Wednesday, May 14, 2008

5 Guys Who Need to Excel in 2008

Here are five players the Hokies need to have great years in 2008:

1. Jr., Ed Wang, OT

Wang will move from right to left tackle in 2008, replacing the departed Duane Brown. Why is Wang important? Because at left tackle he'll be protecting the quarterback's blind side. Wang missed most of fall practice and the first six games of the season in 2007 due to a broken left ankle. This year, the Hokies need Wang healthy from the start as he adjusts to the most important position on the offensive line.

If Wang is able to fill Brown's shoes at left tackle, Glennon will be kept upright more often and the Hokies pass game will be improved. However, if he can't adjust to his new role, the passing attack and the offense overall will be in big trouble.

2. Jr., Kam Chancellor, S

Hall, Adibi, Flowers and Ellis are all gone from last year's defense. New leaders need to be found and quickly or we might see a repeat of the matador defense the Hokies used in 2003 (Ole!). Chancellor needs to be the guy that steps up and guides the defense. He's also switching positions from rover to free safety and will need to make adjustments before the season. Chancellor broke out as a sophomore last year at rover and was one of the Hokies' hardest hitters.

Now at free safety, Chancellor will be quarterbacking the defense and I believe will lead the Hokies to another outstanding year on defense. He's bigger and faster than free safeties Tech has had in the past. However, he needs to take over this defense. His leadership skills will be vital to preventing a repeat of 2003's disaster.

3. Sr., Dustin Keys, K

Assuming Keys wins the position, the Hokies will need him to be clutch in 2008. This is the second consecutive season Tech has a new kicker. Last season, Jud Dunlevy beat out Keys and a host of others to win the job and performed admirably during the season.

We'll know Keys is doing a good job if we don't notice him. If we do notice him, that means he's missing kicks. That's not good for a team that I think will have a lot of close calls this year. With so many new players playing new positions this season, Tech will need as many points as they can get.

Is this the part where I'm supposed to make a pun about Keys being a key player in 2008? OK. Good.

4. So., Tyrod Taylor, QB

Here's all Tyrod needs to do in 2008:

1. Show up healthy in the fall and prove to Hokie fans and media he doesn't need to be redshirted.
2. Give Glennon a breather when he needs it or if he gets hurt (like in the FSU game last year).
3. When in the game, give opposing defenses a different look in strategic situations to keep them on their toes.

Nothing more. Nothing less. The kid doesn't need to be a world-beater yet. Next year, however...

5. Jr., Cordarrow Thompson, DT

"Taco" had a strong spring after dropping 30 pounds. The Hokies will need him to help anchor its rush defense since No. 1 defensive tackle John Graves has yet to show his potential at the position.

Thompson showed signs of being a solid player late in the season in 2007. He finished the season with four tackles, and a sack while being No. 5 on the depth chart.

Coaches are raving about Thompson's ability. The Hokies are very thin at defensive tackle, so they will need Thompson and Graves to have big years in the middle of the defensive line.

Coming Thursday: 5 Freshmen or Sophomores to Watch in 2008

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