The Virginia Tech Hokies have just wrapped up the spring practice season and I’m not sure what to make of this team. Say what you will about Coach Beamer, but there was ample data to compare teams at this stage. I can’t exactly put the 2017 Hokies against the 2016 version, because of all the new faces. There has been a ton of churn, especially at skill positions, and Justin Fuente has exactly one year of history to look back on.
The schedule is harder than last season. While Jerod Evans was an unknown, he did have some pedigree. This will be the first season in a long time that a Virginia Tech pipeline QB will be under center to start the season. Last season we had Evans, prior to that it was Texas Tech transfer, Michael Brewer. Three years is an eternity in college football, and I think Fuente is on to something here. Recruit the kid, develop the kid, play the kid is not a bad strategy. Don’t get me wrong, Nick Saban won a natty with Jake Coker under center. Coker couldn’t beat out Jameis Winston at Florida State. Cam Newton ran into some trouble while in Gainesville. These are the exceptions to the rule. Pittsburgh struck gold with Nathan Peterman. Peterman started two games for Tennessee, but left for greener pastures.
The fact that Virginia Tech has Joshua Jackson and Hendon Hooker is encouraging. The fact the Hokies have depth at all at QB is more encouraging. Think back to the 2015 season. If the Hokies didn’t pick up Brewer, that season would have been painful. There was no other option. The Hokies are so much better prepared now at that position. 2017 may not include the Hokies in the A.C.C. title game, but the team is laying groundwork for the next few years that will make the Hokies nationally relevant again.