VT's Johnson moving on minus Erick Green

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VT's Johnson moving on minus Erick Green

Leading up to and after the NBA Draft, CSNwashington spoke with several of the local college basketball coaches for their take on certain prospects, but also to discuss the 2013-14 season. After catching up with Georgetown's John Thompson III and *George Mason's Paul Hewitt, today's Q&A is with Virginia Tech's James Johnson.  

Last month, Johnson, who is entering his second year as the Hokies head coach, shared his analysis on various ACC players in the draft. That included his now former high-scoring guard, Erick Green

  • How do you go about replacing a player like Green who led the country in scoring and produced in many different ways for the team last season?

James Johnson: "We have two seniors in Cadarian Raines and Jarell Eddie. They will make an impact. You're never going to replace a guy who led the nation in scoring, but I think we did a pretty good job of recruiting with the guys we have coming in. And I think we have some guys already in the program that will help.

"Hopefully Jarell Eddie can help, improve over the [past year] on the offensive end, help us put the ball in the hole. Raines, we'll be looking for him to help with the scoring load, up his (6.6) points per game average, maybe getting into double digits. Then we have a young man who sat out last year, Adam Smith, who transferred from UNC Wilmington. As a freshman, he had big games. UNC Wilmington played two ACC teams and he had big games, [23] against Maryland in one, 32 [against Wake Forest] in another. I don't know if we're looking for those types of numbers, but he's capable of producing those types of numbers in certain games.

"I think we'll be a little more balanced. C.J. Barksdale averaged I think 10 and 6 over his last 10 ACC games. We're looking at him stepping up. Marshall Wood, a freshman last year, broke his foot. We look forward to him helping us out. He can stretch the floor. He can shoot.

"Then we've got some incoming freshman, especially a couple of guards in particular, Malik Mueller, a 6-foot-3 guard out of Germany. A couple of years ago, he won the MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic. Then we have a kid, Ben Emelogu, who led his team to the state championship game down in Texas. Expecting him to shoot the ball and really put it in the hole. ...His high schools numbers don't really indicate what he can do as far as putting the ball in the basket. They were a very balanced team (several D-I prospects)."

  • How did you get a kid from Germany to come to Virginia Tech?

Johnson: "We watched [Mueller] on tape, at the Jordan Brand Classic. Kurt Kanaskie, my assistant, his son played overseas, in Germany for a while. Just connections, talking to people, looking under rocks. We've got to dig under rocks to find those kind of guys."

  • Granted it's a ways before fall practice, but o you have a sense of a starting lineup right now?

Johnson: "With six* freshmen and one transfer, the lineup is open. They have to compete for a position right now. That's the way I'm approaching it now."

* (now five without Clark)

  • Earlier when talking about the draft prospects, you mention liking the way Raines played against Maryland center Alex Len last season. Could he take another step and be a surprise in the conference next season?

Johnson: "I don't know about a surprise in the conference, but I think he can take a better step forward. Last year was his first as a starter, first year as being kind of a go-to guy inside. He had to kind of learn that role. I think he became comfortable with that and next year take it a step further.

"Eddie is [now] a senior who's had some big games, but we're looking for a little bit more consistency out of him."

College Football Playoff projections: From contender to pretender in just four weeks

College Football Playoff projections: From contender to pretender in just four weeks

There were high hopes for LSU at the start of the season. With the collection of talent the Tigers boast on their roster, there was no reason to think they could not challenge Alabama for SEC supremacy.

Even my preseason College Football Playoff projections at the start of the season had LSU as one of the four teams to make the playoff.

SEE THE NEW COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROJECTION HERE

The Tigers' championship hopes took a hit with an opening loss to Wisconsin. Now just four games into their season, Les Miles been fired and their playoff aspirations appear to be completely dashed after a devastating loss Auburn.

With Alabama looking as dominant as ever and what was believed to be their main rival already looking down and out, who else can challenge the Tide for supremacy of the SEC? Who else joins the Alabama in the projected top four?

Find out here in this week's College Football Playoff projection.

Jerod Evans' 4 touchdowns carry Virginia Tech past East Carolina

Jerod Evans' 4 touchdowns carry Virginia Tech past East Carolina

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Jerod Evans said that he needed to clean up some things during Virginia Tech's upcoming off week.

The Hokies' fan base may be wondering what exactly that is. His play so far has been sparkling.

Evans, the Hokies' starting quarterback, threw three touchdown passes and rushed for one to lift Virginia Tech over East Carolina 54-17 on Saturday.

The Hokies (3-1) scored on their final five possessions of the first half, including all four of their second-quarter possessions, to overwhelm East Carolina (2-2) and snap a two-game losing streak to the Pirates.

Evans completed 13 of 20 passes for a career-best 282 yards and rushed for a career-best 97 more. He has thrown at least three touchdown passes in three of the Hokies' first four games and is completing 67 percent of his passes.

"I missed a couple of things here and there," Evans said. "I have a lot of things that I can get better at for sure."

Evans entered the game with an ACC-best 10 touchdown passes this season. Of more importance to Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, he has thrown just one interception.

"I think he's pretty good," Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said of Evans. "He's been judicious with the ball and he's going to the right place most of the time. He's been pretty efficient."

Following a punt return for a touchdown by Greg Stroman and a touchdown run by Marshawn Williams that gave the Hokies a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Evans threw touchdown passes of 24 yards to Isaiah Ford, 13 yards to Travon McMillian and 55 yards to Cam Phillips. That final score gave the Hokies a 38-0 halftime lead.

ECU quarterback Philip Nelson had 362 yards passing and two touchdown tosses to Jimmy Williams. The Pirates had 443 yards of offense, but committed three special teams mistakes, fumbled once and were sacked six times.

"We studied the film well and they had a lot of keys when they were sliding the protection," said Ken Ekanem, who had two of the Hokies' six sacks. "We had a lot of indicators and we knew when someone was going to be left one-on-one. We look forward to one-on-one matchups and pride ourselves on winning those. We did a good job of that today."

THE TAKEAWAY

EAST CAROLINA: Coming off a 20-15 loss at South Carolina and playing its third consecutive game against a Power 5 opponent, the Pirates looked a step slow and out of sorts from the opening kick. They went three-and-out on five first-half possessions. The Pirates hope to regroup now that they have finished the non-conference portion of their schedule.

"That was clearly the best football team that we have played," ECU coach Scottie Montgomery said. "The most physical. The biggest. The fastest. The strongest. The smartest. I thought they competed well in their scheme. They played great emotional football. They leaned on their crowd. They played a complete football game -- as complete as it gets."

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies dominated on special teams, scoring three touchdowns as a result of those units. Greg Stroman scored on an 87-yard punt return, and Cam Phillips blocked a punt that led to an Evans touchdown pass to Travon McMillian. A sack of ECU punter Worth Gregory in the fourth quarter led to a 1-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Brenden Motley.

UP NEXT

EAST CAROLINA: The Pirates open AAC play next Saturday with a home game against UCF. ECU blasted the Golden Knights 44-7 last season for their first win in Orlando since 2008.

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies are off next week before taking on North Carolina on Oct. 8 and will be looking to avenge last year's 30-27 overtime loss. The Hokies have won nine of the 12 meetings with the Tar Heels since joining the ACC.