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Jun
03
2016

State of the Football Program (Virginia Tech) – A Q&A With @treadmillhorse

SOGVTtemplatenoboxGood morning, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) sports fans.  We are going to start a new series on here at All Sports Discussion where we look at the state of the football programs for each ACC school.  Today, we start with Virginia Tech.  We asked @Treadmilhorse to join us for a question and answer session on Virginia Tech football – and he was gracious enough to spend some time with us.  Enjoy our first in the series.

What’s the Season Outlook for Virginia Tech football?

Virginia Tech finished the 2015 season 7-6. The Hokies were 4-5 going into the final three regular season games of the season. They were able to win an ugly game against Georgia Tech on the road, they lost to Coastal champs North Carolina at home in OT then pulled out a nail biter at the University of Virginia in the regular season finale. As a result of their 6-6 finish, the Hokies were sent to the Camping World Independence Bowl in Shreveport, LA. That game featured a crazy 55-52 shootout which the Hokies won against a 6-6 Tulsa team from the American Athletic Conference. It was one of the wilder and more entertaining games of the bowl season.

This season the Hokies have a number of playmakers returning on offense. Isaiah Ford headlines the group. Last season he became Virginia Tech’s first 1,000 yard receiver, led the ACC in receiving yards and set Virginia Tech records for yards, catches and receiving touchdowns in a season. He is also joined by tight end Bucky Hodges who decided to return for his senior season after giving serious consideration to the NFL Draft. Last season he posted 530 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. Right now, he is listed as one of the top tight end prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft. The Hokies also return Travon McMillian at running back. He rushed for 1,043 yards and 7 touchdowns while averaging 5.2 yards per carry last season. He is expected to carry the load again this season after a strong freshman campaign.

On defense, the Hokies have a lot of players with experience but few with starting experience. Defensive end Ken Ekanem appears to be the star and leader of this defense. A lot is expected from him in this his senior year. At linebacker, the Hokies return 2-year starter Andrew Motuapuaka but those have been two really rocky seasons at middle linebacker. Bud Foster is hoping to either get better production out of Motuapuaka or that someone else can step up and fill his spot. As usual, there is good talent and depth in the defensive backfield but on the whole it lacks a lot of experience. This is a situation where you hope the underclassmen can step up and play up to their reputation as high caliber recruits. Many of them were forced into action as freshmen last season with mixed results.

The focus of this season will be offense, offense and more offense. Justin Fuente was hired in the offseason to take the reigns from Frank Beamer after 29 years at the helm. The thought was to bring in an offensive mind to pair with Bud Foster’s top-notch defense. Justin Fuente is most well known for developing Andy Dalton at TCU and Paxton Lynch at Memphis. This year, Justin Fuente’s hopes rest with JUCO transfer Jerod Evans and returning senior quarterback Brenden Motley. He has also stated that he came to Virginia Tech with hopes of scoring 60 points a game. That might be a lot to ask in his first season but I like his optimism.

Key Hokies to Watch

On offense, it has to be Isaiah Ford. This is an offense that is going to spread it out and go downfield more often that in past. I think we will see huge stats from Isaiah Ford this year. I think Justin Fuente and Brad Cornelsen (the new offensive coordator) will look to find different ways to get him involved in the offense – passes downfield, end arounds and screens. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him exceed his gaudy numbers from 2015. Expect to see Ford’s name on this season’s Biletnikoff watch list. He is already listed as the #2 WR for the 2018 draft class by nfldraftscout.com with the potential to leave early after this his junior year.

On defense, I’m really excited about Ken Ekanem. A former 4 star DE recruit from Centreville, VA. Expect this to be the year he puts it all together. Last season, he finished the year with 4.5 sacks, 6 quarterback hurries and 2 forced fumbles. He should be a leader on the defensive side of ball this year and expect to see his name on the Lombardi award watch list.

Key Newcomer

I’ll go with Jerod Evans. I expect him to win the quarterback competition with Brenden Motley in August. At the very least, he should splitting time with Motley.  Many pundits have made a lot of Justin Fuente’s offensive coaching abilities but that all means very little if you don’t have a good quarterback behind center. Fuente had Andy Dalton at TCU and Paxton Lynch at Memphis. Evans was 247’s #1 dual-threat JUCO quarterback in the nation last year. His JUCO film looks good and with Fuente developing him, I think we should see a solid season out of him this year. I was really impressed by what I saw out of him as a running quarterback in the spring game. I think he can be the dual threat quarterback that the Hokies have been missing since Logan Thomas.

Predicted Record and Finish in Conference

Predicted record: 6-6 (4-4 ACC); 4th in the Coastal

Key Games to Watch: Tennessee, Miami, North Carolina and Notre Dame

Liberty

W

vs. Tennessee

L

Boston College

W

East Carolina

W

at North Carolina

L

at Syracuse

W

Miami

L

at Pittsburgh

L

at Duke

L

Georgia Tech

W

at Notre Dame

L

Virginia

W

And we thank @Treadmillhorse for our Season Outlook Q&A at All Sports Discussion!!  Make sure you follow him!!

Make sure you follow the All Sports Discussion Twitter account at @AllSportsDACC and please like our Facebook Page


3 comments

  1. Hokie Mark says:

    I’m not willing to concede the game @Duke.
    On the other hand, I don’t know what to expect from Babers @Syracuse.
    Bottom line: 6-6 is a reasonable prediction, IMO.

  2. Hokie Smash says:

    I agree with you, Mark – I have VT at 7-5, FWIW.

  3. Stephen H. Slack says:

    Met coach Fuente at the Southwest Va.and East Tenn.meeting at Glenrochie CC in Abingdon, Va. Very personable and straightforward about this years team…some comments were:

    We need both qbs healthy and ready to go
    We have a solid first 22 players and the rest are making good strides forward
    He laughed when I teased him about coach Beamer writing a big check and leaving Fuente and co.to cash it.in regards to Tenn at the speedway, Notre Dame in South Bend and somebody else and I said the Green Bay Packers ? We all laughed and liked his reaction.
    He looked us all in the eyes and said the Hokies will be there in full force to win the games…..the perfect answer that was well received by everyone.
    And lastly he told us about his daughter coming into his office recently and asked him if he had seen the street sign on the road running by his office, Beamer Way, she added something like you better be good in comparison. That also got a real laugh. A good time was had by all.

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