BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech’s offense scored three touchdowns, and the Hokies’ defense recorded five sacks and an interception to headline an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday morning at Lane Stadium.
The scrimmage consisted of two full quarters of action. The first-team offense faced the first-team defense, while the second-team units squared off, all in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the first-team units took on the second- and third-teamers.
“We wanted to play different people, get a good evaluation, and now we’ll finalize our travel squad after we watch video [Saturday afternoon],” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “I thought Logan [Thomas] made some excellent throws, and I thought D.J. Coles looked like his old self. That’s the first time I’ve seen him catch it and juke, and he was playing at a very high level before he got hurt. He’s getting closer to that. [Chris] Mangus had some run and ran physical. [Josh] Stanford made some excellent catches.
“Overall, we had some breakdowns, but it’s one of those things that you learn from and get ready to go play Alabama and see where we are as a football team. That’s what I say every year at this time, but that’s what it is.”
Offensively, the Hokies’ quarterbacks threw for 191 yards, completing 13 of 22. Tech’s quarterbacks threw three touchdown passes compared to one interception.
The Hokies, though, rushed for minus-16 yards in part because Tech’s defense recorded five sacks for 41 yards worth of losses. The defense also allowed the offense to convert just 2 of 12 on third downs.
“I thought we did a lot of good things,” defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “It was a short scrimmage. We only had about 50 plays. I thought the effort was good and the fits were good. Now it’s time to play the season.
“I think we’re ready. We’ve got some young kids that are going to be playing for the first time, and we’ll see where they are mentally. I think physically they are ready to play. Mentally, we’ll see how they respond. I like where we are as a first group, and I like where we are with some of our second, but we’ve got a lot of young kids on our second team that will be playing their first football game.
“If we work hard and continue to improve, I think we’ll get better and better as the season goes along.”
Most of Tech’s depth chart is set, and 10 true freshmen and 17 redshirt freshmen are set to travel to Atlanta for the season opener. Those numbers include three true freshmen on the offense, with Jon McLaughlin earning the starting nod at left tackle. Offensive line coach named left guard Caleb Farris, center David Wang, right guard Andrew Miller and right tackle Laurence Gibson as the starters.
“They just performed the best over time,” Grimes said. “We had a fairly good idea that those guys would be in the mix, even going back to the spring, but there were some other guys who, I think, made some large improvements that put them in competition.
“We’re playing a lot of young guys and any time you play a young guy, you’re not sure how they’ll respond. But that applies to anybody who hasn’t played before, a guy like Laurence, who doesn’t have much game experience. You don’t know how he’ll respond either in a pressure-packed environment against a great opponent with a crowd that will be decidedly Alabama. It’ll be challenging for all those guys.”
Tech opens the 2013 campaign next Saturday against Alabama at the Georgia Dome. Kickoff is slated for 5:30 p.m.
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