BLACKSBURG – Quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Logan Thomas combined to throw for 140 yards and three touchdowns, and Cris Hill blocked two punts to highlight Tech’s intra-squad scrimmage at Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon on a day in which head coach Frank Beamer agreed to a contract extension.
Beamer, entering his 24th season, agreed to an extension through the 2016 season. His current pact ends after the 2012 season. Negotiations for the compensation package will begin in January of 2012 to be effective with the start of the contract extension.
This should put to rest any musings that people might have of the 63-year-old retiring any time soon.
“I really enjoy the players we’ve got right now,” said Beamer, who turns 64 in October. “We can win with the players we’ve got right now. As long as my health stays good and we’ve got good players and can win … I enjoy this. I look forward to getting started here.”
As for coaching beyond 2016, Beamer made no commitment either way.
“That’s a long ways away,” he said. “We’ll figure it out as we go.”
In the scrimmage, Taylor looked sharp, with the exception of a lone interception. He completed 7 of 9 passes for 95 yards, including a 24-yard scoring strike to Dyrell Roberts. His lone blemish came late in the game when mike linebacker Bruce Taylor made an outstanding interception of a Taylor pass.
Thomas, a redshirt freshman who was named the back-up earlier in the week, completed just 6 of 16 passes, but he threw two touchdowns. His first touchdown pass came on a 5-yard pass to back-up tight end Eric Martin. His second came on a fade pattern to Marcus Davis, who hauled it in for a 3-yard score. Both came as part of the team’s work in the red zone in the scrimmage.
Ryan Williams paced the rushing attack with 46 yards on nine carries, scoring on a 2-yard run late in the scrimmage. David Wilson added 38 yards on six carries and scored on a 12-yard run early in the scrimmage. Tony Gregory added 44 yards on nine carries.
There were two other touchdowns in the scrimmage. Ju-Ju Clayton fired a 19-yard scoring strike to Prince Parker, and Hill blocked a Brian Saunders punt and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.
Hill blocked two punts in the scrimmage. He also blocked an attempt by walk-on Ethan Keyserling.
“Cris Hill has been good all fall camp coming off that edge,” Beamer said. “On one side, you feel pretty good that you blocked a kick. On the other side, you don’t feel very good because the protection wasn’t right. What I told the players was, from what I saw out there, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
“This is a good way for me to use my speed and use my quickness,” Hill said. “I really enjoy blocking kicks. It’s part of the tradition here, so I’m doing whatever I can to help out.
“Coach Beamer says this is the greatest team [punt block team] of athletes ever assembled, so we take that mindset every day when we go out there. We’re trying to get more blocked kicks this year.”
Defensively, Eddie Whitley led the way with seven tackles and a pass break-up. Zach Luckett had four tackles (two solo) and Dwight Tucker had four tackles (two solo), including a sack. Jacob Sykes had two pass break-ups.
Other notes from the scrimmage:
• Tech kicker Chris Hazley booted field goals of 43 and 47 yards, but he missed his first field goal in a preseason scrimmage when he was wide left on a 48-yard attempt. In fairness to Hazley, his holder – Brian Saunders – left the scrimmage early because of a right ankle contusion, and that forced Beamer to used Danny Coale as Hazley’s holder. Coale got the ball down a tad late on the 48-yarder, leading to the miss.
“That’s nothing we can’t correct,” Hazley said.
• Tech held another scrimmage without the services of Jayron Hosley, a talented cornerback whom many projected to take the place of Stephan Virgil. But Hosley, who has been bothered with a strained groin, has practiced sparingly this August.
“It’s a concern,” Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “[Alonzo] Tweedy is another guy who’s been hurt all camp. It’s not their fault they’re hurt, but at the same time, they’re missing a lot of time, invaluable time. There’s nothing like getting out there and performing. It’s not the same as sitting in there in a meeting from that standpoint.”
• Hill’s block of Saunders’ punt resulted in Saunders getting injured. The redshirt senior suffered a right ankle contusion and missed the rest of the scrimmage, but he should be fine.
The news was not so good for receiver Xavier Boyce and whip linebacker Lorenzo Williams. Boyce suffered a left MCL sprain in his knee, while Williams suffered a right foot sprain. Both will undergo MRI’s next week.
• Speaking of injuries, D.J. Coles wasn’t supposed to play in the scrimmage, but the sophomore progressed better than expected with his finger and groin injury and played. He caught two passes for 14 yards.
In all, 11 different players caught passes.
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