HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY HOKIES

It doesn't matter if you're celebrating the Halmark holiday (and I hope MRSTKP doesn't read that) or singles awareness day, you can have some fun. To show how much we love you all for reading us and being part of our community, here are some Valentines from us to you.

Hokie Tracks are Trotting Around the ACC

Waiting on you Florida State. The 'Noles are still trying to fill the vacant spot on their schedule left by West Virginia. The Cousins paid three-fifty large to back out of their trip to Tallahassee because they didn't want to play a challenging non-conference game in addition to nine Big 12 league games. It's assumed that once FSU finds their replacement the ACC will release the schedule. However, there's the slim possibility Syracuse and/or Pitt pony up $20M and make a last second attempt to leave the Big East for the ACC in 2012. That could delay the schedule more.

Miami Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (13-10, 2-6 ACC) @ Miami Hurricanes (14-7, 5-3 ACC)

When: Thursday, February 9 @ 9:00 p.m.

TV: ESPN2 (Mike Patrick, Len Elmore, Jeannine Edwards)

Where: BankUnited Center (7,000), Coral Gables, FL

Halfway through the ACC slate, the Hokies head to Miami for a showdown with the red-hot Hurricanes. Obviously, Tech had a tough first 8 games in conference, but the Hokies have a chance to move up the standings with some critical contests starting tonight in Coral Gables.

Tech got its second conference win of the year over Clemson on Saturday, holding on for dear life in the final minute for a 67-65 win. Doe-Doe finally broke out of his slump with a 12-point performance, his best since the end of December. Tech is now a perfect 8-0 in games where Finney-Smith reaches double digits, but the Hokies are 1-8 when he makes 0 or 1 shots in a game. Sadly, there's been more games where Finney has been held without a made shot than when he's reached double figures. Yes, he's just a freshman, but the Hokies are in dire need of secondary scoring. Erick Green will get his 12-19 per game, but the rest is really a question mark. Will Davila show up? Will Eddie hit his 3's? It's all question marks outside of Green. That alone is why Tech has struggled in late-game situations. There's only one option to shoot and the defense knows it.

Animal Champion Warrior Legend.

Watch these.

Every time I read or listen to Daniel Rodriguez's story, whether it's by Dan Rather, himself or someone else, I'm left speechless.

In high school my teammates and I used to call ourselves Animal Champion Warrior Legends. I'm still not sure how to exactly define that phrase. At the time we thought it was a fitting description for a focused team of undersized kids who trained year-round at all hours of the day to win a state championship.

As I've gotten older, and learned more about the world and some of the extraordinary people in it, that phrase pops into my head when no other combination of words will do. For me, it's begun to define winners in life, rather than just those on the field. Daniel Rodriguez is a decorated war hero with more Bronze Stars than Rivals' stars who's also trying to live a dream and play football. He is an ACWL.

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Hokie Tracks are Switching Positions

BeamerBall.com announced Duan Perez-Means is switching positions from defensive end to tight end. Not including the Sugar Bowl he played just 50 snaps at end and had 8 total tackles (6 assisted, 2 solo). I thought he played well enough when he got on the field, but there's a logjam at end. Both 2011 starters, James Gayle and J.R. Collins, return this season. Zack McCray, Tyrel Wilson and possibly Corey Marshall will compete for a spot on the two-deep. The move was at Duan's request, unlike the coaches asking Chris Drager to switch last season. He played tight end in high school, and got some work on the scout team last season. Based on how much they played in 2011, Eric Martin and George George look to be the top two tight ends heading into spring. Randall Dunn, Ryan Malleck and now Perez-Means will push them for playing time.

#ALLDANNYCOALEEVERYTHING

So yeah, how much are we going to miss Coale?

Looking on to 2012, Defense Set to Dominate

There's nothing that can be done about Coale's reversed catch (I will go to my grave knowing it was a catch). Virginia Tech missed another opportunity to win a big non-conference game . Even so, last season has a lot of positives to build on starting with the defense that performed well all year despite numerous injuries and dominated Michigan in the Sugar Bowl.

Return of the Lunch Pail Defense

In 2010, the defense benefitted from 32 turnovers (8th nationally) which helped hide the flaws of a D that ranked just 52nd nationally. An elite defense doesn't depend on turnovers. The Hokies needed to do better. The return of a top defense would be the key to a successful 2011. Foster's gang responded and delivered another top ten D. Next year's team has the potential to improve on that.

James Gayle is hungry.

A look into a few defensive categories and how the 2011 VT defense ranked nationally:

Introducing the Virginia Tech Class of 2016

National Signing Day has come and gone. Despite Jawand Blue accepting Miami's last minute scholarship offer, and Korren Kirven deciding to head to Tuscaloosa, a place where he'll be able to achieve his goals, the Hokies closed strong, something the coaching staff struggled to do in previous years. They inked a class of 28 players including seven All-Americans (most since '07).

Ken Ekanem, after announcing he'd sign with Virginia Tech (via). There might be a four-spot on defense and offense these next few seasons.

Scoring output worst of Seth Greenberg era

I've been pondering our offensive woes this season, and wanted to compare this season's scoring to past seasons under Seth Greenberg.  While some of the numbers aren't drastically different, so far this season is the worst overall - I'm sure you're shocked.

In the below spreadsheet I listed the past 9 seasons and included team scoring, our 4 leading scorers each season, their contributions to scoring, and the percentages of their contributions against the team total.  I also included the final four teams from the last 3 seasons as a comparison.

No. 7 Duke "Preview"

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (12-9, 1-5 ACC) vs Duke Blue Devilss (18-3, 5-1 ACC)

When: Thursday, February 2 @ 7:00 p.m.

TV: ESPN (Mike Patrick, Len Elmore, Jeannine Edwards)

Where: Cassell Coliseum (9.847), Blacksburg, VA

Thanks to some technical difficulties on my end, my previously-written Duke preview disappeared last night. So, in lieu of a typical preview for this game, I'm using this space as a place for us fans to gather and talk about this team. After this weekend, we'll be halfway through the ACC slate, and Tech could be 3-5 and on the upswing or sadly, as bad as 1-7 and talking about whether the NIT is even a possibility at this point.

This is a defining weekend for our basketball team. And it all starts with the team that we earned our defining moment against last year. Our guys came out and showed just how well they could be if everything went right. Duke provided us with what is possibly the best day in the history of Virginia Tech basketball. Sure, it's a bit different this year with College Gameday not being in town, but this still could be a shining moment against an otherwise bleak backdrop.

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