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Virginia Tech Spring Practice Notes For 4-8

Today Virginia Tech held the first open spring scrimmage. The scrimmage, originally scheduled for Saturday, was played today due to a freak snowstorm that hit Blacksburg last week. That being said, I’ll cut to the chase and give you a recap of what I saw today. Enjoy:

  • I saw a perfect example of how new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler is really giving his quarterbacks control over the offense. On the first series of the scrimmage, Logan Thomas made an audible, performed a hard count, and subsequently drew the opposing defense offside. It was a welcome sight to see the quarterback playing a cerebral game against the defense.
  • Logan Thomas looked pretty good at times today. His deep ball seems improved for the most part. I saw him make a few beautiful throws deep to Joshua Stanford, who seemed like Logan’s favorite target today. Logan missed Stanford just long on one play (probably due to the wind at the time), Thomas hit Stanford deep for about a 30-yard gain after Stanford burned freshman corner Brandon Facyson, but in the negative column Thomas did throw an interception after leaving a fade in the endzone well short of Stanford, allowing Der’Won Greene (redshirt-freshman) to move over and intercept the ball.
  • That wasn’t the only throw that Thomas threw poorly. In first-team offense vs. first-team defense drills toward the end of practice, Thomas had a ball undercut and intercepted by corner Kyle Fuller.
  • Offensive guard David Wang suffered an ankle sprain during today’s scrimmage. This is just another setback for a player that seems perpetually injured.
  • Sticking with the offensive line, the first-team offensive line held their own well enough against the second-team defense. They seemed a bit overwhelmed at times against the first-team defense, but that’s to be expected. Freshman tackle Johnathan McLaughlin was getting abused by the first-team defensive line, J.R. Collins specifically. He’s a kid with the size to play with the position, but he’s going to need more reps to get used to the speed and physicality of major college football. McLaughlin was getting reps with the second-team group.
  • As for the rest of the second-team offensive linemen…well…frankly, they stink. Perhaps that’s a result of them going up against the first-team defensive line, but this group was giving up a ton of “sacks” and “safeties.” One of those safeties actually was a legit safety as defensive end James Gayle leveled backup quarterback Mark Leal in the endzone. Usually the yellow jersey signals that the quarterbacks are off limits, but Gayle seems to follow his own rules. Specifically, Nick Acree seemed to struggle mightily. There was a play where defensive end Dadi Nicolas absolutely destroyed Acree at the point of attack, and Acree was rushed back into Mark Leal.  Acree is a guy who many have hoped would turn a corner, but he just lacks the motor and physicality at this time.
  • The same could be said for guard Matt Arkema. Arkema is a guy who saw some limited time last season at guard due to injuries, and he underwhelmed then. Well, he’s still underwhelming now. New offensive line coach Jeff Grimes has moved him to center, but Arkema still lacks the toughness and grit to do the dirty work required of a solid offensive lineman. He was blown up by defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins a couple of times.
  • An interesting note, freshman quarterback Carlis Parker took snaps with the third-team wide receivers today. Parker, who has drawn Michael Vick comparisons, was recruited as a quarterback out of high school. However, with two major high school quarterback prospects potentially on the verge of committing, perhaps the coaching staff is exploring other options for Parker before it’s too late.
  • On a special teams note, Kyshoen Jarrett continues to impress at punt returner. He made two fantastic returns today that would have been big plays, if not touchdowns, in a real game.
  • On a defensive note, Kyshoen Jarrett also got torched deep on a go-route by D.J. Coles. You can bet Thomas is excited to have a receiver like Coles back to proper form.
  • Another interesting note, when both first-team groups were playing against one another, Michael Holmes and J.C. Coleman got the majority of the carries. This is surprising because of how highly people have spoken of Trey Edmunds, who saw most of his carries with the second-team group. We’ll have to see how this develops into the summer. Edmunds looks like the best running back om the roster right now and was running like a man possessed today. As a side note, Dadi Nicolas blew up Michael Holmes to force a fumble in a really nice defensive play.

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