Tuesday, July 15, 2008

2008 VT Preview - Wide Receivers

It looked like junior Brandon Dillard was going to be the Hokies top playmaker at wide receiver in 2008 after a brilliant spring game performance. Then the sky fell.

On paper, wide receiver is a train wreck for the Hokies. There are a lot of freshmen and sophomores and a couple of former quarterbacks competing for playing time. None have much game experience since Tech's top four receivers from last year were lost to graduation.

Before getting to the train wreck, lets look at the bright spot of the passing game - tight end. The Hokies have the best stable of tight ends in the conference and one of the best in the nation.

Junior Sam Wheeler was becoming a favorite target of Sean Glennon's before tearing his ACL against Georgia Tech. Another former quarterback, junior Greg Boone, was given a bigger role and thrived.

Boone is known more for his blocking ability, but turned out to be a solid pass-catcher. He's a big dude who may even see time at fullback this season.

The coaches expect sophomore Andre Smith to have a break-out season as well. He has shown to be a good run and pass-blocker, so will likely see time in 2008. How much time will depend on his hands. If the passing game needs help from the tight ends, Wheeler and Boone will see more time.

Now for the receivers. The two former-QBs, senior Cory Holt and junior Ike Whitaker, have the advantage going into fall practice because they have the most experience. However, the Hokies need sophomore Zach Luckett and true freshman Dyrell Roberts to earn playing time in the fall.

Whitaker made a nice grab for a touchdown in the spring game and could be a possession receiver. Same for Holt. At 6-4, Holt is a tall target that could provide match-up problems for some of the cornerbacks the Hokies will face.

Luckett could be the fastest wide receiver the Hokies have now that Dillard is lost for the season. Roberts is a highly-ranked prospect, a VHT as Phil Steele would say, and is expected to be a playmaker.

I think if Luckett and Roberts see a lot of time on the field, the Hokies will be fine. However, if they aren't able to produce and the quarterbacks or guys like freshman Danny Coale and sophomore Prince Parker and seeing the field, then we're in big trouble.

No comments: