Outlook Schedule on hokiesports.com:
General OutlookWednesday, July 13
Offensive LineFriday, July 15
Wide Receivers/Tight EndsMonday, July 18
Tailbacks/Fullbacks/QuarterbacksWednesday, July 20
Defensive LineFriday, July 22
LinebackersMonday, July 25
SecondaryWednesday, July 27
SpecialistsFriday, July 29
The 2005 Season Outlook

The first in an eight-part series previewing Tech's 2005 season
July 13, 2005

BLACKSBURG - The following is the first in an eight-part series previewing the 2005 Virginia Tech football team. The Hokies open fall practice on Friday, Aug. 5 in preparation for their season opener at N.C. State on Sunday, Sept. 4.

Today's portion of the outlook for 2005 takes a quick look at the team overall before focusing on the offense in general and the quarterback position specifically.

Check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for a breakdown on each component of this year's team. A complete list of the breakdown and release dates follows:

A Quick Glance
Virginia Tech returns 14 starters - eight on offense and six on defense - from a squad that finished 10-3 last season, ranked No. 10 in both national polls, captured the ACC title and made a trip to the Sugar Bowl for the program's 12th-straight bowl appearance.

Gone from last year's team are a number of key figures, none bigger than quarterback Bryan Randall, who was named the ACC Player of the Year for his clutch play and outstanding leadership. Defensive tackle Jim Davis, the heart of a Tech defense that ranked among the top 10 teams nationally in seven categories, is also gone, along with leading tackler Mikal Baaqee and three starting members of the defensive secondary.
Where The Hokies Stand
When preseason practice opens, the key goals for head coach Frank Beamer and his staff will include finalizing the starters and firming up the depth along the offensive and defensive lines and at the safety positions. There is also a need for a backup at the boundary corner, as well as some questions to be answered at fullback.

"Those are the things we need to get squared away," Beamer says. "I think we have established a good starting point, but it remains to be seen what this team is going to be like. We need to see how hard we work during the summer and how dedicated we are when we come back in the fall for our preseason practices."

Strong Points
Offensively, Tech has to solidify its line, but when you start talking about the tight ends, the wide outs and the running backs - the skill, speed and ability at those positions is very good.

Defensively, the Hokies are going to be fast, and that's the way they like it. Beamer hopes to be able to rotate two teams into the game to keep the defense fresh. When the Hokies have been able to do that, they have been at their best.

Early Decision
By naming his starting quarterback after spring practice, Beamer averted a summer of questions and allowed redshirt junior Marcus Vick the opportunity to get established. Vick started the spring as the No. 3 man on the depth chart, after sitting out the 2004 season. He worked his way to the top during the 15 spring practice sessions, edging out sophomore Sean Glennon in a close race. Redshirt freshman Cory Holt was also in the running until being sidelined by a shoulder injury.

"After evaluating the spring game, as well as our whole spring practice, we felt that it was appropriate to name Marcus the starter for our football team," Beamer said. "I think Marcus had an excellent spring. He has the ability to make some big plays and did so throughout the spring."

Beamer is hoping the move will give Vick a chance to establish a leadership role.

"I think going into the summer workouts is a good time for Marcus to be the leader and take control of the team," Beamer points out. "I thought last summer Bryan Randall did a great job of taking control of the team and we would like for Marcus to do the same thing."

Beamer feels good about the Hokies' quarterback position, especially with the presence of Glennon. The 6-3 Glennon served as the backup to Randall last season as a freshman and has put a lot of time and effort into learning the Tech system.

"We have a lot of confidence in Sean Glennon," Beamer says. "He is very capable and very smart. Sean is a critical part of this football team."

Overall, the quarterback position will feature six players when 2005 recruits Ike Whitaker and Greg Boone report for practice. Walk-on Grant Throckmorton, who joined the team last year, rounds out the candidates. Vick is the only one of the six who is shorter than 6-foot-3.

Déja Vu?
After winning the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship in its first season as a member, Virginia Tech's football team finds itself facing high expectations from fans and media alike, heading into the 2005 season.

The Hokies don't have to look far to see what happened the last time they entered a season that was surrounded by such high expectations. In 2003, a star-studded Tech team that was ranked ninth in the preseason Associated Press poll got blinded by the hype and lost its focus, along with four of its last five games. One of that team's victories in a 7-1 start was a 31-7 win over No. 2-ranked Miami.

With that in mind, Beamer's 2005 Hokies aren't likely to be talking about the hype.

"The only thing we need to be concerned about," Beamer says, "is getting to practice every day, getting a little bit better as a football team and playing well on Saturday. The rankings and expectations may make good conversation, but the bottom line is how you perform in the fall and how the injury situation goes during the season."