|Red zone Offense||18th|
|Tackles for loss allowed||98th|
The good news about spring practice is hope springs eternal. It offers the team to wipe the slate clean and start anew. That's why Spring happens to be my favorite season of the year. Nothing like seeing the grasses turn green, flowers blooming, birds flying in the air and the gridiron full of players who are busting to become "The Guy". For those players, it gives them a chance to flex some serious muscles, and gives the coaches reasons why they should be the starters.
While last season left a very bitter taste in the mouth of Hokie Nation, head coach Frank Beamer made sweeping changes that have not been seen since perhaps the mid-1990s when started the 20-consecutive bowl streak was in its infancy, as he jettisoned several offensive coaches in favor of a more youthful movement.
However, with changes come challenges, and the challenges before the coaches both new and old are as follows: they need to fix the offensive line, they need to restore confidence in Logan Thomas, and settle on the #1 and #2 running backs.
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterback Coach Scot Loeffler arrives from Auburn University with some questions about his limited game-calling experience and the dumpster fire that was Auburn's football team a year ago, but give the man the benefit of doubt. He did work as a graduate assistant to All-Pro Tom Brady and Heisman winner Tim Tebow, so he knows how to work with quarterbacks. One of Loeffer's top priority is get Logan Thomas to believe that he can become the quarterback that wowed Hokie Nation in the 2011-2012 campaign.
In addition to Loeffler, another addition is probably the most important hire that Frank Beamer made, fellow former Auburn coach, Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Jeff Grimes. He brings with him a wealth of experience, and the resume that made everyone's hope shoot up. For starters, Jeff Grimes coached the Auburn offensive line on the team that went on to win the national championship, and everywhere he went, Grimes made the offensive line better. His job already began the moment he signed the contract in Blacksburg. Grimes' biggest task is to make the offensive line buy into his mindset - tough and hard-nosed. With the current offensive line personnel, I have no reason to believe that Grimes can't get the players to buy into his philosophy.
Perhaps the most intriguing hire is Aaron Moorehead with some bling...Aaron Moorehead was part of the 2007 Indianapolis Colts' Super Bowl team, and he knows all about hard work. As has been documented, Moorehead has issued a challenge to Antone Exum that he would make the wide receivers outwork the entire secondary, and this spring will give Moorehead a chance to put his money where his mouth is. This is also Moorehead's first full-time gig as a wide receivers coach. One asset he brings with him is he worked under Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw. It is widely believed that Pep Hamilton recommended Morehead to Beamer.
The offense was clearly in need of a new direction and new vision. This spring offers fans, coaches, and ultimately, the offensive players a chance to start anew. While there are many questions about the direction of the offense, one thing is very clear: there's an air of excitement and new confidence that Beamer made the right hires.
With Shane Beamer serving as the running backs coach and working in concert with Grimes, I have the expectation to see the running game become much improved. I think with Moorehead, we will see a receiving corps that will finally work hard, in the run-blocking game and running the routes required of the offensive system. With Bryan Stinespring coaching the tight ends, I think we can see the tight ends becoming more of a threat that makes them highly coveted in the NFL Draft.
At this point, we do not know what type of offense Loeffler is going to install, although there has been a solid analysis of what Loeffler wants to run, we won't really know until the annual Maroon/White Game on April 20 in Blacksburg.
Look for more spring primer articles in the future, only here at Gobbler Country.