The 2014 Spring is officially underway for Virginia Tech Football. The Hokies come in with a lot of work to do before summer arrives and position battles heat up.
First things first, here's the spring depth chart if you haven't seen it already. Examine it and see what intrigues you.
Obviously, this will look different by summer time and then again as the fall approaches. Mark Leal is listed as the No. 1 quarterback. J.C. Coleman is listed as the No. 1 running back with Trey Edmunds only seeing limited contact due to the broken leg he suffered in the regular season finale. I think the running back competition is THE one to keep an eye on as far as backups and redshirts go. Who will be the second and third options if Edmunds returns as the starter? Will McKenzie and Williams red-shirt or play? Wide receiver depth is pretty set I'd say. But you'll see some movement and shaking up all over as summer and fall approach.
Who will the kicker be? That my friends is the question. Tech must find a consistent place kicker if it wants to win close games. Look out for the kicking competition as it always proves to be dramatic.
First Day of Spring Ball courtesy of Andy Bitter:
If one thing is going to be true, I think that we'll see a new (and hopefully improved) Tech squad this year. The players seem to think so. I remember Luther Maddy tweeting about how they had a successful players only meeting recently, which excites me personally.
Big shoes to fill:
The number one question for Tech is who will the starting quarterback be? As much as I would like to give you a concrete answer by putting forth my own hypothesized answer, I can't. The quarterback race right now is a coin toss. Yes, Beamer still says that Mark Leal's performance in the Sun Bowl doesn't reflect how good of a quarterback he is and that he is still the front-runner for the job. But transfer Michael Brewer will arrive this summer and is expected to compete for the number one spot on the depth chart, and should give Leal a run for his money. Meanwhile, freshman Andrew Ford and Chris Durkin will also be trying to impress the coaching staff in hopes for early playing time. Ultimately, the best man for the job will lead the team whether it be senior Leal, transfer Brewer, or freshman Ford or Durkin.
Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball the Hokies lost James Gayle, Derrick Hopkins, J.R. Collins, Tyrel Wilson, Jack Tyler, Tariq Edwards, Antone Exum, and Kyle Fuller.
Here's a nice write up on how the defensive line is being shifted around and reloaded:
For me, I love the way Foster is able to shift the front four players and develop them into what he wants. I expect the defensive front to still be as intimidating and pressuring as last year. I see Corey Marshall and Dadi Nicolas stepping up big time in the absence of Gayle and Hopkins. But only time will tell. Nigel Williams is a big bodied guy who can fill gaps and get to the quarterback. I believe he and Woody Baron will get the job done.
My big question is with the line backers and replacing the senior leadership of Jack Tyler and Tariq Edwards. So be on the look out for someone to step up in that regard. Will it be Chase Williams, one of the Vandyke brothers (Ronny or Devin, who are both still rehabbing season-ending injuries, and will miss the spring), Josh Trimble, or a newcomer? Only time will tell.
Already a big name injury:
With Kyle Fuller and Antone Exum gone in the secondary, Tech will turn to Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson to lead "D-Block." But Facyson will now have to sit out the rest of Spring Practice with a left tibia stress reaction and is now in a boot. He will return in time for summer work outs. Well now the back up corners will get a lot of work in. This will give Der'woune Greene, Chuck Clark, and Donovan Riley a chance to get out there and step up in case something happens during the season. This team needs depth and the two's and three's must deliver when their name is called.
That about wraps it up for the first few days of Virginia Tech's 2014 Spring Practices. Check back for more updates as the Hokies continue to get up to speed and ready for the upcoming season.
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