Cursory Look At Tide's Opening Foe

What does Frank Beamer have that no other head coach in Virginia Tech football history has? The answer is a victory over Alabama. The Hokies are 1-11 all-time against the Crimson Tide, but that is something of a non-issue considering there have been only a dozen games.

This time a year ago the excitement was already building for the season-opener for Alabama. The blueprint is similar this year – a game against a program with a solid football history in a neutral site – but the Crimson Tide vs. the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta isn't attracting the same attention as did Bama vs. Michigan at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, last year.

Nevertheless, as much as Alabama's opener last year turned out to be not much of a contest – Alabama 41, Michigan 14 – the Tide should expect a very good game against Virginia Tech. At least that's the way it looks in early June was we take a glance ahead at the upcoming Crimson Tide football schedule.

The most recent meeting between Bama and the Hokies – kicking off the 2009 season in the Georgia Dome -- proved to be an important victory for the Tide. Coach Nick Saban's squad was ranked fifth in the nation going up against a Tech team ranked seventh. Alabama rolled up 489 yards of total offense, held the Hokies to 155 (64 rushing, 91 passing) and won by 34-24. From there Bama went to an undefeated regular season, downed Florida in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, and defeated Texas in the BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl.

The Virginia Tech game plays well into an overall favorable 2013 Alabama football schedule. The Bama-Hokies game may not generate the national attention of last year's Tide-Wolverines contest, but Alabama players have respect for Virginia Tech, which makes continuing focus on the opener a positive for summer and fall camp preparation. Moreover, Alabama has an open date the following week before the hype begins for the Tide's trip to College State and a game against Texas A&M.

Last year Virginia Tech had a modest 7-6 record (its worst in two decades), including a 4-4 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference and an overtime victory over Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando. The Hokies were 3-0 in overtime games, also defeating Georgia Tech and Boston College in OT.

Beamer returns most of the Virginia Tech players from a year ago and the defense, with eight starters back, is expected to be the toughest in the ACC.

On offense there is a hurdle. Returning quarterback Logan Thomas, a senior, will have a new offensive coordinator. Scot Loeffler – is that name familiar? – may send up a red flag for Hokies hopes. As Auburn's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last year, the Tigers were 14th in a 14-team league in both passing offense and total offense.

Virginia Tech wants to have a big passing game, but the losses from last year include both starting tackles and all the starting wide receivers.

Although 2013 Tech has a reputation for being short on playmakers, the Hokies did have a good year recruiting runners and catchers.

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