2009 Virginia Tech Hokies Football Preview
2008 Record: (10-4, 5-3)
2008 Bowl: Orange Bowl vs. Cincinnati (W 20-7)
Coach: Frank Beamer (177-89-2 at Virginia Tech, 219-112-4 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Bryan Stinespring
Defensive Coordinator: Bud Foster
Other Key Returnees: TE Greg Boone, S Kam Chancellor, WR Danny Coale, OT Blake DeChristopher, DT John Graves, LB Cam Martin, S Dorian Porch, G Sergio Render, DT Cordarrow Thompson, OT Ed Wang
Key Losses: CB Victor Harris, K Dustin Keys, G Nick Marshman, DE Orion Martin, C Ryan Shuman, LB Purnell Sturdivant, LB Brett Warren
This was supposed to be the year that Virginia Tech won the Atlantic Coast Conference. Instead that happened a year early, which has caused the expectations go through the roof. If the Hokies could win the Orange Bowl last year, why should they not be able to start thinking about a national championship this year? The biggest obstacle standing in their way is an opening game date against Alabama in Atlanta.
Virginia Tech 's Strengths:
The biggest losses are on defense where linebackers Purnell Sturdivant and Brett Warren, cornerback Victor Harris and defensive end Orion Martin must be replaced. But this is Virginia Tech after all…there are plenty of players ready to step up and fill the void. On the front line it is Jason Worilds who has emerged as a terror to any opposing quarterback. There are a few more questions for the linebackers. Cam Martin is the lone starter back, but Cody Grimm is an extremely experienced player and is actually the returning player who tallied the most tackles a year ago. The secondary might just be the best of the bunch. Harris will be missed, but Virgil is a superb defender who picked off six passes last season and Kam Chancellor and Dorian Porch are both seniors. Chancellor will be starting for his third straight year and he will certainly be the leader of a strong secondary.
Virginia Tech 's Weaknesses:
The defense will at least be as good as it was last year, but the offense has to improve if VT has grandiose dreams of a national championship appearance. The good news is just about everybody is back. The bad news is they ranked near the bottom of the ACC in just about every statistical category. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor had some injury problems in 2008, but the then sophomore still showed the world that he could be a great dual-threat quarterback. Now, as an upperclassman, he just has to do it more consistently. With tight end Greg Boone and receivers Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale back, Taylor is set up for success. Boykin and Coale are just sophomores and they could be in for a great season if Taylor can get them the ball. Speaking of talented sophomores who over exceeded their expectations as freshman, running back Darren Evans ran for over 1,200 yards last season. If the passing game is again one of the worst in the nation, at least Evans can move the chains.
The Bottom Line for the Hokies:
In the end the success or failure of the offense could depend on the offensive line as much as it does on Taylor or Evans. Center Ryan Shuman and Nick Marshman are gone, but seniors Ed Wang and Sergio Render have a ton of experience and sophomore tackle Blake DeChristopher had a solid sophomore season and could turn into a great tackle opposite of Wang.
By Joel Welser
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