Virginia Tech will begin spring practice this afternoon in Blacksburg.
Between today and April 24th’s spring game, the Hokies will practice 15 times,
including scrimmages, in preparation for the 2010 football season.
Expectations are lofty for a Tech team that went 10-3, won the Chick-fil-A
Bowl, and returns big name offensive players such as Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Williams
and Darren Evans. However, there are still plenty of questions that need to be
answered this spring. The Hokies lack depth at a number of defensive positions,
and Bud Foster will have his work cut out for him.
Tech fans will have a chance to check out the progress of the team in person
on three occasions.
Sessions for Tech Fans
Saturday, April 10
Saturday, April 17
Saturday, April 24
Two Saturday scrimmages will be open to the public, as well as the Spring Game,
as usual. Admittance is free to each event.
New Numbers and Numbers to Watch
Four key returning players have switched jersey numbers this spring. Since
r-senior tailback Kenny Lewis, Jr. is back with the team, sophomore cornerback
Jayron Hosley has switched from #20 to #17. Lewis will wear the #20 that he wore
from 2006 through 2008.
On the defensive line, r-sophomore Antoine Hopkins switches from #98 to #56.
Hopkins is from the same city, Richmond, as former Tech defensive tackle
Jonathan Lewis, who also wore #56.
Sophomore wide receiver D.J. Coles is switching from #90 to #18. Sam
Wheeler’s eligibility expired, which opened up a more proper number for a wide
Finally, r-sophomore Lorenzo Williams is switching from #14 to #23. Williams
is also changing positions, from free safety to whip linebacker. He is expected
to compete with r-sophomore Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and r-sophomore Alonzo Tweedy
for the starting position.
Other young players who have not played in the past will have a chance to
compete for a spot in the two deep. The following is a list of young players who
you might not recognize who have the best chance to compete for playing time
this season. We’ll include any true freshman who also enrolled this spring.
Most of those true freshmen are likely headed for a redshirt year. The other
players listed are hoping to earn a spot in the two-deep.
There are a few notable position changes. R-Jr. Josh Oglesby has been moved
from tailback to fullback, where he is tied at the top of the depth chart with
r-Sr. Kenny Younger. With so many talented and experienced tailbacks already on
the roster, the move makes sense. Oglesby is listed in the latest
hokiesports.com football roster at 5-11, 216.
Jake Johnson, a junior, has been moved from backer to defensive end. He will
start out at the stud position, which plays on the wide side of the field.
Johnson lost his starting job at backer to r-sophomore Lyndell Gibson towards
the end of last season. Johnson is currently listed at 6-2, 232.
Rising r-freshman James Hopper has been moved from cornerback to rover.
Hopper is a good athlete and rover has been seen as his possible position ever
since he signed with the Hokies. Right now he is #2 at rover and is 5-9, 183.
Lorenzo Williams, a r-sophomore, is moving from free safety to whip
linebacker. Williams struggled in space last spring, and a move closer to the
line of scrimmage could be in his best interest. He could also get some work at
rover this spring.
Eddie Whitley has completed the full time transition from cornerback to free
safety. He played both positions early last season before spending all of his
time at safety later in the year. He is expected to take over the starting
position vacated by Kam Chancellor.
A Loaded Offense, but a Questionable Defense?
Virginia Tech’s offense is expected to be explosive this season. The Hokies
return senior quarterback Tyrod Taylor, a 1,600 yard rusher in Ryan Williams, a
1,200 yard rusher in Darren Evans, a talented and experienced group of wide
receivers and an offensive line that has been totally rebuilt with Curt
Newsome’s type of recruit.
Tight end is a question mark, where only Andre Smith returns. They’ll also be
breaking in a new left tackle. However, there is enough explosive talent
returning that the Hokie offense should be poised to have a good year.
However, this will be a busy spring for Tech’s defensive coaches. The Hokies
have gaps everywhere. They lost three of their starting defensive linemen,
including both defensive ends. They lost whip linebacker Cody Grimm, as well as
his backup, Cam Martin. Free safety Kam Chancellor is gone, as is field corner
Bud Foster will have to replace the entire wide side of his defense. He’ll be
breaking in a new stud, whip, field corner and free safety. That’s a lot to be
concerned about. As a result, this could be a spring in which the Tech offense
has the advantage over the Tech defense. Foster will have to get those questions
answered before we can start talking about the Hokies having another highly