Virginia Tech 2006 Preview Further Analysis
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Virginia Tech Hokies Preview 2006 Further Analysis

1st and Ten – Look out – Intimidator.  Physical presence.  Hitter.  So many different ‘words’ to define rover Aaron Rouse.  Realistically, the word that coaches use about a guy like Rouse is probably the most fitting, but it’s not printable.  Let’s just say that when a ball carrier is in Rouse’s area code, said ball carrier better have his head on a swivel.  The former linebacker still carries around some pent up linebacker anger when he’s on the field, but he’s the presence in the middle who keeps receivers from running across the middle free of charge, so to speak.  But, Rouse’s four interceptions show that he’s a true rover/strong safety and will be so when he goes to the next level in 2007.  But, in 2006, Rouse is as central a figure for this Hokie defense as anyone, including the talented linebacking corps featuring Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi.  Although he hits like a ton of bricks, his ability to play both pass and run is the key aspect of Rouse’s game.  He finished last year with 77 tackles, putting him third on the team behind Hall and James Anderson.  There’s some talk that Rouse may end up moving back to the outside backer position next to Hall and Adibi, which may take advantage of his quickness in blitz packages coming off the edge or shooting the B/C gaps to get pressure on the QB.  It won’t matter what position he plays, coaches will still refer to him as a mother, oops sorry.  Just look out when #36 is on the prowl.

2nd and Seven – No drama – No individual overtly goes out of his way to create drama.  In some instances, drama just follows people for whatever reason.  That was the career of Virginia Tech QB Marcus Vick in a nutshell – nothing but drama.  Even when times were good, he drew an inordinate amount of attention to himself – the West Virginia ‘salute’ comes to mind.  On the field of play, Vick seemed to rely on his natural ability such that he didn’t pick up what defenses were doing to stop him.  Consequently, when he faced an equally talented defense, he was in trouble (Miami game, anyone?).  But, Vick is gone and that might be a win-win situation for all involved.  Sean Glennon isn’t the physical specimen that Vick was, and he might not be a guy who can create magic with his feet on scrambles.  However, Glennon ought to have a solid understanding of the offense and has plenty of weapons to spread the ball around.  This team doesn’t need 300 yards passing and 125 rushing every week; it needs consistency, it needs to be effectively managed and it needs no drama.  Glennon should fit that bill.

3rd and Three – A Royal pain? – The Hokie receiving corps is deep and talented.  Any one of these receivers can hurt a defense any given Saturday, but Eddie Royal is the one guy who could be the dagger in your heart every time he touches the ball.  Make that should be.  As a true freshman, Royal gave the Hokies a weapon who could stretch the field no matter where he lined up.  In 2005, though, he seemed to be more afterthought than integral part of the offense.  That has to change in 2006.  No offense meant to David Clowney, Josh Morgan, Justin Harper or Josh Hyman, but Royal, when healthy, can be the ultimate game changer.  Although comparing him to former FSU great Peter Warrick is a bit of stretch, his running style when he gets the ball in his hands is reminiscent of the former Nole.  If only he could have a Warrick-type effect (sans a Dillards trip or two) in 2006, the Hokie offense would be a pain in some ACC backsides.

4th and One – Chip on their shoulder – At the 2004 ACC media days, the media was asked to rank the 11 teams in the ACC, the first year in the conference for Frank Beamer’s Hokies.  Consequently, the Hokies weren’t happy with the bottom half of the conference prediction and they eventually used that slight to motivate them to shock the world (and of course, the one CFN threw at them which they displayed on their bulletin board proudly).  Their answer to the naysayers?  They won the 2004 ACC championship.  Every week, they found a different and unique way to win.  The comeback at Georgia Tech.  The physical smash mouth battle down in Miami.  They won.  As a team.  No stars.  No prima donnas.  One team.  One mission.  Last year, they seemed to lose that sense of purpose.  Watching them in the ACC championship game last year, it was quite evident how much this team ebbed and flowed on emotion.  When FSU made their run in the third quarter, the Hokies looked as though they just as soon head to Atlantic Beach and catch a late nightcap at Ragtime.  But, when they got back in the game, the fire was back and the Hokies almost pulled off a huge comeback in the fourth quarter.  It was an interesting team, to say the least, yet one that many thought underachieved.  Consequently, the 2006 squad needs the emotion (on an upswing, of course) of the 2005 team and the chip on the shoulder attitude of the 2004 team.  The Hokies thrived on that “us against the world” mentality in 2004, and they need it back.  Although they’re not being picked to finish in the bottom half of the ACC in 2006, a championship isn’t exactly being predicted either.  Perfect.  Absolutely perfect.