August 18, 2012
Several shine in Hokies' scrimmage
J.C. Coleman breaks a long run, and all three quarterbacks throw TD passes

BLACKSBURG – All three of Tech’s quarterbacks threw touchdown passes, and the Hokies’ first-team defense did not allow a touchdown in a 78-play scrimmage held Saturday afternoon at Lane Stadium.

Logan Thomas completed 8 of 15 for 112 yards and a score, while backup Mark Leal completed 6 of 16 for 111 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Third-team quarterback Trey Gresh, facing the third-team defense all day, completed all eight of his attempts, including one for a touchdown.

Thomas threw a 30-yard touchdown to receiver Corey Fuller, while Leal threw a 40-yarder to receiver Kevin Asante. Gresh threw a 37-yard score to receiver E.L. Smiling on the last series of the scrimmage. Asante led all receivers with four catches for 79 yards, while Fuller caught three passes for 68 yards.

The Hokies also rushed for 174 yards. J.C. Coleman paced the attack with 54 yards – 52 coming on one run – and Trey Edmunds added 45. Tony Gregory rushed for 36 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown run. Projected starter Michael Holmes carried three times for 21 yards.

Overall, Tech amassed 491 yards of offense.

“I thought it was one of the more productive offensive first scrimmages we’ve had around here,” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “I think we did some good things, and I think we’ll see some things we can improve. Overall, I think the effort was good. I was always say this, but it’s hard to come out pleased because if the offense makes plays, you’re worried about your defense. If the defense makes plays, you’re worried about your offense. Overall, I thought it was a good first scrimmage.”

“I’m excited to see what we can do,” Thomas said. “Like I’ve said in every interview thus far, we’re fine at receiver, we’re fine on the offensive line and fine at tailback, and we showed just that today.”

Most of Tech’s yardage, though, came against what figures to be the second- and third-team defenses. The projected first-team defense allowed a little more than 120 yards in four series (24 plays) and gave up just two field goals – a 25-yard field goal by Cody Journell and a 41-yard field goal by Brooks Abbott.

Fifty-two of those yards allowed by the first-team defense came on Coleman’s run, as he broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and then broke the tackle of Corey Marshall down the field before finally being dragged down by Antone Exum. Coleman played the scrimmage with a fractured right hand, which he suffered two days ago on practice.

“I took a little bit of medicine [before the scrimmage], and I didn’t feel it at all,” Coleman said. “By the time I got out there and saw all the fans and my blood started pumping, I didn’t feel any pain at all.”

Walk-on Zach Snell led the defense with six tackles, while Ronny Vandyke had five. Desmond Frye and Exum each recorded four. Tech’s defense recorded five sacks, with Alonzo Tweedy, Alston Smith, Antoine Hopkins, Ken Ekanem, and Luther Maddy recording single sacks. Also, Bruce Taylor intercepted a pass.

“We played a lot of man [defense] today, a lot more than we usually do, because we wanted to evaluate a lot of things,” defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “We wanted to evaluate our young defensive backs and see if they could cover and see if they could tackle. We had a game plan to evaluate our personnel and see what they could do in certain situations.

“I thought our first group was okay. I thought we got better as we went along. The one thing is I didn’t see a lot of emotion out there. I told them afterward that you can’t play great defense if you’re aren’t playing with great emotion. The first group kind of went out there and did their business, but we need to play with more emotion. You can’t just go out and do your business.”

Journell also hit a 32-yarder, but missed from 40 yards. Abbott had a 37-yarder blocked by cornerback Kyle Fuller.

On the punting front, freshman A.J. Hughes averaged 53.7 yards per punt on three punts, while Hunter Windmuller averaged 24.7 yards per punt on three punts.

The Hokies have another open scrimmage on Wednesday at 4 p.m. inside of Lane Stadium – the final open scrimmage. Tech opens the season on Sept. 3 against Georgia Tech, with kickoff slated for 8 p.m.

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