs some more, it can be potent through their air in the few passing plays it calls.

“You can’t necessarily say it’s balanced,” said Torrian Gray, Virginia Tech’s defensive backs coach, “but the production they’re getting out of the receiving or the passing game, for them to run for almost 300 yards a game and pass for 150, that’s tough.”

The No. 19 Yellow Jackets (5-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) are averaging 277 rushing yards per game and are passing for 149.7 yards per game. Guarding against those passing plays will be important for the No. 4 Hokies (5-1, 3-0) on Saturday in Atlanta.

Georgia Tech’s aerial yards often come in the form of big plays by wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who is an elite player and a big-play threat. Virginia Tech’s defense has been susceptible to long gains, allowing 22 plays of 20 yards or more.

“He’s a home-run guy,” Gray said. “He can run by you, he can catch the ball in front of you at 5 yards and make you miss and go the distance. That’s a complete receiver. That’s the guy that scares me the most.”

Gray said Thomas, a fourth-year junior, is the best receiver the Hokies have faced this season. High praise, considering Virginia Tech played against Alabama star Julio Jones.

Thomas has 11 receptions for 20 yards or more this season, four of which went for 50 yards or more. Thomas is 15th in the nation with 103.33 receiving yards per game, but he is only averaging 4.33 receptions per game.

At 6 feet 3, Thomas is big, and he is fast. He seems to rarely lose one-on-one battles with defensive backs. But he also has the benefit of playing in a run-first offense, which can take advantage of defenses that over-commit to stopping the run.

“They’re hitting a big play or two minimum and in those close games,” Gray said. “Those plays are making the difference.”

By Mark Viera  |  October 13, 2009; 6:18 PM ET
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