Phoebus' Harry Lewis Makes the Grade On and Off the Field

The way Phoebus Coach Jeremy Blunt tells it, his team needed inspiration. Rival Denbigh High had the ball on their own 10-yard line. Blunt spoke to his team during timeout.

His junior star defensive lineman Harry Lewis made a guarantee.

"I called the timeout and got the guys back in control," Blunt recalls. "Harry looks at me in this tough game and looks me right in the eye. He says, 'I'm gonna make a play, coach.'"

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.

Picture Along the Defensive Line Becoming Clearer

Last season, Tech's defensive line was a position of certainty. In 2013 there was a logjam at end, and 4 guys capable of rotating at tackle. However, when spring practice began there were only two starters on the front-four penned in, tackle Luther Maddy and stud end Dadi Nicolas.

Charley Wiles spoke about the defensive line to the media last night, "We've got our best four on the field with Ken, Corey, Dadi, and Luther, but like Bud said, Seth's a heckuva prospect. I think Dewayne is improving. It's good healthy competition. They're all giving good effort, I've been very pleased."

The Return of the Wild Turkey

I miss Greg Boone.

The only thing better than watching Greg Boone lay out defenders or make a catch across the middle was shouting our patented "BOOOOOOOOOONE" cheer every time he made us proud. Greg Boone also holds the distinction of being the centerpiece of the Wild Turkey formation, widely regarded as the best named formation in football history. The Wild Turkey was Virginia Tech's version of the Wildcat formation and is rumored to be making a return to Blacksburg.

Six Pack: Masters Edition

Happy Thirsty Thursday boys and girls. The Masters is upon us. It means four days of Uncle Verne whispering from a lonely tower in the woods; four days of David Feherty mocking poor club selections by Sergio Garcia; four days of Angel Cabrera chain smoking on the tee box (Oh wait, he quit smoking? Seriously?); and only three days until Jim Nantz and one awkward interview at Butler Cabin. So in the spirit of Masters Weekend, what better than discussion of golf, Hokies, and beer.

I learned the game of golf from my grandfather. Though he worked a full-time job right up until his death, I really only have memories of him talking about golf or playing golf. He was the type of man who played in the evenings after work and both days of the weekend. It was his greatest hobby, and despite his incredible love for baseball, it was hardly a competition between the two.

TheFifthFuller's Insider Report

Hello. Spring football is upon us and as we fans ready ourselves for the spring game, the coaches and players finally are back out on the field. Considering that many of us spend the majority of our waking hours thinking about this football team, it gets me all hyped up when FOOTBALL PEOPLE start doing FOOTBALL THINGS, even if we're still five months away from a real, live game. Luckily, due to the recognized value that this website brings to the program and Hokie community, we've been granted unprecedented access to the coaches and team in order to bring you the most complete, up-to-date information from the field, film room, meetings, weight room, and locker room (1). Let's check in on how some of our coaches got ready for the first spring practice.

Hokies and Oscar Smith's Bruising Tailback Seem Like a Perfect Fit

Deshawn McClease is a three-year starter at perennial powerhouse Oscar Smith High in Chesapeake.

He rushed for more than 1,600 yards and scored 30 touchdowns last season in the Tigers' multiple-formation, quick-paced offense.

Coach Richard Morgan kept him games during empty sets as a slot receiver.

McClease also blacked out during a 54-yard touchdown run in the 2011 state title game.

But last weekend, the 5-foot-9 back did something a little different. He served as unofficial tour guide to other recruits on a visit to Blacksburg. It only made sense — it was his fourth or fifth time at the school.

Spring Practice Film Study: Zone Stretch Beats Gap Defense

Today, I'm going to break down two basic principles of the Virginia Tech offense and defense matched against each other—the zone stretch versus the gap fit.

In Bud Foster's gap defense, each of the front-six defenders (all four down linemen and the two inside linebackers) have responsibility to attack a gap and either make a play in the gap or occupy it without being driven out. The outside "linebacker-safeties" (Whip and Rover) are edge players. Based on a defensive call they either "force" the play, playing outside contain to force the running back to the inside, or "spill" the play, attacking the inside shoulder of the running back, forcing him to bounce outside to an unblocked alley player which is often the free safety. Against teams that zone block running plays, the normal "key" for an interior player is go where the offensive lineman goes, cross his face, and fit the gap to his outside.

First Scrimmage Observations and Analysis

There were plenty of questions about the Hokies at the beginning of spring practice. With Trey Edmunds sidelined, would anyone step up to separate themselves from the rest of the running back pack? Would Bud Foster be able to find adequate replacements at linebacker after losing Jack Tyler and Tariq Edwards? Most importantly, who would best position himself in the competition for QB1? After the first scrimmage, some of those questions are beginning to be answered, while some are getting even more intriguing and complex.

From the Field to the Stands: Michael Cole's Journey as a Hokie

Editor's Note: This is a fantastic story. Moved to front. --Joe

This story was originally for a class/possible CT article, but I figured y'all would enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Happy Friday, y'all.

As he led the way to a secluded area for an interview in one of the tutoring rooms atop Lane Stadium, Michael Cole heard a familiar voice call out.

"EY, YO! IS THAT MIKE COLE I SEE?" shouted Kyshoen Jarrett, starting rover for Virginia Tech's football team, who was walking from the practice field with a backpack slung over his shoulder.

Versatile Ronny Vandyke can Rejuvenate the Whip Position

Spring football, much like the season itself, is a time of renewal. We're eager to learn more about the new group of Hokies and how they can contribute and star in the program moving forward. At the same time, perhaps we overlook players who have been in the program for an extended period of time. Case in point is the Whip position. The Whip has been utilized so little since the Boise State game that many consider the nickel defense the "base" set for Virginia Tech.

Hokie Football 101: Defensive Line Basics

In a recent post, VTGuitarMan asked "What defines a nose tackle? In my naive view, I always equated NT with the middle guy in a 3-man front, lined up over center. I'm guessing that's not true, or otherwise Foster's scheme modifies that terminology." As always, I am more than happy to oblige with an answer.

First, it is important to understand the difference between the name of the position and technique. The Hokies have four defensive line positions in their system.

A Schematic Reboot?

When Scot Loeffler was hired it was understood by all that he was going to bring smash mouth football back to Blacksburg. Loeffler was going to focus on running the ball in between the tackles, something Frank Beamer teams were supposed to do. After all, Loeffler and his offensive line coach Jeff Grimes had had an offense at Auburn that had success running the ball from pro-style formations. Surely they would be able to duplicate those results here at Virginia Tech!

We all know how that story ended. The offense never did have any success running the ball despite the coaching staff's best intentions. Even when the team did run the ball well it did so out of spread formations, reading unblocked defenders instead of running them over. Is this the new schematic normal in Blacksburg?

2015 DT Eric Whitehead Talks Virginia Tech Visit

I caught up with Lawrence Central (Indianapolis, Indiana) defensive tackle Eric Whitehead about his recruitment. The 6-1.5, 295 pound 2015 cycle prospect visited Virginia Tech for the first time on Saturday and went home with a scholarship offer. How did Eric feel about the offer? "I was speechless. I didn't know what to say."

Defensive Line Note: Vinny Mihota to get Reps at DT

According to the latest interview with Bud Foster on Hokiesports.com, Vince Mihota will get reps inside to back up Luther Maddy as the No. 2, three-technique defensive tackle.

"We're also going to probably look at Vinny Mihota some inside," Foster said in the interview while discussing depth along the defensive line.

Foster's initial stream of consciousness suggested that this is a short term move, necessitated by "class conflicts" with guys who may miss some practice time (I am guessing that would be Wade Hansen). He also said it gives the Hokie defensive staff an opportunity to get Mihota more reps and time on the field for evaluation.

Interestingly though, Foster finished the thought with, "He's going to grow into that [defensive tackle] position when it's all said and done."

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