Quarterback shuffle. At this relatively late date, it's anybody's guess as to who will open the season as Virginia Tech's starting quarterback, but incoming, immediately-eligible transfer Michael Brewer has as good (if not better) a chance as Mark Leal and Brenden Motley.

Lambert's time. Though U.Va. coach Mike London hasn't declared Greyson Lambert his starter, he'll open preseason practices No. 1 on the depth chart. Will Hampton High graduate David Watford have something to say with his actions on the practice field about this situation?

Who's Mr. Excitement? U.Va. spent a lot of time in the spring looking for playmakers, but the jury is still out on whether it found anybody to fit the bill. Healthy running back Taquan Mizzell, who also will be used on returns and in the slot, is the most likely candidate.

Everything isn't Jake. After spring practices, tight end/wide receiver Jake McGee decided he'd seen enough of Charlottesville. He opted to transfer to Florida — a mammoth blow to U.Va.'s offense, considering McGee figured to be Lambert or Watford's best security blanket catching the ball.

Bruins await. If U.Va. can keep it close or pull off an upset in its season-opener in Charlottesville against UCLA, there should be plenty to build on. If the Bruins come to Scott Stadium and deliver a beatdown, the Cavaliers' game against Richmond in week two becomes ... well ...a pretty big deal for U.Va.

Buckeye test. All of Virginia Tech's players and coaches will talk about not looking past the season-opener against William and Mary, but the Tribe is really just an appetizer heading into Tech's second week matchup at Ohio State.

Cardinals arrive. Louisville will play its first ACC road game Sept. 13 in Charlottesville against U.Va., but there are more stern tests on the Cardinals schedule this season, including Oct. 11 at Clemson, Oct. 30 against Florida State and Nov. 22 at Notre Dame.

Irish join the party. The ACC is ready to roll with Notre Dame as a partial football member. Notre Dame will play only four ACC opponents this year because of a scheduling conflict (was going to play Wake Forest, too, but not anymore due to the conflict), but the Irish will matchup against five ACC foes every season after this fall.

"Ant's" the man. U.Va. does have at least one player on the roster everybody in the nation will notice. Safety Anthony Harris is bonafide All-American material.

Establishing identity. Late last season, offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild said he felt at times like U.Va.'s offense looked close to what he had envisioned, but it never got there. He'd like to run the ball, which is fine with Kevin Parks (1,031 yards last season). Does U.Va. have the offensive line to do it?

Where's the ACC win? Odds are U.Va. will snap what could be a 10-game losing streak in Week 2 against Richmond, but when will the ACC skid end? U.Va. has lost 10 straight in ACC play. Finding a sure-fire conference win for U.Va. is a challenge.

Sack happy. Nothing gets U.Va. defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta's pulse racing like pressuring the quarterback. U.Va. was better at doing it last season (28 sacks) in Tenuta's first season in Charlottesville than it was in 2012 (17 sacks). Defensive end Eli Harold (team-high 8.5 sacks last season) will need to be even more active.

Last chance. Wide receivers Darius Jennings and Dominique Terrell and cornerback Demetrious Nicholson came to U.Va. with impressive recruiting rankings on their resumes. As they enter their senior seasons, all three players still have a lot to prove.

Promising freshmen. U.Va. defensive tackle Andrew Brown and safety Quin Blanding were among the best players in the nation in the class of 2014. Will the first-year duo be called upon to start right away?

Need No. 14. There's no doubt Virginia Tech must have Trey Edmunds back at full strength after his broken leg last November. J.C. Coleman, Phoebus High graduate Marshawn Williams, Jerome Wright, Joel Caleb and Chris Mangus don't quite offer as much as Edmunds.

Changes galore. When the season opens, Virginia Tech fans will have to get used to some new faces in the defensive front seven. Defensive linemen James Gayle, a Bethel High graduate, J.R. Collins and Derrick Hopkins are gone, as are linebackers Jack Tyler and Tariq Edwards.

So, who are the new guys? In place of the five aforementioned players, Virginia Tech will turn to linemen Corey Marshall, Dadi Nicolas, Ken Ekanem and Seth Dooley to work alongside returning defensive tackle Luther Maddy, and linebackers Chase Williams and Deon Clarke will play next to an outside linebacker to be named later.

Sweet sounds of progress. Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer may need to bust out his megaphone more often in practices if he hopes to drown out the welcome beating and hammering noises associated with the ongoing construction of a new indoor practice facility just behind the outdoor practice fields.

Loeffler enters year two. If Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler had his way, he'd get to work another year or two or three with quarterback Logan Thomas, but it doesn't work that way. With a new quarterback under his tutelage, Loeffler must inspire a unit that was 101st in the nation last season in total offense (356 yards per game) and 109th in rushing offense (119.8 yards per game).

Another defensive juggernaut? While Virginia Tech hasn't had nearly the kind of success in the last two seasons (7-6 in 2012, 8-5 last season) it had grown accustomed to in the previous decade, defensive coordinator Bud Foster still produced elite units (18th in total defense in 2012, fourth last season). Can he do it again?