As the season is fast approaching, the Virginia Tech Hokies are preparing for their much anticipated opener against Alabama on September 5th.
With Darren Evans going down in summer practice, the Hokies are preparing for life after their star running back.
Coach Frank Beamer has three running backs in waiting (Josh Oglesby, Ryan Williams, David Wilson), but the only back with game time experience is Oglesby with 38 carries.
It's going to be tough to run the ball, or move the ball in general against Alabama, and the Hokies will likely have to rely on the arm of junior quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Taylor came to Virginia Tech touted as the next "Michael Vick", a 5-star recruit, and huge expectations. Unlike any other quarterback in the history of Virgina Tech football, Taylor, not only played his true-freshman year, he started a number of games.
And unlike Michael Vick, whose first game came against James Madison, Taylor was thrown into the fire against the second rated team in the nation, at one of the toughest places to play in college football, LSU.
Taylor has had his growing pains along the way, but the coaching staff is higher on the quarterback than they've ever been. After working on his throwing motion, and riding his motion of a "hitch", Taylor should be a more accurate passer this season, not only because of his new throwing motion but because of his experience and the experience surrounding him.
The Hokies offense was getting a fair amount of hype until Evans went down with a torn ACL, but the passing game may surprise a lot of people.
Obviously a balanced attack seems to work best for many football teams, and the Hokies would love to have one this year. But against Alabama that may be tough to do.
Taylor will likely have two sophomores starting at wideout, Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale, with Greg Boone at tight end, and a very experienced offensive line that's anchored by Sergio Render.
It seems that Williams is making strides to be the starter in the backfield for the opener, as a foot infection has hampered Oglesby's playing time. However, it will be tough for a in-experienced running back to have much of a decision on the game, but you never know.
Taylor will have to have success through the air in order for the Hokies to be productive, in any way, on offense.
Unlike last year, the Hokies have experience on their side. Not a tremendous amount at wide receiver, but not many teams have true sophomores at one position with as much game time experience as the Hokies receivers.
Boykins really came on at the end of last season, and Coale had the surest hands throughout last season. Dyrell Roberts had his struggles, but played better down the stretch and will contribute to special teams as well.
The Hokies also add senior Brandon Dillard into the mix, who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon. Dillard is the third receiver on the depth chart and will likely be used in slot situations. Dillard owned the fastest 40-time on the team before injuring himself last season.
All of this should lead to a pretty good passing game for Tech, and they will need it in order to beat Alabama. Expect all of these factors to give the Hokies their best passing attack since the Bryan Randall led Hokies in 2004, when they faced Auburn in the Sugar Bowl.