Virginia Tech Hokies
2011 Record: 11-3 overall, 7-1 ACC Coastal
2011 Bowl Result: Lost Sugar Bowl 23-20 (OT) to Michigan
Head Coach: Frank Beamer
Odds to Win ACC Coastal and ACC: 11/10 Coastal, 3/1 ACC
Odds to Win 2013 BCS Championship: 30/1
Over/Under Regular Season Wins: over 9 -140 / under +110
All Odds Courtesy of Bovada.
Last season, the Virginia Tech Hokies were 11-1 during the regular season under long time coach Frank Beamer, and won the ACC Coastal Division. They played Clemson in the ACC Championship, who gave the Hokies their only regular season loss 23-3 in Blacksburg. Clemson destroyed the Hokies again 38-10 to win the ACC. Virginia Tech had to settle for a berth in the Sugar Bowl against Michigan. The Wolverines ended up winning 23-20 in overtime, and the Hokies finished the season 11-3.
The Hokies have won at least 10 games for the last 7 seasons. If they want to accomplish that feat for an 8th straight year, they will have to overcome the loss of 8 starters on offense and a difficult schedule. Despite these potential obstacles, Virginia Tech is still favored to win the ACC Coastal Division.
Frank Beamer has won more than 200 games in his career at Virginia Tech. Now that Joe Paterno has passed away, Beamer is the longest tenured coach in FBS football. He has coached the Hokies since 1987. Virginia Tech basically has two offensive coordinators in Brian Stinespring and quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain who calls the play. Many people have complained about Tech’s vanilla offense, but don’t look for Beamer to change his conservative ways anytime soon. However, the Hokies will install elements of the trendy pistol offense this fall.
Quarterback Logan Thomas is one of only 3 returning starters on offense from last year. Last year, he set the school record for total yards by a quarterback with just under 3,500 combined rushing and passing yards. He also threw 19 touchdowns passes and ran for 11 more. Thomas threw 10 interceptions and was sacked 17 times. He was the second leading rusher for the Hokies with 153 carries for 469 yards. His athletic skill set is perfect for the pistol offense, so he could be even better this season.
Thomas is the only returning rusher who had more than 16 carries last year. The Hokies must replace ACC player of the year David Wilson who was drafted by the New York Giants, as well as back-up running back Josh Oglesby. Wilson had 290 carries, 1,709 yards, and 9 touchdowns, as well as 22 catches and a touchdown. Oglesby had 97 carries, 371 yards, and 6 touchdowns. The feature back is expected to be redshirt freshman Michael Holmes, but he could be challenged by true freshmen J.C. Coleman and and Trey Edmunds. The “veteran” of the group is Tony Gregory who had 16 carries fro 27 yards. Former fullback Martin Scales moves to halfback this season. Thomas averaged just under 11 carries a game last year, and could get more until the inexperienced running backs get up to speed.
The Hokies must replace the two leading receivers in school history in Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin. The two accounted for 121 receptions, over 1,600 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Both were drafted by the NFL, Coale by the Cowboys and Boykin by the Packers. Despite the significant losses of the duo, the Hokie receiving corps still has a lot of veteran talent thanks to 3 returning seniors. Marcus Davis had 30 catches, 510 yards, and 5 touchdowns last year. D.J. Coles had 36 catches, 480 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Dyrell Roberts missed most of last season with a broken arm and caught only 3 passes. He was granted a medical redshirt for last year. Eric Martin, Randall Dunn, and Ryan Malleck will compete for the tight end job.
The offense line must replace 4 starters. Junior center Andrew Miller started all 14 games last season. Left tackle Nick Becton has started a handful of games in his career. The rest of the projected starters guards David Wang & Brent Benedict, and right tackle Vinston Painter are untested but all were highly recruited out of high school.
Defense and special teams have always been the hallmark of Beamer’s Virginia Tech teams. However, in recent years the defense has slipped from the lofty standards Hokie fans expect. Last year, the unit, coached by long term coordinator Bud Foster relied on mostly freshmen and sophomores. The unit was a top 30 defense, and #7 in scoring defense. This year, with 9 starters returning the unit could be a top ten defense nationally.
The front seven returns all of their starters from last year. Defensive ends J.R. Collins and James Gaylee combined for 22 tackles for loss including 13 sacks. The Hokies led the ACC in sacks last year with 41 sacks. The Hopkins brothers, Antoine and Derrick are the starting tackles. Antoine missed six games last season with a torn ACL. If he isn’t healthy enough to return, Luther Maddy could step in at tackle. Corey Marshall, Zach McCray, and Kris Hartley add depth to the unit.
Linebackers Bruce Taylor and Tariq Edwards missed most of spring practice, but the two are expected to be 100% for the season. They were the two best linebackers last season, but the unit has tons of depth with Alonzo Tweedy, Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, Wiley Brown, Jack Tyler, Chase Williams and a group of stellar freshmen.
The secondary must replace starters Ediie Whitley and corner Jayron Hosley. Safety Antone Exum moves to corner to replace Hosley, and joins Kyle Fuller one of the best corners in the nation. Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett moved from cornerback to safety to give the unit flexibility. The problem is a lack of depth, as one injury could be disastrous for the Hokies.
Last season, place kicker Cody Journell made 14 of 17 field goals but was suspended after a late season arrest. He plead guilty to a lesser charge in May, and could be back on the team in time for fall camp. However, there is no guarantee he keeps his job. Michael Branthover, a sophomore took the lead for both the kicking and punting jobs after a strong spring. Connor Goulding could also be in the mix for the kicking job.
Look for Dyrell Roberts to return kicks, now that he is back from injury. He is the leading kick returner in school history. The punt return job is up in the air, and won’t be settled until late in fall camp.
Virginia Tech opens at home against Georgia Tech on Labor Day. The Hokies then host Austin Peay before a tough road game at Pittsburgh. Bowling Green comes to Blacksburg. Virginia Tech then makes a two game road trip to Cincinnati and North Carolina, before hosting Duke. The Hokies then plays games at Clemson and Miami, before hosting Florida St. Those last three games are against the other 3 teams expected to compete for the ACC title. The Hokies host Boston College before closing out the season at in-state rival Virginia.
Though the offense must break in a lot of young players at running back and on the offensive line, they still have plenty of talent at quarterback and receiver. There are no such questions on defense, where the Hokies should have one of the best defenses in the country.
The schedule is very difficult with tough road games against Pitt, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia and Miami, and a home game against Florida St. I think it will be difficult to continue the streak of 10 win seasons. The Hokies go 9-3 though and still win the Coastal Division.
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