I know the question y'all have on your mind: what in the blue blazes is a Catamount?
I'm glad you asked because with the magic of Google and some research, I came across WCU's athletics page with this nugget:
The nickname evolved from a contest that was held on the Cullowhee campus in 1933. At the time, the school was called "Western Carolina Teachers College" and its teams were known as "the Teachers."
Webster's Dictionary defines "catamount" as "any of various wild cats such as a cougar or lynx." Cats of the catamount variety, including the bobcat, have roamed the southern Appalachian Mountains, where Western Carolina University is located, for years.
With that out of the way, we can move on to football. This Saturday represents an opportunity for Virginia Tech's embattled wide receiver corps; the chance to redeem themselves after an abysmal performance against Alabama in The Dome this past weekend. It will give the offense a chance to flex some serious muscles and give Trey Edmunds plenty of opportunity to further showcase his skills. It will give the offensive line more reps to fine tune their run blocking and pass protection. Also, Chris Mangus, Joel Caleb (suspended for the opener) and J.C. Coleman, who missed the game last weekend due to injuries to both his ankles, should get some playing time. Edmunds is clearly the starter, but running back coach Shane Beamer needs to decide on who the #2 will be to spell Edmunds.
The game also gives Logan Thomas a chance to show off his arm strength and accuracy, provided of course the wide receivers catch the balls and hang onto them! Otherwise, Virginia Tech might as well go all in with a Wing-T approach by pounding the football down the throats of Catamounts' defense all afternoon.
The Hokies defense should be stout as usual with the defensive line, which I have dubbed Monsters of Terror, wreaking havoc on the Catamounts' offense and an active, ball-hawking secondary might snare a few interceptions in this game. I expect to see valuable playing time given to the defense's back ups, as the coaches did in Atlanta versus Alabama.
The biggest story, however, will be special teams. Truth be told, the special teams performance against Alabama was a dumpster fire. Frank Beamer reported in Monday's teleconference that he is going to put the best players on the return units, which is much welcomed. That used to be why Pride and Pride and Joy, the monikers given to special teams units, were feared back in the day. A.J. Hughes and Cody Journell both have remained solid in their respective roles. Kickoff strategies, however, might need to be revisited. Beamer seems content to allow the ball have hang time instead of instructing the kicker to kick the ball into the end zone. Will Beamer change that strategy? We will find out on Saturday.
Of course, this game is by far not a cakewalk. The last time the team had that mindset, JMU happened. I do not think this team will allow that to happen, especially if they come out playing with their ears pinned back, and with fire coming out of their nostrils.
That said, Go Hokies. #BeatWCU