BLACKSBURG – Armed with a scholarship for the first time since coming to Tech, Chris Hazley showed everyone why Tech’s staff rewarded him, drilling four field goals to headline Tech’s intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday afternoon.
Tech’s offense did not score a touchdown in the scrimmage, but part of that is because the coaching staff stopped drives once the offense got inside the 20. Tech’s offensive staff hasn’t installed its entire red-zone package.
That left work for the field goal kickers, and they delivered, particularly Hazley. The redshirt senior easily nailed field goals of 29, 43, 48 and 31 yards. Justin Myer (22-yarder) and walk-on Conor Goulding (20-yarder) made the other two for the Hokies.
“I’m relieved to call my dad and tell him he didn’t have to make that first [tuition] payment,” said Hazley, who was given a scholarship late this past week. “Having six brothers and sisters [five boys and two girls] and my sixth brother going to college this fall as a freshman … it was nice to know they didn’t have to worry about me.
“I went out there and performed well. I couldn’t have asked for much more. It’s definitely a good feeling.”
“I think Chris has been doing great,” head coach Frank Beamer said. “He’s very confident and he should be. He’s hitting the ball well. He’s going to be our field-goal guy and extra-point guy at FedEx. We just put him on scholarship and he deserves it.”
Offensively, Logan Thomas and Darren Evans led the way. Thomas, a redshirt freshman battling Ju-Ju Clayton for the back-up quarterback job, completed 9-of-17 for 82 yards, with a long of 20. Clayton completed 3-of-8 for 36 yards, with a long of 22.
Tech’s staff plans on meeting Sunday to discuss the situation and probably will make a decision within the next day or two.
“I thought both did some good things,” quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain said. “Both are a little erratic at times, but both did some good things. I thought Logan hit a couple of nice ones and Ju-Ju stood in there and hit a nice crossing route. They weren’t working with the ones [first-teamers] so they were at a bit of an adverse situation there. Plus, we’ve got a couple of offensive linemen banged up.
“There are a lot of things that aren’t clean for those guys. But I’ve been pleased with their work this first week. It’s been good competition and now it’s time to make the decision and move forward.”
Evans, coming back from his knee injury, carried the ball a team-high 12 times for a team-high 60 yards. David Wilson rushed six times for 33 yards, while Ryan Williams had 18 yards on four carries.
Dyrell Roberts, Austin Fuller, Marcus Davis and Corey Fuller each caught two passes apiece. Andre Smith led the team in receiving yardage after catching a 30-yard pass from Tyrod Taylor, who completed 4-of-7 for 42 yards.
Defensively, Antone Exum, Eddie Whitley, Jerrodd Williams and Isaiah Hamlette each had five tackles. Defensive end J.R. Collins recorded four tackles, including two for a loss, and a sack. He also tipped a pass. Hamlette, Bruce Taylor and Zack McCray also had sacks.
The Hokies will hold their next open scrimmage next Saturday at 2 p.m. in Lane Stadium. Fans and media members are encouraged to attend.
• Tech’s punter, Brian Saunders, also was put on scholarship for the first time. The fifth-year senior enjoyed a nice scrimmage as well, averaging 46 yards per punt on four punts, with a long of 54 yards.
• Twelve players missed the scrimmage with injuries, including two whip linebackers in Lorenzo Williams (calf) and Alonzo Tweedy (groin). Zach Luckett got injured in the scrimmage, which led to extensive reps for walk-on Derek DiNardo from Virginia Beach. Luckett, though, returned later in the scrimmage.
• Others injured – Chase Williams (hamstring), Michael Via (knee), Barquell Rivers (quad), Darian Fisher (hamstring), James Gayle (hamstring), Nick Becton (toe), Tony Gregory (illness), David Wang (knee), Willie Byrn (groin) and Martin Scales (groin).
•Thomas got a few reps at tight end last week and Tech’s staff is exploring the possibility, even if Thomas wins the back-up quarterback job.
“It was like an introductory class,” offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring said. “It was to introduce him to the position. Get him running some routes and catching some balls. The thinking is you’ve got a 6-6, 240-pound kid who can vertical 40 inches … there’s something to having him prepared to do other things.”
• Biggest hit of the scrimmage – Telvion Clark, a redshirt freshman linebacker, drilled David Wilson along the sideline late in the scrimmage. Clark, a 6-1, 217-pounder, is now No. 2 on the depth chart at mike linebacker behind Bruce Taylor, passing Jack Tyler. Clark will be No. 3 when Barquell Rivers returns.
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