Offense to lead Hokies into opener vs. Boise St.

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BLACKSBURG, VA. (AP) - When Virginia Tech takes the field Monday night against No. 3 Boise State in a huge opening game, the 10th-ranked Hokies’ offense will be in a new role.

For the first time in recent memory, it’s the unquestioned strength of the team, the unit being leaned on to help defensive coordinator Bud Foster groom a young defense.

The Hokies’ defense routinely ranks among the best in the country, but there are seven new starters on Foster’s side of the ball _ and lots of experienced playmakers on the offensive side.

“We’re playing against an offense that, I believe, is running on all cylinders and I’m excited about that because it’s been awhile since we had an offense like that,” Foster said.

The team’s final scrimmage heading into game week certainly backed him up.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, the Hokies’ most important player in yet another season of great expectations, completed 16 of 17 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns.

Having Taylor behind center allows coach Frank Beamer to sleep a little easier.

“I feel the same way with him out there as I did when Michael Vick was out there,” he said, speaking of the dual-threat quarterback who led the Hokies to the 1999 national championship game against Florida State. “Any play has a chance of going a long ways.”

But it’s not just Taylor who has game-breaking skills.

Andre Smith took a reception 95 yards for a touchdown in the scrimmage. And he’s a tight end.

Jarrett Boykin caught seven for 134 yards. He’s the team’s best go-up-and-get-it receiver. He led the Hokies with five touchdown catches last season.

Star tailbacks Ryan Williams and Darren Evans got limited work, as planned, but sophomore David Wilson ran for 61 yards on 11 carries and returned a kickoff 43 yards. Beamer was considering allowing him to redshirt this season, but since decided that he’s too valuable.

“I think you need to get your best players on the football field,” he said.

This year, the Hokies’ best can be more explosive than any team in school history, and Boykin thinks having grown up together will help the offense live up to its expectations.

“We feel like eveything’s starting to come along even more,” the 6-foot-2 junior said. “Last year, it was getting there. This year, we’re just going to try to keep it rolling.”

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