BLACKSBURG – Here are five observations from Thursday’s practice:
• Tech running backs coach Shane Beamer said all indications were that Joel Caleb, a redshirt freshman from Midlothian, Va., would stay at tailback. The staff had moved Caleb from receiver to tailback to add another bigger body to the position.
• The musical chairs continued on the offensive line, as Mark Shuman worked with the first team at right tackle. We believe this is the first time we’ve seen Shuman at right tackle. He has seen reps at left guard and left tackle both in the spring and in the past couple of practices.
Right now, the only certainty on the offensive line appears to be Andrew Miller, who looks to be entrenched at right guard.
• The Hokies dropped way too many passes Thursday. That’s probably an indication that the young skill players are thinking too much instead of just playing.
• True freshman Kendall Fuller continues to get a lot of reps, which comes as no surprise. The coaches viewed him as a contributor in their nickel defense and are working him as if they are going to play him.
Another true freshman who continues to play well is Brandon Facyson, who is working with the first team because of Antone Exum’s knee injury. Facyson, who enrolled last January, made several nice plays this evening and has carried his great spring over to the first week of fall practices.
Interestingly, Tech returned everyone in the secondary from last season, and the Hokies’ staff may still play two true freshmen. The staff has a lot of talent and depth in the back end.
• It was a bit surprising to see Deon Newsome getting a lot of reps at receiver, but the Hokies lack depth after moving Caleb to tailback. Then, on Thursday, Charley Meyer tweaked a hamstring and sat out much of the latter half of practice, so guys like Deon Newsome and freshman Carlis Parker, who enrolled last January, saw more reps than usual.
Newsome, from Hampton, Va., also took all the reps as a punt returner during one of the Hokies’ special teams periods. He’s a versatile player and shifty in the open field, so he may play his way into a role this season.
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