11 Days

Let the Countdown begin in earnest. See y'all April 21st.

Source photo: Josh D. Weiss Photography

First Scrimmage Thoughts

via Mike Barber

A defense dominate enough to make you feel nervous and insecure about the offense, that's Virginia Tech football in April. The headlines are usually the same this time of year. Avid fans know what the offense is working with right now —four new starters on the o-line, rookie tailbacks, veteran-ish receivers and tight ends— but I think we gloss over what that means. It's going to look ugly now. A flawless closing night performance doesn't come right after casting. There's rehearsal, and boy does this group ever need that. There's a lot of talent on offense, what remains to be seen is if they gel, and that doesn't happen overnight.

Misleading statistic that you've probably heard 100 times: 11 sacks in 85 plays. That was mostly the second- and third-team offense getting worked. It's also important to note the defense has their blitz package in.

2013 Recruiting: Anthony Jennings

Anthony Jennings is a 6-2, 205-pound dual-threat quarterback from Marietta, Georgia. In addition to the Hokies, 14 I-A programs (West Virginia, Iowa, Mississippi St., etc...) have offered Jennings. He hasn't named any favorites, but he's in Blacksburg this weekend for an unofficial visit. The Hokies are looking to take two quarterbacks during the 2013 cycle, and Jennings is high on their list. Marietta head coach Scott Burton was generous enough to talk with me yesterday about Anthony.

via http://marietta.patch.com/articles/marietta-falls-after-4th-quarter-coll...

How adept is Anthony at reading defenses; seeing coverages and blitzes before the snap?

That is probably the best thing about him, his football acumen. He has a very very high football IQ, and part of that is because he likes the process of what it takes to be a good quarterback. He really enjoys film study, he understands how important it is. He doesn't look at it as a chore, he looks at it as something that is not only necessary, but fun.

So he's the type of kid that's asking for tapes, getting his hands on tapes and really going after it?

The Million Dollar Man and Unfriendly Space

As the Hokies start to ramp up spring practice, we outsiders have received trickles of information that have started us down the road of starting to formulate conclusions about the makeup of the 2012 Hokie football team. What are some of mine?

Notes and Quotes From Yesterday's Practice

The Hokies held their fifth practice of spring yesterday which concluded with a closed 47 play mini-scrimmage. The Frankinator described it as, "ragged," but not lacking in effort. "I think what you have to really be pleased with is the effort and how we worked against each other and our aggressiveness in full speed work. As long as you have effort, we'll get better and that's the important thing."

Michael Holmes was a shining star of the scrimmage and was singled out by Coach Beamer, "The guy who you kind of notice a couple times is Michael Holmes." "He's got good moves, power and speed. He's a guy you kind of notice."

It sounds like J.C. Coleman is enjoying his fill of HokieClubs from West End, "Almost up to my goal weight of 190. At 183 right now. #hypee !" And the Gentrification has only just begun.

The Frankinator mentioned Ethan Keyserling as, "the guy who has been punting well," and Michael Branthover as, "the better guy at field goal." However, the kicking game is still a work in progress. Keyserling had punts of just 37 and 29 yards in the mini-scrimmage. Branthover had a punt of 33 yards, made and missed field goals of 32 and 37 yard respectively. Conor Goulding missed a 32-yard attempt.

Bucky Hodges, Matt Rolin Updates

Salem quarterback Bucky Hodges and Briar Woods linebacker Matt Rolin are two highly regarded and recruited players in the 2013 cycle. Each hold numerous division I-A offers and the Hokies are in the mix to potential land both. Hodges visited Blacksburg last weekend and it seems like the 'Burg made an impression on him as he visited practice, talked with players, and faculty.

"It was a good visit. It was probably the best visit I've had up there," said Hodges. "I got to meet a whole bunch of the players. I'm starting to know some of them and I like the feel of things up there."

That's a good thing.

Thomas and back up quarterback Mark Leal spent some time with Hodges, reviewing all things related to quarterbacking in Blacksburg.

"We talked a lot. They're real good dudes. They're really down to earth guys," Bucky said. "Logan told me how it is (to be the quarterback there). You can't really go anywhere without people wanting to take pictures with you. You have to stay to yourself. You have to focus on school and football. It's real easy to get into trouble because everyone's watching you."

The quarterbacks also discussed the offensive system at Tech, which is getting an update this offseason.

Notes From Tech's Second Spring Practice

Here's a brief summary from yesterday's practice. There's not much substance here because it was pretty routine on the field. The Hokies went out in full pads for the first time this morning at 10:45.

2012 signee Drew Harris took in his first Hokies practice.

And Mike Vick is still helping to recruit kids to Tech. Video is via Hayley Salyer.

If Harris is a healthy 220-225 pounds come August, oh boy, the competition at tailback is going to heat up this summer. Harris, J.C. Coleman and Trey Edmunds were all highly rated running backs from the 2012 recruiting cycle and each one brings something a little different to the table.

Three 2013 targets were also at practice: defensive back Kendall Fuller, offensive lineman Braxton Pfaff, and quarterback Bucky Hodges. Hodges now holds ten offers, and says regarding favorites, "I don't know. I'm wide open right now". While at Tech yesterday he tweeted, "Good visit so far".

Virginia Tech's Camo Helmet

On Thursday Virginia Tech announced a fundraiser to support the Wounded Warrior Project.

Head Coach Frank Beamer and the Virginia Tech Football team announced today a fundraiser to support the Wounded Warrior Project, through the sale of camouflage Virginia Tech hats. Hats will be sold for $8 each at the University Bookstore on-campus, the Volume Two Bookstore at University Mall, and the Hokie Stadium Shops in Lane Stadium. Hats can also be purchased online at www.bookstore.vt.edu. The Wounded Warrior Project was created to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid as well as provide direct programs for the needs of injured service members.

The goal is to raise $25,000 for a very good cause. (For what it's worth, I'm buying one for myself and MRSTKP.)

Tech also announced a commemorative helmet to be worn against Bowling Green on Military Appreciation Day.

via @AndyBitterVT

Notes and Quotes From Tech's First Day of Spring Practice

It doesn't seem like Logan Thomas is really concerned about replacing Wilson, Coale, Boykin, #DRAGERBOMB, or four senior o-linemen. He was doling out compliments and reassurances about the new faces in the huddle.

  • "Those guys will be just fine," Thomas said. "They have one of the best coaches out there in coach Newsome. He'll get them right, get their minds right and they'll be ready to go when that time comes. Of course there's going to be some learning, but I think they'll be just fine."
  • "We've got some experience out wide in our receiving core, and they'll use their knowledge and let the young guys know."
  • "I think he's [Holmes] a lot like Ryan Williams, in comparison," Thomas said. "He's got great lateral movement, and he’s got good quickness straight ahead. He'll make you miss more than he'll run over you."
  • "Also, the backfield, they've got me back there, so if they've got questions they can ask me."

I like that reserved swagger, LT3 is confident in his abilities, and only critical of himself, because he knows he can be better.

Are we rich in tradition?

On Oct 21, 1892 W.E. Anderson, despite playing right tackle, scored the first touchdown for Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College ever. Coached by Professor Ellison A. Smyth, the VAMC football players beat the St. Albans football team 14-10. These forefathers of Hokie football purchased their own equipment and had a hard time finding enough people to man a team to play on a wheat field carved out by plow. As hard as it was to get started, this was the beginning of something that 120 years later we sit here anticipating the tidbits of news from the first day of spring practice.

Thoughts after Digesting the "Spring Outlook"

BREAKING: SPRING PRACTICE STARTS TODAY. HokieSports.com posted the "Spring Outlook" yesterday. It contains good information from the coaches about what to expect this spring. My thoughts follow, please leave your's below. Football season, if only for a month, is here.

Offensive Line

The coaches are depending on Nick Becton, "coaches want him to be the catalyst for the offensive line," and Vinston Painter, "a key part of Tech's plan along the offensive front," to bookend an inexperienced group. I'm probably reading into things, but it's curious that Michael Via is listed as the third center. I know he's injured, but other players, Bruce, Hop, G-W, etc... are in the order you'd expect them to be.

Brent Benedict is the starter at right guard for now, but the position is "wide open". As I said before, I think the favorites are Benedict and Laurence Gibson, but I wouldn't count out backup left guard Matt Arkema or backup center Caleb Farris.

Coach Newsome makes a great point, "Competing every day against a defensive line that has all its players back will help us." Unlike the last few years, I hope we see ones versus ones in the Maroon-White game so we have a more realistic understanding of where the o-line is at.

You know what get's me fired up?

As we stand on the eve of another spring football season, I resign myself to worry about the Hokies. I worry that the linebacker depth has evaporated. I worry that all the moves in the secondary rob Peter to pay Paul. I worry about offensive line continuity and new running backs. And, I worry about finding punters, place kickers, returners, and guys who can make things happen in coverage.

But, it is the promise of expectation and potential which brings us back every year and lets us hope to dream the impossible dream. And, when I look at the Hokies roster this spring, the thought of Mark Shuman and Laurence Gibson winning jobs on the left side of the offensive line gives me something to aspire to hope for.

Seth Staying, JT Thompson Transferring

Mark Berman of the Roanoke Times Tweeted the following early this afternoon, "Met with Seth. JT won't be returning to #Hokies, but Seth will. JT will transfer. But Seth not leaving for SMU". Berman elaborated about his conversation with Seth a bit more on his blog.

He said neither he nor his representative have talked with anyone from SMU or with SMU’s consultant in the search, former Hokies athletic director Dave Braine.

It would seem then that ends that.

JT Thompson looked primed to have a memorable final year at Tech. However, it never came, and his inside presence was definitely missed. After tearing the ACL in his left knee his 2010-11 season was a wash, and he missed the 2011-12 season after tearing the ACL in his right knee. He was honored at senior night against NC State back on March 4th, so his transfer isn't a huge suprise to me. The best of luck to JT in the future, and over the rest of his career.

Report: SMU Interested in Seth Greenberg

Lane Casadonte of CBS 6 Richmond reported the following via Twitter late Sunday evening, "Sources tell #CBS6 Sports that #VT's Seth Greenberg is a top candidate for the job at #SMU #ACC".

SMU fired coach Matt Doherty on March 13th after going 80-109 over six seasons. SMU Director of Athletics Steve Orsini stated the following.

"As I have said previously, we have set a goal of top-25 status for our men's basketball program and want to compete for BIG EAST championships. With our membership in one of the best basketball conferences in the nation, the Crum Basketball Center, our $40-plus million renovation of Moody Coliseum and our location in the fertile recruiting grounds of Dallas, we believe we have the pieces for a championship-caliber program."

At first, SMU might sound like an illogical destination for Greenberg. But when you consider SMU is transitioning to the Big East, a premier hoops league, is located in Dallas, and has invested serious dollars into its hoops program, it sounds a little more plausible. It might even remind you of Greenberg's takeover scenario at Virginia Tech sans the gobs of local talent.

Notes Before the start of Spring Practice

Spring practice begins this Wednesday. Once the pads start popping we'll be able to talk more Xs and Os, until then it's more bookkeeping.

BeamerBall.com announced James Hopper's football career is over. He's taking a medical redshirt and will student coach in the secondary this spring, then transition to a graduate assistant this fall. Future head coach at Virginia Tech in 2060, best of luck James.

With BRUUUUUUCE, Tariq, and Telvion (permanently) out, there will be a lot of inexperienced, yet promising players along with new-to-the-position defenders getting the majority of reps at Mike and Backer. Derek DiNardo (Whip/Rover/Safety) and Josh Trimble (Rover) will mover over to Backer. Chase Williams, who's finally healthy, is going to rep at both Backer and Mike. Brian Laiti will have an opportunity to distinguish himself at Mike. I hope we get to watch Jack Tyler and Chase Williams on the field at the same time. They could be the linebacking tandem of the not so distance future, and it would be great to see their on-the-field chemistry.

2013 Recruiting: Michael Parker

Michael Parker is an impressive athlete out of Kettle Run High School in Nokesville, Virginia. He holds regional (Virginia Tech, Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland), as well as national (Illinois, Ohio State, Boston College) offers. Schools are recruiting the talented 6-4 200 pound junior as either a safety or wide receiver. He had a very productive 2011 season netting 63 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 4 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries and a score on defense to go along with 20 receptions, 300 receiving yards, 200 rushing yards (Jet Sweep package) and 5 TDs on offense. Kettle Run Coach Jeff Lloyd was generous enough to take the time to answer questions I had about Michael.

Photo by Randy Litzinger via Fauquier.com

From his highlight film, Michael shows playmaking ability and versatility, both blitzing from a standing position and dropping into deep zones. He lines up all over the field, so much so it's hard to tell if he's playing safety or outside linebacker. Can you talk about how important Michael is to your defensive scheme, what coverage he plays in, and how you like to use his athletic skill set?

Linebacker Telvion Clark Arrested, Dismissed From Team

Update: Per a Virginia Tech release, he's been dismissed from the team.

Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer announced Tuesday that linebacker Telvion Clark (r-Jr., Norfolk, Va.) has been dismissed from the team for violations of team policies. In making this announcement, Beamer said there will be no further comment on the situation.

So with Edwards out because of injury, it looks like it's Chase Williams' time to shine at backer during spring.

The original post follows below.

Over the weekend I was tipped that linebacker Telvion Clark had been arrested outside of TOTS late Saturday night.

Today I found confirmation of the charge, Public Swearing/Intoxication, which is a class 4 misdemeanor in Virginia. His hearing is scheduled for 5/3/12.