Yesterday, Virginia Tech hosted their final press conference before their annual Spring Game along with an open practice for students and media. With that said, here are some notable highlights from yesterday's events.
Adonis Alexander Will Miss the Spring Game
The big news that came out of last night's partially open spring practice is that Adonis Alexander will miss the Spring Game.
With Alexander out for the Spring Game, it creates some opportunities for younger cornerbacks like Bryce Watts, Jovonn Quillen, Tyree Rodgers, and Jermaine Waller to all receive some extra reps.
With the departures of Greg Stroman and Brandon Facyson, there are plenty of playing time opportunities at cornerback this year even with the coming arrival of Jeremy Webb. While most anticipate Webb will start alongside Alexander this fall, these extra reps should help these younger guys push Webb in that competition when he arrives.
Watts and Quillen appear the two top guys to watch with both previously pushing for the second starting CB spot during the spring. With Alexander out, you can likely expect that Watts and Quillen will be the two cornerbacks working with the first team defense on Saturday.
Silas Dzansi Says He's Currently Starting at Left Tackle
Entering the spring, Silas Dzansi was not someone most expected to push for a starting job on the offensive line. Last week, Justin Fuente said that Dzansi was turning heads "in a good way" for VIrginia Tech this spring. In an open practice to the media earlier this spring, Dzansi also appeared to be receiving some first team reps.
Yesterday, Dzansi made some news when speaking to the media.
"I definitely think I've gotten a lot better compared to last year. I'm starting as of right now so that's a definite plus coming from being on scout team," Dzansi told the media yesterday.
The rise of Dzansi from two offers coming out of high school to scout team last year to currently working with the starting offensive line is impressive. On top of that, the Hokies are also putting Dzansi at a spot where he appears more comfortable at, left tackle, while moving veteran Yosuah Nijman to right tackle.
So, how did Dzansi go from scout team to first string? No one appears to have a clear idea beyond the fact that something clicked for him according to TE Chris Cunningham.
"I don't know, something clicked for him. You saw it in the offseason back in January when we were doing Colorados. In the weight room, he's being more attentive and more on his grind," Cunningham said.
Dzansi has stepped his game up in all areas and because of it, he's giving himself a great chance to start as a redshirt freshman.
Kicker/Kickoff Battle Will Extend Into Fall Camp
With Joey Slye gone, the Hokies have a significant kicking battle this spring between Brian Johnson and Jordan Stout.
Right now, it appears that the Hokies aren't close to deciding which one will be their kicker against Florida State.
"Field goal-wise, I think the competition is going to go through fall camp. Some days, they look really good, they have ability, and it's just being able to go out there in front of 70,000 people and perform. I'm glad Brian (Johnson) had the opportunity to do that a little bit late last year to get some experience. A good start by them guys always helps with confidence. Them guys do have ability, it's just a matter of going out on gameday and executing right now," James Shibest said.
Brian Johnson does have the benefit of having some experience from the end of last season that should help in his personal development along with giving James Shibest a semi-proven option. However, Shibest also mentioned that he feels Jordan Stout has a stronger leg when talking about the additional battle happening at the kickoff spot.
What Shibest's comments make clear is that he is not close to making a decision on who will be kicking field goals and extra points for Virginia Tech next season, and he's completely okay with that.
In addition to that, Shibest has a battle for the kickoff job, but he appears confident with either Johnson or Stout in that spot as well.
"I think we have two guys that have talent. They just have to be able to go do it in the games with Brian Johnson and Jordan Stout."
How Not to Say Drake DeIuliis' Last Name
If you didn't already know, Drake DeIuliis' last name probably has the highest ratio of vowels to total letters in all of college football. That also makes DeIuliis one of the toughest names to say in college football and will likely give play-by-play guys across the country nightmares in the week leading up to them calling Virginia Tech football games.
However, those play-by-play guys likely won't butcher his last name as badly as some at his high school did.
In addition to being called "delicious" by someone in high school, some Hokies still struggle to figure out how to pronounce DeIuliis.
Unfortunately for DeIuliis, his decision to reveal that someone once pronounced his last name as "delicious" likely means it'll be far from the last time that he hears that mis-pronunciation.
Photo Credit: Trey Hamby
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