Hokie Tracks Wrote a Practice Report from their Couch

Virginia Tech notes and quotes with a dash of opinions and perspective.

[@VT_Football]

Virginia Tech held its fourth practice of spring football Tuesday. The Hokies are still in the installation portion of the program, but Tech strapped up full pads for the first time this year. Anthony Shegog, Eric Kumah, Reggie Floyd, Justin Fuente, James Shibest, Joey Slye, and Oscar Bradburn addressed the media beforehand.

Fuente is more concerned about Tech's "supporting cast" than the uncertainty at quarterback.

"I really like the way those three kids [Hendon Hooker, Josh Jackson, A.J. Bush] have worked," Fuente said Tuesday. "And I still don't know who it's going to be or any of that stuff, but to me we'll figure out who's going to start and that sort of stuff, but we've got to find some guys to play alongside them. My biggest concern is that we'll find someone to play quarterback and we won't be good enough around them to kind of highlight their skillset. Last year we didn't have that problem, Jerod [Evans] played really well and was very effective for us, and we had people around him that help highlight those skillsets."

He echoed the same sentiment to David Hale in an prior to spring practice.

It's a different deal. We're not as experienced on the outside as whoever was going to play quarterback for us last year would have. That's always the worry for me is if we'll be good enough everywhere else that whoever plays quarterback can let his talents show. To me, that's the big difference. I have no idea who's going to be playing quarterback. I'm looking forward to watching guys practice. I love their attitude and demeanor and work ethic. They have leadership qualities. All those things I'm excited about. I have no idea which way it's going to go, but my biggest deal is who will play around those guys. We'll figure out who's playing quarterback, but how good will we be around those guys to be successful?

At first glance, Fuente downplaying the quarterback competion goes against the grain. Yes, Tech returns only a single proven all-around wideout (Cam Phillips), and the running backs disappointed last season more than they dazzled. It's fair enough for Fuente (and Tech fans) to have plenty of angst over the lack of returning skill players/production, but how many teams rode their slot receiver to a championship? Thinking more on the matter, it might reinforce the notion the QB in Fuente's scheme is really only one proportional piece of the offensive puzzle. Tech's QBs are more often than not tasked with a single-read in the dropback pass game, and predictable outcomes are more coveted by Fuente than improvised touchdowns. Gaudy statistics aside, Tech's quarterback may be nothing more than a glorified facilitator. From that perspective his statements make more sense.

Shibest provided a rundown on tight ends Colt Pettit, Chris Cunningham, and Dalton Keene. Tech, like at the end of last season, is set to depend on Pettit, a former guard, as a blocking TE on the line of scrimmage in its heavy personnel/packages. As Shibest put it, "We need [Pettit] to get in there and smash some guys."

Cunningham's touchdown catch efficiency was stellar in 2016 (6 total receptions, 4 touchdowns), and the redshirt sophomore's overall development is progressing, but perhaps not at an optimal pace.

He's understanding the offense better," Shibest said. "He's getting a little more instinctive. He just has to keep growing, keep getting tougher, and keep fighting. You see glimpses of a guy that can do everything that we're asking for. He's just got to continue to grow and gain some confidence that he's going to go out there and win each rep. He's working in that direction, and we've been happy with him. It's hard to be patient at times with these guys, but he's still young."

Keene is an early enrollee who is primed for playing time. French analyzed the 6-4, 225 pound Colorado product's film and what he brings to the table at H-Back. Shibest gushed over Keene's potential, but kept expectations in check relative to (in)experience.

"He [Keene] looks a little raw," Shibest said. "He's almost like a newborn giraffe out there the way he moves at times, but god he's strong and athletic. We're going to need him. We're going to need the new guys that we did sign this year. It's awesome he's here early. Smart, and he's figuring out things every day. He's going to have to play next year just looking at it right now, so we're glad he's got this early start right now."

Fuente expects Terrell Edmunds to be the "quarterback of the secondary". With the redshirt junior's move from rover to free safety, Edmunds inherited the responsibility to make Tech's defensive backfield calls and get DBU into the proper defense/coverage. Bud Foster believes Edmunds has the right skillset, and rover Reggie Floyd knows who to turn to for guidance. The latter is evidence of Edmunds filling the leadership void created by Chuck Clark's graduation.

Question: "Who do you go to if you have questions, is it just coaches?"
Floyd: "No, I go to 'Rell. 'Rell, he's pretty experienced with everything. When he came in as a freshman he played corner, and then moved over to strong safety, now he's at free. So he's been everywhere in the secondary."

A teaser for Sam's tight piece on Bradburn and Slye.

(And Bradburn's nickname pretty much has to be "The Eraser" now, right?)

The Key Players Club is 45.3% of the way to its 1,000 member goal. Articles published exclusively for TKPC this offseason have resulted in a substantial increase in membership. It's been a tough balance to strike, but thus far has brought great awareness to the effort.

Comments

This upcoming year is going to be an interesting year. With the departures of Evans, Ford, and Bucky, there is obviously not as much talent and skill at the WR position. Now some young buck could develop into something special but I expect the Hokies offense to take 2 steps back originally and 1 step forward later on. Now when I say that, I mean I expect 2 steps back in the beginning with all the continued learning curves (of fuentes offense) and new players and then get back on track later in the season but not up to par to what we were doing last year.

Lets be honest, Ford and Bucky bailed our offense out MANY times on drives and TD scores just based on their height, talent, jumping ability, hands, etc. that most likely changed some outcomes of a couple games last year and that is going to be evident this year IMO. I haven't done much research on the other teams in the Coastal but I don't expect an ACC title game appearance this year. I hope I am wrong but that is my .02.... GO HOKIES!

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

I think I'm a bit more optimistic. I don't think our offense will be as dynamic as last year, and certainly not right out of the gate, but I think Fuente is to offense as Foster is to defense. He will give us, at bare minimum, a competent offense that can move the ball and score some points. That is an extreme improvement over what we consistently fielded on that side of the ball throughout the majority of the Beamer era. I also think Foster is going to have a very, very good defense this year by the time the season rolls around. There are some depth questions on the DL and in the secondary right now, but I think this will end up being one of his better units. A classic Foster defense, a decent Fuente offense at worst, and pretty much every other team in the Coastal having significant losses from last year lead me to believe we still have a great chance at winning the division.

The silver lining to our situation on offense is that this core group of players will be able develop chemistry together for the next several years. I'm not that upset about missing out on Badet. I think we have plenty of talent and potential, and a young QB being able to grow with this young WR corp over the next few seasons is very exciting.

yea I can see where your optimism lies and totally agree that our offense under fuente will still move the ball better than what we have had under beamer. My thing is that our WR corp is so thin, that if one gets hurt or does't progress, then who is going to catch the ball because you can't keep running QB keepers (especially since we don't have a QB of Evans' mold) or jet sweeps.

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

I think worst case you're in a 2008 situation where basically everyone catching the ball is a freshman and it takes half a season to get up to speed. On one hand, Tyrod was a special player (that's not to say whoever starts this year isn't, but it's asking a lot from someone to even be sophomore Tyrod). But on the other hand, Fuente is a much better offensive mind than what we had then. Also, we do have Cam, and some other guys at least got some plays last season.

Personally I think we'll have a better offense than 2008 (really, really hope the OL is better anyways).

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Interesting to see Isaiah in this pic.

Tyrod did it, Mikey!

Just waiting to get drafted, hanging out with the Hokies

The Dude Abides

The Key Players Club is 45.3% of the way to its 1,000 member goal. Articles published exclusively for TKPC this offseason have resulted in a substantial increase in membership. It's been a tough balance to strike, but thus far has brought great awareness to the effort

I believe it was necessary. Good move IMO

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

While I very much appreciate the spirit from which arose the desire to not do exclusive content, I wholeheartedly agree with this statement.

I honestly had not noticed, is there some kind of indicator that an article is exclusive?

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

Right now it seems like just French's formal content is TKP Club exclusive.

Sometimes I like to leave off the /s just to mess with people.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

is that a filter or the purity of your virginity that's glowing?

The glow was actually my oozing charisma and machismo. The photographic process captured the aura.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Double

+1 for renting a tux from a company that has a cleaning process so good that it can mess with camera settings.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

1996 was one hell of a year

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I've never laughed so hard at anything on TKP. Not even the genesis of fully dipped dork magic.

His aura is so bright that it its making French himself squint.

My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

It would be nice if there was some sort of indicator or sentence in the preview denoting that it is behind a paywall. Especially when things are shared via social media, bad look for the website IMO.

Appreciate the feedback. It's a more aggressive strategy, but it has worked well. And honestly I am fine with that. The longterm goal is to hire a full-time staffer to provide great Hokies coverage, and in the interim TKPC helps keeps the lights running. That's not something I want TKP to back down from.

I am curious as to why you specifically think it is a bad look?

Oh don't get me wrong, I think it is absolutely the right strategy to put some, if not all content behind a paywall. I just think it's bad when people don't know that until they click the link and find out they have to pay for it.

For me, as a fairly regular viewer of the site it's an annoyance to click an article and find I have to pay for it but ultimately NBD because I knew it was coming and know the whole ordeal behind it.

But for someone new to the site who sees the article shared via social media; I'd imagine that would turn them off a little because it feels like baiting.

Just my 2 cents, like I said I think it's a good call to start charging people in order to get this thing where you want it.

But for someone new to the site who sees the article shared via social media; I'd imagine that would turn them off a little because it feels like baiting.

this is a really interesting point.

Perhaps it would be prudent to have a foreword in each TKPC exclusive article. Just a brief paragraph that says "hey, really sorry that this item is for exclusive members but there is a ton of really good content available for free over at (insert website) and we'd love for you to check us out if you're new. To keep the lights on we have to up the ante with some articles and that is why this one may be inaccessible to some viewers." Maybe a lil blurb about joining the club too. IDK, just spit balling here

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Eventually I am going to code it up to show an excerpt of the content. I agree some folks might find it as an annoyance, but I am more concerned about ensuring the context of the "why this is necessary" is properly communicated.

Yea I totally get that and I agree, making sure people understand the why is a big deal. I think it's important to do that for newcomers, cause if they click once and get denied access just saying "hey you need to pay for this" then they probably won't come back. Unless of course, they've been searching for exclusive VT content in which case they probably already know about TKP.

But if, like you said, there is a blurb about why certain things are behind paywall but tons of other great stuff isn't; then I'd say newcomers are much more likely to check out the site either way.

Edit: Disregard, that's basically what is posted anyways when you click on the articles.

I guess I meant more of, make people aware before they click. As I'm sure you know, people are quick to dismiss online content and hard to win back trust if they feel wronged or taken advantage of. Anyways, just trying to help.

Is it football season yet?

Love what Shibest had to say about Dalton Keene. I had to go back and read his commitment write-up to remember who he even is. (here and here btw) How do you forgot about a 6'5" 220+ H-back from Colorado? Gotta love spring practice and fresh faces!

I wonder what the hell they are doing with Durkin? No mention of him with the TE's. Maybe he could play like Bucky did as hybrid TE/WR. No mention of the guy anywhere. When we are talking about TE's in this instance, are we just referring to H-Backs?

What's
Important
Now

Durkin is gone. Transferred to Youngstown State this semester.

Welp, that explains it.

What's
Important
Now

Careful, this is how the constant rumors of Dwayne Lawson's potential transfer got started.

Drew Harris would like a word.

Drew Harris would like a word do-over

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

He is no longer at Tech. He transferred to Youngstown State!

Edit: Day drinking it is.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

I really am going to miss Ford and Hodges, and Rogers and Evans and the others.

This offense is going to be brand new, which offers equal parts excitement and dread. Just don't shit the bed against the Cousins. I can stomach losing in conference, but not to the Cousins.

The Dude Abides

I still miss Tyrod

.....
95% of what I say is sarcastic. The other 5% is usually taken out of context.

Every day.

Same :(

#38-0

I want to see how spring football and fall camp goes obviously, but I just have a feeling we are going to absolutely crush WVU week one. I just don't think the Big 12 is that strong of a conference, and no one plays defense.

*knocks on wood*

It certainly seems like a possibility, WVU loses more of their guys from last year than we did. We really should be favored. At the same time I never feel cocky about the first game of the season against a P5 opponent.

Especially at FedUp field.

.

.
I never met a project that couldn't justify a new tool.