BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech’s defense recorded 10 sacks, and the offense made several big plays in a 101-play spring football scrimmage held at Lane Stadium on Monday evening.
Defensive end James Gayle led the defenders with 3.5 sacks, while quarterback Logan Thomas led the offense with 164 yards passing. There were no touchdowns in the scrimmage, and the first-team offense went up against the first-team defense on just three series. The only scores came on two short field goals (35 and 36 yards) by kicker Cody Journell.
“I really liked our scrimmage,” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “I thought the effort was excellent, and it has been all spring. I thought the execution was good for a first scrimmage on both sides of the ball. There’s going to be a lot to learn from, but we weren’t running into each other. We’ll study the video real hard, but some guys caught my attention. Overall, we kicked the ball well, and we punted it well.
“We’re doing a lot, so hopefully, from here on, there isn’t a lot of installation going. Hopefully, there is a lot of improving going on.
Offensively, Thomas completed 7 of 17, including a 46-yard pass to D.J. Coles, who got behind rover Kyshoen Jarrett, and a 37-yard strike to Josh Stanford. His biggest play came on a 63-yard completion to Demitri Knowles. But Thomas threw two interceptions, as backup safety Der’Woun Greene intercepted an underthrown ball and cornerback Kyle Fuller intercepted an out pattern. Thomas, though, was only sacked once as Tech’s first-team offensive line held up reasonably well.
“He did some things pretty well for the most part,” offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler said of Thomas. “We had some drops, but he went to the right place with the ball. Overall, he’s mechanically improved immensely, and his decisiveness has improved. By the time we get to fall training camp, he’s going to be a really good player.”
Tech’s offense turned the ball over four times in the scrimmage. Backup quarterback Brian Rody threw an interception to walk-on cornerback Chris Caver, and tailback Michael Holmes fumbled, one that was caused by defensive end Dadi Nicolas and recovered by walk-on linebacker Drew Burns.
Trey Edmunds paced Tech’s rushing attack with 29 yards on seven carries, while Daniel Dyer rushed for 11 yards and J.C. Coleman finished with 10 yards. Holmes rushed for four yards on seven carries, but most of his yardage was lost on the fumble. He did have a nice 15-yard run.
“Today, we just wanted to be very simple,” Loeffler said. “We want to find out who are running backs are, and we played a bunch of them. We are going to assess where we’re at with the running back situation. We played a lot of guys on the offensive line, trying to find the best five up front. We did some things really well, and we did some things we’d like to have back. That’s normally what occurs in a first scrimmage.
“It was the good, the bad and the ugly out there. It was almost identical to every other scrimmage I’ve been around. There are times we did some things that I was impressed with and some times when it looked like it was practice No. 6 or 7 or whatever we’re on. We’re trying to teach these guys to go in the right direction. The turnovers and the penalties, that’s uncalled for and we will get that cleaned up. Those aren’t talent issues, and they just kill you.”
Detrick Bonner paced the defense with six tackles (five solo). Justin Taylor, a backup defensive tackle, recorded five tackles, including one for a loss and a sack. Others who recorded sacks included Ken Ekanem, Seth Dooley, Alston Smith and Quenton Taylor. Nicolas, Nigel Williams and Jarrett each shared half sacks.
The Hokies will scrimmage again this Saturday at Lane Stadium, starting at 10:45 a.m. The scrimmage is free and open to the public.
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