Potential Contributors Emerging for Virginia Tech, Quarterback Battle Still Undecided

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Justin Fuente
Virginia Tech Head Coach Justin Fuente said his coaching staff is beginning to narrow down playing time at certain positions.

With less than two weeks until Virginia Tech opens the season against Liberty in Lane Stadium, Head Coach Justin Fuente says that he and the coaching staff are starting to figure out who their key contributors will be.

That said, Fuente think’s Tuesday night’s partially open practice wasn’t all that great.

“Today’s practice was not all that I had hoped,” Fuente said. “There’s a million excuses for that, but we’re not going to delve into those. Hopefully we’ll have a better day tomorrow. We’re still working a little good on good and obviously getting some prep in for our game against Liberty.”

Even though some positions are becoming clearer, the quarterback situation is still cloudy, at best. Fuente said that Jerod Evans, Brenden Motley and Josh Jackson are all still splitting No. 1 reps.

Even with the season-opener right around the corner, Fuente isn’t concerned about his quarterback situation and believes the three players have handled the circumstances well.

“I’ve been really pleased with all three and how they’ve handled the whole situation,” Fuente said. “From the little bit that you guys have talked to them, I think you got at least a sense of Josh most recently, and how he handles those things, and Brenden and Jerod have done a great job with him,” Fuente said. “I’ve been pleased with that aspect of the whole thing. We know all three of those guys want to play and we understand that and respect that.”

One position group that is close to being settled is the offensive line, where Yosuah Nijman has been working at left tackle, with Jonathan McLaughlin at right tackle. Eric Gallo, Wyatt Teller and Augie Conte are working on the interior, though Colt Pettit got some reps with the #1 offense at left guard on Tuesday in place of Teller.

Defensive end is in a similar state. Fuente says that Ken Ekanem and Vinny Mihota are the starters there, with redshirt-freshman Trevon Hill standing out as the third end. The battle for the last spot in the two-deep is still going on.

Seth Dooley, who dealt with an injury in the offseason, is healthy and fighting for that last spot.

“He’s got some work to still do coming back, just in terms of being the player we want him to be, but he comes to work every day and continues to be diligent and preparing,” Fuente said of Dooley. “He had a really good offseason, in terms of continuing to change his body, gaining muscle mass and losing body fat and those sorts of things to give himself a chance.”

Seth Dooley (43) is battling for playing time at defensive end.

Though Ekanem is all but guaranteed a starting position, he seemed to be held out of the open portion of Tuesday’s practice. Fuente wouldn’t say if Ekanem is dealing with an injury, but said he’s confident Ken will be ready to go.

“Everybody has a little bit of something,” Fuente said. “We know what Ken is. There’s push players and there’s pull players and Ken’s a pull player. We have to pull him back a little bit. We’re just trying to manage those guys that have played a lot. We’ve got to get those guys ready to play, but that doesn’t mean they should just stand to the side and drink water the whole time, but there’s also a whole other class of guys that need a tremendous amount of work and Ken is certainly not one of those.”

The weirdest news of the day surrounding Virginia Tech was Raymon Minor’s decision to return to the team. After originally saying that he would transfer, Virginia Tech confirmed on Tuesday that Minor is back and practicing with the team.

“He wanted to come back,” Fuente said. “So we welcomed him back.”

Fuente declined to give Minor’s reason for originally wanting to transfer or his reason for wanting to come back. The program confirmed that Minor had returned as a walk-on, but Fuente seemed to not want to address Minor’s scholarship status.

“We handle all that stuff internally, whether guys are on or off,” Fuente said. “We’ve put guys on that nobody knows about, and I’m not the kind of guy that videos it and puts it out for everybody to see, not that there’s anything wrong with that. There isn’t, but that’s just not how we handle those things.”

Fuente said his biggest concern with his team is how they will perform on special teams. Virginia Tech has done limited live work, but has refrained from doing too much in order to keep players healthy.

“The first game is always a challenge, because we try everything we can to simulate in special teams, we do a live kicking deal where we hold our breath, but we do that,” Fuente said. “I don’t want the first time we cover a kick or the first time we live punt return or punt to be in the game. You watch the first week of the season and there are inevitably large mistakes made on one side of the ball or the other in that first week.”

Even though Fuente feels like his lineup is being narrowed down, he dismissed the notion of a true starter, on both offense and defense.

“You play in several personnel groups on offense, which involves (Steven) Peoples and (Sam) Rogers, your tight ends and running backs, all that sort of stuff,” Fuente said. “ We don’t get too hung up on that, in terms of who actually takes the first snap of the game. We may spend a whole game in four-wide or two backs or one back and a tight end, and not start the game that way. We’re trying to deal with the pool of guys that we feel deserve to be in that however many guys offensively, and defense is becoming a little bit like that, in terms of substituting to match the offense, whether you’re in nickel, three-down or four-down.”

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40 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Why are the majority of the comments on here about the uniform colors? I know I just finished reading Ricky’s article on Potential Contributors Emerging – nothing about the uni colors.

    Good article, BTW. Glad to hear the offensive line might shake out like CC was hoping with Yosh at LT.

  2. The black uniforms are unique and cool. My sense is that they will be worn rarely and on special occasions. I support the team on the field regardless of the uniform. Go Hokies!

    1. I think the unies suck but like you said I feel it is not about the unies. It is about the people inside said uniform. Go Hokies !

    1. Fuente didn’t really address the defensive tackles. He’s definitely in the 2-deep right now, working with Ricky Walker with the 2’s. That’s the last we heard.

  3. Why must we sell our souls. I agree we should have maroon and orange only. People will be channel checking and have no idea we are playing. Alabama, LSU, Michigan and so on do not sell their souls. When you turn on their games, you know who is playing wright away. The biggest game of all time and we will not be wearing our colors.

  4. Game one can’t get here soon enough, so we can get an idea of what this team and new coaching staff are like. I understand the secrecy by Coach Fuente; however, his coachspeak makes CFB’s coachspeak look very enlightening!

  5. I’ve gone to Tech games for 30 years. I’ve put up with the pine trees in the way, the HS score board, the speakers on the poles that you couldn’t hear. I stood with Tech when they sold our home game to FSU (Still mad at that). I didn’t leave Tech when they did the land grant deal ( i enjoyed the place they dozed under and used it often). I’m not a big time giver but I buy season tickets, go to special games, buy lots and lots of Hokie gear and increased my Hokie Club Membership just because they asked me.I get excited when I see the Orange and Maroon on the field. I get tense when I see the opposing team colors on the field. I get like a pit bull when I see people in WVU colors walking on Tech’s campus. I get the blues when we lose and when we get ready to show up in black ” newspaper uniforms”. This may be shallow but I’ve decided not to go to special games or bowls anymore until I see the uniform first. I’m not increasing my Hokie Club any more until we at least use orange and/or maroon on all uniforms. Tech has a Hokie stone rule for buildings. Time for an Orange/Maroon rule for uniforms. If the older traditional Hokie Fans are giving the money; VT should see what gets them excited to give more money. It’s not black uniforms. We did black uniforms for recruits but Duke is getting better recruits with little football facilities and with their traditional colors. Doesn’t sound like the recruits (outside of NFL players) give to Tech or the Hokie club nor do their peers. The new hires are worth giving more but ugly black uniforms are not. I’ve given all I can I’m not sure I’m willing to do more and it gives me the Hokie blues.

    1. Seems shallow to me.
      You are focused on the wrong thing.
      You shouldn’t support the team because of uniform colors.
      Just my 2 cents.
      Carry on.

      1. I agree. The argument goes both ways. We also shouldn’t care whether recruits like the uniform. Players and fans should be focused on character, representing the university, and excelling in their chosen sport, win OR lose. I find it sad and comforting that the biggest argument between VT football fans right now is over fashion. If this were truly about cadets, then the players would be given their uniforms with no choice and told to respect it, whether they liked them or not.

        1. It is sad when we have to fight about wearing the team colors orange and maroon. I agree. I paid over 1,300 in tickets for the battle of Bristol…There is no orange and maroon on this uniform. I can at least expect that and not be told to respect it if I don’t like an ugly uniform. I’m paying to see the Hokies and the school colors. I just want the Orange and Maroon..man that is a horrible thought.

    2. Wow. Well, if all you’re concerned about is the color of the jerseys, how about you just transfer whatever alleged support you have given to the football team in the past to one of the other myriad intercollegiate or club teams that we have? Off the top of my head, I known that both our women’s soccer team and our wrestling team are nationally ranked and pretty much, as far as I know, wear orange and/or maroon.

    3. I agree with the comment about WVU, but I’m a 39 year fan (Class of ’82), and I love the black unis. They are bad-ass, and teams seem to play with more attitude in black. We wear orange and maroon proudly for the majority of games, but The Battle at Bristol is special. I’m gonna give more this year. Destroy the Volunteers! Make them wish they did not volunteer! I think I hear banjo music! Go Hokies!

    4. I don’t care what uniform we wear as long as we get back to being physical and knocking the piss out of people. I want to get back to the days when people dreaded playing VT win or lose.

      1. Hear friggin hear. I want us to be the team people don’t want to play because they know how physical we are. As partial as I am to all-maroon, I want the opposition to see the VT and “HOKIES” and think “every play…they’re bringing it on every play…this is gonna suck.”

    5. Dang-gummit, yer right as rain! My daddy fought for General Lee in the War of the States, and all he wore was the orange and maroon! And on the night they drove old Dixie down, I didn’t cry so much for my brother Earl. My wife, she said “hey Virgil, stop chopping wood” and I didn’t mind chopping wood, though the money was no good. What was I ah saying? Oh yeah, the night they drove old orange and maroonsy down…

    6. LMAO. What a ridiculous post. The unis are awesome first and foremost, they are a throwback to ORIGINAL school colors, they incorporate the stone which is the most notable feature on our campus and finally the PLAYERS who WEAR them, who work their asses off all year so you and I can enjoy watching from the sidelines, LOVE them and that’s all that should matter. They take the hits, they make the plays, they get some input on the unis. If it makes the #1 player in the state potentially come to VT then who really cares about a damn uniform color. Sheesh get a grip.

      1. I voted ” I hate the uniforms” just in case you didn’t figure that out. I care about the color. They are the ones I pull for. That’s why I’m fighting for them. If fighting is holding support it’s what I’ll do. I work my butt off all year as well. Virginia Tech takes most of my yearly entertainment budget and I give till it hurts. I have the right to care about a damn uniform color I take pride in.

    7. Why would a guy who loves VT use a “name” that concentrates on WVU? If you hate the WVU colors, don’t you also hate the letters? You’re using the letters “WVU” as your identity on TSL. The reason you give for the decision to withdraw support and your identity both show you concentrate on the negative instead of the positive. You must be great at a tailgate.

      1. I do have a good tailgate….but it’s covered in Orange and Maroon it’s not black …you missed the word repugnance4 ( 4 means I have repugnance for…)..look again. Black is negative so I guess it took me to a dark place absent of Orange and Maroon.

    8. The “stone” uniforms look heavy. F=MA; should be able to knock those Vols all over the field in Bristol.

      1. Yes, I do understand that due to wanting Orange and Maroon uniforms. Folks don’t like my kind.

      1. Who said his opinion wasn’t allowed? No one is saying he can’t voice his opinion. But if he voices an opinion that many people think is vapid…well, the responses should be no surprise.

        1. It is a surprise so many are against the school colors orange and maroon. Once again I paid over 1,300.00 just for tickets to Bristol, over 2,500.00 for season tickets this year alone. Plus I going to go to other away games. When I spend nearly 5,000.00 just for Virginia Tech tickets alone I can expect to see some orange and maroon. I also give to the Hokie Club, pay for TSL and buy way to much at Campus Emporium. My sum is small to big time givers but it’s a lot for me. I’ve done it for 30 years so times this year by 30. But like AXD1985 says ” good riddance” to orange and maroon lovers and decades supporters. I understood that sentiment from the start before I wrote a word. So yes my comments were vapid.

      1. Do they have cadets vote on the uniform colors? Do they change the colors of the uniform to get the top recruits?

    9. I love the O&M too but I’m not a Hokie because of the colors. I’m a Hokie because it’s part of who I am. I spent some of the best years if my life on that campus and I’ve been going to games for 30 years too because I love the sport and I love going home to visit. I won’t stop loving my Hokies because of the colors anymore than I would stop loving my wife if she changed her hair color.

  6. A lot of basic info and not much specific info from Fu. Will see what the facts are against Liberty.

    Thanks for the report though. Any info is good info at this point with this staff.

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