ACC MEDIA DAYS: Coastal Notebook

PINEHURST, N.C. – Carlton Powell knows exactly where he was and what he was doing minute by minute while the deadliest school shooting in American history was taking place this past April.

When the deadly rampage took place at Virginia Tech, life with the students and members of the football team was immediately changed. Nothing would be the same anytime soon.

But as the season gets closer to starting and when members of the student body start returning to school, there will be a new sense of togetherness. Even though there are separate clubs, fraternities and sports, it will truly be a One Virginia Tech.

"Right after the shooting, we were grieving and there was a lot of sorrow and people went home to be with their families," said Powell, a senior defensive tackle with the Hokies, at the 2007 ACC Football Kickoff at The Pinehurst Resort. "But I can see a change now where people are ready to get over what happened and try to get on with life."

One of the aspects on campus that will no doubt be a source of healing is the football team.

Virginia Tech already boasts one of the greatest environments in the ACC and country for football games. The experience there is like no other in the league.

The team truly is a source of pride.

"A lot of people are looking toward the team right now to be the glue to put everything together," Powell said. "We need to go out there and have a great season, but not for us, but for everybody else. There's a feeling where people expect it and need it."

In a odd coincidence, the Hokies are the favorites to win the ACC Championship and look to be in line to challenge for a national championship this season.

Most of their difficult games are at home. However there is a trip to LSU in the second week of the season that looks to be their hardest of the season.

Should Virginia Tech be able to pull off the slight upset in Baton Rouge, then a trip to the national title game could very well be within its reach.

"The Lord works in mysterious ways," Powell said. "If he sets it up for us to win, then it shall be. Even before anything happened, there were national championship thoughts."

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