QUARTERBACK – Even
Brock Berlin continued his stellar senior season with four more touchdown tosses against Wake Forest. Berlin has a chance to show the Hokies how much he’s improved since they destroyed the ‘Canes last year and picked off Berlin twice.
Bryan Randall is a big mobile quarterback who has given the ‘Canes fits in the past. Like Berlin, he is having a career year with more touchdowns and less interceptions than in years past. Randall has also run for over 400 yards on the season.
RUNNING BACK – VT
The tag team of Frank Gore and Tyrone Moss has done a good job this season and the ‘Canes will need them to elevate their game against a tough Hokie defense. Gore needs 181 yards in his last two games to reach 1,000 on the season.
Mike Imoh has come back strong after a three-game suspension to start the season. He has 1,031 all-purpose yards, 708 of which have come on the ground. The Hokies also have juniors Cedric Humes and Justin Hamilton if Imoh runs into off-field trouble again.
WIDE RECEIVER – UM
Roscoe Parrish, the team’s leading receiver, is another ‘Cane looking for redemption against the Hokies. The Hokies stripped Parrish easily and scored a touchdown to start last season’s massacre. Ryan Moore’s return from injury gave this unit a huge boost last game.
Almost all of the Hokie receivers are freshmen. Josh Hyman is the most impressive of the bunch but Eddie Royal has also given opposing defenses trouble. Although they are young, they have the ability to make big plays.
OFFENSIVE LINE – UM
Center Joel Rodriguez and right tackle Chris Myers are playing in the Orange Bowl for the last time. These two will lead a line that has had an up-and-down year so far. In both the Hurricanes’ losses the running game was pitiful but they have performed well since then.
V-Tech has a lot of experience on the line with three juniors and two seniors. Will Montgomery took over the center spot after much-hated Jake Grove graduated. Grove took a cheap shot at defensive tackle Santonio Thomas and sprained his ankle in last year’s game.
DEFENSIVE LINE – Even
Alton Wright, who has sat on the bench since arriving from junior college two years ago, brings an excitement that the d-line has missed all season. Wright, a back up, plays at top speed and has three sacks to show for it in his senior year.
The Hokies Kevin and Jonathan Lewis are brothers who play next to each other at defensive tackle sometimes. Darryl Tapp is the most dangerous d-lineman on the Hokie defense with 7.5 sacks and 53 tackles on the season.
LINEBACKERS – VT
Rocky McIntosh and Tavares Gooden have returned from injuries, but in their absence this unit found two future stars in freshmen Jon Beason and Romeo Davis. Entering this season the position lacked depth and experience but they have improved.
Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi, both red-shirt freshmen, make big impacts from the middle linebacker position. Adibi was injured in the first game of the season but he came back and has made big plays every game. Hall is second on the team in tackles.
SECONDARY – UM
Antrel Rolle is the only senior starter on this defense (besides the injured Santonio Thomas). The coaches will look to the All-American cornerback to shut down V-tech’s young wide receivers. Devin Hester looks like the future at this position.
Eric Green has played in 47 games in his career and he starts at one corner spot with Jimmy Williams as the other cornerback. Williams has four interceptions on the season while safety Vincent Fuller has three picks.
SPECIAL TEAMS – Even
Opposing teams are getting better at not allowing Miami’s dangerous kick and punt returners hurt them, but Devin Hester and Roscoe Parrish are still a couple of time bombs waiting explode. Punter Brian Monroe continues to have a huge season after struggling last year.
Head Coach Frank Beamer always has solid special teams units that can block a kick or punt that can change the game. Kicker Brandon Pace has hit three field goals from beyond 40 yards and has made 80 percent of his attempts on the year.