2007 Football Superlatives (Most This, Most That)

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With the season over, it’s time to give our 2007 season superlatives. There
were many great individual performances this year, and it’s tough to leave out
so many fine players. However, there were a few guys who stood out on a team
that featured a lot of talented players. We’ll give four awards for the offense, and four for the defense. The Special
Teams MVP will round out the article.

Offensive MVP

Virginia
Tech’s offense struggled for a lot of the season, but one player who was very
consistent was senior left tackle Duane Brown. Brown didn’t play
particularly well against East Carolina in the opener, but he rebounded to grade
out at least 83% in all of the remaining games. He graded out at over 90% in six
games.

Brown was the only steady performer on the OL in the early part of the
season. Imagine how things would have looked had he not been playing well.

Runner Up: QB Sean Glennon. Glennon was money down the stretch of the regular
season, and in the ACC Championship Game.

Unheralded Offensive Player

Carlton Weatherford stepped into the starting fullback spot this season
and performed very well. He turned into a very good lead blocker out of the I
formation, and was good in pass protection as well. The reason he’s unheralded?
He was rarely allowed to touch the ball, and the Hokies don’t use a fullback as
much as they used to. Still, Weatherford had a good year.

Runner Up: OG Nick Marshman. He wasn’t a good tackle, but he is a good guard.
He got the better of Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year James McClinton in the
Orange Bowl.

Most Improved Offensive Player (From Game 1 through Season’s End)

The
first pass Sean Glennon threw this season went squarely into the hands of
East Carolina linebacker Pierre Bell. Nine days later, Frank Beamer announced
that Tyord Taylor was Virginia Tech’s new starting quarterback. Glennon
certainly had a lot of room to improve at that point.

And improve he did. He eventually worked his way back into the starting
lineup, and played very good football down the stretch. He was the MVP of the
ACC Championship Game. He torched Georgia Tech, Virginia and Boston College with
his arm. It was a very good season for Glennon, bowl game notwithstanding.

Runner Up: Sergio Render, with an acknowledgement to Greg Boone, who learned
how to catch.

Offensive Coach of the Year

You’ve got to go with offensive line coach Curt Newsome, for the way
his offensive line improved in the running game after the return of Ed Wang.
Tech’s line became much more physical with Nick Marshman back at guard. Newsome
stuck by them the entire time, and they steadily improved as a group.

Simply put, Tech couldn’t run the ball on William & Mary in September. By
November, Branden Ore was running for 147 yards on a strong UVA defense.

Runner Up: Bryan Stinespring, for handling the two-quarterback system as well
as it could be done.

Defensive MVP

There
are a lot of great players on Tech’s defense, but I’ve got to go with Xavier
Adibi
. He led the Hokies in tackles with 115, and in tackles for loss with
12. He posted three sacks and picked off two passes, including the game-clincher
in the ACC Championship Game. He is a major mismatch for offensive coordinators
to deal with, and he’ll be a very high draft pick in April.

Adibi is also the best coverage linebacker Bud Foster has ever coached. Tech
might miss Adibi’s coverage ability more than anything else next year, not to
mention his senior leadership.

Runner Up: Barry Booker. Booker finished with 10.5 tackles for loss. He was a
playmaker at defensive tackle. If you’ve got a defensive tackle who is making
double digit tackles for loss, then you’re going to have a defense. Booker
played in the opponent’s backfield all season.

Unheralded Defensive Player

Defensive end Orion Martin doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He
posted 10.5 tackles for loss this year, which is more than First Team All-ACC
defensive end Chris Ellis. He also had 6.5 sacks, two of which came in the
Orange Bowl against Kansas. Martin might be the most underrated player on the
entire team.

Martin will be the leader and only senior on the defensive line next year.
Hopefully he can have another season like his 2007 campaign.

Runner Up: D.J. Parker. Parker was the senior field general at free safety
this year. He picked off three passes, and you never found him out of position.
He got the team off to a great start with an interception return for a touchdown
against Clemson.

Most Improved Defensive Player (From Game 1 through Season’s End)

To
me, it has to be rover Kam Chancellor. Chancellor was still getting his
feet wet early in the season, and he played poorly in a big game at LSU. He was
often caught out of position in other games in the early part of the year.
However, as he got experience, he got better.

About the same time the rest of the team started clicking, Chancellor
starting picking it up. The true sophomore has already developed into the
fiercest hitter Virginia Tech has ever had at the rover position. If you don’t
believe me, ask BC running back Andre Callender. He knows from personal
experience.

Chancellor might be the best strong safety type player in the ACC right now.

Runner Up: Cam Martin. Martin is basically the same story as Chancellor. He
got burned early and often against LSU, but hung in there and had a good season.
He has a bright future, if he can stay healthy.

Defensive Coach of the Year

The defense was dominant yet again. The linebackers were fantastic, including
Brett Warren, who stepped in for an injured Vince Hall. Bud Foster is my
defensive coach of the year. Big shock, huh? This guy is a genius. His defensive
game plan against Boston College back in October was as good as any you’ll ever
see.

Runner Up: Jim Cavanaugh. Coach Cav steadily brought along Kam
Chancellor and Cam Martin, and they were both very good players by the end of
the season.

Special Teams Player of the Year

Eddie Royal returned two punts for touchdowns and became the ACC’s
all-time leader in punt return yardage. His punt return for a touchdown against
Clemson helped propel Virginia Tech to a huge road victory. For the season, he
averaged 14.7 yards per punt return. He also averaged 22.7 yards on kick
returns.

Runner Up: Jud Dunlevy had a great year as Tech’s placekicker. He was
21-of-26 on the year, with a long of 52.

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