Position Battles and What to Watch for Prior to the First Spring Practice

Here we go folks. Spring football kicks off today with a 4:30-6:30 PM practice. There's an air of excitement around the Hokies. The hires of Whit Babcock and Buzz Williams have energized a fan base that has been in a state of malaise due to the perception that Virginia Tech athletics were stagnant. With additional resources being devoted to recruiting staff, and a gorgeous, state of the art indoor practice facility on the way, the only thing that could derail forward momentum would be a mediocre football season.

To the casual observer, a blah year is certainly a possibility. The Hokies have major question marks at quarterback, running back, defensive line, and linebacker. While the candidates to fill those positions are talented, none have game experience.

Yesterday, Hokiesports.com released the initial spring football depth chart. There were few surprises. However, the depth chart hints at story lines to watch this spring.

Pound the Rock

Quickly examine the depth chart and one thing will stand out: Bud Foster's defense is bone thin up front. We are accustomed to the defensive line dominating the offensive line every spring, but if there was ever a year where the o-line should win some battles, it is this spring. Scot Loeffler has been dead set to improve the running game. In the effort to do that, new offensive line coach Stacy Searels has bulked up his offensive line group and Shane Beamer can roll out two big running backs. Power might be the theme this spring in Blacksburg.

No blocking will be successful unless there are running backs who can take advantage of it. Spring football often sees experienced running backs held out of most scrimmaging work. With Trey Edmunds out and J.C. Coleman pretty much a known quantity, I expect that we will see Jerome Wright and Marshawn Williams get a ton of repetitions. Wright surprisingly was listed as the No. 2 tailback, ahead of Chris Mangus. He also was listed as the backup fullback. Wright was powerful and assertive running dive plays out of option looks against UCLA in the Sun Bowl, and he showed that he can be a serviceable option at tailback. Williams is a pro-style powerback who is surprisingly shifty in tight spaces. Along with Shai McKenzie, these big power backs represent a potential change in the culture of the Hokie running game, which has featured smaller scat backs since Darren Evans and Ryan Williams left the program.

Blocking for that group is a oft-maligned, but veteran offensive line. Tech has 4 seniors, and 4 returning starters listed as the first group up front. With the exceptions of Matt Arkema being absent, and Laurence Gibson listed at 274 pounds (he was listed at 303 in the 2013 media guide) there weren't any real surprises.

Teller, Smith, and Conte all have an opportunity to win playing time, but the real story will be watching how Searels implements the blocking scheme(s). I noted in my offensive line preview that Stacy Searels-coached lines used zone blocking concepts, but focused more heavily on getting straight ahead push. I fully anticipate more two back sets and lots of power-oriented inside zone this spring, and perhaps a bulked up o-line this August (average weight of the starting five is 298.2 pounds right now). With the second team defensive line as thin as I can ever recall, there is no excuse for the Hokies not to run the football well between the tackles in most scrimmage situations.

The last time Bud Foster's defensive front was this depleted (2010), he patched together a bend-but-don't break scheme that often was bludgeoned up front, but used a talented secondary to generate tons of turnovers (T-8th nationally with 32). Foster faces replacing three defensive line starters and a pair of experienced and talented linebackers.

One look at the depth chart really paints a picture of how thin the Hokies are on the defensive line. Luther Maddy is the only experienced player in the front-four. He will remain at the left defensive tackle position (normally as a three technique lined up on the outside shoulder of the right guard.) That leaves Nigel Williams and Corey Marshall at the nose tackle. Both are undersized and likely more suited to be three techniques. Behind Maddy, Williams, and Marshall, Charley Wiles is going to have a tough time putting together enough bodies to give the first team offense a good look. Wade Hansen will back up Maddy at the defensive tackle spot. Hansen has bulked up significantly and is now listed as 6-6, 291. Former walk-on Jeremy Haynes will back up Marshall and Williams at nose. Haynes was a high school defensive end and only checks in at 220 pounds.

For those of you who are not familiar with spring practice, most of the first team offense versus first team defense work happens behind the scenes in closed practices. If last year is an indicator, the public scrimmages and the spring game will feature the first team offensive line against Haynes and Hansen. If the Virginia Tech running game doesn't look outstanding against the second team defense, then either Bud Foster has stumbled across an absolute diamond in the rough or we should be very worried about the offense next season. Either way, I am sure Foster is eager to get Ricky Walker, Steve Sobczak, and Kevin Bronson on campus.

Foster's Eyes on the Field

As I discussed in my linebacker lookahead Chase Williams will be hard-pressed to beat back the challenge of redshirt freshman Andrew Motuapuaka. The talented Deon Clarke is listed as a co-starter with workout warrior Dahman McKinnon at backer. I expect all four to rotate with the starting defensive line group through the week prior to the spring game, as it will be much more difficult to evaluate their play if the backup defensive tackles are sitting in their lap.

The Third Corner

It is critical for Torrian Gray to identify a dependable third cornerback. Last season, the Hokie scheme relied on Kendall Fuller to serve as a hybrid whip linebacker and corner against the spread offenses that littered the non-conference schedule. This allowed Foster to mix man with three man zone coverages to the field side and leave Kyle Fuller on an island to the boundary. When Fuller (and Exum) were hurt, Fuller had to transition to the boundary corner position. He continued to play brilliantly, but the change in scheme forced Foster to take Bonner and move him to the nickel role while Chuck Clark took his place at safety. This also forced Foster to align Jarrett more in a traditional strong safety two deep alignment in order to serve as experienced deep help and facilitate communication. Without any experienced corners and his best free safety forced to cover the slot, Foster relied heavily on man coverage. They were still a very good coverage team, but the inability to play multiple coverages resulted in fewer interceptions. Man coverage was exploited by the running ability of Maryland QB CJ Brown and UCLA superstar Brett Hundley, who repeatedly broke big runs while the safeties were running deep in coverage.

Fuller and Facyson return a year older and wiser. They will be leaned heavily upon to not only shut down passing games, but also generate turnovers. They'll be greatly aided by the development of a trustworthy third corner. I was convinced that Donovan Riley would be that big, physical corner on the outside that would allow Kendall Fuller to man up on slot receivers, but he struggled in a small sample of plays against Alabama and then became primarily a special teams player. Chuck Clark was given the opportunity to play later in the season and played well. His name has been mentioned as a possible nickel man, even though he is more of a free safety than a corner. If you are watching the secondary, note if Foster is more inclined to move Fuller into the slot with Riley on the outside, or if he keeps Fuller on the boundary on passing downs and puts Clark in for whip linebackers Josh Trimble / Derek DiNardo. Also, Ronny Vandyke is a non-contact player this spring, but he is an outstanding coverage whip linebacker. If a third corner doesn't step up, don't be shocked if Vandyke isn't an every down player this fall.

The Quarterback Derby

While I am watching the running game, linebackers tackling, and the coverage by the nickel defensive backs, most of HokieNation will have their gaze firmly fixed on the quarterback battle. There is only one certainty for the quarterback position this spring: the starter will not be determined by the end of spring practice.

It isn't surprising that Mark Leal is listed as the starter going into the spring. Leal now has a full calendar year of familiarity with Coach Loeffler's mindset, scheme, and terminology and has more game experience than any other quarterback on the roster. But, Loeffler has made it clear that there is an open quarterback competition, and with Michael Brewer, Chris Durkin, and Travon McMillian not available to take part in practice until fall camp, the spring won't settle the battle.

But, the spring could eliminate candidates. My guess is initially Brenden Motley and Andrew Ford will get around half the leftover snaps between the two of them. If one outperforms Leal, he will get more work. But, if he doesn't (especially Ford) chances are much more likely that they won't have the same opportunity in the fall. When fall practice kicks off, for the first two weeks Loeffler has to find enough snaps to evaluate six players. Most of those reps are going to go to the best performer this spring and likely Michael Brewer. Loeffler will also want to get a good evaluation on Durkin and McMillian. That doesn't leave many snaps for Motley and Ford unless they perform at a starter's caliber level in spring.

Spring practice is a great opportunity to get extra repetitions working with the top receiver and offensive line groupings. Closely watch for reports coming out of practice for how much time Ford and Motley are getting with the first team personnel group. If they are working exclusively with the two's and three's, expect that Ford will be redshirted and Motley won't get much work in fall camp. If one of the backups surpasses Leal, hold onto your seat. With Brewer, Durkin, and McMillian coming in August, Leal probably won't get a second chance if Ford or Motley have already passed him by.

Comments

It's going to be crazy having this many position battles going on. Thanks for keeping us updated!

Power might be the theme this spring in Blacksburg.

I love the sound of that!!

I might be more worried about linebacker than I am quarterback.

"It's worth it right? It's worth it to lay it all on the line for your brothers!"
"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster (both quotes)

that's silly. Bud Foster has proven his worth..I have high hopes for Loeffler and so far I'm encouraged by what I see..but Bud has a terrific track record and I've (obviously) been following him much longer...I have more faith in BF coaching up the linebackers than I do in Loeffler with the QBs at this point. Loeffler still has a lot to prove to me. I hope he can do it but, to me, the jury is still out on him.

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

I think French made a very valid comparison to the 2010 group, when Bud had to reload much of his front 7. That year was rough for the linebackers, to say the least. It really wasn't until 2011 that linebacker play improved with the emergence of Jack Tyler (watching him play live in the 2010 ACCCG was awesome and clearly a sign of things to come) and Tariq Edwards. Just a word of caution: Bud's a great coach, but even he is limited by what's in front of him. If the guys that "win" the starting job aren't quite up to speed in terms of knowing their assignments, playing fast and getting off blocks, we could have a bumpy season.

I thought Taylor was outstanding in 2010, but we had no way to expect that going into the season (he had bounced around from LB to DE... sound familiar Melvin Keihn fans?) Lyndell Gibson was just awful... awful.

Viva El Guapo

Taylor was very good, yes, but my point was mostly Gibson (and JGW if you want to lump the whip in with the rest of the LBs). I saw him take on blocks in pretty much the same fashion I did as a 5'10", 140lb linebacker freshman year, my first time ever in pads. It was painful to watch. It didn't seem like it much mattered what Taylor did (except for that fateful missed tackle in the Boise game), cause all the offense had to do was run at Gibson.

Was Barquell Rivers Hurt in 2009? and tried to come back in 2010? I thought he wasn't flashy but very steady.

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

QB is arguably a more important position though...and right now we have a bunch of freshmen, Leal, and a transfer who has thrown 50 passes or so in college football. We're thin and inexperienced at LB for sure, but we're really inexperienced at QB. A lot of people on here seriously believe a freshman could start for us this year...Bud is not only a great LB coach, but he's a great schemer and he'll do everything he can to help his inexperienced LBs. It's going to be much harder for Loeffler to protect the 'field general' in the same way Bud will be able to protect the linebackers. Am I concerned about the LBs? Yes, to a degree. But I wouldn't say that I'm more concerned about them than the QB. The QB doesn't have any proven help. LT3 accounted for over 70% of our offensive production last year. We can't rely on Leal, a transfer, or a freshman to do the same. QB is a HUGE concern right now. Definitely more than any other position on the team.

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

Call me crazy but I have a sneaky sneaky suspicion that Motley has a great chance to be #1 QB come Fall. Something about the way SL talks/talked about him this past year made me start to think.

Motley can do all the read/veer options but he has a smooth deep ball as well. Pretty darn accurate and that kid can absolutely fly. I am hoping to hear good things in the weeks to come. For some reason Leal just seems like stale bread to me, yes he has been here for years but I'm not sure he has what it takes. I would love to be surprised because he showed some nice touch on some passes but he missed a lot of reads in that game. But I will take that with a huge grain of salt.

"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've been intrigued with Motley myself after seeing him play last fall. I would be in no way disappointed if he won the job. If he can handle the mental aspect (yes, similar to saying "if a basketball player can just get the ball in the basket," I know), he could be a really good one.

QB is arguably a more important position though

Here's my argument: Michigan State. Their linebackers were monsters this year and their QB was serviceable at best early in the year. Yet they still managed to make and win the Rose Bowl. If you're a defensive-minded team, great LBs trump a good QB any day of the week.

I think the bigger concern with 70% of our offense graduating in the form of Thomas is spreading that 70% out over more of the offense (why hello there, Mr. Williams) so the new QB doesn't have to account for such a huge chunk of our offensive production. That means that even on offense, the line and RB battles are just as critical as the QB competition.

there is a reason Thomas accounted for 70+% of the offense last year.....just sayin'

I'm not disagreeing that the linebacker position is important. I'm not saying it's not a concern. I'm saying QB is MORE of a concern. We don't really know what to expect from the running game. It was supposed to be the number one goal to get it fixed last year, and it wasn't fixed. What reason do I have to believe that will change drastically this year? I hope it does, but I don't have a ton of confidence that it will. Outside of that, where else is that 70% of the offense going to be spread out? The QB still has to be able to make the correct reads and deliver accurate passes on time to the correct receiver before he can get additional help. I think Bud has more flexibility with the LB's to protect them than Loeffler has with whoever starts at QB. QB is a big big question mark this year and it's going to be challenging for Loeffler to help him out. We saw what happened when we tried to run against 8 and 9 man fronts. The whole Oline can do their job correctly and we still get little or no gain. If that happens, all that pressure falls back on the QB. I don't think there is a similar scenario where ALL OF THE PRESSURE OF THE DEFENSE is placed squarely on the shoulders of a LB

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

In response to your last point, I'd invite you to revisit some of French's articles on the defense and take a good look at the Boise and JMU games from 2010 (I'd say easily the worst defensive year in the past decade and a half for VT). The entire defense is predicated on every guy filling his gap, with the linebackers and whips often designated as free-hitters or backside scrapers responsible for getting the ballcarrier on the ground when he tries to cut back. Case in point: Bruce Taylor misses a tackle against Boise and it's a 60 yard TD. Gibson fails to take on a block properly against JMU and it's a 70 yard TD. In Bud's defense, there's HUGE pressure on the LBs.
Back to the offense. Yes, it was a focus last year, but we all knew it was going to take more than a year to get the running game squared away. Even if one guy emerges as the clear winner, he's still going to be making his first start on August 30th and his first road start in the 'Shoe a week later. Expecting to put the majority of the offense on his shoulders is ridiculous and unfair. The staff MUST get the offensive line and RBs working well enough together so that the running game is a threat that will force safeties up and make the QBs job easier. Kevin Hogan wasn't an outstanding QB for Stanford this year, but they still won the Pac-12. Am I saying we're going to be Stanford this year? Not remotely. I'm saying that the QB position doesn't need to be spectacular for a team to have success (excluding Washington State and Texas Tech and a few others, of course). Will the QB battle be important this year? Yes. We need a guy who can make the right reads and take care of the ball and occasionally threaten the safeties with big plays. However, what I believe to be more important is making sure that guy isn't always trying to lead a 4th quarter comeback because a LB didn't fill properly and gave up a huge scoring play.

Also the big BC TD run was helped by a LB or S not filling his outside gap properly and getting buzzed into the middle....

"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

Right. And back to my original comment, I have more faith in BF having our defense ready than I do in Loeffler having our offense ready. I think it's unfair to compare us to MSU. I don't know anything about their offense but I seriously doubt their coordinator had to clean up nearly as big of a mess as Loeffler has to deal with. In the "Bud appreciation" thread I posted that I was never concerned about our defense because of Bud. I stand by that. I still don't know what to expect from Loeffler offensively. French's articles after each game gave me a lot of hope and encouragement about the direction our offense was heading, but the numbers were still poor. Until he proves to me that he can field a competitive offense I will always trust Bud to get it done. I'm more concerned about the QB than I am about the LB...

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

And I keep going back to 2010. In a similar position, even Bud showed that he's limited by what's in front of him. The LBs are such a big unknown at this point, we could easily see a similar defensive situation. I may be in the minority, but seeing what Lefty did at Temple, in flashes at Auburn and last year with limited options to work with (to put it gently), I have every confidence he'll field a competitive group sooner rather than later. And if he doesn't, I think the QB will be fairly low on the list of reasons why.

agree to disagree?

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

I guess so. It'll be a fun spring to watch, no doubt.

now THAT, I do agree with. I am definitely excited for this spring and also this upcoming season. I can't wait!! I think 2015 or 16 will be the year though...Loeffler deserves at least 3 years to build IMO. I think we could probably also agree that he came into a pretty big mess. I certainly have high hopes for him but my entire argument is based on what he hasn't done YET. I would love for him to prove me wrong.

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

Sometimes a young player will rise up and surprise us however....like Jack Tyler. Maybe Motuapuaka could shock us and play like Jack Tyler? Who knows? Maybe Deion Clark or Mackinnon surprises everyone? RVD being healthy will help alot. I am interested to see what happens with Holland Fisher also, although I assume he will start as a DB?

Maybe Chase Williams will step up and get it done also...

I think the talent is there, its just putting it together mentally that is a big question mark.

VHokie

I think we are going to have a QB that when running the read option doesn't think he is better than the RB's 90% of the time this year. Spreading the ball out more is just going to help this team, the big reason that LT was 70% of the offense was he didn't trust anybody with the ball despite the fact that they never once fumbled.

The big reason actually is that d coordinators were making Logan keep on the option to get hits on him. They played the pitch all the time.

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 am worried about linebacker as well, but since we covered the position battle on Monday I didn't think it warranted rehashing.

I still expect Motuapuaka and Clarke to win the jobs.

Viva El Guapo

I think it's pronounce "you just got lit the eff up"...the "M" is silent.

"We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

mo-TOO-uh-poo-WAH-kuh

I'm here for the memes, I just stay for the football.

He's Hawaiian/Samoan, so I think it's pronounced exactly how it looks: Mo-tu-a-pu-a-ka.

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

Do we have these drought years in the front 7 because we can't recruit the blue chippers or do they stay away because of the junk defense we have to play when we don't have the horses to play "pro style"? Could misses like Brooks, Grant, Anthony, Hand, Nandi etc. prosper here or would they be misfits? Looks like we have years where we are trying to draw to an inside straight

Those guys almost certainly would have prospered here. That defense would have been legendary with those types of athletes. Alas, we'll never know for sure.

French, I like how you compared this fall to the 2010 group. We have the talent in the secondary to force just as many turnovers, if not more. Kendall could have a Jayron Hosley-like season.

#DBU

I love Fuller, but the nature of the boundary corner position is that you don't have safety help, so generally there are fewer opportunities to take risks. Hosley's record INT season came playing field corner. Plus, Kendall is good enough that people will stay clear of him.

That being said, teams may try to go after Facyson instead. He may be the guy to get a ton of INT's even if Kendall may be a more talented player.

Viva El Guapo

I don't know why, but between our two CBs, I see Kendall as the better coverage player, whereas Facyson is the greater ball threat. Does that make sense?

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

We'll jump so hard we'll break the bleachers.

Makes sense to me...I think Facyson seems to take more chances and go for the pick, whereas Fuller seems to be more of a traditional lock down corner.

VHokie

ohh man I am so excited for Spring. I told my wife guess what day is today, and she looked at me with disgust and said go make breakfast. Although she is ready for our trip up north for the Miami game that has been planned since the schedule came out. She's such a trooper.

"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 am most concerned about our DL. The lack of size and bodies for spring will be an obstacle. Getting reinforcements in the fall and getting Williams back from Injury will help for week 1 though.

So from this I gather we have more QB prospects then LOLUVA has fans at their spring game (and some regular season games).

VTMidge-Andrew Shields

Pretty much.

To keep it rolling, we have more long snappers than LOLUVA has QB prospects.

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

I don't know if he's put enough on film to say, but what are your thoughts on Der'Woun Green?

"No, we will not die like dogs, we will fight like lions!"

He was outstanding for me in NCAA Football, so I think it's safe to say he'll be a solid player this season.

By that logic, Dietrick Bonner should have been an All-American by now.

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

But... he already is... Oh wait, was looking at NCAA again.

Bonner drops a ton of INTs on NCAA for me. You must have a glitchy game.

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

I get like 0 picks, but he has tons of sacks and TFLs plus pass deflections.

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

dat safety blitz

Flowers, Harris, Chancellor, Carmichael, Whitley, Hosley, Fuller, Exum

Most pressing question of all:

Who will win the battle to be the Fifth Fuller?

The U invented Swag, but UVA invented Smug.

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

Brandon might be getting adopted, he played like one last year.

My position is not open for competition.

I'll be at practice today so I hope I will be able to bring you guys some info on how some of the numerous question marks do.

The team announced three additional scrimmages in Lane Stadium open to the public in the next month, all on Saturdays: April 5 at 3 p.m., April 12 at 11 a.m. and April 19 at 11 a.m.

I saw this earlier today, should help.

JUGS for Days

what time is practice? 3-4ish like last year

JUGS for Days

Without seeing the post you were responding to, I thought you were predicting our record next season. I was like WHAT THE HELL, THAT AIN'T EVEN ENOUGH GAMES

Good thing we have a secret agent to cover our Hokie spring practices...

#thingsiblamethemvsfor

Oh man its that time again!!! New here but I have to say thanks to JCtaughtMe I have found a permanent home! excited to discuss topics,beer,food,hokie sports and even some fine Legs like these!!!

yum

JUGS for Days

Oh my. Well look who showed up.... About time only took you 3 weeks.

Watch out TKP we have another trouble maker aboard.

"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'm gonna go right ahead and assume that those legs belong to the one posting. And don't you dare tell me differently.

What if I was JCtaughtMe's significant other... ohh the drama unfolds!!!??

JUGS for Days

Oh boy it has begun. I knew this was a bad idea.

"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

Sooo... Manti Te'o's ex is now dating a Hokie?

ohh I feel a little tear running down my face. pshh that man wishes he had some sexy female legs like mine!

JUGS for Days

May I say, that your avatar is fantastic. Nothing finer than a good looking woman sporting love for Virginia Tech.

I'm just here to look up.

Danny caught that ball.

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

I have inside info. - Whit

hahaha...how's the view?

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

What do you think about Teller at Guard?

Perhaps a 2015 statement about Augie's ability out at tackle?

2015 Offensive Line:

McGlock, Parker Osterloh, Tyrel Smith
Alston Smith, Colt Pettit
Kyle Chung, Eric Gallo
Teller, Adam Taraschke, Billy Ray Mitchell
Augie Conte, Braxton Pfaff

I'd flip flop Augie and Wyatt. I think Wyatt is more agile in space.

Viva El Guapo

Bud doesn't seem very concerned with the depth chart. LOVE #LPD

Coach Wiles on the other hand expects the youngsters to get it going

Rob Peterson
VTCC
Charlie/Hotel Company
Class of 1999

I was with D-Line today. Ken Ekanem was getting first team reps along with Nigel Williams, Luther Maddy, and Dadi. Dadi had a couple of blown assignments today but his acceleration speed and strength are second to none. Vinny Mihota needs to be coached up a little more as he had some missed assignments but thats to be expected from a true freshman just getting his first taste of plays today. Second team reps went to Dooley, Alford, Marshall, and Mihota. More practice tomorrow so I'll get more of a look (probably either D-line or ILB).

I'm excited to see Mihota, I think he could be great. I think Dadi will be better by the time the season starts as well. I think the line will be better than what we fear.

Like most have said the D-line has very little depth (yes talented but young) so an injury can be a giant problem if one of the two deep gets injured (as you can see with Baron as Mihota has already taken the second team place which he is talented for but not fully versed in Bud and Wiles system).

Yes I know, there is little depth because of the inexperience, however we've been through multiple seasons where one area or the other is not deep but managed to find a diamond in the rough. I think having a talented secondary is a huge thing as well, I think that will take some pressure off but if the ends can get pressure on the QB, it should help the pass defense. There are still questions yes, but Bud always seems to plug in the right people.

Who was the other DT alongside Corey Marshall? Alford?

Flowers, Harris, Chancellor, Carmichael, Whitley, Hosley, Fuller, Exum

Reading the French analysis on the D-line made the Derrick Nnadi to FSU decision's impact finally hit me to how severely we needed him and how he could have been a Star from day one.

H_O_K_I_E_S-HOKIES!

Proud Member Of The Key Play Community Since January 2012.

He changed his name to Red.

He was looking for a place that relies on the Fokker D3 formation.

Danny caught that ball.

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

I have inside info. - Whit

He's hurt, not sure how/what type of injury, but it sounds like he's not going to be back until at least the summer.

Putting this here as well. I have seen two quotes on Hokiesports that make me think McMillian has already moved to a new position.

http://www.hokiesports.com/football/recaps/20140327aab.html
"Beamer reiterated that Mark Leal, a redshirt senior, is the frontrunner. Leal struggled in the Sun Bowl in place of an injured Thomas, completing just 12 of 25 for 130 yards and throwing two interceptions. He will be challenged this spring by redshirt sophomore Brenden Motley and true freshman Andrew Ford, who enrolled this January.
The list of challengers will swell this summer when Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer and true freshman Chris Durkin arrive."

http://www.hokiesports.com/football/extras/2014VTspringoutlook.pdf
CoaCh loeFFleR
on the QUARTeRBACKS:
"Weve got three guys Mark Leal, Brenden Motley and Andrew Ford here. What we want to do is assess and see if we can evaluate and find a guy this spring that we think is reliable to compete for the starting job in the fall. In my opinion, the job will not be decided until the fall, because weve got two guys coming in here that we need to evaluate when they arrive for camp."- Scot Loeffler

To continue our 90's theme... "things that make you go hmmmmm."

Viva El Guapo

Things that make me go hmmmmm... The RB situation, and The QB situation.. Part of me wants Motley to win it and part of me wants the Texas Tech Brewer to win it. Leal... not so impressed but we have seen 3 quarters in a game where everything got turned upside down. SO not a true benchmark for me, but SL comments about preparation or lack of didn't give me the butterfly's in my stomach!

JUGS for Days

Sad, in parts I was more impressed by McMillan's film than Durkin's.

I think Durkin is the most physically gifted of all three, but he also has the furthest to go mechanically. But, he can make an immediate impact as a wildcat/goal line QB that the other two guys can't offer. Of the three, I think he is most likely to see the field immediately.

Viva El Guapo