August 18, 2012
Observations from Tech's Saturday scrimmage
Preseason Camp 2012 Blog

Tech’s scrimmage is in the books, and for those who missed it, you can read about it here. Also, we’ve included some observations, which are below:

• Tech’s offensive line played very well in this scrimmage, which is surprising because most “first” scrimmages are usually sackfests. But the Hokies rushed for 174 yards and amassed 491 overall. Logan Thomas was sacked once, as was Mark Leal. The third-team unit allowed three sacks, but most of those guys are walk-ons or guys who are slated to redshirt this upcoming season. You’ve got to think that offensive line coach Curt Newsome will be elated once he watches the film.

• Speaking of the offense, that group has been playing with much more tempo. The Hokies hurry out of the huddle, and everyone sprints to the line of scrimmage. Thomas gets the play off quickly before the defense gets a chance to get set or adjust to what the Hokies are doing. The first scrimmage took a step toward validating what the Hokies are doing on offense.

“For one, it [playing more up-tempo offense] gets us more plays, and two, it keeps the defense off balance,” Thomas said. “The more the defense is having to think, the better it is for us, especially when we know what we’re doing. We’re able to move the ball right to left, pass to run, as quickly as we can.”

• Mark Leal was a little bit off in this scrimmage, but we loved the way he finished. He started out 2-for-10, but he completed four of his final six passes, including a beautiful 40-yard strike to Asante down the sideline for a touchdown. No need to worry about Tech’s No. 2 in the event an injury strikes starter Logan Thomas.

Trey Edmunds is a powerful tailback. Nearly all of his game-high eight carries came between the tackles – maybe all of them did – and he’s just a load to bring down.

He ran for 45 yards behind Tech’s third-team offense line, which is impressive, but keep in mind that all eight carries came against the third-team defense. Running backs coach Shane Beamer is trying to get evaluations on five guys, and it’s tough to split that many reps. He’s really going to have some interesting decisions to make with his young running backs.

• It will be interesting to hear what Tech’s coaches on the defensive side of the ball think after watching the film of their young backup defensive backs in this scrimmage. True freshman Donovan Riley gave up touchdown passes to Corey Fuller and Kevin Asante, though in fairness, his coverage on Asante was really good – Mark Leal made a great throw and Asante a great catch and run. Also, true freshman Donaldven Manning struggled to get lined up correctly on a couple of occasions.

Defensive coordinator Bud Foster said afterward that he played a lot of man-to-man coverage in this scrimmage because he wanted to see how those young defensive backs handled it. He wasn’t worried about the score or giving up yards, but rather about evaluating his personnel. He wanted to see if they could cover and tackle in space.

“The only way they’re going to get better is to play and see themselves on film,” he said. “It’s all learning. They’re probably where I thought they’d be.

“We wanted to do certain things today to see how they would respond if they got beat. We wanted to see if they had the ability to go on to the next play. You’ve got to have some thick skin at those positions back there.”

• Speaking of the secondary, freshman free safety Desmond Frye appeared to be around the ball quite a bit. He ranked tied for third on the team with four tackles, and Foster pointed him out after the scrimmage.

Frye is at least working his way into the conversation in regards to playing this season. For starters, he’s getting better. But also, backup free safety Boye Aromire missed the scrimmage with a hamstring injury, and then backup rover Michael Cole, who appears snake-bit with injuries, got dinged early in the scrimmage and never returned. That led Frye to getting more reps, and he took advantage. He’s one to watch in the next scrimmage, particularly if Aromire and Cole sit out.

• Head coach Frank Beamer spoke highly of his punters after the scrimmage, and on the stat sheet, freshman A.J. Hughes got the better of things, averaging 53.7 yards per punt on three punts. But we’d be remiss in not pointing out that, on two of his punts, Hughes was the beneficiary of some big-time rolls. He got at least an extra 20 yards on both punts that way.

Now, that’s not to say he won’t be a good punter, or even a great punter. But keep things in perspective when you see those averages.

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