And then it was football season.
Florida State launches its 201
Thanks to Matej – you can follow him here – for his time and insights. Below are our questions and answers with Matej on how to move forward on Monday. Enjoy!
Q: From the outside, this was a turbulent off season for Virginia Tech. Can you describe some of the major deviations / injuries, and what was the most important loss? With so much sales, who are a few potential candidates who can boost and do well on Monday?
A: Virginia Tech had its first eventful off-season in a long time. Two players were thrown out of the team, several subclasses declared themselves for the NFL Draft and a few players got injured in the season finale. Most of the wear hurt the defensive side of the ball more than anything else. Former Hokies Senior Cornerback Adonis Alexander was expected to be a starter in the sub-classic, along with the incoming four-star JUCO cornerback Jeremy Webb . Alexander was kicked out of the team and taken in the NFL Supplemental Draft, while Webb ripped his Achilles and will miss the whole year 2018. These two hits were tough, but the departure of Tim Settle to the NFL, as a three-and-done, was a heavy blow to the defensive tackle group.
Some players who could benefit from all the erosion would surely be Cornerback's Bryce Watts and Caleb Farley . Both are the expected starters and fit Virginia Tech's athletic, prototypical defensive baking pan. Both will be tested on Monday by FSU's attack and everyone will find out what the two are about.
Q: What did QB do to Josh Jackson as a freshman and what are realistic expectations for him to get into the second year as a starter?
A: Jackson was very good as a freshman because of his maturity. His physical features do not jump out, but his intelligence of play and decision-making. He limited the sales exceptionally well for a young freshman.
As a Redshirt student, Jackson is expecting much more from both the coaching staff and the fan base. The coaches have opened two-way communication to allow Jackson to contribute to the planning and preparation of games. This is more obvious out of season as the adjustment phase is completed for the first year. The fans want Jackson to continue to slow sales while occasionally making a big game. A classic fan request. Too often Jackson was safe against better quality opponents. His values against high-caliber ACC opponents worsened over the course of the season. He will occasionally have to look for the big-play instead of the check-down.
Q: Bud Foster is considered one of the brightest defensive fighters in college football, but what can he do with this inexperienced unit? Which players are the building blocks for defense and how has Foster uncovered deficits in recent seasons?
A: Foster is a unique coach when it comes to his players in his system. As you mentioned, there is a lot of inexperience, especially with linebacker and secondary. I still expect his game planning to rely heavily on putting the quarterback under pressure and playing a lot of man-to-man defense to the outside. It takes a great deal of skill to execute the way Foster is defending, but he will still try to force opponents to make bad decisions by speeding up every game. I expect a bit more emphasis from secondary school this season to cover up some of the flaws there with the Whip Linebacker, who plays more than one nickel corner as an outside linebacker.
DT Ricky Walker, MLB Rayshard Ashby and Rover (Strong Security) Reggie Floyd are the three main components of the defense. Walker is the "cowbell" and offers an inner pass-rushing presence and remains very solid in run-blocking tasks. Ashby is the new kid on the block in the middle linebacker, but apparently took on the responsibility of defensive play calls and audible like a sponge. Floyd is the only returning starter to a technically 5-man defensive backfield (Virginia Tech's defense is pictured as 4-3-3, but works more than 4-2-5). He is the hype-man for secondary education and plays a big role in the running game.
Q: What are the basics of the Virginia Tech offensive? Visually, what will Justin Fuente's offensive look like and what has he traditionally done well?
A: Virginia Tech loves pulling up the field in small pieces, catching the opposition unprepared and disguising their planned runs. The Hokies will play 6-8 wide receivers, constantly pouncing on the Scrimmages line before adjusting the games and doing a lot of pre-snap moves to confuse the defense. Although he moves very fast, Justin Fuente is proud to have controlled the majority of the position. It is a splayed offensive that will try to establish the run first and take deep shots second.
Fuente has always been able to make his quarterbacks productive, and that is his greatest strength. He uses the quarterback run game and sets up the offensive to bring the receiver to the ball without forcing his quarterback to force the field. Playing in a spread gives his quarterbacks a lot of reading, and for the most part, the quarterbacks of Fuente know where to go with the ball.
Q: We can not do Q & A without prediction. So, how do you think Monday will break out?
A: First of all, Monday will be my first time traveling to Doak Campbell Stadium and I have to say – I can not wait to see the Tomahawk Chop in person.
Regarding Virginia Tech Football, I would say that many fans are cautiously optimistic about the Hokies' chances. There is probably no better time to compete against Florida State than in the first week when the Seminoles tear down their head coach with a new offensive and a new defense. There are a lot of questions about FSU, but just as many about Virginia Tech. I have a lot of questions about the staff for the Hokies and how well the Seven will interfere with the defense. I think a new linebacker Corps and Secondary is a very tough job pulling Deondre Francois and Cam Akers & Company – on the road. Ultimately, I think the Hokies are doing enough to stay in the game, but I see Florida State's talent masking some of these inefficiencies and getting the win in the second half. I do not see that this is a barn burner, but I think both defenses leave some games on the field. FSU 34 VT 24.