Spring Ball: What's Left to Answer?

It's finally here! After months of wading through the collegiate albatross known as "basketball season", there's finally a football game to be had. Well, kind of. It's the spring game, which is actually an inter-squad scrimmage that has rarely given us much insight as to how Virginia Tech will play four months later.

Not hating on it, though. Whether you use it to scout the footwork of offensive linemen, as an excuse to drink excessively in a tank and cut-off jorts, or anything in between, a fun time will be had by all.

Going into the game, though, we still have some questions about the team. (For the record, the team is all of those blurry maroon and white dots that you see if you happen to leave your tailgate on Saturday.) Here are the five questions that I have been asking myself for the past week going into this glorified scrimmage.

Six Pack: Spring Game Edition

Rejoice, fellow Hokies! We all survived Easter and the required ingestion of jelly beans and chocolate eggs. Tax Day has come and gone (I still have no idea where my tax dollars are going, exactly. I mean, my street looks like something straight out of Beirut, with 47 potholes and nothing but two City Street Department workers with shovels and a whole mess of asphalt), and our reward is (hopefully) a beautiful sunny spring Saturday in Lane Stadium with tens of thousands of our best friends.

Scot Loeffler is "Super excited about the tight end position"

Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler spoke with the media yesterday evening after practice. The following three quotes gave some insight into the role and importance of tight ends in his scheme.

"We've got some older tight ends, we've got some talented tight ends. We've got some guys that can help us on the perimeter that got experience and that's what's got to happen."

"I'm super excited about the tight end position. I'm super excited about that. That room could be really good in my opinion, and they'll be used. They'll be used for sure."

Breaking Bud: The 33 Defense

A significant amount of my columns have been devoted to explaining Bud Foster's defensive scheme. I've discussed the basics of the base 4-2-5, detailed the 46 front that was so prevalent at the end of 2012, and highlighted the unique ways that the Hokie secondary defends the pass without dropping 7 defenders into coverage. There is a single constant across each piece I write; Coach Foster keeps me on my toes. During Saturday's scrimmage, Foster rolled out a rarely seen defensive set, a nickel package that featured a three-man defensive front and keeps the Whip on the field.

Felton Davis III Brings Size, Upside As WR Target

Felton Davis III didn't catch many passes last year for Highland Springs High School's football team.

He knows the number of grabs - 18. He knows the yardage amount - 466. Of course, he knows the touchdown total - 10.

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound target also understands his abilities can't be defined by statistics alone. He loves another part of his game, a dimension that opened eyes in his recruitment.

Logan Thomas Career Highlights

The NFL Draft is only a couple weeks away, so I wanted to take a look back at Logan Thomas' career at Virginia Tech. Let's face it, he WAS the offense for a good portion of the time he was in maroon and orange. His flashes of brilliance and combination of size, speed, and arm strength kept the scouts drooling and the fans polarized. Here's a collection of his best plays. Let's all wish him luck, wherever he ends up.

Third Scrimmage Observations: Blocking Scheme, O- and D-Line Performance

Not having the opportunity to watch either of the first two spring scrimmages, my biggest focus watching Saturday's scrimmage was how the offensive blocking scheme had changed under Coach Searels. Saturday presented two radically different answers to this question. Before the defense came out of the locker room for warmups, Coach Loeffler ran a 3/4 speed walk-through reviewing the offensive playbook with the scout team O serving as defenders. Gates opened at 10:30 AM, and the offense appeared to already have run through a significant amount of playbook. Once I was settled I saw the first team offense use the pistol formation to execute a power series, a counter series off power action, and a play-action series off power action. One principle thing stood out, every play featured at least one offensive lineman pulling and man blocking at the point of attack. This is a radical departure from the zone blocking scheme used last season by Coach Grimes, who only pulled a guard on inverted veer and quarterback counters.

The Offense is Throwing the Kitchen Sink at Foster and his Defense

I found the following two quotes from Bud Foster to the media rather telling. The first is from last Thursday, the second is from yesterday.

"We're seeing it all from our offense right now, my credit goes to those guys what they're doing too ... I mean, we're seeing it all. That's going to be good for us as we prepare for a season, but you know obviously we got to catch up right now for everything, but they're making progress."

Observations At The Turn

I was able to watch Virginia Tech scrimmage for the first time on Saturday. By now you've read all of the reviews and looked at the new depth chart (which I promise I'll get to a little later), and have gobbled up every little scrap of football news that you got your hands on. I don't blame you, I did the same thing.

After all my reading and finally seeing this new team in person, I felt that we should talk about what's been happening, and the trends that we are starting to see now over halfway through spring practice.

These are my five major themes of the spring so far, and on Friday I will ask the biggest questions yet to be answered.

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