“You leave there and there’s some good and there’s some bad,” he said. “Part of this deal is, ‘OK, who do we really need to work with and who’s with first team, who’s second team, who’s going to be traveling to Atlanta.’ And then narrow that down a little bit. Hopefully the next scrimmage will be a little cleaner.”
Virginia Tech ran a 78-play scrimmage at Lane Stadium that was mostly dominated by the defense. The Hokies finished with eight sacks, 13 tackles for a loss and three interceptions.
There were a few offensive highlights. Quarterback Logan Thomas had a touchdown pass — the only score of the day — a 30-yard strike to Josh Stanford in the back of the end zone after the receiver had gotten behind cornerback Kendall Fuller.
Thomas finished the day 5-for-15 for 72 yards and two interceptions, although is protection wasn’t great.
Walk-ons Maurice Taylor and Daniel Dyer got most of the carries at running back, rushing for 54 and 23 yards, respectively. Chris Mangus, who recently moved back to running back from receiver, ran seven times for 17 yards.
Likely starter Trey Edmunds only got one carry. Running backs coach Shane Beamer didn’t want either Edmunds or Mangus running behind the second-team offensive line.
“We’re going to get him a full body armor outfit to wear from this building to his apartment every night,” Shane joked.
Co-No. 1 running back J.C. Coleman did not participate after spraining both of his ankles in Wednesday’s practice, although he was at least out of the walking boot he wore Thursday. Tech didn’t change anything about his status for the opener.
“He’s really moving around well,” Beamer said. “I’ve dealt with those high-ankle sprains and some guys it takes forever and some guys come back quickly. I’m encouraged — I don’t know that it means too much — but I’m encouraged about how well he’s walking.”
The Hokies have had a rash of injuries lately, although Beamer doesn’t anticipate tailing back on how physical this camp has been.
“I talked to the coaches,” Beamer said. “You’re concerned about it, but I think we’ve just got to keep going and doing what we plan on doing. No. 1, you’ve got to do it to be in the best position you can be for Alabama. And going easy is not the answer, I can tell you that. That’s not a choice.”
I’ll have plenty more later once I get through all the post-scrimmage interviews. Here are few more observations from the scrimmage and from stuff Beamer said afterward:
– More Beamer on injuries: “I think injuries is a part of it and we don’t want to see anyone get hurt and certainly don’t want to lose anyone. But it’s just part of the game, and you play a tough game and there’s going to be some injuries along the way. Really, the test of the team, is how you overcome those injuries. I doubt if there will be a team in the country who won’t lose someone, but how you overcome it, I think that’s the real issue.”
– There was a little concern earlier in the day about cornerback Kyle Fuller not being on the field. With Tech having moved up the scrimmage to 11 a.m., he and several others had a conflict with a summer school exam. He showed up for the final few minutes in sweats. Hokies fans can come back in off the ledge now.
– Defensive end Kris Harley had something wrong with his shoulder. Trainers looked at it and wrapped it in ice. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster said he saw him smiling later and running sprints, so it must not be too serious.
– As mentioned before, the protection wasn’t great. The first-team o-line was (from right to left) Laurence Gibson, Andrew Miller, David Wang, Caleb Farris and Jonathan McLaughlin. Even the second-team defensive line was giving them trouble, though. “They’re working,” Beamer said. “Some of them are doing things in a hurry. I’ve always said experience, that’s where you want it is on the offensive line, because you’re working with that guy beside you. And there are some young guys there, but you can’t fault their effort. They’re going to do it the best they can, I think.”
– The first-team defensive line against the second-team offensive line was just an unfair matchup. James Gayle had 2 1/2 sacks, pretty much having his way with backup tackle Augie Conte (who, to be fair, is coming off an ankle injury). Gayle got to quarterback Mark Leal in about one second on one of them.
– Converted defensive lineman Wyatt Teller is one of those young offensive linemen now. He got third-team reps at left tackle, and from the sounds of it, Tech would not mind if he progressed quickly enough to play this year. “I think it’s new to him, but I think we try to get him ready to play as quickly as possible,” Beamer said. “An athletic guy. It’s not easy, but he’s athletic. And he can get to people sometimes that a non-athletic guy can. So he’s got that advantage.” I’ll have something longer about Teller on the blog in the next day or two.
– With Kyle Fuller out, Kendall Fuller, Brandon Facyson and Donovan Riley got the bulk of the reps at cornerback. That’s two true freshmen and a sophomore. Facyson made a nice diving pick on a deep ball from Thomas up the sideline. “If we can stay healthy back there, I feel good about those guys,” Beamer said. “Athletic ability, toughness. I feel good about it.”
– Coleman and injured cornerback Antone Exum were both in street clothes, but they enjoyed jawing at each other from opposite sidelines throughout the scrimmage. The best part? Most of it took place when the third-teamers were on the field. Who talks trash about the third-team performance?
– A.J. Hughes had an exam, so Hunter Windmuller stepped in to do the punting. He averaged 48.7 yards on three punts, booming one 51 yards. Derek DiNardo blocked one, but Windmuller picked it up and ran 17 yards for a first down, getting the biggest ovation of the day from the crowd on hand.
– Josh Trimble worked with the first-team and DiNardo the second at whip, moving up the depth chart with Ronny Vandyke out for the season. Beamer and Foster don’t envision changing much with how they run the defense, despite having a walk-on in at that spot. I’ll have more on that situation in tomorrow’s paper.
– The most interesting series actually involved the third-teamers near the end. Taylor broke off a 32-yard run that would have been a touchdown if not for a nice tackle by safety Chuck Clark. Safety Anthony Shegog popped a receiver shortly after he made a catch with one of the biggest hits of the day near the goal line. And then defensive end Dewayne Alford and tight end Kalvin Cline – both wearing No. 87 – mixed it up after a play, shoving and taking a few swings at one another.
– Beamer had forgotten about the punishments he was going to dole out for that fight and thanked the media for reminding him about it. (I won’t snitch, so we’ll just say the person who asked the question is Mike B. No, that’s too obvious. We’ll go with M. Barber.) “I need to take care of those guys,” Beamer said. “All they did was get us a personal foul. I had a little session for them. I’ll get them Monday, though.”
– What does Beamer have in store for them? “Up-downs,” he said. “And then when I feel like they’re reminded enough to not get in fights out there on the field, that’s when the reminders are over.”
– Given the physicality of this camp, Beamer is surprised there haven’t been any more dustups. “We’ve worked against each other, more so than we ever have,” he said. “And it’s been a good, aggressive work. And one of the coaches said to me, ‘If I had been [doing that much], we’d have had about nine fights.’ And that was the first time in … I don’t even know what that one was about. They’ve done a good job working against each other.”
Here are some stats from the scrimmage:
– Rushing: Taylor 6-54, Dyer 8-23, Mangus 7-17, Windmuller 1-17, Brenden Motley 2-3, Joel Caleb 1-2, Jerome Wright 5-0, Trey Edmunds 1-(-1), Team 2-(-4), Leal 2-(-16), Thomas 5-(-21).
– Passing: Thomas 5-15-2 72, 1 TD; Leal 5-10-1 50; Motley 3-3-0 40; Bucky Hodges 1-1-0 14.
– Receiving: Demitri Knowles 3-25, Stanford 2-47, Wright 2-25, Willie Byrn 2-13, Darius Redman 1-21, E.L. Smiling 1-17, Terrence Travis 1-14, Zack McCray 1-8, Deon Newsome 1-6.
– Punting: Windmuller 3-146.
– Punt returns: Byrn 1-11, Kyshoen Jarrett 1-2.
– Field goals: Cody Journell 0-2 (missed 42, 50).
– Leading tacklers: Clark 5, Der’Woun Greene 4, Kendall Fuller 4, Ken Ekanem 4, Shegog 3, Andrew Motuapuaka 3, Gayle 3, Dahman McKinnon 3, Alston Smith 3, Seth Dooley 3, DiNardo 3.
– Sacks: Gayle 2.5, Dooley 1.5, J.R. Collins 1.5, Detrick Bonner 1, Ekanem .5, Smith .5, Woody Baron .5.
– Tackles for loss: Gayle 2.5, Collins 1.5, Smith 1.5, Dooley 1.5, Bonner 1, Devin Vandyke 1, Nigel Williams 1, Greene .5, Ekanem .5, Tyrel Wilson .5, Baron .5, Riley .5, Tariq Edwards .5.
– Interceptions: Facyson 1, Desmond Frye 1, Chase Williams 1.