It’s the beginning of the 2nd week in July and that means the start of the Fall 2018 Roster Previews. We’ll be visiting each major squad; Defensive Backs, Linebackers, Running Backs, Offensive Line, Receivers, and Special Teams. Oh! I forgot, Quarterback needs to be talked about some. This is Justin Fuente’s third season, and that means we are about to hit prime transition territory.
Transitions are never completely smooth. In a college football flow, the first season is played with nearly all of the prior staff’s team. Then the second and third years represent the shaded transition between the old and new recruits. Year four, now because of redshirting year five, are when the final vestiges of the old are left behind. That puts the Justin Fuente Virginia Tech Hokies squarely in the middle of the equivalent of a cellular dead zone. You know the spots. Suddenly, on some road, out of the clear blue sky, there appears a spot where all of the bars disappear. Lane Stadium comes to mind. The field has so many cellular dead spots that you can see the folks working the social media from the field are gathered in the three tiny niches where they get a pathetic single bar.
Well, we don’t necessarily have a pathetic single bar showing on the signal grid, but events and personnel changes are widening the seasonal dead zone possibilities for the Hokies. This might actually be the most difficult roster review in the four (has it been four?) seasons that I have been covering the team.
Look, there is no sugar coating the transition and off-season for Coach Fuente. This has been one tough field to plow. The team was already looking at trying to fill some huge shoes with early outs from the Edmunds brothers (Terrell did graduate, BTW), and Tim Settle. That’s water under the bridge, and Bud Foster has some serious work to do to rebuild a 2 deep for linebacker. The loss of Adonis Alexander was unfortunate, but order must be maintained in the ranks. Adonis is trying his luck in the NFL Supplemental Draft and we wish him luck. The losses to graduation were all expected; but losing critical players when your depth chart is a parking lot puddle is difficult. It didn’t help with the dismissal of Coach Galen Scott. Tyrone Nix has a great deal of experience, and is now confronted with his first personnel disaster of the already trying 2018 Summer. The dismissal of Mook Reynolds made a difficult situation nearly impossible. When we talk about the defensive backfield we are really going to have to dig in to the possibilities of how Coach Foster is going to deal with the latest setback. Again, there is no putting flowers and candy on the table to make this new reality better. Some young players are going to have to step up, big time, a year earlier than planned.
Of course there will be some issues to go over with every one of the squads, and we won’t be pulling punches. There are some serious issues confronting the Hokies for 2018.
Keep watching for the new previews. We will start with the Defensive Line on Wednesday at noon. I was going to do the defensive backs, then, but that article just got wadded up and tossed into the rubbish bin. You’ll have to bear with us because all of the new names still haven’t been added to the official roster on Hokie Sports (it’s still a “Spring” roster). But as always, we’ll do our best to plug up the holes, as long as more don’t appear.
It’s been an interesting Summer, I hear the players are really anxious to get to August. I can’t blame them, so are we.