Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Virginia Democrat College Football Preview - Virginia Tech vs. Alabama - 9/5/2009

Thanks to aznew for setting up as guest blogger here at The Virginia Democrat. Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, it's great for all residents in the Commonwealth of Virginia to see one of our major college football teams (and the Hokie Guru is never talking about the Wahoos when he refers to football) get up on the national stage. Virginia Tech is one of only three teams (elite company) to win ten games in each of the last five seasons (clearly, the Hokies are becoming a national power). On Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 8 PM EST on ABC Television, your Virginia Tech Hokies take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game. A very important game for both ranked teams; lose this game and you are out of the national championship.

Game day is only six days away :)

Let's get fired up a little:

And if you're not fired up yet, maybe this will do it.

The Hokie Guru makes no bones about it... he's a Hokie homer... plain and simple (so there will only be a sliver of objectivity). This year is the 10-year anniversary of the Hokies run to the first national title game. The Newport News Daily Press did a retrospective on the 1999 team (you can find that here).

Let's preview the matchups... here, the Hokie Guru will address which team has the advangage on offense, defense, special teams, and coaching.


  • Quarterback - Starting at quarterback for the Virginia Tech Hokies will be Tyrod Taylor. Coming out of Hampton, Taylor was a five-star Rivals quarterback. He was one of the most highly recruited quarterbacks in the nation. Taylor is 11-2 as a starter and is fourth all-time among Virginia Tech quarterbacks in rushing yards. This summer, Taylor went to the Manning Passing Academy to improve his game. In short, he is ready to lead this team. For Alabama, first year junior quarterback, Greg McElroy's long wait is over and he finally gets to start. McElroy has thrown 20 passes in three years at Alabama. The Hokie Guru likes those odds against a Bud Foster Virginia Tech defense. ADVANGAGE: VIRGINIA TECH

  • Running back - Virginia Tech was all ready to go this year at running back with one of the biggest studs in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Darren Evans... that is until he tore his ACL. Evans is out for the year. Virginia Tech will likely go with a running back by committe approach, although it appears that Ryan Williams will be the starter. Alabama will use the same running back by committee approach. ADVANTAGE: EVEN

  • Receivers/Tight End - Well, here's the big question... have the Virginia Tech receivers improved? Last season, a Hokies receiver did not catch a touchdown pass until November 29, 2008 (the last game of the season... against hated rival, Virginia.... Jarret Boykin was the receipient of two touchdowns). The Hokies' receivers sound like they are doing well in practice and the scrimmages, but everyone does well there. The Hokies know what they are getting in tight end, Greg Boone. He's first team all-Atlantic Coast Conference. For Alabama, there's no mystery... the Crimson Tide have a big stud in Julio Jones... one of the top receivers in the nation... a nightmare for any cornerback. ADVANTAGE: ALABAMA

  • Offensive Line - Virginia Tech returns four starters on the offensive line. This is arguably the most expereinced offensive line to play for the Hokies. Two Hokies, Sergio Render and Ed Wang, could find themselves on NFL rosters next year (Message to Dan Snyder... make sure you take Sergio Render in the draft). ADVANTAGE: VIRGINIA TECH

  • Offensive Coaching - For three years, The Hokie Guru and his team of admins and contributors have buried this topic to death right here (you should read the blog... it's a great blog... thanks for the opportuniy to plug, aznew lol). No team in the country has done more (e.g. win more) with less on offense than Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech has the worst offensive coordinator in the country. ADVANTAGE: ALABAMA.

For now, the overall offensive advantage goes to Alabama because the Hokie Guru isn't sold on Stiney's improvement and the Hokie Guru's been too fired up to fall flat. Just call it cautious optimism.


  • Secondary - Virginia Tech has third team All-American, Stephen Virgil, as the boundary cornerback. That's the guy that generally covers the opposing team's best receiver. Another Hokie to watch here is the general of the defense (a third-team All-American in some publications), Kam Chancellor. CFN rates the Hokies secondary one point higher than the Crimson Tide secondary. SLIGHT ADVANTAGE: VIRGINIA TECH.

  • Linebackers - Virginia Tech will have a bunch of new starters at the linebacker position this year. The Hokie Guru does have concerns about this. Alabama, on the other hand, is loaded. ADVANTAGE: ALABAMA.

  • Defensive Line: Clearly, Terrence "Mount Cody" Cody is the biggest mofo that the Hokies will face all year (CFN thinks he should already be in the NFL). Running on Alabama is going to be, ahem, a challenge. The same, however, can be said for Virginia Tech. Jason Worilds is going to be a big-time playa. Each team has a killer defensive line. ADVANTAGE: EVEN

  • Defensive Coaching - Bud Foster is one of the nation's best defensive coaches. Many of us Hokies DISAGREE with Jim Weaver's decision not to set up old Bud with a head coach in waiting agreement. For Alabama, defensive coordinator, Kirby Smart, well, isn't too shabby either. ADVANTAGE: EVEN TO LEAN SLIGHT ADVANTAGE ALABAMA


Special Teams

  • No team has excelled more at special teams in the last decade than Virginia Tech (there is so much importance placed on special teams at Virginia Tech, that they are coached by Frank Beamer). Frank Beamer says that this year's team could be his best special teams unit ever!! And here, we're talking about blocked kicks and what happens after the blocked. Here's an example of what can happen (ADVANTAGE: VIRGINIA TECH):

Head Coaching

  • Frank Beamer - The man... the guy who has transformed the Hokies into a national power... active head coach with the third most wins... would have been tempting to fire him after a couple of bad seasons... credit Virginia Tech for not pulling the trigger. He's the same steady guy he's been for several years.

  • Nick Saban - The new Frank Beamer? It appears Alabama wants to keep him in Tuscaloosa for many years to come. An incredible recruiter; the man's had Rivals' top recruiting classes in 2008 and 2009 and might have the best in 2010.


  • Is the team chemistry the best ever in Blacksburg? We know what a few cancers can do to a team.



  • Offensive touchdowns are going to be hard to come by in this game. Everyone knows this. The defenses will reign supreme. This will be one of the most physical games that Virginia Tech plays all year. Coaching adjustments will be made at numerous times throughout this game by both teams. Scores will come on defensive touchdowns (or will be produced as a result of big defensive play and a short field for the offense). Virginia Tech wins 20-17 in overtime... Virginia Tech is due for a big win on the national stage. Will we have another "Miracle in Morgantown?" (hat tip - Fight for Old DC)

GO HOKIES!!!! :)

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