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Observations From Second Public Fall Scrimmage

The second public football scrimmage of fall camp in Blacksburg showed the defense, as usual, dominating the first, second and third team offenses in all phases of the game. However, it was not all doom and gloom for the Hokies O. Read on to see some observations about all phases of the game.

Logan Thomas and Mark Leal in drills.
Logan Thomas and Mark Leal in drills.
Trevor Greene

Perhaps we should thank the the decision makers for moving the scrimmage time up from 7 p.m. to 11 a.m., because it has been raining all evening in the area. And with the Hokies' recent string of bad luck, the risk of injuries would have increased exponentially. Instead, it was a lovely day for football, partly cloudy with a sprinkling of sunshine. I even got a lovely sunburned face to show for it.

All right, let's get down to it. To be quite honest, the scrimmage wasn't all that bad. The defense, whether it was 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team on the field, was simply dominating, making life miserable for quarterbacks and offensive linemen.

Logan Thomas looked sharp at times, and despite his statistics, only had two or three bad passes today. Granted he threw two interceptions, but the first interception was picked off on a diving catch by Facyson, who has been outstanding since arriving on campus in January. Facyson has become an instant favorite of mine since his commitment. The other interception was negated by a penalty that Thomas said caused the pick.

Mark Leal got a lot of snaps in today, and he is making the case for becoming the Hokies next starter. However, he has to be looking over his shoulder, because Brenden Motley had a terrific day as well. When Motley had time, he threw laser strikes to receivers, and once he bailed himself out of jam, showing off some blistering speed for someone who is listed at 6'4". Speaking of scrambling, Logan, since he has slimmed down slightly, has a burst of speed I haven't seen from him. Bucky Hodges took only three snaps, I believe, and looked extremely shaky. He mishandled two of the snaps and was bailed out by a running back once before bailing himself out on the other occasion, using his athletic ability to scramble and find an open receiver. I would not be stunned if they decide to redshirt Bucky given Motley's progression.

The receivers, as a whole, had a rough day. It was so bad that Tech Wide Receivers Coach Aaron Moorehead, with frustration finally coming out, went off on an impressive, profanity-laced tirade that got Lane Stadium roaring in approval. Apparently the message was heard and received, because the dropped passes started to cease. Demetri Knowles hauled in a beautifully-placed ball by Thomas on a drag route, and then few snaps later, Thomas launched a missile strike to Joshua Stanford for a 30-yard touchdown pass. I actually stood on my feet as the ball was in the air because Stanford had beaten his man, which I believe was Kendall Fuller, and brought it down beautifully. Carlis Parker, in my opinion, has a long, long way to go. He hesitated on one route, and let a perfectly-placed ball go through his hands, bringing Moorehead's frustration level up one more notch.

The rushing attack was actually headlined by recently re-converted running back Chris Magnus, who made some nasty cuts and was actually slicing and dicing the third team defense. Trey Edmunds didn't get a whole lot of reps, but he laid down two nasty blocks in pass protection. The second block was so nasty it gave Thomas the time to find Stanford for the touchdown play. Other than that, the offensive line still has not gotten the run blocking down. Other beat writers have said the pass protection was not there, but I disagree. While the offense was slowed with Gayle having his way early in the scrimmage, they finally got going. What is hurting the offense are the dropped passes, which is why Moorehead is going to have a bottle of Maalox on call with the trainer.

Special teams had a mostly positive scrimmage. Because A.J. Hughes had a conflict with a final exam today (the same for Kyle Fuller), Hunter Windmuller got the majority of the snaps as the punter, and had a punt blocked. However, Windmuller picked up the ball, and raced for a first down, bringing Lane Stadium to another roar of approval. Cody Journell had a field goal attempt partially blocked, but he made a point after, and made a field goal attempt, I believe.

The defense as whole is solid. While concern about the Whip position is valid, if the front four can dominate in the trench and harass the quarterbacks, led by a man on a mission, James Gayle, and the secondary continues to be hawkish, I think the defense may return to prominence.

One highlight though, was a fight which broke out between Dewayne Alford and Kalvin Cline after a play. The coaches were upset about it, and Beamer has promised they are going to be punished severely by doing up-downs. I usually don't condone fights on the field, but it was kind of good to see players having the competitive fires in them, and taking it out on each other like that, especially for two players who are trying to earn their place.

Overall, I think the scrimmage offered a very faint glimmer of hope for the fans. Once they survive the season opener against Alabama, I think they will be okay as they get the reps and experience under their belt. The scrimmage will be the last public showing of the fall camp before the Hokies take on the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide on August 31.

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