BLACKSBURG – Here are five observations from Tuesday’s practice:
• Receiver D.J. Coles made a nice move on freshman cornerback Brandon Facyson in a red-zone pass skeleton drill and caught a bullet from Logan Thomas for a touchdown. Thomas appears to trust Coles more than the rest of Tech’s young receivers, which makes sense because Thomas and Coles are both fifth-year seniors. Keeping Coles on the field is critical for Tech’s offense this season.
• In that same red-zone pass skeleton drill (no linemen are in this drill), receiver Joshua Stanford made a great catch over the top of Kyle Fuller in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. This seems counterintuitive, but Stanford makes a lot of the tougher catches and tends to drop an easy one from time to time. For him, it’s just a matter of being focused and consistent on each play.
• Tuesday’s musical chairs on the offensive line consisted of freshman Parker Osterloh working at guard with the second team and redshirt freshman Augie Conte working with the first team at right tackle ahead of Laurence Gibson.
In other offensive line news, David Wang rolled an ankle very early in the practice and didn’t do anything the remainder of the practice. Line coach Jeff Grimes moved Caleb Farris from guard to center after that injury and then inserted Brent Benedict with the first group.
Grimes’ juggling makes perfect sense. Remember a year ago, Andrew Miller missed seven games with a broken ankle and Wang missed three games with injuries. So developing depth and versatility can only help.
• Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Nigel Williams showed a little something Tuesday, which was great to see. In Tech’s middle drill – the offense trying to run up the middle against the defense’s front seven – Thompson beat the block of Matt Arkema and made a tackle for a loss. Then in the last period of the day, he got his hands up and batted a pass attempt (not sure if it was Thomas or Mark Leal). Tech’s staff thinks highly of Williams, and he showed some of his potential Tuesday.
• Another young guy who shined Tuesday was freshman safety Anthony Shegog, who made two nice plays in pass skeleton drills. He intercepted Thomas, who was trying to throw a deep out to one of his receivers, and then later on, Shegog got beat by Coles on a deep ball, but managed to get a hand in at the last minute to knock the pass away.
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