The others were to teams they should have beaten: East Carolina in 2008 and
The ECU and Boise defeats can be traced directly to blocked punts, a common thread worth mentioning as Virginia Tech prepares to debut a rookie punter in Monday’s challenging opener against
A.J. Hughes leads fellow true freshman Hunter Windmuller in a competition that remains open, coach
"Over the preseason, their times are just about equal," he said. "Their operation time, their hang time, their distance. Both of them have certainly had their moments. … They are two good punters, I'll tell you that."
Both are preferred walk-ons. Hughes hails from North High in Terre Haute, Ind., where he was also a pole-vaulter. Windmuller attended the Flint Hill School in Northern
Still, for a program that has lost its last three openers against Bowl Subdivision opponents — the Hokies smoked Championship Subdivision power Appalachian State last season — starting a freshman punter is unsettling, especially since blocked punts created touchdowns in two of those setbacks.
Virginia Tech lost its 2008 opener in Charlotte when ECU’s T.J. Lee smothered a
In 2010 at the Washington Redskins’ stadium, Boise State’s
Virginia Tech had myriad punting issues last season with Michael Branthover, Scott Demler and
Since Georgia Tech is not only an ACC but also a Coastal Division rival, Monday's contest is arguably as (more?) important than the openers against more acclaimed opponents such as USC, Alabama and Boise State.
This marks the fourth time in the Beamer Era that the Hokies have started against a league team. They lost to
Beating Georgia Tech could well hinge on avoiding special-teams gaffes.
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