Yesterday's press conference focused on Virginia Tech's defense with the biggest news being that Brandon Facyson is recovering faster than expected from a wrist injury, but his status for the season opener against West Virginia is still up in the air. Justin Fuente also went into some more depth about the true freshmen that will play this fall while a lot of talk surrounded VT's star cornerback trio and how to manage having three really good corners.
However, there were some other minor, but interesting details from yesterday that we'll feature here.
TJ Jackson, Silas Dzansi Having Strong Camps
TJ Jackson and Silas Dzansi may not be in competition for starting offensive line jobs, but the first two offensive linemen to commit to the Hokies after the arrival of Vance Vice are making a strong impression this fall.
"Silas Dzansi and TJ Jackson are working at tackle and they are getting better every single day." - Justin Fuente
It's notable to hear Fuente praise two young offensive tackles that aren't, to our knowledge, in the competition for a starting job at this time and should be encouraging for the future of the Hokies' offensive line. Dzansi could turn out to be a great steal, but a redshirt would make the most sense for the Northern Virginia native who impressed at Fork Union.
Meanwhile, Jackson seems poised for a spot on the two-deep as likely the backup at LT. Jackson has the protypical size that you want for an offensive tackle and has looked good on clips we've seen of him. Jackson will definitely be a future starter for the Hokies with the chance that he could push for a spot in 2018 with Tyrell Smith having the versatility to move to guard and any coach wanting the best 5 offensive linemen.
Brian Mitchell Confident in CB Depth
Depth at cornerback after Virginia Tech's star trio has been a question mark, but Brian Mitchell's comments on VT's cornerback depth should definitely be seen as encouraging.
"You have Tyree Rodgers (Jovonn) Quillen, Bryce Watts, and Shawn Payne. I mean we got some good depth." - Brian Mitchell
Tyree Rodgers, Jovonn Quillen, and Bryce Watts all know that they will most likely be competing for at least one starting job in 2018 at CB with VT also bringing in a large group of CBs in the 2018 class that should push these more experienced DBs. Shawn Payne was the big surprise to be mentioned and while he does have great size, it'll be interesting to see if he can put it all together.
Quillen avoided a redshirt last season via a special teams role and likely will continue to have a large role on special teams. Mitchell praised Quillen for having the tools, but the 757 native appears to currently be behind Tyree Rodgers in pursuit of the fourth cornerback spot.
Bryce Watts is the only cornerback the Hokies signed in the 2017 class, but has great speed and intriguing upside that has helped him receive some praise for his future from Bud Foster. Watts definitely should push for a top cornerback spot next offseason, but it likely would be best for him to redshirt though Watts could definitely be a guy to watch to earn playing time on special teams.
Rodgers appears to be at the top of the group of backup cornerbacks and received the most praise from Mitchell yesterday.
With his strong camp, it would be safe to say that Rodgers is currently the favorite to be the Hokies' fourth cornerback. While Rodgers may not play many meaningful snaps this fall, this is definitely a sign that the redshirt freshman is positioning himself as the leader to be a starting cornerback for VT next season.
Vinny Mihota May Work at DT This Fall
There's been plenty of talk about whether starting DE Vinny Mihota will also work some at DT due to his size and past time spent on the interior on top of the Hokies' depth concerns on the interior. Those comments continued yesterday with Fuente making the most concrete statement that Mihota may work some at DT.
"I think that is something that he can do, something we have certainly talked about. He probably has less control over that, it's more about how we feel about the other ends. If those guys really came along and if we felt good about them. Not to say that if he doesn't move in we don't feel good about those guys, but their development I think would be key to that conversation." - Justin Fuente on Vinny Mihota playing some DT
It is notable to hear Fuente say that they have had conversations about using Mihota some at DT though no one should take these comments to think that Mihota would make a permanent move to DT if a backup has a huge fall camp at DE. However, it's definitely a distinct possibly that Mihota may work some at DT next season, something that Mihota would be comfortable doing.
Andrew Motuapuaka: Keeper of the Pail
So do you ever wonder who holds on to the lunch pail that this site is named after? If so, Vinny Mihota told us the answer yesterday.
Mihota also mentioned that Bud Foster will hold on to it a lot while Woody Baron was unsurprisingly allowed to be the "keeper of the pail" last season.
Even though Mihota isn't the keeper of the pail, he definitely could be seen as a protector of the pail always knowing where it is at practice.
So if you can't tell by this point, Mihota is a big fan of that lunch pail.
Math Empo DB Lessons With Kendall Fuller
If you attended Virginia Tech in the past two decades or had a close family member attend VT during that time period, you probably know what the Math Empo is.
For those who don't, it's a building full of computers where some classes will have online tests done at along with tutoring opportunities off campus not far from Chipotle or Kroger.
While most of what is taught has to deal with academics, Terrell Edmunds was tutored by Kendall Fuller at times on some different subjects.
While this is a funny story in its own right, it's some great insight into how veteran Hokies have taken time to help teach VT's younger players over the years with Edmunds and the Hokies' star DBs continuing that tradition.
VT Football Jumps Onto Charlotte Sports Radio
This wasn't from the press conference but the #NC2VT movement is alive in more than one way with VT football set to be heard on one of the main sports radio stations in North Carolina's biggest city.
Virginia Tech and IMG announced that WFNZ in Charlotte will broadcast Virginia Tech football and Tech Talk Live for the next four years. Charlotte is now the second-largest radio market for VT football and another great opportunity for VT to make their presence known in North Carolina.
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