September 11, 2018 / 6:14 PM / 7 months ago

No. 13 Virginia Tech, East Carolina bracing for Florence impact

Every team goes through wet weather drills at practice every week, just in case they have to play in rainy conditions during a game.

But there’s potential for No. 13 Virginia Tech and East Carolina to play in something besides rain when they meet for a non-conference game Saturday at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va.

Hurricane Florence, which is scheduled to hit off Cape Fear, N.C. on Thursday, is predicted to be either a Category 4 or 5 storm. While Blacksburg is about 300 miles from any coastline, Florence is still forecast to bring winds between 30-50 mph to the New River Valley by Saturday.

Virginia Tech officials will determine sometime Wednesday if the game will go on as scheduled or be moved, or perhaps even canceled. Nevertheless, coach Justin Fuente is moving on as though the game will be played on time, and with a slippery ball and drenched playing surface.

“We’ve got to worry about the things we can control,” Fuente said. “The first thing that comes to mind is that we have to make care of the football in wet conditions. This week, there will be a special emphasis on it ... understand that it takes a little bit of effort and concentration.”

The Hokies (2-0) are glad just to have the normal week to prepare for a game. While they hammered William & Mary last week 62-17, they played with just four days of rest. The team kept things simple offensively, rushing for 305 yards, the most in Fuente’s three years.

Virginia Tech had trouble at times last year generating a solid running game, a trend that carried over to a season-opening 24-3 win at Florida State.

“The key is adapting to the schemes we see each week,” Fuente said. “I don’t think we just line up and move people out of the stadium. It’s going to be can we execute the schemes required versus the looks we’re seeing.”

East Carolina (1-1) made serious improvements from an opening loss to FCS foe North Carolina A&T, blowing out North Carolina 41-19 last week at home.

Quarterback Reid Herring threw for 290 yards and a touchdown as the Pirates scored all 20 points in the second half.

East Carolina finished with 510 yards of offense and 26 first downs, but figures to have a tougher time moving the ball against the Hokies’ fast, physical defense.

The expected weather conditions probably won’t help as well.

“The hard thing is just the unknown,” Pirates coach Scottie Montgomery said. “We’re putting some things in place to hopefully give us the chance to be completely focused on the game. Our guys are looking forward to this chance.”

—Field Level Media

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