The ACC blogger round table is back for a second season. FSUncensored over at Tomahawk Nation is hosting the first edition of 2009 and will post the results later this week. Here's my answers to his questions. [Update: Find the full roundtable here.]
Will your team be better than last year, why or why not? Will it show in the record, why or why not?
We'll be better and it will show in our record. He people over-hyping the Hokies this preseason forget that they're a team that lost four games last season. Tech may not win the ACC this year, but they won't lose four regular season games, either.
The talent on the offense has improved by leaps and bounds. It's just up to our offensive coordinator to utilize that talent. Other than quarterback, I think this team has better talent across the board than the 1999 team. But that team had a true difference-maker at quarterback.
If Tyrod Taylor turns into anything resembling a difference-maker, we'll be a special team.
The ACC has been racked hard by injuries in the off-season, which guys did your team lose and how will you replace them if you can? On the flip side, who are the newcomers expected to step up, if any?
We lost our returning leading rusher, battering ram and bell cow in Darren Evans. Without him, the Hokies no longer have someone they can rely on in short-yardage situations.
The newcomers expected to have an impact are led by Ryan Williams, who I expect to get the bulk of the carries by the middle of the season. Williams' debut is the most anticipated by Hokie fans since that of Kevin Jones. He's supposed to be a home run hitter who can break any play for six points.
Which existing player (or group of players) must step their game up in order for your team to over-achieve?
Just like every other year for the Hokies, it's the offensive line. They gave up the more sacks than any other ACC team even though they had a mobile quarterback under center for most of their games. The run blocking came along by the end of last year when Tech rolled up big rushing numbers against BC and Cincinnati. Hopefully that momentum can continue into 2009 and we can get better pass blocking.