Well the first week of practice is over, and the events and goings on are picking up. There is a Fan Appreciation Day scheduled for August 15, and a weekend break and some well-deserved love from Hokie Faithful - especially the Hokie Kids Club - will help lighten the physical burden of two-a-days, study sessions, extra practices, 7 on 7 drills, and trips to the whirlpool.
Before launching into the detail work of setting the Roster Stage, and the depth chart analysis, it's time to talk fan Turkey (love that... talking turkey... Hokies are indeed serious... but we are fun...). I realize that lots of fans have lots of extra special love for prospects, recruiting, and the "FUTURE". That's all well and good, an organization must always be planning for the future; but eventually the realization is that you have what you have and that might be then and this is now.
The next series of articles will break down the Fall Roster by the usual Offensive and Defensive groups, and see to divine some sort of idea of what the final Depth Chart will look like. Most importantly, however, we are going to take a hard look at the potential quality of each group and whether or not it will be a drag on the entire team.
So, to start, we take a look at what we expected to have at the end of Spring Practice, and how it stacks up with what limited information we are getting out of Fall practice, now. Here are the issues that we need to address for THIS season. Next season is no longer on the radar scope. That's for December.
- How is the Offensive line going to stack up, and how is it going to be organized? Yes, the desire is to have a starting line that is 100% of your best grade ‘A' players, but the tragic reality of football is that within a random number of quarters played, one or more of those ‘A' list players are going to be lost. How is the Offensive coaching scheme going to handle getting critical playing time for depth positions 2 and 3? More to that, is there enough depth down to positions 2 and 3. We have 17 listed linemen on the current roster, 9 of whom have game experience. The Offensive line was priority one when considering the potential onfield effectiveness of the offense.
- Is Brewer more stable and comfortable in the offensive scheme? Ok, wait, maybe we should promote the question, IS THERE AN ACTUAL REALISTIC offensive scheme to begin with? Has he cured his downfield vision and decision taking issues?
- Is the running game going to be an attempt to return to the "0 yards and a pool of blood" mess that it was on the inside during the first 8 games of last season; or is it going to take advantage of its outside speed, and one cut and go capability of more than a few of its starting running backs? It did the latter in the Military Bowl and was rewarded with a credible running effort.
- On the Defensive side of the ball, is Coach Foster going to take advantage of his draft quality defensive line, with the addition of Tim Settle in the middle to clog up and dominate the interior, or is it going to be necessary to run more Dime and Nickel variations to make up for lack of size in the box? The Bear front better not become the Teddy Bear Front.
- Can the Linebacker corps be counted on to take advantage of the increased size and power on the Defensive line? Who is going to be the dominant Mike/Backer combination? And how often will the Whip be sacrificed for a 2nd Rover/Strong Safety in the mix?
The biggest thing to watch out for in the scrimmage will be to look for the fundamentals of pattern development, quarterback check down efficiency and effectiveness. Will Brewer have the space and throwing lanes to spot the receivers? And what sorts of base passing offensive rhythm establishing plays are likely to show up for the first game?
Always remember that five seconds before the first kickoff of the first game, every team thinks that IT can win it all.... what happens after that kickoff is FOOTBALL.
We shall see. Our first glimpse of the 2015 Virginia Tech Hokies is August 15 at the first Fall Scrimmage.
ROSTER Breakdowns to follow with the first up:
If you've got the Line, We've got the Win.