On Friday, the Hokies planned on a shortened, lighter workout because of Saturday’s scrimmage. So instead of giving you readers our observations of practice, we decided to give you some things to ponder leading into that all-important 4:33 p.m. scrimmage.
First of all, we want to announce our new digital depth chart on hokiesports.com (http://www.hokiesports.com/football/depth/). This will be updated when the coaches make changes in the depth chart.
So, for example, you’ll see here that sophomore tight end Ryan Malleck now shares the top spot on the depth chart at his position with Eric Martin. Randall Dunn is listed behind them. We’re guessing that Malleck’s overall good play and his solid performance in yesterday’s team period earned him the promotion.
Now, for the things to ponder:
• The scrimmage will be 78 plays, with the first-team offense getting 18 of those, and both the second- and third-team offenses getting 30 each. That doesn’t mean coaches won’t rotate players on various teams. In fact, running backs coach Shane Beamer plans on giving all of his tailbacks some reps with the first-team offensive line to get a fair evaluation.
Unlike the 36-play scrimmage on Sunday, Tech’s offensive staff will not script plays for this scrimmage. Instead, they’ll have a sheet of plays that they want to call and quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain will call those plays over the course of the scrimmage.
• As for the running backs, sure, Beamer wants to get close looks at freshmen Trey Edmunds and Chris Mangus in the 78-play affair, and he expects to make a decision on whether to redshirt those two this season on Monday. But he’s more concerned with getting Michael Holmes some work and then finding out if J.C. Coleman, Martin Scales or Tony Gregory can be a No. 2. Holmes hasn’t been hit much in the first 10 practices, largely because Beamer knows what the young man can do. Now, though, it’s time to get into game condition.
• Defensive line coach Charley Wiles echoed similar thoughts as Beamer about his group. He plans on playing his first-team guys about 30 reps because they, too, need to get into game condition. None of that group played in last Sunday’s scrimmage. He plans on rotating in a lot of people and using a lot of different combinations.
• You’ll see the full complement of special teams in this scrimmage because those units need live reps. No one has separated in the battle for the punting job, but Beamer – who works closely with that group – said overall the staff is pleased with the punts of Hunter Windmuller, A.J. Hughes and Michael Branthover. Those guys just need to be a little more consistent. Beamer said they want to see more consistency in snappers Joe St. Germain and Eddie D’Antuono, too. A poor snap (not sure by whom) led to a punt being blocked in Thursday’s special teams period.
• This will be a huge scrimmage for receivers Joshua Stanford and Joel Caleb and cornerback Donovan Riley. All three freshmen could play this season, provided they show their skills well in the scrimmage. Riley, in particular, deserves close scrutiny because he’s listed as the backup behind Antone Exum and because fellow freshman defensive back Davion Tookes is out with a hamstring injury. So the opportunity is there for Riley.
• INJURY REPORT: Five players are listed as out for the scrimmage – Tariq Edwards (leg), kicker Ethan Keyserling (hip), receiver Mark Irick (hamstring), offensive lineman Adam Taraschke (hamstring/knee) and cornerback Davion Tookes (hamstring). Receiver D.J. Coles (knee) is doubtful, and defensive end James Gayle (ankle) is listed as questionable.
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