The Weather was Absolutely Perfect
The crowd was easily over 20,000 people. Hokie Hi weekend featured Friday and Saturday celebrations with an evening tribute to the fallen 32 from April 16th 2007. The morning on Saturday was the 3.2 mile Run and Walk for Remembrance, and the crowd there was estimated to be 15,000 or so. The weather in Blacksburg not only cooperated, it assisted by being comfortably warm, without being hot, and a light breeze was blowing. It was a magnificent way to honor the fallen and celebrate their memories as Hokies.
The Maroon Squad Offense was obviously mostly #1s int he depth chart, with Grant Wells starting at Maroon Squad QB. He’d remain there for the first half. We’ll talk about the various observations in a coming article, but overall, he did well and seemed like he was much more comfortable than he was last season. We’ll take that as a major plus, for now.
There was some tight end action going on for the game, It seems that the #1s were split between Maroon and White, with some good intermediate passing being implemented.
Bhayshul Tuten made an appearance in several of the opening plays and got some meaningful snaps. He’s still new to the system so it wasn’t anticipated that he’d play a huge amount. He had some nice runs, though.
Wells scored the first TD on the ground with a Read/Option QB keeper that given the two-hand touch rule for QBs was going to fail, if the refs had called him down on first contact. They didn’t and he made a few nifty cuts through gaps to score.
Kyron Drones started at QB for the White Squad, and the results were not unsurprising since he was playing behind a mix of #2s and #3s on the O-Line. Even with a good number of backups on the defensive side of things, the backup O-Line is going to need work. Drones really didn’t get a fair shot at looking very good in front of the crowd. We’ll talk about that one later, too.
Malachi Thomas is back, looking much healthier and managed a few good runs behind the shaky White squad line.
The Maroon O-Line was looking pretty smooth and handling the #1s salted into the White Defensive formation pretty well. We won’t comment on what that could mean, just yet, but it was a solid effort with good results.
Chance Black is learning to pick his head up and cut around trouble. So, is Bryce Duke. The improvement in the RB Room is noticeable and even if it is a bit short, the four presumed starting quality backs look like they are going to have a good year.
Kyron Drones was kept in with the White Squad well into the game and did get some free space now and then. He’s powerful and has a strong arm. He’s also “long fast”. His style of play is still one read and go, but that can work in an R/O-RPO offense if the right plays are called in the right sequence. It didn’t serve him to have the two-hand touch rule applied ruthlessly, most of the time those are contacts that he’d have slipped.
Tucker Holloway had an excellent game and looks like he’s going to be a factor for both the return game and for wide receiver. He’s a classic slot/possession receiver and even with the coaching staff saying that they are doing away with those designations look for Holloway to make a difference splitting the zone and catching in the 8-12 yard gaps under the zone and out routes.
The White defense did get a few good stops when the Maroon offense went to the annoying slow developing stuff behind the line of scrimmage.
Chance Black and Bryce Duke looked really good throughout the game for Maroon. They both got a ton of carries, and gained some solid yardage, especially off the edges.
Drones did get victimized by some ball hawking opportunism. Ali Jennings got some good catches in, but also had some issues with board hands. The first interception for Maroon was off of a bounce out that probably could have been caught.
We got a look at the backups in the final closing quarters. Tahj Bullock put in some time for the White Squad but that already put him behind the power curve.
Pop Watson’s appearance on the field for Maroon was a telling note. That he was playing backup for Wells on the presumed “A” squad tells observers that Watson is getting attention for being the #3 QB in the depth chart behind the unsettled Wells, Drones #1 competition.
His deep TD pass to Tucker Holloway was a thing of beauty (unfortunately, your’s truly was hustling past the Hokie bench when that happened so it wasn’t caught on camera) and his runs were excellent. He was lightning quick on the reads and decisions. The throws a pretty ball and can run in scramble or QB option situaitons without hard contact.
Devin Farrell and Ben Locklear closed out the offensive plays for the White Team with a few snaps each.
The game ended in a Maroon win, and White couldn’t manage to kill the skunk with a field goal at the end. Overall, we’ll see what the coaching staff has to say, but the comment flow from the fan base is positive, at least. Pry was pretty plain to the crowd. Things aren’t where he and the coaching staff want them to be, at the moment, but he thinks that they are making positive progress.
Let’s Park the Grim Details for Now
Spring practice season is over. It is 130 and a butt days until kickoff and fall practice doesn’t start up until early August. There will be new players to look at, and undoubtedly there will be portal moves both in and out as Commencement closes and the next round of recruiting and camps starts up.