Week 1: Virginia Tech Hokies

NC State's football season begins Sunday night against the Virginia Tech Hokies on national television. The Hokies, a consensus top-10 team, return 14 starters from last year's ACC championship team.

BACKGROUND
Location: Blacksburg, Va.
Enrollment: 28,000
Nickname: Hokies
School Colors: Maroon & Burnt Orange
Stadium: Lane (65,115)
Conference: ACC

2005 TEAM
Head Coach:
Frank Beamer
Record at VT: 135-77-2 (19th year)
2004 Record: 10-3 (7-1)
2004 Bowl: Sugar vs. Auburn (L, 16-13)
Starters Returning: 14 (8 offense, 6 defense)
2005 Preseason Ranking: No. 8

Virginia Tech Scouting Report

PLAYERS TO WATCH
5 Marcus Vick, QB – For all the hype and accolades Vick is receiving, he still has not started a collegiate game. He saw action at quarterback in 2003, and even caught a touchdown pass as a receiver in the Insight Bowl against Cal, but this will be his first collegiate start after missing the entire 2004 season. For his career, Vick has two touchdown passes and five interceptions, but is regarded as a dangerous, dual-threat quarterback capable of making plays with his legs and his right arm.

Marcus Vick will make his first career start at quarterback.
20 Mike Imoh, RB – The speedy and diminutive Imoh (5-foot-7) presents problems for the opposition with his height and size, as he can hide behind the bigger offensive linemen, making it hard to find him. Last season, he rushed for 720 yards and six touchdowns and led the team with 1,030 all-purpose yards. At UNC, he set a new single-game Virginia Tech rushing record with 243 yards on 32 carries, breaking Kevin Jones' mark of 241 set at Pittsburgh in 2003.

4 Eddie Royal, WR – Looking for the x-factor in Sunday's game? It might be Royal. A dynamic player, the sophomore was outstanding on special teams last year against the Wolfpack and NC State will be looking to neutralize him this time around. Last year, Royal caught 28 passes for 480 yards and three scores. He also averaged 11 yards per punt return, returning 25 punts, and 25.8 yards on 12 kickoff returns.

55 Darryl Tapp, DE – Tapp is back and looking to repeat as a first-team All-ACC selection. Tapp, who has garnered preseason All-America honors, is a speedy rusher who goes full-speed all the time. Last year, he was tied for third on the team with 60 tackles, including 16.5 for loss and 8.5 sacks, as well as 23 quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries.

2 Jimmy Williams, CB – Williams was a first-team All-ACC defensive back in 2004 and is regarded as the league's top returning defensive back.

Jimmy Williams is the league's top defensive back.
At 6-3, 216 pounds, Williams gives the Hokies one of the biggest cornerbacks in the collegiate ranks. Last year, the Thorpe Award nominee had 60 stops, including 5.5 for loss. He also had five interceptions — including one he returned 34 yards for a score against Maryland — and had 14 passes broken up.

9 Vince Hall, ILB – Hall started the last 12 games at the middle linebacker position last year and finished second on the team in total tackles with 64, including 4.5 for loss and a sack. He also had a forced fumble, seven quarterback hurries and three pass break ups. A tenacious defender, Hall is known for his run-stuffing ability in the box.

11 Xavier Adibi, OLB - Adibi is the playmaker at the linebacker position, as he burst on the scene last year in the opener against Southern Cal. He finished the season with 25 total tackles, including 4.5 for loss and two sacks. He also had an interception, a forced fumble and two pass break ups.

46 Brandon Pace, PK - Pace is likely the top returning kicker in the ACC, as he was a Lou Groza semifinalist in 2004 and finished one point away from tying the single-season school scoring record for a kicker. He earned first-team All-ACC honors and has received several preseason accolades this year. Think Pace is ready to play the Wolfpack? His missed field goal in the final seconds sealed NC State's win in Blacksburg last year. For the season, the former walk-on was 21-for-27 on FGs and was also 43-for-44 on PATs.

OFFENSIVE OVERVIEW
Virginia Tech wants to establish the run. The Hokies will operate out of the I-back formation with two wide receivers and will mix in some option. Look for the Hokies to use more of a spread offense this year given their quality depth at receiver, but the running game is what they want to establish.

Look for the Hokies to move quarterback Marcus Vick around to give him run-pass options, and don't be surprised if the playcalling is conservative in a hostile environment with Vick making his first career college start. The Hokies will take their chances deep when the opportunity is there, but they also want to get the tight ends and running backs involved in the passing game.

The key will be how their offensive line performs... last year they struggled against NC State's defensive front, yielding ten sacks.

DEFENSIVE OVERVIEW
Virginia Tech will load the box to stop the running game and put pressure on Wolfpack quarterback Jay Davis to make plays. Davis struggled last year against Bud Foster's defense, most notably the zone-blitz, and he will need to make plays for NC State to pick up the victory.

Virginia Tech will play a lot of four-man, four-linebacker coverage with a single safety, daring an offense to challenge them deep.

Look for NC State to try and establish the run against the Hokies while also challenging the three new starters in Virginia Tech's secondary.

COACH FRANK BEAMER
Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech '69), whose Tech teams have posted a 111-37 record over the past 12 seasons and appeared in bowl games each year during that span, is in his 19th year as the head football coach at Virginia Tech. Beamer has guided the Hokies to a 135-77-2 record.

He became Tech's winningest football coach in 1997 when the Hokies defeated Arkansas State, 50-0.

Under Beamer, Tech football has enjoyed unprecedented success with 12 consecutive bowl appearances, an ACC title, three BIG EAST Conference titles and a trip to the national championship game. Tech won the BIG EAST title in 1999 and 1995 and shared it in '96.

RUSHING = OUTCOME?
• Under head coach Frank Beamer (214 games), the Hokies are 119-27-2 when outrushing their opponents, 15-50 when being outrushed and 1-0 when the rushing total is even.

• In Tech's current 12-year bowl run (since 1993), Tech is 99-12 when outrushing its opponents, 11-25 when being outrushed and 1-0 when the rushing total is even.

• In its current 12-year bowl run (since 1993), Tech is 74-6 when rushing for 200 yards or more, including 5-0 last year.

• Since 1999, the Hokies are 54-5 when outrushing their opponent and 4-12 when being outrushed.

NOTES FROM '04 CONTEST
• Tech's loss to NC State snapped a string of 27 consecutive wins during the month of September dating back to 1996.

• Virginia Tech's 192 yards of total offense was the lowest output by the Hokies since netting 185 yards against North Carolina in the 1998 Gator Bowl game, following the 1997 season.

• The 36 yards net rushing against the ‘Pack was Tech's lowest total since rushing for 15 yards at Pittsburgh in 2001.

• True freshman Eddie Royal (Herndon, Va.) returned three punts in the game for 107 yards. Royal had a long return of 58 yards.



Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer


Virginia Tech media relations contributed to this report.


Pack Pride Top Stories