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Offense Highlights Second Spring Scrimmage

Let me preface this post with a "holy crap, sorry this took so long to do" statement. Running a hockey blog during the first round of the playoffs and taking classes got in the way of this, so my apologies. 


QB Play
Logan Thomas was pretty solid in this outing. He hit on 9 of 16 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas' favorite target was Danny Coale as he connected with the wideout for both of the touchdowns and on several other passes. I don't have any official numbers in front of me but I'd estimate Coale had at least 5 throws from Thomas.

Thomas was pretty accurate with his passes (even in windy conditions) but did have one that he hung up in traffic, causing Jarrett Boykin to get clobbered by Atone Exum. Thomas moves well under pressure and looks off his options before taking off downfield.

He's got a cannon for an arm and a pretty nice touch to go with it. I think it was the second touchdown he threw to Coale where he escaped some pressure and threw a perfect strike 29 yards through double coverage to Coale. Thomas sells the playaction really well and knows exactly who will be open and gets the ball there in a hurry.

The times where he did take off, he showed good vision and has pretty good speed--not Tyrod speed but escapability speed. In short, this guy is going to be really good if things continue to progress like this. 

As for the back-up quarterbacks, Mark Leal looked much better than Ju-Ju Clayton. I hate to pick on Ju-Ju but he missed a lot of "easy" passes, but did have a good pass to Chase Williams. Only problem, Williams is a linebacker. Williams took it the other way for a TD (even though the whistle blew to end it early). Ju-Ju had another interception in the game and was 6 of 15 for 39 yards. Ju-Ju was not very sharp and Leal might end up the #2 guy come September.

The rest of the offense and the defense, special teams after the jump.

Running Backs
David Wilson is a scary, scary man. Wilson's balance is incredible and his speed is blazing. He still has a bit of a problem with his pad level at times but if he resolves that he will be even better. He had a 18-yard TD run in which he broke through two tackles and spun his way into the endzone. Wilson will be even better as the spring practices go on and will be a real homerun threat every time he touches the ball in the fall.

Josh Oglesby (now sporting #2) had a strong performance, too. He's dropping his shoulder and plowing over people and getting the hard yards. He had the blocking break down on him a few times, but made the most of it, getting 3,4 yards. He looks to be a good compliment back to Wilson and can be effective at punishing defenders. 

James Hopper didn't look too great but he also had third string offensive line and a tough defense to face. Hopper has good speed, but he rarely got a chance to showcase it. Tony Gregory did not play in the scrimmage. 

Receiving Corps
Danny Coale and Marcus Davis were the big stars in the scrimmage. Coale had a lot of good catches and was a favorite target of Thomas. Coale was constantly open and that's by far his biggest asset. Marcus Davis had an exceptional 70-yard touchdown catch. Davis went up and fought off a defender  to get the ball, then chucked off a second defender and then broke through an arm tackle of a third defender. I can't remember who did what part but the defenders involved were: Antone Exum and Kyle Fuller (I don't think the first defender was in position to tackle him). Davis' speed and strength are exceptional and he might be the best kept secret the Hokies have going into the next season.

Jarrett Boykin looked a little tentative to me, but I had heard something about an injury so maybe that's the source of it. However, Boykin did make a nice sideline grab as he got hit and stayed in bounds. He'll be fine in the fall and will be one of the people I'll watch in the spring game as well. As mentioned above, he got rocked on a play but he popped up quickly so that's good.

E.L. Smiling dropped a pass in the middle of the field, but that's really all I can remember from players outside of Coale/Boykin/Davis.

Offensive Line
I'll be honest, I didn't watch the offensive line too much. I was watching Thomas for the most part and he delivers the ball quickly so there wasn't too much time for me to really notice any errors. That being said, the few times I did see the line, the first string line did a decent job pass blocking and run blocking. The run blocking kind of flubbed a few plays but when you have someone with David Wilson's vision and speed (as in: when you have David Wilson) it's a lot less noticeable. The separation between the first and second units is pretty big I think but I'll watch it more this weekend. 


Defensive Line
The line was decent in the scrimmage. James Gayle has a great motor and doesn't stop until the whistle blows, a part of his game that led to a sack. They used him a lot in the stand-up position on the outside, essentially lining a defensive tackle up in his spot, making it a 3-downed line with a power rusher on the outside. He has great speed off the edge and a ton of power so he was getting good penetration. Another thing about him playing further out than a normal defensive end might play is that they dropped him into zone coverage a few times. J.R. Collins was also impressive, tallying two sacks and disrupting plays. I should have watched Collins more but after all the good word floating about Gayle, I was focusing on the other side of the line. 

The Hopkins Brothers were good and Antoine had two sacks while Derrick was disruptive along the line. They should be a difficult force for ACC teams to deal with in the interior of the line. Unfortunately, I didn't watch too much of the second/third string defensive line because they were in there when Thomas was quarterbacking 

Chase Williams was a fun player to watch. He's smart and very aware on the field. He's not the fastest of the linebackers but he's solid on tackling and positioning. Telvion Clark was again impressive (he was one of the players I was most impressed with in the fall scrimmage last year) as he had 8 tackles. Clark is great at reading the play and getting to the hole quickly. He hits hard and gets the ball carrier to the ground in a hurry. Buuuuut his pass coverage is lacking and he's behind some good linebackers on the depth chart. Jeron Gouveia-Winslow has improved his tackling and pass coverage (thank the Jesus) and is taking good steps to being a solid defender for the Hokies. After those guys, it's kind of a jumbled mess in my head as to who did what but Tariq Edwards was the only other player to stand out with his play.

Defensive Backs
The first string was solid and Eddie Whitley continues to be an effective leader back there. Whitley hits like a mad man but doesn't put himself out of position by trying to come up to the line to do so. Antone Exum is getting better at covering passes and hitting as well (earlier referenced hit on Boykin). Exum and Whitley make up a solid pair of deep defenders. Kyle Fuller's speed is his biggest asset and he's definitely still learning the system a bit. He'll be good corner this upcoming season I think. The second/third units got burned a bit on the playaction and deeper down field but I guess that's why they're not 1st string, right?

Cody Journell has the edge right now as he had good kicks, even into the stiff wind. Justin Myer had a 41-yarder as I was leaving.

Again, sorry for the delay on this. If you have any particular players you want to hear about from the spring game, drop a comment and I'll try to do so.