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Doug Benc/Associated Press

How quickly can all
the new faces on
the defense jell?

The Hokies will introduce eight first-time starters on a defensive unit that has been one of the hallmarks of the program. There seems to be little doubt about the potency of Virginia Tech’s offense. The critical question, as it pertains to the Hokies’ championship aspirations, is whether defensive coordinator Bud Foster can figure out a way to make the defense stingy once again.

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Doug Benc/Associated Press

Can the running game carry the Hokies?

Between quarterback Tyrod Taylor and tailbacks Ryan Williams and Darren Evans (above), the Hokies own perhaps the most dynamic rushing attack in the nation. Taylor has improved as a passer during his collegiate career, but his – and Virginia Tech’s – primary offensive skill stems from his legs, not his arm. Williams and Evans could become the first tandem in program history to each rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Are national title aspirations legitimate?

If the defense can become sufficiently sound in a hurry, the Hokies could contend for a spot in the BCS national championship game. But their first game – against Boise State at FedEx Field – will be a tough test and may well level-set their goals for the rest of the season. After playing the Broncos, Virginia Tech does not face another formidable challenge until November.

Steve Yanda/The Washington Post

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