Some might argue that ACC media days only serve one purpose, albeit one they do very well: let fans know that college football season is back.
And that’s exactly what they did this year, primarily for this reporter and seemingly many Hokie fans in the Twitterverse.
Don’t get me wrong — I appreciate the dead period in sports between the end of the NBA Finals and the start of fall practice. But even the most die-hard baseball fan such as myself eventually longs for the best that autumn has to offer.
Nevertheless, I could’ve told you exactly how last week’s interviews with Virginia Tech’s two representatives here in Greensboro — Logan Thomas and Kyle Fuller — were going to go before I arrived at the lovely Grandover Resort.
Thomas would be asked about his inexperienced offense, the difference he feels heading into this year as opposed to last year, his thoughts on potentially being a first-round draft pick next April and Tech’s chances at a conference championship and maybe a BCS title game.
Reporters would want to talk to Fuller about the defenses high expectations (they return nine starters from a year ago), his role as an emerging leader on that defense, how the team would prepare to stop Georgia Tech’s option and his little brother Kendall’s recruitment process.
Sure enough, all of that happened and both student-athletes responded exactly the way you’d expect them to: with the utmost humility.
Exciting stuff, right?
Sarcasm aside, it is pretty exciting for Tech fans. Once you weave through the clichés and coachspeak (Beamer’s interviews were particularly thrilling) you’ll realize that this Hokie squad actually has the chance to do something special…
You already know the “if(s).” If the offensive line can protect Thomas and block for Michael Holmes and JC Coleman. If Beamer can turn around a ghastly special teams unit from a year ago. If the defense lives up to those lofty expectations.
But I don’t want to talk about the “ifs.” I want to talk about what we already know.
We already know that Thomas has been working hard all offseason (“two, three, four times a day,” apparently) to improve his already impressive game, especially on improving his footwork, one of the only things holding him back from being a full-fledged superstar quarterback.
We already know that a redshirt freshman has the capability to immediately step in and anchor an offense that prides itself on the running game (see Darren Evans, Ryan Williams).
We already know that Marcus Davis and DJ Coles are physical freaks that can go up and catch whatever Thomas hurls their way. And that Dyrell Roberts has the ability to make a big play or two, himself.
We already know that Tech returns their front seven, and has plenty of depth behind it. That same mix-and-matched front seven finished 10th in the nation in total defense last season. And it’s only going to be better with a healthy Bruce Taylor, Antoine Hopkins and Jeron Gouveia-Winslow.
We already know that Fuller and Antone Exum are two of the best defensive backs the conference has to offer, and that they have a chance to be one of the best cornerback duos in the nation.
So that’s a pretty good start.
More important that anything, everything we already know about this Tech football team gives Hokie fans something that every August brings with it: hope.
That tiny sliver of hope that somehow, by the slimmest of margins, Tech will for once (or, a second time, rather) do what it’s capable of doing: run through its regular season unscathed and make it back to the BCS title game.
This team has experience. This team has playmakers. This team has an excellent coaching staff. And, most importantly, this team has good leadership.
Now, will all of that translate to wins on Saturdays and a BCS championship?