Friday Q&A: August 5, 2011

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With the opening of practice yesterday in Blacksburg, today’s Friday Q&A
is all about football. Topics include depth, Tech’s recent position changes,
breakout players for the month of August, and much more.

1) It’s frightening how little depth the Hokies have in some areas. How did
this come to be?

Chris Coleman: It’s one of those things that happens to every school at
some point. Let’s run the numbers on scholarship players …

Each school has 85 scholarship players (or less, if someone transfers at the
end of the summer). About 20 of those will be true freshmen who are redshirting.
Even true freshmen who play special teams aren’t necessarily ready to be in the
two-deep on offense or defense.

By my count, the Hokies have 82 scholarship players currently on the roster.
19 of them are true freshmen. Even the true freshmen who are talented enough to
be in the two-deep are still question marks. That takes Tech back to 63
scholarship players who are not true freshmen. One is long snapper Collin
Carroll. One is kicker Cody Journell. That’s 61 players. Take out Brent
Benedict, who has to sit out because of transfer rules, and that’s 60 players.
Of those 60 players, 16 are r-freshmen. Some r-freshmen are ready to be in the
two-deep, and some aren’t.

That leaves us with 46 scholarship players who are older than r-freshmen, and
we’ve got to get a two-deep for both sides of the ball. Once you really run the
numbers like that, you see that having quality depth at all positions, or even
most positions, is tough.

You can actually make the argument that Tech has more depth this year than
ever before. The problem is, they are stockpiled at certain positions. Tech has
about five wide receivers who can play, maybe six. If one of those guys happened
to be a free safety instead, that would solve the safety depth problem. Tech has
9-10 offensive linemen who can play. If David Wang had been slotted at defensive
tackle instead of offensive guard, I doubt the Hokies would have a depth problem
at DT. Tech has six inside linebackers who can play, which is more than they
need. If Bruce Taylor had stayed at defensive end, where he began his career in
2008, and he was productive, Tech’s defensive end depth would be in much better

So Tech’s got plenty of guys who can play, but they