Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips Look to Add Explosiveness in the Passing Game

Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips are two freshman who might be able to help Virginia Tech stretch the field. That's something the Hokies didn't do very well last season.

Isaiah Ford, a wide receiver from Trinity Christian, decided to play football with Virginia Tech on signing day. [Will Dickey/The Times-Union]

Even though there are plenty of unknowns regarding the progress of the offense so far in fall camp, it is clear that freshmen Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips will have an impact this season.

"I'd say those guys are going to more than likely play for us this year," Aaron Moorehead previously said. "They've established themselves as playmakers on this football team. They are two of the best guys that we have."

During Wednesday's media session, 247Sports Kyle Bailey asked Coach Moorehead if he was worried about the two young receivers physically, along with their ability to get off the line of scrimmage and win jump balls.

Moorhead responded, "No, not at all. If you really watch those guys [Ford and Phillips]] throughout practice, they're guys getting the cleanest releases during practice. They're football players. They're guys who understand their position." For a football program that has struggled to recruit ready-to-play receivers in recent years, this is as exciting a quote that I have heard coming from camp so far.

When I reviewed Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips high school highlights, both impressed me as players who could make an immediate impact. Coach Scot Loeffler took an inexperienced wide receiver group that struggled to get off press man coverage, and found ways to use their strengths to get them open. But, there was a clear need for receivers who could get separation from defenders off the line of scrimmage and down field.

Ford's initial quickness off the line of scrimmage jumped off the screen on film. He is at full speed almost in his first stride which catches corners off-guard. He gets right in to the cushion of the corner so quickly that the corner has to abandon the press to turn and run. Otherwise, Ford can be right by him. He needed to add strength, but he used his shoulders to get corners leaning and takes advantage.

Ford's speed then gives him deep threat ability. Demitri Knowles has tremendous deep speed, but seems to be more comfortable on underneath routes. Ford gets himself open deep, but unlike Knowles, Ford gets position on corners, finds the football, and goes and gets it. With Stanford, Knowles, and Byrn all guys who are adept at catching the ball on short to intermediate routes (with Stanford being the best of the three getting off press coverage for intermediate routes), Ford fits an immediate need at the receiver position for a deep threat. Carlis Parker is another option (the offensive staff seemed to feed Parker on back-shoulder fade routes in the red zone often in spring scrimmages), but Ford is well ahead of where Parker was as a freshman receiver last season. Like Parker, he is also a threat on jet sweeps.

Cam Phillips is behind Ford on the depth chart, but his high school film made him appear more physical when releasing off press coverage. He sets up defenders, and then gets separation through the use of hand-leverage techniques similar to what defensive ends use when pass rushing. I am not sure if he will end up being the deep threat that Ford could be, but I expect that he will be a potent possession wide receiver with strong run after the catch ability.

Ford and Phillips (along with Parker, Jaylen Bradshaw, and Kendrick Holland) will grow with quarterbacks Brenden Motley, Andrew Ford, and Chris Durkin as the future of the Hokie passing game. But, with "the future is now" the mantra around Blacksburg, both Ford and Phillips will give Scot Loeffler the ability to stretch the field with the vertical passing game. Those deep threat routes prevent aggressive safeties from creeping up in the running game, where last season those extra defenders in the box completely derailed any opportunities for a consistent rushing attack.

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Comments

A natural QB with accuracy and a pair of true WRs with innate athleticism?!

Hopefully Ford is as good as he's appearing to be in practice. That way I can still wear my #1 jersey, although it's back from when Macho was number 1.

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

I was under the impression Raymon Minor got the No. 1 jersey. Perhaps he and Isaiah Ford are sharing it like Coleman and Ekanem, or Ford's just wearing what they gave him for the time being.

When are they going to release the updated roster with new numbers for all of the freshmen?

when they figure out which guys will be playing this year. Lots of duplicate numbers when kids are redshirting.

God, those are the days that I miss the most. When MV7 would just throw it as far as he could and Andre Davis would run under it. I still remember MV7 regularly having stat lines like 10/12 for 250 yards and 2 TDs. Of course, he was also giving the rock to Shyrone Stith and Andre Kendrick who were combining for over 200 yards on the ground. It was so opponent-demoralizingly spectacular to watch.

Yep I remember those years. Pound the ball with Stith over and over again and then all of a sudden BOOM Davis is running away from the DBs after hauling in a strike from Vick. Beautiful. It's all I can do not to imagine something similar with the offense happening this year, though I know it's incredibly homerific of me.

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

So should we calling you Prince since you are a big fan of 1999?

Which wallet is yours?

The one that says "Bad Motherfucker"

Prince Fuller? I think I'd be ok with that.

Or, as a uva alum might say, the fan formerly known as Prince.

I would be content with multiple TD's from both of them

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

The future is now. Those two guys are ready, so play them.

So, in a couple of years if Andrew Ford is the starting QB, and Isiah Ford is the top wideout, are we going to be calling the Hokie offense - The Two by Ford?

As in, Coach (insert Name), the reason you have a headache is the Hokies just hit you upside the head with a Two by Ford.

Virginia Tech.... Built FORD Tough

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

Oh no, here we go again! Let's GT on with it...

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

I really have to Focus on avoiding these comments.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

Agree - must be at least Five Hundred comments

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

There you go flexing your math skills again...

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

How about we Explore a different topic.

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

OK. Lets compare and contrast Hokie Stone to Topaz.

Tweedy can run like a dadgum antelope or whatever. I like to use scalded dog. Do antelopes lumber? Cheetah, OK. He runs like a cheetah. He's fast. - Bud Foster

I suggest we Probe into our options at other positions....at least, we don't have issues with an Escort as in South Bendover

Let's just say "screw it" and get a pint o beer....

after that last comment we may need to Escort you out of here

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

Ford = Royal. I think he'll have a freshman yr like Eddie.

The good thing is now we have a staff that will USE the talent. Royal didn't get the ball enough at VT

Agreed.

Viva El Guapo

Didn't help that his QB was on the ground half of the time

Well Glennon had the pocket presence of Helen Keller.

For a football program that has struggled to recruit ready-to-play receivers in recent years, this is as exciting a quote that I have heard coming from camp so far.

This, a million times, this.

Not only WR, but recruiting actual OL & TE that have played the role in high school. ETA: I know, I know -- we recruited plenty of talented TE before -- we just wasted most of them by making them OL (serious) or QB (I keed). /endEdit

Not having to completely train a guy from scratch on just the fundamental of a position is a big advantage for those players over those players who were great athletes, but are learning a whole new position.

I love love love me some Joel Caleb, but I think his problems cracking the depth chart are evidence of the kind of strides we are making as a program. When an athlete that good can't edge out lower-star talent for specific positions, it tells us (I hope) more about the success of recent recruiting than about Caleb himself.

I hate to see guys fall into the cracks, especially highly touted guys who could be starting for another program in some capacity.

But I just love that the competition level is so high at so many positions now that historically, we've plugged in 2 star talent or inexperienced Athletes and spent years coaching them up. That's been successful, no doubt, but it has created significant weakness in the depth chart, with often drastic differences when the first string player gets injured.

I love love love me some Joel Caleb, but I think his problems cracking the depth chart are evidence of the kind of strides we are making as a program.

I think people are going to have to start getting used to seeing this. The last thing you're going to want to do right now is absolutely fall in love with a recruit, because we're at a point right now where every year we're potentially going to bring in someone as good or potentially better than someone from the previous class, who could potentially push him down the depth chart. And by no means is this a bad thing. Bringing in quality talent annually to push the guys currently on the roster and to increase the talent of the depth on our roster will monumentally increase the quality of play you will see from our guys.

Does it stink that someone who was as good as Caleb coming into the program likely won't be able to find a way onto the field without getting really creative? Sure, but big picture, its the kind of situation we want to be in.

"Does it get any better than Thursday Night in Blacksburg?" - Reece Davis
"People who like to brag about how smart they are, are never as smart as they claim." - Colin Cowherd

Oh frenchie

https://p.gr-assets.com/540x540/fit/hostedimages/1389415170/8029368.gif

"Does it get any better than Thursday Night in Blacksburg?" - Reece Davis
"People who like to brag about how smart they are, are never as smart as they claim." - Colin Cowherd

The deep threat ability that Ford & Phillips provide is one aspect of the offense that the Hokies didnt have last year. Scot & Moorehead now have two new weapons to stretch the field and keep opposing team on their toes. I cant wait to see the new offense in live action.

This!:

"the future is now" the mantra around Blacksburg

We have the weapons, can we execute and shock the College football world this year. Every ESPN commercial involving college football season coming up has no VT or Hokie content...none of them. To them we don't matter. I hope that puts a big chip on these guys shoulders so they take this season by storm! It's hard not to have too high of expectations. I think we are so ready for this season to start.

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

They even have Fake Forest. Wtf

unlike Knowles, Ford gets position on corners, finds the football, and goes and gets it.

Priority 1: Catching the ball. (Preferably with the hands)

I've said it before, when Knowles is only allowed to catch with one hand (particularly against GT), he plays like he's got a bottle of stick'em on that hand. Has anyone figured out if he loses any speed if we tie his left hand behind his back?

I love the fact we are finally recruiting playmaking wide receivers instead of running backs that we turn into receivers

"These people are losing their minds" - Mike Patrick

I'm just happy we're recruiting receivers to play receivers, let along playmaking ones, instead of taking athletes and plugging them into the spot we are in most need of.

"Does it get any better than Thursday Night in Blacksburg?" - Reece Davis
"People who like to brag about how smart they are, are never as smart as they claim." - Colin Cowherd

I'd say those guys are going to more than likely play for us this year," Aaron Moorehead previously said. "They've established themselves as playmakers on this football team. They are two of the best guys that we have

Love the decisiveness from Moorehead. Quickly decide on your best skilled guys and invest quality reps in that direction. I remember when we used to do this at the running back position.

Minority Report.

The RB position is all sorts of fucked up right now...

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

Yeah, that won't end well. There will be more transfers at the RB position in the future.

We gotta pick three guys, the right three guys, and go with it.

I don't know who gave you the DV, but I do wish when someone does DV that they would at least give a reason why our RB rotation isn't fucked up.

Especially given:

If they'll all play, add them to Edmunds, JCC, and maybe Caleb and Reid. That's a cluster right there for sure. Although, saying "they'll play" doesn't necessarily mean they'll play RB (could be kick returners or something), but it sounds like the backfield is just way too crowded right now.

You watch other teams with a hot back and they just keep chucking him the pig. VT has a back get in a groove and the next thing you know he's on the bench and another RB is in for the sake of "rotation". Makes no sense. But what does this old fart know?

It will confuse the defense too. They can't pick up on tendencies or game plan. I think it will all work itself out.

#Hokies

Trey is still hurt and limping noticeably. I wouldn't count on him being 100% before the middle of the season. I'd say Reid gets a shirt. That leaves the three freshmen and JC. McMillian is almost definitely going to see time on special teams, and JC, McKenzie, and Williams will probably get some type of 40:30:30 split on carries (maybe closer to 50:25:25 if one guy just dominates), with McMillian being used similarly to Parker in the Sun Bowl, and maybe getting 2-3 reps per game out of a regular offensive package.

Still, if one or two of the top guys go down and Trey is out longer than expected, we'll all be darn glad the coaches have some talent ready to play behind the starters.

Well that right there is the quintessential good news/bad news post. Hate to hear that Trey is still hurting, but it's good (in a sense) that the rotation might be pared down a bit and our highly touted recruits might get a legitimate shot at the field.

our highly touted recruits

Isn't touting a recruit against some law somewhere?

Danny caught that ball.

Friends don't let 5 star friends commit to UVA.

I have inside info. - Whit

Only if you tout them across state lines.

rimshot

That's a whole bunch of assumptions -- and almost no facts -- to come to a whole bunch of conclusions.

I guess some people think the internet is a sacred place where cursing should simply not be allowed...

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

Ear muffs

Fortune Favors the Bold

If NCAA'14 is any indication--and let's be honest, it is--then VT needs to run some 5 Wideout sets with the addition of these new receivers.

Beat uva. That is all.

VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804. Hokies, Keydets, Army Black Knights, NY Giants, NY Rangers, and ATL Braves.

Viva El Guapo

Would love to see plenty of these two this year. 2 more weeks!

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Two more weeks.....(heavy sigh)

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

This kinda creeps me out. Also reminds me of

wallmaster

From Zelda

Carry Me Back

I was thinking more along the lines of the hand from Super Smash Bros

Super Smash Bros

"These people are losing their minds" - Mike Patrick

woah...

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

I guess I was the only one who thought of Thing...

thing

Or even better...

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

somebody get crazy hand up here as well. Did you ever fight master hand and crazy hand at the same time??

Carry Me Back

http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/qKe8BdEDdV4/hqdefault.jpg

I can't be the only one who had this game

"Does it get any better than Thursday Night in Blacksburg?" - Reece Davis
"People who like to brag about how smart they are, are never as smart as they claim." - Colin Cowherd

Not all hands or gloves are bad:

A new season...new hope

What does you Lucas have to say about the power glove?

Nice.

Only 15 more days..football season cannot get here fast enough! It's exciting to hear all the postive feedback on these young players. I expect that the offense will be much improved this season with the injection of new blood.

Go Hokies!!!

Touchdown Tech - Bill Roth

I doubt either one of them will start (I think'll be difficult for them to supplant Knowles/Byrn/Stanford as true freshman) but I definitely see them helping spread the field out so the RBs don't have to face 8-9 guys in the box. They'll help the running game by simply being on the field.

This team just needs to take care of the ball and we will have a great season.

I think based on the quotes about Brewer from his dad, i think we're going to get more of a "no-mistake", game-manager type QB for the next two years. If the skill guys meet the hype, that's all we're going to need.

Misread title, thought it said Ford and Phillips Add Explosives
Boom

True Hokies STICK IT IN!!!

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