VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES
- Virginia Tech’s success this season begins with head coach Frank Beamer, who is the active leader in wins in college football and remains one of the best coaches in the nation. Beamer has guided the Hokies to nineteen consecutive bowl games, while winning the ACC Title game in three of the last five seasons. If there is a head coach in college football who can get his team to overachieve, it is Frank Beamer and I expect the Hokies to surprise many this season by reaching the ACC Title game.
- Virginia Tech’s success is also predicated upon one of the best defensive coordinators in college football in Bud Foster, who enters his 17th season on the Virginia Tech sidelines. Foster and success are synonymous with one another as Foster’s scoring defense has finished in the Top 10 in seven of the last eight years. Foster has also won the coveted Broyles Award and enters this season with the best defense he has ever fielded.
- The Hokies’ defensive line is one of the best in the country as it possesses both excellent depth and experience. Scouts suggest that defensive end James Gayle could be a future NFL Draft choice and boasts outstanding speed. Virginia Tech’s defensive line returns nearly intact and should improve upon a solid 2011 campaign wherein the Hokies allowed just 3.2 yards per rush attempt.
- Bud Foster’s linebacking unit returns five of its top six players, including Bruce Taylor and Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, both of whom are seniors who are primed to have outstanding years. Let’s remember that Virginia Tech allowed a mere 17.6 points per game last season despite suffering a plethora of injuries at the linebacker position. There is no question that the Hokies have a Top 15 linebacking unit this season, which further supports one of the best defensive lines in NCAA Football.
- Bud Foster also welcomes back a very strong secondary that limited opposing quarterbacks to a 49.9% completion rate and a 16-16 ratio in 2011. With 32 career starts returning this season, including junio Kyle Fuller, the Hokies enter the 2012-2013 season with an excellent secondary. Overall, Foster welcomes back nine returning starters on defense, and the Hokies’ success this season will be predicated upon keeping opposing teams out of the endzone.
- On offense, Virginia Tech has one of the most talented quarterbacks in Logan Thomas, who threw for 3,013 yards last season with a 59.8% completion rate and a 19-10 ratio. Thomas is also a mobile quarterback who rushed for 469 yards in 2011, which makes him a dual threat as he is 6’6″ and weighs 262 pounds!
- The negative for Thomas is the fact that he lines up behind an inexperienced offensive line that loses four multi-year starters and welcomes back only 17 career starts. In addition, Virginia Tech loses its top three wide receivers and two of its top three running backs.
With Beamer emphasizing special teams and Foster grooming one of the nation’s best defenses, Virginia Tech should find itself in the ACC Title game in December.