Preview 2007 - Offense
2007 Virginia Tech Preview
2007 VT Defense Preview
2007 VT Depth Chart
2006 CFN Virginia
What you need to know: Can
Tech win a national title with a mediocre offense? It was 99th
in the nation in total offense, but it did a great job of taking
advantage of all the breaks generated by the defense. Eight
starters return, led by ACC Player of the Year candidate Branden
Ore at running back, but he needs the line to be healthy for a
full season, and better. The passing game has good pieces, but
it has to be far more consistent considering there are four
talented senior receivers returning. Quarterback Sean Glennon
had a good off-season, and now it has to translate into better
Passing: Sean Glennon
170-302, 2,191 yds, 11 TD, 11 INT
Rushing: Branden Ore
241 carries, 1,137 yds, 16 TD
Receiving: Josh Morgan
33 catches, 448 yds, 4 TD
Star of the offense: Junior RB Branden Ore
Player that has to step up and become a star:
Junior QB Sean Glennon
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT Ed Wang
Best pro prospect: Ore
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Ore, 2) WR Eddie Royal, 3)
OT Duane Brown
Strength of the offense: Wide receiver experience, Ore
Weakness of the offense:
Veteran line depth, proven passing game production
Projected Starter: There was expected to be a big quarterback
battle after junior Sean Glennon had a bad year
completing 56% of his passes for 2,191 yards and 11 touchdowns
with 11 interceptions. Problems on the line didn't help out, but
he struggled mightily with his consistency, closing out with an
awful 94-yard, three interception performance against Georgia.
He worked hard, was much sharper and much smoother this spring,
and now he appears to be a leader for the offense, rather than
just being along for the ride. At 6-4 and 221 pounds, he has
good size and a little bit of mobility, but he's not a runner.
Projected Top Reserves: While Glennon appears to
have taken the number one job by the horns, sophomore Ike
Whitaker isn't far behind. Back after getting treated for an
alcohol abuse problem, he'll make things very interesting if he
keeps progressing in practices. At 6-4 and 204 pounds, he has
great size, a fantastic arm, and the speed and athleticism to
become a dangerous all-around star.
The third man in the mix is junior Cory Holt, a
good-sized reserve with good mobility and a huge arm. What he
hasn't been is consistent when given the chance. He has the
measurables, and he's been around to system for a few years, and
now he has to provide more of a push for the backup job.
On the way is Tyrod Taylor,
the team's top recruit when phenomenal speed and a decent,
accurate arm. He's not huge at only 6-1 and 185 pounds, but his
athleticism makes up for it. If he sees the field and burns his
redshirt season, that'll likely mean something disastrous has
happened to the season.
Watch Out For ... Glennon to be far better. He might
not make the major step up like, say, Bryan Randall did a few
years ago, but he showed this spring that he'll be more
accurate, and will do a better job of utilizing his talented
Strength: The backups. Glennon might be the
starter for the next two years, but there will be a sizeable
portion of Hokie fans who'll be very, very curious to see what
Whitaker can do. Glennon will be good; Whitaker might be
Weakness: Glennon's running. The Hokie offense
likes to have a quick, mobile quarterback who can take off at
any time. That's not Glennon. If he's not accurate, with a
completion percentage around 65%, his "game management" skills
don't always make up for the other problems.
Outlook: This could get interesting. Either
Glennon will be better, and the offense will benefit, or Glennon
will struggle, and there will be a quarterback controversy.
While Glennon will be better than he was last year, the moment
he has a bad stretch, or loses a game, there might be a call to
get Whitaker in.
Projected Starters: It'll be Branden Ore, Branden Ore,
and a dose of Branden Ore thrown in. The junior was the entire
offense at times last season highlighted by a two-game stretch
against Southern Miss and Clemson with 410 yards and four
touchdowns. With good power in a 5-11 and 202-pound body, he's
mostly a quick back who makes things happen inside and out.
After issues earlier in his career, he's matured off the field,
and can be counted on time and again on in coming off a
1,137-yard, 16 touchdown season. He can also catch a little bit.
Senior Carlton Weatherford is a former walk-on who's
carved out a role for himself as a blocker and a high-energy
spark-plug for the ground game. After bulking up to 230 pounds
over the last few years, he should do even more to pave the way
for Ore, and he should be used a big more as a receiver.
Projected Top Reserves: With George Bell
transferring to D-II Catawba College, sophomore Kenny Lewis,
Jr. will play an even bigger role after finishing second on
the team with 215 yards and two touchdowns. A 5-9, 195-pound
speed back who spent most of last season getting his feet wet
again after spending two years in the Cincinnati Reds farm
system, he's a mature 24-year-old true sophomore who should be
able to handle himself well as a starter if something happens to
Ore, like he did late last year.
On the way is super-recruit Darren Evans, a 6-1,
204-pound speed back out of Indianapolis who
rushed for 7,220 yards
and 127 career touchdowns, leading his team to four Class 5A
state championships. He scored 61 times as a senior. 61. He has
it all, and he might become a key backup early on.
Weatherford might be the starting fullback, but it might be just
a question of time before sophomore Kenny Jefferson takes
over. He's only 5-9 and 222 pounds, but he's a devastating
blocker who can run a little bit.
Watch Out For ... Lewis to get a lot more work. The
passing game will be better, but the Tech offense will still
revolve around Ore. He has to be fresh for the big games,
meaning the backups need to get 10-15 touches a game. At the
moment, that backup is Lewis.
Strength: Ore. When he's on, he's a next-level
back who can carry the entire attack and force defenses to focus
solely on him. Everyone will go into every game focusing on
stopping Ore first, but he still can produce when he's a marked
man ... most of the time.
Weakness: Backups. Evans or Jahre Cheeseman had
better be ready to roll if called on. George Bell might have
been a major disappointment considering his prep hype (injuries
had a lot to do with that), but he was still a decent insurance
Outlook: Can Ore stay in one piece? He got a lot
of carries over the first ten games of last year and suffered an
ankle injury. As long as he's right, the running game will be
effective. If he's dinged up, there will be big problems. Even
with Ore's big year, the Tech ground attack was still 90th in
the nation. That'll change with the expected improvement on the
Projected Starters: The corps might lose leading receiver David
Clowney, but it gets back the team's yardage leader, senior
flanker Eddie Royal with 31 catches for 497 yards
and three touchdowns. One problem; he had seven of those catches
and 102 yards in one game (the loss to Georgia Tech). Unlike the
rest of the main receivers, he's not all that huge at 5-10 and
181 yards, but he makes up for it with his speed and quickness.
Shackled a bit by the passing game over the last few years, he's
a home run hitter who mostly slaps long singles and a few
Senior Justin Harper isn't always the most productive
split end, but with his 6-4, 204-pound size, good deep speed,
and the potential to be far more productive than he's been over
his career, he's too enticing not to get on the field. He has to
be far more consistent and use his advantages to create more
mismatches after catching just 21 passes for 324 yards and a
score last season.
The tight ends will likely be more involved in the passing game
this year after rarely getting anything their way. 6-3,
281-pound sophomore Greg Boone is more like a smaller
third tackle. He also catches like one. He has the athleticism
to do far more, but first, he has to improve his concentration
when the ball comes his way with too many drops and only five
catches for 68 yards and a score.
Projected Top Reserves: Harper might be listed as
the starter going into the fall, but that'll probably change,
6-1, 219-pound senior Josh Morgan started most of the
time at split end last season making 33 catches for 448 yards
and a team-leading four touchdowns, and now he needs to do more.
With his size and next-level potential, he could be something
special if he can put together all his talents and be the type
of number one overall receiver who most secondaries have to
5-11, 192-pound senior Josh Hyman has shown flashes of
brilliance over the course of his career, but he regressed last
season, thanks to a variety of injuries, catching just 16 passes
for 111 yards. While not the threat Royal is, he can stretch the
field at either receiver spot.
Sophomore Brandon Dillard, one of the stars of spring
ball who has the speed and athleticism to do a little bit of
everything, has the potential to do big things if he can get
time .His problem will be fighting through the veterans to crack
the lineup as more than backup.
Behind Boone at tight end will be sophomore Sam Wheeler,
who quickly grew into a good receiver making 13 catches for 199
yards and two touchdowns. At 6-3 and 252 pounds, he has good
size to go along with the speed to make several big catches. He
can't block, but he's too dangerous a target to not get more
Watch Out For ... the tight ends. Not used last year
after losing the sure-handed Jeff King, the Tech tight ends
couldn't hang on to the ball and struggled from the start. Boone
should be better when the ball comes his way, while Wheeler is a
rising star for the passing attack.
Strength: Prototypes and experience. Clowney led
the team in receiving, but he was hardly a killer. Four senior
receivers are back with a size, speed, and a world of potential.
This is a receiving corps out of central casting, but while it
looks like Tarzan ...
Weakness: ... it plays like Jane. This group has
had a world of potential for several years and hasn't busted
out. Yeah, the quarterbacks haven't exactly been Peyton Manning
throwing the ball, but the receivers should've been good enough
to have made the passers better.
Outlook: Is this the year it all comes together?
The four seniors have to finally be consistent and make big
things happen when they get their chances. Several promising
young players have to somehow get a little bit of time to be
ready for next year, but there might not be enough throws to go
around. We're not exactly talking about the Texas Tech passing
game here. Even so, the talent is in place to be far better.
Projected Starters: The line underwent some major changes in the
short spring, most notably the move of senior Duane Brown from
his normal spot at right tackle to the left side. At 6-5 and 310 pounds,
he's a big blocker who moved over from tight end to the line as a
junior, and now is expected to shine. While athletic, he's gotten bigger
over the last few years and should be the leader up front on key plays.
Next to him at guard will be 6-5, 351-pound Nick Marshman, who
saw two starts last year playing mostly on the outside. Out of position
at tackle, he's far better suited for guard with massing size and
tremendous strength. Even with his girth, he's athletic enough to play
anywhere on the line.
Back at center is 6-3, 318-pound junior Ryan Shuman after
starting throughout last year at left guard. With Marshman moving to the
spot, Shuman can go back to his more natural position with the loss of
steady starter Dan McGrath. Shuman's a true leader who won't have a
problem making all the right line calls. The only question is a knee
injury that limited him last year.
6-3, 320-pound sophomore Sergio Render started all 13 games last
season as one of the rocks of the offense, despite just being a true
freshman, but he's recovering from off-season knee surgery. He's good
enough to be expected to grow into an All-ACC star before he's done, but
he has to be more consistent.
Former tight end Ed Wang will step in for Brown, who moved sides.
The 6-5, 304-pound sophomore is athletic and tough, but he'll have to go
through a few growing pains as he has to learn how to handle himself in
a full-time role. In time, he'll be great in pass protection.
Projected Top Reserves: While Marshman is good
enough to start somewhere on the line, he'll be pushed for the left
guard job by junior Matt Welsh. While he's not small, at 6-4 and
295 pounds he's over 50 pounds lighter than Marshman. If needed, he
could play center.
Behind Render at right guard will be 6-6, 290-pound sophomore Richard
Graham, who's quick enough to play tackle and tough enough to play
guard. He'll be a key blocker in the rotation both inside and out.
The understudy behind Brown at left tackle will be redshirt freshman
Aaron Brown, a 6-6, 300-pound riser who spent last year hitting the
weights hard. While he might not quite be ready for a full-time job, he
should be a decent backup as the season goes on.
Watch Out For ... far better overall production. The
line struggled with injuries and general inconsistency, and as long as
the starting front five can stay healthy, it shouldn't be the sore spot
it was at times.
Strength: Size. While the 351-pound Marshman skews
things a bit, the other four projected starters are all well north of
the 300 mark. The starting five averages around 320 pounds per man.
Weakness: Backup tackles. The Hokies are counting
on two redshirt freshmen, along with Wang, who's not quite a sure-thing
yet on the right side.
Outlook: With Shuman and Duane Brown in the right
spots, and with Render and Marshman emerging as good guards, the line
should be more productive after allowing 29 sacks and not doing nearly
enough for the ground game. If everyone's healthy, the line could grow
into a strength.