Frank Beamer put together a string of eight straight seasons of 10 wins or more as head coach of the Virginia Tech Hokies. 2012 was not one of those seasons as VT struggled to a 6-6 regular season record and just 4-4 in the ACC. Beamer-ball looks to get back on track in 2013 and the Hokies’ defense will be the ones to get them there.
Last season, Virginia Tech ranked as the No. 18 defense in college football and return nine starters from that unit for next season. All four defensive lineman are back, including all-ACC defensive end James Gayle and run-stuffer Derrick Hopkins in the interior. Leading tackler and all-ACC linebacker Jack Tyler is back as well and the secondary remains intact with all four starters returning once Antone Exum returns from injury.
Kyle Fuller, Kyshoen Jarrett, Detrick Bonner and Corey Marshall will also have prominent roles in the defensive rotation and true freshman Kendall Fuller comes to Blacksburg with plenty of expectations. In addition, there are countless resdhirt freshmen who will be clamoring to find a place in the defense for next fall giving the Hokies great depth behind their elite talent.
And they will need to be elite in 2013 to give Virginia Tech a chance to succeed. While Logan Thomas returns at quarterback, there are still questions galore surrounding the Hokies’ offense next season. The offensive coaching staff was wiped out after last season’s struggles and Beamer has brought in Scot Loeffler at offensive coordinator, Jeff Grimes at offensive line and Aaron Moorehead at receivers coach to revamp the offense.
Those new coaches mean new terminology, new plays and growing pains for a Hokies’ offense that wasn’t playing that well to begin with. The offensive line is a concern, the running game lacks a leader and the team needs to find consistent receivers who are willing to block down field.
That’s a lot of questions to answer and it will take time to iron out the kinks. While the Hokies’ offense works it out, their defense will be there holding down the fort as Frank Beamer gets back to his winning ways.