What have the Virginia Tech Hokies been up to this spring? Apart from losing defensive players every which way you can lose them, VT is building an offensive powerhouse and loading up for big run through the ACC.
After the jump, find out what has changed and what hasn't with the Hokies thus far, and weigh in with your thoughts on the Labor Day matchup and the matchups you think will be most important. Here's one to chew on: Argainst the Broncos, ae the Hokies better off going with a run game of returning 1,000-yard rushers Ryan Williams and Darren Evans or should they focus on the passing of Tyrod Taylor? Vote in the poll and chat in the comments.
All this week, OBNUG will be checking in with Boise State's 2010 opponents to see how their spring is going. Now: Virginia Tech. Next: Wyoming.
The last indelible image of Virginia Tech's 2009 season
Chick-fil-a Bowl LULZ! (via alt.coxnewsweb.com)
Chick-fil-a Bowl victories are the best. The Hokies routed Tennessee, 37-14, to give VT 10 wins on the season even though victories over Lane Kiffin teams should be considered three-fourths of a win at best.
What has changed
Seven defensive players will not be back this season, including defensive stars Cody Grimm (leading tackler) and Jason Worilds (leading pass rusher). Worilds broke VT hearts when he declared early for the NFL Draft - not a bad thought considering there may not be an NFL in 2011. Plus, three-fourths of the Hokie secondary will be new.
Virginia Tech and DC Bud Foster are big-time enough that they won't rebuild, they'll reload, but I would not want to get caught reloading while Kellen Moore, Jeremy Avery, Titus Young, and Company have you squarely in their crosshairs.
On offense, the left side of the Hokie line will not be around in 2010, including the biggest offensive loss, LT Ed Wang (and second-biggest, LG Sergio Rennder). Again, reloading-not-rebuilding-blah-blah-blah, but that is a pretty significant loss when you are dealing in terms of entire groupings rather than individual positions. The Wang-Render replacements will have their work cut out for them.
Also of note, All-ACC punter Brent Bowden is gone, meaning Brad Elkin may be the second-best punter on the field on Labor Day.
What hasn't changed
The Hokies have one of the nation's best backfield bundles in QB Tyrod Taylor and RBs Darren Evans and Ryan Williams. Plus, VT's three top receivers return in 2010. Basically, picture what the Hokies were able to do to Tennessee in the Chick-fil-a Bowl, replace Tennessee with a token ACC team, and you'll have a pretty good idea of how the Virginia Tech offense is going to look this season.
Biggest spring storyline
How will Virginia Tech share Ryan Williams and Darren Evans?
Here are some fun facts about VT's top two returning running backs:
- Ryan Williams rushed for 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. The yardage numbers were a Virginia Tech record and third-best single-season mark in ACC history. The touchdown total is an ACC record.
- Darren Evans 1,265 yards in 2008. (Evans missed all of last season with an ACL tear.)
Hmm, an offense with a pair of outstanding running backs. Sound familiar, Bronco fans?
The spring will be the first chance for Evans to re-take the field with the team, and while his participation may be limited, he and Williams are expected to give the Hokies two healthy 1,000-yard rushers by opening weekend. A simple way to solve this? Four words: Two year Mormon mission. I'm surprised Frank Beamer hasn't thought of this yet.
Runner-up for best storyline: the defensive line
No Worilds hurts. Losing three of four starters total stings. And not having your top backup to make it all better is really just rubbing it in. Warm bodies are needed to step up in Blacksburg this spring.
The question: Is Virginia Tech better off attacking Boise State with the run or with the pass?
You can vote in the poll below, but let me set the stage for you. Virginia Tech will have two 1,000-yard rushers for its game against Boise State. QB Taylor will have his top three receivers back and Taylor is good. How would you gameplan against BSU's defense? Pass or run?
Some things to consider, and I'm open to hearing any and all thoughts in the comments:
- Will Boise State's defense be tougher against the run or the pass?
- Though VT's Williams got a lot of praise following the Chick-fil-a blowout, Taylor's passing was what really set the stage for the laugher. Therefore, does VT pass to set up the run? Vice versa?
- For the first game of the year, how far along will the VT offensive line be? Is it easier to pass or run with a green line?
You may start disliking this person
He is a rich man's Nathan Enderle. A very, very rich man who bought Apple stock in 1989 and who names his children Nolan. Taylor is highly regarded as one of the ACC's best passers, and considering the way the offseason hype machine blows through town, he may be one of the nation's best by Labor Day.
But consider this: Taylor completes under 60 percent of his passes, and he threw for only 13 touchdowns last season. His QB efficiency rating is rather stellar, but is that enough to lionize the guy? Forget Nathan Enderle. We may be treading in Colin Kaepernick waters.
- Today: Hokie head coach Frank Beamer will address the media today to kick off spring practice for the Hokies.
- Wednesday, March 31: Spring practice officially begins for VT.
- April 10: Scrimmage
- April 17: Scrimmage
- April 24: The Maroon-White game
SB Nation has a Virginia Tech blog titled Gobbler Country, and even if I wasn't contractually obligated to mention them, I would mention them. Also, I have a pen pal who writes College Game Balls - a VT-like blog. And the Washington Post, which I did not know still existed, has a beat reporter covering the Hokies.
To the comments ...
Excited about the possibility of Kellen Moore facing seven new defensive starters? Think the Hokies will go for a run-first approach or a pass-first approach against the Broncos? Content with disliking Tyrod Taylor? Share your thoughts in the comments.