2014 Virginia Tech Hokies Team Preview
Virginia Tech Hokies
Head Coach: Frank Beamer
2013 Record: 8-5 overall, 5-3 ACC Coastal
2013 Bowl Result: Lost to UCLA 42-12 in the Sun Bowl
2014 Returning Starters: 9 offense, 5 defense
Odds to win 2015 College Football Championship: 150/1
Odds to win 2014 ACC Championship Game: 12/1
Odds to win 2014 ACC Coastal Division: 3/1
Regular Season Wins: under 8 -130 / over 8 Even
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Last season, Virginia Tech lost their opener to Alabama 35-10, then won six straight games. The Hokies went 2-3 in their next 5 games, but the wins came against rivals Miami and Virginia. Virginia Tech kept their streak alive of going to 21 straight bowl games under coach Frank Beamer. However, the Hokies were routed 42-12 by UCLA in the Sun Bowl in El Paso.
Fourteen starters return for Beamer and the Hokies. Virginia Tech should contend with Miami and North Carolina for the ACC Coastal Division title.
Virginia Tech struggled on offense averaging 236 yards and 120 rushing yards per game. The Hokies averaged 23 points per game. Nine starters return on coordinator Scot Loeffler’s offense.
Although most of the starters on offense are back, the key departure is quarterback Logan Thomas, now with the Arizona Cardinals. Thomas threw for 2,907 yards with 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and also rushed for 344 yards and 4 touchdowns. Sophomore Brenden Motley had a slight lead over two other quarterbacks in the spring. However, Motley must still beat out Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer who arrived in time for fall camp. Motley has no game experience but Brewer took a few snaps for Texas Tech in both 2012 and 2013.
Running back Trey Edmunds returns as the feature back after he had 166 carries for 675 yards and 10 touchdowns, along with 17 catches for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. Edmunds broke his leg in the season finale last year but has been cleared for fall practice. Junior running back J.C. Coleman also returns after he had 84 carries for 284 yards and a touchdown, along with 11 catches. Bruising freshman Marshawn Williams will be the third down back but underwent hernia surgery last month and is questionable for the season opener against William & Mary. The running game must improve or the Hokies could struggle on offense again.
The top three receivers return for the Hokies. Willie Byrn had 51 catches for 660 yards and 2 touchdowns. Demitri Knowles had 45 catches for 641 yards and 3 touchdowns. Joshua Stanford had 40 catches for 640 yards and a touchdown. The Hokies must replace D.J. Coles who only had 25 catches but 6 went for touchdowns. Virginia Tech has a talented trio of tight ends in Ryan Malleck who missed all of 2013 with a shoulder injury, Kalvin Cline (26 catches, 321 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Bucky Hodges, a former quarterback.
The line returns five players who started games last week. However, the line did not perform up to lofty expectations in 2013. They must play better in 2014.
Virginia Tech was #4 nationally in total defense last season allowing 284 yards per game. They were #11 in scoring defense allowing 19 points per game. Five starters return on defense for long time coordinator Bud Foster.
Tackles Luther Maddy, who could have gone to the NFL, and Corey Marshall will anchor the line. Ends Dadi Nicolas and Ken Ekanem are good pass rushers.
The linebackers must replace all of the starters. Still fifth year senior Chase Williams and junior Deon Clarke are promising talents who have waited their turn.
Sophomore corners Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson combined for 11 interceptions as freshmen. Seniors Kyshoen Jarrett and Detrick Bonner will be the safeties.
Virginia Tech missed 11 field goals last year. True freshman Michael Santamaria will take over the kicking duties. Punter A.J. Hughes is solid and gets the job done. Jarrett will likely return punts again but Byrn also returned a few last year. Knowles will return kicks again.
Outlook / Schedule
After the home game against William & Mary, Virginia Tech travels to Ohio State. They also have home non-conference games against East Carolina and Western Michigan. In ACC play, the Hokies travel to North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Duke and Wake Forest. Virginia Tech hosts Georgia Tech, Miami, Boston College and Virginia. The Hokies avoid Florida State, Clemson and Louisville, arguably the best teams in the conference. Still, if the offense improves this team has a shot of winning at least 9 games and the division title.
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