Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Virginia Tech.
Spring Practice Starts: March 28
Spring Game: Saturday, April 21
Three things to look for:
1. Building a brand new offense around Logan Thomas. Famed quarterback coach George Whitfield (Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger) called Thomas "very, very scary" after the junior quarterback worked out with him in San Diego earlier this month. But in order for Thomas to be frightening to opposing defenses, he will need some fresh faces to step up on offense. The Hokies will need to replace four two-year starters along the offensive line, including All-ACC First Team tackle Blake DeChristopher. Seniors D.J. Coles and Marcus Davis will see expanded roles with Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale graduated, as will senior Dyrell Roberts - who missed much of 2011 with an arm injury. But the biggest concern for most Virginia Tech fans is replacing David Wilson. The ACC Player of the Year decided to leave early for the NFL, and with Josh Oglesby graduating the Hokies are left with question marks in the offensive backfield. Coaches have identified redshirt freshman Michael Holmes and early enrollee J.C. Coleman as the top two running backs for the spring.
2. Building depth in the defensive front seven. While the offense will spend the spring looking for new contributors, a well-stocked defense can focus on building depth and getting healthy. Virginia Tech brings back the entire two-deep rotation along the defensive line, and all three starters at linebacker. The Hokies finished 2011 with the 10th best defense in the nation, and with all the talent returning fans can expect the unit to be a force again in the fall. However, all three starting linebackers - Bruce Taylor, Tariq Edwards, and Jeron Gouveia-Winslow will miss spring practice due to injuries. That should mean more reps and experience for Jack Tyler, Chase Williams, and Alonzo Tweedy. If the Hokies can go injury-free through the spring and summer, they should have one of the most game-ready front sevens in the ACC come September.