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Andrew Miller needs to be a true leader for the Hokies in 2012.
When a team is forced to replace four of their five starters along the offensive line, there are bound to be questions asked. The first spring practice didn’t yield great results, either.
Frank Beamer spoke to Mike Barber of the Richmond Times Dispatch:
There’s a lot going on. You’re trying to work everybody. When you do that, it gets ragged a little bit. Both ways it gets ragged.
Offensive line coach Curt Newsome echoed Frank Beamer’s comments, stating that the “production wasn’t very good," as well as admitting that the program had “got off to a little bit of a rough start."
Center Andrew Miller is the key to the Hokies line in 2012. The only returning starter, he will be relied upon to marshal the new guys into a unit over the course of the season. The first game against Georgia Tech is crucial to its development, as defeat here will affect the confidence of both players and fans in the line’s ability to get the job done.
David Wang returns at left guard—after his season-ending foot injury—and will need to make an immediate impact. Wang was impressive in training last year and will be expected to take on a more senior role in 2012. The other interior spot belongs to Brent Benedict, who is now available after transferring from Georgia.
The interior will likely be the weak point of the line, despite showing improvement as spring practice went on. Logan Thomas has said that he has confidence in the players in front of him, but a little more experience would enable them to function effectively as a unit. The offensive line is essentially a team within a team, so the more reps they take together, the better they get at working as one.
Time and practice isn’t a luxury that the Hokies have, however, and the Georgia Tech game won’t break the line in easily. Although they lack experience themselves, Yellow Jackets senior DE Izaan Cross has been a constant in the last two years and will pose a real threat to the Hokies.
If Logan Thomas comes out of that first game unscathed, a lot of questions will have been answered.