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2011 Virginia Tech Preview
Virginia Tech CB Jayron Hosley
Virginia Tech CB Jayron Hosley
Posted Jun 13, 2011

Virginia Tech continues to be the model of consistency as the ACC's bright, shining star. Can the production continue in a rebuilding season? With the improvement in the conference, can the Hokies keep up? The program keeps on humming, helped by talents like star corner Jayron Hosley but is this still the front runner? Check out the CFN 2011 Virginia Tech Preview.

Virginia Tech Hokies

Preview 2011

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By Richard Cirminiello

Head coach: Frank Beamer
25th year: 198-95-2
Returning Lettermen
Off. 20, Def. 23, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 22 <
Ten Best Virginia Tech Players
1. CB Jayron Hosley, Jr.
2. LB Bruce Taylor, Jr.
3. RB David Wilson, Jr.
4. WR Jarrett Boykin, Sr.
5. OT Blake DeChristoper, Sr.
6. OG Jaymes Brooks, Sr.
7. WR Danny Coale, Sr.
8. FS Eddie Whitley, Sr.
9. DT Antoine Hopkins, Jr.
10. DE James Gayle, Soph.
2011 Schedule

Sept. 3 Appalachian St
Sept. 10 at East Carolina
Sept. 17 Arkansas St
Sept. 24 at Marshall
Oct. 1 Clemson
Oct. 8 Miami
Oct. 15 at Wake Forest
Oct. 22 Boston Coll.
Oct. 29 at Duke
Nov. 10 at Georgia Tech
Nov. 17 North Carolina
Nov. 26 at Virginia

Virginia Tech is boring. You know, the way 10-win seasons and Atlantic Coast Conference championships can get monotonous.

Detractors will point out that the Hokies have been unable to get over the hump under Frank Beamer and compete for a national title. However, this continues to be one of the most consistent and well-coached programs in America, perennially regrouping on the fly and standing out in a tightly-packed league. Beamer has been the steady hand for almost a quarter-century, guiding his alma mater to more wins since 1995 than all but Ohio State and Florida. He’s been to 18 consecutive bowl games, posted double-digit wins for seven straight years, and won four ACC crowns. Last season’s was a microcosm of Beamer Ball.

After starting 0-2 in 2010, including an unthinkable defeat at the hands of James Madison, Tech rallied for 11 wins in-a-row, capped by 44-33 win over Florida State in the ACC title game. A month later, the Hokies were rocked by Stanford in the Orange Bowl, 40-12. It was vintage Virginia Tech, resilient, rising to the occasion within the conference, yet unable to make a statement when the national spotlight shines brightest.

The 2011 edition is aiming to keep the momentum going, remaining on top of the ACC and possibly raising the bar a bit higher in the postseason. If that’s to happen, the Hokies will do so with a rebuilt backfield. Gone are the winningest quarterback in school history, Tyrod Taylor, and next-level running backs Ryan Williams and Darren Evans. In their place step sophomore QB Logan Thomas and junior RB David Wilson. Thomas is one of the most decorated passers to since with the program and Wilson is a household name waiting to happen. If the new backfield can deliver, Tech has the supporting cast, on offense and defense, and the staff to be back in the title hunt again in November.

If consistency had colors, they’d be Chicago maroon and burnt orange. And it would look eerily similar to Beamer, the architect of one of the nation’s most reliable programs.

What to watch for on offense: Scouting Thomas. Now that Tyrod Taylor has run out of eligibility, this is clearly Logan Thomas’ team … and he performed as such in the spring. A 6-6, 245-pounder, he’s a little Jim Druckenmiller and a little Michael Vick, able to beat defenses with his big arm or quick feet. Even more impressive to the staff has been the way he’s conducted himself over the past few months, flashing the poise and leadership of an upperclassmen and dedicating himself to improving in all facets of the game. His ceiling is high, and Hokie fans are hoping he begins to approach it this fall.

What to watch for on defense: Working out the sophomore kinks. The Hokies are facing some turnover at every level of the D, creating openings for a cadre of talented, but somewhat unproven second-year players. How far along they’ve come will dictate the eventual success of Bud Foster’s unit. Up front, DT Derrick Hopkins and ends James Gayle and J.R. Collins are bucking for starting assignments. LB Tariq Edwards is being asked to carry over his spring performance into the fall. And CB Kyle Fuller and rover Antoine Exum are expected to plug the two holes in the secondary. In all, six sophomores could be in the opening day lineup for Tech.

This team will be far better if … it plays more consistently on defense. As a whole, the Hokie D performed well in 2010, but peeling the onion reveals issues that need to be addressed. The run defense was soft, and in four separate games, Tech gave up at least three touchdown passes. The losses to Boise State and Stanford that formed a bookend on the season had a lot to do with defensive inconsistency and an inability to make stops at key moments. The offense won’t be as potent as a year ago, putting even more pressure on the defense to tighten up wherever it can in the fall.

The Schedule: Starting out with Appalachian State is far, far easier than dealing with Boise State, like the Hokies did last year, and going against East Carolina, Arkansas State, and Marshall will be a nice way to ease into confernece play. There's no time to get the feet wet with showdowns with Clemson and Miami right away, with both games at home. Three of the last four games are on the road, but there's an off-week in between trips to Duke and Georgia Tech. Missing Florida State from the Atlantic is nice, and getting Miami and North Carolina at home is a big plus, but going on the road to face Georgia Tech will be tough.

Best Offensive Player: Junior RB David Wilson. Is he ready for such high praise? You betcha. Even in a complimentary role, he could not be contained, scoring three different ways and leading the program in touchdowns. He’s a unique weapon that Virginia Tech will use liberally, darting through holes, swinging out to catch passes, and chipping in as a dangerous kick returner. Basically, if you give him room to navigate, he’s going to exploit the soft spots of a defense with his speed, acceleration, and vision. A budding star, he’ll shed his anonymity by October.

Best Defensive Player: Junior CB Jayron Hosley. The next in a long line of talented lockdown corners to play in Blacksburg, Hosley is coming off a sensational debut in the starting lineup. A year after being a little-used reserve, he reached All-American status by picking off a nation’s-high nine passes. He has the fluid hips and back pedal needed to excel at the position, and the ball skills to do more than just redirect passes. Rapidly becoming the kind of defensive back opposing passers want to avoid, he could be in an NFL camp by this time next year.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QB Logan Thomas. Sure, it’s a little spot-on, but which Hokie is carrying more weight on his shoulders than No. 3? Now, listen, the staff won’t ask him to play beyond his pay grade just yet, but he will have to make plays from time to time and keep the Hokies out of third-and-long situations. Plus, receivers Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale are too valuable to this offense to be overlooked and underutilized. While he doesn’t have to be Taylor so early in his career, he will have to give the offense balance and keep defenses from ganging up on the backs.

The season will be a success if ... the Hokies win another ACC championship. Unless the program is in full-fledged rebuilding mode, shooting for anything less than a league crown would be setting the bar too low. Yeah, Tech has holes to be filled on both sides of the ball, but there’s ample talent to repeat and stand above a field that has no obvious frontrunners. Four titles under Beamer have given the Hokies a swagger and confidence that they carry into every new campaign.

Key game: Nov. 10 at Georgia Tech. Believe it or not, this is the first—and maybe only—rugged road test of the year for the Hokies. It’ll be a Thursday night affair in Atlanta on national television, which is never an easy situation to navigate. In the always competitive Coastal Division, this is one of those toss-up games that could determine who survives and moves on to face the Atlantic Division champion on Dec. 3.

2010 Fun Stats:
- Passes Intercepted: Virginia Tech 5 – Opponents 23
- Touchdowns scored: Virginia Tech 59 – Opponents 37
- Second quarter scoring: Virginia Tech 153 - Opponents 53

- 2011 Virginia Tech Preview | 2011 Virginia Tech Offense
- 2011 Virginia Tech Defense | 2011 Virginia Tech Depth Chart
- Virginia Tech Previews  2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006