Friday Q&A: April 11, 2014

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1: What has to happen for this team to surprise to the upside?

Chris Coleman: That’s a great question. I suppose to answer it accurately we would have to decide what our expectations are for the season, but at this point we don’t know who the quarterback is going to be, we don’t know the pecking order at tailback, and we don’t know who is going to be handling field goals and extra points. I really don’t know what to expect from this team from a record standpoint.

Salemite had a good quote on the subscribers board last night: “We’re overdue to overachieve.”

I’m in agreement with him. It’s tough to overachieve when you are picked at or near the top of the ACC every year, but still, it’s been awhile since I feel like we got more from the team than we should have gotten.

For that to happen this year, I feel like a few things need to happen:

A) Win the turnover battle. Again, Tech didn’t turn it over in close wins over Georgia Tech, UNC and Pitt. They turned it over four times each in losses to Duke and BC. Mark¬†Leal – or whoever – can be an effective quarterback for the Hokies this season simply by not turning the football over. As usual, turnovers will be the difference in a few games, and it’s very important that the Hokies win those battles.

B) Good field goal kicking. The ugliest stat of last season wasn’t interceptions, punt return defense, or the QB rushing yardage allowed in the Sun Bowl. It was Tech’s 15-of-26 (57.7%) mark on their field goal kicking. It could have made the difference in the Duke game, and in turn the Hokies could have gone on to play for the ACC Championship had their kicking been better that day. The job is wide open, and whoever wins it will need to be consistent.

C) Establish a consistent running game. I’ll be honest, I don’t have good confidence in any of Tech’s quarterbacks at this point. If I were Scot Loeffler, I’d be hoping that 2-3 backs stepped up and that I could run the football 50 times per game. If the Hokies can do that, they can control the clock and field position, and they can keep an undersized defense off the field.

D) Stay lucky with injuries. This goes without saying. Overachieving is much easier with a full roster of players.

Are those generic answers? Probably. But I know this team won’t have any chance of overachieving if they turn the ball over, miss field goals, and can’t run the football.


2: Early on, it was emphasized how special teams would need to be improved. What have you seen so far in