Springapalooza 2010

Spring practice starts today. Amen. Let's take a look at who's leaving, who's back and who needs to step their game up.

Adios Amigos

Offensive Skill

Name Position Receptions Yards Touchdowns
Greg Boone TE 7 75 0
Sam Wheeler TE 2 30 0
Kenny Jefferson FB 1 7 0
Player Totals 10 112 0
2009 Totals 137 (7.3%) 2391 (4.68%) 14 (0%)

As you can see from the table above, in terms of production, we don't lose much. However, you can't quantify what we did lose. Kenny Jefferson has been doing work in the running game since '07. He pounded defenders like a jackhammer and he's partially responsible for escalating Ryan Williams through the stratosphere towards deity status. Greg Boone came to Blacksburg as a quarterback, ate a small village and destroyed everything in his path regardless of where he played. The Wild Turkey won't be the same without him.

Offensive Linemen

  • Ed Wang OT
  • Sergio Render OG
  • Richard Graham OG

Last year's offensive line, like a slow setting Jell-O, took a long time to congeal. To me the individual parts were greater than the whole. Even though Wang could be a first round draft pick and Render has a chance to play in the league I'm not devastated by their loss.

Defensive Linemen

Tackles Loss Sacks
Name Position Ast Solo Ast Solo Ast Solo Forced Fumbles QB Hurries
Jason Worilds DE 34 15 8 7 3 3 1 16
Nekos Brown DE 35 21 2 6 1 6 1 4
Demetrius Taylor DT 19 12 6 2 1 1 0 1
Cordarrow Thompson DT 18 7 3 0 1 0 0 4
Player Totals 106 55 19 15 6 10 2 25
2009 Totals 540 (19.63%) 397 (13.85%) 60 (31.67%) 62 (24.19%) 12 (50%) 30 (33.3%) 13 (15.38%) 45 (55.56%)

Linebackers & Secondary

Tackles Loss Sacks Int Ret. Fum Ret.
Player Name Position Ast Solo Ast Solo Ast Solo No TD No TD Pass Breakups Forced Fumbles QB Hurries
Grimm LB 56 50 7 9 0 4 0 0 0 0 5 7 8
Martin LB 7 13 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
Muncey LB 3 3 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Chancellor FS 42 26 2 2 0 0 2 0 1 0 5 0 0
Virgil CB 15 21 2 5 0 1 1 0 2 0 1 1 0
Porch ROV 27 15 1 2 0 2 1 0 1 0 3 1 0
Reidy ROV 11 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Player Totals 161 138 13 22 0 9 4 0 4 0 17 9 8
2009 Totals 540 (29.81%) 397 (34.76%) 60 (21.67%) 62 (35.48%) 12 (0%) 30 (30%) 11 (36.36%) 1 (0%) 6 (66.67%) 0 (0%) 45 (37.78%) 13 (69.23%) 45 (17.78%)

Total Defense

Tackles Loss Sacks Int Ret. Fum Ret.
Ast Solo Ast Solo Ast Solo No TD No TD Pass Breakups Forced Fumbles QB Hurries
540 (49.44%) 397 (48.61%) 60 (53.34%) 62 (59.67%) 12 (50%) 30 (63.3%) 11 (36.36%) 1 (0%) 6 (66.67%) 0 (0%) 45 (37.78%) 13 (69.23%) 45 (17.78%)

Included in the totals are two solo tackles made by Greg Boone, a solo tackle by Ed Wang, a solo and assisted tackle by Rob Stanton. They'll skew the data, but not by much.

Let's talk about the defensive losses as a whole. Ask any Hokie what they think about the defense going into the spring and you'll probably get a response like, "we lost a lot of talent, the defense is young." But is the situation that dire? After crunching the numbers I don't think so. Seven of eleven starters from 2009 won't be on the team in 2010. That's 63.64% of starters. Yet out of all the categories above, in only one, forced fumbles, are we losing more than 63.64% production and most categories are under 50%. The conclusion I'm going to draw is we're losing a lot of experience, but keeping a lot of playmakers. I think one of Foster's biggest coaching challenges will be getting the returning starters to lead and get the younger guys up to speed.

Beamer Ballers

  • Brent Bowden - Puntmasterflex
  • Matt Waldron - Place Kicker
  • Matt Tuttle - Long Snapper

Matt Waldron only missed three field goals last year (20/23) and was perfect on extra points. Replacing both your punter and place kicker can always be a bit of a challenge.

Hey! I know you.

Let's take a look at some of the returning players.


I expect to see Dyrell on the field more often in 2010, particularly to stretch the field. I don't think he will supplant Danny Coale as the number one flanker though. Coale just has a knack for being in the right place at the right time to make the important catch.

The Evans–Williams 100 Proof Backfield

Beamer said that Darren Evans is, "ready to roll."

And Evans just ruined another crab bake.

As amped as I am to see Darren back in Maroon and Orange I'm sold on Ryan Williams being our best option at running back. A popular opinion seems to be to split the carries 50/50 with Darren being our bruiser and Ryan the big play threat. The problem I see with that logic is Ryan is the total package, he's so versatile that he can compliment himself. Below I've included some typical statistics as well as my adjusted yards and adjusted yards per carry statistics. They're nothing fancy. What I've done is eliminated Williams' and Evans' long rush for each game and recalculated total yards and yards per carry. So simply put, adjusted yards = yards - long and adjusted yards per carry = (yards - long) / (carries - 1).

Ryan Williams - 2009

Opponent Carries Yards Long Adjusted Yards YPC Adjusted YPC
Alabama 13 71 32 39 5.46 3.25
Marshall 16 164 57 107 10.25 7.13
Nebraska 21 107 46 61 5.1 3.05
Miami 34 150 44 106 4.41 3.21
Duke 24 83 12 71 3.46 3.09
Boston College 18 159 31 128 8.83 7.53
Georgia Tech 14 100 66 34 7.14 2.62
UNC 23 96 25 71 4.17 3.23
ECU 26 179 46 133 6.88 5.32
Maryland 23 126 28 98 5.48 4.45
NC State 32 120 19 101 3.75 3.26
UVa 24 183 51 132 7.63 5.74
Tennessee 25 117 32 85 4.68 3.54
293 1655 489 1166 5.94 4.26

Darren Evans - 2008

Opponent Carries Yards Long Adjusted Yards YPC Adjusted YPC
ECU 12 37 11 26 3.08 2.36
Furman 11 72 19 53 6.55 5.3
Georgia Tech 19 94 24 70 4.95 3.89
UNC 14 61 13 48 4.36 3.69
Nebraksa 21 72 19 53 3.43 2.65
WKU 21 79 10 69 3.76 3.45
Boston College 17 27 5 22 1.59 1.38
Florida State 15 77 23 54 5.13 3.86
Maryland 32 253 50 203 7.91 6.55
Miami 17 43 13 30 2.53 1.88
Duke 24 111 15 96 4.63 4.17
UVa 25 72 8 64 2.88 2.67
Boston College 31 114 30 84 3.68 2.8
Cincinnati 28 153 32 121 5.46 4.48
275 1228 272 967 4.37 3.6

Statistically speaking, when you take away what Williams does best, break the big run, he's still lethal and can control a game on the ground. Williams' adjusted yards per carry average for the 2009 season was 4.26, while  Evans' overall yards per carry for 2008 is 4.37. That's only .11 yards a carry more! This isn't an Imoh Humes situation, Ryan is capable of doing it all.

However, I think it is smart of Beamer to give them both equal touches in the spring. There's no reason to overwork Ryan while Evans needs to get back game shape sooner rather than later.

Tyrod Taylor

I'm just going to do whatever the fuck I want and you're going to learn to enjoy it.

Four years ago I remember obsessing over where Tyrod would decide to go to school. I knew he would be that special player that you need on the roster in order to be in contention for a National Championship. I immediately forgave him when he picked the "University of Virginia Tech" over Florida. He has yet to disappoint me. Sit back and strap in, because his final fourteen games are going to be special.

Offensive Line

They're experienced, athletic and they'll probably end up disappointing us again. But spring is a time of new beginnings so I'm going to drown my inner pessimist in a half full glass of water. Expect a lot of running to the right behind returning starters Beau Warren, Jaymes Brooks and Blake DeChristopher. I expect them to do nothing less than mash face.

Defensive Line

John Graves was injured during most of 2009. He's prepaid in full the ass kickings he'll be doling out in 2010.

Linebackers & Secondary

Barquell Rivers will miss spring practice (as much time as 5-6 months) with a torn quadriceps. Rivers and Lyndell Gibson contributed a combined 51 solo tackles. Ball-hawking corner Rashad Carmichael is back to torment ACC quarterbacks.

Jobs on the Line

Here are some of the more contested positions this spring.


This year when it's only the third quarter and we're hanging half a hundred on suckers who's going to come in and relieve Tyrod? In any situation when the game isn't on the line or there's little prep time look for Ju-Ju to be the guy. However, if the unthinkable happens the coaches (specifically Beamer) were sold on Logan Thomas developing as a passer. Going forward he may be the long term solution. Essentially, Ju-Ju will "win" the spring competition.

Tight End

If he isn't needed to throw the ball, hopefully he'll get playing time at an already thin tight end. Andre Smith is the only returning tight end with any notable experience. I'll be interested to see if we run more 3 receiver 1 tight end sets because of lack of depth there and overflow of talent at receiver.


Kenny Younger was the heir apparent at fullback until it was announced Josh Oglesby would switch to challenge him for the starting job. I like the idea of having both Oglesby and Williams in the backfield. Having two check down options out of the backfield on passing downs is a luxury. However, there is a difference between being a bruising running back and a fullback. It will be promising if Oglesby can do both.


At the whip Jeron Gouveia-Winslow has been listed at the starter on the two-deep. However, the same media guide describes backup Alonzo Tweedy as, "A heat-seeking missile on special teams during the fall. Has the most physical ability at the whip position. Can really run and hit, but must develop a better feel for the position." Tweedy played safety in high school and was recruited as an athlete. It seems like he'll take over the starting job after he gets a few more practices under his belt.


Eddie Whitley and Antone Exum will fight for the starting free safety job. The starter won't be decided by the end of the spring. On the bright side, we'll have two capable, more natural options this season to replace outgoing corner morphed safety Kam Chancelor.

Beamer Ballers

It's 3am so I'm going to defer to Norm Wood's opinion on this one.

At kicker, Beamer said Chris Hazley may hold an early advantage because he's a rising senior (Beamer: "It might be the same it's been the last couple years. The senior comes in there, and he's the one that's been around it the most and he's the one that become the most consistent."). Beamer said he'll also watch Justin Myer (needs to be more consistent, but Beamer likes his height on kicks, quickness of kicking motion and leg strength), Cody Journell, Tyler Weiss and Zack Pickard. Beamer added that a few more walk-ons could affect the kicker, punter and long-snapper spots before the fall.

In the punting role, Brian Saunders comes in as the clear favorite -- again, likely because he's a rising senior and has been through the system. In addition to Saunders, Scott Demler and Grant Bowden, who is Brent's rising redshirt freshman brother, will also get looks.

Other Previews

  • Virginia Tech Spring Football: 5 Most Intriguing Players [Gobbler Country]
  • Spring Football Breakdown 2010: Wide Receivers [Fight For Old DC]
  • Spring Football 2010 [Hokie Sports]
  • Here are 5 questions for Virginia Tech as the Hokies start spring practice [Daily Press]
  • Breaking down the Hokies for spring football [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
  • Tech spring football preview: tailbacks Ryan Williams and Darren Evans will enter as co-No.1's [Daily Press]

What are your thoughts and opinions on spring ball?

*Statistics are from the NCAA. They were aggregated and calculated by hand. If there are errors please let me know.

DISCLAIMER: Blog posts may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


Good read

You know I'm not big on stats as evaluators but the percentages of production lost are always telling. My guess is they'll "make a tight end" to add some depth. Whether that means using a freshman, going with an extra tackle etc to give that 2 tight look and blocking ability. However, with the plethora of WR talent I do expect 2nd and medium or less to become a "take a shot" down instead of a shoo-in for a power-O.

"Sit back and strap in, because his final fourteen games are going to be special."

Counting your chickens or just being optimistic? I love what Tyrod 'can' do its just a matter of what he 'will' do.

A little of both

"Sit back and strap in, because his final fourteen games are going to be special."

Counting your chickens or just being optimistic? I love what Tyrod 'can' do its just a matter of what he 'will' do.

I think getting back to the ACC Championship will be challenging especially with away games at an improving Miami and thorn in our ass UNC, but I think we have the talent and experience to do it. As a fanatical homer, any other prediction would be irresponsible.

I could watch that Evans gif for hours.

And yesterday, I did.

Hopefully by the next time we play at Byrd technology will have advanced to the point where we can embed animated gifs onto shirts.