Football -- Offense Depth Chart Predictions
In the spirit of me missing my beloved Hokies, I've decided upon a more appropriate color set for this page. So what about Hokie Football? I've written a PREDICTION DEPTH CHART for this season, and yes, I'm in dire need of some kind of American Football! For those who want to read this but don't know much about football, a depth chart is just the listing of who will start at every position and backup each position as well. Since this is just a prediction and not at all in relation to what the coaches might end up deciding, you should just take this information as a well-educated guess. And yes, I'll shut the fuck up now and get on with it.
In 2014, I did not expect to see Tyrod Taylor play at all. I think it's important for people to understand one thing. In hindsight, I do not feel the coaching staff was ever interested in truly redshirting Tyrod Taylor. In my opinion, Frank Beamer and his coaching staff are promising players playing time during the recruiting process. This isn't against the rules or anything. But it's still a bit of a slap in the face to the players who are already playing.
Now, we don't offer promises to just any old recruit. So far, I think we've only done this to two players, another whom I will mention later. The reality here is that Tyrod in 2014 was the future at QB and a long-term investment. In order to make the most of that investment, the coaching staff did what was most beneficial to that investment: they put him in the starting lineup and threw caution to the wind. So with the conclusion of the 2014 season, where does this leave us with Tyrod Taylor?
Well keep in mind, Sean Glennon was in his redshirt junior season last year, that's his 4th year of college football. He had learned the system, knew the playbook, practiced countless times with all four of our receivers and knew the offensive gameplans from top to bottom. While Tyrod Taylor enrolled at Virginia Tech and began practicing with the team in mid-July 2014 and saw the field by September. That's two months to learn a new system, new plays and maybe do a little bit of working out with the team. AND Tyrod Taylor saw a ton of playing time as a true freshman, something that hasn't been done at Tech in like two decades at least. Obviously, by the time the 2014 season begins, Tyrod will have been here about 14 months with all the development, growth, maturity and strength that comes with that time. Sean Glennon came back (he was considering entering the NFL Draft) only because he knew he would not get drafted and he is a team player through and through. Therefore!.....
Tyrod Taylor is our starter for 2014. Glennon will NOT split time.
FUN FACT: Virginia Tech has many former quarterback recruits in different/new positions this year. WRs Corey Holt and Ike Whitaker, FS Kam Chancellor, TE Greg Boone and in their latest recruiting class, there are at least 3 more players who played QB in high school who may not play the QB position while at Tech.
I was once a huge Branden Ore fan. I thought he had great burst, strength, above average speed, great blocker, good hands, etc. Well in 2014, that all changed. He was never the same. What gives, you may be wondering... Well, I don't know how to say this. In my humble, slightly well-informed opinion, Branden Ore was and still may be addicted to crack. Look, sounds crazy, but you'll just take have to take my word for it. Feel free to Google some news about what's been going on with him. But enough about Ore, he's in the past. Let's talk about 2014.
As you can see, there is a new name in the number 1 position. A player by the name Ryan Williams. RW is a highly-recruited, top notch RB recruit. The Hokies have not seen this kind of talent in a RB since Kevin Jones. Previously, I mentioned that I felt the coaching staff had begun making promises to kids. RW is another example of this. I feel that we only signed (slang for the process of enrolling a recruit) RW because we promised him playing time. Now, trust me, Beamer is not the kind of guy to broadcast information like this, I am relying strictly on intuition. But RW will enroll this summer and I can guarantee you, by game 6, he will be our starter. He may not be in on 3rd down, and we'll use an intelligent blocker like KLJ to pick up the blitzes, but RW is hands-down the best running talent this team will have had in years.
There is a bounty of depth at the RB position. 3a and 3b, Evans and Oglesby respectively, are great, young running backs. Even without RW, I figured they'd be big-time players. I still think they might have a chance this year, but it's just tough to fight through the depth chart and prove to the coaches you're worthy when you have so many great players at one position. Regardless....
KLJ will begin the season as the starter, RW will be the starter by midseason.
FUN FACT: RB Darren Evans scored an Indiana state record 61 TDs in 2014 during his senior HS year. He was also the 2014 EA Sports Player of the Year, which is a bigger deal than even what it sounds like. Keep an eye on him, he could see the field as well and is a total monster at this position.
Not that you care, but I gotta give the man his due...
Kenny Jefferson is that man.
Sorry, I don't know anything cool about our fullbacks. But if you do see #44, he's a FB. He's probably about 5'7" and could bench press your girlfriend 42 times.
What a tough WR class to
replace. I've been dreading this ever since I realized all these guys were
in the same class a few years ago. I'm going to tell you right now, the
Hokies will struggle badly at the WR position this upcoming year.
Experience is everything here. Knowing how to improvise especially, since
Tyrod Taylor will be running out of the pocket and extending the play
beyond the route a WR would run. This is just something I feel can't
really be coached. The quick-thinking and reacting, etc. I think the only
way we will even have moderate success is if we are able to really really
really run the ball well. Otherwise, forget it. Each player complimented
each other so well. Royal had the great speed. Morgan was a physical
specimen with strength and athleticism. Harper was almost as fast as Royal
and almost as athletic as Morgan. Hyman had an amazing beard... What I'm
getting at here is that all four of these guys might get drafted, at least
3 I think.
On the bright side, the glaring weakness at this position has pushed the coaching staff in a new direction. On occasion, we gave DeAngelo Hall a chance on offense a few years back, nothing serious and he was mainly used as a decoy. I know this because I was still going here when he did. Macho Harris will receive this same treatment. But, I feel that Macho will be given a larger opportunity. Macho has the best hands, best body control and the most athletic skills of anyone on the team. I couldn't say any of that about DeAngelo, even though he had amazing speed. Macho will probably get about 15-20 snaps a game at the maximum, but that's still enough to draw double coverage while attracting attention away from our young guys, giving them a chance to go up and get the ball.
Nonetheless, the two main starting wide receivers will be Brandon Dillard and Zach Luckett.
FUN FACT: No Virginia Tech WR has ever recorded a 1,000 yard season. In 1999, Andre Davis came close with 962 yards. And sadly, I knew exactly how many yards he made. I know, it's cool. Judge me as you see necessary.
This is not at all a knock on Sam "18"-Wheeler. He is the best pure TE on the team. But, with the lack of depth at WR, we need the more athletic, "upside" player starting. For those of you who didn't know. Greg Boone used to be our #3 or #4 QB. He was a big guy then too, but he could move very well regardless. With about a year and a half under his belt at the position, while having due time to adjust his body completely to the new position, I think Boone is going to be an absolute monster. Wheeler is likely still the better blocker, but he's out due to an injury right now and it'll take him time to get readjusted. As I've already mention, because of the youth at WR, I think we will put a larger emphasis on creating opportunities to get the ball in Boone's and Wheeler's hands. VT hasn't utilized the TE position all that well since Jeff King graduated two years ago, but I see this year being much, much different.
Because of Wheeler's missed time, I'm going to give the starting nod to Boone who has gained strength and will be one year better.
FUN FACT: Sam Wheeler went to high school in Blacksburg!
Duane Brown was a great LT for Virginia Tech and in proper tradition, his career path is the same as his replacements. Brown was a converted TE and moved to RT. Then, after Brandon Frye was drafted by the Houston Texans last year, Brown moved to LT. In this same mold, Ed Wang came to Tech a TE, played RT last year and will now play LT. Blake DeChristopher, same thing. TE, RT and heir-apparent to LT.
The important thing for this line is that the interior (LG, C, RG) is the same. I'm not sure if everybody knows it but on most plays, the inner 3 guys usually delegate a few things. Depending upon way too many variables I could explain or know, the Center will delegate who blocks who and who will remain free to pick up a linebacker blitz OR who to help for a double team. If that makes any sense to you, you probably realize how important that is in regard to the line consistently being able to protect the QB. Considering that these three guys in the middle are all the same as last year, I expect big things from the O-Line come next season. There is also considerable depth at all of these positions, the likes of which VT hasn't had the luxury in quite some time. Expect to see players rotate to stay fresh this year, something I haven't seen VT do in a number of years at least. Anywho...
LT Wang, LG Marshman, C Shuman, RG Render, RT BDC
FUN FACT: Ed Wang is Asian which is rare for football, I don't even know of another one in all of college football or the NFL. Not to be racist obviously, but c'mon, not a lot of Asians playing football. He also has a younger brother named David who will be enrolling at Virginia Tech in 2014 at the defensive tackle position.
In a few days, I will post this same sort of update for the defense. The defense is going to look very new but there are a lot of young guys that you may not know about who are going to be just as good, if not better than our squad last year.