Monday Thoughts: Musings on the program as practice opens

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Practice opens for the 2014 football season today … and the “ifs” that will shape the season are legion.

Finish every one of these lines with “…. the Hokies could be pretty good.”

  • If Michael Brewer is the real deal …
  • If Trey Edmunds comes back healthy …
  • If Marshawn Williams can be a steady, productive power back …
  • If the tight end corps is as good as we think …
  • If Joshua Stanford steps up and Demitri Knowles improves …
  • If they can find a reliable placekicker …
  • If they can get more production out of punt and kick returns …
  • If they can improve their special teams coverage units …
  • If Bud Foster can find a player as versatile as Kyle Fuller …
  • If the defensive ends stay healthy …

That’s a lot of “ifs,” and I probably left some out. Suffice to say that a lot of unknowns are in play. Too many unknowns, for a coach — Frank Beamer — who is seeking, like any Hall of Fame coach approaching retirement, to finish strong and cement his legacy.

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Frank Beamer started winning conference championships in 1995 in the old Big East. In all, he won seven conference championships in 16 years, from 1995-2010, but he enters 2014 with a string of three seasons without a title. That hasn’t happened since the Hokies failed to win the Big East for four straight years, from 2000-2003.

With the Florida State juggernaut up and running again, an ACC championship in 2014 seems very unlikely. As recently as 2012, the Hokies were giving

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