BLACKSBURG – Here are five observations from Wednesday’s practice:
• Tech freshman Kendall Fuller continues to have a good camp. He picked off a Mark Leal pass in the pass skeleton drill, though to be fair, it was tough to tell whether Leal made a poor throw or the receiver ran the wrong route. Nonetheless, Fuller made the play and has been working with the first team. If the season started today, he’d probably be the starter at field cornerback.
• Former Tech running back Kevin Jones has been at the past two practices, and it’s been interesting to watch him interact with Tech’s running backs, offering his insight in certain situation. Jones, who is in town working toward his degree (he graduates next May), is a great resource for young guys like Trey Edmunds, J.C. Coleman and Joel Caleb.
• Speaking of Coleman, he got rolled upon in the middle drill and sprained both of his ankles. That left Caleb getting a lot of reps, and Caleb continues to look more and more natural as a tailback. He made several nice cuts on running plays and displays good vision and instinct. But he still needs to work on his blitz pickups. On one play late in the practice, cornerback Donovan Riley came on a blitz and got past Caleb. The quarterback (not sure which one) had rolled to his left and gotten rid of the ball, but had he stayed in the pocket, Riley might have gotten a sack. Pass protection is easily the biggest challenge for young running backs.
• Tech’s tight ends had a good practice, with Ryan Malleck making a big play down the middle in a pass skeleton drill and both Zack McCray and Duan Perez-Means coming up with several catches. This group got better in the spring and carried it over, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they didn’t play a big role in Tech’s offense this season.
• David Wang (ankle) wore a blue jersey because of his injury and didn’t participate much in Wednesday’s practice. Caleb Farris worked at center with the first team, while Matt Arkema worked at center with the second team. Arkema struggled with a couple of snaps, which threw off those particular plays.
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