Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring Football 2010 - Part 2, Second Scrimmage

Well, the defense looked a ton better in the scrimmage on Saturday. A guy we've been a fan of since he was recruited, FS Eddie Whitley, really made his presence felt out there with some big hits and a pick. CB Jayron Hosley who's been battling a groin injury all spring (I can't even walk normally with one of those and he's out there playing bigtime football), rose up to take the lead in the battle for the starting cornerback role opposite CB Rock Carmichael.

Equally impressive was the play of QB Tyrod Taylor who continues to elevate his game - a process that began the moment he set foot on Tech's campus. He could be in for a monumental season. His backup has not been settled, but we'll come back to that in a minute.

The offensive line was miserable, just as they've been since the first scrimmage. The O-line got out of the blocks great at the beginning of spring but due to losing 4 players to injury, the remaining M.A.S.H. unit has been awful. Saturday was no better, with more false starts and bad snaps causing all sorts of problems. The run blocking was no better and I'm not ready to say it's because of the strength of the defensive line yet, although DT Kwamaine Battle has certainly earned his place in the starting tackle spot next to DT John Graves. He is getting after some people and chasing the ball until the whistle, which impresses me.

Without anywhere to run, the running backs were just mincemeat out there. LB's Bruce Taylor and Lyndell Gibson continue to play fast and hit hard. I am still uneasy about the play of JGW (Jeron Gouveia-Winslow will be referred to as JGW from this point on at TSF) at whip, as he is instinctive, but not as sound fundamentally as Cody Grimm was in tackling. At whip, a tackle in the open field is often times going to be the difference between a first down or not and Grimm got the Hokie defense off the field a lot last season by making tackles or forcing fumbles against an offensive player in the open field. He had an enormous impact and I don't expect JGW (or Tweedy if he wins the spot) to play at that level this season, but I just hope the dropoff isn't too much.

And finally, to return to the backup QB battle, it is obvious from the footage that Logan Thomas should be the backup QB. The coaches are trying to be fair to Ju-Ju Clayton who is competing hard and playing pretty well. Thomas hasn't been consistent enough to just win the backup job outright, but he just has all the mental attributes you want in a QB and his physical skills are freakish and that's actually an understatement.

Consider this - Logan Thomas is no less advanced in the passing game than Tyrod Taylor was as a true freshman playing against LSU in his very first season. But the coaching staff burned a redshirt off Taylor to put him out there because his poise, leadership and scrambling ability, even as a freshman, were too good to keep on the sideline. Now I think Ju-Ju Clayton has more ability than Sean Glennon did, so it's not an apples-to-apples comparison, but the fact is that you just cannot keep Thomas out of the backup QB role. He needs to take snaps in a real game (albeit late in blowouts hopefully) this year to continue his development, but when you seem him square up his shoulders and deliver a strike, or pull the ball down and swat away a Lyndell Gibson and then run away from a James Gayle, you understand how special his ability is.

Clayton looks like a very solid QB to me and he reminds me of a less polished Bryan Randall, to let you know just how much I do think of him. Logan Thomas, however, looks like an absolute star with elite physical talent and according to the coaching staff, the right mentality and poise to be a QB. Thomas needs to be the backup QB and I think he will be when the season starts.

I'm looking forward to the spring game, after which we will do a Spring Football wrap-up.


Brent Hobbs said...

thanks for the post. Isn't it september yet?

MadJay said...

I know I know. It's been great watching footage of the scrimmages though. But I'm so nervous because after the Spring Game we are looking at 3 1/2 months before summer camp starts and it's going to feel like 3 1/2 years.

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