Correction: This story has been modified from its original version. — This story has been modified from its original version. The Pirates also use a two-quarterback system. The Collegiate Times regrets this error.
With 41 percent of Tech's traveling roster having never played a college football game, the Hokies' opener against East Carolina this Saturday could be a tough match-up.
"We're dressing 10 true freshmen and 15 redshirt freshmen," Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer said. "It's a little bit scary ... We lost a couple kids from last year, but we are very impressed with our freshman class."
That is not to say Tech has no veterans on the team, but with only a few at each position, the freshmen will need to step up quickly in order to fend off a hungry East Carolina team.
Here's the breakdown of each side.
With an extremely youthful and inexperienced wide receiving core, along with a large group of running backs with no clear go-to guy, Tech's offense may find its opponent an untimely challenge. At least the recent resolution on who's playing quarterback assures the Hokie of some veteran leadership on that side of the football.
As Beamer announced at a luncheon on Tuesday, sophomore Tyrod Taylor willl redshirt this season, solidifying redshirt-senior Sean Glennon's role at quarterback. Some fans may worry that they'll suffer from losing the quick feet of Taylor, but they could possibly be in better hands with the more traditional passer, Glennon. Since 2004 he has played 30 games, completing 321 times on 548 passes, good for 4,124 yards and 25 touchdowns - and his veteran leadership will be critical this Saturday.
In what appears to be a mirror image, the Pirates also utilize two-quarterbacks.
"It is a very similar situation to Virginia Tech," said ECU head football coach Skip Holtz. "We've got one who's more of a prototype, passing quarterback and one who's far more athletic and can do some more things with his feet."
Coach Holtz announced this week that senior Patrick Pinkney will start at quarterback against Virginia Tech.
"At this point, I don't know if you'll see two quarterbacks," Holtz said. "It is nice to have two quarterbacks with the experience that we have."
Unlike Virginia Tech, ECU's backup, junior Rob Kass, will be dressed and ready to play should things go awry with Pinkney.
Tech's main wide receiver this year was supposed to be flanker Zach Luckett, a redshirt-sophomore out of New Jersey. However, he was suspended indefinitely by Beamer after being arrested for driving under the influence - for the second time - and for driving with a revoked license. With this devastating loss,an inexperienced wide receiving core loses the little experience it had. Tight end Greg Boone, a redshirt junior out of Chesapeake, Va., has stepped up in tpreseason scrimmages on both the receiving and rushing fronts.
Beamer referred to him as one of the most versatile players he'd ever recruited. Tech will need to the Most Valuable Offensive Performer of the Spring to come through. Other receivers to watch include Ike Whitaker and Brandon Dillard.
East Carolina brings three solid wide receivers with it to Charlotte in junior Jama rBryant, sophomore Dwayne Harris, and senior T.J. Lee. They each played in at least 12 of ECU's 13 games last season, with Bryant starting all 13. These three receivers will bring both skill and leadership to an otherwise young and somewhat injury-hampered Pirate offense.
With Branden Ore out of the picture after being kicked off the team last spring, the Hokies will use an uncannily crowded rotation in the running game, using three and even up to six backs.
"We're dressing them all, but I don't know if all of them will play in the game," Beamer said. "Some of them will be on special teams. Tailbacks are good athletes, but we'll see by the end of the week how we get them figured out."