For the last three seasons Derrick Hopkins, James Gayle, and J.R. Collins have been comfort food for the Virginia Tech football program. Each was leaned upon heavily early in their respective career to contribute significant snaps in lieu of veterans in the two-deep. Now, Foster and Charley Wiles will again try to address questions about depth along the front line. The defensive end position features a group of young, talented, but unproven defensive ends behind returner Dadi Nicolas, and the defensive tackle position is down to three scholarship players for spring practice with Kris Harley's departure from the program and the movement of Wyatt Teller and Alston Smith to offensive line.
Editor's Note: Mark Trible is going to cover recruiting among other subjects for Thekeyplay.com. Mark's a lifelong Tech fan, now sports editor of FauquierNow.com with a weekly column on TheSportsFanJournal.com. Follow his work by liking his Facebook page. -- Joe
It didn't take long for Briar Woods Coach Charlie Pierce to point to junior wide receiver Brandon Polk's most valuable asset.
"He ran a 4.36 40-yard dash at the U.S. Army underclassmen combine," Pierce said. "He's a very dynamic player, very explosive.
"He has the ability to turn any play into a big play."
Polk is one of Virginia Tech's targets in the 2015 recruiting class. Recruited by Aaron Moorehead, the 5-foot-9, 150-pound wideout has also received offers from Stanford and UVa. among others.
The Virginia Tech football program finds itself at a crossroads. For the first time since Tyrod Taylor's senior season, HokieNation is uncertain of the future at the quarterback position. Mark Leal may end up winning the starting job in 2014, but ultimately Scot Loeffler will be measured on his quarterbacks.
Loeffler secured verbal commitments from two highly regarded class of 2014 quarterbacks, Andrew Ford and Chris Durkin. Loeffler also pursued David Cornwell (Alabama) and Jacob Park (Georgia). The first quarterback to sign with Tech was Cedar Cliff High School's (Pennsylvania) Andrew Ford. Ford, is a 6-3,193-pound lefty thrower. He's rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com and a 4-star recruit by 247Sports. He was also selected as an Elite 11 quarterback. As a senior, he was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Pennsylvania.
In the wake of recent events, what with a new AD and the KeyPlay baby showing up yesterday, I thought it would be prudent to rejoin our Hokies in 2036 to check in on the state of the program.
On this warm September day, it is Head Coach Shane Beamer's fifth season in charge and he is yet to fully replicate the success of his predecessors. Head Coach Bud Foster retired after winning his third national championship, and he will be honored at halftime today in the Frank Beamer Terror Dome, a retractable roofed, on campus dome seating 114,000, built with the hundreds of millions of dollars raised by AD Whit Babcock. The dome was named for the two time national champion coach and Frank's only disappointment is that they did not meet his request to accommodate a 1/2 mile race track inside.
The Virginia Tech basketball team lost again. The Hokies' record sunk to 8-10 Wednesday after falling to Wake Forest 77-83. That's the same Wake club that previously dropped 17 league road games in a row. Yes, the Hokies lost in Cassell Coliseum. Yes, they've now lost the last game that they will probably be favored in this year (Tech was a two point favorite). And also, yes, this may signal that it will be tough for Tech to win another game this season.
Piling on is easy at this point, but I just figured we'd start there then move on, because what happened during said loss is what I really want to write about.
The 2014 Virginia Tech football schedule has been released. Thursday night football will once again happen in Blacksburg, and all is right with the world. Spoiler alert, there are two weekday games scheduled in the 'Burg.
Aug. 30: William & Mary — Tech opens with a cupcake. The emphasis is on cake. This is the correct decision as no form of cake can be wrong.
Sept. 6: at Ohio State — Tech will be a decided underdog, but home-and-homes between major programs make college football fun.
The Virginia Tech wrestling team opened the season with seven straight dual meet wins, including a convincing 23-14 win over No. 9 ranked Edinboro. Unfortunately for the Hokies, since then the season hasn't been quite as smooth. Tech lost to 15th ranked Virginia on November 24th, and then while wrestling at the Las Vegas Invitational, Hokies 141 pound wrestler Devin Carter, injured himself during a match (which he finished and still won).
According to WaPo's Mark Giannotto and the Richmond Times-Dispatch Mike Barber, Stacy Searels will be Virginia Tech's next offensive line coach. Searels coached the offensive line at Texas from 2011 through 2013, but was not retained by new Texas coach Charlie Strong.
Searels may seem like an off-the-radar hire, but given Beamer Co.'s working relationship with the previous regime at Texas, and Frank Beamer's friendship with Mack Brown, it makes sense.
In addition to his tenure at Texas, Searels has experience coaching at other major programs (table via texassports.com).
Virginia Tech's running game was maddeningly inconsistent over the course of the 2013 season. Outside of Trey Edmunds' performance against Miami, the Hokies could not establish the power running game especially in the red zone. With only scat backs and players converted from other positions littering the depth chart, Virginia Tech actively recruited several running backs that had the size, strength, and speed to be an every down workhorse back in Blacksburg.
Editor's Note: Bumped to the front because I'm a sucker for numbers. Thanks for writing, Sammy. --Joe
Last week, news broke that Virginia Tech offensive line coach Jeff Grimes would be departing Blacksburg after one season for the same position at LSU. Grimes is originally from Texas, played his college ball at UTEP and this move gets Grimes closer to his Texas roots. However, the cold, hard fact is at the end of the day, Grimes likely left Virginia Tech because LSU made him a far more lucrative offer than the Hokies could.
As Joe pointed out in an earlier post, Grimes is probably in line for a significant pay raise from the Tigers. This has sparked terrific debate and conversation among the Hokie Nation and right here on The Key Play on both coaching salaries and Hokie Club contributions.