Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Virginia Tech Hokies season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Virginia Tech Hokies
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Virginia Tech Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
Sometimes, when the world gives you a relative break, you have to take it no matter what.
This is hardly a perfect Virginia Tech football team coming into the season.
It loses five key starters off the defense; there isn’t a sure-thing No. 1 receiver to rely on; the linebacking corps only has a handful of players with a few more tackles of college experience than you do; and the running game that’s been mediocre for so long – at least in terms of yards per carry – probably won’t be appreciably better.
But that doesn’t mean the program can shoot for anything less than at least an appearance in the ACC Championship.
Head coach Justin Fuente helped nudge the Hokies back up from okay to well-above-average again over his two seasons at the helm, going 19-8 with a totally acceptable ACC title game loss to Clemson two years ago.
That 2016 team was far better – at least how it looks at the moment – than this 2018 version, and the 2017 team that gave five players to the NFL Draft was stronger than this one, too.
But in a wee bit of a rebuilding season, the Hokies don’t have the luxury to worry about whether or not they might be good enough compared to recent teams. At least, they can’t think about that if they want to take advantage of the biggest possible break of a schedule they’ve had in a long, long time.
The Hokies don’t have to face Clemson in the regular season, and they get the massive showdown against Miami late in the year in Blacksburg. Start from there, and that’s enough good fortune for one season.
Yes, the opener is at Florida State, but that’s a reloading program that has a ton of work to do under Willie Taggart. And best of all, the pressure is off. Everyone will be picking FSU, but the Hokie defense will be more than good enough to keep the Doak Campbell crowd quiet.
After that, there’s Notre Dame at home, Georgia Tech – at some point, Fuente has to figure that team out after two losses in two years – and Boston College, too, and …
That’s about it.
Oh sure, going to Duke and North Carolina will be dangerous, and Pitt on the road won’t be easy, but if Fuente has this program where it needs to be, this is a schedule that should scream 9-1 going into the Miami showdown.
Even with the offseason drama surrounding Josh Jackson and his eligibility, the quarterback situation should be solid – at least that’s the hope.
There’s a good stable of running backs, a whole slew of capable receivers, and enough potential all-stars on the line to be a positive.
The defense might lose the Edmunds brothers – LB Tremaine and S Terrell – to the first round of the draft, and three of the top five tacklers might be done, but there’s a whole lot to like, starting with defensive coordinator Bud Foster back to do what Bud Foster does.
And, of course, it’s Virginia Tech, so the special teams will be terrific.
With that schedule and this team, there’s enough in place for Fuente and his staff to take to Charlotte in early December to – almost certainly – at least get a shot to stare down Clemson.
Even so, this will be the team that no one will pick to do much more than just be very good.
That’s fine. Virginia Tech never seems to have much of a problem proving people wrong.