April 12, 2014
Motley, Ekanem headline Tech's second full scrimmage of spring practice
By Jimmy Robertson

BLACKSBURG – Brenden Motley completed 12 of 20 for 163 yards and a touchdown, Marshawn Williams rushed for 66 yards and Ken Ekanem recorded three sacks to headline Virginia Tech’s second football scrimmage at Lane Stadium on Saturday.

The scrimmage consisted of 99 plays. The first-team offense and the first-team defense went against each other on three series for a total of 18 plays.

“Overall, I liked what I saw,” Tech coach Frank Beamer said. “I thought it was a good spring practice. I like the way this team has practiced this spring. Every practice has been good. There’s been good effort and good movement – no lolly gagging around. I’ve been impressed with our guys.”

Motley threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Demitri Knowles against Tech’s second-team defense, and backup quarterback Andrew Ford threw a 17-yard touchdown to tight end Dakota Jackson also against the No. 2 defense. Those two plays accounted for the lone touchdowns of the scrimmage.

Tech’s defense finished with 13 sacks, including the three by Ekanem and 2.5 by Luther Maddy. The defense also forced two fumbles, one each by Desmond Frye and Dahman McKinnon and intercepted a pass (Donovan Riley).

Motley, a redshirt sophomore from Christiansburg, Va., worked with the first team offense in place of Mark Leal, who sat out the scrimmage with an injury (knee/hamstring). In addition to completing 12 of 20, Motley also made some nice runs. He finished with minus-5 yards rushing because of four sacks.

Motley’s passing numbers could have been better. He overthrew tight end Bucky Hodges for what would have been a long touchdown play, and he also missed Hodges a little later in the scrimmage.

“I got a huge opportunity today,” Motley said. “I feel like I did pretty well. There are definitely some things I’ve got to work on, but I feel like I did some good things. My teammates made some great plays for me, and the line did a great job. So I’m pretty happy.”

Ford was accurate in this scrimmage, misfiring on only three passes and had a long one to Deon Newsome that Newsome dropped. But Ford was sacked nine times, with many of those coming as a result of poor snaps while in the shotgun formation.

Marshawn Williams led all rushers with 66 yards on 13 carries and continued his impressive spring. J.C. Coleman rushed for 27 yards on 11 carries.

Charley Meyer led all receivers with five receptions, while Knowles caught four passes for 107 yards and Newsome caught four passes for 83 yards.

Field-goal kicker Michael Branthover made all three of his attempts (33, 37 and 42 yards), while Eric Kristensen made both of his (37 and 33 yards).

Defensively, Frye led all tackles with eight (three solo), including a sack. McKinnon finished with seven tackles (five solo) and Josh Trimble also had seven (four solo).

Tech continues spring practice on Tuesday. The Hokies will participate in another scrimmage next Saturday at approximately 11:30 a.m. at Lane Stadium.

Other news, notes and observations from the scrimmage:

• Beamer said that Branthover was the early leader in the battle for the field-goal kicker job. The senior from Dayton, Md., played in five games last season, but mostly handled kickoffs. In the Sun Bowl, he handled field-goal duties and made 1 of 2.

“I think Branthover is in the lead,” Beamer said. “He’s had a good week of kicking. He’s got a strong leg, and he’s the veteran guy out there right now. I think he’s the best, but we’ll continue the competition and see where that goes.”

David Wang returned to the field for the Hokies in this scrimmage, but hobbled off early in the scrimmage, forcing Tech’s staff to move Caleb Farris from guard to center. Adam Taraschke, who had never played center before, served as the backup center and struggled.

Beamer said Kyle Chung, the projected No. 2 center, is probably going to undergo surgery on his shoulder and be out for the rest of spring.

• Defensive back Donovan Riley enjoyed a nice scrimmage and is quietly having a very good spring. In addition to the interception, he finished with six tackles (five solo) and was very good in coverage.

Riley has been working with the No. 1 defense because of the spring-ending injury to Brandon Facyson.

“I’m really, really pleased with Donovan,” Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “He’s improved from a technique and fundamentals standpoint and his consistency of play. I’ve been pleased with that.”

• Williams, the freshman running back, continues to impress this spring. He’s a load to bring down, but more impressively, he possesses nice feet and good vision, so he can make a cut at the right time.

“He plants that foot and goes,” Beamer said. “That zone read play is very natural to him. He feels an opening and hits it. You don’t teach that a lot. I was impressed with him.”

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