Justin Fuente and Virginia Tech opened up their 13th practice of the spring to students on Tuesday night, and I was able to attend. Here are the quick notes and takeaways I had from being in the stands.
Unsurprisingly, the main talk of the spring has been about who will be the starting quarterback in the fall. Fans haven't seen much of A.J. Bush, but they'll be happy on Saturday during the Spring Game. He looked very sharp all practice. He went through progressions, didn't force throws, and seemed very capable of running as well. He had an interception by Terrell Edmunds but that was more because of the wide receiver falling down. He got reps with the "1's"
Josh Jackson was with the 1's as well. He seemed to not be as comfortable, and threw an interception. He threw two picks, both by Adonis Alexander. His throws, however, were forced into tight coverage, unlike Bush's interception. He looks like he has the skills, but is still struggling to put it all together.
Hendon Hooker worked exclusively with the 2's. He is obviously the best running quarterback on the team, and his size is nothing to be played with. He was overthrowing receivers a lot though, and was quick to look to run, instead of going through progressions.
There seemed to be a main rotation of 4 players. Deshawn McClease was in a non-contact jersey and got a couple reps, but for the main part the rotation went like this -- Steven Peoples, Travon McMillian, D.J. Reid, Terius Wheatley. McMillian and Peoples especially looked like they have ratcheted up their intensity. They're running through any gap in the line with extreme focus. It's refreshing to see and lends hope for that position in the fall.
Several players were practicing in non-contact jerseys. Included in that group was Divine Deablo, Eric Kumah, Henri Murphy, and Phil Patterson. They should be good to go in the fall, but I don't expect to see all of them for the spring game. Deon Newsome tweaked his ankle making an interception early in the practice, and spent the rest of the night on the sideline with the trainers.
Caleb Farley has been getting equal time on both offense and defense, but he seems extremely comfortable at the wide receiver position. He has the speed, size, and athletic ability to be extremely useful in this offense. He had a couple great downfield catches over his shoulder while also having a defender draped over him.
Kalil Pimpleton looks legit. The coaching staff has been speaking highly of him all spring and I can see why. He is good in the open field and runs his routes well. I am highly anticipating what he can do in the fall.
Adonis Alexander was aggressive all night and looks to be one of the better defensive players on the team this season. He was flying all over the field and made several great plays on the ball. I'm looking forward to seeing what he is capable of this season.
Overall, this was a limited squad just based on how many injuries are on this team. While it isn't a great look right now in the spring, I expect that in the fall when injuries aren't as relevant, fans will start to be extremely excited about this team. The defense should be scary and the offense seems to be taking shape with a decent quarterback leading it -- whether that be Jackson or Bush.
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