Friday Q&A: February 24, 2012

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1: What are the five toughest matchups for Virginia Tech in 2012 and why?

Chris Coleman: Without the schedule being released yet, it’s tough to determine the toughest games because we don’t know the dates of the games.  That said, we can still do the exercise based on pure matchups.

I’m going to stick to ACC teams.  The Hokies face Pitt and Cincinnati in 2012, but at this point I don’t know much about those two schools.  From a talent standpoint, I don’t think either would make the top five anyway.

Matchup #5: at North Carolina.  If this game is played later in the season, I think the Hokies will stand a better chance.  By that time, they will have accumulated enough film on what Larry Fedora and his coaching staff like to do with the UNC players.  If this matchup is in September, then it’s a tougher game for the Hokies.  North Carolina has talent, the return a very good quarterback, and I believe they’ll probably be better coached.

Matchup #4: Georgia Tech.  It sounds as if this game will be played on Labor Day before a national television audience in Blacksburg.  Paul Johnson’s offense will always be a tough matchup, but if the game is indeed the first game of the season, it will give Bud Foster a lot more time to prepare his team for the spread option attack.  The Yellow Jackets have good players, but in the end I like Virginia Tech’s players at home in a night game in Lane Stadium.

Matchup #3: Florida State.  E.J. Manuel wasn’t as good as expected in 2011.  Part of that was because of a very young offensive line that had trouble protecting him at times.  Other times, it was because of Manuel himself.  Still, the Noles have a lot of talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.  They will challenge the Hokies.  I’m hoping for a night game.  Perhaps this will be Tech’s home Thursday night game?

Matchup #2: at Miami.  The Canes should be pretty good up front on both sides of the ball.  They’ll have a new quarterback.  Jacory Harris had a really good senior season, until the last couple of weeks of the season.  Will they take a step forward at quarterback by turning the ball over less, or will the loss of a veteran starter mean a step back?

Matchup #1: at Clemson.  Until the Hokies beat Clemson, you have to consider the Tigers to be Tech’s toughest matchup just based on last season’s results.  Clemson’s defense couldn’t