A bit earlier, I wrote about Logan Thomas‘ offseason focus on mechanics, some of which fans got a glimpse of at Monday’s scrimmage. You can read it here.
Here are a few more notes and quotes from Tech’s first full-scale scrimmage of the spring …
– Frank Beamer offered the kind of quote that one would expect after a first scrimmage — in fact, some beat writers nailed it ahead of time, almost to the exact word: “I really liked our scrimmage. I thought the effort was excellent and it has been all spring. I thought the execution was good for a first scrimmage on both sides of the ball. There’s going to be a lot to learn from, but we weren’t running into each other, so that’s a good thing.”
– Offensively, it wasn’t the prettiest thing. But offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler pointed out that only about a quarter of the offense is installed, including just a handful of third-down plays. Even then, they weren’t calling plays related to down-and-distance so much as they were trying to see how certain players handled being put into certain plays, regardless of the spot on the field. “It was the good, the bad, the ugly,” Loeffler said.
– The first-team offense and first-team defense only matched up on three series. Overall, the defense had the better day. “The experience is over there with the defense right now,” Beamer said. “The defense is going to be ahead and should be ahead right now.”
– The game featured no touchdowns, although that was in part due to the fact that the coaches stopped a few drives after big plays, turning the field around to go the other direction before completing the series. Demitri Knowles caught a 63-yard pass, coming back to on an underthrown ball and going up over Donovan Riley to make the catch. D.J. Coles had a 46-yard catch on a ball from Thomas (although he got away with a push off of Kyshoen Jarrett). Kevin Asante caught a 44-yard pass from Mark Leal.
– Other than that, the highlights were few and far between. The running backs produced 55 rushing yards on 37 carries, led by Trey Edmunds‘ 29 yards on seven carries. Nobody else had a rushing average better than 2.0 yards per carry. “I liked what I saw today,” Beamer said of Edmunds. “He planted that foot and zipped up into the hole a couple different times. He got your attention.”
– Overall, Tech had minus-33 rushing yards. That’s because of 10 sacks by the defense. Defensive end James Gayle led the way with 3.5 sacks, popping Leal in the end zone — even though he was wearing a yellow jersey — after a botched screen pass. Leal was sacked six times.
– The defense had two picks. One was on a play near the end zone, where Thomas threw back across the play, lofting a high pass near the end zone toward Josh Stanford (I believe it’s the one pictured at the top). Safety Der’Woun Greene got over in time and leaped to make the interception. Thomas said it was a new play the offensive coaches threw at them that they hadn’t repped before. His second pick came near the sideline at the end by Kyle Fuller. “Kyle made a great play, but also I could have thrown it a little more to the outside,” Thomas said. “It’s correctable.”
– Defensive end Dadi Nicolas had an active game, with four tackles, a half sack, 1.5 TFLs and a forced fumble when he put a good lick on Michael Holmes in the backfield. ”He enjoys playing and he’s a heck of a player, really,” Beamer said. “You go back and he vertical jumps and the way he can run. And he’s strong. He’s physically can get leverage on you. He’s turned into one heck of a player, I think.” We attempted to request Nicolas afterward for interviews but were turned down by Tech, which has made him unavailable since his arrest last summer for stealing a bike.
– Defensive coordinator Bud Foster was pleased with his first-team group. “I think those kids are really communicating and playing well with each other,” he said. “Just the experience starting to show. I’m talking [Detrick] Bonner and [Kyshoen] Jarrett and guys on the back end that are having a great spring. Fuller is. [Donovan] Riley is really improving and I like how he’s coming along.” Foster still wants to develop younger players and “close that gap” between the first and second team. His biggest concern is getting better at defensive tackle and linebacker with the second- and third-team units.
– Coles, a receiver by trade, was used some as an H-back, lining up close to where a fullback would and coming out of the backfield for passes. It sounds like the Hokies will experiment moving him around some, trying to take advantage of his size (bigger than a DB) and speed (faster than an LB). I’ll have a little more on that tomorrow.
– Freshman Carlis Parker was in a yellow quarterback jersey but took reps as a wide receiver with the third team. “We’re going to let him be the shotgun guy, as far as the quarterback goes,” Beamer said, presumably speaking about Wildcat quarterback (although I didn’t ask a clarification question). “And then be getting him in a position where we can get him in the game, whether he’s at wide receiver or runs the stuff from the shotgun. He’s a good athlete. He’s just young and we need to keep experimenting with him.” Parker, an early enrollee, has only had two practices at receiver so far.
– Left guard David Wang suffered a right ankle sprain and will be re-evaluated again tomorrow. I’m no doctor, but it was pretty gnarly looking. All sorts of shades of blue and purple. “I hate to see that one,” Beamer said.
– A couple other players sat out. Defensive end Tyrel Wilson was in a walking boot. Tight end Zack McCray had a concussion. Quarterback Brenden Motley was on crutches because of a left knee injury. And rover Greg Jones had his right arm immobilized in a sling. Running back Tony Gregory also did not dress, for reasons I’m not sure, although he’s had knee issues his entire career.
– Linebacker Jack Tyler didn’t scrimmage today. He had class.
And now, if you’ve read this far, here are the stats:
- Rushing: Edmunds 7-29, Daniel Dyer 6-11, J.C. Coleman 8-10, Holmes 7-4, Maurice Taylor 2-1, Jerome Wright 3-0, Chris Mangus 4-0, Thomas 1-(-6), Brian Rody 3-(-25), Leal 8-(-57).
- Passing: Thomas 7-17-2 164, Leal 11-15-0 127, Rody 1-4-1 7.
- Receiving: Asante 5-68, Knowles 1-63, Coles 3-53, Stanford 2-42, Darius Redman 2-25, E.L. Smiling 3-23, Fuller Hoepner 1-10, Dakota Jackson 1-7, Duan Perez-Means 1-7.
- Punting: A.J. Hughes 2-87.
- Punt returns: Jarrett 2-19.
- Field goals: Cody Journell 2-2 (35, 36).
- Fumbles/lost: Holmes 1-1, Leal 1-0.
- Tackles: Bonner 6, Gayle 5, Justin Taylor 5, Desmond Frye 5, Riley 4, Greene 4, Brandon Facyson 4, Nigel Williams 4, Nicolas 4, Ken Ekanem 3, Drew Burns 3, Josh Trimble 3, Zack Snell 2, Derrick Hopkins 2, Davion Tookes 1, Woody Baron 2, Jarrett 2, Fuller 2, Deon Clarke 2, Luther Maddy 2, Tariq Edwards 2, Dahman McKinnon 2, Ronny Vandyke 1, Seth Dooley 1, Alton Smith 1, Chase Williams 1, Devin Vandyke 1, Quenton Taylor 1, T.J. Shaw 1, Corey Marshall 1, Josh Eberly 1, Chris Caver 1, Jeremy Haynes 1, Jarontay Jones 1.
- Sacks: Gayle 3.5, J. Taylor 1, Ekanem 1, Dooley 1, Smith 1, Q. Taylor 1, Williams .5, Nicolas .5, Jarrett .5.
- TFLs: Gayle 3.5, J. Taylor 2, Frye 2, Ekanem 2, Williams 1.5, Nicolas 1.5, Trimble 1, Maddy 1, Dooley 1, Smith 1, Q. Taylor 1, Burns .5, Jarrett .5, Haynes .5.
- Forced fumbles: Nicolas 1.
- Fumble recovery: Burns 1.
- Interceptions: Greene, Fuller, Caver.
- Pass breakups: Facyson 2, Bonner 1, Tookes 1.
- QB hurries: Ekanem 1, Kris Harley 1.