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Scouting The Opponent: William & Mary Tribe

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The first game of the 2014 Virginia Tech Football season is almost ready for kickoff and it's about time! The Hokies will take on William & Mary in Lane Stadium at 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 30, just a week before the Ohio State game. Hold up! Not so fast, we don't want another James Madison debacle on our hands now do we? Take a look at what Tech is going up against in the Tribe with the season's first Scouting The Opponent post.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Before we dive into scouting the Tribe, please take the time to read over the rich history that these two schools have with each other, brought to you by one of our newest Gobbler Country writers, Terry:

http://www.gobblercountry.com/2014/8/25/6063257/virginia-tech-hokies-football-william-and-mary-head-to-head-history-perspective

By the way, great first post, Terry. And welcome aboard!

Now, what you need to know about what the Hokies will be going up against this Saturday.

(2013 Results)

Date


Opponent


Result


Sat, Aug 31


@ West Virginia

L, 24-17

Sat, Sept 7


Vs Hampton

W, 31-7

Sat, Sept 14


@ Lafayette

W, 34-6

Sat, Sept 21


Vs Rhode Island

W, 20-0

Sat, Oct 5


@ Villanova

L, 20-6

Sat, Oct 12


Vs Pennsylvania

W, 20-14

Sat, Oct 19


@ Maine

L, 34-20

Sat, Oct 26


Vs James Madison

W, 17-7

Sat, Nov 2


Vs New Hampshire

W, 17-0

Sat, Nov 9


@ Delaware

W, 24-10

Sat, Nov 16


Vs Townson

L, 15-9

Sat, Nov 23


@ Richmond

L, 31-20

(Overall: 7-5) (Conference: 4-4) (Home: 5-1) (Away: 2-4)

Going 7-5 overall, hitting the .500 mark, and finishing tied for fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association may not seem that glamorous, but playing teams like West Virginia, Hampton, JMU, and Richmond isn't all that easy either. Plus, the Tribe didn't lose a single game by more than two touchdowns. Oh yeah, they're in Division I, but all I have to utter is three letters: J...M...U. The seemingly impossible can happen when no one expects it. So please, I think the Hokies know this the best: don't look past any team you come across, bring your best effort, and absolutely no slacking.

Who did the Tribe lose?

William & Mary lost their top two passers from last season in Brent Caprio (1,018 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Michael Graham (989 yards, 5 touchdowns). They also lost their leading tackler in safety Jerome Couplin who recorded 113 total tackles in 2013 (70 solo, 43 assisted). Defensive linemen George Beerhalter and Bryan Stinnie, linebacker Quincey September, and cornerback Ryan Smith left the defense as well. Gone are also three offensive linemen: James Johnson III, Callen Larus, Trevor Springman, and tight end Robert Asmar.

Who does the Tribe bring back?

17 Starters! Yikes!

William & Mary brings back a heap of talent on the offensive side of the ball. Leading the way is the Tribe's 2013 leading rusher and second leading scorer in running back Mikal Abdul-Saboor (9 games played, 175 attempts, 824 yards, 6 touchdowns), second leading rusher Jarrell Cooper (11 games played, 109 attempts, 425 yards, 2 touchdowns). Last year's leading receivers return as well with Tre McBride (12 games played, 63 catches, 801 yards, 5 touchdowns), and Sean Ballard (12 games played, 36 catches, 593 yards, 3 touchdowns). And saving the best for last, they return kicker and leading scorer John Carpenter.

Defensively, the Tribe returns 2014 Buchanan Award preseason watch list defensive end Matt Rielly. (The Buck Buchanan Award is given annually to the top defensive player in the FCS), second leading tackler linebacker Luke Rhodes (98 total), third leading tackler safety Ivan Tagoe (88 total), and interceptions leader linebacker Airek Green (3 interceptions, 82 tackles).

Returning 2013 All-CAA Selections: WR/KR Tre McBride, DL Mike Reilly, LB Airek Green, LB Luke Rhodes, RB Mikal Abdul-Saboor, FB Darnell Laws, PK John Carpenter, CB DeAndre Houston-Carson.

Returning 2013 All-Americans: DL Mike Reilly, WR Tre McBride.

Guys, this team is talented and won't simply roll over for the Hokies. They have speed and some fight in them, so Tech better come ready to play.

Their Expectations

The 2014 FCS preseason Coaches Poll has William and Mary ranked No. 22, two spots in front of the No. 24 Richmond Spiders.

The Tribe is predicted to finish fourth in the CAA.

2014 Preseason All-CAA Selections: WR/KR Tre McBride, OL Andrew Jones, DL Mike Reilly, LB Airek Green, LB Luke Rhodes, CB DeAndre Houston-Carson.

2014 Preseason All-Americans: WR Tre McBride, DE Mike Reilly, LB Luke Rhodes, LB Airek Green.

Like I said, ladies and gents, the Tribe ain't nothin' to mess with! This team will fight and it won't be easy. They have experience and talent on both sides of the ball. The only thing I think that sets them back is the weakness at quarterback against a very strong Hokie pass rush and elite secondary.

My Prediction

The Hokies will win. By how much? I'm not quite sure...It all depends on if the offense finds consistency, can run the ball with a purpose, and if Michael Brewer can connect and find his groove with his receivers. I expect the defense to play great and force a few turnovers. If the offense performs well then it'll be a multi-touchdown win.

I say the Hokies beat the Tribe 38-13.