The latest Virginia Tech depth chart has movement at the wide receiver positions, with Corey Fuller and Demitri Knowles elevated to co-No. 1′s with entrenched starters Marcus Davis and Dyrell Roberts.
While head coach Frank Beamer said it’s a reward for Fuller and Knowles, wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman told Beamer’s website that it’s a motivational tactic too.
“It also sends the message that you better be busting it all the time,” Sherman said. “If any of our guys think they can relax because they’re arrived, they’ve got that dead wrong.”
Statistically, Davis and Fuller have been the Hokies’ top two receivers. Davis has a team-leading 33 catches for 643 yards and four touchdowns, on pace for the first 1,000-yard receiving season in school history.
Fuller, whose role expanded when D.J. Coles was lost for the year with a knee injury, has 25 catches for 503 yards and four touchdowns, with four starts.
Roberts, who missed most of the North Carolina game with a concussion, is next, with 22 catches for 280 yards and a score. Knowles has 10 grabs for 152 yards and a touchdown.
Davis and Roberts have started every game, although their blocking effort hasn’t been its best in recent weeks. Sherman has routinely brought up consistency being the one thing holding Davis back from putting everything together.
Beamer wants to foster competition at practice and balance things out to get maximum effort.
“I think there’s a possibility we’re playing some guys too much,” he said. “We want good competition and we want to get Knowles in the ball game because I think he can do things. Corey Fuller has been very, very good all year long. He’s been exceptional. I think trying to have a fresh receiver in the ball game and have good competition at that wide receiver position cause competition makes everyone better. That’s the big picture.”
Quarterback Logan Thomas doesn’t see it as too much of a difference.
“I definitely think that they’re pushing them,” he said. “I mean you can already list Corey as a No. 1 for as much as he plays anyway. They’re pushing up on those guys, but it’s not to say Marcus and Dyrell aren’t doing their own thing. They’re doing a great job as well.”
- I’m a little later than normal with this update because columnist Aaron McFarling and were recording our debut podcast, something we’re going to give a try for the next couple weeks, I think. I’m by no means a spoken word expert — I have a voice for print, let’s say — but I think it’ll be a different way to talk about Virginia Tech in a casual setting. I’ll have a link up tomorrow sometime. Be sure to give us your feedback.
- I’m doing a story on the offense for tomorrow’s paper and wanted to get Beamer’s opinion on what ESPN’s Todd McShay said last week about the Hokies’ offense being out-dated. Beamer asked back, “Do you know what he based that on?” I said I didn’t, since I didn’t have a chance to follow-up with a question on McShay’s teleconference. “Me neither,” Beamer said sharply.
- Overall, as you’d guess, Beamer didn’t think much of McShay’s remarks. “I think those guys stay on the air by being controversial,” he said. “We’re doing a lot of things that you see, you turn on the TV, a lot of stuff. And then I think he made some reference about Logan and I think he was one that had Logan up there pretty high as far as an NFL quarterback. He wasn’t talking about our offense when he had Logan up there pretty high as an NFL quarterback. I don’t know quite where he’s coming from, but guys have got to stay in the business.” (Sidenote: Beamer suggested going back and asking McShay what he meant specifically. I have tried, but efforts to reach McShay through ESPN in the last week have been unsuccessful.)
- Miami isn’t exactly a raucous atmosphere. Sun Life Stadium isn’t anywhere near campus. It’s an NFL stadium in Miami Gardens that is routinely close to empty on gamedays, even though the Hurricanes have a historically strong football program, or at least have since the early-80′s. “It’s a big stadium for any team and it’s, I guess because the U is the way the U is now and not the old age, it’s not as full as it has been and used to be,” Thomas said. “I don’t know how to put it up against another stadium, but it still has some sound to it, but it’s not what you would expect a team that has a legacy like Miami to have.”
- Safety Kyshoen Jarrett explained what the defense needs to do like this: “We have to go out and perform and just having each team match our intensity, and just match our mojo when we go out there, instead of us trying to match their mojo, and then, you know, they’re already rolling.” I’m guessing that’s a way of saying they have to energy early.
- Thomas’ step-dad is a big Miami fan. He grew up there. How does that work out? “It’s not a problem,” Thomas said. “I’ve been living with it for 12 years now or whatever it is, so it doesn’t really bother me.” Sounds like they don’t bring it up much. Logan doesn’t know who he’s rooting for. “Couldn’t tell you,” he said. “I don’t ask. Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
- The injury report is due out later today, but Beamer said center Caleb Farris (ankle) is going to play. “I don’t think he’s totally 100 percent, but I tell you, he’s really toughed it out,” Beamer said. “Wants to play very much. I think he’s going to be able to play, but what percentage healthy, I couldn’t tell you exactly.”
- The winner of this game has a pretty good chance of winning the division, although for some, that won’t make up for Tech’s early-season struggles. “I don’t think anything would make up for it, but it would definitely be something that would make us feel better about the season,” Thomas said. “We’ve kind of got a sour taste in our mouths and we don’t like it, but getting to the ACC championship would be something huge for us.”
- Beamer thinks there’s a precedent for a team having a down year turning it into something good by the end. “I take it back to Florida State in 2005 when we played them in the ACC championship and they were coming off of a tough year,” he said. “They lost three ACC games and obviously ended up going to the Orange Bowl. Again, I don’t think so much what’s happened in the past. We’re doing everything we can to beat this Miami crowd.”