Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two Words

You know, I started to write this preview of the Hokies season opener against the Appalachian State Mountaineers with the intent of doing a deep analysis of the Mountaineers and the team they're fielding this year and how the Hokies will handle them.

I thought I could talk about dual threat quarterback DeAndre Presley and how he led the team in rushing yards with 1,131 yards and threw for 2,631 yards.

I could talk about the spread offense that head coach Jerry Moore has successfully used to earn the team six consecutive Southern Conference titles. The same spread offense that the Hokies have continued to struggle against year-in and year-out.

I could talk about the masterfully executed 10-3 season they had in 2010 that continues their streak of six consecutive 10-win seasons.

I could even talk about how, in 2007, the Mountaineers became the first of only two FCS teams to defeat a ranked FBS team at home when they traveled to the Big House in Ann Arbor. This being an experience the Hokies know well as they, last year, became the second of such ranked FBS teams. I, for one, recall thinking after that fateful day just one week short of a year ago, "Hmm... the media is going to have a field day with this one when they start to talk about our 2011 opener."

But, then I thought this game really just boils down to two simple words. Beyond these two simple words, the game will be less about the game itself, but rather more of a device by which we can gauge what the Hokies will look like throughout the rest of this season.

MadJay already gave us a great detailed preview of the key positions on the depth chart for the Hokies. Because of these two words, I think Saturday's matchup, which will be streamed from Lane Stadium on at 12:30 PM EDT, will be a chance to really analyze how these guys will react on game day when they ramp up to full speed beyond the speed of scrimmage.

When I think of these two words, I know two things about this game. The first is that the Hokies will win this game. The caliber of this win is to be determined by several factors. Does Logan Thomas (who shall not be called LT until he earns it) have the ability to lead the offense. We already know he's got the talent.

It will be determined by the speedy David Wilson and his moment in the sun as he takes on the number one tailback role.

It will be determined by a receiver corp that, I swear we say this every year, has the potential to be the greatest group of receivers in Tech history.

It will also be determined not by ridiculous claims that Danny Coale could be the Hokies' punter, but by a special teams unit that is starting to resemble the units fielded by Frank Beamer back in the mid-nineties.

Beyond the caliber of the win, or perhaps a result thereof, the second thing I know about this game is we will see Mark Leal or Ju-Ju Clayton at some point during the later parts of this game. How will they react to game play? Who will emerge as a true backup to Thomas?

We will see others, as we reflect on these two words, from deep in the depth chart where second and third string questions still exist. Who will truly backup Jayron Hosley at boundary corner? Can Detrick Bonner solidify himself as a redshirt freshman as he steps into the shoes of such greats as Rashad Carmichael, Macho Harris, and DeAngelo Hall?

Sure our starting d-line can be considered one of the greatest in the country, but who's gonna step up behind them?

These are the questions that we will look to answer as we watch this game. By now you're probably dying of me talking about these two words without actually revealing them. By now, if you are a SuperFan, you probably already know these two words. For those who haven't guessed them your wait is finally over. The two words you have been patiently waiting for are the words that this game boils down to and by no other means does anything else mater.

Those words, my SuperFans, are:

James Madison.

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