The Virginia Tech Hokies had their first team meeting of the 2017 season on Monday, the day before fall camp begins and head coach Justin Fuente met with the local media and as we prepare for a new season. Joining Fuente was defensive coordinator Bud Foster, offensive coordinator Brad Cornelson, cornerback Greg Stroman and center Eric Gallo.
Fuente discussed the importance of strength and conditioning coach Ben Hilgart and the impact he’s made since arriving in Blacksburg. We’ve discussed here at Gobbler Country the work Hilgart has done with the players this offseason and it’s impressive. Fuente has noticed, too, per Jimmy Robertson of Virginia Tech’s official website.
I’ve mentioned so many times, that as a head coach, when you finish that spring game, the kids go through finals and then take some time off, and when they come back, you essentially turn your entire team over to your strength and conditioning staff. I think Ben and his staff have done an outstanding job, not just from the gains we’ve made from a physical standpoint, but from continuing to preach and teach our culture and our mindset on a daily basis.
Several players are bigger this fall. Among them, Wyatt Teller is up to 315 pounds, Ricky Walker is up to 300, while Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds are bigger, too. For Walker it was a total body transformation.
Another player Fuente discussed was freshman receiver, Caleb Farley. The true frosh from Hickory, N.C., checked in at 6’2” and 192 pounds for the opening of camp. He is a player everyone is excited to see and the coach talked about the importance of getting him on the field as quickly as possible.
“If you look at where we’re at, where we need help at and where is a chance to get a guy like that on the field the quickest, it’s on the offensive side of the ball,” Fuente said. “That was the biggest thing.”
Farley will be competing with Phil Patterson, Eric Kumah and others to start opposite of Cam Phillips on the outside. C.J. Carroll, of course, starts in the slot.
Much has been made of the lack of depth along the defensive line this season. And Foster expressed some concern, however, he seemed hopeful about several of the incoming freshmen.
I’m excited about those young ends. Robert (Porcher) could be an end or could be a tackle. Then you’ve got Nate Proctor, TyJuan Garbutt and Zion Debose. Those are three guys that we’re excited about and have some twitch and get-off and have some athletic ability to bend their body and re-direct and do some of the things you want that position to do.
What Tech really needs is players like Jarrod Hewitt, Jimmie Taylor and Darius Fullwood, players already in the program, to step up and make an impact.
Practice officially begins on Tuesday and we’ll have you covered here at Gobbler Country.