2022 Virginia Tech Hokies Preview

by Matt Fargo

Virginia Tech Hokies

2021-22 Season Record 6-7 (4-4 ACC Coastal) - 5-8-0 ATS - 5-8-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 4
Defense - 7

Overview

Virginia Tech entered the ACC in 2004 and promptly put together eight consecutive double-digit winning seasons and while things slipped some over the next few years, it was still another run of six consecutive winning seasons, four in the last four years with head coach Frank Beamer and two under his replacement Justin Fuente. It started to level out after that as the Hokies went 24-23 starting in 2018 before Fuente was let go late last season and Virginia Tech has been ranked in the final AP Poll only twice in the last ten seasons, No. 16 in 2016 and No. 24 in 2017. Brent Pry has been brought in to turn this whole thing around and he brings in a great track record after serving as the defensive coordinator at Penn St. since 2016. The strength will be that defense with seven starters returning and a returning production ranking of No. 24 but the offense needs some work.

Offense

The offense slipped last season as the Hokies finished No. 89 overall and No. 92 in scoring as they managed to eclipse 400 total yards only four times while being held to fewer than 300 yards four times as well. The quarterback situation was inconsistent as Braxton Burmeister played decent but was limited due to poor offensive coaching and he entered the transfer portal prior to their bowl game and he is off to San Diego St. Pry brought in Grant Wells from Marshall and has been named the starter after throwing for 3,535 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. There is not much around him to work with as the Hokies top two receivers are gone, leaving Kaleb Smith and Nick Gallo as the top two returnees with limited action. Three starters that made it to the NFL have to be replaced along the offensive line and leading rusher Raheem Blackshear is also gone so it is a work in progress.

Defense

The defense played well for the majority of the first 10 games last season as it allowed 17 points or fewer six times but it unraveled late as the Hokies allowed 38.7 ppg over the final three games which slightly skewed the overall numbers. They finished No. 72 in total defense and No. 42 in scoring defense and this unit will be called upon to carry the team until the offense comes around. Starting linebackers Dax Hollifield and Alan Tisdale are back after combining for 176 tackles and seven sacks and will be joined by Keonta Jenkins to form a great middle level. The defensive line will start four players all with experience but nothing spectacular as the group combined for 5.5 sacks last season and overall was poor against the run. The secondary will be solid led by safeties Nasir Peoples and Chamarri Conner who combined for 173 tackles but help is needed on the corners.

2022 Season Outlook

Replacing a legend like Beamer was not going to be easy and while Fuente started off great with a 19-8 record, he maintained no consistency with his staff and they were countlessly going in different directions. Pry should bring that consistency to the program after his years at Penn St. and while the situation is not great, it is not a complete rebuild. The schedule sets up well early on for the offense to gel as Virginia Tech opens at Old Dominion before three straight home games against Boston College, Wofford and West Virginia. The remainder of the ACC schedule is not great especially with road games at North Carolina, Pittsburgh and NC State but there is no Clemson, Wake Forest, Florida St. or Louisville to deal with. The O/U win total is set at 6.5 and foreseeing a 4-0 start and then a tough stretch before Duke and Georgia Tech, the final two games against Liberty and Virginia will be big. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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