Public Scrimmage #1 (Saturday, o8.18, 4pm)
Virginia Tech opened its extrinsic foci of control doors on Saturday at 4pm to the general viewing public so that the 2012 Hokies could get some Hawthorne Effect in and so that Frank Beamer and staff could get a look at how they responded to being watched.
A most useful sports psych app’ by the old ball coach as people do respond differently to being watched indeed.
This ain’t Fancy Gap’s first rodeo and this ain’t the only public scrimmage of the season.
However, this one was not much of a fight after the ring-bell did go: “ding!”
And guess who won?
The 2012 Virginia Tech offense?!?
491 yards of total offense later…“Boom goes the dynamite” indeed.
However this is the very first Eye in the Sky so let’s jump right in and do ignore the lack of game clock as the plays can only be numbered in scripted 78 play scrimmage sans any time-stamp and sans the accompanying video screen-caps.
#61 Fisher oLine with a reported shoulder sprain
#26 Rookie Tb Mangus with a shoulder injury as well.
#77 Ty.Barfield with a right leg injury on an possible hyperextension when his feet simply slipped backwards and out from underneath him.
#38 Michael Branthover opened the scrimmage by booting two varieties of kick-offs. The first was the full fledged driving kick-off about 5 yards deep into the endzone. The second and third were intentionally lofty coverage kicks that landed in the vicinity of the 5-yardline which (hopefully) will give the suicide-squad ample time to get to the kick-off return man and stop him short of the 25 yard-line which is the new touchback spot of the ball. Recall as well that D-1 kick-offs will now take place from the 35 yard line which puts you 5-yards closer to the kick-off returner. Branthover clearly has the leg for either version of kicking though do go ahead and expect more coverage type kick-offs this year what with the new rule-changes in effect.
Note the difference in the length of the pass from Miller (Center) to LT (Qb) when one compares the 4 yard hike into the pistol set and the normal 7 yard drop in the shotgun. I’ll be interested to see if the differing length either snap messes with the other as the year wears on.
Observe that David Wang sure plays with a very wide base. This is all the more curious when you notice that the one real knock on him is his height –or lack thereof. i.e. a wider base only further diminishes his stature
Mark Leal has about as compact of a throwing motion that a person with actual arms can employ. As there is no wasted motion in his wind-up mechanics and this therefore results in his signature nose down darty looking quick-release.
For those of you not in attendance, check out the new WWII era “air raid” siren on the Lane Stadium scoreboard. Maybe Frank is finally going to open the offense up after all?
One of the things one has to like about the rookie Coleman kid at Wr is #2’s blocking His line-of-scrimmage block on the screen pass out into the right flat to Asante was a shield-blocking thing of beauty as Coleman intentionally gave ground thereby baiting the Cb into his chest just like a flirty girl does on the first date. Blocking need not be hyper violent to be hyper effective folks.
If there as an M.V.P. of scrimmage no.1 his name would surely be K.Fuller. As K.Full was all over the place on defense and he is dangerously close to being the best pure open-field tackler at Virginia Tech this side of mid-1980’s Billy Meyer way back when. Now mix in a smart looking TFL (tackle for a loss), a blocked FGA and another tackle and you have a very big day outta K.Full in very limited minutes.
M.Scales is a just a load up the gut folks. As #25 is a hip-churning, meat-grinding version of ground-chuck. This kid is ideally suited to isolation calls and quick hitting dive plays right up the middle as he accelerates very quickly to cannonball like full-speed and he is gonna bring the pain on a few defenders before this campaign is over.
You can not quite see it on the B.Taylor INT return highlight over on hokiesports.com; however I can assure you that Shuman scored a de-cleating hit beyond the hashmark before rumbling over to make the final stop on B.Taylor himself along the sideline. That’s called hustle and Shuman sure seems dedicated to improving his odds on playing ball at Ot despite his footwork limitations in terms of pass-blocking alone.
Marcus Davis and several of the other Wideouts enjoyed their best scrimmage no.1 blocking day in quite few years and I along with our 2012 cadre of Tb’s welcome that with open arms. After a rather lackluster year of downfield blocking outta Coach Sherm’s boys in 2011 it is delightful to see this as a renewed point of emphasis for this season.
Note the Texas Longhorn 3-second rule in terms of breaking the huddle (orange ellipse) and getting set along the line-of-scrimmage (yellow line) itself –with the huddle now be moved closer to the line-of-scrimmage proper at about 4 yards off the same.
I’ve been told that Mr. Holmes is the most balanced runner we currently have; as he is good at just about everything if not quite great at any one thing. I can also report that he sure is a patient runner who fits our version of zoning to the proverbial T. Note how he takes his time and allows for his blockers to set things up out in front of him before choosing his hole. In zone-blocking patience is a virtue indeed.
“He didn’t get to kick much in jail.” A certain TSL’ers quip to me after Cody sliced his first field-goal attempt to the right. </w0w!>
Edmonds is much quicker than you’d think for a Tb with something of a bruising reputation in tow; and I really enjoyed his Chuck Foreman 1970’s ‘esque spin-move downfield. You just gotta like this kid long-term as 2016 goes.
Note the first steal of the year as #81 Perez-Means totally annihilated #25 G.Jones downfield on the Edmonds carry after running what amounted to a post-pattern that turned into a de facto crack-back block. Although I don’t know if Perez-Means is a pure Te by trade; I do know that you need to get someone who hits like that out on the field as a special teams coverage Mack Truck.
The second-team oLine and their third-string compatriots really lacked a quality interior push in run-blocking terms at times on Saturday. The first team oLine however might just be the 1 or 1a most physical oLine in the whole entire A.c.c. After that, there is a long drop indeed from the first-string pole-axe guys down to their snap-n-pop back-ups.
Ditto the second and third-string Lb’s who looked to be a couple of years away in terms of physicality. They did rally to the ball well enough however, and yet they were a few bricks shy of a load at the point of attack.
Leal enjoyed a very keen looking reversal of field move when he pealed-back in the direction of the press-box as his right-hand pocket began to collapse around him which allowed him to squirt free for a first-down gain with his wheels. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again; even though there are other Qb’s in the A.c.c. and on our roster alike with more raw physical gifts than Mark Leal enjoys; few are better pure play-makers when it comes to improv’ and or moving the pocket left or right.
J.C. Coleman is the only Tb in the fold that enjoys any true measure of explosiveness to his game. He will go along at a +3, +1, -2, +3 kinda rushing clip and then: “boom!” Off he scampers on an average yards per carry inflated big-gainer at anytime from anywhere on the field. And you just gotta admire any kid willing to play through a busted right-hand while only carrying the ball tucked away on his left side. J.C. may be a small looking guy; though he is a small looking guy with a big-heart and big-play ability.
Tony Gregory sure got a long look from the other Coach Beamer as the senior-phille gene appears to have made it from Frank to Shane fine and dandy thank you very much. Gregory looked much quicker than I expected for a Tb turned Cb then back to Tb with a twice blown A.c.l. in tow. However blocking is just not his thing in pass protect mode; so why ask him to block in the first place? Use his speed downfield isolated on a Lb if you can.
The other Fuller (Corey) is holding onto his 3rd/4th place Wr job just fine thank you, as someone forgot to tell him that the rookies are better than he is.
Van Dyke is sure a fun one to watch. Whole lotta twitch –as in fast-muscle twitch fiber- to his game folks. As dood is basically a human-missile out there who packs quite a wallop when he does impact. Most curious indeed that we played him at Fs last year and therefore outta position as I’m told he was a natural H.S. OLb by trade. Repeat after me: “…there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…”
Note the extra misdirection element in this years offense folks. As we now have even more of a counter ingredient to our game with a wannabe Wingback or Slot Wr trailing the play for a third option or reverse oriented look. And somewhere Sidney Snell is smiling…
#30 D.Manning got beat by Davis by a good 50 yards on a pattern that LT3 never saw as LT3 was dialed in on a down-n-out 3-5 yard Te pattern underneath. Davis would still be running if LT3 had gotten him the ball and none other than Coach Foster his ownself said that the back-up Cb’s played almost exclusive man-to-man on the day and that they also needed more than just a little work at the same.
Pretty brave referee out there who effectively overruled the Hall of Famer in waiting otherwise know as Frank Beamer when Frank thought a tipped Mark Leal pass that was somehow completed ended up short of the 3rd down maker as Frank was calling for a punt on 4th down when in fact the referee was repeatedly signaling for a 1st down after a somewhat generous spot. Don’t see too many zebras willing to challenge the old ball coach on much of anything in the regular season; never mind in the pre-season in Lane Stadium.
The third-string offensive line did not ante up much to write about as not much is just about how many defenders they managed to block on the day.
In the most curious thing I saw all day category I give you the sight of #51 Bruce Taylor hoofing it out there on special-teams. That’s hoofing it after an ugly Lisfranc right-foot surgery that has left him with two fused metatarsals and one remaining screw holding the same in place for the rest of his life. Not sure I wanna risk any extra mileage on that bad wheel that I don’t have too as there simply are no guarantees when it comes to something as delicate as this.
One of the few things I witnessed that did not impress me to the good was the off-play participation of one Nick Becton; as big ole number five-four still tends to take plays off or simply take it easy when the call goes the other way or over to the right side. Yah; I do know that this was per se only a scrimmage. Nevertheless, it was underwhelming to see #54 in no hurry to get anywhere on the backside of numerous running plays downfield.
Examine the number of in-line or linear pass patterns we called on the day last Saturday down in the New River Valley. I wish I had kept a simple T-chart count on this in order to quantify this take a bit further. Thus stated, on the one hand one can see what we favor Flys, Gos, Zooms or Streak patterns when one consults an O&M stop-watch and one therefore monitors the collective 40-yard dash times of the 2012 Wr corps. That caveat firmly in place, there is such a thing as predictability as we all know that Coach O’Cain prefers to throw towards the sideline and if I were an opposing Cb playing against Virginia Tech this season I would be looking to defend the same.
#23 Windmuller may have effectively eliminated himself from the 2012 punting sweepstakes with such a shanky day as to make any prison knife-fighter proud. A 24 yard average just won’t cut it with Frank Beamer no matter how you slice it.
I was really impressed by the development of the human-battering-ram other wise known as #33 one Mr. Riley Berio. As fullbacks go Mr. Berio enjoys a very low center of gravity and when you augment that with super-iron Hokie caliber strength you see some defenders with some hurt feeling after Mr. Berio slams into them as a lead-blocker. Gotta give a warhorse like this a carrot and throw him the rock a little bit as he does have soft-hands and he did rush for over 2,500 yards in high school for a reason.
Jack Tyler appeared to be playing quicker than every before at Mike linebacker folks. It is always amazing to witness the Brandon Frye effect as some guys are simply a notch or two better once they don that starting jersey which simply elevates their game like nothing else can.
Only foible I can report on the Heisman Trophy candidate otherwise known as Logan Lamont Thomas is the lingering penchant to throw off his hind leg when pressure goes full frontal and crowds him right in his face. This still causes the ball to sail a bit on Logan although his footwork and release point certainly have improved when compared to 2011. Right now I’d say this kid is closer to 95% Qb and only 5% Te although he is also closer to 2017-2020 or thereabouts from being his quarterbacking prime. Or to put it another way the sky is legitimately the limit here on #3 when taking the long-view of things.
Mark Leal enjoys the best pocket-vision I’ve seen at Virginia Tech this side of someone named MV1. Don’t believe me just ask the peal-back scrambling play I documented above.
(see above pic) #79 Caleb Farris needs to buckle up his chin-strap as playing a game of “Pop Goes the Wessel” when it comes to ones headgear in a terminal contact sport is simply not a good idea folks. Other than that, you have to like the aggressive nature of the Farris-wheel at the point of attack as Caleb is basically already a starting caliber back-up at Guard and Center alike at this very moment even if he does have to wait until 2014 before he gets his chance to start.
Note the use of the orange dot in front of our Punters as a pseudo punt-block boundary as Coach Beamer wants them to get the punt away before they cross the edge of the orange dot itself.
Third string Qb Trey Gresh sure throws an eminently catchable soft-touch kinda ball. I for one would not mind seeing us give him a trickerration shot down in the red-zone on a fake FGA just to keep opposing defenses honest for the duration early on in the year.