Making my first post to TSF of the 2010 football season, I welcome back all of our Hokie/TSF faithful for another fun packed season of Hokie football, so...welcome back welcomed-backers. Our same staff have returned to bring you lots of napalm...if by napalm you mean game previews, game reviews, rants, raves, sarcasm, frustration, and jubilation. The President of Diligence, the Prince of Anger, the Utmost of the Utmost for offering Criticism, “Mad” Jason Oakley still has his standing offer to the Athletic Dept. to accept a $100K salary as offensive coordinator, and his future posts will evoke such sorrow that you may throw up...outside...of your mouth. We've got Anand “EhhTee” Trivedi crunching the numbers, making the predictions, and trying to discover the optimum amount of time to boil noodles such that they stick to the kitchen wall for the longest amount of time possible. It's not an odd habit. I know because I've already mastered it, but I digress He's so sharp about college football that disgraced samurai fall upon him to preserve their family honor. And then there's me, the Sinister Minister of opinionating and opining, Brian “Where's the Ice?”. It's September; still melted; so sad. But then again, I don't live somewhere that ice actually freezes, at least not outdoors.
Coming off their near miss against Boise State, the Virginia Tech Hokies will take the field against the James Madison Dukes at Lane Stadium for the second game of Hokie's 2010 season. Since just a few short seasons ago, when Appalachian State gave the mightiest of the mightiest of upsets by beating the Michigan Wolverines, every Division IA school would only risk the peril of embarrassment not to consider something of the like happening to them. And I hope that Frank Beamer and the Hokies have that in mind as well. A loss to the James Madison Dukes would probably result in every Lane Stadium attendee running full speed to the Duck Pond screaming in horror at game's end to drown themselves in the most expedited of fashion. But I only conjure this nightmare to paint the worst of the worst pictures. It's not like we ever lost to TEMPLE or anything.
The Dukes come off a crushing win over Morehead State. (That's not a joke. The school's actually named that.) They came away with a 48-7 victory. The offense put on a scoring display that had the game over before the first half ended. Let me describe exactly who the Hokie defense has to contain during Saturday's contest. Senior quarterback Drew Dudzick stands 6' 1” and weighs in at 210 lbs. During last week's game, he threw for 189 yards of passing, which exceeds his total passing of his prior years as a backup combined. He threw for a 53% completion rate. Catching Dudzick passes, wide receiver Kerby Long reached 112 yards of receiving on the day. He stands 5'11” weighing in at 185 lbs. The Dukes have a handful of tailbacks who can carry the ball well. Senior Jamal Sullivan stands 5'9” weighing 220 lbs. He only needs 160 yards this season to pass the 1000 yard career mark. Griff Yancey, another Senior, stands at 5'11” weighing 205 lbs. He had 66 yards of rushing against Morehead and has already broken the 1000 yard mark with 1332 yards on his career with 18 touchdowns. He also has the hands of a receiver, so JMU's playcalling can make use of him more dynamically than just handoffs for rush yardage. And finally, Freshment running back Jordan Anderson had a good day against Morehead State also rushing for 66 yards. He stands 5'11” and weighs in at 200 lbs. One common characteristic you've probably noticed, all the JMU offensive stars stand under 6'0” and don't weigh a whole lot. The Dukes have a serious size disadvantage against the Hokie defense. I expect that Bud Foster's squad will manhandle them unless they've got some really good tricks up their sleeve. On the defensive side of the ball, the Duke's holding of Morehead State to a mere 7 points of offense, coming in the fourth quarter, speaks something about their defensive abilities, but when they face an offense that scored 30 points against Boise State after blowing an entire first quarter, we can safely predict that Virginia Tech shouldn't have much trouble getting themselves on the board early and frequently. But still, let's hope our kicking doesn't go wide right inside the 30 yard line.
I think that the Hokies need to keep their main focus on getting a solid victory to regroup as a team and get some wind back into their sales after the Boise State loss. I really dislike watching my team let big games like that slip through their fingers, but especially with regard to season openers, I've gotten a little used to it. With Boise State's schedule only getting easier from this point onward, the Hokies could well establish themselves as the season opener to beat for a team to march themselves to national champions. Think back over USC, LSU (second game), Alabama, and now potentially Boise State winning the crystal trophy.
The Hokies have a long season ahead themselves, and that season consists of a very winnable schedule to get back to the ACC title game, and even a BCS bowl. They certainly have their challenges ahead of them, especially in the Yellow Jackets and Hurricanes, but if the Hokies play at their best, they could win the Coastal division and even the conference title. Alamaba's a great team, but we don't see many teams run the table two straight season in a row. Ohio State could go down to Miami, especially considering how the rebuilt Miami squad has been coming strong out of the gate early in recent seasons. Texas has more than a couple of tough contests on their in-conference schedule. The top of the rankings still leave a lot of room for a VT squad to reach by season's end.
Let's go Hokies!