Virginia Tech begins its 2015/16 campaign this week in Blacksburg with the opening of spring practice. This is the first step for the Hokies to get back to A.C.C. prominence. Frank Beamer returns to the sidelines after throat surgery, and all signs point to an improved Virginia Tech squad. The start of spring ball brought some unfortunate news to Hokie fans, as some players have left the program.
No longer on #Hokies' roster: Carlis Parker, Dahman McKinnon, Kendrick Holland, Dewayne Alford, Josh Trimble, Adam Taraschke, Zach Snell.— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) March 24, 2015
Carlis Parker was the only truly surprising name on this list. He was possibly going to be the number three receiver this season, and definitely hurt the WR depth. This leaves the core of Isaiah Ford, Cam Phillips, Kevin Asante, and Demitri Knowles to carry the load. First year receivers' coach Zohn Burden will have to find the next man up to ease the number of snaps these guys are on the field. The injury bug has also bitten in Blacksburg, with the biggest loss being senior defensive tackle Corey Marshall, who started nine games for the Hokies last year. Marshall will undergo surgery on his ankle, but expects to be ready for fall camp. Woody Baron is taking his spot on the spring roster.
The coaches have been heaping some very high praise on the youngsters entering the program, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Melvin Keihn, has drawn early comparisons to a Lane legend with his incredible speed.
Frank Beamer said Keihn plays bigger than his weight, dropped a Corey Moore speed comparison.— THE KEY PLAY (@thekeyplay) March 24, 2015
That is awfully high praise coming from Beamer, who knows a thing or two about speed off the edge. The 6'1" 209 lb. freshman from Gilman School in Maryland, might be one factors in bringing Beamer Ball back this season. Keihn is currently listed second on the depth chart at stud. Another interesting take on a newcomer was Mike Gentry's high marks for Yosuah Nijman, another DE.
"A physical phenomenon ... a tremendous competitor." -- Gentry on 6-7, 277 pound freshman DE Yosuah Nijman— THE KEY PLAY (@thekeyplay) March 24, 2015
The murky quarterback situation didn't get any clearer on day one of practice, as both Michael Brewer and Brenden Motley are listed as co-QB1's. This is standard pre-season fare, as coaches love competition. It all actuality is Brewer's job to lose unless Motley has grown tremendously in the off season. Incoming 4 star QB Dwayne Lawson's impact won't be felt until fall camp, but unless he is off the charts, it looks like Brewer's team. The key to this spring will be to keep the Hokies healthy, as well as breaking in the new players. Beamer, who spoke publicly for the first time since his surgery, seems truly excited again. It's like a kid on Christmas morning playing with his new toys for the first time. The biggest concern this spring will be the revamped offensive line. We will be previewing this unit later in the week, so stay tuned. Follow me on Twitter:@roybhatfield