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MATT GENTRY | The Roanoke Times
Head Coach Frank Beamer hangs out with the team during Virginia Tech football media day at Lane Stadium. Head Coach Frank Beamer hangs out with the team during Virginia Tech football media day at Lane Stadium.
Friday, August 30, 2013
Virginia Tech vs. Alabama
5:30 P.M. SATURDAY | ESPN | GEORGIA DOME, ATLANTA
OFFENSE: EDGE CRIMSON TIDE
It will be Scot Loeffler's debut as offensive coordinator for the Hokies. His last time out, with Auburn, his group got manhandled in a 49-0 loss to the Crimson Tide. He'll be short-handed. Tight end Ryan Malleck is out for the year with a shoulder injury. Running back J.C. Coleman is out with an ankle injury. That'll put the onus on Logan Thomas (18 TD, 16 INT) and redshirt freshman running back Trey Edmunds to carry the load. Alabama's QB A.J. McCarron (30 TD, 3 INT) is 25-2 as a starter, running back T.J. Yeldon (1,108 yards) is a Heisman candidate.
DEFENSE: EDGE CRIMSON TIDE
Despite playing without cornerback Antone Exum (ACL) and outside linebacker Ronny Vandyke (shoulder), the Hokies are solid here. Eight other starters are back. The concern is that two true freshmen - Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson - will get significant time at CB. The Crimson Tide are strong in the front seven, led by linebackers C.J. Mosley (109 tackles), Trey DePriest (54 tackles) and Adrian Hubbard (11 TFL, 7 sacks). 'Bama has allowed fewer than 80 yards per game in four of the last five years, tops in the nation.
SPECIAL TEAMS: EDGE PUSH
Virginia Tech has two strong returners, with Demitri Knowles (28.3 avg.) on kicks and Kyshoen Jarrett (13.9 avg.) on punts. Kicker Cody Journell (20-25 FG) and punter A.J. Hughes (40.6 avg.) return as well. But Alabama has Christion Jones on kick and punt returns. He took one to the house last year.
INTANGIBLES: EDGE CRIMSON TIDE
Virginia Tech has played the No. 1 team in the country seven times and lost all seven, including six under head coach Frank Beamer. Beating a Nick Saban-coached team that has won three national titles in the last four years, particularly with so many offensive questions marks, seems like a tall order. It won't help that the Georgia Dome, just three hours from Tuscaloosa, should be primarily Alabama fans.
PREDICTION: Alabama 34, Virginia Tech 10
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