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   Welcome to TSLMail #290 - Friday, August 3, 2007    
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   Tech Sports News

The Hokies and the Preseason Prognosticators
by Chris Coleman,

There are high expectations for Virginia Tech this season. The Hokies were picked by the ACC media to win the conference quite easily back in July. The national media also thinks quite a bit of the Hokies, who are #9 in the recently released USA Today Coaches' Poll. In some ways, expectations are higher this season than ever before.

The Hokies have never been picked to win their conference by the media who cover the teams. Tech has been picked to finish as high as first in the ACC Coastal Division back in 2005, but the media did not pick an overall winner of the conference that year. Before that, the highest Tech has been picked was second. That happened five times in the Big East, including four straight years from 1999-2002.

VT's Preseason Conference
Media Predictions
Year Prediction
1993 6
1994 2
1995 3
1996 3
1997 3
1998 4
1999 2
2000 2
2001 2
2002 2
2003 3
2004 6
2005 1*
2006 2*
* ranking in the Coastal Division,
not the overall conference

The Hokies have a reputation for succeeding as an underdog, and for many years they were able to win a lot of games in the Big East when no one expected them to. They aren't that kind of underdog anymore. In fact, they've taken their place on the national scene of college football.

VT's Preseason National Rankings
Year A.P. Poll Coaches' Poll
1994 22 19
1995 24 NR
1996 16 15
1997 NR 25
1998 NR NR
1999 13 14
2000 11 10
2001 9 9
2002 16 16
2003 9 10
2004 NR NR
2005 8 7
2006 17 16
2007 ? 9

Virginia Tech's preseason rank of #9 is tied for their second highest preseason rank by the Coaches' Poll. The Hokies open the 2001 season at #9 by the Coaches, and they were #7 two years ago in 2005.

In 2000 and 2003, Tech also opened the season in the Top 10 in the Coaches' Poll. Some of those seasons turned out better than others, and one of them wants to be forgotten by pretty much every Hokie fan who witnessed it.

After the Hokies played for the National Championship in 1999, Tech was highly regarded in 2000 with Michael Vick returning. Despite losing most of their defense, they were ranked #10 in the nation to start the season by the Coaches' Poll. That season turned out pretty much as everyone expected. Tech finished second in the Big East to Miami, went to the Gator Bowl, and finished the season #6 in both polls.

In 2001, the Hokies returned almost everybody on defense and still had Andre Davis and Lee Suggs on offense. Expectations were high, and Lee Corso picked them to play for the National Championship. However Suggs blew out his knee in the first game, and as the season moved along, it was apparent that Tech didn't have the offensive production they needed. They went to the Gator Bowl, lost to Florida State, and finished #18 in both polls with an 8-4 record.

In 2003, the Hokies started #9 in the A.P. and #10 in the Coaches'. They moved up to #3 in both polls, but flamed out down the stretch and finished 8-5. The main culprit was a bad defense, a rarity in Blacksburg these days. Tech did not finish in the Top 25 in either poll.

The 2005 season began with Tech ranked #8 in the A.P. and #7 in the Coaches'. The Hokies were expected to win the Coastal Division, which they did. For the most part it was a great season, but Tech dropped games to Miami and Florida State, displaying an offensive ineptness that made many fans grumble. They beat Louisville in the Gator Bowl, and finished #7 in both polls.

The 2007 Hokies have a lot to work with, but they also have a few question marks. Time will tell whether or not they can live up to the expectations. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week

Hokies Ranked Ninth by the Coaches

August 3, 2007
The USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll was released today, and the Hokies find that the pollsters agree with the preseason magazines and other prognosticators. Virginia Tech is ranked ninth by the coaches, marking the third time in the last five years Tech has been ranked in the top ten in the preseason.

Hokies in Unfamiliar Position: The Favorite
August 3, 2007
As the Hokies return to football practice, there is something different in the air. The April 16th shootings are still fresh in many minds, and they'll be talked about before, during, and after the season. But from a strictly-football viewpoint, something else is different, too: Virginia Tech has been picked to win its conference championship for the first time ever, dating back to their entry into the Big East in 1991.

2007 Virginia Tech Football Season Preview: Defensive Backs
August 2, 2007
Virginia Tech has rapidly developed into "DB-U". They have put a lot of defensive backs into the NFL in the last decade, including DeAngelo Hall, Eric Green, Torrian Gray, Cory Bird, Tyronne Drakeford, Garnell Wilds, Ike Charlton, Jimmy Williams and Vincent Fuller. There are more, but you probably don't have half the day to read the entire list.

TSL Audio: The Len Martez Show, 8/1/07
August 2, 2007
Wednesday evening,'s Chris Coleman and Len Martez compared current Hokie players like Xavier Adibi and Branden Ore to NFL players. They also covered recent Tech football recruiting news, and Chris gave his pick for the best conference in college football (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 2.9 MB, 12:04).

Alvarez Still Awaits Official Clearance
August 2, 2007
Though it seems very, very likely that former Hylton (Woodbridge, VA) star Will Alvarez will indeed gain clearance to play at Virginia Tech, the 6-5, 315-pound offensive line prospect continues to wait out an official decision. We caught up with Hylton head coach Lou Sorrentino for the latest in this saga, which could come to an end today or tomorrow.

Football Practice Opens Today
August 2, 2007
The Virginia Tech football team will open practice for the 2007 football season this afternoon at 3:15. As usual, there are major storylines, as well as spots on the depth chart up for grabs. Virginia Tech is coming off a 10-3 season in which they finished second in the ACC Coastal Division. They earned a trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, where they lost to Georgia 31-24. The way the Hokies lost that game left many questions unanswered heading into 2007.

Scheduled Outage for This Afternoon
August 2, 2007 will be down on Thursday, August 2 at approximately 4:30pm. This is a scheduled outage for maintenance. The site is expected to be down for around 30 minutes. Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding.

2007 ACC Football Season Preview: NC State
August 1, 2007
NC State has always been talented, but they had major discipline problems under Chuck Amato. Amato was finally canned following the 2006 season, and he was replaced with Tom O'Brien, a former Marine who had no problems instilling discipline in his teams at Boston College. Because O'Brien is bringing exactly what the NC State team lacked, they could be one of the most improved teams in the ACC this season.

TSL Audio: The Final Round, 7/31/07
August 1, 2007
TSL's Chris Coleman made his first appearance on The Final Round with Wes McElroy on ESPN 840AM in Charlottesville yesterday. Chris will be appearing every week on The Final Round, and in this first installment, Chris and Wes talked about Frank Beamer's stature as head coach in the eyes of Tech fans, Sean Glennon's confidence level heading into 2007, and whether or not the #32 should be honored in Virginia Tech athletics.(WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 2.5 MB, 10:29).

Camp Made the Difference for Stephens
August 1, 2007
Last Monday, Virginia Tech landed a commitment from promising Halifax (South Boston, VA) linebacker prospect Allen Stephens. The 6-1, 240-pound Stephens, who chose the Hokies over West Virginia, reflected on his college decision and discussed his future at Virginia Tech.

More from Roberts' Press Conference
July 31, 2007
It wasn't until this morning that 6-2, 195-pound Smithfield (VA) star athlete Dyrell Roberts knew for sure that Virginia Tech was the school he would choose, but it was almost two months ago when the Tech program really solidified itself as the favorite. Virginia Tech's June 9th camp, Roberts' first ever visit to Blacksburg, was the key part of this recruitment.

2007 Virginia Tech Football Season Preview: Linebackers
July 31, 2007
Linebacker should be one of the top positions for Virginia Tech this season. Rising seniors Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi (right) are legitimate All-American candidates, and senior whip Corey Gordon has the physical ability to be very good. Barring injury, this could be the best position on Tech's team in 2007.

Dyrell Roberts Chooses Virginia Tech
July 31, 2007
At a 1:00 p.m. press conference, Smithfield (VA) star rising senior Dyrell Roberts announced that he has verbally committed to Virginia Tech, choosing the Hokies over Penn State and the University of Virginia. The talented athlete, a versatile performer for Smithfield, becomes Tech's 16th commitment for the 2008 recruiting class.

Manning Announcement Coming Friday
July 31, 2007
Laurinburg (NC) Scotland County linebacker Terrell Manning is ready to announce his college decision. The four-star linebacker has scheduled a press conference for Friday at 1:00 p.m. at Scotland County High School where he will announce his college intentions. Manning informed Pack Pride today that he is officially down to Virginia Tech, Clemson, and NC State.

2007 ACC Football Season Preview: Maryland
July 30, 2007
Maryland went 9-4 last season, but they were the worst 9-4 team you'll see. They only beat William & Mary by 14 and barely topped winless Florida International 14-10. They won five ACC games, all against teams that were noted for either bad coaching or losing games they should win.

Hokie Defense, Part 1: Introduction to the Hokie D
July 30, 2007
For years, subscribers have asked us for a series of articles breaking down the Virginia Tech defense: its philosophy, alignment, position names and responsibilities, schemes and coverages. Raleigh Hokie, a student of the game and our resident in-house expert, checks in with a three-part series on Bud Foster's suffocating defense. Part 1, the introduction, explains the basic philosophy of the defense and identifies positions and alignments. This is one series you don't want to miss, so if you're not on board yet as a TSL subscriber for the 2007 football season, now is the time.

Roberts Set to Announce Decision
July 30, 2007
Smithfield's Dyrell Roberts will announce his college decision at 1:00 tomorrow afternoon. The state of Virginia star, rated the #8 prospect in the state in TSL's Pre-Summer Top 30, will make the announcement at his high school and will choose from Penn State, Virginia Tech and Virginia.

2007 ACC Football Season Preview: Florida State
July 27, 2007
After a disappointing 7-6 season in 2006, Florida State made big changes in the offseason. Offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden resigned, and Bobby Bowden hired LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher to replace him. FSU's offensive line also performed poorly last year, so Rick Trickett was hired away from West Virginia to get the 'Noles back on the right track.
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