Second Scrimmage Observations and Analysis

Today was the perfect day in Blacksburg. The weather was beautiful. The spirit of HokieNation was all around Tech's gorgeous campus for the 3.2 Run in Remembrance. The Hokies swept the Hoos in a pair of games on the softball diamond. And to top it all off, there was a football scrimmage. I repeat, it was the perfect day in southwest Virginia. After I finish writing this article I'm going to go downtown and enjoy some of the best happy hours Virginia has to offer. I love this town.

For those of you not lucky enough to be here, no worries, I'm happy to fill you in on what went down in Lane Stadium.

Offensive Fireworks

Spring scrimmages in Blacksburg rarely have many offensive highlights, but today the offense stepped up and held their own. This first team offense was led by Brenden Motley (Mark Leal was sidelined with a knee injury), and the unit showed some consistency running the ball on the ground while also hitting a few big plays through the air. Early on in the scrimmage, Motley hit Knowles on a deep route down the sideline. Knowles had managed to get a step on the defender and was able to just snag a slightly overthrown ball before falling to the ground. It was an example of the type of route that the Hokies had issues getting open and completing last season, and although it came against the second string defense, it was nice to see Knowles step up and stretch the field.

It wasn't Knowles' only big catch of the day. Motley found him on a medium depth curl route a little later, and Knowles turned it up field and ran away from everybody. It looked as though Chuck Clark might have had an angle to save the play, but Knowles turned on the jets and was gone. With Joshua Stanford and Carlis Parker not participating in the scrimmage (hamstrings), Knowles needed to step up and show he can be the go to guy when needed. Today he looked motivated to make an impression on the coaches and remind them what he's capable of.

Deon Newsome also looked pretty good. Andrew Ford threw to the young receiver on one screen play and, thanks to a huge block by David Prince, Newsome cut up field for around a ten-yard gain. Newsome made a nice leaping grab along the sideline later on in the scrimmage too. He did show his youth once, when Andrew Ford stepped up in the pocket and threw a strike to Newsome. It might have been the best pass of the day, as it went over the linebacker and hit Newsome right in the chest in front of the safety. Unfortunately, Deon couldn't hold on. With the number of wide receivers on the team right now Newsome might not be a huge contributor this upcoming season, but he has a good athletic skill set which will get him on the field if he learns the proper fundamentals.

Shane Beamer said before the spring that he didn't feel it was necessary to narrow down the running back depth chart before summer. Whether he feels it is necessary or not, Marshawn "Juice" Williams is sure making the decision easy for him. Juice had 13 carries for 66 yards—the most productive running back by far. Don't forget, a lot of those carries came with the second unit blocking for him against the first string defensive line. On one series, Williams broke a DT's arm tackle right after receiving the handoff on a veer dive from the pistol. Then on the next play, Juice planted his foot and made a sick cut to the back side on an inside zone. On the following play, he lowered his head and plowed forward for about five yards behind a pulling guard. It doesn't matter what blocking scheme Tech's using, Juice is going to make guys miss and finish runs strong.

Bucky Hodges didn't have a big statistical day, but I'm even more convinced after this scrimmage that he has a very bright future with the Hokies. Loeffler lined Hodges up all over the field again. Bucky spent time in the backfield as an H-Back, lined up out wide, and as a traditional tight end. Out of the pistol formation the Hokies ran some dives to the side of the formation where Bucky was aligned and he made some good blocks that helped picked up some decent yardage. If he can continue improving in that area, he'll be invaluable. A tight end who is a blocking threat becomes even deadlier in the play-action game because linebackers and safeties can be caught trying to avoid the potential blocker rather than keep up with him in coverage. Hodges broke free down the middle of the field on one of those play-action plays, but Motley missed the wide open touchdown throw.

Motley had a big day. On a day where his biggest competitor for QB1 didn't play, Motley did exactly what he needed; prove he's capable of making big plays. His arm is the biggest on campus right now, and he's the fastest and strongest runner at his position. There are legitimate concerns about his consistency (Hodges wasn't the only open throw he missed), but he does have a higher ceiling than Leal does. Is Motley an ACC Championship caliber quarterback? Not right now, not with Jameis Winston returning, but he could certainly develop into one. If Brenden Motley builds on the momentum he created today with his big plays, he might make a run at the starting job.

Andrew Ford started off slow today, but finished strong. There were plenty of center-quarterback exchange issues, just like last week, but Ford still showed off his accuracy and some surprising mobility. Ford's arm strength isn't as impressive as Motley's but when he has time to step up into the pocket and get his momentum heading the right direction, he has enough arm to get the ball into tight windows. My head says that Ford is still a year away, but my heart wonders if he wouldn't make more of a push if he got to enjoy the protection that Motley enjoys from working with the first string offense (and against the No. 2 defense).

Coach Loeffler's unit showed a new wrinkle today, going no huddle at times. After a first down, Loeffler would cry out "SONIC!" (you know, like the hedgehog), and the offense would immediately line up and call the next play. It was impressive how well the offense executed this change of pace and seemed to have the inexperienced front-seven on their heels. Is this something that Loeffler plans on doing all the time or is he just experimenting with it?

Anyone else feel like we're always asking ourselves that question?

Quick Front Four

It's easy to see why Coach Wiles believes his starting front-four is far ahead of his second unit. All four starters (Dadi, Maddy, Corey Marshall, and Ken Ekanem) had their moments today. This front isn't huge, but they are really quick, and the second string offensive line really struggled to block them.

Corey Marshall is going to be a good player for the Hokies this year. He showed a real knack for getting in the backfield. Ekanem showed good instincts today on some play-action passess. Often Ford would attempt a bootleg fake, and would turn around only to have Ekanem breathing in his face. This unit of new starters could be surprisingly productive one for the Hokies.

Donovan Riley

In the secondary, the player that I keep coming back to is Donovan Riley. Riley impressed me last spring/summer, and I thought he was going to make a larger impact on the field than he did. This spring he's looking even more impressive than before. Riley does a good job at reading route patterns, something the Hokie secondary is asked to do a lot of, and has good ball skills. Today he made a beautiful diving interception on an overthrown Andrew Ford throw. Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson will be the starters come game time, but that all important nickelback spot is still up for grabs. Today, Kendall would often cover the slot receiver while Riley covered the outside guy against three WR formations. This might be a preview of Foster's intentions against the pass happy spread teams in the ACC.

Promising Production

As I walked away from the scrimmage, I couldn't help but be happy with the production that the offense was showing. Both sides of the team have been hurt by injuries this spring, but the offense has been harder hit for sure. Mark Leal, Trey Edmunds, Ryan Malleck, Kalvin Cline, Joshua Stanford, Carlis Parker... that's a lot of talent standing on the sidelines. The offense walked out on the field though and performed pretty well. In fact, I'd venture to say this was as productive a spring scrimmage as I've ever seen out of a Virginia Tech offense.

Of course, it wasn't always pretty. There were some dropped balls, missed blocks, and bad snaps. The execution and consistency definitely isn't where Loeffler wants it to be. However, I think Loeffler and the rest of the coaches recognize that they saw some flashes of some pretty good things today. They'll need to refine techniques with the offensive players to make sure they can execute their assignments 10 times out of 10. There's something there though. I said heading into these scrimmages that every position besides the quarterback position should be expected to improve, and I think we saw that today. If one of the quarterbacks can play at or above Logan Thomas's level, expect a pretty fun football season this fall.

Comments

JUUUIIIIIIICE can be the new BOOOOOONE this season. Only people might get sick of it after the first game because we yell it 25 times...

If he's running over people and scoring TD's I would gladly yell JUUUUIIIIIICE every play.

+100000000 turkey legs

Brandon J. Carroll
Class of 2010

"In fact, I'd venture to say this was as productive a spring scrimmage as I've ever seen out of a Virginia Tech offense."

OK, now you have me excited.

Also excited. But... TT5's senior year???
Better than that?

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The Lunchpail. The Hammer. BeamerBall.
Deal some damage boys

I'm starting to get excited about this coming year! If one of the quarterbacks steps up and there aren't any major injuries I think this year could be a very pleasant surprise, maybe even 10+ wins! I'm probably dreaming but I think its possible. Go Hokies!!!

Texashokie

GIDDY! I'm Absolutely GIDDY!.... thnx 4 report. Great news. In Lefty We Trust! Stay the course!!n...l

Pain is Temporary
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While I know you have to go with the Qb that gives you the best chance to win now, I really hope that one of the younger QB's end up taking the spot this year or next. That way in 16 we have a seasoned QB to beat UT to a bloody pulp with.

Logan Thomas is statistically the best QB in VT history. Expecting any of these guys to play anywhere near his level is asking for disappointment.

You are using faulty logic. Mason is talking about QB performance over the course of a season, you are citing an accumulator statistic. And statistically, in a single season, Logan never had a year better than Vick in 1999, Tyrod in 2010, or Randall in 2004. Here's how Tech's leading passer by year ranks by QB rating. You might argue the validity of the methodology, but the formula includes YDS, TDS, COMPS, INTS, and ATTs, which I think everyone will agree are valid stats to measure a QB by.


YEAR NAME COMP ATT PCT YARDS TDS INTS RATING
1999 Michael Vick 90 153 58.82 1840 12 5 179.18954248366
2010 Tyrod Taylor 188 315 59.68 2743 24 5 154.79746031746
2009 Tyrod Taylor 136 243 55.97 2311 13 5 149.392592592593
2005 Marcus Vick 177 289 61.25 2393 17 10 143.291349480969
2002 Bryan Randall 158 248 63.71 2134 12 11 143.087096774194
2003 Bryan Randall 150 245 61.22 1996 15 10 141.699591836735
2007 Sean Glennon 143 235 60.85 1796 12 5 137.644255319149
2011 Logan Thomas 234 391 59.85 3013 19 10 135.496675191816
2004 Bryan Randall 170 306 55.56 2264 21 9 134.469281045752
2001 Grant Noel 146 254 57.48 1826 16 11 129.993700787402
2000 Michael Vick 87 161 54.04 1234 8 6 127.363975155279
2013 Logan Thomas 227 402 56.47 2907 16 13 123.877611940299
2006 Sean Glennon 170 302 56.29 2191 11 11 121.96821192053
2012 Logan Thomas 220 429 51.28 2976 18 16 115.940326340326
2008 Tyrod Taylor 99 173 57.23 1036 2 7 103.250867052023

Logan's best season is right outside the top-half of the list.

This doesn't mean Logan should've stayed at tight end, or Leal should've started last year, there's circumstance to everything. However, I think saying, "Logan Thomas is statistically the best QB in VT history," is lazy at best. It might be more accurate to say, "Logan Thomas threw for more yards and touchdowns over his career at Tech because he attempted more passes than any other QB."

Mason's original statement:

If one of the quarterbacks can play at or above Logan Thomas's level, expect a pretty fun football season this fall.

Thomas made plenty of big time (NFL) throws, but also made a bunch of freshman mistakes, even as a senior. No matter which inexperienced quarterback starts, there will be growing pains. However, if he can couple the bad with the good, and produce big plays, Tech will be alright. Given the bright future of the running game, Tech might also be fine if they can put a kid under center who is a more consistent passer and careful with the football.

Great post Joe. LT attempted 831 passes his last two seasons and that was out of necessity. Our running game was horrendous and that's being kind, IMO.

Beware you have cited the dread statistics which indicate that Sean Glennon was a better QB than Logan.

When SG was the starter, he had a better supporting cast than LT at nearly all positions. The only exception might be LT's first year as a starter.

I also believe SG's receivers had far less drops over the course of his career at Tech.

I just wish Loeffler could have been the OC during the entirety of LT's tenure - that would have made a world of difference on a number of levels.

Would be interesting to see how NFL QBs would fare with your rating, then compare it to the salary they earn.

Assuming for a moment you have to recalibrate to approximate NFL QB worth, be interested to see how our QBs rank with those parameters.

Nice comparison, Joe.

Based on another thread from a couple of days ago (http://www.thekeyplay.com/content/2014/april/4/interesting-stat-lt3), I recalculated LT's passer rating assuming 50% fewer drops (i.e. 18 more completions). Making the assumption that the yards per completion of those 18 remains the same (new total of 3138 yd), and also assuming the additional completions did not result in a TD or take away any INTs (which, if memory serves, may have reduced the INTs by 1 or 2), his new passer rating would be 146.12, good for fourth on the list. EDIT: I accidentally added the INT instead of subtracting, so the true recalculated passer rating is 131.69, good for tenth. Not such a major increase, but still worth mentioning, IMO.

I know it's not really useful for much, but I found it interesting just how much those drops cost him and the team.

not to mention how many drives were killed by drops...who knows what his completion percentage could have been if he got a fresh set of downs on some of those throws instead of drive killing incompletions.

"I like to hit a home run early" ~ Whit "knows how to create a Buzz" Babcock

Very true. That came to mind, as well. It would be interesting to find out how many drops were on third down, with the receiver in position to pick up the first down.

Thanks for the stats. When you add in LTs running effectiveness and durability, he just gave us some of the best seasons we have ever seen from a QB. I'm hopeful that Brewer is really good.

Noel's 2001 season is a good comp for best case from this group.

It can't be understated how important LT3 was for Tech the last 3 seasons, especially the last two. In 2012 and '13 the coaches built a playbook and gameplans around his arm and legs. With the lack of a running game, and developing, yet raw, receivers, anything but a do-it-all player at QB like LT3 would've meant disaster a lot less wins. I just think it's a stretch to call him the best statistical QB at Tech.

Question: How did MV7 have the best statistical season? Tyrod's looks better.

The rating is really based off of how well the QB performed per attempt. Almost all the factors were the same, except INT/attempt (Tyrod did better) and yards/attempt (MV7 did better). Tyrod's yards/attempt was 8.7, MV7 was 12.0, and thus the larger QB rating.

12.0 yards/attempt is ridiculously high. 12.0 yards/completion would be phenomenal, but MV7 had an astronomical 20.4 yards/completion. On average, when MV7 made a completion, not only did he get a 1st down, but he got 1/5 a football field. Let that sink in.

Somewhat relevant:

wat

In Beamer & Co. We Trust #Livefor32 #DecadeofDominance

Consider the BC game where he had consecutive bombs to Andre Davis. Some games he'd have less than 10 completions but around 200 yards passing. Amazing.

Reality has a mighty pimp hand.

I remember one of Vick's interviews, where he said that Andre would tell MV to basically throw it as far as he could, and he'd just run under it.

Andre was a flat-out burner on the field. As fast as he was on the stopwatch, he also had what (I think it was) Deion Sanders called "next guy speed". Basically meaning that even if a guy isn't the fastest in the 40, he was always fast enough to beat the next guy he was running with during a competitive play.

I have said this elsewhere, I'll say it again: There is a big difference between statistically "best" and "most productive"

*edit: that being said, I agree with you. I expect a drop-off in QB talent this year but an increase in overall talent leading to hopefully a more productive offense.

so i'm currently watching american horror story (at midnight) and this picture is freaking me out!!!

Carry Me Back

This picture kinda freaks me out haha.

In Sam Rogers we trust.

It's about time, the coaching stuff upgrade Motley to co-starter, the same level as Leal. Motley has been the more productive QB so far.

Question for those of you who were at the scrimmage...Marshawn has us all excited with his running, but the key to him seeing a lot of playing time might be his pass blocking and blitz pickups.....any signs of how he's doing with this?

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

Honestly, they handed it off to him almost every time he was in the backfield, so this seems TBD.

Great work, Joe. Keepin us honest.

So its Sunday am, I'm watchin ESPN Sportscenter with my coffee n they start talkin bout FSU Spring game n you know who...J. Winston. They interview him n he has the gall to compares himself to Tom Brady n Manning after a spring game! Ridiculous! He had good numbers (its a spring game, against their 2nd string D), but he also threw a pic into triple coverage n lost a fumble too. His body language n cockiness in the interview were easy to see, he thinks he's all that n a bag of chips. He doesn't ennunciate well at all which doesn't help him any. My prediction is he probably going pro after this year. He's all bout himself.

Yes, I dont like this kid, n ESPN wears kneepads 4 him (like LeBron). The whole situation is just pathetic n disgusting. I read the police report on his "incident", he's not a classy person. Everyone involved in that showed who they are...and it isn't good. He's FAR from a Brady or Manning.

On another note... how bout Union College!...Congrats!

Pain is Temporary
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He can be cocky because he just won the Heisman as the youngest player ever, and won the National Championship game, as a freshman. He's a 20 year old kid. He's going to be cocky and he has every right to be with the season he had last year.

Logan 3:16

There's cocky, and then there's comparing yourself to Peyton Manning and Tom Brady after completing 48% of your passes in an intrasquad game. I agree the kid's a great athlete, but I'm glad he's not our QB.

I would've much rather had his WRs, OL, RBs and TE. Watching some of the throws he attempts, he's nowhere close to a Brady or Manning. It's easy to look that way when your elite receivers are bailing you out every third play, but that doesn't change the fact that he looked very much like a freshman this season, even in the NC game. FSU won that game (and a couple others) in spite of Winston, not because of him.

FSU had a great supporting cast, true, but that doesn't take away from him being a Heisman winning QB, and a damn good one at that. The fact that he was a freshman just means that he is going to be even better this year.

I still have no idea how he won (actually, I know exactly how he won. Flashy stats, NC team, lots of exposure). My point is that he really didn't play that well, especially the last 2 games. The Heisman means absolutely nothing to me at this point in terms of assessing a player's ability - it's 95% a team award. Winston consistently threw into coverage, made bad reads, had some accuracy issues, etc. Is he a very good athlete and a good QB at this point in his career? Yes! Is he great? Nope. My point is that he had guys around him to mask the vast majority of his flaws. People will always point to that last drive he led to win the NC game (though let's face it, I'm pretty sure Greene and Benjamin did most of the work there), but I'm fully convinced that if Jimbo had leaned on his running game early in the game instead of trying to put it on his Heisman QB, that game would have been comfortably going in FSU's favor by the 4th quarter.

yikes... this won't fly too well. how about.. I like my quarterbacks in ALL MAROON!

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

"It ain't easy bein steezy"

#VanillaVick will lead us to the promise land

Well, I at least hope the downvotes are from folks who have a naive faith in the investigative prowess of the Tallahassee PD and think I'm slandering a young man who was never arrested for any wrongdoing, as opposed to folks who would like our quarterbacks to be MORE rapey.

I would think that the downvotes are for the words "Rapey" that ish isn't funny/tolerated here. TSL might approve of it but rape isn't a jokey thing in these neck of the woods.

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

"It ain't easy bein steezy"

#VanillaVick will lead us to the promise land

I think you misunderstand.

It's not, "haha, rape."

It's, "how messed up is it that a QB's propensity to rape women is an actual differentiating factor?"

I'm not sure why you bring up TSL? Kind of random.

Yeah, I'm not really sure what the point of badmouthing another Tech-supporting site is, especially when said site isn't even remotely involved in the conversation.

If that was your daughter I'm sure you wouldn't be throwing the word rapey around like it's some sort of joke.

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

"It ain't easy bein steezy"

#VanillaVick will lead us to the promise land

If that was your daughter I'm sure you wouldn't be throwing the word rapey around
...

Nor if Winston were his son.

It's the internet. We aren't all sitting around sipping bourbon and discussing stock values. "Rapey" is about as tame as it gets.

I would hope the downvotes are from people who have a problem with casually calling someone a rapist based on a lack of faith in the investigative prowess of the Tallahassee PD.

Presumption of innocence is the standard for the justice system, and the standard for most fair-minded people in general.

That said, I didn't downvote you. But I was sorely tempted.

That would be me. I will admit I downvoted the comment, but I did so because I believe in innocent until proven guilty. I believe Jameis made a bad decision, as did the girl, but it was consensual. She was sober and willing to go to a private area with Jameis. Not saying he's a perfect guy (I'm sure we've had our share), but I don't like the 'rapey' tag being used.

Wrong. That is sooo wrong...not even in the same universe. Good luck to you in your endeavors...I think you will need it.

it ain't trickin if you got it.

Not the bagman VT deserves, but the bagman VT needs right now.

I agree with you. He is cocky and he has earned the right to boast. Still, he always talks about how awesome his team and coaching staff is, it is not like he thinks he is doing everything by himself.

I think it's import and to be extremely self assured to be a great QB, unfortunately it's sometimes perceived as cockiness. Not saying Winston is or isn't a cocky dude but it's not an easy position to play when harboring doubts about ones abilities.

Minority Report.

I agree. It's tough to balance confidence and humility as a QB. I think it is possible though. (Disclaimer: everything I know about the situation is 3rd hand at best) IF Winston compared himself to Manning or Brady that, to me, is over the top. He needs to be confident and it's important to display that confidence but I don't think it's necessary for him to compare himself to some of the best NFL QB's of this era. It's possible to be confident without making such outrageous comparisons.

"I like to hit a home run early" ~ Whit "knows how to create a Buzz" Babcock

This was EXACTLY my point when I posted that about Winston.

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IF Winston compared himself to Manning or Brady that, to me, is over the top.

In addition to being over the top, comparing Winston to those two particular QBs is just ... weird. I mean, name a successful QB whose approach to the position is LESS like Winston's than those two ... made me wonder exactly what was said in that interview. Well if we're talking about this interview then I would have to call "bullshit." There was one mention of Manning (at 10:25) which was to say that FSU's QB coach once coached Manning. Otherwise, about 75% of the interview was giving props to the guys around him, and maybe 5% was what I would call "cocky." I am going to assume the original comments were related to a different interview, and if that is the case, I suggest watching this one to balance out the bad feelings from that one.

What I saw was an ESPN interview with a woman reporter on the FSU field after the Spring game - it was very short. Perhaps it was just a short section that ESPN showed from that linked interview (I can't see that link), but I couldn't tell. If that is the same interview, then ESPN created the "lack of" context of what I saw and my reaction was based on that - and his cockiness. The combination of his cockiness and comparing himself to Brady and Manning was just too much for me.

If in that same interview he complimented other parts of his team, OK, but he still didn't need to do that comparison. He made the comparison, no one else. I stand by my statement. It's my opinion, I just don't think the kid has much moxie or class (except some attempts in front of a microphone - which I think are calculated).

Pain is Temporary
Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever
Let's Go Hokies!!

Sounds like two completely different interviews. The one I found (and linked) was a press conference type thing, seated at a table, fielding questions from several reporters.

I saw the clip smitty saw. I didn't like it either. It was something along the lines of, my usual game wasn't working so I had to be more like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady out there, take what the defense gave me.

Not only had he just performed a pretty poor impression of those guys, the context made it sound like he reluctantly downshifted into Manning/Brady mode, one that he's usually a notch above.

And against the FSU 2nd string D...

Pain is Temporary
Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever
Let's Go Hokies!!

Another day, another solid performance by Juice. This kid really looks like he is going to be something special.

Thanks for the report, great job. Nothing better than Blacksburg on a beautiful day. The sites are the best!

This team now looks like it may have pulse on both sides of the ball.

Good writeup, thanks. LT gave it all for us and I really appreciateit. It is impossible to say that he was our best QB. At times he was,at times he was not. His lack of support caused by the lack of talent also makes it dificult to compare him to others.
There were too many times when he failed to make accurate throws support or no. We needed to play the U three or four times a year and then maybe GT also.

leeanderthal

I don't want to get my hopes up too high, but this is by far the best write up for just a scrimmage I have seen in a while.

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The more I think about it, the more I get worried about our small DL stopping the run. They're great at getting to the QB, but they let some of the RB's get some big gains behind a pretty(very) bad 2nd string OL. Stopping the run is now a big concern of mine.

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

Agreed I mentioned in another thread that TCU did the same thing and beat Wisconsin. I failed to mention however the athleticism of their LBs which..I don't think were quite on par with them, however I still think well be OK just not dominating and head-crushing ass-kicking best defencing in the country for at least the first game or so... haha but seriously it will be interesting to see buds tweaks because you know hell make some

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

I wouldn't be so quick to write off our LB's athleticism. If Chase Willias wins the mike job, I think he's about on par with Tyler athletically. However, Clarke looks like the lead guy at backer, and he's a step up even from Edwards from an athletic standpoint. Now, the bigger question is whether they'll execute their assignments.

Can someone summarize which teams, or types of teams, we will have an advantage or disadvantage against when playing this smaller but quicker D-Line? I would think it would be an advantage against a team like GT that relies so much on smaller, quicker O-Linemen. And I would think we would struggle against a team (like Miami?) that specializes in 350-lb behemoths on the O-Line. Is that right?

Miami might have 350lb linemen but that didn't stop us from embarrassing them on a thursday night in Miami. We also have 7'10 Bucky and the hybrid position of P/LB/S/DB in AJ Hughes.. not to mention you Maddy

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

"It ain't easy bein steezy"

#VanillaVick will lead us to the promise land

7"10? Who really knows how big he will be by then.

I'm afraid we are going to take it up the butt vs anOSU

I wouldn't worry too much about our DLine...by looking at the numbers our better RBs averaged less than 3ypc. So I think it says more about M.Williams' abilities than it does about the defense.

Minority Report.

Nice write up - this is good news and is making me excited for the upcoming season.

Touchdown Tech - Bill Roth

Loved the scrimmage this weekend, absolute class on grass. Offense went crazy, hurry up looks like it will be used a good amount. Seems like the players have got the basics and now we can open things up a little. Motley looked good, still has some things to learn but I think he has come a long way from where he started. This week I have it 1a:Motley 1b:Leal not just because leal was hurt but I truly think with the way SL wants to run the offense it fits motley's strengths much more. JuiceMode is an animal that's old news for sure, can't wait to see what Shai brings to the table as well. We could have a stable at RB in the next year!

One highlight on hokiesports which may go overlooked is the blitz pickup by Mangus at the 1:18 mark or so. Granted there were 2 people free, he read it stepped up and delivered a good hit. Let's hope Juice is doing the same!

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

"It ain't easy bein steezy"

#VanillaVick will lead us to the promise land

Just an FYI... I am thumbing up any post that gives eyewitness testimony of any practice or scrimmage.

Jonesing bad here.

100% Juice

100% Juice

"And it is caught, it is caught for a touchdown"

Some general observations from the film of the scrimmages and practice that have floated out there so far.

1) The name you have not heard his name much, but he will be utilized on the field this season: Jack Willenbrock. Willenbrock (#86) has taken some snaps at center but has been mostly utilized as a blocking tight end. At 215 pounds, he isn't prototypical size of a goal line/blocking package tight end, but in the clips that have appeared through a variety of sources on the web, Willenbrock has demonstrated outstanding leg drive. I can guarantee you that every linebacker and defensive end on the roster gulps when he sees #86 coming to block him.

2) Bucky Hodges won't be used in jumbo packages. You heard it hear first. Hodges has been used in traditional sets, but in the very limited sample size that I have seen, he has a ton of work to do as a blocker. He leads with his shoulder, makes initial contact, and then he is out of the play (which can be expected for a kid who is brand new to blocking in tight space against players just as big and strong.) He will be utilized out in space, either in the slot or aligning wide against corners. If Loeffler has watched film on Michael Brewer, I am sure he has seen how well Brewer worked with elite Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro. Amaro rarely played close to the interior line. Instead, he almost always aligned in the slot to the field side, and was used as a vertical threat against safeties. Hodges can play a similar role, while occasionally being used on misdirection-oriented passes like the Hokies used DJ Coles on frequently last season.

3) I am going to wait for the spring game to be sure, but I expected to see Dadi Nicolas all over reports from the spring. However, Ken Ekanem and other DL seem to be the guys getting sacks. Dadi spent the last two seasons playing over left tackle as a seven technique, which allows him to play wider (and usually away from the tight end.) Now he is at stud (over the right tackle) and playing more heads up to the tackle. He may be struggling with the transition to new responsibilities.

4) All the reports about Marshawn Williams make me excited, and he looks terrific on film. However, several sets of eyes indicate that when Marshawn gets into scrimmages, he is carrying the ball or being used on play action. If Loeffler and Shane Beamer feel like he can make a major impact this season, he needs to get repetitions in pass pro. This is the spring, without full contact on QBs. If there was ever a time where he should be getting work to become comfortable protecting the QB, now is that time. They can't afford for him to be uncomfortable and learning on the fly in the fall.

5) Reports that Ken Ekanem is playing fast are very encouraging. He is a special talent.

6) The offensive line blocking schemes will be much more complicated this season. Reports and film show both the traditional stretch runs and a variety of power plays where guards and tackles are taking turns pulling. The pin and pull technique that Mason highlighted last year will be used far more often. Last season, a vast majority of pulling was done by Caleb Farris (who has spent a significant amount of time at center while David Wang and Kyle Chung recover from injury.) Andrew Miller occasionally pulled. Brent Benedict had some experience pulling in 2012, Alston Smith is hurt, and it is a new technique for other prospective guards Wyatt Teller and Augie Conte.

7) I am reserving judgement on the quarterback battle until I see them live this week, but Andrew Ford exclusively working with the 2's and 3's indicates to me that he is headed to a redshirt year. If he gets some work with the ones and gets some protection, maybe it will give us a clearer picture on if he can contribute this season. I do think long term he will be a very good QB.

Viva El Guapo

RE #2)

Wouldn't Loeffler want to use Bucky in the jumbo packages as the big wide receiver that can create a threat on the outside? He can catch any jump ball, use his body to win any slant, and can block any DB. I would think, taking Bucky out of the jumbo package would signal: No threat to pass. Put all your LBs and DBs in run blitzes.

Did Loeffler have a WR in his jumbo packages last year?

Split out wide? Yes. As an Hback? If I saw Bucky in the game at Hback in a short yardage situation, based on the film I have seen on him blocking every defender on my team would be looking for pass. He can be a decoy, but he can't block well enough at the point of attack to be an every down tight end right now.

Viva El Guapo

Ok, that's what I was thinking. I imagine Bucky in a Calvin Johnson/Jimmy Graham role around the goal-line or short-yardage situations.

In addition to the brief mention of Benedict, he played guard with the 2s for the most part it looked like and really struggled blocking Corey Marshall, who has a ridiculous first step.

Part of the problem for Benedict is that there are a whole bunch of guards who are gonna struggle to block Corey Marshall this year.

watching this over and over makes this gif really creepy

VT CEE Class of 2016

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