While other ACC programs are opening the 2015 season against teams like Wofford, Bethune-Cookman and Alcorn State, Virginia Tech is opening with the metal of all college football metal. The defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes come to Lane Stadium on Sept. 7 for the stand-alone, Monday night contest that annually closes out college football’s initial weekend.
Every program has questions. Virginia Tech will find out some answers a lot quicker than most. This puts added pressure on what happens during fall camp and provides a focus on the Hokies’ preparations for week one.
Virginia Tech’s Five Biggest Fall Camp Storylines
1. The Health of Frank Beamer
The greatest coach in Virginia Tech history had throat surgery last December. He coached the team at the Military Bowl from the press box. Those that have heard interviews with him in recent weeks can tell that his voice is not the same. But the 68-year-old maintains that he is ready for camp to begin and is eager to get the Hokies back to the top of the ACC.
2. Michael Brewer’s Decision Making
It was not surprising that Brewer needed some time to adjust to Virginia Tech. In his two years at Texas Tech, Brewer was part of an offense that ranked No. 2 nationally in passing both seasons. At Virginia Tech it is a little different. The first priority is to not put the defense in a bad spot by turning the ball over. Brewer has to become more comfortable with his role and reduce his 15 interceptions.
3. Offensive Line Cohesion
Beamer has coaches like Bud Foster, Bryan Stinespring, and Charley Wiles that have been on his staff for a very long time. But the offensive line coaching position has been a revolving door in recent years. Stacy Searles is back for a second year and Hokie fans hope this continuity is beneficial to a group that has much to improve on this fall.
4. Developing a Running Back Rotation
Virginia Tech does not have a standout, bell-cow back. J.C. Coleman looks like he will be the No. 1 running back, but don’t expect him to get a James Conner-like number of carries. What the Hokies do have is a number of solid ball carriers. Running backs coach Shane Beamer will spend the month of August figuring out a role for each of these players.
5. Luther Maddy and Brandon Facyson Returning From Injury
Entering last season, Athlon Sports named defensive tackle Maddy to its All-ACC first team and cornerback Facyson to the second team. But Maddy played in just four games in 2014 because of a meniscus tear, while Facyson appeared in only three games due to a stress fracture in his leg. If these two can return to 100 percent, the tough Hokie defense could be really, really nasty.
— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.