Defensive end James Gayle had a monster scrimmage, recording four sacks as the Hokies held the final scrimmage of preseason practice at Lane Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The scrimmage ended on a sore note for head coach Frank Beamer, who took an inadvertent elbow from quarterback Logan Thomas right above his left eye. Thomas started celebrating after throwing a touchdown pass on the final play of the scrimmage, and unintentionally hit Beamer, drawing blood. Tech's head coach headed for the training room and received four stitches.
"I didn't mean to do it," Thomas said. "After I did it, I turned around and saw his papers on the ground and saw the blood. I was thinking, ‘Oh, my.' I apologized to him. He didn't say anything, so I hope he's not mad."
Gayle, a redshirt sophomore from Hampton, Va., was the bigger story in the scrimmage. He finished with six tackles — four sacks and two other tackles for a loss. Behind him, Tech's first-team defense recorded eight sacks in the scrimmage.
"I messed up on the first couple of plays and sometimes it's something small that sets you off," Gayle said. "That kind of set me off.
"I feel like our defensive front four is going to be at the top in the ACC when it comes to sacks. All of our guys are athletic and fast, and I see us getting a lot more sacks than we did last year."
Tech's first-team units did not face each other in the scrimmage. The Hokies' scored four touchdowns, with three of those coming against the second-team defense.
David Wilson, who rushed for 36 yards on five carries, scored on a 14-yard run, while fellow tailback Michael Holmes scored on a 4-yard run. Thomas threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Danny Coale on the final play of the scrimmage.
Tech's first-team defense allowed just one score. Backup quarterback Mark Leal threw a swing pass to Daniel Dyer, who went 40 yards for a touchdown.
Thomas completed 15 of 23 for 140 yards and the one touchdown. Perhaps more importantly, he did not throw an interception.
"That's how you win games — don't turn the ball over and create turnovers," Thomas said. "My job is not to throw picks, so I was really happy with that today."
Leal completed 8 of 18 for 160 yards and a touchdown. He, too, did not throw an interception. Tony Gregory led all rushers with 40 yards on four carries, and Jarrett Boykin led all receivers with five catches for 44 yards. Marcus Davis and Coale caught three passes each.
Tech's other scoring came on two field goals. Cody Journell missed a 43-yarder, but atoned by hitting a 35-yarder. Justin Myer made a 36-yarder.
Telvion Clark led all tacklers with nine (5 solo). Jack Tyler, James Hopper, Luther Maddy and Antone Exum finished with five each.
What stands out more to me than the accolades describing what reads like a crisp scrimmage is the fact that the starters played against the reserves the entire way. So take it with a grain of salt. The kicking game is still entirely too inconsistent, and you'd have to believe right now punts would be the call over long field goal attempts. There are 48 seconds of highlights available as well as an interview with Coach Stinespring. Mark Leal throws a tiz-ight spiral, and what nice gentle touch on LT3's touchdown pass to Coale. Stiney noted poor execution by the first team o-line in 3rd down situations, and the scrimmage was bumped up to Wednesday from Saturday to give the team two more days to focus on the Appalachian State game plan.