Beamer was asked twice about what Coleman has been able to do and if he expects the sophomore to be ready for Virginia Tech’s opener with No. 1 Alabama in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday. All he’d offer is that the running back is “questionable.”
Coleman led the Hokies’ tailbacks with 492 rushing yards last season as a true freshman. But during a middle drill in practice during training camp, he had both of his ankles rolled up on. He suffered a high left ankle sprain and a regular right ankle sprain and was held out of practice.
He resumed jogging last week and expressed confidence that he’ll be able to play in the opener, but the Hokies are still being cautious about statements regarding his status.
If Coleman can’t go, redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds, the co-No. 1 on the depth chart, is expected to start.
Here are some more notes and quotes from Beamer’s Monday teleconference …
– On Alabama in general: “They’ve just got it all,” Beamer said. “They do everything well. They’re talented guys, but they’re extremely well-coached guys. They do it all.”
Asked later if he’s found any weak spots to exploit on the Crimson Tide, Beamer was direct.
“Haven’t found one yet,” he said. “I don’t think they have a weakness. I think they’re just as solid as the day is long.”
– Beamer said it several times during the 16 minutes he was on the phone that Alabama provides a good chance for the Hokies to establish a starting point for their season.
“You know certainly what you need to do,” he said. “Sometimes you have runaway wins to start the season, you don’t really find what you need to work on. Sometimes that’s not as clear. But I think playing a team like Alabama, you become a better football team. And you understand what a task it is to go in there and beat Alabama.”
– Jonathan McLaughlin will be the first true freshman to ever start at tackle in a season opener under Beamer. McLaughlin did have a year of prep school at Fork Union and enrolled in January to go through spring drills, but he’s still never played in a game.
“I think the type of kid he is, he’s a tough guy and he’ll give you the best effort he’s got,” Beamer said. “Scheme-wise you can help him a little bit.”
– He didn’t identify a starter at one defensive end spot between J.R. Collins and Dadi Nicolas.
“All those guys, they’re going to end up playing quite a bit,” Beamer said. “When we’ve been able to alternate people in there, that’s when we’ve been a pretty good football team. So we feel good about that spot.”
– Beamer didn’t provide a clear answer as to who might return punts, mentioning Kyshoen Jarrett, Kendall Fuller, Willie Byrn and Kyle Fuller as possibilities. Jarrett handled that role last season and thrived.
– Need a comp for Alabama receiver Amari Cooper? Beamer said the sophomore reminds him of Clemson’s Sammy Watkins.
“He’s athletic and can go,” he said.
Beamer was equally complimentary of quarterback AJ McCarron, who had 30 touchdowns to three picks last year and has won two national championships as a starter.
“His intelligence, I’d say, that’s probably about as good as you get,” Beamer said.
– Beamer has taken every opportunity this offseason to mention that the Hokies are underdogs in this game. He did so again Monday.
“I think facts are facts,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll see many people, if any, picking us.”
– Two quick depth chart items. It was updated on Beamer’s personal website:
First, receiver Charley Meyer is listed as injured. We’re not sure of his ailment. Did not see the update until after Beamer’s teleconference.
Second, the backup defensive tackles are listed as Woody Baron and Nigel Williams. Third team is Kris Harley and Alston Smith.
Third, defensive tackle Corey Marshall is still listed as “injured.” I’m guessing that’s just a way to denote that he’s still on leave from the team.