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24 Virginia Tech

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OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE

They're really well coached on defense. Coordinator Bud [Foster] runs a unique scheme. They'll do some Cover 2 inverted stuff, and they love to load the box. They'll choke out the run game and force you to win on the perimeter. Their weakside 'backer [236-pound junior TREMAINE EDMUNDS] is a giant. He's 6'5" and he can rally to the ball, but he can also match receivers. Their middle linebacker [6-foot, 233-pound senior Andrew Motuapuaka] is tough and experienced, but he can get exposed in space. They're always good in the secondary, and we think [6'2", 197-pound senior corner] Brandon Facyson is their best DB.

On offense, they lost almost all of their production. It shocked me how much they use empty formations. They'll also do some unbalanced formations and come at you with a lot of motion. [Coach Justin] Fuente likes quarterback powers and quarterback counters. We don't know who's gonna win that job (sidebar), but he'll have to run. Travon McMillian [a 6-foot, 205-pound junior tailback] is a good player. He's solid for what they do. C.J. Carroll [a 5'8", 167-pound junior] is a good slot receiver, and I think [6-foot, 199-pound senior] Cam Phillips will become one of the best receivers in the ACC. Their O-line is above average. Yosuah Nijman, their [6'7", 300-pound junior] left tackle, is long and athletic.

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % (46TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT (23RD)

COMPLETION % (27TH)

YARDS PER CARRY (96TH)

SACKS ALLOWED (97TH)

TURNOVERS LOST (117TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE (39TH)

YARDS PER PLAY (68TH)

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSIONS % (3RD)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT ALLOWED (19TH)

COMPLETION % ALLOWED (5TH)

YARDS PER CARRY ALLOWED (27TH)

SACKS (33RD)

TURNOVERS GAINED (24TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE ALLOWED (24TH)

YARDS PER PLAY ALLOWED (19TH)

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RATING

44

Tech will host Clemson (9/30), but otherwise the toughest tests are a visit from West Virginia (9/3) and a trip to Miami (11/4). Beating the Canes is the key to winning the ACC Coastal, which could give them another date with Clemson. Daunting.

THE PLAYER TO KNOW

Although Virginia Tech's quarterback battle was unresolved going into camp, freshman JOSH JACKSON is the name to know. After a redshirt year learning coach Justin Fuente's scheme, Jackson should take over the Hokies' up-tempo offense at some point. At 6'1", 211 pounds, Jackson doesn't fit the mold of Fuente's most recent quarterbacks—Jerod Evans stood 6'3" and Paxton Lynch, now with the Broncos, is 6'7"—but he has an impressive arm as well as good mobility, which is a key part of Fuente's attack. Considering the quarterbacks Fuente has groomed—Lynch and the Bengals' Andy Dalton, to name two—Jackson's ceiling appears high.