Wednesday, April 21

Few Pre-Spring Game Notes

I've done a lot of writing today but I'm still in the mood to jot some notes down since the Hokies are closing in on their last spring scrimmage of the year.  The Spring Game is a big event for the fans but for the players, it just gives the stars as well as the backups one last chance to shine before the long four month offseason begins. 

Here are a few things I've kept track of throughout the spring practice sessions.

* The Hokies entered the spring with a question mark as to who would be Tyrod's backup this season.  Not only is this quarterback battle important to this season but it will lay the foundation to who his successor will be next year when Tyrod departs to the NFL.  After Wednesday's scrimmage, it appears that Logan has flown by JuJu Clayton and should enter the fall as the number two QB.  Now before I get ahead of myself, if Logan doesn't play well in the spring game and JuJu throws a couple TD passes then this thing could once again return to something that resembles the 2000 Presidential election.

* The word out of Blacksburg this spring is that the coaches are going to leave it up to David Wilson on whether or not he wants to redshirt this fall.  This means that David Wilson is going to be on the field in some aspect.  Perhaps you can use him as a slot receiver but at this point, I'm not going to jump to conclusions since Stinespring is still our offensive coordinator.  But it appears with Evans still being a little tentative on his knee, the Hokies feel that they should get Wilson ready just encase he is needed this fall.

* The one player that has surprised me this spring is left tackle Nick Becton.  The left tackle is a tough position to play whether your in high school, college, or in the NFL.  However, Becton has really succeeded at the position and there shouldn't be much of a falloff from losing Wang at the end of last season. Our starting five on the offensive line is an impressive looking group and could be one of the best units in the ACC.

* Speaking of the Offensive line, I'm starting to get a little concerned about depth.  Michael Via will miss at least four months due to minor ACL surgery and Painter is out for about the next month with a minor knee injury.  Although both should be back for the season, missing reps during spring practice can hurt the chemistry along the line a bit.  If the starters can stay relatively healthy this year, this won't be a glaring problem but the Hokies line is only about 10 deep at the max.  Losing one or two could be troublesome especially since the Hokies toughest stretch of games is in the month of November.

* Eddie Whitley has become my new favorite player on this team.  The Hokies have been lacking that true vocal leader that the defense rallies around since Vince Hall graduated but I have a feeling Whitley is going to become the heart and soul of this defense over the next two seasons.  Also, I have a good feeling about Whitley actually being a better free safety than Chancellor last season.  Kam was playing out of position, which hurt us a bit but that doesn't diminish the talent he has.  Just wish he could have stayed at Rover where he would have been an absolute beast.

* The Backup defensive line concerns me a bit since a good portion of that line consists of underclassmen.  Jake Johnson and James Gayle have played well at defensive end but neither one is at the point where they can be trusted during a game situation.  Jake needs to bulk up a bit more (if that's even humanly possible) and Gayle just needs some more reps.  The defensive tackles are ok with Hopkins and Tucker but Tucker has been largely inconsistent.  Same with Joe Jones who has been battling Tucker for the 4th defensive tackle spot.

* The kicking game has been suspect but I expect senior Chris Hazley to win the job.  He appears to be the most consistent at this point and Beamer likes going with seniors.  I still believe that Justin Meyer will handle kickoffs. 

* If Wilson doesn't redshirt, having Roberts and Wilson returning kicks with Hosely returning punts could be a deadly combo.  I think David was just too young last year and struggled because of it but it appears he has found his comfort zone on kick-off returns and could take one or two back this season. 

Other than the backup quarterback job I don't think the Spring game is going to answer any questions.  I think summer preparation will show who really wants to win these starting spots or 2-deep spots that are up for grabs.  However, the spring game will be the last chance for us Hokie fans to see the team we love until September 5th. 

Go Hokies!!

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