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.