August 15, 2015
Hokies answer questions about 2015 season at Media Day
Beamer likes what he sees after first week of practice
2015 Media Day Quotes

Coaches, players quotes

Coach Beamer quotes

By Jimmy Robertson

BLACKSBURG – In addition to holding its second annual Fan Appreciation Day (see photo gallery right), the Virginia Tech football program served as the host for Media Day, a roughly two-hour session in which statewide media members interview coaches and players about the upcoming season.

Head coach Frank Beamer opened by congratulating Tyrod Taylor, a former quarterback who is vying for the starting quarterback position with the Buffalo Bills. Taylor completed 5-of-8 for 49 yards, and he also rushed six times for 47 yards in the Bills’ 25-24 loss to the Panthers last night. Then Beamer gave an assessment of the Hokies’ first eight practices.

“I can’t say enough about the tempo of our practices,” Beamer said. “Our coaches are doing a great job. The players are doing a great job. We’re getting things accomplished. Things are moving quick - I like that.”

Beamer addressed an array of topics. For more on those, please click the link above.

Here are some other notes from Tech’s Media Day session:

• Defensive coordinator Bud Foster addressed the rover position, which continues to be scrutinized following C.J. Reavis’ dismissal from the university by university officials for an off-field incident. Right now, Desmond Frye is in the top spot, but Foster said the Hokies already have done some juggling there, moving freshman Adonis Alexander to rover.

“He’s a dynamic, special guy,” Foster said. “He’s obviously got to learn and continue to develop. I think he’s a guy that can be a dynamic playmaker for us. He’s long. He reminds me of Kam Chancellor [former Tech safety now with the Seattle Seahawks]. He can really run, and he’s physical. He’s played rover the last three days, and I think he’s a guy that can help us down the road. How quickly? We’ll find out. I’m hoping sooner than later.

“But I have a lot of faith in Dez. He’s a smart guy, and he’ll play for us. We’ll probably do that by committee. Chuck Clark could player rover in a pinch. Der’Woun Greene can play rover. Both can play that. But I think we’re on the right track with those two guys [Frye and Alexander] there.”

• Clark said the transition from cornerback to safety is going seamlessly, which comes as no surprise given Clark’s intelligence and his outstanding play this spring. Clark was the MVP of the defense this spring, as selected by the coaches.

“It’s going real well,” Clark said of the transition. “Safety is just a natural fit for me. Going back there and being able to see the plays, how they fill out … it’s just a natural fit.

“It’s a little bit from a scheme standpoint. You’re looking at different things and have things that you need to see and different key reads. But it’s not too difficult.”

Clark’s emergence is critical for the secondary. Tech’s players on defense often pointed out how underrated Detrick Bonner was, and now Clark moves into that role. He needs to call coverages and make plays.

“I always learned from him and shadowed him,” Clark said of Bonner. “I kind of figured I would be moved to safety.”

• Offensive lineman Wyatt Teller and tailback J.C. Coleman both earned the Excalibur Award following strength and conditioning testing in late July. The Excalibur Award is the top honor in the strength and conditioning program and factors in all the lifts in addition to the vertical jump and 10-yard sprint.

Coleman – who became the first tailback to win the honor since Dr. Mike Gentry implemented this program in 2000 – set the tailback record in the front squat (465 pounds), which tied for the team best in that lift with Augie Conte, though Coleman is considered the top lifter in the front squat because he weighs less than Conte. Conte set the offensive guard record in the push jerk (415).

Teller nearly broke the all-time record in the power clean (400), though he did set a record for guards. His mark ranks second all time behind Kory Robertson’s record (405, 2007).

• Teller, as expected, drew a lot of attention and opined on numerous topics. Truthfully, his insertion into the starting lineup halfway through last season went a long way toward enhancing Tech’s rushing attack. The Hokies averaged 166 yards rushing per game in its final four games.

Teller, though, gave all the credit to J.C. Coleman.

“I feel like J.C. really kicked it into high gear,” Teller said. “Toward the end of the year, he was excited. When he got out there and knew his number was being called, he was excited. Seeing that, I feel like that helped out running game.”

Teller also showed off his latest hairstyle – a long mullet, with his hair closely cropped along the side of his head. His hair receives a lot of attention, which is befitting of his rather big personality.

“I find it funny,” he said of the attention his hair gets. “It’s not like I’m trying to be all serious. You’ve got to smile at a guy with a mullet. You can’t mean mug him. For the most part, it’s just having fun. It’s not supposed to be monotonous. Having a mullet is a change, and it’s kind of funny.”

The mullet may stay for a while – pending the outcome on Labor Day night.

“It’s all about the OSU game,” Teller said. “ If we win, I keep it. If we lose, it’s going. Hopefully, I’ll keep it.”

Yosuah Nijman has been getting reps with the first-team offensive line, as projected starting left tackle Jonathan McLaughin has missed some practices with some minor dings typically associated with August practices. Nijman, a freshman who enrolled in January, has experienced some growing pains, but continues to show flashes, and the Tech coaches rave about his potential.

“He’s going to be a good player … not a good player, a great player,” offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler said. “He’s long. He’s super athletic. Things are starting to slow down for him. Is he complete right now? No. He needs to gain weight. He’s 277 pounds. But that guy is a talented guy. If he continues to develop, he’s going to be a special player for us.”

Nijman came to Tech as a defensive lineman. He never really played offensive line at any level – high school or at Fork Union. So he has been doing some catching up.

But he has a perfect person to mentor him in Teller, who also moved from the defensive line to the offensive line.

“It’s really difficult at first, but it’s well worth it,” Teller said of the transition. “Nijman is turning into a great ball player, and he’s going to be a great offensive lineman. He just needs to stick with it. You can’t get discouraged.

“There were times when I got discouraged. Last year, I lost my job to a better player [David Wang]. I was upset, but I took it as I wasn’t ready. I was going to work my butt off to become ready, and Yosuah needs to think like that. If you’re second team behind Jon … Jon is a great player, and you’ve got to respect that. You’ve got to learn from him. You can’t be upset about it. Dave taught me a lot and helped me learn, and that helped me get ready to play.”

• Tech running backs coach Shane Beamer listed a tailback depth chart of J.C. Coleman, Trey Edmunds and Travon McMillian, a redshirt freshman whom Tech’s staff expresses excitement about in conversations and interviews.

McMillian, a Woodbridge, Virginia product, came to Tech as a quarterback and spent a few days at the position when he first arrived. Tech’s staff then moved him to tailback, wanting to take advantage of his dynamic skills with the ball in his hands.

“Very hard because I’ve been playing the quarterback position all my life,” McMillian said of the transition. “But the coaches know the right thing to do with their players. I’m trusting the coaches with their decision, and I’ve been working really hard to adjust. This year, I feel like it’s going to be a big year for me.”

Some might have transferred after being asked to move from quarterback to another position. After all, most quarterbacks love being the center of attention. But McMillian never considered an address change.

“I came here because of the guys here and the coaches and the legacy here of Frank Beamer,” he said. “Switching my position, it was tough, but I got past it, and I love running back just as much as I loved quarterback. In the end, it benefitted me.”

McMillian still needs to work on his blocking – the hardest part of the game for any young back. Linebackers like Deon Clarke take advantage of him from time to time, and then let him know about it.

“I can’t discuss that,” he said with a smile when asked what all Clarke says to him.

• A major topic of conversation during the first week of practice has been the arrival of defensive tackle Tim Settle, arguably the Hokies’ top recruit from this past February’s recruiting class. The Manassas, Virginia product checked in at 359 pounds, easily the heaviest Hokie on the squad.

Settle hopes to play this season as a true freshman, but Tech is stacked at defensive tackle, with guys like Woody Baron, Nigel Williams, Steve Sobczak and Ricky Walker vying for time behind starters Corey Marshall and Luther Maddy.

“I think I can play this year, but if I don’t, I’ll understand,” Settle said. “I’ve just got to keep working. That’s my main priority right now. We still have camp, and it depends how camp goes throughout.

“I’m not going to really break myself down about me not getting to play. Redshirting is not really a bad thing. I can learn and burn weight, but I’m going to try my best to get on the field this year.”

Settle said he weighed 349 pounds yesterday, meaning he has lost 10 pounds in a week. He probably needs to lose between 15-20 more pounds to be in condition to help Tech this season.

“I’d like to be anywhere from 330 to 340,” he said. “I think I could move at that. But if I could get down any lower, that would be amazing as well.”

Settle already has proved many doubters wrong. Few expected him to qualify academically, but he worked hard over his senior season and this summer and reached the NCAA’s requirements for eligibility.

“A lot of it was motivation from people doubting me,” he said. “Just keep working. You never know what will happen. I prayed about it a lot. I stayed with it the whole time, and things fall in place, just how I asked.”

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