Sunday, August 30

Virginit Tech vs Alabla Game Preview

Virginia Tech and Alabama are set to kickoff next Saturday night in a game, which could have national title implications in week one of the season. While a loss would not eliminate either team from national title contention, it would deeply hamper their chances.

The Hokies head into this game after completing one of the most memorable seasons to date. With a two-quarterback system, and a lot of freshmen in the two deep, the Hokies were able to win their first ever BCS bowl game.

On the flip side, Alabama came up one win short of a trip to Miami, which would have gave them a shot at the title against Oklahoma. However, Alabama lost their last two games of the year after rolling through the first twelve games of the season undefeated.

As you can tell, there are reasons for both teams to be confident heading into this showdown.

But, according to the college football rulebook, only one team may walk away victorious next Saturday night.

In this article we will examine both sides of the football for both teams and try to reach a logical conclusion on who should win this game.

First off, we will examine both teams offense.


At quarterback, the Hokies return junior Tyrod Taylor. Taylor has developed into a leader on offense so far this preseason now that he no longer has to share snaps with the departed Sean Glennon.

The challenger on Alabama will be redshirt junior Greg McElroy who will be starting his first ever college football game next Saturday night. McElroy isn’t a slouch either as he won the MVP award at the Manning Passing Academy this past summer.
Obviously, Taylor does have the experience factor in his favor and he does have the ability to make more happen with his legs.

McElroy has a very good arm but with almost no game film on the fourth year junior, it’s tough to determine what type of quarterback he’ll be next Saturday.
And the winner is: Virginia Tech

Although I think McElroy has a higher ceiling than Tyrod, it will be Tyrod’s experience in big games that will ultimately help Virginia Tech win this game on Saturday. If Tyrod has a bad game then the pendulum will swing back in Alabama’s favor but if Tyrod plays like he’s capable of, Tech will be hard to beat.

Running Back:

At running back, the Hokies will be without their budding star in Darren Evans after he tore his ACL earlier this preseason. However, Tech has plenty of weapons still available in the backfield with redshirt freshman Ryan Williams, sophomore Josh Oglesby, and true freshman David Wilson receiving most of the carries.

Alabama also has a stable of backs that they’ll use against Bud Foster’s defense. The Tide lost their backup running back for the season when Jeramie Griffin tore his ACL in practice just a few days after Evans went down for the Hokies. Mark Ingram will assume the starting role from a departed Glen Coffee while Roy Upchurch and highly touted newcomer Trent Richardson also receives some of the carries.

Mark Ingram may finish with the most rushing yards in this game but all eyes will be upon the Hokies Ryan Williams, who was a highly recruiting running back out of northern Virginia two years ago. Williams is a slash and dash type of runner and could be more effective against Alabama than Darren Evans who was more of a power runner.

And the winner is: Alabama

If the Hokies had Evans I would have picked them here with ease but without their workhorse, Alabama definitely has the better stable as of now. Ryan Williams will be heavily depended on to make some big plays and if he can’t deliver, the steady rushing attack of Bama could be the determining factor in this game.

Wide Receiver:

At wide receiver, the Hokies have amassed some quality depth and should be able to go five deep this year. Redshirt freshman Xavier Boyce, sophomore Danny Coale, and sophomore Dyrell Roberts will be the starting trio for this game. While the Hokies group isn’t as sexy as Alabama’s, they will be a vital part of the offense in this game since the Hokies won’t be able to live by the ground game this Saturday.

The Crimson Tide has one of the best wide receivers in the nation in sophomore Julio Jones but the rest of their receiving corps are on the same level as Virginia Tech’s. Junior Darius Hanks and senior Mike McCoy should provide some more options for McElroy if Jones is covered down field.

And the winner is: Alabama

While the Hokies have a lot of quality receivers and depth at the position, they lack a true deep threat like the Tide’s Julio Jones. Tech has been burned by some talented receivers in the past (Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald) so it appears likely that Jones will be able to get some catches on Saturday night.

Offensive Line:

The offensive line could be where this game is either won or lost. The Hokies have finally returned to their original form after taking about a six year detour. Tech has surprisingly won ten games each of the past three years with possibly the worst offensive lines in recent history.

This season should finally be the year where the line improves enough to take the pressure off the quarterback and allow the QB and the running backs to do their job. Also, the Hokies have the number one offensive guard in the nation in senior Sergio Render according to NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr.

On the flipside, Alabama has to replace three starters from last year’s offensive line including All American Andre Smith. Alabama struggled against Utah last season without Smith on the end of the line and those question marks still loom heading into this 2009 season.

And the winner is: Virginia Tech

Finally, the Hokies should have one of the better lines in the ACC this year after the transformation from Stinespring to Newsome is nearing completion. Alabama still has some quality linemen but they’re starting five is a lot less proven than the Hokies starting unit and depth is a bit of a question mark for the Tide.

Defensive Line:

The Hokies have boasted a top ten defense each of the past five seasons, including two years of being number one in both total and scoring defense. This season looks to continue that success as Tech returns seven starters on defense from last year’s squad.

Alabama returns eight players from last years defense, which ranked ahead of the Hokies last season. The Tide’s front seven stays largely intact with nose tackle Terrance Cody returning for his final season in an Alabama uniform. Cody is a 365 pound monster that will test the Hokies more athletic offensive line.

Tech returns three of their four starters along the defensive line in defensive end Jason Worilds, and defensive tackles John Graves and Taco Thompson.

Alabama has to replace their best pass rusher in Bobby Greenwood, but returns everyone else along the line including Mount Cody at nose tackle.

The Winner is: Push

It’s hard to compare a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense since their almost polar opposites of each other. But in this case I like Alabama’s front three just as much as I do Tech’s front four. Stopping the run will be the primary focus of both teams in this game so with Cody in the middle of the Alabama line, I could see the Tide’s d-line out playing the Hokies to an extent.


The Crimson Tide may possess the most talented and athletic linebackers in the nation in junior Rolando McClain, sophomore, Dont’a McClain, senior Eryk Aders, and senior Cory Reamer.

Tech’s linebackers may not be as glorious as Alabama’s but they should be able to get the job done next weekend. Senior Cody Grimm is a bit undersized but came close to leading the team in tackles and sacks last season, as a backup. Sophomores Jake Johnson and Barquell Rivers will be Tech’s two inside linebackers this season.

And the winner is: Alabama

The Tide will feature at least three future NFL’ers on this linebacker corps, including a future first rounder in Rolando McClain. The Tide depend on their linebackers making big hits and if they play well, it could be lights outs for the Hokies ground game on Saturday.

Defensive Backs:

While it appears that Alabama has the better front seven, the Hokies will clearly have the advantage in the defensive backs category. Tech returns seniors Kam Chancellor at free safety and Stephan Virgil at cornerback. Also, Tech has two talented players at rover in senior Dorian Porch and junior Davon Morgan.

The Tide is a bit more pedestrian at defensive back when compared to their front seven. Senior Javier Arenas is a bit on the small side at 5’9” but packs a punch and is very physical at the point of attack. Junior Kareem Jackson will start opposite of Arenas at cornerback alongside sophomore Robby Green at free safety and senior Justin Woodall at strong safety.

And the winner is: Virginia Tech

Tech has become DB-U over the past few seasons and this year will be no different as
the Hokies should put three of their four starters in the NFL come this time next season. Kam Chancellor and Stephan Virgil both appear to be first day selections while Porch will fall somewhere in the later rounds. Also the Hokies do have a bit more depth at these positions than Alabama, which also gives the Hokies as leg up here.

Special Teams:

Leigh Tiffin is “Money” around Tuscaloosa and is poised for a big senior year before heading off to the NFL. Tiffin has a strong leg and could give Alabama a bit of a leg up in this game.

The Hokies will have a new starter at kicker this season in senior Matt Waldron who finished 10-for-10 in all three of the Hokies preseason scrimmages.

And the winner is: Virginia Tech

Special teams is all about experience and it’s hard to go against the man who made great special teams famous. Beamer has rededicated himself to making his “Pride and Joy” teams some of the best they’ve ever had in Blacksburg. Even though I would give the edge to Alabama in the kicking aspect with Tiffin lining up for field goals, the Hokies should be better in every other aspect.


If history is any indication of what’s about to take place Saturday night, the Hokies will probably lose this game. Tech is 1-24 all-time against top five foes and just 6-43 against top 10 teams. Their lone top five win came against the mighty Miami Hurricanes just a few years back.

Also the Crimson Tide is 5-0 against the Hokies all-time while they are ranked in the top 10. Of course, the last meeting between the two teams where Alabama was ranked in the top 10 was back in 1979.

Some stats also favor the Hokies as Tech beat Alabama back in 1998 38-7 in the Inaugural Music City Bowl, which was the last time these two teams faced. Also, Coach Beamer is 1-0 lifetime against Nick Saban when Saban’s LSU Tigers marched into Blacksburg and lost back in 2002 by a score of 26-8.
And the winner will be….

It’s hard to say who will win this game, but if history is any indication I’ll go with Alabama just because their defense is the only group I can say is better than Coach Foster’s in Blacksburg. Offensively I think the Hokies are ahead of Alabama but with Stinespring still as coordinator, you never really know what to expect from that group.

The only thing I’m certain of is that this will be an extremely hard fought and physical football game in which either team could emerge victorious.
And if you’re a betting man, why not take the Hokies If any program is due for a big win on a grand stage, it’s Virginia Tech.

Tuesday, August 25

Daily Discussion #7: Virginia Tech 2009-2010 Basketball Schedule Released

Seth Greenberg stole some of the media away from Coach Beamer today as the Hokies released their official 2009-2010 basketball schedule.

You can view the schedule here.

Overall, this schedule lacks a big and worthy out of conference foe but the ACC portion of the schedule doesn't look too tough surprisingly.

Obviously, it's still way too early to tell which teams are going to be contenders but the Hokies only have to play Duke, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State, Wake Forest, and Maryland once this season. Duke, GT, Clemson, Wake, and Florida State were picked by by a few ACC Basketball blogs to finish in the top 8 of the conference this fall.

The Hokies will have to play UNC, Miami, UVA, NC State, and Boston College twice, however with UNC going through a transition year, UVA being in rebuilding mode with a new coach, Boston College going through a post Tyrese Rice transition, and with NC State losing a few talented seniors, the Hokies could be in position to possibly win 10 games in the ACC this winter.

The out of conference schedule feature a few tough away games with the Hokies traveling to Iowa for the Big 10/ACC showdown in December. Also, Tech will have to travel to Penn State and to Philadelphia to play in a tournament with Temple and Deleware. Seton Hall, VMI, and Georgia are the only big name out of conference home games this year.

This doesn't look like too tough of a schedule as it's on par with the ones over the past few seasons. If the Hokies can finish with 12 wins in their out of conference schedule, there's no way they can be denied from the tourny this year with 8 or 9 wins in the ACC.

However, at this point it's all speculation. Tech should have a good team this winter, but we may only be able to go as far as Malcolm Delaney can carry us.

Monday, August 24

Daily Discussion # 6: Are You Ready For What Still Comes?


Whether it's deserved or not, the college football world revolves around it.

After the Hokies brought home the Orange Bowl trophy and the ACC's first BCS bowl win since the Seminoles beat us back in 1999, the sun has been a little brighter, grass a little greener, and life has overall just felt better since last January.

For the Hokies, life is good right now. However, there's a little thing called hype that the boys in Chicago maroon and burnt orange are trying to live up to.

Virginia Tech was ranked 7th in the AP poll last week, once again tying a record for the highest preseason ranking in Tech history.

With that honor comes high expectations from fans who watched the toddling-Hokies grow up before their eyes last season; accomplishing the unexpected and unimaginable.

With an Orange Bowl win now in the books, the only way to go is up as Virginia Tech fans are already eying a mid January trip out to the left coast.

However, the biggest question that is probably going through your mind is whether or not this hype is justified.

Many ESPN and college football analysts have stated that they believe the Hokies are overrated and don't deserve a top 10 rankings, especially now that Evans has gone down.

But, with 15 starters returning and plenty of youth filling up the depth chart, the future of Virginia Tech football is bright. The Hokies found their heir-apparent at quarterback after Tyrod leaves, which means Tech may have 5 years where they could challenge for a National Championship.

Not bad for a team that doesn't bring in top level talent according to most recruiting services.

My message for Hokie fans is this, embrace the hype because there will be plenty of it over the next 5 years. We are heading into a special era in Virginia Tech football, one that could possibly change this program forever.

So embrace the hype, I know I will.

Monday, August 17

Around the ACC: A Look at Week 1 Games and Predictions

With just 17 days left until the first game of the college football season, it's time to take a look at week one of the Atlantic Coast Conference's schedule.

South Carolina at NC State - Sept. 3rd

The Wolfpack come into this season with relatively high expectations for a team that finished 6-7 last season. Russell Wilson returning for his sophomore season is one reason why expectations are high for Tom O'Brien's group. Wilson had a resounding freshman campaign and fans are already starting to pencil him in for ACC POY in 2009. Russell finished last season with 17 touchdowns to just one interception.

However, the Pack will be tested right out of the gates as they face an improved Gamecock team. USC finished 7-6 last season but only returns 10 starters on both offense and defense. Not to fear Gamecock fans, thanks in large part to some good recruiting efforts, USC should be fully loaded and ready to play come September.

This game will be a defensive slugfest early on but I would expect a decent amount of scoring with Wilson behind center for NC State and Stephen Garcia at QB for the Gamecocks. If NC State can take care of the ball I think they'll win by 7 to 10 points in this one.

Prediction: NC State - 23, USC - 17

Northeastern at Boston College

After a run of two straight trips to the ACC Championship game, Boston College is in for a long year. Not only did they lose a few talented seniors, they also lost their starting quarterback Dominik Davis who decide to transfer after being suspended and their best defensive player Mark Herzlich due to a Ewing's Sarcoma (a rare cancer).

So needless to say, The Eagles are going to have a tough year in 2009. The good news for BC fans is that their schedule is manageable and 6 wins is not out of the question. Their out of conference games feature Kent State, Northeastern, Central Michigan and Notre Dame. BC could go 3-1 there then a 3-5 finish in the ACC would be good enough to get them to a bowl game in December.

This matchup between Northeastern and Boston College could be one to keep an eye on especially with only 12 returning starters returning from last years Eagles team. However, I would expect BC to find a way to win by at least a couple of scores and move on to a bigger game in week 2.

Prediction: Boston College - 31, Northeastern - 0

Middle Tennessee St. at Clemson

No hype, no expectations, no worries. I'm sure that's how Dabo Swinney likes it these days. After last years debacle against Alabama in the Chick-fil-a kickoff, Clemson never rebounded and finished 4-3 in their last 7 games under Coach Swinney.

This year, for Tigers fans there is reason to be excited as Clemson heads into this 2009 season with little expectations but a whole lot of promise. With two good quarterbacks, three good running backs, and an improved offensive line, Clemson should be able to hang with anybody in the country. The biggest question mark will be can Clemson finally get over the hump and challenge for an ACC title?

That question could be answered after the first week against Middle Tennessee State. MTSU will be a middle of the road Sun Belt team again this season so Clemson shouldn't struggle in this game. With the Tiger's speed I wouldn't be surprised to see this one end early, and I mean real early.

Prediction: Clemson - 51, MTSU - 13

Richmond at Duke

Sadly, this could end up being the game of the week in the ACC if something happens where the CFA kickoff turns out to be a blowout. Duke is coming off their best season in long time as they finished 4-8 last year. Richmond is coming off of a National Championship year in the FCS.

The Blue Devils should be on par or slightly improved this season although they did lose a little bit of fire power in their passing attack last season after Eron Riley graduated. However, with Thaddeus Lewis back for his senior year, anything is possible from this Duke team.

This game could come down to who has the best athletes and in this case, it could be a close game. Duke is close to taking that next step as a division one program but they're not quite there yet. If Richmond plays well, the Spiders could have a shot at upsetting the Blue Devils, but with Coach Cutcliffe in charge in Durham, I just don't see that happening.

Prediction: Duke - 27, Richmond - 24

Jacksonville State at Georgia Tech

Coach Paul Johnson's first year at Georgia Tech was a success as the Yellow Jackets were a win away from possibly their first ACC crown since the 1990's. This year, GT has a lot to look forward to as they return 16 starters on both offense and defense.

However, the one thing Paul Johnson will have to change in his offensive system is the way the Yellow Jackets throw the ball. Georgia Tech lost a couple games last season on their inconsistent passing attacking. If they can throw the ball consistently, this Yellow Jacket team may be the team to beat in the Coastal.

Jacksonville State heads into this matchup with not much of a chance to stop Georgia Tech's rushing attack. The FCS team may be able to move the ball some against the GT defense but defensively, they just won't have the horses to stop Paul Johnson's offense. Unless they turn it over a lot, expect this one to be a blowout.

Prediction: Georgia Tech - 44, JSU - 3

Maryland at California

Maryland was easily the most unpredictable team in the nation last year they finished 4-1 against top 25 yet lost to UVA and Middle Tennessee State. If Maryland can regain some consistency, they could have another successful season in College Park.

With only 10 starters returning, another 8 win season may be too much to ask for Ralph Friedgen's group. However, The turtles will be able to make a splash week one if they can head out to California and finish off a two year home-and-home sweep of the California Golden Bears.

This is a revenge game for Cal as they lost to Maryland 35-27 last year in College Park. With a suspect offensive line and an average at best defense, it's hard to declare that Maryland has much of a chance in this game. If Cal plays well, they'll walk away victorious in this one.

Prediction: Cal - 27, Maryland - 17

The Citadel vs North Carolina

The Tar Heels were arguably the most improved team in the ACC a year ago but now with Butch Davis facing some higher expectations in 2009, the question remains whether or not the team can live up to it's billing. North Carolina will have a stout defense in 2009 but the offense has plenty of question marks.

TJ Yates returns along with both Houston and Draughn in the backfield. The biggest question lies at wide receiver where UNC will have to replace Hakeem Nicks. Greg Little is the only wideout that returns with any past experience and even he was a running back at this time last year.

However, UNC has doesn't have an overly tough out of conference schedule even though the trip to UCONN could be a bit tricky on week two. The Citadel won't provide much of a challenge week one as UNC's defense alone could and probably will outscore them.

Prediction: UNC - 45, The Citadel - 0

William & Mary at UVA

Sadly, I'm going to have to put UVA on upset alert here. Now, I'm not doing this because I despise UVA, I'm doing this because I'm not really sure how UVA plans on scoring this fall. With Vic Hall taking over at quarterback, UVA could take a large step back in their passing attack, which was already average to begin with.

Even though I love Al Groh, I'm starting to think UVA fans are starting to see the light that he is clearly not going to be able to fix any of their problems. If UVA cannot win 7 games this year, I have a feeling Mike London may be the coach on the sidelines for UVA next year.

Talent-wise UVA should win this game and win by at least a few scores but with a new offense and a less than stellar defense, anything can happen. William and Mary isn't exactly cream of the crop in the FCS but they could put up a fight for at least half the game. I'm going to take UVA here but I wouldn't bet the house on it.

Prediction: UVA - 24, W&M - 6

Baylor at Wake Forest

After winning the 2006 ACC Championship, Wake has slowly faded out of the ACC picture over the past few seasons. This year, Wake could fade even more out of relevance in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Now to be fair, Wake does have a good chance at winning 7 or 8 games this fall. However, they have a lot to replace. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. They return senior quarterback Riley Skinner but outside of him, Wake doesn't have a whole lot at the skill positions to work with. Defense will clearly be Wake's biggest weakness as they don't return much outside of the defensive line.

With their first three games being in Winston-Salem, Wake Forest will have a few games to mature before having to leave home. However, their first two games are against Baylor and Stanford, both teams that could beat Wake Forest this year. Baylor is a team on the rise and would have to be favored heading into this matchup. Coach Jim Grobe is one of the more respected in the ACC and his reputation would increase with another 8 win season but I just can't expect that out of this group.

Prediction: Baylor - 31, Wake Forest -20

Virginia Tech vs Alabama (Atlanta)

The game of the century, or that's at least what it feels like after the Hokies won the Orange Bowl last season. However, with Evans now out for the season, that blow could be enough to sideline the Hokies chances in this game.

Alabama returns 9 starters on defense including one of the nastiest front seven's in the nation. If the Hokies are going to win this game, they will have to play well defensively and score on any and every opportunity they get.

The Crimson Tide isn't exactly going to get off the ground running this year like they did last year, but they will be just as talented. If Alabama plays turnover free ball and plays well defensively, they will win this game. However, with a new quarterback and a few new offensive linemen, it's hard to say if that will happen or not. Either way, I just can't pick Virginia Tech here with their 1-32 all-time record against the Top 5.

Prediction: Alabama - 21, Virginia Tech - 17

4 Star Athlete Narrows List

Zach Zwinak, a 4 star athlete out of Maryland, has narrowed his list down to two contenders; Penn State and Virginia Tech. Zwinak's father, B.J. Zwinak, played at Virginia Tech, which could give the Hokies the extra edge in this recruiting battle.

Zach is not expected to take any official visits and could decide any day from here on out.

"If you like tough and physical football players, you'll love this guy," said one of ESPN's recruiting insiders. "He is an old school, hard nosed linebacker and fullback. Loves to deliver on ball carriers as a middle backer; explodes on contact and drives his legs. Zwinak has some athletic limitations but his intensity, aggressiveness and toughness outweighs those limitations. He will be a true asset to the team that lands him."

Zach had a stellar junior year as he rushed for 1400 yards and 19 touchdowns while adding 53 tackles and 5 sacks on defense.

It appears that the Hokies are recruiting Zwinak as a running back/fullback hybrid to use as their between the tackles runner in the future. However, if the depth remains to great at running back, Zwinak could easily switch over to linebacker.

At 6'3", 245 pounds, Zwinak is going to be player to watch whether he ends up at Virginia Tech or Penn State.

Saturday, August 15

Virginia Tech Commit Tears ACL

ACL injuries are all to common in today's game but they come with the territory. Nick Acree, a four star defensive tackle as rated by, had his 2009 season come to an end before it even started. Acree tore his ACL and is expected to miss his entire senior season at Fork Union Military Academy.

Acree will undergo surgery soon and should be back to full speed before enrolling at Tech next July.

Get Well Soon Nick!

Virginia Tech Scrimmage Shows Team Improvement

Under a cloudy sky in Blacksburg, Virginia, The Hokies were hard at work this afternoon, competing in an inter-squad scrimmage. For third-stringers, today was a big day in Blacksburg as the majority of the 2nd and 3rd string got to showcase their skills in front of 5,000 or so fans in Lane Stadium.

(Editors note: For a complete rundown of the scrimmage, please check out

Tyrod Taylor was sporting a bright, yellow non-contact jersey, which makes him very hard to miss out on the field. Taylor, however, struggled today as he threw 2 interceptions including his first pass of the scrimmage, which was picked off by freshman linebacker Lyndell Gibson.

Ryan Williams once again stole the show early on with an 82 yard punt return for a touchdown off the leg of senior punter Brent Bowden. Williams is by far the most elusive tailback I've seen in person since Kevin Jones.

The running back competition didn't really accomplish a whole lot today as Ogelsby only received a few carries because of a hamstring injury and David Wilson sat out the majority of the scrimmage with a non-serious shoulder injury.

Tony Gregory received a the majority of the carries and looked good for the most part. Gregory is a bit undersized at the tailback spot and seems to be a guy that could be a good slot receiver down the road.

Logan Thomas had a very good day as he went 6-14 with 128 yards and a touchdown. Thomas also tossed one pick but that came on the last play of the scrimmage while trying to throw a fade to the back of the endzone. After seeing both JuJu and Thomas in action today, I would have to think that Logan is probably our backup quarterback at this point.

JuJu was a bit more steady this time as he went 11-17 for 84 yards. That includes a string of 8 straight completions which is very encouraging from the young freshman. If Clayton can manage the game and just complete passes like he did today, I'm sure the coaching staff would feel a lot better about their backup quarterback situation.

Antone Exum, the true freshman, made a lot of noise today popping some receivers and getting in on a handful of tackles. Exum has a lot of promise and could develop into a helluva safety or cornerback here at Virginia Tech.

Senior Matt Waldron played well as he drilled 4 out of his 5 field goal attempts in the scrimmage. His one miss came on a 55 yarder that had enough distance but was pushed wide left. He connected on field goals from 42, 46, 28, and 25 yards out.

Freshman Cody Journell was the only other kicker to try a field goal and he missed a 33 yard attempt.

One day after having surgery, Darren Evans was on hand to support his teammates. Darren did receive some good news as he should be good to go for Spring Practice next year if everything goes smoothly. Get Well Soon Darren!

Switching gears to the defense as a whole, Coach Foster's group once again looks the part and is expected, in my mind, to be a top 5 defense once again this year. Other than depth at a few positions, this defense really doesn't have a weakspot that teams can exploit.

On the offensive side of the ball, I'm a little hesitant to buy into the kool-aid that has been passed around by other Virginia Tech blogging sites. Our offense looks like a more cohesive unit this year and with more experience on that side of the ball, we should be better. However, I don't think we'll be that much better than we were last year.

If we can get our total offense back into the top 70, that would be an excellent offensive year for this group, especially with the schedule we have this year. I do think we can make a big jump in 2010 and get back into the top 50 in total offense and maybe the top 30 in scoring offense since our schedule lightens up a bit.

But I digress... the simple truth is I am encouraged from what I saw today, although I'm not sold that this is a 14-0 National Championship team. If the balls bounce our way and we get a few lucky breaks this year, anything can happen but with 3 weeks of practice left before the first game, it's clear this team still has a lot of work to do.

Daily Discussion # 5: Would The Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up

Virginia Tech is holding an open scrimmage to the public today inside Lane at 3:15 pm. This scrimmage will go a long way to deciding who's going to play and who's not, especially among the 2nd and 3rd string guys.

So before this scrimmage starts, let's take a look at where some of the more heated position battles are occurring this preseason.

Field Corner

Field Corner is the name of the second cornerback in Bud Foster's Inverse 4-3 defense and is one of the more important parts of the defense. In Foster's scheme the safety and rover are responsible for covering the wide receivers on the intermediate routes and the corners drop deep to cover anything down field.

With Virgil moving to Boundry CB to replace Macho Harris, the Hokies are scrambling to find the next in-line at cornerback. It appears that Junior Rashad Carmichael is going to win the starting job but he is being pushed by sophomores Cris Hill and Eddie Whitley. Whitley is a Brandon Flowers clone and it appears that he will spend this season backing up Virgil at the Boundary CB position.

Defensive Tackle

The top three tackles are set: Graves, Thompson, and Taylor. However, the final spot in the two-deep is up for grabs between Sophomore Kwamaine Battle and Freshman Antoine Hopkins. Battle does have the extra year of experience on his side but Hopkins has a lot of promise and upside. This will be one battle (no pun intended) to keep an eye on.


Tyrod is the starter, nobody is questioning that but with Logan Thomas now listed as co-number two on the depth chart, the battle between him and JuJu should be fun to watch.

Logan has a good scrimmage last week where he went 5-15 for 150 yards and a touchdown. Now it'll be JuJu's turn to make a splash and impress the coaches. If you're going to the scrimmage today, I wouldn't expect to see too much of Tyrod (he'll be in a yellow no-contact jersey) but I would expect to see a lot of the two guys I just mentioned.


Davon Morgan started the first four games of last season but then went down with an ACL injury against Nebraska. Dorion Porch took over and hasn't relinquished the starting job since. Morgan is a steady player but Porch is the 5th year rising senior and will be tough to beat out. One scenario that could happen here is for Morgan to redshirt this fall and let Porch play almost every snap there this fall. That would give Morgan two more years to start and mature into a future NFL caliber player.

Running Back

Hard to leave this off the list with Evans out for the year. I would expect to see all three running backs receive a workload today as the coaches are looking to decide on a starter for the Alabama game within the next week or so. If nothing else, fans will have their first chance to see freshman sensation David Wilson in action this afternoon.

Thursday, August 13

Alabama Loses Running Back To ACL Injury

A few days after the Hokies lost Darren Evans to an ACL injury, their opponent in their regular season opener also suffered a bit of a blow at the running back position.

Sophomore Jeramie Griffin suffered an ACL injury that will effectively end his 2009 season before it even started.

Griffin was battling with Roy Upchruch, Mark Ingram, and Trent Richardson for a spot in the running back rotation this fall.

Huskers Lose Backup Quarterback for Season

Kody Spano, a redshirt freshman quarterback for Nebraska, had to be helped off the field on Wednesday after tearing his ACL. Spano has had knee problems throughout this past year and it appears that his left knee finally gave way after opting to not have surgery on it this past spring.

Junior Zac Lee will be the starting quarterback this year, however behind him Nebraska doesn't have a whole lot of proven depth.

Latravis Washington is expected to be the primary backup now but at this time last year, Washington was practicing with the linebackers hoping to earn a spot in the two-deep there.

The Huskers do have three talented in-coming freshman quarterbacks that could make a splash but none are truly ready to jump on the field yet and be expected to manage a game.

Head Coach Bo Pelini issued this statement after yesterday's practice.

"We have Cody Green and Latravis (Washington) and Taylor Martinez," Pelini said. "We've brought Ron Kellogg Jr. back in too. We'll be ok, those guys are all coming along. We wish Kody was with us, but he's not. It's part of the deal. I'm not worried about us, I'm worried about him. He's worked his tail off to get back. I feel bad for him."

Wednesday, August 12

Daily Discussion # 4: Three's Still A Crowd

“We Will Prevail, We Will Prevail, We Are Virginia Tech.”

Just as they were spoken two years ago on April 17th, a day after the tragedy, those words still echo in my mind whenever I’m down about something.

After losing our star running back, Darren Evans, to an all-so-common ACL tear; I really could feel the wind being sucked out of the Hokies sails.

Coming off of a media day where the players and coaches were both excited about this year possibly being “The Year,” the team received their first set back and it could be one that costs the Hokies a shot at the title.

However, if a major injury were to happen, having it happen at one of our deepest positions saves us from losing all hope. Sophomore Josh Oglesby will now inherit the leadership role from Evans, as Josh is the only back left that has any game experience whatsoever.

The Hokies do have two promising freshmen in Ryan Williams, who dazzled the crowd in Lane Stadium back on April 25th, and High School All-American David Wilson.

Also, the coaches did receive some positive news about Kenny Lewis, who should be able to play after week 8 of this season if need be. Lewis is coming off a 4th surgery on his Achilles (1 major one to repair the tendon, 3 to deal with infections) and barring any setbacks; Lewis could provide a small role on this team this fall.

Even with the loss of Evans, the Hokies should still be able to manage a solid ground game this season. Williams and Wilson are talented enough to become impact players as the season goes along just like Evans did last season.

The big question will be, how will these kids fair against an Alabama defense that will be light years quicker than anything either one of these guys have ever faced?

That will be a hard question to answer until around midnight eastern standard time on September 6th.

Until then, I have no doubts this team will prevail through any adversity they face. Just like Nikki Giovanni said, “We Will Prevail, We Will Previal, We Are Virginia Tech!”

Tuesday, August 11

Hokies Lose Darren Evans For Season

Sometimes life isn't fair.

The Hokies starting running back Darren Evans was helped off the field for the 2nd time this preseason on Tuesday.

“He was running a route, planted, and just went down," said Billy Hite who had tears in his eyes after practice.

"The boy’s put so much into it. It just doesn’t make any sense. It’s not fair. It is part of the game. I told him that. We’re going to fight our ass off and he’s going to be back out there next year.”

Running Back's coach Billy Hite has every reason to take this injury hard as he lost his starting tail back last season, Kenny Lewis, to a blown Achilles.

"The last two years: For Kenny Lewis to go down the way he did, and now Darren Evans, it’s a damn shame. Two great kids. You can’t find two better kids. This game is crazy sometimes. I’ll never be able to figure it out.”

Darren will have surgery within the next few days to repair the muscle and spend the next 4 months rehabbing the knee.

With Evans now out, Sophomore Josh Oglesby, and Freshmen Ryan Williams and David Wilson will handle the ground attack for the Hokies this season.

(Thanks to Kyle Tucker of the VA Pilot for the Quotes)

Sunday, August 9

Daily Discussion # 3: Quarterback Breakdown

The quarterback position may be the most important piece of the puzzle when trying to make a run at the mythical BCS National Championship these days. Don't believe me? Let's take a look at the last 10 BCS National Champions and who the leader was behind center.

2009 - Florida - Tim Tebow
2008 - LSU - Matt Flynn
2007 - Florida - Chris Leak/Tim Tebow
2006 - Texas - Vince Young
2005 - USC - Matt Lienart
2004 - LSU - Matt Mauck
2003 - Ohio State - Craig Krenzel
2002 - Miami - Ken Dorsey
2001 - Oklahoma - Nate Hybl
2000 - Florida State - Chris Wienke

After looking at this list, there are two distinctly different quarterbacks that win you national titles. There are the Matt Lienart's and Tim Tebow's that are your on the field generals, with strong arms, and an understanding of the game that is beyond top notch. Then you have your Craig Krenzel's and your Matt Mauck's, good college quarterbacks that don't make mistakes and do what it takes to get their team a "W".

The Hokies haven't possessed a true strong-armed quarterback since Jim Druckenmiller in 1995. However, the Hokies do continually recruit kids that would fit into that second tier of quarterbacks, which means Tech does have a chance to win a national championship with Tyrod, JuJu, Logan Thomas, or Marcus Davis at the helm.

So, let's take a look at each one of these players and discuss their roles and contribution to the Hokies this upcoming season.

Tyrod Taylor

After two years of battling Sean Glennon for playing time, Tyrod finally has the team all to himself. This should lead to Tyrod being the sole vocal leader on offense this fall, which in return should lead to a more coherent and focused offense. Taylor has two years left and with a large amount of talent coming back in 2010, Tyrod will have two good chances at winning a national title before leaving Tech with a degree.

JuJu Clayton

JuJu was brought in last season in August and benefited from having Sean Glennon and Tyrod as a teacher while he redshirted. This year, JuJu is expected to be Tyrod's backup, only seing the field if Tyrod is having to get helped off of it. Clayton has a bright future at quarterback but he still has some work he needs to do before he could be trusted to take of the reigns full time.

Logan Thomas

Logan Thomas is a once every 10 years kind of athlete. He is starting off the fall at quarterback but he will more than likely move to wide receiver or tight end following the Hokies first fall scrimmage on the 15th. Thomas is a very intelligent player and could easily succeed at any position on the field.

Marcus Davis

Davis is almost in the same mold as Logan Thomas only Marcus is a bit more of a true wide receiver. Davis played quarterback this past spring and showed some promise if he wanted to stay there full time but he would see the field a lot sooner at wide receiver. Davis has spent the first 2 practice sessions at wide receiver so it looks like the quarterback experiment is over with.

Will Cole

Will is going to be a player that nobody should sleep on. Cole will more than likely redshirt this season before battling JuJu, Ricardo Young, and possibly Mark Leal in the spring for a spot on the three deep at QB. If quarterback doesn't work out for Will he could easily bulk up some and move over to Rover where he could be a Vincent Fuller esque nickelback in Bud Fosters defense.

Saturday, August 8

A Hokie In The Hall: Bruce Smith Inducted into Hall of Fame

Bruce Smith was truly one of the All-Time Greats, not only at Virginia Tech but also in the NFL where he played 15 seasons with the Buffalo Bills and four seasons with the Washington Redskins.

Smith achieved the ultimate goal in 2003 as he passed Reggie White on the career sacks list, with his 199th sack in the 13th week of the 2003 season. Bruce went on to finish his career with 200 sacks, a record that still stands today.

So, today we honor Bruce Smith and salute him for being the first ever Hokie in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Congrats Mr. Smith!

Watch Bruce's Hall of Fame Induction Speech Here

New Kroger Roth Report

"Confident Taylor ready to lead Hokies in 2009"

Click the link below to view the full article on Hokiesports

The Kroger Roth Report

Daily Discussion # 2: Matt Waldron or the Field?

November 6th, 2009 will mark a 10 year anniversary of the "Miracle in Morgantown" as dubbed by the voice of the Hokies, Bill Roth. I was nine years old at the time, sitting on my brothers bed as we gazed at the TV, watching Shayne Graham lineup to kick the game winning field goal from 44 yards out. Ten seconds later I leaped up off the bed and celebrated as Tech remained undefeated and crushed one of our arch rivals in the must gut-wrenching and heart breaking ways possible.

Since that magical 1999 season, Tech has gone through four kickers, none of which have really stood out as much as Shayne Graham did during his four years on campus. Some would argue Brandon Pace, but Pace never possessed a strong enough leg to make it in the NFL.

After Pace, the Hokies have traded out senior kickers each year as Dunlevy consumed the kicking role in 2007 and Dustin Keys was Frank Beamer's chosen one this past season.

Heading into fall practice, it appears that Beamer is leaning towards starting another senior kicker in Matt Waldron, who transferred to Virginia Tech 3 years ago from Penn State.

Matt has come a long way from high school where he was selected as a High School All-American according to Tom Lemming and Scouts Inc. Matt traveled with the team at the end of last season and was placed as the no. 2 kicker on the depth chart. This past spring, Waldron separated himself from the pack after not missing a field goal in the spring game or in any of the spring scrimmages.

If Waldron plays well in next weekend's scrimmage then it could be Matt's spot to lose.

Even though Matt appears to be the front runner, the field boasts two qualified challengers in sophomore Justin Myer and freshman Cody Journell.

Myer was the Hokies kickoff man last season, handling 59 of the team's 67 kickoffs. Justin has a strong leg but has missed a few short field goals this past spring and even had a few blocked in the spring scrimmages. Coach Beamer described Myer as a "line-drive" style kicker meaning that his career may just consist of kickoffs, unless he can add some more height on his kicks.

Journell was a highly touted kicker out of Giles county, who has a career long of 54 yards (made a 54 yard field goal in his junior season). Cody is going to be a future starter here at Tech but with Myer covering the kickoffs and Waldron covering field goal duty, it may be wise to redshirt him this fall.

The good news for Hokie fans is that after this season, Tech no longer will have to jump from kicker to kicker each season as Journell is a future star in the making.

However, this season, I'd put my money on Waldron lining up for field goals, not the field.

Friday, August 7

Daily Discussion # 1: Logan Thomas at QB?

After a few years of running my Myspace site I have decided to branch out a bit and open this blog here on Blogspot, mainly to get away from the flailing Myspace who needless to say, is nowhere near as safe now as it was a few years ago. Daily spam messages has forced me away from the site and you loved reading what I posted on there, well I welcome you over here for hopefully a little bit better coverage of the team I know and love.

I'm always looking for people to help out with this site so if you have a writing background and want to help out on this site, you can send me an email at

Alright now that that's out of the way, let's turn out heads to one of the more surprising turn of events that have come from the first two days of preseason practice. Logan Thomas, who was recruited as an Athlete, is going to spend the first 10 days of Fall practice behind center, competing with JuJu Clayton for the backup quarterback spot.

Now the first thought I had was that maybe the coaches wanted to give JuJu somebody to compete with to help push him along in his development. This is probably the case but as I thought about it, It seems like the coaches are going to do their best to prepare for the inevitable, Tyrod getting hurt.

Let's play the if...then game for a second. If Tyrod would go down, say in the Alabama game, who would come in to replace him?

After his Spring Game performance, it seems as if the coaches would probably send JuJu in but put him on a short leash and limit the playbook to help simplify things for him. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see Boone take the majority of snaps from center either.

Of course, Marcus Davis and now Logan Thomas have a quarterback background as well so Tech has a plethora of options, just none of them have much in-game experience.

So back to my original question, should we be surprised that Logan Thomas is starting off his college career behind center. No. The 6'6" phenom needs to be on the field and with Tech being stacked at wide receiver and tight end, it makes sense to put him at the one position where depth is a little thin.

Coach Beamer did mention on Wednesday that Logan will be at Quarterback for the first 10 days, then the coaches would reassess and decide whether or not to move him back to his more natural position, wide receiver. So, this question could be nullified at the end of the 2nd week of practice but until then, this will be an interesting story to follow.

HokieNation Welcomes The Return of Blogman

Kyle Tucker has returned to Blacksburg to cover the Hokies 24/7, 365 days a year for the foreseeable future. His blog can be found at the link below and if you are a Hokie fan in need of a daily football fix until Septemeber 5th, you might want to check it every night from now until then.

Kyle Tucker - Hampton Roads Online