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   Welcome to TSLMail #333- Friday, June 6, 2008    
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   Tech Sports News

Tech OL One of the Best in the ACC, Relatively Speaking
by Chris Coleman,

Would you believe it if I told you that Virginia Tech's offensive line has a chance to be the best in the ACC in 2008? I would not have believed it either, until I researched each team to see what everybody has coming back. Curt Newsome's unit is one of just three teams in the conference to bring back four starters, and if they can avoid injuries and block like they did down the stretch in 2007, they could potentially outplay any other line in the ACC.

Before we take a deeper look at what each team has coming back in the starting lineup, check out the following table for the overall numbers.

Returning OL Starters
Team Number

Virginia Tech


North Carolina






Boston College


Georgia Tech


Wake Forest




Florida State






NC State


Virginia Tech lost Duane Brown to the NFL, but they do return the other four starters. Right guard Sergio Render should be the anchor this year. Most importantly, Tech has two backups with starting experience in Richard Graham and Beau Warren. It's doubtful that the Hokies will be dominant up front this year, but if you'll keep reading, you'll see that most of the rest of the ACC is in much worse shape up front.

North Carolina returns all starting guards and tackles. They are a very experienced unit. To really improve however, they are going to have to get more physical. UNC's running game was virtually non-existent last year. This line should be solid, but I don't see them as the physical, road grading type. Most of UNC's offense will come through the air.

Maryland could end up with the best line in the conference after returning three full-time starters and a part-time starter. However, are we going to be able to tell? The Terps lost their top two backs, as well as top lineman Andrew Crummey. When Crummey went out with an injury last year, the Terp OL looked pretty inept.

Duke returns three starters up front, including both offensive tackles. However, most of the talent up front for the Blue Devils are more along the lines of 1-AA players. They can bring back as many as they want, but they aren't going to be able to consistently block ACC defenses. They need an influx of talent to be competitive.

Boston College returns three starters up front. They did lose the entire left side of their offensive line, including First Round NFL Draft pick Gosder Cherilus. The Eagles were good in pass protection last year, but they weren't exactly a dominant drive blocking team. They are a much more finesse team than they used to be. This line should be solid, but if they didn't dominate with Cherilus, they aren't going to dominante without him.

Georgia Tech returns three solid starters up front, but they are going to be playing in a whole new system of football. Will they be able to make the transition? Probably not well enough to be the best line in the ACC.

Wake Forest returns three starters up front. They did lose the ACC's best center in Steve Justice. The Demon Deacons should be one of the top three or four lines in the ACC, but how much of that is due to their system and how much is due to talent? Wake has trouble blocking teams with a lot of talent up front like Virginia Tech and Clemson, which leads me to believe that a lot of their success up front comes from their system. Tailback Josh Adams will also help this line look better than they are.

Clemson returns two starters up front, but just one of them is a full-time starter. The Tigers have had a lot of offensive line turnover over the last couple of years. They've lost three or four starting linemen in each of the last two offseasons, the number varying depending on if you count part-time starters as well. Their new line did not impress this past spring. Clemson is the preseason pick to win the ACC, but their offensive line will be their weak spot.

Florida State's offensive line has been in worse shape than Virginia Tech's recently. I'm not sure how much better it can get in 2008. FSU lost three seniors, and projected starting tackle Daron Rose is ineligible this year due to academics. Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon are very good sophomores, but you need more than two linemen, and it doesn't look like the 'Noles have enough. They'll be especially thin if there are any injuries.

Miami is in the same boat as FSU. Their offensive line was pretty bad to begin with, but they also lost both starting guards and their starting center. They do return left tackle Jason Fox, the best lineman on the team, but the Hurricanes are still in rebuild mode up front. It doesn't look like they have the talent to reload.

Virginia also lost their starting center and both guards. Left guard Branden Albert left after his junior year, and he was a first round pick. Left tackle Eugene Monroe will have to anchor the line, but the loss of Albert is an absolutely huge loss for the Hoos. He brought a physical nature that you don't see often up front for UVA.

NC State returns just two starters, and neither player started every single game last year. Still, all Tom O'Brien teams are well-coached, and the Wolfpack will probably get the best out of this unit.

I'm not saying that Virginia Tech will have the best offensive line in the ACC. However, do you see anyone else in the conference that will without a doubt put a better offensive line on the field this year than the Hokies? I don't. I don't see that many teams in the league with what I'd call an above average offensive line. I think Tech has a chance to be the best by default. 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
Friday Football Q&A: June 6, 2008
June 6, 2008
We are back with another session of Friday Q&A! This week, Raleigh Hokie talks about Georgia Tech's new option attack, as well as Virginia Tech and the toss sweep. Chris Coleman talks about the chances of true freshmen earning playing time at wide receiver this season.

Edwards Brothers to Begin Camp Tour at VT
June 6, 2008
Marlboro County (Bennettsville, S.C.) standout rising seniors Tariq and Tyrell Edwards will begin their summer camp stops this weekend, when they plan to head to Blacksburg for Virginia Tech's first summer camp. The brothers both have received Division 1A offers, but as of yet nothing has come from the Hokies.

VT Offers Foxx
June 5, 2008
Virginia Tech is one of the latest Division 1A programs to extend an official scholarship offer to 6-4, 220-pound Victory Christian Center (Charlotte, N.C.) defensive end Justin Foxx, who is now up to eight scholarship offers with more possibly on the way very soon. The interest is reciprocated, as Foxx is interested in making a visit to Blacksburg.

Revisiting the 1996 Recruiting Class
June 5, 2008
My little project for this week has been entering the profiles of Tech's 1996 recruiting class into our database. This class was an interesting mix of guys, and there are enough good story lines to warrant a short write up. There are trends, interesting facts, and what ifs, just like with any recruiting class. A few things stand out that make the 1996 class particularly eye catching.

The Latest on Antone Exum
June 5, 2008
With recent offers from Colorado and South Carolina in the fold, Deep Run (Glen Allen, VA) star defensive back/wide receiver Antone Exum heads into the summer time holding double-digit scholarship offers. The 6-0, 210-pound rising senior is currently focused on finishing out the school year and continuing his play on the AAU basketball circuit, but recruiting could come to forefront very soon.

TSL's Pre-Summer Top 30
June 4, 2008
The 2009 class has to be one of the deepest in-state classes in recent memory. Heading into the summer, over 50 rising seniors already boast at least one Division 1A scholarship offer. Over 40 boast multiple Division 1A offers. The talent is deep in the Commonwealth this year, headlined by a number of top quarterbacks and a number of top defensive linemen.

Georgia Tech Kickoff Time Announced
June 3, 2008
Since this morning's news and notes on the Furman game time, Virginia Tech has officially announced the game time for five of their football games in 2008, including the first three. The latest news is that the Georgia Tech game will begin at 3:30 pm.

VT Showing Interest in Yeager
June 3, 2008
Virginia Tech's interest in 6-2, 185-pound rising senior quarterback Emmanuel Yeager has increased over the past month or so. The talented signal caller is interested in Tech as well and plans to come to one of Tech's one-day camps this summer in hopes of landing an offer.

Furman Kickoff Time Revealed
June 3, 2008
According to Furman University's official athletics site, the game between the Paladins and the Hokies will kickoff at 1:30pm on Saturday, September 6. It will be Virginia Tech's home opener, the weekend after the season opener against East Carolina in Charlotte.

Moses Enjoys Big Month of May
June 2, 2008
"It is a blessing, of course, to have that many offers. It is amazing. They just came all at once," said Meadowbrook (Richmond, VA) star offensive line prospect Morgan Moses, who is coming off of a big Evaluation Period. Moses, a 6-7, 340-pound offensive tackle prospect, now boasts over 20 Division 1A scholarship offers - he had seven prior to late April/May - including recent ones from Florida, Michigan and South Carolina.

Women's Track & Field Wins East Regional Championship
June 2, 2008
The softball team isn't the only Virginia Tech non-revenue sport making headlines. The Women's Track & Field team won the NCAA East Regional over the weekend, their second consecutive regional championship. Queen Harrison set a number of records to help the Hokies edge Penn State 92-91 for the championship.

Tech's Season Ends With Loss to #1 Florida
May 31, 2008
Virginia Tech's trip to the 2008 Women's College World Series has come to an end. Florida scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to knock off the Hokies 2-0 in an elimination game on Saturday afternoon. It was the final game in the careers of Tech seniors Angela Tincher, Kelsey Hoffman and Caroline Stolle.
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