There are still 100 days left until the start of the college football season, but programs from Hampton Roads and the Commonwealth have been active enough to provide gossip material for an entire offseason.
The state's two biggest programs — Virginia and Virginia Tech — have made or are in the process of making cosmetic changes they hope the entire college football world notices after the long, pigskin-less summer is over.
In keeping with the pervasive nationwide theme of our-toys-are-better-than-your-toys among Bowl Subdivision power conferences, U.Va. and Tech will both put shiny new wares on display.
U.Va. already opened a $13-million indoor practice facility named for former coach George Welsh. In Blacksburg, Tech is set to unveil a new scoreboard and video board in Lane Stadium that will be 48.2 feet tall and 108.2 feet wide, making it one of the 10 largest in the nation.
The new indoor facility at U.Va. is open just in time for hotshot freshman running back Taquan Mizzell, while Tech looks forward to beaming the image of coveted freshman cornerback Kendall Fuller all over its new video board. Mizzell was rated one of the nation's top 20 running backs in the class of 2013 by most recruiting analysts, and Fuller was considered one of the top five cornerbacks in the class.
New infrastructure and highly-anticipated new players to show off at both of the ACC campuses in the state only add to the atmosphere of transition prevalent in both programs. Of course, while U.Va. and Tech have had much-publicized staff changes this offseason, they haven't been alone when it comes to shuffling the assistant coaching deck.
That seems like a good place to start, as we take a look at 10 reasons to anticipate the start of the season:
Staff shakeups: Several staffs throughout the Commonwealth surpassed their respective expiration dates simultaneously.
New faces are everywhere. New offensive coordinators at Virginia Tech (Scott Loeffler), Virginia (Steve Fairchild) and William and Mary (Kevin Rogers). New defensive coordinators at U.Va. (Jon Tenuta), Old Dominion (Rich Nagy) and Hampton University (Bernard Clark).
Tom O'Brien delayed extended family and beach time when he agreed to serve as wing man for Mike London at Virginia. Jeff Grimes replaced Curt Newsome as offensive line coach at Tech, a move more about productivity than personality.
Former Boston College assistant Jeff Comissiong takes over the D-line at ODU, while one-year coordinator Bill Dee moves back to coaching the O-line. Rogers will run the W&M offense and coach quarterbacks and former QB coach David Corley Jr., now handles wide receivers.
Ex-Hampton U. standout Cordell Taylor returns to coach the Pirates' secondary. Former high school coach Glen Ferebee will coach quarterbacks at HU, and coordinator Earnest Wilson now will coach wide receivers.
Upward mobility: One ponderable around these parts the past couple of seasons: How might ODU's go-go offense and quarterback Taylor Heinicke fare against FBS defenses? We'll finally get an answer as the Monarchs face five upper-division opponents in their transition to FBS and Conference USA.
When ODU resurrected the program, Wilder had no desire to play FBS "money" games. He wanted the program to gain footing at the FCS level. Thanks to early success, conference realignment and accelerated ambition, the Monarchs are full go, ready or not.
Quarterback carousel: The over-under on the number of quarterbacks at each school to play significant snaps last season in our little corner of the world was about 2.5. Can we expect a repeat?
The Tilt-A-Whirl was particularly full at Hampton and Christopher Newport, each of which used four quarterbacks. The Pirates' season-ending starter, Brian Swain, was a recruited walk-on from Texas.
William and Mary used three, due to a combination of injury and inconsistency — all of whom return next season. Perhaps the most gifted of the trio, Raphael Ortiz, is coming off of shoulder surgery and won't be able to execute Rogers' teachings until summer camp.
Virginia rotated quarterbacks Michael Rocco and Phillip Sims so deftly that Rocco chose to transfer, with just one year of eligibility remaining. The Cavaliers listed four starting "starting" quarterbacks coming out of the spring: Sims, Hampton product David Watford, and redshirt freshmen Greyson Lambert and Matt Johns.