Bourbon Shots: First Day of Practice Edition

 

The Hokies start fall (or summer, whatever you want to call it) practice today in Blacksburg. Three different beat writers did a "Five Questions" piece for their local rags today and we'll get to those in just a moment. First, we'll take a look at the depth chart, which Norm Wood of the Newport News Daily Press has in full at his blog.

As Nathan "Tommie Frazier" Warters first reported yesterday in his blog at the Lynchburg News Advance, true freshman Logan Thomas is listed as the No. 3 QB. I wouldn't be surprised if he's at No. 2 by the end of practice. Thomas is one of a couple of incoming freshmen who could see the field in 2009. It was a good recruiting class for skill position players and I can't wait to see what they can do.

The only real surprise to me on the depth chart was that John Graves has been moved back to defensive tackle. Graves had an outstanding spring working and defensive end and was expected to provide much needed depth at that position. Now, he's listed as a starter at defensive tackle, where he may be a little undersized. Still, DT is an extremely thin position for the Hokies (even more so than DE), so having a known commodity like Graves in as a starter is a good thing.

Since today is aparently all about lists of five, here are the Top 5 position battles to watch as selected by me:

1. Field Corner: No. 1 Rashad Carmichael; No. 2 Cris Hill
2. Rover: Co-No. 1s Davon Morgan and Dorian Porch
3. Kicker: No. 1 Matt Waldron; No. 2 Justin Myer
4. Running Back: No. 2 Josh Oglesby; No. 3 Ryan Williams
5. Flanker: Co-No. 1s Danny Coale and Dyrell Roberts

 

Top 5 Top 5s

But that's not the only list of five that's available for you're perusalt today. Kyle Tucker of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, Randy King of the Roanoke Times and Darryl Slater of the Richmond Times-Dispatch all have five questions they're asking about the Hokies going into preseason practice. Here's the breakdown:

Kyle Tucker

1. Can Tyrod Taylor pass?
2. Can Tyrod stay healthy?
3. Will Virgil be an adequate boundary corner?
4. Will the offensive line hold up?
5. Who will be the kicker?

Randy King

1. What happens if Tyrod gets injured?
2. Will the offensive line hold up?
3. Will VT be able to get the ball to all its playmakers?
4. Can the Hokies reload at LB?
5. Can the Hokies handle expectatons?

Darryl Slater

1. Can Tyrod pass and stay healthy?
2. Will the offensive line hold up?
3. Will VT be able to get the ball to all its playmakers?
4. Can the Hokies reload at LB?
5. Who will be the Kicker?

The only real original thought in the whole bunch was Tucker's question about Stephan Virgil. While just about everyone is more concerned with the offense improving, I'm actually more concerned about the defense going into camp. I think the offense, Tyrod and the offensive line will be fine. I want to know if we're going to develop any depth on the defensive line, are these young linebackers ready, are the defensive backs competent and will kicker be able to come through in the clutch.

So when practice reports start circulating on TechSideline and BeamerBall, I'm going to be more interested in how Jake Johnson and Barquell Rivers looked instead of how many big gains Ryan Williams had. The Hokies have won two consecutive ACC titles without an offense. They won't win a third unless the defense comes together quickly.

Linkage

Hokies

30 Min Untrained Eye CFA Kickoff Preview (Beer Control Offense)
EBJ gives an early breakdown of the Alabama game. He gives a big advantage to the Tide defense in its matchup against the Hokie offense.

College Football's Top 40 (The A-Line)
Jim talks about ESPN's 40-team Division 1 so I don't have to. This ESPN feature got a resounding "meh" from me. It was just another stupid gimmick by ESPN to rile people and get them to argue about something that could never happen.

Why We Hate Louisville (The North End Zone)
Louisville's fanbase has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Five Questions About the ACC Coastal (Mr. College Football)
"2. Can Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor do something-anything-to become better passer? And if he doesn’t, can the Hokies beat Alabama? Taylor, a junior, is an athletic quarterback who can certainly make things happen with his feet. But with his arm? Not so much. Taylor completed a respectable 57.2 percent of his passes last season but threw only two-that’s right, two-touchdown passes to seven interceptions. As a team last season Virginia Tech had only six touchdown passes (Georgia Tech only had five). The Hokies won 10 games and an ACC championship last season because they played great defense, as always, and had a great freshman running back in Darren Evans (1,265 yards). Virginia Tech is being talked about as a potential contender for the BCS national championship but the Hokies won’t get past Alabama if Taylor doesn’t work on his passing game in the preseason. Head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will have all summer to devise a scheme that will MAKE Taylor pass. By Sept. 5 Taylor had better have an answer when that happens."

Virgil Ready to Uphold Boundary Tradition (Annette)
"'I have to be a more physical guy than I was last year,' (Virgil) said. 'I have to be smarter. I have to do everything better. I have to be on my keys, and be a leader out there on the field. The boundary corner is a leader on the field. I just have to step my whole game up.'"

ACC and Opponents

Early GT Practices Focus on Passing (From The Rumble Seat)
Paul Johnson is not giving lip service to the passing game. All the points from this practice report focus on passing, including something called the "Towel Drill." Don't forget to bring a towel!

Football Fall Practice Storylines to Follow (Testudo Times)
"How far Maryland goes this year depends almost wholly on the offensive line's performance. Outside of fifth-year senior center Phil Costa and stud LT Bruce Campbell, the entire line is a question mark. Will Andrew Gonella or Lamar Young be the starting LG? Who'll start at RT? Can the line gel? All of these are very important issues that should be made clear through spring practice."

Is Bigger Better on the Front 7? (Tomahawk Nation)
Virginia Tech defied the odds last year by having a top-notch defense without being bulky in the front seven. Having Macho Harris and being toward the top of the ACC in sacks might have had something to do with it.

Ending the Season with State (Carolina March)
T.H. is in favor of playing NC State to finish the year. Tom O'Brien forgets that if NC State does get a rematch with UNC in the ACCCG the next week, it means his Wolfpack actually made the thing. I have a feeling the fans and players will get over having to play a rematch if it means winning the division.

Andy Marsh 1982-2009 (BC Interruption)
Brian and Jeff are going to take time from BC Interruption for something important. Their friend lost his battle with cancer recently, so obviously there are more important things to take care of than blogging. My condolences, gentlemen.

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