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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Weak and strong: Virginia Tech

By Andrea Adelson

We move on in our series looking at the weakest and strongest position on each team in the ACC with Virginia Tech.

Strongest position: Defensive line

Virginia Tech should feature one of the best -- if not the best -- defense in the ACC this season, and its defensive line is a big reason why. There is big-time talent here, so much so that Phil Steele has ranked this group No. 7 in the nation (and tops in the ACC). The headliner, of course, is defensive end James Gayle, who had a huge spring and won Defensive MVP honors. He is in line to have a terrific season. The Hokies return three starters up front, including both tackles Derrick Hopkins and Luther Maddy. Even though the Hokies had their share of inconsistency on D, the rushing D still ranked in the Top 30 in the country and played much better as the year went on. There are some concerns over depth at tackle, where the Hokies are going to have to rely on some freshmen to help out. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster is concerned about the youth there, but he also said he saw improvement this spring.

Weakest position: Receiver

We could have gone in a number of directions here on offense, because there are weaknesses at every single position. Offensive line and running back are not exactly strong suits and are two areas of concern headed into the season as well. But the biggest concern could be at receiver, where there is really one one proven player in D.J. Coles, and he is coming off a knee injury that forced him to miss every game but the opener last season. Receiver was an area of major inconsistency last year, and that contributed to the problems Logan Thomas had. This spring they had their good moments and bad, but way too many drops. If those problems continue into the season, there will not be a whole lot Thomas can do. If he doesn't have anybody consistently catching the ball, then the Hokies' offense will remain stuck in neutral. Among the others Virginia Tech will be relying on: Demitri Knowles, Kevin Asante and Josh Stanford. All are sophomores or freshmen, and Knowles is the only one who was a major contributor last season. Needless to say there is a lot of work yet to be done at this position during fall camp.

More in this series here.