Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring Football Roundtable

Hokie bloggers have convened (virtually, at least) to discuss matters concerning Tech football going into spring practice. Beer Control Offense, College Game Balls, The North End Zone, TechSuperfans, Virginia Tech Fan and myself took time to answer the same questions. The recap will be posted on Monday. Here are my answers:

1. From reader Riggs: "Are we really going to be that good next year? I just don't see us being a top 10 team given last season's offensive output. Tell me that we're overhauling the offense, or we're adding new packages. Give me some hope."

I don't think we should be considered a national title contender by the media. I want our players to think they have the chance, but I think we play a lot better when people doubt us. It looks like outside of the ACC media we aren't considered a national title contender, which is good. I think a preseason ranking of No. 9 or No. 10 suits this team.

The offense is more talented, but you won't see any dramatic changes to the scheme. There also won't be the gaudy numbers a lot of fans want to see, but that's just not Virginia Tech football. We're going to try and control the clock and keep our defense on the sideline. We aren't going to be a high-scoring offense but I fully expect us to have a more efficient and effective offense.

There are important holes to fill on the defense and depth issues on the offensive line. A key injury to the line or problems with new guys at cornerback and linebacker could derail our quest for a national title quickly.

The Hokies are going to be good and be in contention for at least the ACC championship this year. We won't dominate teams like we did in 1999, but we won't fold dramatically like Clemson did last year.

2. From Beer Control Offense: "Are you concerned about the lack of depth at quarterback? How many significant snaps do you think VT's back up quarterback will get?"

Last year, Tyrod missed the Maryland game and was ineffective against Miami after being injured against FSU. In 2007, he was injured against Duke and missed the BC and Georgia Tech games.

With his history, it stands to reason we're going to need our backup QB at some point. I think the way our offense is set up we won't be in a lot of trouble if we have to turn to Ju-Ju Clayton or Greg Boone. We can rely on the running game for the most part and still win games.

The problem comes, like at the end of last year's FSU game, when we're down and need the backup to bring us back. Cory Holt played well against the Noles, but was just unable to get us into the end zone. It was a tough situation, but not one that happens to many teams.

Usually, you know ahead of time you're going to be without your starter and can prepare properly for the upcoming game with your backup. It worries me that our backup quarterbacks are unknown commodities, but I don't think it will be as big a deal as some are making it out to be.

3. What position do you think is most important to the Hokies on the defensive side of the ball this spring? Are there any young players who will step up during spring on that side of the ball?

I think the most important position is cornerback. Stephan Virgil is moving back to boundary corner and there will be a new field corner this year.

Virgil knows the boundary side because he was a backup there before starting on the field side in 2008. However, I think his size is an issue when it comes to stepping up and helping stop the run.

On the field side, I didn't like what I saw out of Rashad Carmichael last year. To me, he had trouble communicating and being in the right spot a lot last season. I'm hoping someone else can emerge at that position either in the spring or summer unless Carmichael has made dramatic improvement this season.

4. What change would you make to college football's spring football system?

I would allow teams to scrimmage other schools. The end of session spring game would still need to be an intrasquad scrimmage, but at least let teams see how they stack up against each other in controlled scrimmages. Basketball teams are allowed to do it in the summer. Every other level of football does it. College football should be able to scrimmage as well.

5. From College Game Balls: "What kind of music do you think the team is bumping in the locker room? And is Beamer getting down? I know the '99 team was big into Method Man and Dr. Dre."

Of course Beamer's getting down. We've seen the video evidence. We just need some of the guys to step in and improve his moves. At least teach him the eclectic slide or something. Of course, I can't dance at all so I have no room to talk.

As for the team, my guess is the music preferences break down by position:

O-line: Definitely old school stuff. R&B, Motown.
Skill Position: Jay-Z. Gotta be Jay-Z. The skill guys are the ones who get all the pub, so they're probably listening to guy making the most money.
D-line: Biggie and 'Pac. They want a message with their rhymes.
LBs: Lil' Wayne.
DBs: More hardcore. DMX and Tech N9ne. You can't properly KTFO people unless you listen to DMX and Tech N9ne.

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