Redshirt freshman running back Trey Edmunds had 86 yards and two touchdowns, one going for 50 yards, to highlight the day.
Edmunds cut back a wide zone running play and saw open field. It was his first real long run this spring.
“That’s why I was really excited for this one,” Edmunds said. “I just hope I have many more to come.”
“I think he’s had a good spring,” head coach Frank Beamer said. “Several times, he’s put the foot in the ground and go. He’s a guy that can do that. He’s got power. I was glad to see him end up this part of it, and Saturday will be a big day for him.”
Edmunds was one of the few highlights from what sounded like a choppy offensive performance Wednesday, one that left offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler wanting more.
“All the way up until today, we never walked off going, ‘Oh man, I wish we had played a little bit better,’” Loeffler said. “Today was the first day that we walked away and you went, ‘We didn’t play the way we’ve been playing all spring today.’ So that was the disappointing deal.”
Quarterback Logan Thomas was 7-for-20 for 85 yards with a touchdown pass to Demitri Knowles. He also ran for a score. Receiver Josh Stanford had four catches for 51 yards and E.L. Smiling had two grabs for 44 yards, including a 24-yarder.
Defensively, linebacker Dahman McKinnon led the way with five tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss. End J.R. Collins had four tackles, two TFLs and a sack.
The specialists had a decent day. Kyshoen Jarrett had a 37-yard punt return. Cody Journell made a 55-yarder after missing a 46-yarder earlier. His backup, Brooks Abbott, was 3-for-3, hitting from 27, 41 and 45 yards.
The Hokies have two more practices this spring, one Thursday with no pads and the spring game Saturday at 3 p.m. in Lane Stadium. The coaches are going to sit down Thursday and settle on a format. It will be an important evaluation tool going forward.
“I’ve always said, I think sometimes people react different,” Beamer said. “There’s practice, and then there’s games. When the lights come on, there’s people in the stands, the band’s playing, they kind of play at a different level. That’s what I’m looking for there.”
Plenty more notes and quotes from tonight. Let’s get to them …
– Beamer knows which way he’s leaning for a spring game format, although it all depends on numbers and healthy bodies.
“If you do it offense versus defense and keep score, it’s hard to keep your interest,” he said. “If there’s any way possible, you want to play a game. We want to play 12-minute quarters, maybe 10, we’ll kind of see how many we’ve got exactly. I like to play a real game and make it as much like we’re getting ready to play Alabama as much as we can, and kind of find out how kids react to that.”
Beamer wants to see it come down to a tight game in the fourth quarter, which probably means having 1′s go vs. 2′s and spotting the 2′s a bunch of points.
– I’ll have more on the running backs as a lead-in to the spring game on Saturday, but the Hokies are still trying to figure out their pecking order at the top. Edmunds, Michael Holmes and J.C. Coleman are all candidates.
“We have an idea right now,” Loeffler said. “It’s something we’re not going to discuss. We’re going to let those kids train in the summertime. Obviously that first week of training camp, we’ll narrow that thing down quickly.”
Coleman didn’t do much Wednesday because of an ankle injury, although he thinks he’ll be good to go at the spring game.
– Loeffler thinks the spring game will have given him enough evaluation time to start narrowing things down in terms personnel strengths.
“You adjust quite a bit,” he said. “You always have to adjust. That’s the challenge, adjusting. I’d love to have 6-foot-6, 260 pound tight ends that can run. We adjust and deal with what we have.
“The good thing out of this spring is, I think we all have an impression, at least the offensive staff, of what guys can do and what they can’t do. We’ll eliminate the fat. There’s some things that we’re doing right now that’s questionable, that we go, ‘Ahh, we probably won’t do that in the fall just because it doesn’t marry up with our skill level.’ And then there are things that we’ll really really add on that we think help us. That was the great thing about this spring. I think we got a great idea of what our guys can and cannot do.”
– The Hokies have focused on a very specific running play, mostly the wide zone, this spring, wanting to perfect that one before they get too exotic.
“We have to have an identity of what we are and who we are,” he said. “If you really study anyone that runs the ball well, if you have 9,455 schemes you’re normally not good at any of them. … We wanted to walk away this spring with a base of something that we can hang our hat on. I hope we’ve done that.”
– Thomas’ stats didn’t look so hot Wednesday, although Loeffler said “he was on fire” the other day. The offensive playbook is still pretty limited at this point, so there’s not a ton of variety for the defense to face.
“We were in some two-minute situations today where, to be quite honest with you, we’ve installed like four two minute plays,” Loeffler said. “You’re not attacking. You’re just trying to get the procedure down.
“I’m not all bent out of shape. I thought yesterday he was on fire. Started out a little slow and then played like we’re supposed to play — 10-for-10 streak yesterday at the end. Just walked away today going, just wasn’t on. It was the first time when he walked off the field he didn’t feel like himself. … We slopped around a little bit today in my opinion.”
– Receiver Demitri Knowles feels like he’s stepped into a his larger role well.
“This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting on,” he said. “This is why I came here. I knew those guys would be gone at this particular point in time. As a receiver, you want to be a complete package. That’s what I want to be. I don’t just want to be a deep threat. But that can also work to my advantage if corners are scared of me going deep. It can help me get open.”
For what it’s worth, here’s his assessment of Thomas this spring.
“Like last year, in certain cases, you’d have to come back to the ball,” Knowles said. ‘Now he’s completely on it. You just have to look at him and the ball is there. I’m feeling that me and him, and all the other receivers, are getting that chemistry that we lacked last year.”
– Logan will have a big task this summer in organizing team workouts, since coaches can’t work with players on the field and can only meet with them for a very limited number of hours a week.
“It’s their deal,” Loeffler said. “In my opinion, that’s where the leadership takes over. That’s where your guys step up. I wish we could have OTAs like they do in the NFL. It’d be great. I wish we could go all the way to June, take July off and then there we go. But we can’t do that. So it’s their responsibly.”
– Still no set starting five for offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, and he doesn’t have a timetable for it.
“The more opportunities you have, the more you find out about kids,” he said. “And some kids will really make huge leaps in gains over the summer, particularly offensive linemen, how much they develop, especially with a new system going in. Even with the older guys, I think that applies more this year than it does in other cases. I think I’m a little bit closer to understanding who our top-7, top-8 are, but not ready to say that and not ready to identify anybody at any position yet.”
On the OL front, Beamer’s website had an updated depth chart Wednesday night. Mark Shuman is inside working at a backup left guard spot to Andrew Miller, while freshman Adam Taraschke is the backup left tackle to Jonathan McLaughlin. Also, Augie Conte is listed as the backup right tackle to Laurence Gibson. This will all probably change again by next week.
– Defensive backs coach Torrian Gray said Donaldven Manning has been the most consistent player at the field corner spot vacated by an injured Antone Exum.
“I’m very proud of Manning,” Gray said. “He’s kept his name out of coach’s office, not getting in trouble and those things. Academically, he’s doing well. He’s really trying to a great job in all aspects, socially, academically and football-wise, he’s really having a great spring for us.”
Davion Tookes has made a move recently, while Donovan Riley has leveled off a bit.
“He’s got to come back in the fall and be a lot more consistent,” Gray said.
Freshman Brandon Facyson continues to impress, although Gray wants him to learn one spot — the boundary corner one behind Kyle Fuller – before expanding what’s on his plate.
Defensive coordinator Bud Foster concurred with Gray’s assessment of Facyson.
“I’ve really been impressed with is the Facyson kid,” Foster said. “I think he’s got a chance to be an outstanding football player here. Again, he’s only played 12 practices in college at this level, but I like his demeanor. He’s long, he can transition out of breaks. He just understands it pretty good. He’s got a good football IQ. He’s a quick learner. I like that.”
At 6-foot-2, Facyson is pretty tall for a corner. That’s not unprecedented at Tech. Jimmy Williams was 6-3. Foster also mentioned Ike Charlton as being on the taller side.
“From a recruiting standpoint, we’re always looking for those tall corners if we can find them,” Foster said. “But everybody else in the country wants them. They’re kind of like big-time ends or defensive tackles. Everybody in the country wants those guys, you know? Because that’s an area you can get beat as good as anyplace.”
– Foster echoed Charley Wiles‘ thoughts about the backup tackles, saying he’d like to see more consistency there. He thinks Woody Baron has probably been the most consistent of the backups “with his footwork, with his hand placement, with his leverages.” He’d like to see more of that out of Kris Harley, Nigel Williams and Alston Smith, who show flashes.
– I’ll have a little bit more on Antone Exum and his recovery later this week, but recently he’s been engaging in a little Twitter talk trash with Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. The ensuing back and forth led to this Photoshopped picture.
Exum’s defense for the trash talk?
“I can’t help it if he signed up for my daycare service,” he said.
– Here are full stats from Wednesday’s scrimmage …
RUSHING: Edmunds 9-86, 2 TDs, Thomas 2-15, Holmes 9-13, Maurice Taylor 2-9, Daniel Dyer 1-1, Connor Jessop 1-(-8), Mark Leal 3-(-18).
PASSING: Thomas 7-20-0, 85 yards, TD, Leal 6-13-0, 80 yards, 0 TD.
RECEIVING: Stanford 4-51, Smiling 2-44, Duan Perez-Means 2-18, Joel Caleb 2-12, Willie Byrn 1-18, Knowles 1-16, Mark Irick 1-14, Taylor 1-6.
PUNTING: A.J. Hughes 4-191 (47.8 avg).
FIELD GOALS: Journell 1-2 (made 55, missed 55), Abbott 3-3 (made 27, 41, 45).
PUNT RETURNS: Jarrett 2-45, Holmes 1-11.
TACKLES: McKinnon 5, Collins 4, Ken Ekanem 3, Ronny Vandyke 3, Quenton Taylor 2, Facyson 2, Riley 2, Matt Roth 2, Chase Williams 2, T.J. Shaw 2, Dewayne Alford 1, Chris Caver 1, Josh Eberly 1, Smith 1, Tookes 1, Der’Woun Greene 1, Tariq Edwards 1, Manning 1, Fuller 1, Nick Bush 1, Derrick Hopkins 1, Deon Clarke 1, Williams 1, Drew Burns 1, Hunter Windmuller 1, Seth Dooley 1, Devin Vandyke 1, Carl Jackson 1, Desmond Frye 1.
SACKS: Collins, Ekanem, Tookes.
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Collins 2, McKinnon 1.5, Ekanem 1, Tookes 1, Shaw .5, Fuller .5, Bush .5, Hopkins .5, Burns .5.