Friday Q&A: July 2, 2010

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After taking a couple of weeks to discuss Boise State, this week we’re back to field questions about the Hokies. We’ll talk about offensive and defensive sleepers, Tech’s toughest matchup of 2010, and other topics.

1) Who are your picks for offensive and defensive sleeper of the year, and why?

CC: That’s a good question. Who is flying under the radar right now that is capable of having a very good season in 2010? We see different guys step up each season, it’s only a matter of picking them out correctly before the season starts.

On the offensive side of the ball, it’s not easy to choose someone. The Hokies return their starting quarterback, all of their top receivers, their entire backfield, and they get back Darren Evans from injury. There just isn’t a lot of room for new contributors to step up at the skilled positions because those older, more experienced players are going to dominate playing time.

Here’s a name for you though: Greg Nosal. Nosal will take over the starting left guard duties from the departed Sergio Render. He’s the perfect example of the type of offensive lineman that Curt Newsome has tried to recruit since he arrived at Virginia Tech. Tall guys who haven’t filled out yet, and who can move their feet. Nosal is only about 280, but he’s 6-6 and he moves very well because he entered the program as a 260-lbs tight end.

He’s not likely to have the pure drive blocking ability that Sergio Render possessed, but he’s a lot quicker than Render. It was common to see Render diving towards defenders in desperation on a lot of players, simply because he didn’t have the quickness to get to the second level. Nosal has the quickness to get to the linebackers, and the fact that he has the athletic ability to be an effective pulling guard gives Bryan Stinespring more options in his playcalling.

Nosal got plenty of reps as Render’s backup last year, and I think he’ll make a smooth transition to the starting lineup. I’m expecting a good year from the left guard position in 2010, barring some sort of injury.

There are new faces on defense at a lot of positions. However, people already know a lot about Eddie Whitley, Bruce Taylor, Jayron Hosley, etc. Those guys can’t really be called sleepers, because they were highly recruited players who Tech fans expected a lot of coming out of high school.