It's hard to imagine Virginia Tech without Frank Beamer. Prior to his arrival in 1987 (!), the Hokies won more than 8 games in a season just twice in the entire twentieth century. Since 1999, they have finished with 10 or more victories nine times, dominated the (admittedly maligned, and perhaps fairly so) Atlantic Coast Conference, and set up the sort of program-wide consistency most of the college football world wishes it had. Beamer and Jim Tressel are kindred spirits, if not mirror images. Shocker of shockers, their teams are rather similar too: both feature mobile quarterbacks, talent and depth at the running back position, an experienced set of WRs, an iffy-but-stable offensive line, and defenses that, while perhaps not among the school's greatest in history, figure to be top-15 units in rushing, passing and total D to finish the year. Any game featuring these two teams would likely be decided by 10 points or less. While they might not be the big SEC bull Ohio State needs to wrangle to get back in the media's good graces, Tech looks formidable in 2010.
OffenseFrank Beamer is so adept at ripping off Jim Tressel's schtick that he even has his own much maligned offensive coordinator in Brian Stinespring. Take it away, Dr. Saturday:
[Stinespring] seems perfectly content to grind away with one of the most pedestrian attacks in the country as long as the defense holds up its end of the bargain – see 2007 and 2008, in particular, back-to-back ACC championship seasons for the Hokies despite offenses that ranked 100th and 103rd, respectively, in total yards.As DocSat ably explains in that piece, there's a good chance this is Virginia Tech's most stacked offense talent-wise since the heady days of Michael Vick in 1999. Tech is blessed with two great running backs: Darren Evans was a 1,200 yard rusher in 2008, but injury forced him to sit out the 2009 season. In comes redshirt freshman Ryan Williams, who didn't break a sweat in rushing for 1,600 yards, setting all sorts of freshman records for the Hokies on his way to 21 touchdowns. Tyrod Taylor has come along as a passer since a miserable sophomore season, but he has roughly as much - if not more - to prove than Terrelle Pryor in his last season as a Hokie. If he can become a consistent passer, Tech goes from probable ACC champ to serious title contender, right alongside the Buckeyes and the Tide.
DefenseThings are actually a tad shaky for Tech on defense heading into 2010: they lose leading tackler Cody Grimm, sack leader Nekos Brown, and multi-year starter Kam Chancellor. Two key players return, however: solid ILB Barquell Rivers and Rashad Carmichael, who snatched six interceptions in 2009. Given that Tech has finished in the top-15 in total defense in each of the last six years, it's doubtful that such attrition will mean much in the long run.
How do they match up with the Buckeyes?Offensively, they're strong where we're strong, and weak where we're weak. Unless Taylor turns the corner as a passer, Tech's passing game should leave the relatively-vulnerable Ohio State secondary untested, but containing Williams, Evans and Taylor on the ground will be a challenge for any defense. Offensively, Ohio State might have enough talent at wide receiver to give Tech's secondary and linebackers difficulty from spread looks, but the run blocking would have to come up big - far bigger than it did in the Rose Bowl - for Ohio State to establish any consistency on offense.
|September 6th||Boise State|
|September 11th||James Madison|
|September 18th||East Carolina|
|September 25th||@ Boston College|
|October 2nd||@ NC State|
|October 9th||Central Michigan|
|October 21th||Wake Forest|
|November 4th||Georgia Tech|
|November 13th||@ UNC|
|November 20th||@ Miami|