2011 ACC Blogger Football Preview – Coastal No. 1…Virginia Tech

Posted by Brandon Rink on July 23, 2011 under ACC Football | Comments are off for this article

Virginia Tech's schedule is the easiest in the ACC, but the always tough Georgia Tech game looms in mid-November. (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)

2010 Record: 11-3 (8-0 ACC)
2011 Projected Record: 11-1 (7-1 ACC)
Returning Starters: 12 (7 on offense, 5 on defense).
Schedule Difficulty in ACC: 12th.
Offense Rides On… Logan Thomas’ progression – Much like FSU, Virginia Tech has the surrounding cast around a first-year starter to do damage in the ACC, but they’ll go up and down with his performance this season.
Defensive Deficiency: Defensive line – The Hokies replace three starters on the line.
Keyword: Repeat – With about as easy a schedule as you can get, expectations aren’t lowering a bit for the Hokies, and Phil Steele even projects them to have a solid chance at going 12-0.

Schedule Analysis + W/Ls

9/03 App. State W 38-10
9/10 @ ECU W 31-21
9/17 Arkansas St. W 45-6
9/24 @ Marshall W 55-17
10/01 Clemson W 31-17
10/08 Miami W 31-10
10/15 @ Wake Forest W 38-17
10/22 Boston College W 27-16
10/29 @ Duke W 31-17
11/5 Bye
11/10 @ Georgia Tech W 22-17
11/17 UNC L 23-21
11/26 @ Virginia W 27-13

Bye Week: Before Georgia Tech, November 10.
Toughest Game: UNC, November 17.
Must-Win Conference Game:  At Georgia Tech, November 10.

This portion of our preview is an excerpt from my work for the Clemson website, OrangeandWhite.com. Check them out for Tigers’ football coverage this fall…

Coach: Frank Beamer (198-95-2 career record, 49-11 in ACC play, 25th year at Virginia Tech).

Offense (2010 ranks): Pro-style (Total offense: 41th/Rush offense: 23rd/Pass offense: 72nd)

Defense (2010 ranks): 4-3 (Total defense: 52nd/Rush defense: 64th/Pass defense: 40th).

2010 Special Team Ranks: Net punting – 23rd/Kickoff returns – 38th/Punt returns – 20th/Punt return yardage defense – 12th/Kickoff return yardage defense – 107th.

2010 Misc. stats: Turnover margin – 1st/Fewest penalties – 15th/First downs – 45th/First downs allowed – 20th/Third down efficiency – 34th/Red zone efficiency – 5th/Red zone defense – 22nd/Time of possession – 18th.

Outgoing starters: 11.

2011 Starters (2010 stats)

Returning Offense (7)

FB: Joey Phillips (Junior, 5-11 214).
WR: Jarrett Boykin (Senior, 847 rec. yards/6 TD); Marcus Davis (Junior, 239 rec. yards/2 TD);
O-line: RG Jaymes Brooks (Senior, 6-2 307/28 starts); LG Greg Nosal (Senior, 6-6 281/15 starts); LT Andrew Lanier (Senior, 6-5 282/15 starts); RT Blake DeChristopher (Senior, 6-5 312/37 starts).

New Projected Starters (4)

QB: Logan Thomas (Sophomore, 12/26 for 107 passing yards);
RB: David Wilson (Junior, 619 rushing yards/1,437 all-purpose yards/11 total TD).
TE: Chris Drager (Senior, 6-3 256/converted defensive end).
O-line: C Andrew Miller (Sophomore, 6-4 290);

Outlook: The QB job is all sophomore Logan Thomas’ after a strong spring, where he completed 55 percent of his passes for 743 yards, 6 TDs and 3 INTs over the course of the Hokies’ scrimmages. Thomas has yet to start a game and only attempted 26 passes in his career, but because of his 6-6 245 frame and successful spring, he’s drawn comparisons to Auburn’s Cam Newton and even Pittsburgh Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger this offseason.

Track star David Wilson has the running back job all to himself this season after being a part of a talented, three-headed monster at the position last year. His skills at returning kicks earned him even more playing time in 2010 and Wilson finished third in the ACC with 1,437 all-purpose yards.

Virginia Tech is stacked at wide receiver with seniors Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale, as well as spring MVP, junior Marcus Davis.

On the o-line, the Hokies return 98 career starts with four of the five projected starters as seniors.

Returning Defense (5)

D-line: DT Antoine Hopkins (Junior, 1 sack/5.5 TFL/41 tackles);
LB: MLB Bruce Taylor (Junior, 91 tackles/15.5 TFL/6 sacks); OLB Jeron Gouveia-Winslow (Junior, 41 tackles/1 TFL/2 INT);
DB: CB Jayron Hosley (Junior, 9 INT/39 tackles/1 TFL); FS Eddie Whitley (Senior, 2 INT/80 tackles/4 TFL).

New Projected Starters (6)

D-line: DE Zack McCray (Redshirt freshman, 6-5 248)/J.R. Collins (Sophomore, 25 tackles/6.5 TFL); DT Nick Acree (Redshirt freshman, 6-5 276)/Derrick Hopkins (Sophomore, 6-0 298); DE James Gayle (Sophomore, 4 sacks/6.5 TFL/13 tackles).
LB: Tariq Edwards (Sophomore, 21 tackles/1 INT).
DB: CB Kyle Fuller (Sophomore, 32 tackles/4 TFL);
ROV: Antone Exum (Sophomore, 45 tackles/1.5 TFL).

Outlook: The Hokies have spots to fill at every unit, but the back-seven of the defense took the least hit by graduation. CB Jayron Hosley led the nation in interceptions last season with nine – free safety Eddie Whitley racked up 80 tackles and six pass breakups.

At linebacker, MLB Bruce Taylor was one of the ACC’s leaders in tackles for loss in 2010 with 15.5. Beyond him, position battles abound for the outside linebackers.

Defensive line looks to be the weak spot with only one upperclassman projected to start in DT Antoine Hopkins, and a host of freshman and sophomores competing for the other three positions. By all accounts, DE J.R. Collins stated his case this spring with fellow DE James Gayle impressing as well.

Returning Kicker/Punter (0)

New Projected Starters (2)

PK: Cody Journell (Sophomore).
P: Danny Coale (Senior)/Scott Demler (Junior)/Ethan Keyserling (Redshirt freshman).

Outlook: The Hokies have no kicking experience, which made this spring an important exhibition for Frank Beamer’s crew – and they settled the kicker position with sophomore Cody Journell…at punter – not so much. The punting competition went so poorly that senior WR Danny Coale tried his foot at it, and was pretty good – so good, in fact, that Beamer said he’s the leader in the clubhouse at punter going into fall camp.

Notable Backups (2010 stats)

RB: Josh Oglesby (Senior, 49 rushing yards);
WR: Danny Coale (Senior, 732 rec. yards/3 TD);

Position by Position Grades

MVP: Logan Thomas
Gotta Step-Up: Logan Thomas

RB: A-
MVP: David Wilson
Gotta Step-Up: Josh Oglesby

MVP: Jarrett Boykin
Gotta Step-Up: Marcus Davis

OL: B+
MVP: RT Blake DeChristopher
Gotta Step-Up: C Andrew Miller

MVP: DT Antoine Hopkins
Gotta Step-Up: DE J.R. Collins

LB: B+
MVP: MLB Bruce Taylor
Gotta Step-Up: ILB Tariq Edwards

Sec: A
MVP: CB Jayron Hosley
Gotta Step-Up: SS Antone Exum

K/P: C-
MVP: K Cody Journell
Gotta Step-Up: TBD

The Why…

Why First?: 1) Perfect conference schedule for a new QB – Starting off with two home games, first road trip at Wake Forest (next at Duke), bye before Georgia Tech on Thursday, game at home next Thursday and Virginia game in Charlottesville. Can’t set it up better.

2) Thomas’ surrounding cast – He has a dynamic back in David Wilson, receivers aplenty and a strong corps on the offensive line. Thomas doesn’t have to be Tyrod Taylor right out of the gates – just someone who can get the football in his playmakers’ hands.

3) It’s what Virginia Tech does – They’ve finished first or second in every season of the divisional format, and first four times (also won the ACC in the season before BC made it 12 teams).

Could be lower if…: Thomas struggles and Wilson suffers a sophomore slump – the defense is mediocre to a second or third place finish in the ACC.

2011 ACC Preview: Where does Virginia Tech finish in the Coastal?

  • 1st (90%, 18 Votes)
  • 2nd (10%, 2 Votes)
  • 3rd (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 4th (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 5th (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 6th (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 20

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