Saturday was a beautiful day for some spring football as the Hokies held their second scrimmage, this one having 96 plays. The title says it all. Highlighted by quarterbacks and co-starters Michael Brewer and Brendan Motley, the offense was put to the test and certainly succeeded on Saturday.
On one of the first plays of the day, Brewer rolled out to his right on a pass play and threw a nice ball down the sideline to Isaiah Ford in traffic. On the very next play, Brewer tucked it on a veer play and took it in for the score. Brewer wasn’t the only QB gaining yards on the ground on Saturday. Brenden Motley, who is currently competing for the starting spot under center for the Hokies, broke for two big runs on the day, both of which were option reads in which he took the ball up the middle untouched for scores.
The battle for the starting spot is certainly not over yet but one thing is for sure, Beamer is not worried about quarterbacks Andrew Ford or Chris Durkin getting hurt before the season. Both of them sported maroon jerseys and took some type of beating in the backfield as the second team offense could not keep up with the defensive line. Durkin looked slightly better on the day solely for his ability to run the football but neither quarterback did anything special in their series with the second team offense. Fifth string QB Jack Click played one series and handed the ball off four times.
The skill players on offense collectively had a day as well. Cam Phillips has made tremendous strides to close the gap to virtually nothing on Isaiah Ford. The two are merely one in the same and both have great upside when it comes to play making. Both receivers made big plays with Brewer in the game with each of them catching and running for a 50+ yard touchdown on the day. The two weapons outside will contribute greatly this season and give the gun slinger two reliable targets. Bucky was Bucky and did Bucky things.
In the backfield, all healthy running backs saw action on Saturday with multiple series each. Starter J.C. Coleman showed why he is atop the depth chart going into spring as he continues to run with good vision and power with the speed necessary to start in the ACC. Travon McMillan has made good gains this spring to impress many of the coaches with his ability to run the football. McMillan has the speed to get to the outside and is not afraid to lower his shoulder when needed. The Hokies could find themselves using McMillan on third downs come fall.
Of course, none of the offensive production would’ve been possible without the big boys up front in the trenches. Wyatt Teller continues to serve up pancakes and is the surest thing on the o-line. Jonathan McLaughlin and Wade Hansen continuously took defenders out of the play on the outsides, and despite probable starter Eric Gallo’s few low snaps, he was consistent on the day and gives the coaches hope for offensive line unity.
Even though many of the defensive starters are banged up for the spring, there were some shining moments for the unit also. Seth Dooley has taken strides to push Ken Ekanem and should see the field this fall. Dooley made nice plays to go after the quarterback, which is encouraging for the lack of defensive end depth.
On the interior, Nigel Williams is starter material and certainly showed it on Saturday with his ability to not only stop the run but also get to the quarterback. He and Woody Baron combined on a sack on Andrew Ford early in the day.
At linebacker, Deon Clarke looks to be in midseason shape and form, and should be a key component to the Hokies success on defense this year. Andrew Motuapuaka continued where he left off in 2014 and will not be much of a drop-off if any from ex-MIKE linebacker Chase Williams. Jamieon Moss looked to be the better option to back up Clarke on Saturday though Raymon Minor did rush the quarterback well when called to do that.
Now comes the secondary carousel. I won’t say much about the secondary though I could go on and on. There is a lot of speculation now as to who will play what position, but we really just don’t know. Donovan Riley looked great at rover and can tackle in the open field well. Chuck Clark struggled a lot last year at corner so he could find his home at free safety this year if Brandon Facyson can stay healthy. C.J. Reavis is another option at free. There is only one thing for sure in the secondary as of now and that is, that come September and through the season, a lot of guys will be getting playing time.
Young guys Mook Reynolds and Adonis Alexander both showed some stuff in the scrimmage. On Cam’s big play with the ball thrown from Brewer, Alexander was back in good coverage but the ball was thrown on a dime and Cam made a good play on it. Reynolds did some good things in coverage and is learning quickly.
Ken Ekanem, Dadi Nicolas, Kendall Fuller, Brandon Facyson, Corey Marshall, Luther Maddy, Sam Rogers, and Marshawn Williams all sat out with injuries.