2005 Preview: The Quarterbacks

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If you read college football previews on the Internet, as
well as those on newsstands, they will tell you that one of Virginia Tech’s
biggest question marks heading into 2005 is quarterback play. They say that if
Marcus Vick is half the quarterback his older brother was in Blacksburg, the
Hokies might be headed to the Promised Land. Well I’m here to tell you that
Marcus is a bit more than that, and is indeed better than the great Michael in
some aspects of his game.

But before we get into specific players, let’s take a
look at the quarterback position in its entirety. It’s true, the Hokies do not
return ACC Player of the Year Bryan Randall. But what they do have is the most
talented and deepest group of quarterbacks that Blacksburg has ever seen. So
many, in fact, that it’s probably difficult for Kevin Rogers to spread an
equal amount of his supreme knowledge of the position to the entire group.

While Marcus Vick has never started a game, he does have a
lot of experience from the 2003 season. And while Vick put up a subpar
two-to-five touchdown to interception ratio that year, he appears to have put
that problem behind him, as our insiders tell us that they only saw Marcus throw
one interception in scrimmages this past spring (that one was the one that most
of you saw in the spring game).

It is also important that the Hokies have a backup that
has taken snaps in a real college game, and they have that in Sean Glennon. They
also have the immensely talented Cory Holt, who redshirted in 2004. Ike Whitaker
and Greg Boone will arrive as talented true freshmen. In fact, Whitaker was
named the ACC’s top quarterback recruit by The Sporting News. So as you can
see, Kevin Rogers is probably chomping at the bit to get to work this year.

Now, let’s take a look at each individual player, in
order of where I project them on the depth chart.

Marcus Vick, r-Jr., 6-0, 212

is certainly the most athletically gifted player on the Virginia Tech roster,
and perhaps in the entire ACC. After showing flashes of potential as a
r-freshman in 2003, Vick missed the entire 2004 season due to being suspended
from Virginia Tech. Now he’s back and if the spring is any indication, he is
ready to assume his position in the upper echelon of college football players.

Vick possesses many of the same traits as his older
brother Michael. The one that most stands out is his speed. Marcus ran a 4.28
forty yard dash back in February. For all we know, it could be better than that
now. For comparison’s sake, Michael ran a 4.25. Marcus also is one of the most
accurate deep ball passers that you will see. Vick has produced an uncountable
number of deep touchdown passes in practice since he has been in Blacksburg. He
also had one to Ernest Wilford in the 2003 Miami game. As solid as Bryan Randall
was, the Hokies would have likely blown out WVU in 2004 with Vick at the helm,
as he probably wouldn’t have missed David Clowney running behind the
Mountaineer secondary on more than one occasion.

Marcus also has a tremendous touch on his passes. He
throws the ball very hard, but his passes are apparently fairly easy to catch,
as there were very few dropped passes this past spring.

He can also put the pass wherever he wants it. As one of
our insiders from this past spring put it in an email, “Sometimes when he
throws the ball, I want to get up and scream “No, no, no! What are you doing?”
But then I see the ball is thrown perfectly right between two or three
defenders, directly into the receiver’s hands. It’s almost as if the ball
has a camera on the end of it, and Vick is standing in the backfield guiding it
with a remote control through the defenders. Kind of like fighter pilots do with
those guided missiles.”

I know he’s missed a year, but in this situation I’ve
got to call it like I see it. And I’ll use a quote from one of our insiders
that made it’s way into one of our spring practice recaps.

"I don’t think I need to say much about Vick
anymore.  He is the truth.”

Sean Glennon, So., 6-3, 215

Glennon is a quarterback with some nice talents and a good head on his
shoulders, traits that enabled him to win the backup job to Bryan Randall as a
true freshman. Glennon posted good numbers (8-of-11, 137 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs)
in mop up duty in 2004, and showed an ability to run the offense in a timely and
efficient manner.

That said, there are some parts of his game which need
definite improvement if he wants to be effective, should Vick go down with an
injury. First of all, he needs to improve his decision making ability. Most of
you saw or read about his three interception performance in the spring game.

But most of all, he just needs to mature as a quarterback.
He needs to quicken his reads and get rid of the ball sooner to the right
receiver. But that will come with time. Remember, Glennon is a guy who would
only be a r-freshman in 2005 if Marcus Vick had not been suspended in 2004.

Cory Holt, r-Fr., 6-4, 216

Marcus Vick excepted, Cory Holt is the most talented
quarterback on Virginia Tech’s roster. Holt is fast enough to escape pressure
(4.57 forty yard dash) and throws an accurate pass with a lot of velocity. Holt
just needs a lot of reps. Injuries last fall and this past spring have limited
his progression.

But make no mistake about it, if Cory Holt picks up the
offense, he could be the quarterback of the future for Virginia Tech. Perhaps no
one on Tech’s team throws a better 10 yard out pattern than Holt. Like Vick,
he also has a great touch on his passes. Holt was thought to be on the two-year
plan coming out of high school, meaning it would take him two years of college
ball before he picked up the offense. If he can stay healthy and get a
full August of reps, he can push Glennon for the #2 spot.

Incoming Freshmen

Ike Whitaker: Whitaker is a very talented quarterback from
the state of Maryland who chose Virginia Tech over a host of other big time
schools. Of the quarterbacks that are currently on Tech’s roster, Whitaker
most closely resembles Cory Holt. He’s tall, lanky, and needs work on his

However, he can throw the ball, he’s pretty accurate
from seeing his highlight film (granted, it’s his highlight film. They aren’t
going to include any bad passes on a highlight film), and he has the ability to
escape the pass rush. Whitaker will definitely redshirt in 2005, and the spring
of 2006 will give us a glimpse of what kind of a future he has.

Greg Boone: I’ll be honest, I’m really not sure how
much Greg Boone weighs. I’ve seen him listed as much as 260. But he’s
definitely big, in the Byron Leftwich mold of a quarterback. He also has a good
arm and can move well for a guy his size. Like Whitaker, he will redshirt this
fall, and will battle with his fellow freshman this spring for a spot on the
depth chart.

Boone needs to work on his mechanics as a quarterback. If
he doesn’t work out for him, he can also play tight end or defensive end. Very
talented as an athlete, Boone played safety (as well as QB, of course) in high
school. His 2005 season remains in question, as he had an MRI on his knee last
week. Rumors are circulating that the MRI did not bring good news, and that
Boone is contemplating waiting until January to enroll.

Overall Rating

I give this group a B overall. The talent level
from top to bottom is probably the best in the ACC, and deserves an A. I think
Marcus Vick will be an “A” level quarterback this year. My one reason for
not giving this group a higher grade is that there is precious little experience
behind Vick.

And while Vick isn’t the most experienced guy around, he
is a r-Junior. Sean Glennon is a true sophomore that has never taken a snap in a
game that wasn’t a blowout. As all of spring practice, including the spring
game, showed, there is a rather large drop-off from Vick to Glennon. I believe
that an injury to Marcus Vick is the difference between playing for a BCS bowl
and getting six or seven wins and spending the Holidays in Boise.

This group is probably one year away from me giving it an
A overall. Kevin Rogers needs a chance to continue to develop his backups and
let the depth chart shake itself out.

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