BREAKING: SPRING PRACTICE STARTS TODAY. HokieSports.com posted the "Spring Outlook" yesterday. It contains good information from the coaches about what to expect this spring. My thoughts follow, please leave your's below. Football season, if only for a month, is here.
The coaches are depending on Nick Becton, "coaches want him to be the catalyst for the offensive line," and Vinston Painter, "a key part of Tech's plan along the offensive front," to bookend an inexperienced group. I'm probably reading into things, but it's curious that Michael Via is listed as the third center. I know he's injured, but other players, Bruce, Hop, G-W, etc... are in the order you'd expect them to be.
Brent Benedict is the starter at right guard for now, but the position is "wide open". As I said before, I think the favorites are Benedict and Laurence Gibson, but I wouldn't count out backup left guard Matt Arkema or backup center Caleb Farris.
Coach Newsome makes a great point, "Competing every day against a defensive line that has all its players back will help us." Unlike the last few years, I hope we see ones versus ones in the Maroon-White game so we have a more realistic understanding of where the o-line is at.
Receivers & Tight Ends
One of: Corey Fuller, E.L. Smiling (happiest football name ever?), Kevin Asante, Christian Reeves or Demitri Knowles need to get that fourth receiver spot on lock-down. Otherwise, we're going to have to depend on Joel Caleb being six-feet and two-inches of magic come fall.
Demitri Knowles in on the fast-track (oh, you better believe pun intended) to being a return man this fall.
Randall Dunn got name dropped all over the place. Stinespring, "We would like to get Randall Dunn in a position where he will help us every down, that he will be a catalyst in our offense." He's described as having, "the ball skills of an H-back". Interesting. Dunn is athletic, and could create a mess of matchup problems in "spread" formations.
Running Backs & QBs
Michael Holmes and J.C. Coleman are listed as co-starters in the two-deep. Holmes doesn't have a minute of playing time under his belt, and Coleman hasn't taken a single carry in practice. They're both talented backs, and their skill sets should compliment each other. I'm not worried about them making plays with the ball, they'll do that just fine. However, I'll be paying attention to how block in pass protection and pick up the blitz.
If there's ever been a necessary statistic absent from a media guide, it's how many fools Logan Thomas trucked in 2011. We have a 6-6, 262 pound wrecking ball at quarterback, can we celebrate that a bit more?
The entire two-deep returns. #Pray4Hokies2012Opponents
Coach Wiles, "We want to get a two-deep where there is not any drop off, and we can just roll guys in there." Even my wife doesn't talk that dirty to me.
Like Atlantic teammate Luther Maddy, will Dadi Nicolas be another diamond in the rough? Problem, "He has the skill set to become a top newcomer. The redshirt freshman works hard and plays like everything is on the line. He's hungry and the only thing missing is reps. Solution, "Will get as many reps as possible".
Antoine Hopkins is listed on the depth cart at 318 pounds, he opened last year against Appalachian State at 302.
Reps, on reps, on reps, on reps for Jack Tyler at Mike and Chase Williams at Backer.
Ronny Vandyke redshirted and practiced at Rover in the fall. Now he's listed as the co-backup at Whip with Alonzo Tweedy, ahead of Nick Dew. Vandyke is 6-3, 215. Cornell, "The main focus is going to be on coverage and the ability to not only cover receivers, but also tight ends and running backs. There will be more emphasis placed on that than in the past." Vandyke's a load, wouldn't be overpowered by a tight end and can move around the field. The move makes a little more sense now.
Y U NO HAVE MORE CORNERS DB-U? Kyle Fuller, Antone Exum and Donaldven Manning are the only ones profiled. Walk-on Carl Jackson is the 4th man on the two-deep.
If Michael Cole or Boye Aromire, backups at safety and Rover respectively, have a breakout spring it could push either starter Kyshoen Jarrett or Detrick Bonner back over to corner.
Will Jarrett and Bonner be able to make all the calls, and orchestrate the secondary?
There isn't a lot of depth, but there are a lot of interchangeable parts, and that can be just as valuable.