Hope: A Virginia Tech Spring Football Game Primer

With an offseason full of optimism wrapping up, the Hokies have question marks to address in order to take the next steps in 2024. The spring game is the "sneak peak" at how they will attempt to address those gaps.

[Mark Umansky]

After ending the 2023 season on a positive note, Virginia Tech opened spring football looking to address depth issues and focus on improving areas of weakness. Head coach Brent Pry did an excellent job of retaining highly valued veteran players while restocking the defensive tackle cupboard via the transfer portal. To me, there are three questions that need to be answered in order for the Hokies to take a step forward and become a true contender for an ACC championship. This spring afforded Pry and his staff an opportunity to focus on these issues, and they are what I am watching for in the Maroon-White game.

While the spring game doesn't provide a great deal of insight into schematic changes, it does provide some grasp of how the coaches are assessing the value of young players. Getting repetitions with known roster quantities (for example, a young receiver working with Kyron Drones instead of the backups), or being specifically targeted often is usually an indicator of a young player being considered for a bigger role.

Find Answers at Linebacker

The most glaring weakness that has to be shored up is the linebacker play. The top four Virginia Tech linebackers were ghastly during the 2023 spring game, and that carried over into the fall. Even when the Hokies were winning late in the season, the MIKE and WILL linebackers were consistently poor with gap fits, getting off blocks, and reading the play. With Alan Tisdale's departure, the Hokies added Sam Brumfield (5-11, 230), a part time starter at Middle Tennessee State, to hopefully anchor the MIKE linebacker position. Brumfield is sound at fitting into gaps, but was taken out in both passing and goalline situations during his final season at MTSU. At WILL, Jayden McDonald seemingly won the job over Kelli Lawson, and Lawson will miss the spring with an injury. I anticipate a "top group" pair of Brumfield and McDonald. However, there could be a new player.

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