I wrote a scrimmage story for today’s paper about how Virginia Tech is dealing with all the injuries that have happened in the last week.
As usual, there are plenty of extra items post-scrimmage interviews that couldn’t make it into the story. Here are a few more notes and quotes:
– I mentioned this in the scrimmage story, but running backs coach Shane Beamer held out Trey Edmunds, Joel Caleb and Chris Mangus from playing unless the first-team offensive line was in the game. “We’ve got some new guys that are on the second-team offensive line right now that are definitely going to redshirt, that aren’t ready to play,” he said. “So we don’t want those guys in there with that crew. Just to keep them healthy.”
That helps explain why Edmunds only got one carry. Shane said he wanted to get him a few more carries on the two series he played but decided not to press the issue. “With some of the snap issues and false starts, I wasn’t about to tell [Scot] Loeffler, we need to run the ball here,” he said. “I just kind of kept my mouth shut. ”
Shane knows Edmunds’ value to the running game at this point. He had a good solution for his health.
“We’re going to get him a full body armor outfit just to get from the building to his apartment every night,” he joked.
– Shane said it’s hard to say who’s higher on the depth chart right now between Caleb or Mangus, and it really depends on personnel packages, although he begrudgingly said Caleb, since Mangus missed a lot of pass protection installation while he was at receiver last week.
Mangus, obviously, is higher for the opener, since Caleb is suspended for it. But long term, it sounds like the Hokies still want Mangus to be a guy who can work at receiver.
“We don’t want to give up on that,” Shane said. “That’s what we told him. You’re going back to tailback. We need to use you as a tailback. But there’s things in practice where we’re still using him as a receiver. Where Aaron [Moorehead] will say, ‘I want Mangus on these four plays.’ OK, Chris go with Aaron on these plays at receiver, then come back to me. So he’s still doing a little bit of both. Because I still think this season he’ll help us more at receiver than he’ll help us at tailback.”
– Shane said the Wednesday practice when J.C. Coleman and Tony Gregory both got hurt was unreal. Coleman rolled his ankles in the middle drill early on. About 45 minutes later, Gregory tore his ACL — the fourth time he’s done so — on a non-contact play, simply making a cut. “Your heart breaks for him,” Shane said.
– Defensive coordinator Bud Foster was asked about Wyatt Teller, his prized defensive line prospect, moving to offensive line this year. He didn’t seem too broken up. “He wanted to do that,” Foster said. “Which just shows his wanting to put the team first. I think that says a big thing about him. I told him, ‘You go over there, we’ll get you back … hopefully.’”
Foster suggested we ask Jeff Grimes about Teller’s chances this year on the o-line (something we should be able to do Monday), but he thought Teller is “still a year away, either way. But maybe offensive line wise down the road he could potentially help us.”
I have enough from Teller that was interesting enough to break out into a separate post. I’ll have that up Monday morning.
– Foster has confidence in whip linebackers Josh Trimble and Derek DiNardo, but he really feels for Ronny Vandyke, who he thought was going to take his game to the next level prior to his season-ending shoulder surgery.
“I think was getting ready to take that next step that I wanted from him last year, really,” Foster said. “And finally got some plays under his belt. He’s got great leadership qualities. High motor. Just a lot of things. He just played faster. More instinctive. Now we’re going to start over again. … Ronny had some special qualities to him from a physical standpoint, leadership standpoint. Obviously he’s got outstanding ability. I think he was getting into having a breakout season.”
– Foster said he thinks Tech will still be able to run its regular defense even without Vandyke in the mix.
“I still want to be able to run our package,” Foster said. “When we’ve been good, we can run our defense. And I don’t care, out of 11 personnel, the three wides and that stuff, we still like to pressure that. When we haven’t been very good is when we’ve kind of hodgepodged and pieced that together.”
Tech already had big plans to use cornerback Kendall Fuller frequently as the nickelback, a whip replacement, but that’s usually against formations with three or four wide receivers. Foster’s ultimate goal is to have Fuller fully functional in the nickel so that when Antone Exum returns from injury, the freshman will still have a big role on the defense.
– That’s because Foster seems to have a higher opinion of Fuller every time we talk to him.
“I don’t know if I’ve seen a guy as sharp mentally,” he said. “He’s a tell-him-once guy. We do an evaluation with our kids and you’ve got guys who are quick learners or they’re learning-with-reps guys or they’re tell-him-once guys. And he’s a tell-him-once guy.”
Fuller did get beat for a 30-yard touchdown by Josh Stanford in Saturday’s scrimmage, though.
“I’d like to go back and see if it was like a double move,” Foster said. “But that’s a learning experience for him.”
– Trimble and DiNardo are the only guys working at whip right now. Foster said he might consider moving Dahman McKinnon back there to get some work, although it’s something the staff hasn’t talked about.
“Last year he was a guy who was kind of a fish out of water at that spot,” Foster said. “He was a freshman. We moved him to backer and now he’s making a lot more plays. You notice him making plays more so than he was at whip. He’s playing with a lot more confidence.”
Foster noted how unique the whip position is, however, saying that Virginia Tech is often referred to a 4-3 team but is really more like a 4-2-5.
“Those guys, there’s a reason they’re inside,” he said of the mike and backer. “You get them farther from the ball, they’re usually more limited in space. That [whip] position is going to be more of a space player than our mike and backer.”
– Foster continues to be impressed by his young corners, especially Brandon Facyson (about whom Aaron McFarling wrote a great column today).
“I think he’s a tremendous talent,” Foster said. “And each day he gets a little better. He grows a little bit. He shows he’s got playmaking abilities. He’s long. He’s got good ball skills. Every scrimmage it seems like he steps up and makes a play.”
– Sophomore Donovan Riley got a lot of work at corner in Saturday’s scrimmage because Kyle Fuller had a summer school exam. He’s shown flashes.
“He’s got to step up to be consistently good all the time,” Foster said. “But I’ll tell you, when the lights come on in a scrimmage or a game, he always steps up. And that’s a good trait to have. Sometimes he drives me nuts in practice every now and then, but right now he’s really performed well in actual scrimmage and game-like situations. Maybe he’s a gamer.”