Virginia Tech Hokies Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Virginia Tech season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Virginia Tech Hokies Preview
Head Coach: Brent Pry, 0-0, 1st year at Virginia Tech
2021 Preview: Overall: 6-7, Conference: 4-4
Virginia Tech Hokies Preview 2022
So how does Virginia Tech get back to being the double-digit win program that makes a push for the ACC Championship – like it did in the mid-to-late 2000s and in 2016 – and get out of this rut of mediocrity?
Justin Fuente had his good moments as the head coach, but it always seemed like there were too many changes, too many personnel moves, and too many losses in the 50/50 games.
Even after last season, assume Clemson is the star of the ACC show, and Duke and – at least lately – Georgia Tech and Syracuse are going to struggle a wee bit, and then throw everyone else into a bucket and maybe a Wake Forest will come out, or a Pitt, or any of the other good programs.
Again, it’s about the 50/50 games – or the ones that Virginia Tech has a relatively equal shot of winning or losing.
How did it do against teams that finished with 5-to-7 wins? It was 3-5.
2000 was funky with missed games – Virginia Tech was 3-2 against teams that finished with 4-to-6 wins. 2019 and 2018 against teams that finished with 5-to-7 wins? 3-6.
How about that 2011 team that went to the Sugar Bowl? 5-0. How about that 2010 version that went to the Orange? 4-0.
In comes new head coach Brent Pry, a 52-year-old career assistant who knows how to crank up a tough defense. His job will be to provide some stability, work the transfer portal, and win the games that are there for the taking.
There’s no Clemson on the slate. There’s no brutal non-conference game. There are tough road games at North Carolina, Pitt, and NC State, but would you fall off your chair if Virginia Tech won any or all of them? No.
The Hokies might not be there quite yet with all the holes that need filling and the relative lack of star power, but it you notice an early win over Boston College, and maybe a win over West Virginia, and maybe split those road games against North Carolina and Pitt …
Virginia Tech Hokies Preview 2022: Offense, Defense
Virginia Tech Hokies Preview 2022: Offense
Offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen comes in after years of being a part of the Penn State coaching staff and working last year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and now he’s got a whole lot of work to do for an offense that was 12th in the ACC and had the second-worst scoring attack in the league.
Step One is figuring out the quarterback situation with leading passer Braxton Burmeister leaving for San Diego State. Grant Wells comes in from Marshall with a whole lot of talent and experience, but he needs to prove he can keep the interceptions to a minimum with 22 – to go along with 34 touchdown passes – over the last two seasons. He’ll battle with South Carolina transfer Jason Brown for the gig.
Leading targets Tre Turner and Tayvion Robinson are gone. Kaleb Smith is the leading returning receiver with just 20 catches for 260 yards and two scores, but Jadan Blue is a dangerous playmaker from Temple and Nick Gallo is a decent short-range receiver.
The offensive line that was decent in pass protection and paved the way for 185 rushing yards per game needs an overhaul. It lost three good parts to the NFL, but it gets back a strong right guard in Kaden Moore and Parker Clements at tackle.
Leading back Raheem Blackshear is done, and Burmeister was the second-leading rusher, but Malachi Thomas should be ready after running for 440 yards and three scores, and Jalen Hoiston is a decent-sized veteran in the rotation.
Virginia Tech Hokies Preview 2022: Defense
The defense was relatively consistent. It wasn’t amazing, and there wasn’t enough happening in the backfield, but it didn’t get gouged all that often – there were missing parts in the bowl loss to Maryland.
There’s enough experience in place to work around, starting with leading tackler Dax Hollifield in the middle of the linebacking corps, and with a good one in Alan Tisdale – second on the team behind Hollifield in tackles for loss – next to him.
The defensive front has to do more to get behind the line, but there’s enough depth to form a decent rotation in the interior. TyJuan Garbutt is the team’s leading returning pass rusher on the end, and on the way is Pheldarius Payne coming in from Nebraska to work on the other side.
Leading pickoff man Jermaine Waller is gone from the secondary, but the safeties Nasir Peoples and Chamarri Conner should be able to combine for over 170 tackles again. Returning corner Amari Chatman led the team with seven broken up passes, but no one other than Waller came up with more than one pick.
Virginia Tech Hokies: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats NEXT
Virginia Tech Hokies: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats
Virginia Tech Hokies: Key To The 2022 Offense
Watch the interceptions.
The Hokie offense might not have been a powerhouse last season, but it didn’t have too much of a problem with turnovers. The team was +2 on the year, and it lost the turnover margin just four times – going 1-3 and was never worse than -1.
Best of all for the team, there were just five interceptions thrown with just one over the last seven games. The offense might take a few more chances and shots, but it can’t start screwing up.
South Carolina transfer Jason Brown threw six interceptions in his 108 throws, and Grant Wells – the likely starter – gave up 22 picks in his two seasons.
Virginia Tech Hokies: Key To The 2022 Defense
The run defense has to hold up.
The Hokies have tacklers, and they have enough bodies to rotate through on the defensive front. Now they have to be a wall every week against the run.
They allowed 169 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry, but the real problem was when teams hit 180. The team was 2-6 when allowing 180 yards or more, 0-for-the-last-10 when giving up 200 or more.
Virginia Tech Hokies: Key Player To The 2022 Season
QB Grant Wells, Soph.
The Marshall transfer has to step in and be a difference-maker – or it has to be South Carolina transfer Jason Brown. Wells has a great arm, can run a little bit, and when he’s on, he’s devastating.
When he throws picks, they come in bunches, like the five given away in the stunning 20-0 loss to Rice in 2020 and with nine given up in the first seven games of last season. Again, though, when he’s on, he’ll hit at least 70% of his passes and should be good for over 200 yards per game.
At least that’s the hope.
Virginia Tech Hokies: Key Transfer
WR Jadan Blue, Sr.
The Hokies need more dangerous receiving options after losing a few of the top guys, and that’s where Blue comes in. The 6-0, 185-pound veteran from Temple only averaged 9.9 yards per catch, but the downfield passing game wasn’t great.
He rolled for 95 catches for 1,067 yards and four scores 2019, but was limited to 14 games over the last two seasons – he still came up with 71 catches with six scores.
Virginia Tech Key Game To The 2022 Season
Boston College, Sept. 10
Obviously the regular season finale against Virginia means everything, but it would be nice to get there with bowl eligibility locked up.
Road games at North Carolina, Pitt, and NC State are coming up fast, and Miami comes to Blacksburg in the middle of that. If everything goes according to plan, the Hokies should be able to go at least 3-1 to start the season, but 4-0 is possible with a win over Boston College.
The 17-3 loss last year to the Eagles was the biggest clunker before the bowl game, and it lost three of the last four games in the series.
Virginia Tech Hokies: 2021 Fun Stats
– Penalties: Opponents 83 for 731 yards – Virginia Tech 70 for 597 yards
– 4th Down Conversions: Opponents 16-of-25 (64%) – Virginia Tech 9-of-18 (50%)
– Fumbles: Virginia Tech 15 (lost 8) – Opponents 14 (lost 4)
Virginia Tech Hokies Season Prediction, What Will Happen NEXT
Virginia Tech Hokies Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Just how quickly can the lines come together, and just how fast with the offense show enough pop?
There’s enough experience for the new coaching staff to work with, and there are enough easy games early on to get everything in place.
However, if the Hokies don’t own Blacksburg early there could be a problem, and there can’t be any misfires anywhere in games they’re favored in.
Set The Virginia Tech Hokies Regular Season Win Total At … 7
At Old Dominion and Wofford in September, and Georgia Tech, at Duke, at Liberty, and yeah, Virginia – in November. The Hokies have to take down all six of those, but realistically, getting five would be nice considering what else they have to deal with.
Boston College and West Virginia are winnable home games, but they’re also both 50/50 battles. October is the problem with at North Carolina, at Pitt, Miami, and at NC State. 1-3 would be fine, 2-2 would be fantastic.
Can there be consistency for a team that didn’t enjoy that much of that last season? No matter how it works, bowl eligibility is a must, seven wins would be great, and anything more than that would be outstanding.