Dec 31, 2013; El Paso, TX, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Mark Leal (6) drops back to pass the ball against the UCLA Bruins defense at Sun Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports
Mark Leal entered the spring looking to prove to Hokie Nation that his disappointing performance filling in for Logan Thomas in the Sun Bowl was a fluke but so far, Leal has made that performance look not as bad compared to some of his performances in scrimmages. Many people at Virginia Tech expected Mark Leal to still be the leader to be the starting quarterback after the spring but in only a few weeks, that has all changed and Leal is in serious danger of losing any chance of being the starting quarterback this fall.
Mark Leal’s fall started when Brenden Motley went 5 for 7 for 36 passing yards in the first scrimmage while Mark Leal was a rough 3 for 9 for 34 passing yards and an interception. Leal also picked up an injury and the door had opened up for Brenden Motley to take the starting job. Then, Mark Leal sat out the second scrimmage and saw Brenden Motley jump over Leal on the depth chart. Motley did that by having a strong second scrimmage in which he was 12 for 20 for 163 passing yards and a touchdown. Motley surged to the starting job and Mark Leal was starting to fall into some serious trouble already in this quarterback job.
Then, last week was when Leal returned to being fully healthy but saw his massive spring slide continue. Despite all of the Virginia Tech quarterbacks not playing well in the third scrimmage, Mark Leal definitely struggled more than Brenden Motley as Leal was 6 for 17 for 50 passing yards while Motley was 5 for 11 for 46 passing yards. This performance made people wonder even more if Leal’s performance back in the Sun Bowl was a off day or just a sign that he wasn’t meant to be the starting quarterback in the future.
Now, Mark Leal will get one chance this Saturday to prove that he should be the starter in what is the most important Spring Game of his career. Leal will have to have a completion percentage of probably around 60% with an average of 7 to 8 yards per pass attempt to have a game that can get him back in the starting quarterback hunt. Leal has shown signs throughout the spring that he has the talent to possibly do this but I’m still not sure if he actually will be able to do it.
If Mark Leal struggles again in the Spring Game, that will almost completely end Leal’s starting qurterback hopes but you never know what could happen in the summer, especially since Leal has been around for a while. However, Mark Leal could end being moved to wide receiver and it would be smart for Scot Loeffler to consider adding some wildcat packages to take advantages of Leal’s speed and athletic ability. Mark Leal should definitely have a role in the Virginia Tech offense but unless he can play well in the Spring Game, it shouldn’t be starting quarterback.
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