April 1, 2016
Spring storylines abound as Fuente leads Hokies
Tech's first-year coach and his staff are learning a lot about the team during spring practice

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech competed its fifth practice on the spring on Thursday evening, as new head coach Justin Fuente and his assistant coaches continue to learn about the Hokies’ personnel while also implementing their systems and philosophies. They conducted practice for roughly an hour on Thursday and then spent the final hour orchestrating a controlled scrimmage at Lane Stadium.

For those unfamiliar with the Hokies, here are a few storylines surrounding the team as it wraps up the final 10 spring practices in advance of the annual Maroon-Orange spring game on April 23:

• Justin Fuente enters his first season at Virginia Tech after orchestrating a dramatic turnaround at Memphis.

• Fuente groomed a trio of prolific passers in his previous two stops in Paxton Lynch (Memphis), Andy Dalton and Casey Pachall (TCU). Who will emerge as Virginia Tech’s starting QB in 2016 is clearly the spring’s biggest question mark.

• Senior Brenden Motley is the only returning Tech QB with starting experience for the Hokies. Dwayne Lawson and walk-on Jack Click are back, while JUCO transfer Jerod Evans and freshman Josh Jackson are both new members of the squad.

Bud Foster returns for his 30th season at Tech. Foster serves as the architect of the famed Lunch Pail Defense that has ranked in the top five among FBS teams in scoring defense on six different occasions under his direction.

• Senior DB Chuck Clark led the squad with 107 tackles (65 solo) in 2015 and senior DE Ken Ekanem paced the squad with 4.5 sacks a year ago, while junior LB Andrew Motuapuaka had a team-high 11.5 TFLs and 73 tackles last season. Sophomore CB Adonis Alexander led the squad with four interceptions as a true freshman.

• Offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen served as co-offensive coordinator with Fuente at Memphis, where the Tigers averaged 38.2 ppg and 457.0 ypg of total offense over the past two seasons.

• Junior WR Isaiah Ford was a consensus All-ACC pick in 2015 after posting the best receiving season in Tech history with 75 catches for 1,164 yards (15.5 avg.) with 11 touchdowns. TE Bucky Hodges and WR Cam Phillips also return.

• Respected senior FB Sam Rogers is one of the squad’s most versatile performers. Along with an O-line that returns four starters, he helped pave the way for RB Travon McMillian, who registered 1,043 yards and seven TDs last season.

• Special teams should continue to be a source of pride for Tech under James Shibest, who coached the nation’s top unit at Memphis in 2014 (per ESPN’s special teams rankings). K Joey Slye is back after connecting on 23 of 30 FGs (76.7%).

• Fuente inherits a squad that finished the 2015 campaign with a 7-6 mark with five of those last six losses coming by 5.2 ppg, including a four-OT loss vs. Duke and a one-OT setback against eventual ACC Coastal Division champ, North Carolina.

• For the entire Virginia Tech spring football update with more notes, a breakdown of the quarterback completion and print-friendly rosters (including 2016 signees), click here.

• For a photo gallery of our Thursday scrimmage, see below:

For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter and on Instagram @vthokiefootball Instagram

HokieSports Shop