Monday, May 12, 2008

5 Things I'm Not Worried About in 2008

Five areas where the Hokies will be fine going into the 2008 season:

1. Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

OMG! WTF! We lost four senior wide receivers from last year!

Get over it. Yes, Royal, Morgan, Hyman and Harper were very good. But they can be replaced pretty easily. The Hokies' offense doesn't need great wide receivers.

Having those receivers as threats on the outside does spread the defense and make the run game easier. But they aren't necessary for the offense to be productive. Where they come handy the most is in the red zone as possession receivers when the defense is trying to stop the run.

The Hokies appear to have found a go-to receiver in spring practice. Brandon Dillard showed great speed in the spring game and will probably be Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor's primary target in the fall.

What Tech needs to do now is fill certain roles. The Hokies need a possession receiver in the red zone, which looks like it could be Cory Holt. He made a nice catch in the back of the end zone for a touchdown in the spring game, but is still adjusting to the position.

With Macho Harris now as an option as and the possibility of using Ryan Williams on the outside just to get him playing time, the Hokies will be just fine at receiver.

And it's looking like Tech has another good tight end duo in Greg Boone and Sam Wheeler. Tech has a tradition of having good combos at tight end. Boone and Wheeler could be the best combo its had. Wheeler has having a great year before suffering a season-ending knee injury at Georgia Tech last year. Boone has improved steadily each year at tight end since switching from quarterback.

The passing game won't be a problem for the Hokies in 2008. Another reason for this is next on the list.

2. Quarterback

The two-quarterback system, when orchestrated properly, can do outstanding things. It helped win Florida a national championship in 2006 and did the same for LSU last year. I think the coaching staff needs to take a look at the game tape from the LSU game last year (as painful as that is) and take some tips on how the Tigers used Flynn and Perrilloux. Glennon and Taylor can be used the same way.

Glennon needs to be the starter and leader of the offense. Taylor needs to be used to show the defense a different look and give the offense versatility when it needs it. He can also help the running game.

3. Pass Defense

Despite the loss of Ellis, the Hokies are pretty deep at defense end. Again. Orion Martin stepped up last year and was an excellent complement to Ellis rushing the quarterback. He can also drop back in pass coverage and use his nearly 40-inch vertical to snag passes.

Jason Worilds set the message boards ablaze last year with his performance in fall practice. He'll probably be a starter next year and is ready to break out. Nekos Brown moved to defensive end last year and had a solid season.

With those three applying pressure and Harris and Kam Chancellor lurking in the defensive backfield, it won't be easy to be a quarterback against Virginia Tech next year. That's why rush defense will be so important. Forcing opponents into passing situations will be a quick way to force turnovers.

4. Field Position

Brent Bowden showed versatility as both a driver and a wedge last year. He was able to boom kicks and pin them close to the goal line.

Macho Harris looks to take over return duties for Royal this upcoming season and showed last year he has the ability to break one at any time.

5. Winning the Division

Tech could drop one or two games in the conference in 2008. But that shouldn't stop them from winning the division. Their primary opposition in the ACC Coastal is Miami. The Hurricanes are also very young and have a lot of good talent, but they are still building.

The rest of the division is very poor. Duke is a doormat, Georgia Tech is installing a new offense and has seen a lot of players transfer, UVa lost a lot of talent and UNC is getting closer. UNC could be the darkhorse, but needs to be better at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

If Tech beats Miami, it should win its division and be bound for Tampa and the ACCCG.

Coming Tuesday: Five Things I'm Worried About in 2008

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