After finishing spring practice, there are many questions for fans to think about. There are also some bright spots to be excited about. Dalton Keene is one of those. He had a very promising spring practice, and impressed during the spring game. While he’s only a true freshman, Hokie fans can look forward to seeing him on the field this fall. Let’s take a quick look at what roles he could play.
Somebody has to replace newly-minted Los Angeles Rams fullback Sam Rogers. While it’ll be almost impossible to completely fill the shoes left behind by Rogers, Keene will give it a shot. I expect him to find lots of success out of this position if given enough opportunities. If he can be found running similar routes to what Rogers ran last year, Keene will have more athletic ability to capitalize.
Rogers was a good H-back but sometimes in the open field, he wasn’t able to gain the yards that Keene will be able to. If he lines up out wide like Rogers did a handful of times last season, the size advantage would be much more noticeable than it was with Rogers. In fact, that’s where Keene was lined up when he caught the touchdown in the spring game.
Impressions from the coaches
Fuente and the coaching staff seemed very encouraged with Keene taking this role. While there are plenty of uncertainties around the early enrollee just based on his inexperience playing college football, the tone from the coaches should help relieve some fans and their worries.
It sounded like Keene had a good spring practice and made significant strides in understanding the offensive scheme. This probably stems from his early arrival on campus — something that goes undervalued usually because those players aren’t immediate starters. In this case, Keene is looking to fully take advantage of that head-start.
Another position that Keene could get some opportunities is at tight end. Chris Cunningham in the returning tight end (Bucky was a wide receiver, let’s be honest), and he only contributed on a select few plays last season. I could imagine Cunningham keeping his role as a “goal to go” situational tight end, with Keene playing at the position outside of the redzone.
Cunningham demonstrated an adept ability to catch touchdowns last season, and I can’t imagine of any reason to change that up. Include Keene making plays from the tight end position during the rest of the drive, and the tight end position could be quite dangerous for the Hokies. The tight end position is usually undervalued in the offensive scheme run by Fuente, but the addition of Keene to the roster might change that going forward.