2011 Pre-Season Preview: #16 Virginia Tech Hokies

2010 Record: (11-3, 8-0 in ACC)

Head Coach: Frank Beamer (198-95-2 at VT, 240-118-4 All-Time)

Last Bowl Game: 2010/2011 Orange Bowl (lost to Stanford 40-12)

Final 2010/2011 AP Ranking: #16

Final 2010/2011 CFBZ Ranking: #15

2010 Virginia Tech Preview

 

Schedule

9/3: Appalachian State

9/10: at East Carolina (2010 result: won 49-27)

9/17: Arkansas State

9/24: at Marshall (2009 result: won 52-10)

10/1: Clemson

10/8: Miami, Fl (2010 result: won 31-17)

10/15: at Wake Forest (2010 result: won 52-21)

10/22: Boston College (2010 result: won 19-0)

10/29: at Duke (2010 result: won 44-7)

11/10: at Georgia Tech (2010 result: won 28-21)

11/17: UNC (2010 result: won 26-10)

11/26: at Virginia (2010 result: won 37-7)


2010 Offensive Statistics:

Scoring: 33.9 ppg (1st in ACC, 21st in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 198.71 yds/game (2nd in ACC, 23rd in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 203.6 yds/game (8th in ACC, 72nd in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 402.3 yds/game (5th in ACC, 41st in Nation)


2010 Defensive Statistics:

Scoring: 20.6 ppg (4th in ACC, 26th in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 155.93 yds/game (7th in ACC, 64th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 205.6 yds/game (5th in ACC, 40th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 361.5 yds/game (8th in ACC, 52nd in Nation)

 

2010 Misc Stats:

Turnover Margin: +1.36 per game (1st in ACC, 1st in Nation)

Penalties: 41.6 yds/game (3rd in ACC, 19th in Nation)

 

Returning Starters:

Offense: 7

Defense: 5

Kicker/Punter: 0

 

Top Returning Statistical Leaders:

Passing: QB Logan Thomas, Soph (12 of 26 for 107 yds)

Rushing: RB David Wilson, Jr (113 for 619 yds, 5.4 ypc, 5 TD)

Receiving: WR Jarrett Boykin, Sr (53 rec for 847 yds, 6 TD)

Tackles: LB Bruce Taylor, Jr (91)

Sacks: LB Bruce Taylor, Jr (6)

Interceptions: CB Jayron Hosley, Jr (9)

 

Bowl Predictions:

Athlon Sports: Chick-fil-A (vs Florida)

Phil Steele: Orange (vs Pittsburgh)

 

Of all the scenarios that ran through the minds of Virginia Tech fans, an 0-2 start to the 2010 season was not one of them. The Hokies lost to Boise State by three points the first week of the season. Boise jumped on Tech early and then held on late to get the Hokies off on a disappointing start to their season. But it was the next week that the unfathomable happened. The Hokies dropped a game to the James Madison Dukes 21-16 in Blacksburg. At 0-2 the season seemed lost and pointless but the Hokies showed a lot of moxie as they battled back and won eleven straight games including three wins over ranked opponents (NC State, Miami and FSU). The Hokies went into the Orange Bowl on a high but ended up getting splattered by Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal by 28 points. Overall, an 11-3 season is nothing to sneeze at but the way it started and ended had to leave a little bit of an empty feeling in the stomach of the Hokie faithful.

Moving on to 2011, the Hokies have to replace three of their top offensive weapons in Tyrod Taylor, Darren Evans and Ryan Williams. David Wilson seems ready to take that RB spot and run with it, but is he ready to be the feature back? The ACC will be breaking in a ton of new QBs this season. EJ Manuel, Tajh Boyd, Mike Glennon and Bryn Renner all come to mind. That’s a pretty talented group of QBs but the one who might have the highest upside is Logan Thomas. He’s not the all-around athlete that Tyrod Taylor was but he has the ability to bring a stronger passing game to the table than did Taylor. The question is how long it will take Thomas to adapt to ACC play and become a difference maker.

On the defensive side of the football, the Hokies weren’t as stingy last year as usual as they gave up the most points and yards in recent memory. One of the keys for Virginia Tech will be if they can get that edge back on the defensive side of the football. Bruce Taylor and Jayron Hosley will lead the way but Tech will need others to step up and help them become the force that they once were. One of the big factors in favor of the Hokies this season is their schedule. Phil Steele ranks Virginia Tech’s schedule as the 71st toughest in the Nation. The Hokies 2011 opponents combined for a 46% winning percentage in 2010, which was ranked 100th. The toughest out of conference opponents the Hokies play is East Carolina and the Hokies beat them by 22 last year. The toughest road game the Hokies play this year is Georgia Tech. The schedule sets up for Virginia Tech to make a run to the ACC Championship and maybe more if they can get a quality win in that game over a top-notch opponent. To get an inside perspective on the Virginia Tech Hokies we talked with the SB Nation blog Gobbler Country.

 

Virginia Tech loses our 2010 ACC Player of the Year, Tyrod Taylor. Who is going to step in to replace him and what does he bring to the table?

Sophomore Logan Thomas will be Tech’s starting quarterback this year. He saw minimal time last year behind Tyrod, but his performance in the spring game has Hokie fans very excited for the season. I’m not sure if he’ll be turned completely loose this year though because we don’t have a back up that we trust. If Thomas goes down, the season could spiral out of control so we have to keep him healthy.  He’s much taller than Tyrod and will probably stay in the pocket a bit more. The good thing is that when he does run he’s got some speed and could make some plays with his legs. He’s nothing like Cam Newton, however and you’re not going to see any “Third and Cam” type plays from the Hokies.  

 

The Hokies finished 10-3 last year but got clipped early by Boise State and then got shocked by James Madison. Are the Hokies going about their business any different this off-season due to their early losses last year?  

You know, I really don’t think we’ll know the answer to that until practice in August. Right now the focus has been on recruiting. The changes that were made to the staff in the off-season were designed with improving our recruiting efforts and the development of Logan Thomas in mind. We won’t know if there’s any change in protocol until they start their preseason preparations.  

 

With Ryan Williams and Darren Evans moving on it leaves the spotlight on David Wilson. Is he ready to be the #1 RB?  

He’s ready to be the No. 1 back, but I don’t think he’s an every down back. He’s explosive, yes, but his success rate on third and fourth downs were much worse than his average, the average of Williams and Evans and the average of other backs in the ACC. We need to keep him healthy by getting a No. 2 back that we can use on short-yardage and give Wilson some rest. Remember, Evans was an every down back in 2008 and was hurt prior to 2009. Williams was an every down back in 2009 and was hurt in 2010 and missed a lot of time. These days in college football you have to have two or even three running backs who can carry the load. Even Alabama had Richardson and Upchurch in 2009 who combined for almost 200 carries.  

 

Who are some under the radar Hokies that we should keep an eye on this year?  

Antone Exum – He’s a sophomore who saw a lot of time as the nickel back in 2010 as a redshirt freshman. He’s very athletic and is expected to make plays at the rover position this year.  

Marcus Davis – Hokie fans know about him, but he’s ready for a big year at flanker this year. Had a coming out party against North Carolina after the No. 2 flanker, Dyrell Roberts, suffered compartment syndrome after the Georgia Tech game. Davis is big and can stretch the field. Danny Coale will be the No. 1 flanker this year because of how reliable he is and his ability to get open when Tech most needs it, but Davis can change games.  

Kyle Fuller – Another guy who played a lot in the secondary as a freshman last year. He’ll get the chance to make a name for himself this year because I can’t see teams trying to pick on Jayron Hosley this year.  

 

Looking at the schedule, what are the most important games this year?  

I think it’s Clemson and UVa. Clemson because it’s Logan Thoams’ first true test. I’m very thankful that game’s at home, but it’s one of the games I think we might drop this year. How Thomas plays in that game will let us know if Tech’s really going to run away with the Coastal like a lot of experts think. UVa because it’s the rivalry game and beating your in-state rival should always be important, no matter how successful you’ve been against them in the past.  

 

What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?  

It’ll be a typical Virginia Tech year with the Hokies going 10-2. I think if Tech wins the ACC and gets back to the Orange Bowl then it’s a very successful year. We have to avoid getting upset by a team we have no business losing to. We tend to do that too often.

 

CFBZ Top 25

#1-#15?

#16 Virginia Tech Hokies

#17 TCU Horned Frogs

#18 South Carolina Gamecocks

#19 Ohio State Buckeyes

#20 USC Trojans

#21 Georgia Bulldogs

#22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

#23 BYU Cougars

#24 Missouri Tigers

#25 Texas Longhorns

 

2011 Team Previews

ACC- Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, NC State, UNC, Virginia, Wake Forest

Big 12- Baylor , Iowa St, Kansas, Kansas St, Missouri, Texas, Texas Tech

Big East- Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, UConn, USF

Big Ten- Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota ,Northwestern, Ohio St, Penn St, Purdue

C-USA- East Carolina, Houston ,Marshall, SMU, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB, UCF

FCS- Georgia Southern, Georgia State

Independent- Army, BYU, Notre Dame

MAC- Akron, Ball St, Bowling Green, Buffalo , Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Temple, Toledo, Western Michigan

MWC- Air Force, New Mexico, TCU, UNLV, Wyoming

Pac-12- Arizona , Arizona St, California, Colorado, Oregon St, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington

SEC- Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee

Sun Belt- FAU, FIU, Louisiana, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Troy , ULM, Western Kentucky

WAC- Fresno St, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico St, San Jose St

Kevin Causey

About Kevin Causey

dry humorist, beer snob, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Student Section and founder of College Football Zealots

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