Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Opening camp: Virginia Tech
By Andrea Adelson
As ACC teams begin to start practicing again, Heather and I will have a quick preview of each team to get you caught up on the basics. Next up to open camp ...
School: Virginia Tech.
Start date: Today.
Predicted finish at media days: First, Coastal.
Biggest storyline: Do the Hokies have what it takes to keep up their Coastal dominance? Last season ended with such a heartbreaker for the Hokies, the last-second overtime loss to Michigan in the Sugar Bowl was still talked about at ACC media days. But the players and coaches have put that game aside and the focus is once again on winning yet another ACC title. The media selected Virginia Tech to win the Coastal Divison once again, despite some heavy losses on offense. But the good news is the return of quarterback Logan Thomas mitigates much of that concern, along with nine starters back on defense. You thought this group was good last year? Cornerback Kyle Fuller says it can be even better in 2012. For all the success the Hokies have had, BCS victories have eluded them. So the quest is to once again get back to the BCS, and win it this time.
Biggest position battle: Running back. ACC Offensive Player of the Year David Wilson is gone, and along with him go 1,709 yards and nine touchdowns, along with the team's most consistent playmaker. Does Virginia Tech have anybody like him on the roster? That has been the question posed since Wilson declared for the NFL draft. At ACC media days, coach Frank Beamer said he may go with a running back by committee approach, at least initially. Beamer said redshirt freshman Michael Holmes could eventually emerge as the workhorse back, but there should be plenty of competition from Trey Edmunds, true freshman J.C. Coleman, Tony Gregory and true freshman Chris Mangus.
Who needs to step up: Marcus Davis, D.J. Coles, Dyrell Roberts. Virginia Tech is losing its top two playmakers at receiver in Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin, who combined for 121 catches, 1,665 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Davis, Coles and Roberts are the top three returning receivers from a year ago, so they have a huge opportunity to step in and fill some pretty big shoes, while also gaining the confidence of Thomas. There is no question Thomas is a terrific quarterback. But he is going to need players to step up around him, most especially at receiver.