2013 Spring Practice: Second Open Scrimmage

So we've been here before, the second public scrimmage, last before the ever-important Maroon—White game. The public had already seen the team play once, but it was very vanilla. A lot of form correction, coaches yelling and missed plays (basically, everything you expect from the first scrimmage).

Traditionally the second scrimmage looks exactly like the first one. Same corrections of the same mistakes, and almost no progress shown, which is usually a concern. Let's just say that that was not the case today. Don't get me wrong, plenty of mistakes were made—with expletive laden coaching rants following them—but they were not the same as the first scrimmage on Monday. There were many less fundamental problems, especially on offense.

From the mouth of offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler:

"I saw some improvement," offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler said. "But we had too many balls on the ground. We've got to stop fumbling the ball (two lost fumbles). We've got to catch the ball (four drops). On short yardage, we need to improve. On third-and-2, when we’re down there, we had to pull the ball and run a naked bootleg with Logan (the 3-yard TD run). That's not our mentality. We're going to line up and knock people off the ball and run the ball in the end zone. So that needs to improve.

Spring Practice 2013: First Open Scrimmage, More Observations

Hold on, wait a second. I'm trying to contain my excitement...can't...stop...smiling...IT'S OFFICIALLY FOOTBALL SEASON AGAIN!

Yesterday I went out to watch some classic spring football, a Tech vs. Tech scrimmage that wetted my unquenchable thirst for Hokie football, a thirst that last year's debacle of a season couldn't even quench.

I heard everything that everyone else had. The new coaches were energized, focused on the little things and have quickly become media darlings, much different than their predecessors. While that is great, I still wanted to see it. I wanted to see the progress Logan Thomas was making under Scot Loeffler and that the entire offensive line was making under Jeff Grimes.

I came away from the scrimmage with many different thoughts about the offense, most of it good.

Logan Thomas: I know the thing that stuck out to everyone on Twitter was that he threw two interceptions. To me, that's not a huge concern right now. He looked more relaxed in the pocket, and if he missed a throw he would actually come out the next pass and correct his mistake. His pocket footwork is already a little cleaner than it was last season. It's early, but I expect him to improve, at least to the median, from a disappointing 2012.

2013 Spring Practice: First Open Scrimmage

This is an open thread for now, but Brian, Mike, and Andrew are at the game and this post will be updated once the scrimmage is over. If you're at the scrimmage, take advantage of our mobile redesign and leave any comments below.

The takes from Brian, Mike, and Andrew follow. Without the benefit of the film, these open scrimmages are hard to cover. My hope is three sets of eyes provide a good feel for what happened in Lane today.

Scrimmage #1 Notes by Brian Marcolini (marcolini11)

There are always a few things that stand out in a scrimmage that carry on into the regular season. For example, last spring Dadi Nicolas looked like a star on the third team. I mean he couldn’t be blocked. I thought that it was just because he was playing against a freshman tackle...but there just becomes a point in time where it is OBVIOUS that a guy is good, no matter who he’s lined up against. A couple people that added to their "Nicolas Stock":

There Were This Many Fans at UVa's Spring Game

I was unable to track down an official attendance number, but UVa spring game jokes will continue for another year. More grabs are here and here. Thanks, 'Hoos. If you're interested in reading actual football things about the scrimmage, a few writers were among the masses at Scott Stadium.

From Mark Giannotto's recap, UVa's new offense was a bit of a mess.

But Saturday's spring game only confirmed that the Cavaliers will need to solve many of the same problems that ailed them during last year's 4-8 campaign. In a defense-dominated scrimmage that featured 14 sacks and three safeties, Virginia proved its quarterback situation remains in flux, especially with an offensive line that couldn't open up holes in the running game.

Even the final score, with the Orange team besting the Blue team, 18-15, added to the intrigue because backup quarterback Greyson Lambert accounted for two Orange-squad touchdown drives, compared with just one orchestrated by No. 1 option David Watford.

Phillip Sims remains UVa's third string QB.

Kalen McCain Commits to Virginia Tech

As first reported (tweeted) by Jason Pughe, Virginia Tech received its fifth verbal commitment of the 2014 recruiting cycle, 6'1", 175-pound defensive back Kalen McCain of Hillside High School in Durham, North Carolina. According to Rivals.com, McCain had other offers from Georgia Tech, Louisville, and North Carolina State. Virginia Tech has made scholarship offers to two other Hillside juniors: RB Donte Thomas-Williams and WR Trevion Thompson. Both Rivals and 247Sports rank McCain as a 3-star prospect.

Chris Hadersbeck is the defensive backs coach at Hillside.

Jason Stamm of Rivals.com spoke to McCain after he committed.

The Week That Was: The Ed Rush Dilemma

The biggest news this week (even bigger than the Kevin Ware injury, which is another discussion for another time) was CBSSports.com college basketball writer Jeff Goodman's story that Ed Rush, the head of Pac-12 basketball officials, offered rewards to his referees if they gave technical fouls to Arizona head coach Sean Miller.

Rush, according to a source within the Pac-12 officiating group, told a group of referees on the Thursday of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas that he would give them $5,000 or a trip to Cancun if they either "rang him up" or "ran him," meaning hit Miller with a technical or toss him out of the game. Rush then reiterated during a Friday morning meeting, according to one referee in attendance, that officials should take similar action against Miller if he did anything on Friday in the Pac-12 semifinals against UCLA.

2013 Spring Practice: Attention to Detail

A couple of things caught my eye while reading through yesterday's stories from the beat guys. The quote plastered on the picture above is from Logan Thomas talking about Scot Loeffler (via Chris Lang's latest post, New coaches' energy infectious at Tech spring practice). If toughness was the primary thing the coaches were emphasizing this spring, it seems like attention to detail might be their second priority. Here's more from Thomas.

"He said I have a lot of work to do, in certain aspects," Thomas said. "That's what we've been working on as much as we can. You all were out there today. You saw him coaching at me a little bit. That's because he wants me to be perfect. That's not to say I was doing it bad or wrong. But he wants me to do it 100 percent the right way. For me, I love that type of thing. I want to be the best there is. Whatever is going to make me the best I can.

March Madness Power Rankings

I often call March Madness the most wonderful time of the year. It's like Christmas for me. I don't think I'm going out on a limb to say any of this either, as most people's feelings about the tournament range from love to complete "I've sent you twelve of my eyelashes in this letter" obsession.

For most of the first three days we got terrible basketball. I don't mean the standard "the college game is inferior" basketball either. I'm talking ten blindfolded kids playing outside on a windy day bad. Shooting percentages were down, turnovers were up, and if the court they were playing on didn't have an NCAA logo in the middle, no one would have been watching.

And then, just like that Sunday's games single handedly redeemed the weekend. It was awesome. Anyway, as the Sweet Sixteen tips off tonight, here are my power rankings (in reverse order) the past week:

#292. Reggie Johnson: Coming in dead last, I went with this number because it's what Big Reggie's weight is listed as. 292 pounds? Come on now. That's like saying Trey Edmunds ran a 40 in 4.37 seconds. Reggie only played 18 minutes in Miami's win against Illinois, while also suffering an injury that will force him out in tonight's game against Marquette. Hard times out there for a big man.

2013 Spring Practice: Day One

It's football season for the next 4 weeks y'all! These are my thoughts on the reports from Tech's first day of spring ball.

We all clamored behind our keyboards for Trey Edmunds to strap it up last season, and it sounds like he looked beastly at practice today (6-1, 215 lbs). Chris Lang caught up with Shane Beamer.

"He's extremely explosive. You all saw what he ran the 40 in. I saw it with my own eyes," Beamer said. "And to have that strength and that power, it's exciting. And it's intriguing. He's just very raw."


It's also important to note the Beamer and Loeffler are working to find their featured back and rotation this spring, "I certainly would like to get a solidified rotation coming out of spring."

Mike Barber noted the early focus on the power running game.

In the brief glimpse the media got, it was obvious Tech is focused on returning to its power-run game. Most of the plays run during the fourth period came out of the I-formation or double-tight end sets.

Be The Bully

"I want this to be the toughest football team we've had here at Virginia Tech" — Frank Beamer

"What I'm worried about is developing the toughest line in the ACC" — Jeff Grimes

Before writing this column, I frequently lamented how Virginia Tech football lost the identity that lead the program's rise to prominence. Hokie football in the Frank Beamer era meant one thing: win or lose Tech's opponent left Lane Stadium bruised and battered. The program revolved around the Lunchpail ethos of outworking other teams on the field and in the weight room while being as physical as possible. Offensively, the scheme was antiquated, but the men who executed it left an impression in the chewed up turf, the sore chests, and backsides of their opponents. On a 3rd-and-3, you had confidence that your offense could get four yards. That is how you win football games.

Brian's and Joe's Greatest Hokies Moments Brackets

A message from Brian:

There are a few things that everyone knows about sports. They're memorable, they're emotional and most importantly they're personal. This bracket is not something that is cut and dry. It's something that makes you think where you were and what you were doing during the moments in question. It is about a son's memory of spending time with his dad. A memory of two boys, 5 and 9, playing football in the yard, arguing over which one gets to be Michael Vick.

That's me, and as you will be able to tell the Hokies hold a very special place in my heart, as they do with all of you. The best part of this thing is not that there will be a definite winner, but that there will never be a unanimous champion, but only multiple champions of the heart.

I just hope that y'all have as much fun filling this thing out as we did.

A message from Joe:

Thanks to everyone for all of the great suggestions! That thread was one helluva trip down memory lane. Narrowing the bracket to 32 moments was difficult, and everyone's suggestions plus the number of up-votes determined and seeded almost the entire field. In my opinion, the most glaring omission was the 2007 ECU game. Both Brian and I agreed, the respective winners of our brackets would finish in second to that emotional pre-game.

ACC Media: Erick Green ACC's Player of the Year

Members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association voted Erick Green as the conference's player of the year. Green received 38 of the 76 votes cast. Miami's Shane Larkin was second with 23 votes and Duke's Mason Plumlee was third with 12 votes. Green is truly the best player on the league's worst team. Here are some of his accomplishments this season:

  • Nation's leading scorer (25.4 ppg, 48.2 fg%)
  • First ACC player to lead the nation in scoring since USC's Grady Wallace (1956-57)
  • ACC's leader in minutes played (36.4 mpg)
  • Virginia Tech's single-season scoring leader (786 points)
  • Fifth most efficient player nationally according to Hollinger (32.51 per)

Green never let up, consistently played hard to the point of exhaustion, and manufactured points. He never seemed to stray from James Johnson's system, and made it a point to include his teammates in the game with smart and timely passes. That's my only knock on Green, I would have be fine with him putting the ball up every time he had it regardless of the shot quality.

From the official HokieSports.com release.

Hokies Grapplers Win ACC Championship, "Finally!"

Senior Jarrod Garnett tweeted that minutes after the Hokies captured their first ACC Wrestling Championship.

Garnett pretty much summed up the feelings of the fans as well. When Kevin Dresser came to Blacksburg from neighboring Christiansburg High School, it was more a question of when Dresser would coach his first ACC Championship team, rather than if. Dresser has a tradition of winning championships wherever he coaches, and now that continues at Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech was trailing in-state rival Virginia by ten points going into the finals. In the finals of a wrestling tournament, a win is worth three points and a loss is worth zero, because the placement points are already factored in. Tech had six wrestlers in the finals, Virginia had eight, with four head-to-head matchups. While the ten point deficit certainly was not insurmountable, Tech would need to win all of those head to head matches to have a shot.

The Week That Was: The Chemist

This week was one of the most important weeks on Virginia Tech's sports schedule. Let's just say that Erick Green was not the only Hokie to get sent off with a win on his senior night. That's right, on Tuesday yours truly played his last intramural basketball game of a much-maligned career. Well, it may not be maligned per say...but definitely historic.

Why historic? Because by all accounts (and by accounts I just mean my own), I am the losingest basketball player in the history of Virginia Tech IM sports. Before the season, I had won a total of one game in three years. ONE. And it wasn't just the losses, it was the margin of those losses. There was one time that a ref asked if we wanted take the mercy rule at halftime, because we were down THIRTY. Think the second half of this week's Tech/Duke game...only for three years.

Needless to say, when my team beat the Brown Mambas in the first round of the playoffs this season I was HYPE. I mean, I was more excited than Magic Johnson on Twitter. While my teammates were more than slightly confused, they couldn't say that my excitement wasn't contagious. It's a contagious type of energy that just spreads to everyone else on the floor.

Five Things For Spring

As it stands right now, there are more uncertainties than givens for this team. For instance, I'm quite confident in the defensive line. I think James Gayle and the gang have the potential to be among the top d-lines nationally. However, there are (depth) concerns in the linebacking corps and secondary. Cody Journell and A.J. Hughes will be the best battery of kicker and punter we've had in quite some time, but will the offense being good enough to play the field position game and consistently score touchdowns?

Spring football never really answers more than a few questions about a team. The same goes for August camp too. We won't really know what we have on our hands until sometime in late September or early October. That, in my opinion, is when the better teams really ramp up and play good football, and those destined to be bad, struggle.

So in my estimation, we're a long ways from knowing how this team will fare on the field. With that said, spring ball is right around the corner, and these are my five most important things I'd like to see the Hokies improve on in order to be serious contenders for Charlotte.

1. Better Offensive Line Play (Duh)

H2Okies Look to Make History by Winning First ACC Championship

Editor's Note: In addition to being a member of our community here, Scott Beard (scottbeardVT, @scobeard) is an alumni and former Swimmer for Virginia Tech (2004-08). While at Tech he was an All-American, 6-Time ACC Champion, ACC Record Holder in the 100 Butterfly, 7-time All-ACC First Team Selection, Team MVP, held 7 team records, and Olympic Trials Qualifier. He now swims once a week and races the old ladies doing water aerobics to relive the glory days. He asked me if he could write about the ACC Swimming Championships, and there was no way I'd say no. Enjoy. --Joe

Last night, the H2Okies began competition at the ACC Championship Meet.

The Virginia Tech swimming and diving program kicked off the first day of the 2013 ACC Men's Swimming and Diving Championships with a silver and bronze medal Wednesday evening at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. The H2Okies shattered school records in the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays.

Excluding diving, leading the ACC after day one is the Florida State with 70 points. The Cavaliers are second with 68 points, while the H2Okies and North Carolina are tied for third with 66. Georgia Tech follows with 54 points and Boston College is sixth with 48. NC State and Duke round out the bottom with 30 and 24, respectively.

The Week That Was: Green vs. Naismith

Okay, usually these columns are fun. They take a look back at the week in sports and give me an opportunity to show all 20 of my readers how well (or poorly) I can make fun of people.

Not today.

I was geared up with a column about things like Miami losing by 15 points to Wake Forest, their worst loss since the Nevin Shapiro regime, NBA guard J.R. Smith asking some girl on Twitter if she "was trying to get the pipe", and the playful war of words between the team of Shane Beamer/Aaron Moorehead/Trey Gresh against Antone Exum.

All of that was coming this week...but not any more. Not when I saw that the Naismith Award revealed its top 30 candidates and that Erick Green was not one of them.

In other words, IT IS ON.

In case you weren't aware (probably because it is one of the least relevant awards of all time) the Naismith Men's College Basketball Player of the Year Award is supposedly given to the best player in college basketball each season. Every year about this time they come out with a list of the top-30 candidates, otherwise known as the players who actually have a chance to win.