As the Hokies begin earnest preparation for the Georgia Tech opener, he wouldn’t mind the Yellow Jackets doing the same.
“I would love for one of you guys to go down there and do a spread on Paul Johnson and come back and tell us what they’re doing,” he joked to reporters after Monday’s practice. “Let’s find out what they’re doing. Everything they’re doing is closed. You know what I mean? It’s closed. But they’ve got some wrinkles and we will too.”
As the training camp portion of preseason practice winds down, the Hokies will begin to do more Georgia Tech preparation this week. Coaches watched last year’s game with the Yellow Jackets today. Players went over Georgia Tech film by themselves in individual groups, preparing for the game-planning portion of practice that should start later this week and continue up to the Labor Day night opener.
“It’s a tough offense. It really is,” Wiles said. “They limit your possessions, they go for it a lot and keep your offense off the field. And one person breaks down and they’ve got a big run on you. And they keep coming back. It’s physical and they’re chopping and they’re working at their craft and their technique. … So they’re going to be good.”
Linebacker Jack Tyler thinks the high-profile opener has made for a faster pace to practices this August, something he expects the scout team to ramp up this week to mimic the Yellow Jackets’ preferred style.
“So we can get everything down perfect,” he said. “We can work like a Swiss watch and get all the components together.”
Tyler thinks having Georgia Tech in the opener is nice for a couple of reasons. First, it’s usually an extremely physical game with all the cut-blocking and play in the trenches. Neither team will be healthier all season as it will be for the opener.
Second, any extra preparation time the Hokies can get to face the Yellow Jackets’ spread option offense is welcome.
“It does help, because when you make that switch so abruptly, it’s obviously a little difficult,” Tyler said. “Your reads are way different. Your footwork is way different. And it does take like a week or so to try to get that in the back of your head. And then the hard part is after this week, moving it all back. It is nice, obviously to have that extra week.”
Here are a few more notes and quotes from tonight’s post-practice interviews:
- Although he’s moved to safety, T.J. Shaw, a redshirt freshman from Rocky Mount, is serving as the scout team quarterback for Georgia Tech again, per Virginia Tech. He was an option quarterback at Franklin County.
- A reporter prefaced a question to Wiles about the defensive line having so much talent before the coach cut him off. “You guys are setting me up for failure, man!” he said. “Everybody keeps giving me all these good players.” Wiles went on to say that it’s not as if he has eight starters. He counts six guys who could start – James Gayle, J.R. Collins, Derrick Hopkins, Antoine Hopkins, Luther Maddy and Corey Marshall. The rest are backups.
- He went on to say, in his Wiles-like way, that the group hasn’t accomplished anything yet. “We’ve got to play,” he said. “Everybody continues to talk about how good we’re going to be and all that. We’ve got to go prove it. And we don’t want all of our guys buying into all that. We haven’t won a football game yet. We haven’t made a tackle. We haven’t made a tackle for a loss. We haven’t done anything. We’re working to try to have a great year. And everybody we’re playing is good. Everybody we’re playing is really, really good. So it’s not easy to win and we’ve got to get better to have success.”
- Gayle, who didn’t play in the scrimmage Saturday because of a sprained ankle, was in a blue, limited jersey Monday. He tried to come back quick last week and tweaked it, so he’s taking things slow this time around. “I always want to play, but sometimes you’ve just got to be smart and just let it heal,” he said. “You don’t want to further mess it up.” Of note: it’s not the same ankle that caused him problems last year.
- The ankle sprain will not get Gayle out of Thursday, when the Hokies will help Virginia Tech students move into their dorms and apartments. “I’m still going to be carrying TVs and fans,” he said.
- I spoke with Jeron Gouveia-Winslow for a story I’m doing for Wednesday’s paper on the whip linebackers. He said he’s as confident as he’s been coming into this season and thinks he’ll be the starter in the opener. Regarding Ronny Vandyke‘s surge, he had this to say: ”It’s good to have young guys like that can … I guess, compete for the starting spot.”
- Tyler said he’s coming in with plenty of confidence too, feeling comfortable in the defensive scheme and anticipating more instead of reacting to things. “My mind isn’t tying up my feet any,” he said. He’s a run-stopper first and foremost, so things worked out well for the opener. “It’s a game where you have to be very physical and you have to be downhill, and those are the better parts of my game,” he said.
- Tyler didn’t think Bruce Taylor would have much trouble picking up backer. “Just being in that [meeting] room, you learn backer over time, even though you’ve never played it, because coach defensive coordinator [Bud] Foster is always teaching both positions,” he said. “You kind of just learn as you go along. And Bruce has been here for so long. He kind of already knew 90 percent of it, and now he’s just fine-tuning everything.”
- A couple notes from the depth chart update from earlier today. J.C. Coleman and Tony Gregory are now listed as No. 2 running backs along with Martin Scales. Nobody else is listed behind them. Although the coaches haven’t finalized all their decisions about redshirts this year, it might mean it’s going that direction for Trey Edmunds.
- There was movement at punter, where A.J. Hughes leaped Hunter Windmuller for the No. 1 spot. Hughes averaged 53.7 yards on three punts in Saturday’s scrimmage. Windmuller averaged 24.7. Seems like an obvious swap.
- I did not hear Tech Talk Live Monday night, but Virginia Tech broadcaster Andrew Allegretta tweeted that athletic director Jim Weaver announced the Hokies will play Richmond in Lane Stadium in 2021. Weaver also said he spoke Friday with Michigan, Arkansas, Auburn, Penn State, Illinois, and Minnesota about possible future match-ups. Keep in mind that speaking with schools does not mean a scheduling matchup is imminent, but it is interesting.
- Tyler said he was there when Foster did cartwheels after highly-ranked defensive end Wyatt Teller committed on Friday. The verdict? “He didn’t look very athletic,” Tyler joked. “He’s old. Give him a break. … When he tells the recruit he’s going to do cartwheels, he’s going to do cartwheels. Coach Foster is a man of his word, so if that’s what he tells you, then he’s going to do it.”
- What did Foster do when Tyler told him he was going to walk on at Tech? “He didn’t do anything for me,” Tyler said, drawing some laughs. “I wasn’t that cool. I wasn’t a high enough prospect, I guess. … For me it was just a pat on the back and thanks for coming.”