Notes And Observations From The First Spring Scrimmage

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Although I was bummed out that the scrimmage was cancelled on Saturday, it ended up working out today. It was a beautiful day for football, and due to a later-than-announced start time, I was able to attend. Here were my observations.

The new offense was the main thing everyone wanted to see this afternoon at Lane Stadiumas Virginia Tech held it first open spring scrimmage, and the result may not be what everyone is expecting.

To sum it up succinctly, the offense remains very much a work in progress. Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach, Scot Loeffler, stressed that they were not going to throw the book at the offense this early in the spring practice, stressing fundamentals and playing mainly from their base. Their base today was a lot of running, with J.C. Coleman getting the majority of reps as the presumed starter. However, Trey Edmunds, the tailback everyone has been clamoring for, got some looks and my impression is he is going to be a starter at some point. He is huge as a tailback and relishes making contact.

The offense had a bit of trouble getting on track until Edmunds burst through the line for a huge gain for a first down, and that jump-started the unit. Michael Holmes had one highlight run, but on the next play, he reverted back to running east-to-west, and it went predictably for a loss. He also coughed up a fumble. I don't think Holmes is going to crack the rotation if he doesn't start asserting himself like he did on his one good run today.

Logan Thomas had a bit of rough outing. He had trouble connecting with receivers on deep passes, but that may be more because the receivers were well-covered and the defensive backs broke up several passes. Mark Leal is not going anywhere as the back-up. He looked as impressive as can be, connecting with several receivers and making plays with his feet.

One thing I did observe is that the quarterbacks were making it a point to run the fakes at a faster pace than plodding through the motion.

The 1st and 2nd offensive line units, for the most part, held on their own. However, there was a testy moment when the 1st team defense broke through the offense line and stopped two straight running plays cold, and Jeff Grimes made clear his displeasure. At one point during the scrimmage, during a special teams drill, I watched with interest as Ryan Pugh and Jeff Grimes talked with the offensive line.

During warm-ups, I was watching Aaron Moorehead work with the receivers, and he constantly emphasized they needed to plant their feet before making a catch. Attention-to-details and getting animated about it were the main thing I noticed out of the new coaches.

Defensively, there is not much to say except that James Gayle abused the 2nd team offensive line, blowing up play after play, and at one time, rough-housed Mark Leal in the end zone. It's safe to say that Gayle wants to have his sack total go up. The defensive line did their job of clamping down on the running plays, especially with Loeffler and Grimes using a lot of unbalanced lines out of the I, Ace, and Shotgun formations.

The defensive backs are going to go through some growing pains as a year ago I fear. The linebacking corps was missing Jack Tyler, as he was in class and could not make it to the scrimmage, but it gave the back-ups valuable reps they would not have gotten otherwise.

I also don't think we need to worry about special teams as long as A.J. Hughes is handling the punting and Cody Journell is entrenched as the placekicker. During some punt drills, Jarrett had a couple of nice runs that could have gone to the house, but there were, surprisingly, no kick-off drills.

Overall, I think the spring scrimmage answered some questions, but as I said before, the offense remains a work in progress. This Saturday is the last open scrimmage and the big one is the following Saturday as it will be the Annual Maroon and White Game.

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