CFB: Top 25 Countdown: No. 11 Virginia Tech
By Randall Perry
No. 11 Virginia Tech
Coach: Frank Beamer
Record at school: 177-89-2 at Virginia Tech, 22 years; 219-112-4 in 28 years overall
Last season: 10-4, 5-3 Atlantic Coast
Bowl game: Beat Cincinnati 20-7 in the Orange Bowl
Overview: Frank Beamer is one of the warhorse coaches in college football. Known for its fierce special-teams play, Virginia Tech also produces quality players year after year. The Hokies should have one of the best defenses in the country. However, they suffered a devastating injury when sophomore running back Darren Evans tore knee ligaments in his left knee in preseason practice.
Key returnees: OG Sergio Render, Sr.; DE Jason Worilds, Jr.; LB Cody Grimm, Sr.; CB Stephan Virgil, Sr.
Why Virginia Tech is dangerous: It all starts with defense for the Hokies. Last season they were seventh in the country in total defense, ninth in scoring defense, 14th in rushing defense and 16th in passing defense. End Jason Worilds had eight sacks and cornerback Stephan Virgil had six interceptions.
Why Virginia Tech is vulnerable: If the Hokies want to play in the BCS Championship Game, they must improve their passing game. Although quarterback Tyrod Taylor passed for 1,036 yards, Tech was 11th in the ACC in passing offense and total offense. Taylor often held onto the ball too long as the Hokies were 111th in the country in sacks allowed. Darren Evans rushed for 1,265 yards as a freshman, but will miss the season because of a knee injury. His expected replacement, sophomore Josh Oglesby, had 88 yards rushing last season.
Prediction: Virginia Tech opens the season against Alabama in Atlanta. The Hokies also have back-to-back home games with Nebraska and Miami in September. A road game at Georgia Tech also bears watching. If the Hokies exit September unscathed, they could end up playing for the BCS championship.