In what has become a bit of an early August tradition, Athlon Sports spoke directly with from coaching staffs from the ACC, as they put it, "in order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2014".
Very few coaches will give an honest assessment of their own team, let alone another one on the schedule.
In reality, the coaches Athlon spoke with about Virginia Tech don't have opinions that different from the rest of Hokie Nation. What surprised me the most, no coach was critical of Virginia Tech's uncharacteristically underperforming return, coverage, and field goal units. Perhaps that's a nod of respect to Frank Beamer, one of the most well thought of coaches in the game.
It was transparent that Logan Thomas wasn't consistent, and consistent play from the quarterback is what could turn the offense around in a hurry.
"Logan Thomas was erratic."
"The key to greatness for any quarterback, collegiately and in the NFL, what you are looking for is consistency. The greats aren't running fast or electric all the time, but they are so consistent. Virginia Tech just hasn't had that at quarterback, though Logan's receivers didn't exactly help him all the time. They had a good bit of drops from what I understand."
"Thomas was not consistently performing at a level where he's dangerous all the time, and that's what they'll need from the new guy, whoever it is."
ACC coaches are skeptical of Virginia Tech's offense.
"I don't know what their identity is offensively, and I don't know that they do."
"I can't name a lot of guys on offense that really scare you."
French, Mason, and I have written at length that we don't fully know what a "Scot Loeffer" offense is, because last season was a bit of an anomaly. The lack of a running game, reliable vertical threat, and loss of Ryan Malleck before the season forced Loeffler to vary his scheme week to week, and rely heavily on Thomas to establish a ground game. Above all else, I think Loeffler wants to be balanced between the run and pass, and the output in the Miami game is the best example of that.
I was encouraged to see Carlis Parker at the top of the initial depth chart at split end. Parker is a speedy, tall, playmaker. Loeffler has proven capable of creating mismatches against defenses, but Tech needs playmakers on offense to take advantage of them. That was lacking last season. Parker grasping the nuances of receiver and pushing his way up the depth chart is a sign the offense is coming along. Tech needs its young skill guys to step up.
Finally, it appears that coaches throughout the ACC subscribe to the "In Foster We Trust" ideology.
"They suffered losses in the defensive front, but the defense is terrific."
And let's poke our heads in and take a gander about what a coach thinks about Virginia.
"I dont see them being much better."