After big game at BC, receiver Marcus Davis glad he could give detractors ‘something else to talk about’
Marcus Davis got most of the headlines for his demotion last week, but receivers coach Kevin Sherman said the moves the Hokies made last week with their receiving corps weren’t designed to light a fire under any one person.
“I think all of our guys need to understand that there was a standard that we need to play to and we need to go out and make plays,” Sherman said. “And I think [Marcus] did that in the second half.”
Davis silenced some of his critics and earned back some of the coaches’ trust in the second half at Boston College with a five-catch, 104-yard performance, a striking rebuke to the viral video that made it up on Deadspin of his lackluster blocking in the Florida State game.
“It kind of hit me kind of hard, emotionally, but I tried not to let it control how I play,” Davis said. “I tried to let it go throughout the week. … But once the game started on Saturday, it was just like, that’s another chance for you to wash that off, give them something else to talk about. So my thing was, just make it good.”
At Boston College, after starting the first 10 games of the season, Davis sat out the first half, then went in for the start of the second. Sherman said it was a staff decision. Quarterbacks coach and play-caller Mike O’Cain, who is in the booth, said he did not even know Davis would be back in the game until he saw the senior on the field.
“I wasn’t expecting to go in,” Davis said. “When I was going out, [coach] was like, ‘Marcus, get ready.’ So I went and told [quarterback] Logan [Thomas], I was like, ‘It’s time to go.’ And he was like, ‘Well, I’m coming to you.’ And it just went on from there.”
It’s unclear who will start at receiver this week. Both head coach Frank Beamer and Sherman were non-committal about it Monday, saying they’ll continue to evaluate the receivers in practice this week.
But Davis’ big game puts him back on track for some significant milestones at Tech. He needs 105 yards to pass Andre Davis‘ single-season receiving yards record of 952 set in 1999.
With 858 yards, he could also become the first Virginia Tech player to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in a season. That would take the Hokies off a dubious list of Football Bowl Subdivision teams who have not accomplished that, a group that includes Army, Navy, Nebraska, South Florida and Temple.
“I’ve heard the talk,” Davis said of the milestones. “But at the same time, I really haven’t paid much attention to it. Just game-by-game, I just try to go out and play my hardest. If it happens, it happens. But if we win, that’s what I’m more concerned about.”
Here are some more notes and quotes from interviews with offensive coaches/players Monday night …
- Running backs coach Shane Beamer said he’s been inundated with emails and Twitter mentions asking if senior Martin Scales is going to have a bigger role going forward. Scales had seven carries for 27 yards against BC, which doesn’t sound impressive, but they were hard-nosed runs. Four times he got the ball on third-and-short. Four times the Hokies converted, including a crucial one in overtime when he shook off contact from two BC defenders in the backfield and got a first down that set up Randall Dunn‘s game-winning score.
- Shane said Scales’ role is somewhat limited by the fact that he’s splitting his reps between tailback and backup fullback. He’s getting the fullback reps in place of an injured Riley Beiro. “You hate to put too much on the guy’s plate, if that makes sense,” Shane said. “So it’s hard. It’s two totally different positions, mentally what they’re doing.”
- Also, it hasn’t fit into the game plan the Hokies have employed this year. “With what we’re doing offensively, we haven’t been much of a downhill, pound-you team all year long,” Shane said. “So we kind of felt like right, wrong or indifferent, Tony [Gregory] and J.C. [Coleman] were the guys who brought speed to the table, quickness, make you miss, play out in space. And that’s kind of what we’ve done.” Shane said there’s still a place for Scales’ north-south running, though.
- Shane was a little surprised that Scales was able to break both of the tackles to get the first down late. “It was two big guys that hit him,” he said. “It wasn’t 190-pound defensive back. Those were two 300-pound defensive tackles that banged into him and bounced him around. He did a great job. When I watched the video, I was like god dog, how did he get out of that? It was just refusing to be denied and playing with a purpose. But that was a heck of an individual effort. Can’t say enough about it.”
- Scales, who if you couldn’t tell I’ll be writing about this week for the paper, isn’t bothered by the lack of carries he’s gotten (30 for 136 yards this year). “I’m just happy to run,” he said. “Anybody would say it’s frustrating, because you want to run. But at this point, the way I was raised, I’m just happy to be called on in that situation. That shows that they have some confidence in me.”
- A lifelong Virginia Tech fan, Scales said the memory that stands out for him in the rivalry isn’t a positive one. It’s the 2003 game in Charlottesville, the last time the Hokies lost to the Cavaliers. “I felt so bad,” he said. “I went to school mad. I remember seeing UVa people go, ‘Ahhhh.’ So that’s the one that stands out the most in my head. And I don’t want to have that feeling.”
- Making a bowl game, even a lower-tiered one this year with the number of losses the Hokies have, is still a big motivator. “Me growing up, I don’t remember when Tech was bad,” Scales said. “So I just remember Tech being good. And it’s hard. You don’t like this feeling. So just to keep going 20 straight years of bowl games would just be great. … To say we were the year that messed it up and didn’t make it [to a bowl], that’s horrible. Just to beat UVa. I’m happy to go to a bowl, but I’d just love to beat UVa. Because that’s our big rival. And you just always want to beat them.”