Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Football 2010 - Part 1, First Scrimmage

Yeeesh, that was ugly. There were a few bright spots, sure - RB Darren Evans running with a full head of steam, RB David Wilson looking fast, and a big hit from LB Lorenzo Williams. But overall that scrimmage fell from a pretty high branch on the ugly tree. Here's what we know after 7 practices and this first scrimmage:

1) The two deep is set at pretty much every position except the following: QB, one defensive end position, and starting kicker. The two-deep at offensive guard and center is set, but backup guard Vinston Painter is out for a bit with an injured knee (could be a week or 3 months depending on closer examination by the doctors), and backup center Michael Via is getting knee surgery and is out until fall but he will be the backup center when he returns from injury, end of story.

2) Basically this two-deep roster is going to get 90% of the remaining practice and scrimmage snaps the rest of the spring and from early indications, they need all those snaps and more.

3) The offensive line that looked so strong on Wednesday was completely out of sync today. False starts and holding penalties are drive killers and Coach Newsome knows it. His voice was turned up to 11 today. He also understands how important it is to have good protection for QB Tyrod Taylor to keep him healthy.

4) Speaking of Taylor, he was in command as usual. If he does stay healthy, and his offensive coordinator doesn't try and outthink himself (odds of that happening are about 1:100,000) Taylor could be in for a monster year. If I was Coach O'Cain, Taylor would get about 50% of the snaps in practices with the rest being split between Clayton and Thomas and then in the scrimmages, Taylor would get about 20% of the snaps with the rest from Clayton and Thomas, to see who can get it done at backup QB. The backup QB position is actually a great battle, but it's damn hard to know who's doing well when the receivers can't hold on to the ball, which they definitely did not do today.

5) James Hopper at rover is simply outmatched when he's on the field. WR Danny Coale schooled him on several occasions, catching a TD over him and Hopper also tried to come up and lay a big hit on TE Andre Smith but just bounced off him. He seems to be playing hard but a guy his size doesn't belong at rover. Incoming freshmen Nick Dew and Dominique Patterson seem much better suited to backup Davon Morgan at rover and neither of them will take a snap in a Hokie uniform until fall so this position has me worried.

6) James Gayle is all that and a bag of chips (as you've heard here on TSF on several previous occasions). He toasted Blake DeChristopher a couple of times today and has secured the backup DE position in my opinion. It's up to JR Collins, Isaiah Hamlette and Jake Johnson to determine who gets the other spot.

7) LB Telvion Clark is a guy who is going to be unreal when the game slows down for him. He is big and fast and loves contact. Backer Chase Williams doesn't seem to be as physically impressive to me, but all the players are raving about his development as an incoming freshman. Hey, his dad is the defensive coordinator for the Super Bowl champs and his tape showed he had that special football IQ. Keep your eye out for Chase Williams and Telvion Clark. I doubt Quillie Odom sees the field in 2010 and will probably leave Tech's football program.

8) Germond Oatneal not only has a great breakfast name but he is taking advantage of Jerrodd Williams being out with an injury at corner. Oatneal is trying to win the backup field corner spot over Williams and Jacob Sykes. Oatneal had several bigtime plays today from the secondary and should have had a pick on an underthrown deep ball by Tyrod Taylor.

9) The RB's look excellent, they really do live up to the hype. Ryan Williams doesn't have anything to prove and only carried the ball a few times, looking lively when he did. Darren Evans didn't have the old burst back yet but he still has his top gear. And Tony Gregory was shocking to me in how hard he ran today - very fast and very tough. Of course, David Wilson showed that he is the star of the 2011 backfield as he will redshirt this fall but he's a beast as well.

10) WR Nubian Peak. Watch out for this kid playing somewhere on the field this year (kickoff returns perhaps). He is elusive and has a very nice burst along with nice vision developed as a running back throughout high school. Much like Dyrell Roberts, in fact.

11) One bonus thought - there is so much work to do on defense. Other than being great at defensive end, the defense is just not making plays like a typical Fosterball defense because the players aren't secure in what they're doing as a unit. It reminds me of how the defense looked at the opening of the 2007 campaign. Cam Martin and Kam Chancellor who went on to be great players, were lost on the field the first two games against ECU and LSU and the defense as a whole suffered for it until those guys upped their game. When they did, that team went on to win the ACC. But this 2010 defense has more unproven players than the '07 squad so I expect Coach Foster to be a pretty intense guy the remainder of spring.

12) Final bonus thought (2 for the price of 1) - the level of athlete playing football in the two-deep at VT is the best I've ever seen in 17 years of being a Superfan. Looking up and down the board, even with all the departures on defense and not even counting freakish athlete freshmen like Mark Shuman, Nick Dew, and Zack McCray that arrive this summer, the physical ability of these players is top-shelf all across the roster. The recruiting, in combination with Coach Gentry's strength and conditioning regimen, is really hitting on all cylinders.

1 comment:

MadJay said...

Update - it sounds like the coaches are happy enough with the performance of Jake Johnson and JR Collins to move Isaiah Hamlette inside to tackle.