Virginia Tech will run 100 plays in Lane Stadium, focusing on situations and using part of it to give some of its freshmen one last chance to show their stuff before decisions are made on redshirts.
“There are some different thoughts going to try to make a determination or to try to keep working with guys and keep bringing them along, possibly traveling for a few games,” head coach Frank Beamer said. “There are just a couple real tough decisions.”
On offense, the players on the fence are running back Trey Edmunds and wide receivers Joshua Stanford and Joel Caleb, play-caller Mike O’Cain told reporters.
“The problem is you’ve got to project,” Beamer said. “Five games down the road, where are you and where would this guy be? There’s so much unknown, so that’s what makes it tough.”
Edmunds, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound freshman from Danville, got extensive work with the third team during last Saturday’s scrimmage, running eight times for 45 yards. Beamer compared his running style to former Hokies standout Kevin Jones.
“He’s got that burst like him,” Beamer said. “I think his mind is tying up his feet a little bit right now, but if he can just get one move there and go. He’s very natural. He’s very natural in the hole, with people around him, defenders around him. But in this game, I think you can start looking too much, and while you’re looking, people are gaining ground on you, they’re closing on you. So I think one move and go and get your shoulders down a little bit.”
The problem is depth. Michael Holmes sits comfortably atop the list at tailback, followed by a stable of backs at No. 2 that includes J.C. Coleman, Martin Scales and Tony Gregory.
“It’s hard to play four tailbacks, much less five,” running backs coach Shane Beamer said. “I told Trey yesterday, whether you redshirt is still to be determined, but you’ve got to bring something to the table. And those guys are pretty good right now.”
Shane complimented Edmunds’ speed, power and explosiveness, saying when his pads are low, “he’s a load to bring down.” The question is whether or not he’ll develop into someone who can contribute this year.
“It’s where is he going to be five weeks from now,” Shane said. “To me, he was really raw when he got in here. It’s a lot to learn, the running back position, for a freshman. From Day 1 to when we started, it’s like night and day with him as far as knowledge.”
Stanford and Caleb are in the same boat. Stanford is third on the depth chart at split end behind Dyrell Roberts and Corey Fuller, while Caleb is fourth at flanker behind Marcus Davis, Demitri Knowles and Kevin Asante, so meaningful reps could be hard to come by.
Special teams is a consideration too, particularly for someone like Edmunds who was also a linebacker in high school and has a tackling foundation.
Wednesday’s scrimmage could go a long way in swaying the coaches one way or another for each of those players.
“It’s another big day for us,” Frank Beamer said.
Plenty more notes and quotes from today. Let’s get to them …
- Regarding Wednesday, the practice portion begins at 4 p.m., with the scrimmage starting at 4:30. It is open to the public, but it’s the first day students can move in, so Tech has some parking regulations you should take a gander at here.
- While redshirt decisions will be made after Wednesday’s practice, the depth chart will continue to be tweaked all the way up to the Georgia Tech opener. “The longer you’re into it, the more that depth chart should stay the same,” Frank said.
- The punting competition continues to be close between A.J. Hughes and Hunter Windmuller. Beamer wants to see them again in the stadium under a little pressure. Hughes out-punted Windmuller in the last scrimmage and jumped him on the depth chart. Although the battle is close, Beamer would like to pick one and go with him. “That kicker is kind of like your quarterback,” he said. “You’ve kind of got one and that’s who you want to go with really. But we’ll see. They’re both very good, though.” (More on the punters a little later this week.)
- Speaking of the depth chart, Shane said Holmes at this point would be the starter for the opener, although that the competition is continuing and that could still change. “I told them I think we have four starters,” he said. “I really do.” He said Coleman had an amazing run against the first-team defense Tuesday where he showed off some power, “lowering his shoulder and trying to run over somebody.”
- Got some interesting stuff about tight end Ryan Malleck, which I’ll write about later this week as well. But for now, something brief. Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring said the coaches perhaps put the expectation level too high for him in the spring because Malleck had practiced with them all season. But he barely played. “We were a little disappointed at the end of spring [with his progress],” Stinespring said, “but then I had to step back and say, just because he played, he’s still a freshman. It doesn’t change a whole lot. From then on, I think he understood that to get over that next hurdle, there has to be more film study, there was going to have to be a more focused and concerted effort to get to where we needed to be.” Malleck has been more serious this fall and is now co-No. 1 on the depth chart.
- Malleck, by the way, says he feels a lot better after shedding 10 pounds in the offseason. He can move better, which helps him be the all-around tight end the Hokies are looking for, one that can be an H-back, an on-the-line blocker and split out wide.
- Scout team quarterback T.J. Shaw injured his hamstring. Frank Beamer joked that he doesn’t have a scout team quarterback depth chart, so he doesn’t know who is next. But Shaw, who was an option quarterback at Franklin County High, told our columnist Aaron McFarling that he was going to tough it out to help the team prepare for Georgia Tech.
- Asante’s goal this year? “To get YACs,” the redshirt freshman receiver said. “To get YACs.” That’d be yards after the catch. He had a good effort Saturday, catching four passes for 79 yards and a touchdown in his most active scrimmage to date (at least of the open ones). He’s played all of the wide receiver spots but fancies himself more of a play-maker than a possession guy. “I just want to create space,” he said. “I just want to be the type of player to make something out of that one play every time.”
- Virginia Tech continued its “Team Educate” program this August, where speakers are brought in to speak to the players about different life situations like nutrition, compliance, rules, agents, etc. Tuesday’s presenter was former Dallas Cowboy Dwayne Goodrich, who spent six years in jail for criminally negligent homicide after killing two people in an automobile accident. Recently released from jail, he has had several speaking engagements warning crowds about consequences in life for actions. Here’s his story from ESPN.
- Brief injury update: James Gayle, J.R. Collins, Michael Cole, Davion Tookes, Mark Irick and D.J. Coles were still in blue today. Running back Chris Mangus was in green with his right shoulder in a sling.
- Here’s an injury report for the scrimmage, per VT: Seven players are listed as being out for Wednesday’s scrimmage. The group includes Cole (neck), Coles (knee), Tariq Edwards (leg), Irick (hamstring), Mangus (shoulder), Shaw (hamstring) and Tookes (hamstring). Gayle (ankle) is listed as doubtful, while both Collins (quad) and Ethan Keyserling (hip) are questionable. Both Boye Aromire (hamstring) and Knowles (neck) are probable.
- Tech had five players in a punt return drill today: Roberts, Kyshoen Jarrett, Knowles, Kyle Fuller and Willie Byrn. That’s a narrowed-down field from before.
- The first two songs over the speakers during stretching at Tuesday’s practice? Rick Ross‘ “Pirates” before a smooth transition into “Waste Some Time” by Colt Ford. I have to imagine Virginia Tech is one of only a handful of schools that would have those songs back-to-back on a playlist.
- Lastly, a quick note on the indoor facility. Colleague Tonia Moxley reports that Virginia Tech Vice President for Administrative Services Sherwood Wilson formally recommended to President Charles Steger that the indoor facility be built somewhere other than the Stadium Woods. That was the recommendation from the ad hoc committee in June. Steger has the final say on where the indoor facility will be built. There’s no timetable for his decision.