Virginia Tech Hokies
2010 Record: 11-3
2010 Bowl Game: Lost to Stanford 40-12 in the Orange Bowl
2010 Against the Spread: 10-4
2010 over/under: 7-7
Returning Starters: 11 (7 offense, 4 defense)
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Last year Virginia Tech started off with an emotional 33-30 loss to Boise St and then was upset by James Madison 21-16 the next week. The Hokies rebounded to win 11 straight games including the ACC Championship against Florida St 44-33. However, the season ended in disappointment as Tech was destroyed by Stanford 40-12 in the Orange Bowl. This season Coach Frank Beamer must replace 4 starters on offense and 7 starters on defense. However, the Hokies are still ranked #13 in the USA Today/ ESPN coaches’ pre-season poll.
Here is a look at the Hokies’ offense, defense, special teams and schedule.
Last season, Virginia Tech had one of the most prolific rushing offenses in the country. The Hokies rushed for over 200 yards a game and averaged 403.9 total yards a game. Tech averaged 33.9 points a game last season.
Virginia Tech must replace dual threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor who graduated from the program. Taylor had over 3,400 combined passing and rushing yards along with 29 total touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Sophomore Logan Thomas takes over behind center for Taylor. Thomas threw 26 passes last year in spot duty. Thomas has been compared by some to former Ohio St quarterback Terrelle Pryor (hopefully without the inconsistency and off-field issues that plagued Pryor.)
In the backfield, The Hokies must replace 3 of their 4 top rushers from last season, including Taylor. Ryan Williams and Darren Evans both left for the NFL. Junior David Wilson will be the primary ball carrier. Wilson had 113 carries for 619 yards and 5 touchdowns last year. Wilson also had 15 catches and 4 touchdowns last year. Senior Josh Oglesby had to play fullback last year due to injuries. He moves back to tailback and will get a lot of carries as the primary back-up. Sophomore Tony Gregory tore his ACL last season but the speedy tailback is healthy and will get carries as well in Beamer’s run oriented offense.
The Hokies return their top 5 receivers from last year, including Wilson. Senior Jarrett Boykin had 53 catches for 847 yards and 6 touchdowns. Senior Danny Coale had 39 catches for 732 yards and 3 touchdowns. Dyrell Roberts and Marcus Davis will also be targets as each caught around 20 passes and 2 touchdowns last year. Chris Drager moves from defensive end to tight end to replace Andre Smith who had 20 catches and 5 touchdowns.
The Hokies return 4 starters on the offensive line but must replace Beau Warren at Center. Sophomore Andrew Miller takes over for Warren. The line has the potential to be among the best in the ACC led by 2nd team All-ACC players right tackle Blake DeChristopher and right guard Jaymes Brooks.
Last season Virginia Tech’s defense was bend but don’t break as they gave up 361.7 total yards a game but only 20.6 points a game. Virginia Tech was vulnerable against the run giving up 156.1 yards a game. The Hokies struggled to stop the run sometimes in the red zone giving up more big plays then Beamer and defensive coordinator Bud Foster would have wanted.
Linebacker Bruce Taylor and cornerback Jayron Hosley will lead a defense that must replace seven starters. Sophomores DE James Gayle, LB Tariq Edwards, CB Kyle Fuller, and rover Antoine Exum are all raw but talented and could mature into All-Stars perhaps as early as this year.
Special teams have always been an important part of “Beamer Ball” and this year will be no different. Tech must replace All-ACC kicker Chris Hazley and Brian Saunders, also all-ACC. Sophomore Cody Journell will handle the place kicking while the punting battle will come down to four players.
Dyrell Roberts and David Wilson will return kicks for the Hokies. Wilson led the ACC in kick returns last year with 26.5 yards per return and scored 2 touchdowns. Roberts was 4th in the nation in kick returns in 2009, so both are dangerous. Jayron Hosley was second in the ACC in punt returns with a 12.6 yard average and scored a touchdown.
Unlike last season when the Hokies started off with a very tough game against Boise St, this year’s non-conference slate isn’t nearly as challenging. They host Appalachian St, travel to East Carolina, host Arkansas St, and travel to Marshall to begin the season. In the conference, Virginia Tech has home games against Clemson, Miami, Boston College, and North Carolina. The Hokies get their top two rivals for the ACC Coastal Division crown at home in Miami and North Carolina. Virginia Tech travels to Wake Forest, Duke, Georgia Tech and arch-rival Virginia. Only Georgia Tech of those teams poses a real threat of beating the Hokies. With a rather soft schedule, Virginia Tech could easily win 11 games or even run the table. Virginia Tech and Florida St are clearly the class of the league and they could face each other again in the ACC Championship game in December. If Virginia Tech does run the table the soft non-conference schedule could keep them out of the BCS National Championship game.
Last season, the Hokies were 10-4 against the spread including 6-3 at home and 4-1 on the road. The over/under was 7-7 last year including 6-3 at home and 1-4 on the road.
Game to Play Virginia Tech
If you can find a line on the opener vs Appalachian St, though most places won’t book that game as App St is an FCS team, I would bet on Virginia tech even if you have to lay double digits. Some offshore books might put it up a day or two before the game. After nodding off against a talented FCS school James Madison last year, there is no way Beamer will allow it happen again against another FCS school. Lay the wood.
Game to Play Against Virginia Tech
The toughest game on tech’s schedule is at home vs Miami. Last year, the Hokies won in Florida by two touchdowns. Even though the Canes are rebuilding under new coach Al Golden, the two schools usually play each other pretty tough as they have developed quite a rivalry. I think Miami will hang tough in Blacksburg this season.
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