First, Virginia Tech continues an unofficial quest to become the Oregon of the east coast when it comes to uniforms.
Tech will continue the now common practice of using multiple helmets throughout the season including this fairly tasteful camouflage helmet for Military Appreciation Day Saturday, September 22 against Bowling Green.
Then there are these controversial helmets for the White Out game Saturday, September 8 against Austin Peay.
Now they're only controversial insofar as they're ugly, but for a one-off they're tolerable. Gobbler tracks aren't remotely approaching the most offensive thing I've seen on football uniforms.
Of course, most folks have been less forgiving of the new design, including starting quarterback Logan Thomas who chimed in on Twitter:
As for the action under the helmets, Virginia Tech is in Frank Beamer's favorite position.
The Hokies are ranked fairly low, return a talented albeit somewhat unproven roster, and no one is really talking about them. Perfect.
On to the NFL (which sucks), and the myriad of Hokies on NFL rosters. That may thin out a bit as the teams make cuts, but I was surprised at the sheer numbers.
Some are no surprise as this season will mark the debuts of two of Tech's most exciting and successful running backs, second-year man Ryan Williams of the Arizona Cardinals and back-flipping rookie David Wilson of the Super Bowl Champion Giants.
Williams missed all of his rookie campaign with a significant knee injury, but appears to be back at full strength going into the preseason and the coaches in Arizona love him.
Praise has been equally high for Wilson in New York, where players and coaches alike have marveled at his maturity and athleticism. He demonstrated the latter in his first preseason game, nearly returning a kick-off for a touchdown.
The trick for the rabbit-catching phenom is to learn the playbook and continue to bulk up, while Williams needs to get some game contact to regain his confidence.
Both appear poised to make an impact as complimentary backs—especially Williams because Beanie Wells is mediocre on a good day.
I guess the other main story no one has talked about regarding "the shield" is the fact that negotiations with game officials are still not settled and the NFL may use back-up referees into the regular season.
Fans complain regardless, but given the number of competent, high-level football referees in this country, I think it's safe to say we'll see a drop-off in quality officiating the first few weeks.
Obviously, we'll have more detailed thoughts as the rapidly-approaching season nears.
Virginia Tech kicks off Labor Day night when they host Georgia Tech at 8 PM on ESPN.
The winner of that match-up has represented the Coastal division in the ACC Championship game every season since the Hokies joined the conference in 2004.
Notre Dame will begin their season whenever they find a quarterback, or September 1 when they take on Navy in Ireland, whichever comes first.
Also, that game appears to start at 9 AM here on the east coast. Those with big tailgating plans may want to save the bratwurst until at least halftime.