It’s been a long several months since Frank Beamer led the Hokies off the field for the final time after a victory in the Independence Bowl but now the Virginia Tech Hokies are back and ready to start a new era under Justin Fuente after a tremendous 29-year run under Beamer. The Hokies kick off that new era with a season opener at home against the Liberty Flames.
Now, here’s our site’s predictions for today’s showdown.
As the dawn of the Fuente era is finally upon us, there are lots of unanswered questions. Some of them will be answered by the end of Saturday, but some will remain. So what can we expect out of this new Hokies team against the Liberty Flames?
This is a Hokies team that can, and will, beat Liberty by running a basic offense. By sticking to this type of scheme, it prevents Tennessee from being fully prepared for next week. Remember in 2014, when Bud Foster played a very basic defense against William and Mary? He debuted the “Bear” defense against Ohio State the very next week, and the Buckeyes had no clue how to beat it — because they had never seen it on film. This will be the goal for Coach Fuente going into the Battle at Bristol.
All that said, you can still expect an explosive offense that is capable of pulling off big plays. This Liberty team is an FCS team for a reason, and there is no reason why this Hokies team is incapable of exploited those weaknesses. Look for lots of players to get playing time, including more than one QB (!!) and don’t be upset if some of our key players are taken out earlier than you would like. This Liberty game is a tuneup for next week down in Bristol. It would be great for the Hokies to be in a position where they can put in backups at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 38, Liberty 10
The time is here Hokie fans. The Justin Fuente era is beginning, and Lane Stadium will definitely be rocking. Virginia Tech opens the season against a foe from just up the road in the Liberty Flames. Liberty is supposed to be a cupcake before a major test in Bristol. However, the Hokies can not afford to overlook this opponent.
Liberty will definitely come to play, Virginia Tech may be the considered the best program in the state but Liberty has pride in their program and will be looking to get a big win for their program. However, how many times has little brother ever beaten big brother in a fight? Make no mistake, this will be a fight. Liberty boast some big bodies, along with the talent to go with their imposing size. That being said I look for the Hokies to try and create a positive culture of controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
The offense the Hokies will be somewhat of a mystery, or at the very least drastically different from the last few years. The up tempo will be interesting to see how good the conditioning of the Hokies really is. I look for Fuente to not really show his full hand in the first game, but to take advantage of the playmakers he has on that side of the ball. Look for Ford, Phillips, Hodges, Rodgers, and McMillian to star on simple plays which allows them to win one on one battles. Let’s be real Hokie fans Hodges is a tough cover for any team in America. I think he could have a huge year as a security blanket for new quarterback Jerrod Evans.
Evans is the real wildcard for the game. It will be interesting to see how good he can be, as well as how he can manage this Hokie attack. Look for Evans to be eased into his first game as a Hokie, and rely on the rushing duo of Sam Rodgers and Travon McMillian to star early.
The Hokie defense is well the Hokie defense. Bud Foster is entering his 30th year as a coach, the majority of them running the Hokie vaunted defense. I will say this the defense will more than likely try to assert its will early and often. Look for Bud to use the depth he has up front to keep the pressure on a Flames offense that has a new signal caller.
Hokie fans don’t worry the Fuente era is going to get off to the right start. The Hokies will be in the driver seat going into half time. However, don’t look for the 2nd string to make an appearance till the 4th quarter as Fuente will try to get much needed game reps. Hokies will cruise to a 38-10 victory. 1-0 bring on the VOLS, until next time fans LETS GO HOKIES.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 38, Liberty 10
BOLD PREDICTION: Baron will lead the defense in sacks against Liberty with 3.5 sacks this game. Total sacks Tech will have is 5, with 9 hurries.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 28, Liberty 3
Folks, gameday has finally as the Hokies will kick off the Justin Fuente era against the Liberty Flames in what should be an easy game to get Fuente’s VT record above .500. However, the Hokies can’t afford to be caught sleeping like Tennessee was as while Liberty is not nearly as good as an Appalachian State that was quite good in 2015, the Flames have some talent on this team.
However, I expect the Hokies will come out ready to play and prove that this team will be a threat in the ACC Coastal.
Jerod Evans may have just gotten installed as the starting quarterback recently but I expect Evans to be productive and have a solid day making plays with both his arm and his legs. Meanwhile, Isaiah Ford will begin to make his case as to why he should be an All-American at the end of this season with a big day while Justin Fuente’s as a whole will be firing on all cylinders.
Liberty will also have some offensive success but Bud Foster’s defense will make a small statement today and prevent the Flames from getting in the end zone led by a defensive line that will wreak havoc on Liberty’s quarterback and running backs. The Hokies will put together a strong performance today and look sharp ahead of next week’s showdown against Tennessee in Bristol.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 42, Liberty 9
There you have it Hokies. Football is back in Blacksburg and what a great thing that is.