A Midseason Look, Part 1

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The season is halfway over, and let’s just come out and say it: things couldn’t
possibly have gone any better for Virginia Tech so far. Okay, maybe both USC and
Texas could have lost, boosting the Hokies into #1 in the polls, but other than
that, the quibbles are minor. Here’s a two-part look at what’s gone well (a
lot), what hasn’t gone well (a little), what the keys to success have been, and
what the keys to continuing success are.

This is part one of a two-part look at the season to date, and in this part,
we’ll talk about how the strengths going into the season have carried the
Hokies, and how the concerns haven’t derailed the season.

Coming into the season, VT followers knew this team could rely on good
leadership, a stout defense, a deep receiving corps, two senior tailbacks, an
accurate passing quarterback, a returning all-ACC kicker, and an experienced
coaching staff that was on a roll. (Yes, the same coaching staff that seemingly
couldn’t find its nose with both hands and a flashlight in 2003 was being lauded
as large and in charge heading into 2005.)

The fears were questionable leadership ability of that accurate QB, an
untested punter, three new starters at defensive back, a patchwork offensive
line, and depth along the OL, inside linebacker, quarterback, and cornerback.

The Backbone Has Held Up Well, Thank You

All of the positive things listed have come through for the Hokies. Let’s
take them one by one.

Good Leadership: Darryl Tapp is the defensive leader of this team, and
Jeff King is the offensive leader. They are the seniors, the guys that set the
tone by coming to work everyday, lunch pail style, getting the job done, and not
tooting their own horn or letting the team down at key moments.

Tapp has been taking the leadership role since he was a true freshman,
working hard, representing Virginia Tech well off the field, and making plays.
He took possession of the lunch pail last year as a junior and hasn’t
relinquished it. It wasn’t the least bit surprising to see him show up in the
WVU post-game interviews with the Black Diamond Trophy in his arms. Tapp carries...