Not a wink I was sleeping, Googling "big hit Aaron Rouse"
The jerseys were hung by the chimney with care
Knowing that Saint Beamer soon will be there
Yes my Dear and Beloved Reader, it is the eve of a new Virginia Tech Hokies football season. 2011 brings the usual excitements and fears, but this year in particular, the swings of excitement and fear are wider thanks to the many unknowns on this team. The pit of my stomach feels more acidic than usual - both from anticipation and worry. Hello Rolaids my old friend. I've come to see you once again.
The coaching staff has been shuffled around, incredible talent runs throughout the team albeit without a lot of experience in some key areas, and maybe most importantly of all, the schedule shapes up to be very winnable for a young team that needs to improve greatly as the season rolls along.
While I can't remember exactly what happened in the first two games in September 2010 due to the human coping mechanism that forces repression of memories that are too tragic and painful to be recounted in detail, I do know this - I got kicked all in the jimmy during that time and it was REALLY painful. In a year where I used up a total of 3 sick days at work, 2 of them were due to illness over those two losses to start the season.
So this season, I have required myself to try and temper expectations. The QB looks great but he's never started a game. The TE position has no depth. Blake DeChristopher just tore his pec muscle which means a new right tackle will be starting the season and the defensive line has two new starters and no experienced depth. This is going to be rough and tumble for a few games at least, to get that irreplaceable game experience which allows 11 players on a unit to play as a group.
But despite my tempered expectations, I will admit that giving the playcalling duties to Coach Mike O'Cain has allowed a little bit of crazy to infiltrate my thoughts. Stinespring has been such an equalizer for Hokie opponents for so long, that the possibility that O'Cain could actually make some reasonable play calls during the course of a game is so tantalizing........but I digress. He is still after all, a subpar QB coach, so maybe he'll stink at playcalling, too.
The real focus these next few weeks will be on how the players and coaches prepare. By all accounts, including Coach Gentry and our source in Blacksburg, the players - particularly on defense - went absolutely insane in the weight room this summer. Picking FSU to win the ACC was the best thing the media could have done at Media Days in Pinehurst as that found a way to restore the old chip on this team's shoulder, despite being the defending ACC champions.
However, we won't just be watching the team's physical ability, but also their temperament. How do Coach Beamer the Younger with the backs and Coach Brown with whips differ in their on-field personas from their predecessors (Mssrs Hite and Cavanaugh in case any Wahoo spies are reading)? How does Logan Thomas look in the hudde? How ferocious are the middle drills? And one that I'm particularly going to watch closely - how much less tolerant will Coach Foster be with his starters?
All these questions begin to be answered tomorrow. And while we won't know anything concrete until kickoff on September 3rd, all of the unknowns and excitement about Hokie football make tonight Christmas Eve for me and Superfans everywhere!