October 25, 2014

Seldom Used Six Pack: Gobbler Country Provides Insight Into 2011 Hokies

If you’re a Hokie or interested in Virginia Tech, Gobbler Country is a must read.  The main cog in that wheel is furrer4heisman who was raised a Hokie fan despite growing up over 1,000 miles from Blacksburg.  He claims to have taken to blogging in February of 2008 because it was cheaper than therapy. I know exactly where he’s coming from in that realm.

In this Six Pack he provides insight and analysis of the Tigers Bogeyman – The Virginia Tech Hokies.  It’s always refreshing to hear realistic analysis and expectations without bashing the team or individuals on a personal level.   Along the way he tweets about, among other subjects, others tweeting too much.  And I once had a boss who called a meeting to discuss having too many meetings.

This particular Six Pack should not only give Tiger fans insight into the 2011 Hokies, but also inject a sense of reality into expectations for the Tigers this fall.  After all, Virginia Tech is a team with a talented, but unproven starting quarterback and thin lines.  Sound familiar Tiger fans?

SUR:Obviously we need to start with Logan Thomas. He received rave reviews in the spring and while I didn’t see the Tech spring game his stats look a little hit or miss (10/21/2 TD/2 Int). What are the realistic expectations for Thomas this season?

Logan Thomas (Roanoke.com)

Gobbler Country:  Well, hopefully we’ll be way ahead in the second half of most of our games and he’ll be doing a lot of handing the ball off. But regardless, don’t expect him to put up astronomical stats because I don’t think the coaches are going to ask him to. We just need him to manage the game.

My concern with Thomas is turnovers. He’s thrown his share of picks during fall scrimmages and a couple of them have been on under-thrown balls. If he can limit his interceptions like Tyrod Taylor was able to do in his first year as a starter, the Hokies will be OK. If he’s throwing as many interceptions as TDs, then they might get into trouble.

SUR:  The early schedule seems favorable for Thomas gaining experience without too much pressure and then you get Clemson and Miami at home. What’s your crystal ball say in terms of regular season wins?

Gobbler Country: I think we’re looking at 9 or 10 regular season wins. A loss to either Clemson or Miami, a loss to either North Carolina or Georgia Tech and, because it’s what we do, possibly a loss to a team we have no business losing to. At the end of the day, we’re probably look at another 10 win season with a chance to play for the ACC championship.

SUR: Talk about the offensive line, in particular the injury to DeChristopher and what that means and also the offensive line depth in general.

Gobbler Country: DeChristopher should be back by the first game of the season, but what the injury does is disrupt the chemistry and development of the line. That’s important for Tech because in recent years we’ve seen the line struggle mightily in the first couple of weeks of the season steadily improve throughout the season and then then hit the reset button and do it all over again the next year. There’s been no season-to-season progression by the line in recent years, which has been frustrating.

That’s what worries me so much about the injury to DeChristopher. With a new starting quarterback in there, we have to be able to protect him until he’s completely comfortable with the offense. That’s not going to happen if we can’t run the ball and can’t keep him upright.

SUR: The Hokies are replacing both starting defensive ends. Talk about the projected starters at the position and what they bring to the table.

Gobbler Country: The two starters are likely to be sophomores J.R. Collins and James Gayle. If you’d asked me who the star was going to be after last season I would have said Collins, but Gayle has really come on during the spring and fall. He was the defensive MVP during the spring and has continued his strong play in the recent scrimmages. Uses his quickness to get to the quarterback.

SUR: Hazley was money on field goals last year. Who replaces him?

Lane Stadium

Gobbler Country: Beamer cherishes consistency from his kickers so it looks like it will be Cody Journell. Justin Myer, who has been handling kickoffs for a couple of years has a much stronger leg, but doesn’t strike the ball as consistently as Journell. You might see a situation where Journell handles close-range field goals and Myer handles the ones from 40+.

SUR: Your answer to number 2 may have given this away, but are the Hokies a legitimate national title contender in 2011 and why or why not?

Gobbler Country:  They aren’t. They’re depth is too thin on both lines so they’re a key injury away from being in big, big trouble. Then you look at how bad they were against the run on defense and what they have coming back and defensive tackle and you wonder just how much better they can get in that aspect. They’ll be a good team, but they’re not ready for prime time just yet.

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