[Ed. Note: Bumped from FanPosts. You can also catch Casey in his natural habitat at Winging It In Motown, the SBN blog for fans of those dastardly Detroit Red Wings.]
Well, I normally write about hockey but I've spent my whole life watching Hokie football so I'll take a crack with this post:
Sitting there watching a shotgun set with Tyrod Taylor in between Darren Evans and Ryan Williams is something that I have a feeling a lot of defenders will be doing this year. First of all, that is freaking terrifying I would imagine. Second, they showed a few wrinkles in the scrimmage that I fully expect to be implemented this year. With both of the RBs able to receive passes well out of the backfield, one of them was sent out in motion a few times which I have the feeling will give defenses fits next season. Another thing on the two backs: any notion that outsiders to the program have about them having chemistry/ego issues over who will get snaps should be thrown out the window. I noticed several times that they were always talking it up on the sidelines and encouraging one another. In fact, on one big run that Evans had, the first person to be there cheering Evans on was Williams.
The gap between Logan Thomas and Juju Clayton is pretty wide. Thomas was accurate with the exception of two or three passes that got caught up with too much air underneath and sailed on him. He had good pace on his throws and he had a good pocket presence of when to get rid of the ball. Juju was a lot more inconsistent with his throws. There were probably three or four passes that were too far behind the receivers and pushed them out of stride, which allowed the defenders to close the gap very quickly. It was more than just the throwing motions too as Thomas looked to read the progression of receivers better and make better decisions with the ball in terms of throwing into coverage.
I was very impressed with Clark's playreading ability. It was hard to notice what he did on passing plays (because I'd watch whoever was at QB) but I found myself looking for "57" on the field everytime it was a hand off. There was one play in particular that stuck out in which David Wilson busted the ball to the outside and made a few guys miss but right there to greet him rudely was Clark. Given Wilson's speed, I thought that was pretty impressive from Clark. He's also a pretty solid tackler with good form and as mentioned before good play recognition--odd to think he's more or less 3rd string.
Wilson was just as impressive as Evans/Williams. I know there's a lot of talk about him being redshirted for next year and it just really speaks volumes about the depth in the backfield that the Hokies have. Wilson was fast and a lot more powerful than last season while showing some great field vision. He slipped out of a tackle at one point and completely reversed field for a 4-7 yard gain. If he is in fact redshirted, he will be an absolute monster when he gets full time at back.
I won't go into detail really but if Frank ever fields these kick and punt block teams--holy crap. Fast fast fast. That's really all there is to it. Also in the special teams category, Chris Hazley was pretty solid on his kicks. I can't remember the exact number of attempts he had but I'm pretty sure he made one from 48 with ease.
Starting front seven:
The front seven was pretty impressive. John Graves was blowing up blocks all scrimmage and getting through into the backfield and both Chris Drager and Stephen Friday showed some sparks on the outside. Graves was very disruptive and he will be a big time asset for this defense this year. Bruce Taylor was impressive as well and I don't think there's going to be much of a drop off if Barquell Rivers isn't ready by Boise St. He showed good play recognition and was a good run stuffer while looking pretty solid in coverage. Gibson and Gouveia-Winslow were both pretty good as well, although I watched the line and Taylor more. I think the thought process that the defense is going to be far behind last year is going to be proven wrong, they looked sharp as always. But with the way Bud was yelling at them, I understand why.
Eddie Whitley got run over on one of the first plays of the scrimmage but I think that just fueled his fire. He had two or three big hits and was playing well in coverage. Rashad Carmichael and Cris Hill were both solid but one of the better performances from defensive backs came from Jacob Sykes. He had two (maybe more) very good pass break ups and was pretty close with his man on most plays. Also, Vinnie Fuller's brother Kyle Fuller is pretty freaking fast.