Keys to the 2006 Season

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Normally the preview articles focus on Virginia Tech’s opponent, but with
little information — and interest — on Northeastern, I will take a different
approach with this article and concentrate on key factors that may influence the
Hokies’ success this season. These “keys to the season” should give
fans certain critical aspects of football to watch during the season and some
statistics that will be crucial to Tech’s success.

Much uncertainty surrounds Virginia Tech entering this season, with young
players at important positions and new coaches on the staff. However, many
constants still exist in the Hokies’ football program, so I feel that we will
see few dramatic changes from previous years. In fact, I believe we may see
Virginia Tech returning to some basic tenets that made Beamerball so successful
in the 1990s.

When Virginia Tech has the Ball

1. Return to Playing Beamerball

Obviously, Virginia Tech’s strengths this year are a tough, aggressive
defense and an exceptional kicking game (sound familiar?), so the offense needs
to concentrate on minimizing mistakes and controlling field position. Legendary
coach Vince Lombardi once said that “80 percent of football games are lost,
not won” and that adage appears to hold true for Virginia Tech this season.

That does not mean that Tech needs to play conservatively, or even more
cautious than previous seasons, but just to take care of the ball. Very few
teams will be able to have long drives on Tech’s defense, so the offense needs
to make sure that the field position battle is won and not surrender the ball
deep in Tech’s territory. In other words, the Hokies should be relatively
conservative in their own territory, but more aggressive after crossing the
50-yard line.

Sean Glennon won the quarterback battle largely because he is the least
likely to make mistakes. Obviously, a key factor to watch in Glennon’s play will
be turnovers. He needs to take care of the ball and not force passes,
particularly deep in Tech’s territory. While many fans may yearn for the
big-play capability of Ike Whitaker,