#39 Virginia Tech Football 2013 Preview

Virginia Tech Hokies

Overall Rank: #39
#5 ACC

Virginia Tech Team Page#39 Virginia Tech Football 2013 PreviewBuy Virginia Tech Football Tickets

Prior to last season, Head Coach Frank Beamer had guided the Virginia Tech Hokies through eight seasons of ACC play. Since coming over from the Big East in 2004, Virginia Tech won the conference four times and finished with at least 10 wins every single season. That is, until last season. Twenty-twelve was the worst ACC season ever for the Hokies. Sure they still made a bowl game but the year was hardly a success. In fact, it was the team's worst season since 1992, the last time the Hokies did not make a bowl game. Coach Beamer actually got some negative buzz around him for the first time in ages. His seat is not hot as much as it's just not as cool and comfortable as it's been. One bad year does not put a coach's job in jeopardy but with the expectations for Virginia Tech before last season, people were not pleased with the job Beamer did. This year, forecasts have been tempered a great deal, which puts VT right back where they thrive best: under the radar.

2012 Record: (7-6, 4-4)
2012 Bowl: Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Rutgers (W 13-10 OT)
Coach: Frank Beamer (216-104-2 at Virginia Tech, 258-127-4 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Scot Loeffler
Defensive Coordinator: Bud Foster

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Logan Thomas, QB, 524 yards
Passing: Logan Thomas, QB, 2976 yards
Receiving: Demitri Knowles, WR, 240 yards
Tackles: Jack Tyler, LB, 119
Sacks: James Gayle, DL, 5.0
Interceptions: Antone Exum, DB 5

Other Key Returnees: RB J.C. Coleman, RB Tony Gregory, TE Ryan Malleck, OL Andrew Miller, K Cody Journell, DL Derrick Hopkins, DL Luther Maddy, DB Kyshoen Jarrett, DB Kyle Fuller

Key Losses: RB Michael Holmes, WR Marcus Davis, WR Corey Fuller, WR Dyrell Roberts, OL Michael Via, LB Bruce Taylor, LB Alonzo Tweedy

Throughout Frank Beamer's tenure, Virginia Tech has been pretty steady at what they are good at. The special teams get a bit exaggerated because of how stellar the group was for a few years running with blocking punts and kicks. That has not been as evident recently even when the unit itself is solid, but the Hokies have remained strong on the defensive end. With just a blip here or there, defensive coordinator Bud Foster has routinely led one of the best defenses in the country. Even in last season’s down year, the defense was still elite, finishing in the top 25 nationally in pass defense and total defense. More importantly, the Hokies dominated their ACC brethren, ranking in the top three in the conference in nearly everything: pass defense, rush defense, total defense, scoring defense and sacks. The great news is that most of this unit is returning for the 2013 season. Other than a couple linebackers, nearly every contributor is back. The team's leading tackler, LB Jack Tyler will try to build on his impressive junior season, as will a couple of NFL-caliber teammates, corners Antone Exum and Kyle Fuller and end James Gayle. Back to the special teams, this should be another good year for Beamer Ball. One of the most reliable kickers in the conference, Cody Journell, is back for another season. And the return game should be as impressive as always with a number of men up to the task in J.C. Coleman, Kyshoen Jarrett and others.

The Virginia Tech offense was a sad state of affairs in what was supposed to be Logan Thomas' coming out party. The big quarterback was ready to ride his large frame into the NFL draft after a successful junior year. Instead, he and the entire offense were putrid. The running game was non-existent, as evidenced by Thomas leading the team in yards, accumulated mostly through scrambling. The passing game was okay but Thomas was off with his accuracy all year long and committed too many turnovers. To add insult to injury, the top three receiving weapons on last year's squad all graduated. VT has been able to find loads of success without top flight wide receivers in the past. That precedent is set. However, a reliable passing game now sits squarely on Thomas' wide shoulders. If he again struggles to hit receivers in stride and stays prone to overthrows, the Hokies will suffer. The talent is there for Logan to carry the entire offense of otherwise ordinary players. Running backs come and go (as Michael Holmes has gone, being kicked off the team); wide receivers and pass-catching tight ends are only as successful as their man behind center allows. The Logan Thomas NFL stock has dipped in price but that only means it is a good time to buy low. After all, the man is carved out of granite with a rocket launcher on his shoulder.

The Bottom Line:
Last year was uncharacteristically bad. It actually could have easily gone much worse too. Three of the team's seven wins came in overtime. They were playing on thin ice all year. A bowl game victory was almost a sour reminder of what it took just to get over .500. This year, things are looking up for a roster that returns an awful lot of talent. The expansion of the Atlantic Coast Conference will also play in the Hokies' favor this season. With 14 teams now in the conference, not everyone plays each other. Virginia Tech, who went just 1-5 on the road last season and had three of those losses come at the hands of the conference's top teams, will fortunately avoid playing both Florida State and Clemson in 2013. On the other hand, game number one is against everyone's favorite juggernaut, the Alabama Crimson Tide. Virginia Tech will find out rather early how good they are.

Projected Bowl: Sun Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 145.85 (79th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 230.92 (64, 9)
Total Offense: 376.77 (81, 9)
Scoring Offense: 25.08 (81, 8)
Rushing Defense: 134.08 (29, 3)
Pass Defense: 199.08 (24, 2)
Total Defense: 333.15 (18, 2)
Scoring Defense: 22.85 (32, 2)
Turnover Margin: -0.38 (86, 7)
Sacks: 2.69 (19, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (60, 6)

Madness 2014 NFL Draft Rankings:
#57 Kyle Fuller
#63 Logan Thomas
#121 James Gayle

Madness 2013 Football Recruit Rankings:
#13 Kendall Fuller
#82 Holland Fisher
#139 Bucky Hodges
#207 Wyatt Teller


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