Preseason Practice: Four Notes

No more blue non-contact jersey for D.J. Coles, he's been cleared. From HokieSports.com, "He'll be cleared to participate in Saturday's closed scrimmage, but we fully expect the coaches to hold him out as a precaution." Can he shake off the rust to contribute against Georgia Tech?

According to BeamerBall.com the Hokies will wear, maroon helmets, orange jerseys, white pants, and black sacks against the Bees. Here's what they'll look like thanks to the magic of Clark's uniform builder.

The combination was chosen by the seniors.

Deon Clarke jumped Josh Trimble on the depth cart. Clarke's now the backup Backer. He's extremely talented and the coaches are very high on his potential. As the season goes on, if he can put on more weight he might be able to see the field more. Clarke weighed in at 214, by comparison Edwards (who if not for his injury would be the starter) came to camp at 237.

Gayle didn't practice again Friday, and neither did Tyrel Wilson. J.R. Collins moved to stud, Marshall was the other first-team end. Wilson's injury wasn't specified. Gayle's still being held out as a precaution because of his ankle.

Preseason Practice: Red and USA Shirts

Shane tweeted out this picture of the players relaxing in their lounge during the team's cookout. Please take a minute to locate, and appreciate Andrew Miller's American Flag shirt.

Other relevant football news from the evening, BeamerBall dropped some roster updates. The projected dress squad including redshirts is: 16 seniors, 12 juniors, 22 sophomores, and 20 freshmen.

Joshua Stanford will dress this season (honoring Ricardo Young by wearing #5). Punters A.J. Hughes, Hunter Windmuller, kicker Brooks Abbott, and long snapper Eddie D'Antuono will also dress. Coleman and Edmunds are both, "expected," to dress along with defenders Desmond Frye, Deon Clark, Donaldven Manning, and Donovan Riley. Dressing doesn't guarantee a player will play, or redshirt. A player can redshirt if he hasn't redshirted and hasn't played.

Preseason Practice: Second (Final) Public Scrimmage

The best way to describe today's scrimmage was uneven. Offense dominated early (even with the second team offense scoring twice on the first team defense), then the defense dominated late.

Offense ran much more out of the I, two tight end one back, and the regular shotgun, but featured several new wrinkles out of each formation. It seams as if the offense is much more focused on running on the interior, with a variety of interior power plays and traps. There were only 3-4 plays of no huddle and pistol, and we saw two veer plays run (as described in yesterday's French on the Bench).

Logan Thomas didn't have an impressive day. He had several nice throws early, but as the scrimmage went on, he seemed to be staring down receivers and not going through his reads. After going 3-and-out on the last goal line series (and having nobody open) Logan threw his helmet on the sidelines.

Corey Fuller continues to be his favorite target, but Fuller was a non factor against the number one D. Marcus Davis had one catch, and got beat by Exum on a jump/fade on the goal line. Dyrell Roberts dropped a punt. Demitri Knowles and Kevin Asante both had several catches with the 1's against the 2's, but Asante missed a block on a screen, getting Roberts killed.

Pistol Stretch Power

Not only can the Hokies use the pistol to run veer, option, and play action, but they can also use the set to run their more traditional one back plays. The pistol allows for a quicker handoff, balanced backfield, and less movement for the quarterback.

On Saturday, we saw Michael Holmes carry the ball on a version of Tech's stretch play from the pistol formation. The same play Darren Evans and Brandon Ore excelled at from the one back set. The play is similar to the old Green Bay power sweep, and requires option blocking, which is determined based on the defensive alignment and is called out by the center before the play. Also, the Hokies can run it with a crack block by the flanker (a down block, often blindsided, on a scraping linebacker by a wide receiver) with the lead pulling lineman taking out the playside corner; or with the wide receiver blocking the corner and the lineman turning up on a safety or back inside on a linebacker. The goal of the play is to create, in the words of Vince Lombardi, "a seal here (on the pursuit) and a seal here (on the outside) and run the play in the alley."

Note: Again, we have used a basic 4-3 instead of a Georgia Tech 3-4, just in case Al Groh get's his game prep from reading blogs instead of watching film.

Pre-Snap

BeerControl's 2012 ACC Road Trip

College football is knocking on our door, so that must mean my annual ACC roadtrip is back. After consulting the all important ACC helmet schedule (pdf) found here, I came up with my travel plans. I need to find a sponsor or quit my job and live off credit.  Pack an Airstream full of beer, funyuns and energy drinks and hit the road for the anti-Mike Hogewood ACC experience.

The Hokies Pistol Veer

Many of you have asked how the Hokie version of the pistol works. Here is a breakdown of one of their basic plays, the Trap Veer.

Pre-Snap

Tight end lines up on the line of scrimmage, and flexes back to the wing back. When the tight end sets, the flanker (right side) flexes up to a set position. Once the flanker is set, the Z back (slot receiver) rocket motion (curved motion with the aiming point being 2 yards behind where the tailback lines up. The quarterback gets the snap when the Z hits the hash mark in his motion.

Post-Snap

SE: Option Stalk/Go Route
Z: Rocket Sweep Fake/Flat-Go
FL: Option Stalk/Backside Post Route
TE "Y": Pulls playside. If the option man goes inside, he goes outside and attempts to hook with playside linebacker. If the option man (playside defensive end) goes upfield, the Y turns inside him and kicks out the weakside backer.

LT: Combo with left guard on playside DT, roll off to middle backer
LG: Combo with left tackle on playside DT. Get head to the play side (most important block on the play).
C: Depending on line call, can pull and lead up inside the DE to the playside, or scoop the backside linebacker.
RG: Scoop the backside defensive tackle.
RT: Scoop the backside defensive end.

Preseason Practice: Talking Defense

Some defensive coaches and players were available to the media tonight. WUVT's Ryan Durham provided audio of the interviews.

Charley Wiles

J.R. Collins won't move inside to tackle against Georgia Tech. Luther Maddy, Hokins Brothers, Kris Harley, Zack McCray will play d-tackle against the Bees. "Four guys [Gayle, Collins, Marshall, Wilson] will be getting all the reps at end."

When asked about managing the dynamics among all the good players along the d-line Wiles responded, "We don't have eight starters right now." Wiles listed Marshall as a starter either inside or out along with Gayle, Collins, Maddy, and the Hopkins brothers, "then we have some backup guys right now ... we could absorb an injury." "We've gotta play ... we gotta go prove it."

The d-line watched last year's Georgia Tech game today (Monday). "We may add a wrinkle here or there, just like they're adding wrinkles to their offense." Before the last two meetings with the Bees, Tech's had extra time to prepare, and the results have been favorable.

Wiles wants to get Gayle healthy, full-speed, and avoid a lingering injury. "He was able to do a little bit [today]". It sounded like he tried to come back too quickly after injuring himself last Wednesday, then tweaking it last Thursday which caused him to miss the scrimmage Saturday.

Preseason Practice: First Open Scrimmage

French and I attended the open scrimmage this afternoon. We wanted to give you an accurate practice report as quickly as possible, hence the following stream of notes. Much of this was written at Texas Roadhouse on our phones, so appoligies in advance for any typos. If you have any specific questions, ask them in the comments and we'll be happy to answer them. If you attended pratice, please leave your thoughts. --Joe

French's evaluation:

1) 1st team offense ran either pistol or the shotgun almost 70 percent of the time. Pistol featured dual motion, usually with the tight end moving from a set position to a wingback (similar to Clemson's TE Dwayne Allen) and then the flanker motioning to either run or fake a sweep. Also, as the scrimmage moved to 1's vs 1's, the Hokies featured the fullback out of the pistol, starting in an offset I and then motioning to a wing.

Multitalented DE, OT, H-Back Wyatt Teller commits to Virginia Tech

Wyatt Teller committed to Virginia Tech over the University of Virginia this afternoon. It was a highly contested recruiting battle. UVa was thought to be his leader for quite some time, but Tech made up ground over the past two weeks and received his pledge. Teller was rated the number six player in Virginia, a 4-star prospect by Rivals.com with 16 I-A offers including: Clemson, Michigan, Oregon, and Notre Dame. Teller has the ability to play defensive end, d-tackle, or offensive tackle at the next level. Tech recruited him as a defensive lineman (d-end).

Teller is a big, relentlessly aggressive, versatile player; another fantastic addition to an already outstanding 2013 class.

When I spoke to his high school coach, Sean Finnerty, back in May he weighed 265 pounds after playing last season at 240. That's a lot of growth, and a 6-5 frame will allow him to pack on more mass. "Not many people can scratch their kneecap without bending over," Finnerty told me.

Preseason Practice: A Quicky

Mark it on your calendars, 8/16/12, Josh Stanford's first dropped ball of camp.

Here's more good news about Coles.

For the third straight practice, receiver D.J. Coles wore a sleeve instead of a knee brace, and on Thursday, Coles participated in every period except for the final period, which was a team period in which the offense goes against the defense (full tackle to the ground). The coaches held him out of that as a precaution, but Coles is moving better and better with each practice.

I think he's going to be ready to play against Georgia Tech.

Charlie Wiles has nice things to say about the Million Dollar Man Corey Marshall.

"He's looked very explosive. So strong," Wiles said. "I just love the way he practices. I love how hard he practices. It's important to him."

At 267 he's a load playing d-end, but that might be too small to be an every down tackle. However, if Foster needs a player inside to attack gaps against the run, or rush the passer, a bigger Marshall will make defenses pay the price.

And if you missed this.

First Look at Virginia Tech's 2012 Pro Combat Uniforms

This is the third Pro Combat uniform the Hokies will wear. The, "Good Guys Wear White," weren't horrible, but they weren't anything special. The second generation all-black were sleek, but were outside of the box, and proved to be the perfect formal attire for the funeral at FedEx. I never fully got behind either one, but '12 edition really catch my eye and I think all of HokieNation will agree.

Let's review the new uniforms from top to bottom.

Each helmet is a one-of-a-kind forged dolomite limestone blended with Kevlar "net-skeleton". Virginia Tech's advancements in helmet safety continues. These lids outperform their closest competitor by as much as a 45% reduction in brain trauma over the course of a 14-game season.

Nike's replaced the standard face masks with Bane's mask. If you've seen The Dark Knight Rises you know how badass this thing is, even if no one will ever know how it works. A demonstation of its power—during a five-minute stretch of the movie Bane single-handedly beats two football teams, and takes over an entire city. Each player benefits from real-time Gentrification thanks to futuristic Gotham technology.

Preseason Practice: Moving Up

Moving up the depth chart that is. Luther Maddy is making more plays in practice than Antoine Hopkins, the two are battling each other to start at defensive tackle along side of Derrick Hopkins.

"Luther makes more plays right now," Wiles said. "He's quicker, he's more explosive. That's what I'm seeing in practice. Right now, the way it looks, Luther looks like he's winning that job today."

And remember, Luther's practicing with a tweaked hammy.

"Bottom line: I want [Antoine] to make plays," said Wiles, not mincing words. "Right now, I don't see any ill effects from the knee. And he's being physical. We'll see on Saturday [in the scrimmage]. Like I said, Antoine … I don't know how to describe it. Physical kid, good player. Got to make more plays. That's what it boils down to."

In the past, the knock on Antoine from Wiles was not consistently giving 100%. That doesn't seem to be the criticism here. After being out with the knee injury, perhaps there's some mental rust and he's taking a little time to catch back up to the speed of the game.

Ronny Vandyke is now the co-No. 2 Whip backer with Alonzo Tweedy.

Preseason Practice: Injuries and More

Head Athletic Trainer Mike Goforth released an injury update the afternoon. Nick Acree suffered a torn ACL, MCL sprain and a medial meniscus tear in his left knee during Sunday's mini-scrimmage. Shredded. Estimated recovery time is 8 months, so he's done for the season. I'd consider it a success is he's back to practice this spring. It's terrible news for a guy that's bounced around positions and was finally starting to stick at offensive tackle with a chance to crack the two-deep. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

The screw causing discomfort in Tariq Edwards' knee was removed. He had been slowed since camp opened, and his recovery plateaued at 85% by Edwards' own estimation. He should be back on the field in a week. I still believe it'll be Tyler at Mike, Taylor at backer for Georgia Tech. Regardless of Edwards' health, that might be the best matchup.

Lil' Wang will have less downtime for Call of Duty. His ankle injury is not as serious as first expected. He practiced today, and could practice in Saturday's scrimmage.

Receiver D.J. Coles continues to improve daily and Goforth feels good about his progress and chances to play against Georgia Tech with exactly three weeks to go before the first game.

Coles ran more routes, and practiced more today.

DAVID WANG GIF -- ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED +100G

Most of the staff are video game geeks (except maybe BCO and French, they might predate modern gaming), so we were pretty impressed by David Wang's Call of Duty skills. I personally played Modern Warfare 2 with a bunch of other bloggers and struggled most of the way. Anyways, as soon as I saw the following, I alerted Box who concluded a GIF was necessary.

He never disappoints.

Preseason Practice: Media Day and Pads

Tech football held a two-for Saturday, media day followed by the summer's first practice in full pads. Before the Hokies hit the field, the Frankinator addressed the media. By my account, the bullet points were:

  • Regarding backup quarterback Mark Leal, "We got a lot of confidence in that guy."
  • "Our offense works against our defense a lot here in preseason."
  • "Our biggest thing at tailback is figuring out which three, or which four we're going to work with. And get them the reps." At this point, Holmes is the frontrunner.
  • On the possibility of Trey Edmunds moving back to defense, "He's got all he can handle right now, trying to learn tailback."
  • Deon Clarke doing a good job at linebacker.
  • Regarding the significance of Tariq Edwards' injury, "That's a concern. With Tariq you got some good players, good depth at linebacker, without Tariq you're just a little bit short."
  • "Toughness about Logan, it's going to be there. Play smart, but don't change the way a guy plays."

This picture is always my favorite (via HokieSports.com).

White Effect Helmets

These are the helmets that will be worn against Austin Peay on September 8, 2012.

The picture via @vt_football, BeamerBall.com, and @chriskidd42.

I bet I know what McKayla thinks, but how do you guys feel about them?

Preseason Practice: Notes on Notes

The Million Dollar Man Corey Marshall worked with the first team at defensive end, and Zack McCray, "got a lot of reps at tackle during the team period (offensive vs. defense) next to Kris Harley on the second-team unit." French predicted less snaps for J.R. Collins this season, Marshall working with the ones would seem to corroborate that a bit. Because of how deep and versatile the d-line is, we should probably use the phrase, "on the field first," instead of, "starter." There will be a lot of rotation during games, and a lot of personel groupings tailored to the week's opponent.

Of his freshman receivers, Caleb and Stanford, LT3 said they're, "raw ... but they have a chance to be great." Caleb might be a little behind Stanford at this point.

French on the Bench: Defensive Prognosis

Unlike the Hokie offense, the identity of the defense is clear. Attack, control gaps, funnel the ball carrier to where you want him to go, get after the quarterback, and use that pressure and disguised robber coverage to turn the ball over. With 9 returning starters and numerous experienced backups back, Tech fans anticipate that the Virginia Tech defense in 2012 could be one of the best on record. Will the Hokies have a dominant defense? Let's examine how we can expect the Hokies to perform this season.

Defensive Line

The strength of the Hokie defense coming into fall camp is the defensive line. The Hokies return 7 experienced players, except for Zack McCray, all have had some starting experience. James Gayle, JR Collins, Derrick and Antoine Hopkins, and Luther Maddy have all proven themselves as dependable starters. Backup Corey Marshall demonstrated explosive pass rush ability on the inside, while Tyrel Wilson and Zack McCray both stayed in regular rotation with more reps down the stretch of the regular season.

Preseason Practice: Camp Opens

The players practiced in helmets and shorts, so no pads were popping, but there are some things to note. First however, everyone smile for football!

D.J. Coles and Tariq Edwards moved around, "gingerly," and didn't practice much.

"I'm concerned," Beamer said. "When you come out here and you're not able to work full tilt … we've got three weeks here and we'll see where we are. I know Mike Goforth has a plan on how much work they should do and so forth. But they're two quality players who can't do things full tilt right now."

Edwards said his leg is better than expected, however he'd ballpark his health at 85%. Foster was, "discouraged today by his inability to run." Andy Bitter noted, "The pain is no longer in his shin but rather his knee. It's most evident when he makes cuts."

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