Southern Football Report Preseason Poll: #20 Virginia Tech Hokies

Virginia Tech LogoFor a long time there were three absolutes in Blacksburg, Virginia: the sun was going to rise, Frank Beamer would be the head coach at Virginia Tech and the Hokies would win at least ten games in the upcoming season. It was law. These days only two of those are true as the sun continues to rise & fall in Blacksburg and Frank Beamer is still the coach but the Hokies haven’t reached the double digit win plateau since the 2011 season, which is downright unacceptable at Virginia Tech. The Hokies had one of the biggest wins of the season in 2014 when they defeated the eventual National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus in week 2 but stayed in the Top 25 only seven days after begin beaten at home by East Carolina the following week. The Hokies only won four games after the big win over the Buckeyes and one of those was a squeaker against lowly Wake Forest where the game was tied 0-0 at the end of regulation. Needless to say, things are getting dicey for Beamer in Blacksburg.

Virginia Tech Junior Defensive Back Kendall Fuller
Virginia Tech Junior Defensive Back Kendall Fuller

Virginia Tech has always recruited well and has always had great players but finding a quarterback has been a tall order for the Hokie staff in recent years. They were able to lure Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer to Lane Stadium and for the most part he played well last year when he wasn’t hampered by a bad back, which is said to be better in 2015 but we’ll wait and see. I’m sure the Hokie coaching staff will be looking to cut down on the 15 interceptions Brewer tossed in 2014. In the past, Virginia Tech has always been able to find extremely good running backs but in 2014 they had a running back by committee with JC Coleman, Marshawn Williams & Sam Rogers who combined for over 1300 yards but only for 10 touchdowns as a group. The Hokies also return five of their top six pass catchers from a year ago so the offense will have solid options at all of the skill position, including sophomore man child tight end Bucky Hodges who checks in at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds. Hodges led the team in touchdown receptions in 2014 with seven and will surely look to improve on that mark in 2015. The offensive line is where Virginia Tech will need to find some answers as only two starters return and two sophomores will be looking to fill in two of the open spots. Virginia Tech’s average rushing yards per game total has been under 150 for three straight seasons and the Hokies will need that the end in 2015 if they plan on being better offensively in 2015.

The 2015 season will be number 30 for Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster who despite the team’s record has maintained a solid defensive unit throughout. The most points per game the Hokies have allowed defensively in the last seven years was 22.8 in 2012. This season Virginia Tech returns eight defensive starters from a year ago including three of their four starters from the secondary, which will challenge for the best defensive secondary unit in the nation. Led by junior corner back Kendall Fuller, the secondary allowed under 200 yards passing per game last season and that will not change with safeties Donovan Riley & Chuck Clark hovering like Apache helicopters in the middle of the field. The back end may hold it down but the Hokie defensive line is still as good as they come; just ask the 48 quarterbacks they sacked in 2014. With the combination of pressure of front and tight coverage in the back, this may end up being one of Bud Foster’s best defenses ever and that’s saying something.

Virginia Tech Hokies Head Coach Frank Beamer
Virginia Tech Hokies Head Coach Frank Beamer

The Hokies will put that defense to the test right off of the bat when the reigning National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes visit Lane Stadium on Labor Day night in prime time. All eyes will be in Blacksburg and unless I’ve missed my guess, the Hokie faithful will be as loud as ever for that one. Virginia Tech turns around four days later and plays Furman & for Hokie fans sake I hope their 2015 season doesn’t begin the same way that their 2010 season began (Monday night loss to Boise State followed by a Saturday upset by FCS-James Madison). Virginia Tech hits the road in back-to-back games to close out September at Purdue and at East Carolina. The Pirates defeated Virginia Tech 28-21 in Blacksburg in 2014 so I’m sure Virginia Tech will have this one circled on the calendar. October begins with a two-game home stand against Pittsburgh and NC State on a Friday night before the Hokies head down to South Beach to take on their old Big East rival Miami Hurricanes. On October 24th, the Duke Blue Devils, who the Hokies have beaten four out of the last five times they’ve played, visit Lane Stadium. Virginia Tech will close the month of October with a road game at Boston College. And interesting note about the Hokies’ October is that both Pittsburgh & Duke will be coming off of bye weeks while Virginia Tech will be coming off of a road game the previous Saturday. November begins with a bye week followed by a Thursday night road game in Atlanta against the reigning ACC Coastal division champion Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets who will also be coming off of a bye week. The final two games of the regular season will be a road game an allegedly improved North Carolina and a road game at hated Virginia. Virginia Tech will have not lost a Commonwealth Cup for over 4,000 days when November 28th finally rolls around.

The 2015 campaign for the Virginia Tech Hokies will be an interesting one to watch. Defensively, they will be as good as anyone in the country as they were last year (21st in total defense) but it all depends on what happens with the offense as they have been ranked towards the back in each of the last three seasons. If it were any other coach in any other program, his seat would literally be on fire but Frank Beamer has built enough equity to prove that he can turn it around. I believe that he can and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Virginia Tech in Charlotte on December 5th.

Lane Stadium - Capacity: 65,632
Lane Stadium – Capacity: 65,632

2015 Virginia Tech Hokies Schedule

Sept 7th           v. Ohio State (Monday)
Sept 12th         v. Furman
Sept 19th         at Purdue
Sept 26th        at East Carolina
Oct 3rd            v. Pittsburgh
Oct 9th            v. NC State (Fri)
Oct 17th          at Miami
Oct 24th         v. Duke
Oct 31st           at Boston College
Nov 7th           BYE WEEK
Nov 12th         at Georgia Tech (Thurs)
Nov 21st          v. North Carolina
Nov 28th         at Virginia

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