Monday, August 11, 2008

Virginia Tech Is The Favorite Again In The Coastal

Beamer enters season 22 at Virginia Tech - google

ACC Coastal #1 Virginia Tech Hokies

2007 Results and Offseason
The Hokies won the ACC Championship in 2007, their second ACC title in four years. QBs Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor split time much of the season and the same could happen in '08. Va Tech returns just 10 starters, but due to the depth Beamer has built year in and year out in 21 years in Blacksburg, the Hokies are my pick to win the Coastal division again this year.
2007 Record: 11-3, 8-1
Ret. Starters: 10
Ret. Lettermen: 40
Off PPG: 31.9 (1st), RYPG 152.5 (2nd), PYPG 201.8 (9th)
Def PPG: 15.0 (1st), RYPG 69.0 (1st), PYPG 204.6 (3rd)

Offense (6 Ret. Starters 21 Ret. Lettermen)
After a rough start to his junior season, Sean Glennon responded after being benched during the LSU game to complete 60% of his passes for the season. Backup Tyrod Taylor is the scrambler and is the leading returning rusher. Expect Glennon to start and Taylor be the change of pace QB. The Hokies lost Branden Ore who was dismissed in the offseason leaving Kenny Lewis at the leading returner at RB. Jahre Cheeseman and Darren Evans will also get snaps in the backfield. The o-line struggled with injuries last year allowing 54 sacks. Gone is Duane Brown, but four starters return. The top four receivers are gone from last year leaving Sam Wheeler as the leading returner. Wheeler is coming of ACL surgery and will be joined by fellow TE Greg Boone as the favorite targets.

Defense (4 Ret. Starters 18 Ret. Lettermen)
A big reason for VT's success over the year is the "lunch pail" defense. The d-line loses three starters from a year ago. Orion Martin is the leading returner. Cam Martin is the leading returning tackler at LB, but the Hokies will be hard pressed to replace Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi. Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdivant bring senior leadership to the group as well. The secondary could be one the best in the ACC with CB Victor "Macho" Harris and FS Kam Chancellor. The key to being the best will be replacing Brandon Flowers and DJ Parker. Coordinator Bud Foster is one of the underrated assistants in the country with a great defense every year.

Special Teams
Beamer has made his name with special teams over the years. Brent Bowden is back at P, but Va Tech has to replace kicker Jud Dunleavy and both returners.

Newcomers of Note
The Hokies brought in a big class this February led by RB Ryan Williams who could challenge for playing time in an inexperienced backfield. OL Vinston Painter and LB Bruce Taylor were also big gets for Beamer.

Schedule
VT has E.Carolina, Furman, @Nebraska, vW.Kentucky for non-conference. Beats playing LSU in Baton Rouge. From the Atlantic they have @BC, @FSU, and vMaryland so they dodge Clemson. The Sept 20 game @North Carolina could have big Coastal division ramifications.

Final Thoughts
VT has been a dominant program since their inception into the ACC. Things do not look any different this season despite just 10 returning starters. The Hokies will have to balance a two QB system and overcome new faces at the skill positions. Va Tech can overcome these and will benefit from a down year overall in the Coastal.

Prediction:
Likely Wins: vECU, vFurman, vGT, vW.KY, vDuke, vUVA, vMryld
Likely Losses: None
Swing: @UNC, @Neb, @BC, @FSU, @Miami

10-2, 6-2

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