Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Williams and Darren Evans are gone. The anchor of the defense, John Graves has graduated, and the Hokies coaching staff is forced to reload again.
What does it all mean?
Well, 2011 could be the beginning of the end for Virginia Tech’s dominance over the ACC.
There are obvious reasons why, but then there are some factors that are tougher to see. The Hokies are the early favorite to win the Coastal Division in 2011, but winning the ACC is a far tougher accomplishment.
Here are five reasons why the Hokies dominate run will end in 2011.
He should probably get used to this.
Florida State is beginning to resurface as a national power.
They have their guy at quarterback in E.J. Manuel, and they continue to recruit the top prospects in the nation. The Seminoles are only getting better, and the Atlantic Division will not be tough for them to win on an annual basis.
Fisher has the Seminoles on the fast track back to national prominence, and it’s only a matter of time before they become, once again, the class of the ACC.
It’s hard losing two of the top rushers on your team, but to lose your quarterback, who happened to be the 2010 ACC Player of the Year, is much worse.
On top of that, Logan Thomas is considered to be a very raw quarterback. Why is this? He came to Blacksburg as the top rated tight end in the nation and played a number of positions, in addition to quarterback while in high school.
He’s a tremendous athlete, but with a conservative play-caller in control of the offense and only one proven commodity in the backfield, it’s tough to expect a young, inexperienced player to lead the Hokies to another ACC Championship game appearance.
It’s unknown how Al Golden is going to do at Miami, but he does have talent to work with right now. Mike London is building a very good recruiting class and is doing very well in Virginia, especially the Hampton Roads area. This is taking recruits away from the Hokies.
North Carolina has a chance to be very good next season, but they do have questions on offense. However, the Tar Heels have a lot of good athletes on their roster and could be the sleeper in the ACC next season.
Georgia Tech is always good for an upset, but it will be tough for the Yellow Jackets to win the Coastal Division on a consistent basis with a triple-option offense. Duke is still Duke.
Basically, two teams are on the rise, Virginia and North Carolina, and Miami could crash the party at any moment.
Frank Beamer and his coaching staff have never gone after the best athletes in the country on a consistent basis. Beamer and company look for players that fit their system, and for the most part, it works.
The Hokies have won 10 games or more for seven straight seasons and haven’t missed a bowl game since 1993. However, in that time, they have only one national title appearance, which they did not win.
If you continue to do the same thing over and over, you’re going to get the same results. That’s happened to the Hokies, and they have a lot of wins without the biggest hardware.
It’s time Hokie fans are honest with themselves. No matter how you look at it, the coaching staff is clearly poor at preparing their team for big games. It hurts to say, but looking at the numbers should hurt more.
Virginia Tech is 1-27 against AP Top Five teams, and that includes this year’s Orange Bowl loss to Stanford. Since 2000, the Hokies are 1-4 in BCS bowl games and have a bowl game record of 5-7. When the Hokies play good teams, they don’t show up.
It’s a fact that’s hard to swallow, but it is a fact. It has to change, especially if the Hokies want to continue winning ACC Championships, because Florida State is going to be one of the best teams in the nation, and there’s a chance Miami and North Carolina are also highly ranked on an annual basis in a couple of years.