Football 2000 Preview:
Have Faith

by Jeff Holland, 8/24/00

In response to reading most of the college football preview magazines and the numerous questions I get from friends who know I played football for Virginia Tech, I am writing my preview/editorial/opinion of the 2000 Virginia Tech football season. I usually don’t stick my neck out by predicting how well Virginia Tech will do, but after reading all of the generic college football previews from magazines like Athlon, Lindy’s, The Sporting News, etc., I felt I had to say my 2 cents worth. These predictions should be read with a grain of salt. Remember…these are just my predictions…and if any major injuries happen to key players, then you can throw these predictions out the window….

It seems that every college football preview magazine that I have read recently reads the same way - they mention Vick; the fact that Virginia Tech lost many players on defense and on special teams; and the fact that Miami is "back" and will win the Big East. Yawn…such an in-depth analysis…maybe I just expect more out of these magazines, but then again they are predictable. At the Big East Media Day, Miami was voted to finish #1, which didn’t surprise anyone. The thing that did surprise me is the fact that Virginia Tech got 9 first place votes versus Miami’s 15.

Here’s what I think…

  • Virginia Tech’s last couple of recruiting classes have been outstanding. There is a ton of young talent just waiting to play. So have faith in our coaches to develop that young talent.
  • One thing I have noticed while reading several of the college football preview magazines, hardly anything is being said about defensive tackles, Pugh and Beasley. I think they are both going to have outstanding seasons. I predict that they both will be no worse than 2nd Team All Big East. Pugh reminds me of a shorter JC Price. He just makes play after play after play. Don’t worry about depth at defensive tackle. I’m sure there will be a 4 defensive tackle rotation system, just like it has been since 1993. Maybe I am biased because I used to play defensive tackle…
  • Another thing I have noticed being said about the defense is that Cory Bird is the only defensive player that is starting in the position he played last year. So what! Sorensen, Taylor, Whitaker, Austin, Pugh, Beasley and Bird are very experienced. I consider them starters. So even though on the surface it might look like the defense has only "one starter", I consider the defense has seven returning starters.
  • Virginia Tech is going to be fine on defense. Have faith in the Coach Foster and the other defensive coaches. Sure, replacing all of the great players on defense from last year’s team will be tough, but not impossible. Some people said that it would be hard to replace the defensive players from the 1995 defense, but it happened, and it will happen again.
  • I am very anxious to see guys like Adibi, Wilds, Houseright, Welch, Pile, V. Robinson, TJ Jackson, Provitt, etc. play on defense. They are going to be the stars of the future on defense.
  • Everybody knows the offensive line is loaded with talent. It reminds me of the Virginia Tech’s offensive line from the 1995-1996 years. What I am really anxious to see are the younger guys like Dunn, Grove, Davis, Nelson and Owens. When all the seniors graduate this year, these are some of the guys who you will see next year.
  • The running back situation is solid. Sure, I wished Shyrone stayed too. Watching him run all over the competition in his senior season would have been great. But hey, it’s his life and we should wish him the best. I can’t wait to see Suggs play. He is going to explode this year. It seems that Hawkins and Ferguson have been the fullbacks for many years. It seems Virginia Tech has always had solid fullbacks – Poindexter, Swarm, Edmonds, Parker,…

SIDE NOTE: If Kendrick starts over Suggs (Suggs is tabbed as the #1 back going into the season, but you never know), I’m sure there will be some fans that will complain that Suggs should be starting over Kendrick. It’s the same song I have heard ever since 1992. When Vaughn Hebron and Tony Kennedy were playing, you would hear: "Play Dwayne Thomas more!" When Thomas was starting, you would hear: "I want to see the Ox!" When Oxendine was starting, you would hear: "Where’s Marcus Parker or Lamont Pegues!" When Pegues started, you would hear: "What happened to Shyrone!" And now if Kendrick starts, which he might do, I’m sure some fans will be screaming: "Put Suggs in!" Anybody that has been watching Coach Hite’s style knows that he has always rotated the running backs. So things are going to be fine. Plus, you can never have too much depth at running back. Remember Akron 1996?

  • At wide receiver there is A. Davis, E. Johnson, E. Wilford and R. Johnson…need I say more?
  • Enough has been said about Vick, so I won’t bore with you anything that you have already heard. Look at it this way, after I graduated in 1998, I always try to come to as many Virginia Tech home games as I can. In 1998, I went to 4 home games. In 1999, I went to 3 home games and the Sugar Bowl. This year, I’m planning on going to 5 home games, 2 away games, and the Sugar/Orange/Fiesta Bowl…


I think Virginia Tech will finish 11-1, win the Big East and go back to the Sugar/Orange/Fiesta Bowl. The one loss will not be Miami. This will be one of those years where Virginia Tech and Miami will both be 6-1 in conference play. Virginia Tech will probably lose to another Big East opponent, but Virginia Tech will win the tie-breaker between Miami because of the head-to-head win. 6 offensive players will make 1st and/or 2nd All Big East and 5 defensive players will make 1st and/or 2nd All Big East. Virginia Tech will continue its streak of 8 straight bowls, and it will be the 4th major bowl in 6 years (1995 Sugar, 1996 Orange, 1999 Sugar, and 2000 Sugar/Orange/ Fiesta Bowl).

Remember what I said earlier in this article, take these predictions with a grain of salt, and if any major injuries happened during the season, you can pretty much throw these predictions out the window…

Jeff Holland was a defensive tackle for the Hokie football team from 1991-1995.  He played a key role in the rise of the Virginia Tech defense and on the Hokie bowl teams from 1993-1995. Jeff graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.A. in Urban Affairs and Planning and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning.  He is currently the Town Planner in Smithfield, VA.


HC Football 2000 Preview

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