BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech quarterbacks threw three touchdown passes, and defensive end Dadi Nicolas recorded six tackles and a sack to headline a spring football scrimmage held Saturday morning at Lane Stadium.
The 72-play scrimmage featured a combination of red-zone situations and full-field play. Four of the Hokies’ five touchdowns in the scrimmage came in red-zone situations.
“That, to me, was a good scrimmage there today,” Tech coach Frank Beamer said afterward. “We had different situations and so forth, but a lot of good plays on both sides and a lot of plays that we can learn from on both sides, too. But how we’re practicing – there aren’t a lot of crazy penalties and we’ve had clean practices – that’s what I’m most pleased about.”
Tech’s lone touchdown in a non-red zone situation was the byproduct of arguably the Hokies’ best drive of the spring. Facing the first-team defense, the first-team offense went 65 yards in six plays and scored on a 35-yard pass from quarterback Logan Thomas to receiver Demitri Knowles, who led all receivers with two catches for 64 yards.
Thomas completed just 6 of 16 for 119 yards, but he did not throw an interception, was sacked just once and victimized by some dropped passes. Backups Mark Leal and Brian Rody also threw touchdown passes, as Leal threw an 8-yard strike to tight end Zack McCray and Rody a 24-yard pass to receiver Joel Caleb.
On the ground, Michael Holmes led all rushers with 23 yards and scored on a 4-yard touchdown run. Thomas added the Hokies’ other score on the ground with a 3-yard run on third-and goal late in the scrimmage.
“I saw some improvement,” offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler said. “But we had too many balls on the ground. We’ve got to stop fumbling the ball (two lost fumbles). We’ve got to catch the ball (four drops). On short yardage, we need to improve. On third-and-2, when we’re down there, we had to pull the ball and run a naked bootleg with Logan (the 3-yard TD run). That’s not our mentality. We’re going to line up and knock people off the ball and run the ball in the end zone. So that needs to improve.
“We need to get better. We did some positive things. I don’t want to sound like negative Nancy here. There were some extremely positive things, but we also have to have the mentality that we’re against the clock. We play in 100-and-some odd days. We’ve got to go.”
Defensively, Tech recorded just two sacks – one by Nicolas and one by defensive tackle Alston Smith – but the defense intercepted two passes and had 11 tackles for a loss. Nicolas led all defenders with his six tackles, including 2.5 of which went for losses, and the sack. Luther Maddy had five tackles, including 1.5 for a loss. Freshman cornerback Brandon Facyson and backup safety T.J. Shaw had the interceptions.
As a result of the Hokies doing so much red-zone work, the kickers got more involved in this scrimmage. Cody Journell made a 31-yard field goal, but missed two 47-yard attempts. Brooks Abbott made a 23-yarder.
The Hokies conclude spring practice next Saturday with the annual Maroon-White game. The kickoff is slated for 3 p.m.
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