2009, The Hokies Year in The Spotlight?

Dustin HughesContributor IJune 23, 2009

MIAMI - JANUARY 01:  Head coach Frank Beamer of the Virginia Tech Hokies celebrates after defeating the Cincinnati Bearcats to win the FedEx Orange Bowl at Dolphin Stadium on January 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The 2009 campaign for Virginia Tech is shaping up to be the most successful since 1999's national runner up team. No Virginia Tech team has had this much hype since the 2005 Marcus Vick led team. Many Analysts and football gurus are picking the Hokies as a dark horse national title contender.

One big reason for the high expectations is the amount of young talent returning to this team. The offense is returning every starter at the skill positions and as a whole only looses one starter from the Orange Bowl roster. When you add a dynamic homerun threat at tailback to the mix the offense should be dangerous.

In years past the Hokies offensive line has been a weak point on the roster. That will not be the case this season. Virginia Tech is going into the 2009 season with one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country. With one of the nations best offensive guards, Sergio Render anchoring a line with not only skill but also depth. Depth is something that the unit has been lacking for several years. This line protecting and opening holes for the talent at the skill positions should bring the Hokies offense out of the basement.

The Bud Foster coached defense faces the same problem this year as it did coming in to the 2008 season. They must replace and all-american corner, two senior line backers, and one senior defensive end. Capable replacements are already in place and all but one of them has starting experience.

The one player that will be looked upon the most for performance and leadership will be junior quarterback Tyrod Taylor.  This will be his first season with no quarterback controversy and the team is all his. He already started to become more vocal with the team during the spring. This is his time to shine and fulfill the hype he received as a recruit

During the off season two things drew most of the attention, Redshirt freshman Tailback Ryan Williams and Tyrod Taylor's throwing motion. Williams averaged over ten yards per touch during the spring and showed the ability to score on any play.  Taylor has removed the "hitch" from his throwing motion that has hampered his timing and passing game during the last two seasons. With a quicker throwing motion look for his interceptions to go down and touchdown totals to go up.

The Hokies schedule sets up very well for a big season. With an early test against Alabama in a prime time game and other difficult games at home. If the Hokies can make it past Alabama on September 5th the nation better watch out. This may just be the Hokies year in the spotlight.