After the Orange Bowl ended in miserable fashion, so did an era for the Virginia Tech Hokies. Tyrod Taylor is gone. One of the deepest backfields in all of college football is no more, and the Hokies dominance in the ACC may have gone with it. But what does it all mean?
There are a number of questions facing Virginia Tech heading into spring practice. Is Logan Thomas actually “the guy”? Can David Wilson carry the brunt of the load for an entire season? Can the Hokies win another ACC title or get to 10 wins for an eighth straight season?
They’re all questions that the coaching staff is facing heading into spring practice, but the answers won’t come until the season kicks off.
Thomas is expected to take over the reigns and become the Hokies next quarterback. One thing he has going for him is a stable of experienced receivers. The Hokies won’t lose one receiver heading into next year, and that group is led by Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale. Marcus Davis is also expected to play a big role as he started to come on strong at the end of the season
The Hokies will be without tight end Andre Smith, who is graduating, but the Hokies have a number of young players at that position and Randall Dunn is an early candidate to win the job.
The offensive line will lose only one starter; its center Beau Warren. All-in-all, Thomas will have a lot of experienced players around him, which should make his job a lot easier. That being said, having a guy like Williams in the backfield would have really helped out the young quarterback.
That’s where Wilson comes in, and although he hasn’t been the starter he has a lot of game experience. But can he carry the load, and will he? Wilson is the Hokies version of Reggie Bush. He plays a lot of different positions, including kick returner, slot receiver and running back. He’s also not the biggest guy in the world, but his speed and athleticism is second to none.
Tony Gregory will also play a big role in the Hokies backfield next season. He saw limited action this past year before tearing his ACL on punt coverage against North Carolina. Gregory is bigger (6 ft tall), but needs to add some muscle to his frame. That may be slowed as he may miss some, if not all of spring practice recovering from his injury.
That brings Josh Oglesby back into play at running back. The Hokies were so deep at the position they moved Oglesby to fullback, but he will likely switch back to tailback in 2011. Oglesby is, in a word, jacked. He will more than likely be the Hokies goal line and short yardage back, and has shown some explosiveness at times out of the backfield.
Either way the Hokies will have three backs contributing out of their backfield, but the majority of the snaps will be going to Wilson.
It’s still early, and spring practice isn’t that far off, but the Hokies should have an easier transition into a new era on offense than most teams with the experience they have around their young quarterback. However, leadership has to come from the quarterback position, which is something Thomas is going to have to earn as the 2011 season approaches.