Defense dominates Spring Game

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The Virginia Tech football team concluded its spring practice with one of the most anticipated spring games in Tech history.

In front of about 30,000 fans, the White squad defeated the favored Orange team 27-9. While the White team was spotted 13 points at the beginning of the game, Logan Thomas and the Orange team could not muster a comeback.

“In the end, you’re trying to get to where the game is close in the fourth quarter, so you can find out things about your football team in the fourth quarter,” said Frank Beamer. “And what we found out, maybe some of the second-team guys need to be first-team guys. And that’s what happens a lot of the time.”

Coming off their worst season in 20 years, the Hokies are hoping their new offensive coaches can spark a transformation leading into the Hokies’ Aug. 31 opener against Alabama.

Frank Beamer

“Offensively, we’ve got to get more consistent,” Beamer said. “I can tell you there’s more to our offense than we showed today. But we also started out trying to get a good foundation and I think we’ve done that.”

Under new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, Thomas and the offense did not unveil much of their new offense. Thomas finished 16-of-29 for just 214 yards including three interceptions.

In the first quarter, Thomas was intercepted by Der’Woun Greene and Donovan Riley, both which were returned for touchdowns.

“Me and coach (Loeffler) saw things differently,” Thomas said. “The ball felt like it was coming out of my hand great all day.”

On the ground, the Hokies were led by Michael Holmes (seven carries, 24 yards) and Trey Edmunds (eight carries, 11 yards).

The lack of production from the backs wasn’t disappointing to Edmunds, who realizes there is a lot of time left before the season opener.

“Of course I was hoping to break a run or get more yards, that’s any running back. I know what I can do, and I know with our work in the offseason, my progress will just increase.”

With 3:43 left in the second quarter, the Orange team got on the board via a safety. James Gayle, a leader for Bud Foster’s defense, felt the 13 points was a deficit the Orange team should have overcome.

“I thought (today) was going to be cake work,” Gayle said. “They came out there and played well and we weren’t able to overcome it.”

Beamer was impressed with how his defense came to play on Saturday.

“Defensively, we’ve got a chance to be very good,” Beamer said. “We’ve got to keep working, keep improving.

The lone Orange team touchdown came in the third quarter, when backup quarterback Mark Leal found tight end Ryan Malleck for a 30-yard touchdown.

The Hokies welcomed a large group of former players back to Blacksburg, including Tyrod Taylor, David Wilson and numerous other Tech alumni.

Loeffler has only installed a small part of the offensive playbook, which limited Thomas and the offense on Saturday.

Logan Thomas

“Offensively, we only have a little bit in,” Thomas said. “People are going to say I had a bad day, but I think playing how I played, I threw the ball where I wanted to, I hit my spots and I was accurate. My mechanics have gotten better, my accuracy has gotten better and that’s all I could ask for learning the playbook. I’m excited to go into this summer and work with these guys and get them better.”

Thomas found his cousin and tight end Zack McCray several times on the day. After moving from defensive end to tight end at the end of last season, McCray finished the spring strong, finishing Saturday with four catches for 65 yards.

“I thought he did a great job today, I was proud of him,” Thomas said. “He had a couple good catches, a great catch and run. Obviously, I’d love to see him on the field with me and be able to throw him a couple passes. It’s nice to have family out there with you.”

On defense, Deon Clarke led the Hokies with nine tackles.

The Hokies gave action to a number of young players, including Greene and freshman left tackle Jonathan McLaughlin.

“Football is important to him,” Beamer said about McLaughlin. “He’s got some toughness, and again we’re going to evaluate all those guys, but right now we’ve got about eight guys (on the offensive line) we’ve got to depend on.”

For Greene, the spring represented a chance to seize an opportunity in the secondary. With cornerback Antone Exum out with injury, Greene is hoping to impress the coaches with his play.

“I think (the coaches) have a good idea of what I can do,” Greene said. “(The spring) was very competitive and the coaches pushed toughness. You have to be tough, or you’ll be standing on the sideline.”

Tech has nearly fourth and a half months before its season opener against Alabama. With their core intact, Beamer will be looking to iron out the details entering the fall.

One thing the Hokies have is confidence in their quarterback, even after a pedestrian day like Thomas had Saturday.

“Even good golfers have bad shots sometimes, but it’s the way you react to those shots,” Beamer said. “I’ve got a strong belief in Logan. When it’s fourth quarter time, I think he’ll be there.”

The Hokies  also received a commitment from Class of 2014 safety C.J. Reavis (Thomas Dale High School, Chester, Va.) prior to the Spring Game.

Reavis, a 6’0, 199-pound safety, holds offers from Ohio State, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Oklahoma among others.

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28 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Logan’s 1st Interception never happens in a real game, they take the Field Goal. Give him a break on that. I watched the game on my Computer, and it was as bad or worse than most Spring Games. The O Line still remains an Enigma to me, as I find it so hard to believe that Guys who are 6′ 5″ and 310 can suck so bad, as I am 5′ 9″ 180. Yaw know what I mean. But Yeah, the Tech Offense showed nothing, I realize that at this point the D is way ahead, but Geez! Coach Beamer is as Superstitious as Me, He might wanna donate that Leisure Suit to Goodwill, and get back to his normal Gameday attire. Other than Thomas and Leal playing on the same team, I’ve never heard of those QB’s for the White. Whatever happened to Brendan Motley and Bucky Hodges, maybe I’m getting ahead of Myself. If Hand was there, I hope Bud Foster treated him real nice, as We really need him. Glad to see that Reavis wants to be a Hokie, I also hope that Foster can finish the Hand job.

  2. Wow, if think we looked bad yesterday, did anyone see the defending champs Alabama’s spring game and watch their returning NC QB throwing two interceptions himself. Also think back to MV1s first spring game! You know the year they played for the NC. I didn’t even think they would beat JMU that year in the first game with the way they looked in that game! Take a breath and lighten up! This ain’t happening overnight, and again if you watch Bama’s spring game yesterday, they and their Award winning and senior returning QB with their returning OC, threw two pics and they really didn’t shine either and they are, the defending NC with loads of stars on their roster!

  3. I think Mark Leal is an underrated commodity. Best players should be on the field and if Thomas doesn’t progress we should give him a shot.

    1. Agreed. Not knocking Thomas. This should apply to every player at each position. If there is another player at a position who is playing well and the current starter struggles…give the other kid a chance to perform with the first team…during real time in real games!

    2. Agree also. LT is a senior. He doesn’t get half a season to get it going. If he doesn’t look sharp in the first few games, put Leal in there because he will our man next year and he could use the experience.

      Would it be too late to make LT a tight end this year. But he can’t cut it at QB we would be doing his NFL hopes a favor by letting him switch positions before the season is over.

  4. Let’s see. We can’t move the football effectively against our own second unit but we’ll be fine in the fall? The same running backs who couldn’t run last year can’t run this year. What a surprise! Remember a couple of months ago when there was all the talk about last year’s terrible offensive line and how much improvement we would see there. Where is it?

    1. Did it ever occur to you that, given the small number of plays that have been installed so far, not to mention the fact that we’re less than one month into installing a completely new offensive system, maybe the defense had an easier time recognizing what was coming than would otherwise be the case?

    2. And as was mentioned in the post above yours … MV’s first spring game wasn’t great the year VT went to the NC game and the Alabama spring game yesterday on offense was a disaster.

      There is no correlation what so ever between the spring game and the results of the fall season.

      1. Thank you Reston Hokie, it is good to see someone else speaks with some good sense and understands spring games vs regular season, especially taking into account all the changes!

    1. He’s talking about how each one saw the pass routes as the play developed.
      Don’t read something into the statement that’s not there.

          1. Yeah, go watch the interview. Several times he makes the point, “We never question what the coaches say. He’s the coach. He’s in charge.” Or something to that effect. LT has nothing but respect for Loeffler.

          2. TRUE, and this place is full of negativity.

            It’s like” what can we find negative to say about a player giving a thirsty child water” … surely there is something negative posters will find to say about it … it gets pathetically tiresome.

            Besides, this was the spring game after an offseason offensive coaching & system change. Did everyone expect a Peyton Manning-type performance yesterday?

        1. Well, respectful or disrespectful, I have to agree with Loeffler. I was there with a big group yesterday, and I can tell you EVERY ONE of us agreed with Loffler’s assessment, NOT Thomas’.”Pedestrian” is being kind. He was a low-light and looked just like he did when I last saw him.

          I know, and we all kept reminding ourselves, it IS just Spring, and he WILL get better. I just saw precious little evidence of it yesterday. He DID have some pretty poor drops, especially in his last series, but the int’s were BAD throws it appeared to us.

          Work hard boys…works hard!!

        2. Can’t sound disrespectful either way. It can only sound disrespectful if you think your way. Sorry, you are the one who is wrong here.

  5. Man, fourth and a half months is about what our offense will be facing against Bama unless they pick things up. 😉

  6. Spring game is hard to evaluate. I mean people like Redman, Duane Perez Means and other tight-ends ..did they get in. Did they primarily block? There are probably several players that we don’t know how they “did”.

    1. DPM and Redman both played. I recall DPM looking pretty athletic on one pass reception (although it was short).

      1. Yeah, but DPM also made a heck of a hurdle over his defender after the catch. I was impressed with him and especially Leal. Watching him drop that pass into Malleck’s hands makes me a lot more confident in him if he has to step in at some point.

  7. I am surprised no mention of Malleck? He had numerous catches.

    Actually Edmunds had a better day than the stats show. He had a couple of nice runs called back due to holding.

    LT may have liked how the ball came out of his hands but he was too high on one and he needed to see the defenders. His mechanics may have been fine but what about his vision?

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