Virginia Tech fans no longer have to wonder who will start at quarterback for the Hokies come Sept. 3, when Tech plays Liberty at Lane Stadium.
Head Coach Justin Fuente announced that JUCO-transfer Jerod Evans will start vs. Liberty in the season-opener at Thursday’s press conference.
“I’ve talked to all the quarterbacks, were going to get them all ready to play and continue to develop, but Jerod is going to start the game against Liberty, unless some unforeseen thing happens,” Fuente said. “I’m pleased with all of them. They’ve all handled it well. I’m confident that they’ll continue to develop and get better. This season will be a long journey. We’ll just kind of see how it goes. We’re going to continue to get those other guys ready to play.”
Fuente said that Evans’ consistency pushed him into the starting role.
“For right now, I would say we’ve had a few more predicted outcomes, in terms of executing,” Fuente said. “He is a good athlete and that plays into it as well.”
Evans, who found out with the other quarterbacks in their meeting room, said that it hasn’t really hit him yet that he’ll be starting in next weekend’s game.
“My reaction was, just keep preparing,” Evans said. “It’s another day in the office, another day that I’ve got to get better. I took it as, now it’s time for practice. I didn’t take it any other way.”
Fuente did not say who the backup quarterback is right now, but Evans is not guaranteed to start the entire season. Even though Evans is starting for Week One, the competition continues between Evans, Brenden Motley and Josh Jackson.
“(Fuente’s) that way,” Evans said. “He doesn’t want his quarterbacks to be content or complacent. That’s definitely his style and I respect it.”
Evans, who played last season at Trinity Valley Community College, threw for 3,164 yards and 38 touchdowns in just eight games. He also valued the football, throwing just three interceptions.
Taking care of the ball and maintaining possession was one of Fuente’s keys for his quarterbacks since he arrived.
“I would say that they’ve all shown value for the ball,” Fuente said. “It’s obviously very much on their mind. That’s an awfully low number for a bunch of opportunities. I’m not sure if those numbers exactly correlate over to playing in the ACC, that being said, I’ve been, at times, pleased with all three and at some times, displeased with their valuing of the football and making decisions.”
Evans also believes his ability to not get too high or too low put him in a good position as well.
“I think what Coach Fuente preaches about, making sure that we’re even-keeled, making sure that we’re composed through the ups and downs of practice, schooling and coming soon, the season,” Evans said.
Jackson, who is a true freshman who enrolled in January, is a redshirt candidate, but Fuente said that Jackson could still see the field this season. What Fuente did say is that he has not ruled out playing multiple quarterbacks in games.
“What I have always learned from the past is that guaranteeing somebody else was going to play, and then all of a sudden you’re in the middle of the game and you feel differently, but you’ve already said somebody was going to play, then you’re acting against what you think is best for the team,” Fuente said. “Those cards are all on the table. I don’t know whether it will happen or won’t happen and if they do, to what extent. None of that has been ruled out though.”
For now, Evans is back to work. He said that he hadn’t had a chance to call anyone as of Thursday evening, just a chance to tell his father via text message.
“Just a quick text, then it’s straight to business,” Evans said.
Williams, Alleyne to miss games, Teller working with second team
Shortly after announcing the starting quarterback, Fuente mentioned that running back Marshawn Williams and safety Jahque Alleyne will not be available for the first two and four games, respectively.
“Marshawn Williams has a hurdle that he has to overcome, that quite honestly, predates my time here,” Fuente said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, it isn’t a behavioral issue, but he’s going to miss the first two weeks. Jahque Alleyne has a similar situation, but he’s going to have four games.”
Fuente also said that cornerback Adonis Alexander and defensive end Houshun Gaines are still slated to miss the Liberty game, but should be available moving forward.
Another big development was Fuente saying that offensive guard Wyatt Teller has been working with the second team in practice. Lately, Colt Pettit has been working with the starting unit at that position.
“Colt was playing better,” Fuente said. “It could always change.”
While Fuente was tight-lipped about Teller’s performance, he praised Pettit for his work in fall camp.
“I think he’s a hard-nosed, tough guy, seems to be intelligent,” Fuente said. “He knows what we’re trying to accomplish and it’s important to him.”
Fuente said that a team depth chart would be released on Monday.