TECHSUPERFANS (TM) - THE NEWSLETTER
Mad Jay - Pre-Season Update #1
Here are my thoughts regarding the Hokies this pre-season:
1) Ike Whitaker is 19-23 for 156 yards and 2TD's and he's rushed for another 40 yards and a TD in the two scrimmages. These are VASTLY superior to either Sean Glennon or Cory Holt's numbers (of course Glennon is going up against first string defense all the time), but other than one interception - called back due to an offside penalty - Whitaker has shown no flaw in his game. I hate making pronouncements until I see a guy play, but unless there's something I'm missing, Whitaker has to be the back-up QB over Cory Holt for the Northeastern game. I fully expect Glennon to perform in his role as starter, and I saw him play two years ago - don't lose hope my fellow Hokies, the kid can play QB at this level. But Whitaker has GOT to get some snaps as the back-up QB to get live game experience this year. If he does, he could become a force for us at QB going forward or maybe even as early as this season.
2) Branden Ore is having an amazing pre-season. Everything I've read about his maturity helped calm my nerves. After watching football religiously for so long (this will be my 28th season) I know talent, and he has bigtime talent. But his maturity was the issue and according to his teammates and Billy Hite (RB coach) he has taken care of that. Now he is averaging 5 yards/carry in the first two scrimmages against the first-string defense with an offensive line that, while better than advertised, is still far outmatched by the defense. I said it all last season and I'll say it here, Ore is the real deal and barring injury, he and Bell are going to be a BETTER 1-2 punch than Imoh and Humes were. Write it down and check back with me at the end of the season.
3) The special teams is in great hands (and feet). Brandon Pace and Nic Schmitt have been booming kicks all over the field.
4) The entire key to the Hokie's season comes down to one question with two parts - Will Stinespring base the offensive gameplan around the short passing game to the Hokie WR's and can Glennon just make the correct read and deliver the short pass accurately? Look at what happens if the answer to that is yes - if he can, the 5 receivers are so good that they will just make play after play with the ball in their hands. If they do, that widens the field and opens up the running game, minimizes the impact of not having an experienced tight end, minimizes the impact of a new offensive line (they only have to hold their blocks long enough for the 3 and 5 step drop), etc. As you all know, I am unconvinced that Stinespring knows enough to make this the gameplan. But this is so obvious that if he doesn't, the calls for his head will be too loud to ignore. The offense MUST be based on our receivers. As a group they are the best in the ACC without question and top 5 in the country.
5) When Bud Foster and Frank Beamer both talk about this defense having a realistic chance to be better than last year's defense (which by the way was best in the country), you know the defense is serious. The national media is dismissing our defensive line saying that only Noland Burchette and Chris Ellis are proven. They don't yet realize that Virginia Tech has become D-Line University. Kory Robertson, Barry Booker, Taco Thompson, Carlton Powell, William Wall, Orion Martin (who had the lone Whitaker interception), I mean the list of players there is just scary. I think VT's only weakness on defense is depth in the secondary due to a rash of injuries there. Fortunately all the injuries are Minor (pun intended, but it's bad -Roland Minor is the 2nd string cornerback who hurt his wrist), and the two deep in the secondary is expected to all be at full strength by the Georgia Tech game in late September.
6) Don't worry about the tight end position for three reasons. a) Jesse Allen is the FB. He is like having a tight end lining up in the backfield and the Hokies will just use more I-formations to take advantage of that; b) a tight end receiving threat is unnecessary this year with the receivers the team has and c) Greg Boone and Sam Wheeler (when he returns from injury) are both physical talents who showed enough in the passing game that one or the other could become a real threat as they develop during the course of the season.
Look for TSF's first official newsletter of the 2006 football season to come out the week before the Northeastern game. We'll wrap-up pre-season practice, preview the first game and the season all in one action-packed issue. See you then,