Midseason Awards and Outlook

Offensive MVP: Kaleb Smith

Kaleb Smith leads the Hokies in all receiving categories. He is top-10 in the ACC in receiving yards, receiving yards per game and receptions per game. He has a top 25 PFF ranking for wide receivers nationwide. He has been the Hokies most reliable receiver and Grant Wells’ #1 downfield receiving target.

Honorable mention: Keshawn King, Grant Wells

Defensive MVP: Dax Hollifield

Dax Hollifield is a tackling machine. He is a dependable tackler and his coverage ability has improved this season. He is one of the few guys on this defense who will get serious consideration for All-ACC at the end of the season. Pry’s defense has done wonders to improve Dax’s play this season.

Honorable mention: Mario Kendricks, Josh Fuga

Special Teams MVP: Will Ross

Will Ross is about as good as you can hope for out of a first-year kicker. He is hitting on 89% of his field goal attempts, which ranks 26th in the country. If the Hokies could play some close games, he would be a real asset.

2nd Half Outlook:

Bowl eligibility at this point seems like a lost cause. It wouldn’t be impossible for the Hokies to win four games down the stretch but it’s unlikely. The best thing for the Hokies to focus on in the second half of the season is improving their offense.

The run blocking so far this season has been poor. That needs that to be an area of focus in the 2nd half. It’s difficult to have an effective offense when you can’t run block. The Hokies need to find some receivers outside of Kaleb Smith. Dae’Quan Wright looks like he has a bright future. We’ve also seen some nice moments from Bryce Duke and Christian Moss as pass catchers.

This is a lost season and the Hokies need to focus on who can help them next year. Time to evaluate positions of need in the portal. The Hokies have to hit the portal hard in the offseason. They should spend the next 6 games evaluating positions of need and which positions need more depth. Will they solve all those problems in one offseason? Definitely not. But they need to start chipping away with recruiting and the transfer portal.

The Hokies will only win 2 or 3 more games down the stretch. 2 wins seems pretty safe. 3 wins might be a bit of a reach. They won’t win less than 2 games. The games where they have the best odds to win are Georgia Tech and Virginia. Even the Duke and Liberty games are looking a bit dicey at the moment. Either way, I wouldn’t focus too much on wins and losses this year. Focus more on improvement and who is going to help this team moving forward. A bowl game is unlikely so this team should be in full evaluation mode.

Midseason Awards and Outlook

This season is weird. There are 11 regular season games. And if there is a bowl game, there will be 12 games total. I thought it would make sense to do midseason awards after 6 games. With the hopes that the Hokies will play 12 games total this season.

Offensive MVP: Khalil Herbert

This is the easiest call in all the years I’ve been doing this. Imagine this team without Herbert. It’s not the same powerful offense. I still think it would be good. But it wouldn’t be as explosive. You can tell Herbert gets a lot of attention when he’s on the field. That opens the game up for everyone else. We haven’t seen that around here since David Wilson.

Honorable mention: Hendon Hooker, James Mitchell

Defensive MVP: Amare Barno

This one is a lot harder. Like a lot harder. First, let’s start by saying the defensive performance in the first half of the season hasn’t been good. But Barno has jumped off the screen when watching the Hokies. You can tell he is still a raw player but the natural ability is definitely there. He leads the team with 8.5 TFLs and is 2nd on the team with 3.5 sacks. The one thing this defense has done well is get after the quarterback and Barno is one of the big reasons why.

Honorable mention: Justus Reed, Divine Deablo

Special Teams MVP: Khalil Herbert

It’s that man again. One of the things that has driven me crazy in recent years is that there was no threat on kickoff returns. Tech would either start at their own 25 yard line or worse in terms of field position. Herbert gives this team the potential to take it to the house every single kick return.

Honorable mention: Oscar Bradburn, Brian Johnson

2nd Half Outlook:

The schedule gets a lot harder in the 2nd half of the season. The defense will need to show up otherwise a 2-3 finish isn’t out of the question. We’ve already seen their floor but how much better can they get? They looked good against Louisville outside of two horrific plays. They need to build on what they did the rest of the game. That was a good offense they held down most of the day.

On offense, RUN KHALIL HERBERT. It’s that simple. If he’s not getting 20+ carries a game, you’re doing something wrong. Easier said than done, but you need to get your best player involved in the gameplan. He needs to be the center point of this offense. If he’s not getting the ball, your letting the defense your facing off the hook.

Folks have been hard on the defense but I give them a pass. They had no spring practice. They have a new coaching staff and a new scheme. Not to mention they had a TON of players out during fall practice. And that’s on top of having guys out due to suspension, a leave of absence or injuries. That’s A LOT to deal with. The defense is making progress but we need to see more from them in the last 6 games.

This team will be bowl eligible. I’m not exactly sure what the criteria is or what bowl games will be played. But the Hokies will be there. I’d like to see the Tech finish with at least 7 wins in the regular season. I could feel good about that. I’d also like to see them beat UVA and play Clemson close. This is the weirdest season I can ever remember. So dialing expectations too high may be unrealistic. But I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far. This is an exciting offense and I hope we get to see a lot more offensive fireworks in the 2nd half of the season. And enjoy Khalil Herbert. We don’t get guys like him in Blacksburg very often.

Midseason Awards

We’re halfway through the season and we’ll take some time to examine who has stood out on the 2014 Hokies.

Offensive MVP

Finalists:

Michael Brewer – 10 TDs, 61.8% comp %, 234.8 ypg
Bucky Hodges – 234 yds, 4 TDs
Isaiah Ford – 366 yds, 4 TDs
Marshawn Williams – 362 yds, 3 TDs, 4.0 ypc

brewer_michaelWinner: Michael Brewer. He’s the straw that stirs the drink. Does he turn the ball over too much? Yes. But he also moves the offense better than it has since David Wilson, Danny Coale and Jarred Boykin were here. Virginia Tech’s current total offensive ranking is 71st. The Hokies were ranked 101st in total offense last year. There has been a significant improvement and lot of that can be attributed to better QB play (sorry, Logan).

Defensive MVP

Finalists:

Kendall Fuller – 1 INT, 1 TD, 2 Sacks, 13 passes defended
Ken Ekanem – 5 sacks, 8.5 TFL, 12 QBHs, 1 FF
Chase Williams – 23 solo tackles, 3.5 Sacks, 8.5 TFL, 14 QBHs, 1 FF

fuller_kendallWinner: Kendall Fuller. Seriously, who else could it be? When you throw at Kendall Fuller, you do it at your own peril. He has locked down every receiver he has faced this year. He basically shuts down one side of the field for the opposing offense. I’d rather not imagine what the Hokies’ defense would look like this year without him. Few teams in the country have a weapon in the secondary like Kendall Fuller.

Best position coach

Finalists:

Aaron Moorehead
Charley Wiles
Bryan Stinespring

moorehead_aaronWinner: Aaron Moorehead. It helps when you recruit two players like Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips. Last year, he squeezed as much production as possible from a receiving corps that Rece Davis referred to as “hot garbage” after the Alabama game. This year with Ford, Phillips and Byrn you’re starting to see a lot of production from that position group. It is not easy to get true freshmen to perform at the high level that Ford and Phillips are and that’s a testament to the good work of Aaron Moorehead.

Most surprising player

Finalists:

Bucky Hodges – 234 yds, 4 TDs
Shai McKenzie – 279 yds, 3 TDs, 5.1 ypc
Cam Phillips – 249 yds, 1 TD

hodges_buckyWinner: Bucky Hodges. The word out of spring and fall practice was that Bucky Hodges looked really good and would contribute this year at TE. No one said he would be the next Jimmy Graham (maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration). He looks very similar to TEs that have been drafted to the NFL in recent years (Ebron, Ertz, Reed). Enjoy him while we have him because he might be gone sooner rather than later. He’s that good.

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