So lets talk Hokie Football.
Question 1 (From Reader “Riggs”)
“Are we really going to be that good next year? I just don’t see us being a top 10 team given last season’s offensive output. Tell me that we’re overhauling the offense, or we’re adding new packages. Give me some hope.”
Well, Riggs, no sense beating around the bush. Way to dive right in. In terms of “will we be any good”, I think you have to look at specific goals the team has. Virginia Tech is a program that will generally always be “good” (competitive, winning record, bowl game) but each season you have to ask yourself 1) can we win our division of the ACC?, 2) can we win the ACC (BCS Bowl)?, and 3) can we make a run at the National Championship? There is much talk that this is one of those years where all 3 goals are in reach. I happen to agree.
Winning the Coastal means being better than Georgia Tech, UNC, and Miami. All have a chance to be better than 2008 but looking at schedules I like VTs chances. I think the ACC will be improved overall, and its tough to win the conference back to back years, especially when teams are so even, but again I like Virginia Tech’s schedule and think they have a favorable chance of being conference champions. But it only takes one loss to any of the mentioned teams to be out of that mix. Will the Hokies be a top 10 team? Unlike last year, I think the ACC conference champion (and close contenders) will be in the top 10 regularly.
Finally, is this a year for a National Championship run? I believe Virginia Tech has accomplished building a program that can make such a run every so often (unlike a program like, say, UVa), and this year is one of those years. But for it to happen, even more things have to go right – injuries, close wins, opponents loses. The good news is I think we’ll know early (after the Alabama game) how real this goal is.
As far as the offense changing, don’t hold your breath. It should be better, just because the personnel is more experienced. I know its frustrating, but Frank Beamer has won with this low tech, low risk offense for a long time and doesn’t seem to have plans to change. We’re likely stuck with Stinespring’s quarterback-draw heavy play calling.
Question 2 (From “Beer Control Offense”)
“Are you concerned about the lack of depth at quarterback? How many significant snaps do you think VT’s back up quarterback will get?”
Damn right I am, not sure how you couldn’t be. Does anyone not think Tyrod’s going to come up from one of his scrambles gimpy? Its bound to happen. I flinch every time he’s tackled just like I did with both Vicks. Make no mistake, we’ll need a back up.
In fact, I’d be very surprised if we don’t need a back up to start a few games. Not having a solid back up QB in this situation is not a great recipe for a National Championship run.
I also wouldn’t be surprise if some crazy things happen at the position this year. Ju Ju Clayton could turn out to be a surprisingly poised back up. Or maybe Greg Boone ends up being more than a “Wild Turkey” QB, or Marcus Davis emerges as an option, or some walk on ends up taking snaps.
But none of those are options I want to count on, so yes, I’ve very concerned.
“What position do you think is most important to the Hokies the defensive side of the ball this spring? Are there any young players who will step up during spring on that side of the ball?
You would think linebacker – Mike and Backer – key positions that are being completely turned over to new starters, mostly Fr and So players. Barquell Rivers and Jake Johnson get good reviews and are penciled in as starters, but behind them are Bruce Taylor and Quillie Odom who were highly touted recruits and I’m anxious to see these guys. I especially think Bruce Taylor, who we thought was headed for the D-line, is a guy to watch.
Besides linebacker, I’d say the field corner position is most critical for us to watch. Stephan Virgil has moved to boundary corner, a very important position, but Virgil’s a proven commodity, leaving the field corner to a new starter in 2009. Coach Torrian Gray is going to throw Rashard Carmichael, Cris Hill, and Eddie Whitley at it and see who wins out, and frankly it wouldn’t surprise me if any one of three comes out on top.
Again, what’s cool is that while these are inexperienced guys, they are talented so it will be fun to see them on the field. Also watch Lorenzo Williams at free safety.
“What would you change about college football’s spring practice system?”
Shoot, I don’t know, give me more spring game to feed my college football fix during the long off season drought. I say make all the BCS schools have their spring game on the same Saturday night (some boring night in April when NOTHING is going on), and put them on TV as part of the ESPN Game Plan package.
Question 5 (from “College Game Balls”)
“What kind of music do you think the team is pumping in the locker room? And is Beamer getting down? I know the ’99 team was big into Method Man and Dr. Dre.”
Lil Wayne? Ludacris? Rihanna? Unfortunately you’re mostly out of my demographic so I’m just guessing. But if the Hokies beat ‘Bama in the Dome, you’ll probably get Beamer to get down to whatever they put on.