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The Hokie 2017 Spring Game, and Some Other Things to Consider

The Hokie Spring Game was Saturday. The last event and first event of each season. 2016 is over, and 2017 is now fully under way. Let’s look at some issues from a more sideways perspective.

We get to find out who the Bird is, in a couple of weeks!
John Schneider - SB Natiobn

The other news services have their observations top 5 take away articles and such. I guess if we are following down the road of the obvious we’d put up our top five items and they’d look much like the remainder of the top five lists.

While I am not putting such things out of reach, I am considering that my life has often been seeing things outside of the box and from less obvious angles. It’s like I love the story of baseball and am not too hung up on the stats, sort of stuff.

There are a few things that I noticed at the Tech Spring game that I think might be of interest out there, somewhere, and might give something of a different perspective.

The quarterback situation is of interest, but I am predicting a Jackson and Bush 1 and 2 on the final depth chart. Something interesting about Jackson. He looks a whole lot like a more muscular Michael Brewer. He might not be sporting that 6’4” range height, but Joshua Jackson a serious pill. He’s a muscled and cut young man who has a good presence, and a natural fluidity of motion and movement on the field that speaks of someone who has spent a year at work, learning Coach Fuente’s way of doing things. While Hendon Hooker looked really good, he’s still really a Freshman and there is still a really good probability that he’s sporting red next season. That’s just my opinion, but I know I wouldn’t play him and waste is eligibility when I had some serious talent. Patience might be a good quality for everyone to have.

The Defensive Line has some serious issues to solve. There were some really tough injuries over the last few months (including Mihota’s shoulder surgery). Foster and Wiles have some serious prep work ahead. They have really good inside strength, led by Tim Settle who is a serious big man in a serious hurry to collapse the pocket from the ‘A’ gap. He played the inside edge of the ‘B’ gap many times when he came in. I get the feeling that was a practice expedient to get some outside work on the right side of the O-Line, because when Settle went back to his ‘A’-gap angle, he was a beast for the interior linemen to handle. We’ll see how the D-Line works out but it’s going to be an injury riddled mess for a while.

Tavante Beckett got a workout at Mike, he brings the hammer to the game, that’s for sure, but I really wonder if he’d be better being played at Whip or Rover with situational technique switches at play time. He sure gets after the situation, but he’s just too small to be an effective Mike (Smaller than Andrew M) and Motuapuaka is too small as it is, now. I just see those talents being stirred around a bit better than the Mike role.

Running back is an issue. It will remain an issue. Steven Peoples and Travon McMillian look like the top 2 for now, but that competition is going to be wide open and I don’t see an answer in the works that is too obvious.

How is the Tight End Position going to work next season and who is the mysterious number 90? Near the end of the game, the scout teams and 2nd/3rd tier players started to get more time. QB’s Chase Mummau and Jack Click got some snaps, and Ryan Willis (who is ineligible for 2017) got some playing time. The mystery was who was playing H-Back/Mobile Tight End stuff at the end? Dalton Keene already had his time, and the number didn’t show up on any printed rosters. What is true is that the style of play reminded me a bunch of what Fuente did with Bucky Hodges and Sam Rogers. Lots of interesting motion, drift outs into the flat, lead blocking, etc. Tight End Chris Cunningham was doing some interesting things during his snaps, as well. I don’t remember the Tight End being a feature position in Fuente’s old offensive designs, but maybe the success with Bucky has made some changes in how patterns and players are matched.

I look at what we had on hand, and where things could have gone, and it’s obvious that Virginia Tech is a team just on the outside of the center ring, again. That’s not necessarily bad, so please don’t take it as a complaint. We are getting a few peaks from a few more analysts, and we certainly have some preseason love being sprinkled in our direction from the media. That they think we have a place at the top 20 table isn’t a bad thing. What it does do, is make me look at some of our competition differently. Miami is, again, getting foo-foo dust points for being Miami and having been something somewhere cool. Mark Richt isn’t small change for a head coach, and there is no doubt that they will be challenging the Coastal this season. I just don’t think that they deserve one ounce more consideration for their past performances. They had a modest success this past season and they definitely got beaten by us, I was there. They lost their starting QB to the draft, and so did we. I don’t see them being radically different than us at the 1 and most of the 2 level in our depth chart. It’s just way too early and way to speculative to treat them as more than one of several teams who have a shot at winning the ACC Coastal Division this season.

We also have some serious competition with Pitt and we certainly are going to have all of it that can be dished out by non-conference teams. Carolina is certainly not going to sit still, either. It’d really be nice if the fanboys would give it a rest until the season gets rolling and we all get to actually playing football with actual players. That’s just my opinion, though. There are lots of sports writers making a living off of such speculations.

The observation that wraps this up is something that I saw in Bud Foster’s face in the press conference at the end of the game. Bud was in fine fettle. He’s always blunt and direct. This time though, his tone was, for lack of a better term, happy. It’s difficult to face the media with a squad in the position of losing a bunch of talent, and having an unnerving number of bodies on the walking wounded list. Foster just took it in stride, and even gave a gentle deflective ribbing to Brandon Facyson for his, err um, infractions. For the first time in a while I saw Bud Foster with a twinkle in his eye, and the gears turning as he looked toward the long summer of making moves, jiggering, and fiddling with the techniques and personnel for Summer Practice and the Fall campaign. Bud looks like he’s having fun again, and that’s wonderful for us.

It’s NFL Draft Week, and that’ll be the last dominating coverage for the football season until Roster Reviews and Summer Practice starting up. Let’s see if more Hokies than Bucky and Sam make the cut. Right now, it’s not looking great for everyone else.