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Virginia Tech's versatile tight end thinking national title

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

It was a game that resonated throughout Blacksburg for all of the wrong reasons, and Virginia Tech tight end Greg Boone hasn't forgotten it.

Two years ago, Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan orchestrated an amazing comeback, throwing two touchdown passes in the final 2:11 for a 14-10 come-from-behind win in Lane Stadium on a Thursday night.

During that wacky 2007 season, Virginia Tech finished third in the final BCS standings behind LSU.

"If we would have won that game and won out, we probably would have been playing Ohio State in the national championship game," said Boone. "It's always been in the back of our heads and we always let it slip in a meaningful game. This year, we're trying to win it all."

And Boone plans on doing anything and everything he can to help.

"Since I'm going to be a senior, I'm going to have a lot of people looking up to me," he said. "And I don't want to be the one to have a disappointing season."

Boone played a significant role in the Hokies' offense during the last half of the 2008 season, and finished third on the team with 22 receptions. During a season in which passing touchdowns were hard to come by, Boone had 278 receiving yards and two touchdowns. It was his role in the "Wild Turkey" formation, though, that got people talking about the beefy, 6-foot-3, 287-pound tight end.

Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring came up with the formation, a variation of Arkansas' Wild Hog, which lined up running back Darren McFadden at quarterback. Boone, who was already conveniently practicing at quarterback because of the injuries to Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon, lined up in the shotgun seven times against Maryland and caught the Terps off-guard.

Boone, who was recruited to Virginia Tech as a quarterback but moved to tight end prior to the 2006 season, said he hasn't thrown the ball much lately, but he did this spring. Only recently have the players started getting together to run some routes.

"I spent a fair amount of time with the quarterbacks, just basically seeing the things like how they take the drop steps on different plays, different reads in the passing game," he said.

During his career, Boone has lined up on the line, in the slot and in the backfield. He's big, strong and tough to tackle. He was also a safety and a linebacker in high school.

What position can't he play?

"I probably could play them all," he said.

Boone said the one thing that will separate the Hokies from the rest of the Coastal Division this fall will be the "want to" factor.

"We had a lot of young guys on the team last year that really stepped up," he said. "We have to make sure they don't get comfortable with what we did last year, because last year's in the past. We have to move onto bigger things this year."