Spring Game Shows an Improved Hokies Football Team

Hokies head into the final week of their spring practices with a lot to look forward to in the fall.

[Ethan Candelario]

About 20 plays into the 2019 Virginia Tech spring game, Ryan Willis hit James Mitchell on a skinny post for a beautiful 28-yard touchdown pass. It was a connection that's been hyped up all spring, and the Hokies faithful are going to look forward to seeing more of that in the fall.

Mitchell has been a major talking point during the spring, and on Saturday it was evident why. He recorded 4 receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown, and chipped 3 yards on the ground via a jet sweep.

"That kid's gonna be special," said Willis. "James is a big, physical, just athlete. He's one of our fastest guys on the team and he's playing tight end. It makes him very versatile. We can put him out wide, we can have him block. I'm proud of that kid and what he's done, and he has a bright future ahead of him."

Mitchell was full-go on Saturday, even though he's recently had a procedure to fix a broken finger. He said it didn't really impact his catching ability, nor has it impacted his development over the spring.

"I definitely wanted to play because I've been working hard this spring," said Mitchell. "The more things you can do, the more options you can get on the field."

"He's incredibly smart," said Justin Fuente. "He's a great worker. [He] comes from a great family. He's very talented. He knows what he needs to work on to continue to become a better player. He's not a finished product by any means, but he can do so many different things. He's very valuable."

His counterpart on that touchdown pass, Willis, had a nice outing as well. Willis completed 13 of 22 passes for 192 yards and 3 touchdowns. However, Willis noted there's a lot left in the tank.

"I feel like we could've done more on the field today," said Willis. "We're just scraping this surface of what this offense can be. I think we have the potential to do great things this year."

Certainly the ingredients for a solid offense are there, but a recipe for consistent success still eludes the group. The offense struggled in the goal line scenario of the scrimmage, and there was a fair amount of pressure on the quarterbacks throughout the game. It's a work in progress, but the talent is certainly there.

Here are some other observations from the 2019 spring game:

1. Ryan Willis defends his throne.

No, Fuente didn't come out and name a starter, but Willis outperformed the rest of the quarterbacks. Willis looked comfortable in the pocket and was able to push the ball downfield. He was willing to make throws into tight windows when his counterparts, Hendon Hooker and Quincy Patterson, would opt to scramble and run.

In all fairness, the "starting" quarterback gets to play with the top wide receivers and offensive line. It's certainly a leg up, but Willis' confidence shows in his throws. He played well in the situational portions of the scrimmage, when the offense had 45 seconds to get a field goal.

Hooker played well and post-game Fuente was positive on his progress. He went 12 of 25 for 132 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He put together an 88-yard drive that originated from the offense's own one-yard line, and showed good composure in the pocket on a few occasions.

"After the first drive, I was really comfortable [in the pocket]," said Hooker.

Quincy Patterson was the main attraction on Saturday, but his play didn't help answer the questions that have surrounded him since his arrival on campus.

Patterson complete 4 of 14 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown. He was a live runner for part of the scrimmage and gained 23 yards on 15 carries. His accuracy was just not there, nor was his pocket presence as he opted to scramble from the pocket on multiple occasions where he could've stayed in.

"I would say, in my opinion and this is something we're working with Quincy on, we're still trying to figure out what type of quarterback he is going to be," said Fuente. "He has less wiggle than he thinks he has."

For right now, Patterson seemingly has a role in this offense as a power runner. At times on Saturday it looked like watching Tim Tebow run the quarterback power right up the gut. Patterson's a tough guy to bring down in the trenches, but until he develops as a passer he won't be able to use the whole playbook in games.

At the end of the day, it's Willis who has the upper hand in the quarterback competition.

2. Playmaker depth is the strongest it's been under Fuente.

Damon Hazelton, Tre Turner, and Hezekiah Grimsley will most likely lead the way for the Hokies' receivers this season. But, the overall depth at wide receiver and tight end is above and beyond what is has been under Fuente.

Mitchell grabbed much of the spotlight this spring, and deservedly so. On Saturday though, some young guys really showed out.

DeJuan Ellis had 3 receptions for 23 yards as well as a 47 yard run on a jet sweep. Ellis could've had a nice touchdown in the back of the end zone, but cornerback Jermaine Waller laid a huge hit to jar the bar loose. The former high school quarterback is still learning the intricacies of wideout.

"He still needs some time to figure out how to play fast," said Fuente.

Tech is set for an influx of young proficient pass catchers in 2019. Elijah Bowick has impressed in spring, and Jaden Payoute, Tayvion Robinson, and Jacoby Pinckney all arrive in the summer. Each member of that trio was rated a 4-star recruit per the 247Sports Composite.

"I'm excited about what it can be. We have three more freshman coming in in the summer time that i think are extremely talented," said Fuente.

Running backs Caleb Steward and Malik Bell received heavy workloads due to a recent injury to Deshawn McClease, and they both took full advantage. Steward demonstrated great shiftiness. On a short touchdown run, he made two nice spin moves to get into the end zone. The ability to make the unblocked hat miss at the second-level has lacked from the backfield in recent seasons, and Fuente has noted that deficiency on more than one occasion.

"Oh, I see him as competing for playing time," said Fuente.

Bell was a change-of-pace back that really laid the wood on some defenders. He had 13 carries for 50 yards, as well as a 13-yard reception on a well worked screen pass. Bell is a walk-on tight end from Louisa, VA, but a lack of depth at running back provided his opportunity to run the ball. He has a power running style that's fun to watch, and he could add some needed depth in the event of injuries at the top of the depth chart.

3. The d-line is "much better" than last year.

Winning the line of scrimmage correlates strongly to winning football games, which probably helps explain why Tech was 6-7 last season. The defensive line was thin, and really struggled to create havoc in the backfield. This season though, the depth at the defensive tackle spot, from a potential bodies standpoint, is ahead of last season. Also, a more experienced defensive end crew looked much more active on Saturday, getting to the quarterback a handful of times.

"I thought our run fits have been better all spring," said Bud Foster. "I thought our perimeter play as far as compressing the running lanes, bringing the proper arm, doing those fundamental things...we're so much better right now."

Emmanuel Belmar stood out throughout the scrimmage. He was constantly in the backfield, and showed a nice spin move on a few occasions.

"I feel like [the] d-line's getting better every day," said Belmar. "Our goals are sacks. We didn't have many sacks last year. Sacks are definitely what we need, turnovers and strip sacks."

The Hokies recorded 24.0 sacks last season, which tied for 11th best among ACC schools. That's the lowest number for a Virginia Tech defense since joining the ACC. That lack of pressure put added pressure on the back-end to retain coverage for longer, which further exposed a young group.

4. Defensive backs have improved, but there's a long way to go.

Defensive Backs were under a microscope. Last season's starting corners, Caleb Farley and Bryce Watts, remained with the first team defense, and had differing performances.

Farley covered decently, and although he didn't make any standout plays, he didn't really get beat much either. It's still to be seen whether he has improved as a tackler. But, his coverage discipline seems to have improved.

Watts struggled on Saturday. He was lined up against Turner in most of the scrimmage, and Turner beat him two or three times, including getting a whole 10 yards of separation on a double move for a deep touchdown.

Although, the Hokies look to have solid depth at safety. Divine Deablo and Reggie Floyd combined for 14 tackles and 2 for a less. Devon Hunter looked confident in making plays near the line of scrimmage, and covered decently when called upon. Armani Chatman had an interception in the end zone, the day's lone turnover.

The aforementioned Waller played very well. He's been challenged by the defensive staff to be more physical, and he's show that in the past few weeks.

"I see a self-confidence number one," said Foster. "I see a guy that's playing more aggressive and being confident allows you to do that a little more...I'm excited about his future."

Four-star signee J.R. Walker impressed as an early enrollee. Walker will be attending his high school prom next week, but he plays with a tenacity and speed of a veteran. He's part of a young, but extremely talented two-deep at defensive back.

"I've always thought that J.R., when I first saw him, was an elite athlete," said Foster. "I think he's gonna be really special."

5. Some surprise performers.

Spring games are full of guys who come out of the woodwork and make plays.

Walk-on defensive tackles Max Philpott and Gideon Driscoll both clogged up the middle. They're both local guys, from Salem and Blacksburg, respectively. Philpott and Driscoll may struggle to crack the two deep in the fall, but it was still a welcomed surprise. And with more bodies at defensive tackle, the more potential for a breakthrough or two.

2018 4-star signee Alan Tisdale was all over the field. The redshirt freshman linebacker had 7 tackles, and played reps with the starters on defense.

Phil Patterson has failed to make much of a sustained impact in his career (21 catches, 197 yards, 1 TD). However, the veteran wideout has a tendency to make the impossible catches. Patterson had an incredible one-handed catch on a back-shoulder throw from Willis with Farley, who was in great position, covering him like a blanket.

"Phil Patterson's really impressed me this spring," said Willis. "He makes miraculous catches everyday."

Darryle Simmons had 4 catches for 41 yards, but could've had a much bigger day. He gained a lot of separation, but didn't get thrown to as much as he should have.

Comments

Great article-a god send for those that aren't in the area and don't get Hokie coverage regularly.

I saw that this morning. It's a big opportunity to get back to 10 wins, but there's a lot of unknowns on the schedule. Duke, Carolina, GT, and Miami can be anything from god awful to 9 win teams any given year. You never really know with those guys. Not having to play a Clemson or Ohio State or anything like that should be a major help with a really young team.

We do have to play ND

Lapse in thought, thanks lol

I prefer to think of it as "We get to play ND".

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Tech is undefeated in Notre Dame Stadium

You could say we burned it down.....

Too soon?

I think 10 wins is being REALLY optimistic. There's 7 or 8 games on the schedule that are basically 50/50.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

It is very very optimistic. However, there's a lot of things pointing to a good year schedule wise. 2 FCS opponents, and they aren't very good ones. There's no more "triple option" at GT. It'll take UNC another year or two to get back. Duke's losing their best players on offense and defense. I'm not sold on UVA with all the playmakers they lost. Miami...who knows man.

Those are all good points.

There are certainly not many games on the schedule that are not winnable.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

BC loses an Offensive line and a defense. Basically they have a really good RB and a good enough qb.

BC is always tough, and by that I mean Tech has to perform. I think it helps having that game to start the season, Fuente teams tend to play well early in the season.

Oh Addazio will have them ready to play, but they lost 7 starters on offense, 8 on defense, 2 on special teams. Their current depth chart for 2019 doesn't have a single senior starter. Getting them the first game is great, especially how we could have won the game this past year. They have probably the best RB in the conference (fsu, Clemson can argue that). But they return a TE, and a tackle. Not much to help Dillion and Brown. Defense is 1 at, 1 lb. and 1 db returning. They will be physical but they wont be experienced and we know how tough it is to not have an experienced team.

That game will be close/fist fight to the very end. Their OL- new or not- and that big RB will be very effective moving the ball against our defense. It will come down to the 4th Q and see if our offense can make some plays, IMO.

If there are 7 or 8 games that are 50/50 on this crappy schedule, we need to move to division 2 football. Our schedule is cupcake division 2 , with 4 or 5 challenging games total.

Miami, UVA, GT, Pitt and BC (sadly) all finished ahead of us in the standings last year. Notre Dame is going to be tough, obviously, and even Duke and Wake I wouldn't consider gimme games.

2004 or 2010 VT would probably go 10-2 vs that schedule, but that's not where we are right now, unfortunately.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

We need to be able to beat Duke (lost their QB) and Wake. And Furman, RI, and ODU. Those are games we need to win at this stage of the Fuente era.

GT is installing a real offense with players that haven't had to do it, and has a new coach. Miami and UNC have new coaches and frankly weren't that good last year either. I'll say Notre Dame is unlikely and Pitt and BC won't be gimmes at all.

And UVA is UVA, so. We'd better win that one.

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

We need to be able to beat Duke (lost their QB) and Wake. And Furman, RI, and ODU. Those are games we need to win at this stage of the Fuente era.

This is absolutely right. Those are the types of games that have to be virtual locks for a 8- to 10-win program. If we can get back to that point, and then win at least 50% of the more competitive games, I think we'll be a happy fan base again.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

I feel somewhat confident that this team can get that done. Defense is going to be better than last year, it almost has to be. And there's just too many weapons on that offense.

I'm worried about any game that comes down to a field goal though. The kicking game hasn't impressed so far.

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

That puts us at an 8-9 win mark. I honestly think for this program to be where it should be, we need to be winning the Coastal most every year. This is an extremely weak division. 9-10 wins and in competition for the Coastal and ACC is where we need to be realistically at this point. Anything less is unacceptable.

I honestly think for this program to be where it should be, we need to be winning the Coastal most every year

I don't see how the expectation could possibly be to win the Coastal more than 50% of the time (and personally even that seems like a stretch). Miami was an elite program not very long ago and is in the middle of fertile recruiting grounds, GT has some history and an excellent location, UNC is a huge brand that attracts talented players, Pitt is similar to VT historically, and even Duke and UVA have their selling points. You can't expect VT to win 80% of the time and the entire rest of the conference to only win 20% (that's only 4 times in 20 years). From the P5 conferences, Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin have won their division more than 50% of the time and only Alabama and Oklahoma have won "most every year." The idea that the baseline for Virginia Tech football should be winning the Coastal on an annual basis seems highly unrealistic to me. We benefitted from a unique situation for a number of years after joining the ACC, and it's unfortunate that we weren't able to capitalize on it more, but that shouldn't be considered the norm.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I want us to be within a game (or tiebreak) of the Coastal ever year. If "winning the coastal" is too high of a goal, then "one game back" shouldn't necessarily be. Even if we don't win more than the rest of the other schools combined (majority, >50%), looking at the competition, we should expect to be winning more than every other school (plurality).

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Miami is a historically elite program, but a shell of its former self. We shouldn't be afraid of them. They have little in administrative support for the program, small alumni base, and a stadium 20+ miles from campus.

The ACC divisional alignment was set up to be FSU and Clemson battling for the Atlantic with VT and Miami doing the same in the Coastal. Sure a GT might be in the mix sometimes, but VT and Miami are the football brands in the division. If we can't regularly compete against Miami and win the division, we are really missing the mark for where our program should be. The Coastal is an extremely winnable division and likely one of the weakest in all of P5 football.

2019 was the first time in 5 years Tech had a better recruiting class than Miami.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

What else is new. Probably never during the mid 90s or 00s but somehow held our own It's extremely difficult to out recruit a FL school just based on sheer numbers of local prospects

What percentage of the time do you believe VT should be winning the Coastal?

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Based on history, recruitment and budget:
40% Miami, 22% Vt, 10% UNC, 7% Duke, 7% GT, 7% UVA 7% Pitt

We can't expect every coach to be Beamer or better.

I appreciate you providing some numbers for discussion. It's hard to have a conversation without them because I don't believe many people share the same definition of success. I could see an argument VT should be able to win the Coastal in the 40% range but if people are wanting 75%+, I just don't see how that's realistic.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Duke lost all there starting WRs and TE too.

We need to beat Miami, period. I am tired of them kicking our ass every time in Miami. It's getting old. We used to be able to go down there and win.

2004 team lost to 5-6 NCST
2010 lost to 6-5 JMU

We look back and forgot all the shitty teams Tech has lost to over the 10 win years because it fads with 10 wins, but they still were there.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

That's kind of my point. Even the games you are highly favored to win, you aren't going to win all of them.

So to look at our 2019 schedule and say we should win 10 games because we're favored in 8 or 9 of them, realistically that's probably not going to happen.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Was that the NC State team with 3 first round draft picks on their DL? That had 10 sacks against us the week after the heart breaker against USC in DC? That we lost to on a missed FG?

Also they had what would have been an NFL running back had he not had knew problems. Ams we gave them the ball at the 7 yard line due to a bad punt play. And lost by 1.

The NCSU game was week 4, three weeks after the USC game.

It was 1 week after NCSU lost a close game to #7 OSU

Chuck the Chest and wasn't it also our very first ACC game at home? They had a stiffling defense and a so-so offense against our good defense and so-so offense.

Duke, Carolina, GT, and Miami can be anything from god awful to 9 win teams any given year.

I think what you meant to say was #coastalchaos

All I could think of Ellis' catch and drop was:

"Welcome to DBU"

tbh, I hope Ellis is ok.

Let's Go

HOKIES

He was down for a bit but got back up and had a good day.

"I thought our run fits have been better all spring," said Bud Foster. "I thought our perimeter play as far as compressing the running lanes, bringing the proper arm, doing those fundamental things...we're so much better right now."

This Foster quote on the D-line has me the most excited

I copied the exact same quote to post about down here. This is huge. If we can even slow down the run some this year it would be a huge improvement.

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

Spoiler- this quote and my review align very closely. I was watching the Force/Spill and alley work very closely.

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

Very few times were ball carriers able to make a move at the second level. No one was able to get through the line without some sort of contact, which is huge because that allows linebackers to come in and finish things off. Also, the lane discipline of Dax is something to watch. If he can be consistent and not get soaked up and lose his lane, he could have a 100+ tackle season

Great article. The things that stand out to me...

- Willis will be starting QB in the fall
- If Bud says the defense is "so much better right now." That is good to hear. I don't think he would say that just to appease the fan base.
- Running back committee will be a hot topic at TKP in the Fall and throughout the season.
- We get to see just how good Foster is this season. There was no reloading on that side of the ball last year. It was a complete rebuild. I would expect the biggest leap in on field results to happen this season. I'm not expecting a top 10 defense, but I'm expecting a big jump from where we ended last season.

Thank goodness for some football talk. Needed a break from basketball.

--
"It's time to go play Virginia Tech Football longer and harder than anybody else in America!!" -- Justin Fuente
"I put a brick in Sacksburg today." -- Cam Phillips

Good post. Though, I think we've seen enough from Bud to know how good this legend is. We could use more consistent recruiting, which is the case for basically the whole team, but no one out there is better at x's and o's. If he coached VT for the next 15 years, I'd take it.

"How you doin', Randy?"

Yes, we all know Bud is legend. But this is another potential data point to illustrate just how good he is. The argument can be made he has not had to do this type of coaching job between last season and the upcoming season since early in his career. For a long time it has mostly been a reload with good senior leadership each season.

--
"It's time to go play Virginia Tech Football longer and harder than anybody else in America!!" -- Justin Fuente
"I put a brick in Sacksburg today." -- Cam Phillips

- Need the DL to make the necessary advancement steps this year. Garbutt, Belmar, Gaines (hope he gets healthy, Proctor, Becton, and DeBose need to step up. I think I read that Becton is having a good spring. Crawford needs to be the real deal at DT and you know that Hewitt is going to work hard. I just see Hewitt as more of a backup than a starter. I really hope that one of the freshmen surprise some people and play this year. Walker did it his freshman year and so has Maddy.

- Key to the secondary will be Webb's and Diablo's health. Watts is a depth guy. I think Farley will be better but we need Webb to be ready to go.

- So many weapons at WR. Willis has the arm to get them the ball and he should know the offense better this season. The offense is screaming for a RB to step up. Will it be Holston? McClease is always banged up. I really think that King can get a serious look.

- I'm excited about the potential with Keane and Mitchell at TE. They can really test a defense.

- I hope the OL gets it going. I like the depth that is developing.

Would love to see us use both tes more this year. Seemed like Keene only had one wheel route play last year multiple times

I think if you're relying on Webb you're going to be disappointed . 2 ACL tears is brutal. More likly that one of Chatman, Waller or Thompson step up for Watts

*Achilles. Idk if that's better or worse.

Basic googling tells me it's better from a timeline perspective. But for a big corner he's gotta be losing some serious quickness

That is a concern. It sounds like Webb was at 100% after the first tear and the kid has flat out busted his butt to get himself ready.

"I would say, in my opinion and this is something we're working with Quincy on, we're still trying to figure out what type of quarterback he is going to be," said Fuente. "He has less wiggle than he thinks he has.

That doesn't exactly inspire confidence...are we sure that QP is the messiah QB?

No, we arent 'sure' but we do know its his first spring getting college coaching and he played in a HS system that didnt require a strong passing game. He isnt Trevor Lawrence or Tua or even Tyrod but he has tools, just needs time.

just needs time.

How much time does he need?

More than a year? He hasn't even been on campus 12 months

Most coaches would tell you the normal college quarterback (aka not Tua and Trevor) needs at least 3 years to master an offense and develop the skills needed.

Gobble Till You Wobble

Tyrod needed 4, and his senior year was still more his feet creating time and space versus quick reads and throwing in rhythm.

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

fwiw his 8th season in the NFL and hes still

"more his feet creating time and space versus quick reads and throwing in rhythm."

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Patterson complete 4 of 14 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown. His accuracy was just not there, nor was his pocket presence as he opted to scramble from the pocket on multiple occasions where he could've stayed in.

Is it considered "normal" for a "messiah QB" that has gone through a full fall and spring camp to go 29% against presumably non-first team guys? I'm not asking this in a condescending way, I truely don't know the answer to that question.

I think it's too quick to completely write off QP but it's definitely possible he turns into a worse version of Logan Thomas. It's also possible he turns into the college football version of Giannis Antetokounmpo. I'd just would like to seen a better performance.

I'm not in the QP is our savior camp, but do want to point out that he also didn't have 1st string OL or receivers for the spring game. I'm sure he has practiced with them and ended up playing with the third team for a reason, though.

Love the potential though and hope the game slows down for him.

The coaches all talk about the complete picture, not just the spring game. QP did not look ready to step in and play for one portion of the scrimmage. Was it his finger? Was it the people around him? Was it the pressure? Was it problems with his footing? A bad game for another reason? I don't think he looked like the savior (MV3), or better than either Willis o Hooker. Thats all I took from watching the game.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

I cant see the future so I dont know... I do know it is more reasonable to think he will approach a level of play reasonably expected of him with more than one year of exposure to college football than it is to question if high expectations of him are warranted.

he played in a HS system that didnt require a strong passing game

And just to reiterate this point for everyone, on the TSL podcast today they said he averaged 7 pass attempts a game his senior year. 7. His rating out of high school was all about potential, not readiness to play.

Not sure where that thought ever came from. I have always been higher about our Hooker than QP.

Because he made the Elite11, so everyone started comparing him to 5 star QBs for some reason. Plus he's likeable so it's easy to hope for it

Kinda inspires a move, to dare I say...TE.../s

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

You better duck.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

I think we'll be pretty good on offense, for three reasons...1) Senior QB: senior leadership at the D-I level is huge. 2) Excellent depth and talent at the outside skill positions. 3) Enough quality OL to get the job done (injuries could bite here, though).

The real key to how well we do will be Bud's unit. If we're improved as much as it sounds like from Bud, I think we'll be in good shape. Just be prepared for the "poor strength of schedule" comments.

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

People can say whatever they want. SOS is only relevant for teams that have ambitions of getting into the playoffs. Get 8 or 9 and we have a good chance of playing in the ACC championship game. Not that I'm gonna judge the success of the season based on it, but if we do get there I don't think anyone will be talking much about who we played.

SOS will be plenty relevant if we don't win at least 8 games this year. If we haven't improved enough to win 5 games in the ACC (yes, I'm saying that all the FCS/ODU games are "must win") when 3 of them have new coaches, then I think that's not good enough for this program at this stage.

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

I agree with both of you in a way. I think SOS matters in terms of evaluating this team, but only for the Hokie faithful because for the most part people outside the program aren't going to be paying much attention to the Hokies this year. Which is sad, but that's how it's going to be until we fight our way back to championship contender status.

Two ways SOS factors into our season: 1) if we don't reach the 8 win mark, bad look for the staff, possible hot seat status. 2) 10 win season, Coastal champ, you'll hear the "but they ain't played nobody, Pauuul" crowd, possible bowl slight if we don't win the ACC.

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

2 would bother me far less than 1, that's for sure.

I hope, if we're going to get slighted for a bowl in any fashion, that we get sent clear down to Music City, cause I want to go to that one. I hope we have a better season than that though.

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

Agreed, nobody here would argue about a 10 win season. I'll probably do a Joe and take a TKP sabbatical if we don't get to the 8 win plateau.

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

We literally have the easiest schedule in the country this year based on ESPN FPI. If we don't win 8+, there should be some serious questions around the long-term viability of this staff.

The sales job to recruits and donors moving forward is going to get pretty challenging without at least 9-10+ wins.

You control what you can control. We just need to focus on the W's. If (in an awesome scenario) we have a good enough season for those discussions to happen, then there's the Championship game and (in an outrageously awesome scenario) Playoffs to separate pretender from contender. Let 'em talk. So long as we're winning, it'll work out.

HTHokie93

Two things stand out to me after Spring:

1. Who is going to take the starting spot over Bryce Watts?

2. Will we ever see a starting duo at LB of Tisdale and Hollifield?

Is it basketball season yet?

1) If healthy, Webb should grab that spot; but that's a massive IF. I think Waller has a chance to make some noise, but maybe that's in the two-deep.
2) I think Tisdale/Dax May very well be the play on the field together, but Ashby played very well last season. You'll see all 4 main LB's (Dax, Rivers, Ashby, Tisdale) getting solid playing time next year

But do we have a reliable kicker? I don't like what I've read about that performance...at all.

Stout was fine in the game, and he has a much stronger leg.

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

Agree. He may just had a rough day, but I feel like we should be making the majority of FGs from 40-45 yards out. 50 yarders is when we should see the % drop.

In college most kickers are at best in the 60's percentage making field goals over 40 yards. I'll try and find the article again from this past season.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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not a lot of chatter around ashby but his play was solid all spring. he doesn't have the hype or the flash that dax does and i know a lot of people are high on tisdale but ashby is very solid player and will get the job done in LPD kind of way. i think hell carry the box this year for the D and be a silent/ lead by example type leader for our D.

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head scout BSP scouting specializing in north florida/ southern GA highschool football scouting

Kinda reminds me of Barquell Rivers before he got injured...not really rah rah...but he was always in on tackles

Yea. People seem to want Dax in this spot, but Ashby is doing a great job.

What happened to Cole Beck. I haven't heard his name mentioned? Is he running track or something or just not showing out so far?

"I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them." - Lee Corso

Track.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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Just was in a meet at Auburn, Beck was in the top four in two events, coming in third in the 100 in a time of 10.39 and fourth in the 200 in a time of 21.08.