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Virginia Tech 2006 Preview - Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 31, 2006


Virginia Tech Hokies Preview 2006 - Hokie Offense

What you need to know ... While the temptation will be to pound away with talented sophomore backs Branden Ore and George Bell behind a big, but inexperienced, offensive line, the real stars are in the receiving corps with five tremendous game breakers to work with. The big question is at quarterback where big, talented sophomores Sean Glennon and Cory Holt will battle with redshirt freshman Ike Whitaker to take over for Marcus Vick.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Cory Holt
4-12, 80 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Branden Ore
109 carries, 647 yds, 6 TD
Receiving: David Clowney
34 catches, 619 yds, 3 TD

Star of the offense: Junior WR Eddie Royal
Player that has to step up and become a star: Quarterbacks Sean Glennon, Cory Holt, and/or Ike Whitaker
Unsung star on the rise: Junior OT Duane Brown
Best pro prospect: Senior WR David Clowney
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Royal, 2) Clowney, 3) RB Branden Ore
Strength of the offense: Wide receiver
Weakness of the offense:
Quarterback experience

Quarterbacks
Virginia Tech has been able to navigate the brutal ACC waters over the last two seasons thanks to wonderful quarterback play from Bryan Randall and Marcus Vick, but after Vick decided to keep screwing up leading to a swift kick off the team, the situation is a bit cloudy. Sophomores Sean Glennon and Cory Holt, along with redshirt freshman Ike Whitaker, are all about the same size going 6-4 and around 215 to 220 pounds with live arms and big upside. Glennon is the best decision maker of the group and is the most ready to roll, but he has the shortest ceiling of the three. Cory Holt does a little of everything well, but he has to prove he can be a consistent passer. Ike Whitaker has the most talent, but he needs time. The battle will rage on until opening day.
The key to the unit: Keep the completion percentage up. The passing game should be the best it has been in a while, but efficiency and a limit on the mistakes will be vital.
Quarterback Rating: 6.5


Projected Starter
- Sean Glennon, Soph. 
Glennon redshirted last year when it became obvious that Marcus Vick was going to be the main man. At 6-4 and 215 pounds, he's a good-sized passer with decent skills and a good command of the offense. He's not going to run much, if at all, but he should be a more consistent passer than Vick.
He saw time in four games completing 8 of 11 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

Top Backups
- Cory Holt, Soph. - 4-12, 33%, 80 yds, 1 TD, 3 carries, 1 yard
At 6-4 and 222 pounds with great mobility and a big-time arm, Holt has all the tools. If he can prove he can consistently move the chains and be a 55% passer when he gets his chance to play, he'll make the quarterback controversy a bit more interesting. He saw a little bit of garbage time last year and didn't show too much, so essentially, he's unproven.

- Ike Whitaker, RFr.
Whitaker is the future of Virginia Tech football, but he almost saw his career end before it began when he got nailed on underage drinking, destruction of property and public intoxication charges. He'll be right in the hunt for the starting job this fall with the size at 6-4 and 212 pounds and the speed to be a dangerous prospect.

Running Backs
There's tremendous talent in the backfield. There's just not as much as in past seasons with Cedric Humes and Mike Imoh gone. Branden Ore has to be healthy after suffering a shoulder problem and George Bell has to stay healthy and live up to the immense promise he brought to the program out of high school. Jesse Allen is a terrific blocking fullback who'll pave the way for whoever is toting the rock.
The key to the unit: Stay on the field. Ore and Bell not only have to be good, they have to be durable. More of the rushing workload will fall on their shoulders without Marcus Vick to run around anymore.
Running Back Rating: 8

Projected Starters
- Branden Ore, Soph. - 109 carries, 647 yds, 5.9 ypc, 6 TD, 5 catches, 36 yds. 7.2 ypc
Ore is a quick back with the feet to bounce it to the outside and the power to run up the middle when needed. He's 5-11 and 204 pounds with good experience ripping off three-100-yard days when he got the chance to get some significant carries. He was out this spring trying to get an injured shoulder healthy.

- Fullback Jesse Allen, Sr. - 3 catches, 15 yards, 1 TD
A next-level blocker who'll blow open mile-wide holes, the 6-0, 243-pound senior is a great cog in the attack. He's not going to see any carries, but he's a decent receiver when he needs to be and can also be used on special teams. There are few stronger offensive players.

Top Backups
- George Bell, Soph. - 42 carries, 192 yds, 4.6 ypc, 2 TD
With all the talent in the world, Bell has been a disappointment so far after coming in as one of the nation's top recruits in 2004. He's a quick 220-pound with excellent power, but the light simply hasn't gone on yet. While he's a hard worker, injuries have been a bit of a problem and finding his way in the crowded running back mix has been an even bigger issue. Now he'll get every shot to be the main man.
- Kenny Lewis, Fr.
Back playing football after spending the last two years with the Cincinnati Reds farm system. He's a very strong, very quick back who should be an interesting option going into the fall after he gets into football shape. He'll be a 23-year-old true freshman by the middle of the season.
- Fullback Carlton Weatherford, Jr.
Weatherford hit the weights hard and appears ready to be a key contributor. While he's not nearly the power blocker that Jesse Allen is, and he's a bit undersized at 5-9 and 220 pounds, he's a high-energy player who should see plenty of action.

Receivers
The potential is there for this to be the best receiving corps in the ACC if everyone starts to play up to their capabilities. A shocking group as freshmen in 2004, they had a good, but inconsistent 2005. Now there's no excuse to not blow up with big passing quarterbacks fighting it out to take over for Marcus Vick and two years of experience to rely on. Eddie Royal and Josh Hyman are decent-sized speed receivers, and David Clowney and Josh Morgan are big speed receivers. The big concern is replacing sticky-handed tight end Jeff King with two redshirt freshmen.
The key to the unit: Consistency. There are so many good options that it's been hard for any one to break out. Only David Clowney has managed to be steady.
Receiver Rating: 9

Projected Starters
- Eddie Royal, Jr. - 27 catches, 31 yds, 11.7 ypc, 2 TD
2004's leading receiver finished third last year on the team last year as a steady target as well as a solid punt returner. He's a speedy 5-10 and 171 pounds who should be making more big plays than he has over the last few seasons. With his strength and game-breaking ability, he needs to be averaging more than 15 yards per catch and has to hit a few home runs.


- Josh Morgan, Jr. - 28 catches, 471 yds, 16.8 ypc, 4 TD
The team's second leading receiver last year, Morgan has next-level potential if he can get someone to consistently get him the ball. With good size at 6-1 and 215 pounds and excellent deep ball ability, Morgan is a dangerous receiver at split end averaging 19 yards per grab over his first two seasons highlighted by a brilliant seven-catch, 128-yard, one touchdown day in the ACC championship loss to Florida State. The sky's the limit if he can be more polished and more consistent.

- Tight end Sam Wheeler, RFr.
The likely new top tight end target, the 6-3, 240-pound Wheeler has the potential to grow into a solid go-to receiver. It's asking too much for him to be Jeff King, but he's athletic enough to see several passes thrown his way. The blocking will need to come in time.

Top Backups
- David Clowney, Sr. - 34 catches, 619 yds, 18.2 ypc, 3 TD
The team's leading receiver last season is also one of the team's fastest players. While he averaged 18.2 yards per catch, he didn't have any monster games becoming steady from start to finish with a catch in every game and with only one game, the ACC Championship, with more than three grabs. He's speedy enough to be part of the Virginia Tech track team, and now he has to take those wheels to the football field and make more huge plays.
- Josh Hyman, Jr. - 13 catches, 197 yds, 15.2 ypc
Hyman has had his moments of greatness here and there over the last two seasons, but not enough of them. He's a decent-sized prospect who hasn't been able to recapture the magic of the first half of his freshman season and has regressed a bit after not getting enough work. Expect that to change as the coaching staff looks for ways to get him the ball a bit more.
- Justin Harper, Jr. - 16 catches, 295 yds, 18.4 ypc, 1 TD
At 6-3 and 210 pound, Harper is a big receiver who has seen a few catches here and there as a reserve over the last two seasons. He has decent deep speed and could create a few mismatch problems in three and four wide sets. He'll push hard for starting time.
- Tight end Ed Wang, RFr.
At 6-5 and 262 pounds, Wang is a big tight end option who'll likely be used mostly to block in two tight end sets. He needs to become a more polished receiver with better route running ability.

Offensive Linemen
New line coach Curt Newsome has some work to do with only two returning starters and needing some true freshmen to be top producers right away. Center Danny McGrath and tackle Duane Brown are the main men who'll have to raise their play to an All-ACC level early on, while career reserves Brandon Frye, Nick Marshman and Ryan Shuman have got to step in and perform like the all-star talents they're replacing.

The key to the unit: Pass protection, pass protection, pass protection. It's a big enough group to open up some good-sized holes for the ground attack, but it has to try to be better than last year's front five that allowed 34 sacks.
Offensive Line Rating: 7

Projected Starters
- OT Brandon Frye, Sr.
Frye was the main backup last season at both tackle spots and saw plenty of playing time highlighted by a surprise start against Louisville in the bowl game. At 6-4 and 302 pounds, he's a big blocker with enough experience to step in and be consistent on the left side. He could switching sides with Duane Brown.
- OG Nick Marshman, Soph.
After seeing a little bit of playing time as a reserve and on special teams, the massive 6-5, 346-pound sophomore will take over on the right side. Is he too big? He's not going to do too much on the move, but he's tremendously strong and should open some huge holes.
- C Danny McGrath, Sr.
McGrath stepped up in a big way turning into a consistent, talented center allowing Will Montgomery to play guard. He's a quick 287 pounds who plays stronger than his size and only allowed one sack. Expected to return 100% after undergoing shoulder surgery this spring, he has All-ACC potential.
- OG Ryan Shuman, Soph.
A decent reserve last season at center, the rock-solid 301-pound sophomore will move to right guard. He could see time back at center if anything happens to Dan McGrath, but he's a bitter fit for one spot over.
- OT Duane Brown, Jr.
Brown was thrown into the fire late in fall practice last year moving from tight end to tackle at the last second. He's an athletic 6-5 and 278 pounds with tremendous strength in the running game. While he took some big-time lumps and made several expected mistakes, he showed tremendous upside. He started every game at right tackle last year and could end up moving to the left side before the start of the season.

Top Backups
- G Sergio Render, Fr.
The true freshman could end up starting from the word go at right guard; he's that good. He saw plenty of reps as the number one man with Ryan Shuman playing center this spring, but the budding 313-pound star will most likely start out the year as a key reserve.
- T Brandon Gore, Sr.
He's a massive 6-5, 359-pound veteran who'll try to get back this summer after suffering a broken ankle in the ACC Championship game. He's more of a guard than a tackle, but he'll start out behind Duane Brown on the right side.
- T Mason Baggett, Sr.
The walk-on has made his biggest impact on the scout team, but with the lack of overall experience on the line, he'll likely have to be counted on as a backup behind Brandon Frye at left tackle until true freshman Aaron Brown is ready to roll.