Virginia Tech at Virginia: Frank Beamer’s Final Game?

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If the college football schedule makers had known that this would indeed be legendary head coach Frank Beamer’s final year at the helm of the Virginia Tech Hokies, it is likely that they would have scheduled his final few games in Blacksburg. As it turned out, he coached his final game in front of a proud and appreciative home crowd last Saturday, falling by a field goal to a feisty North Carolina squad in the final moments.

Forgive me for tearing up a bit as I write this sentence, but Saturday will be Frank Beamer’s final regular-season game. If Virginia Tech is unable to emerge with a victory, they will likely be ineligible for a bowl game, making this Saturday’s affair Beamer’s final game ever. As a result of all of this, this is one of the biggest games in a very long time for a squad that comes into the matchup with a lukewarm 5-6 record.

So how will Tech figure out a way to win? It doesn’t take a genius to know that they will lean heavily on the running game and hope to control the time of possession. But Michael Brewer’s performance against North Carolina, coupled with Isaiah Ford’s best game of the year will likely tempt Beamer and his coaching staff to let the ball fly more than usual. After all, why hold back in what could possibly be the final game of both the season and a legendary coaching career?

The Virginia Cavaliers come into the game at 4-7, but they have had a gauntlet of a schedule that features perhaps the most impressive resume of non-conference opponents. The Cavaliers have played the UCLA Bruins, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Boise State Broncos.

It would be dangerous to underestimate the team based on their record and relatively meager output statistically on both sides of the ball. Virginia has the 84th overall ranked offense and 83rd overall ranked defense, but this is simply a result of playing some of the toughest squads in college football on a weekly basis.

It really feels like this one will come down to a field goal in the final minutes, and experts in Las Vegas seem to see it the same way. Virginia Tech is between a three and four point favorite as of press time. Prediction: Virginia Tech 27, Virginia 26

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Get the Ice Buckets Ready for Virginia Tech vs BosCo Slugfest

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Many Virginia Tech fans probably wish they could rewind the season to halftime of the first game, when the Hokies led the top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes 17-14 in Blacksburg. But Ohio State came out firing in the second half, Braxton Miller executed a spin move that will make highlight reels for decades to come, and less than two months later, Va Tech is 3-5 and staring down the barrel of bowl ineligibility.

They now travel to Massachusetts to face a Boston College squad singing similar tunes. After a 2-0 start, the Eagles have dropped their last four, including bizarre back-to-back losses at Duke and against Wake Forest earlier this month. The game against the Demon Deacons was an especially bizarre 3-0 finish that hearkened back to the days of leather helmets.

It is also very bizarre that the Eagles are only 3-5 given that they have the second-ranked defense in the nation statistically. They’re giving up just over 60 yards on the ground per game, a total that can stack up to some of the most dominant college defenses in the last 20 years. Virginia Tech comes in with some solid defensive numbers of their own.

So what will happen Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium? Fans can gear up for an old-fashioned, hard knocking, low-scoring battle that will leave both sides bloodied and bruised.

It is no secret that the Eagles will be looking to run the ball early and often and seek to control the matchup via time of possession. The Hokies would love to do the exact same thing, and in a game where yards are at a premium, the most valuable players on each side could end up being the place kickers.

Tech has a noticeable avenge in the kicking game, as 6-1″ sophomore Joey Slye has proven to be very reliable inside of 50. He has connected on 11 of 13 attempts in that range, although he is 0-3 from outside of 50 yards. Simply put, if the Hokies can get the ball inside of BC’s 30 yard line, they’re going to be cashing in for at least three points.

The kicking statistics for Boston College read more like a spreadsheet, as they have auditioned four different players for the role throughout the season. Alex Howell and Mike Knoll will likely be called upon this weekend during field goals and extra points, but the Eagles have only attempted seven field goals in eight games this year. Expect one of these three kickers to be lining up a 3-pointer in the final moments that will determine the outcome of this battle. Prediction: Va Tech 16 Bosco 13

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Virginia Tech Hokies 2015 Schedule Preview

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The bizarre 2014 football season is officially in the rearview mirror for Virginia Tech, and they will be focusing all off-season on properly preparing themselves for their season-opening home game, easily the biggest on their 2015 schedule.

The defending National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes will be coming into Blacksburg looking to avenge their only loss in all of 2014. Impressively, the Hokies beat OSU by 14 in the second game of the year before stumbling over themselves against much easier opponents and fishing with a 7-6 record.

While it would be far too bold and daring to predict a victory against Ohio State in Week 1 of the 2015 season, passionate fans are daring to believe. From there, Virginia Tech will have five consecutive entirely winnable games before a matchup down in Miami against the Hurricanes. The Duke Blue Devils will come to Blacksburg the following week, and the squad will finish October with a game at Boston College on Halloween.

All three of these games could be either won or lost, meaning that Virginia Tech’s record heading into November could be as solid as 7-2, or as dismal as 2-7 in a worst-case scenario situation. What is crystal clear is that Frank Beamer and the Hokies will have to improve upon their 93rd overall-ranked offensive output from 2014. Virginia Tech returns nine of their starters on offense, and will benefit from the recruitment of mammoth five-star offensive tackle Austin Clark out of Lexington, Virginia.

The second most challenging game on the schedule will be a trip into the heart of Atlanta to play Georgia Tech on November 12. The schedule finishes with a home game against North Carolina on November 21 and a road trip to Virginia to play the Cavaliers on November 28.

Sep 7 Ohio St. #1

Sep 12 Furman 3:30 pm

Sep 19 @Purdue

Sep 26 @East Carolina

Oct 3 Pittsburgh

Oct 9 NC State

Oct 17 @Miami (Fla.)

Oct 24 Duke

Oct 31 @Boston College

Nov 12 @Georgia Tech #8

Nov 21 North Carolina

Nov 28 @Virginia

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Three Players selected in the 2014 NFL Draft

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The 2013 Virginia Tech football season was at times a source of great pride and joy, and at other times an unstoppable flow of embarrassment and sorrows. An opening weekend loss to Alabama was expected, but home losses to Duke and Maryland most certainly were not. The year ended on a sour note when the Hokies were flattened by the UCLA Bruins in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. Positive thinking fans are counting down the days until the kick of the 2014 campaign, and three players from the 2013 roster are looking forward to a career at the professional level after being selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Cornerback Kyle Fuller dominated the secondary throughout his time in Blacksburg, and he was rewarded for his efforts by the Chicago Bears, who used the number 14 overall selection to bring him aboard. He became the first Virginia Tech player taken the first round since the New York Giants nabbed RB David Wilson with the 32nd pick in 2012, and Fuller joins an illustrious and exclusive list that includes Michael Vick, DeAngelo Hall and Bruce Smith.

Fuller comes from a large and athletic family with a few representatives already in the professional ranks. A better than average showing at the combine included a 1.50 10-yard-split time and a 10’8″ broad jump. 12 repetitions on the bench press at 225 pounds isn’t going to raise eyebrows, but it represents noticeable strength for a position that is focused on quickness and coordination. A stout defensive unit since their Super Bowl days of the mid-1980s, the Chicago Bears defensive line has been in flux over the past few seasons. The silver lining is that uncertainty gives a player like Fuller an opportunity to get on the field quickly and demonstrate his value to the team.

Many fans had a love/hate relationship with quarterback Logan Thomas over the course of his tenure at the helm of the Hokies offense. Experts were all over the place on where the Lynchburg native would land in the professional ranks, and it ended up being the Arizona Cardinals that took him up on his services in the fourth round with the 120th overall selection. Carson Palmer has had an impressive second career since his knee was shattered in the playoffs several years ago, but he is clearly near the end of his productivity window. This should give Thomas a few years to learn the professional offense and continue to grow his physique.

The final Virginia Tech football player taken in the 2014 NFL Draft was cornerback Antone Exum. It is a long shot that Exum will have any type of impact on the Minnesota Vikings this season, but their lack of depth at quarterback will certainly give him a fair opportunity to make some noise. The three players selected in this year’s draft ties for the most since 2010, when a total of five players were selected, including fifth-round pick Kam Chancellor.


Virginia Tech Snags Eight 4-Star Recruits to Fill Key Positions on Big Signing Day

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Virginia Tech Snags Eight 4-Star Recruits to Fill Key Positions on Big Signing Day

The most well-respected college football ranking websites have placed Virginia Tech’s 2014 recruiting class at somewhere in the #20 – #25 range. It includes a total of eight four-star recruits and 14 three-star recruits, highlighted by some of the most coveted players in the great state of Virginia.

Head Coach Frank Beamer obviously knows how to recruit, and the fact that he is a living legend of college football at this point in time certainly doesn’t hurt his chances when he steps in the living room of a blue-chip high school student. Virginia Tech has had success recruiting defensive players throughout the entirety of Beamer’s tenure, but the lack of consistent offensive production in 2013 certainly created a need for some wide receivers and running backs who can make an impact soon.

Enter Shai McKenzie, a 6’0”, 214-pound four-star running back that tore apart defenses in high school in the city of Washington, Pennsylvania. He is joined by fellow four-star recruit Marchand Williams, a hometown kid out of Hampton who is a few inches shorter and has already put an official 4.57 40-Yard dash time on record. Coaches will certainly be working with these two highly-touted running backs, hoping to implement them into a system that is in dire need of weapons that can bring opposing defensive backs and linebackers closer to line of scrimmage, opening up the holes for big passing gains down the sidelines.

Likely snagging his fair share of those passes in upcoming seasons will be wide receiver Cameron Phillips, a Hyattsville, Maryland four-star recruit with a slim 6’0”, 178-pound frame that he is sure to be adding muscle to soon. The Hokies have landed a collection of three-star wide receivers, and it is very likely that one or more will break out of become top-tier pass catchers.

But as is normally the case for Virginia Tech recruiting classes, this one is highlighted by few stud defenders. Savvy fans in Blacksburg are already talking about CJ Reavis, a lightning-quick 6’0” defensive back with a ripped physique and a knack for shutting down receivers of all sizes. The obvious conclusion is that Virginia Tech will have a “Reavis Island” of their own, although it is spelled slightly different than his NFL counterpart.

On top of all these players, the biggest score in this year’s recruiting class for the Hokies was Raymon Minor, an esteemed and coveted four-star recruit out of Richmond who created mismatches for offenses and defenses alike while dominating both sides of the ball at Benedictine High School as an outside linebacker and tight end. It’s unclear exactly how Virginia Tech will use the 6’3”, 215-pounder, but early indications point to him being the linchpin of the linebacking corps for the next handful of seasons. One scout observed that he “comes off the edge like he’s shot out of a cannon,” an image that gives Virginia Tech fans a lot of reasons to be hopeful about this team’s chances in the ACC in the upcoming seasons.