Virginia Tech Football: Notes From Fall Camp Practice No. 2

Brent Pry and Virginia Tech are just a few days into fall camp. (Virginia Tech athletics)

Virginia Tech football head coach Brent Pry addressed the media after day two of the Hokies’ fall camp on Wednesday and expressed his disappointment in the team’s Tuesday practice.

“A lot of things yesterday, they weren’t good enough,” Pry said of the first day of fall camp. “[It was] just non-competitive, something that we really emphasized and made strides in. … We were allowing them to knock balls out and not really challenging for the catch. We were allowing them to get open and not drive on the route and contest the catch.”

Pry sensed a lack of drive in the guys on day one, and veteran safety Chamarri Conner felt it too. He called it a “setback,” but both he and Pry were pleased in the way the group responded and bounced back. 

“The entire team, particularly the defense, battled back today and had a good day,” Pry said. “There’s adversity in day one for certain guys in certain units. There’s adversity in day two. That’s what camp’s all about. And they’ve got to keep preparing and working through the adversity for the improvement.”

The effort was obvious while watching drills, particularly in a later segment of practice when the running backs and linebackers were one-on-one. Pry was fired up, as were defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Chris Marve and running backs coach Stu Holt. Many players matched that intensity.

“They give us so much energy,” Conner said of the coaching staff. “We work off our coaches. They help us get better, so it feels great to see our coaches excited when we make plays and excited when we go out there to compete.”

Pry has been around college football for 30 years, but this is his first experience as the head man. He’ll encounter plenty of things he’s never handled previously, and organizing the schedule for fall camp is one of those duties. Pry described it as a “daily chore.”

Virginia Tech is practicing in the afternoons just after the peak of the day, beginning at 4:10 p.m. ET. The players meet with their coaches three times a day, too. The sessions in the morning and early afternoon are for installation, while the late-night gatherings in the evening are mostly spent evaluating film.

In the spring, the staff spent every available opportunity teaching the players the new scheme and concepts. Pry was pleased with the retention rate over the past few months, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

“I thought the quarterbacks threw the ball really well yesterday, they knew where things were going to be,” Pry said. “We’ll know a little bit more even today when you get some tempo going in a team period. That’s when the defense has to operate with composure. The offense has to operate with composure, when the bullets are really flying. We’ll know a little bit more about that tomorrow.”

As far as goals are concerned, Pry said he’s really just looking to see the competitive juices flowing in the first week, which was evident on Wednesday.

“Seeing competitive days like today, competitive periods, the defense really got after’em in that first [skeleton],” Pry said. “And I was so glad to see the offense battle back in the second skel. Those are the things that I’m looking for. And then individual growth and development, you know. Just guys that you hope are taking that next step and can factor in for you. You want those guys to emerge in week one.”

Player Notes:

Chamarri Conner:

A fifth-year safety, Conner is one of the longest-tenured members of this Virginia Tech defense alongside linebacker Dax Hollifield and defensive ends TyJuan Garbutt and Jaylen Griffin. 

“I don’t know that there’s a more well-rounded player in our program,” Pry said of Conner. “He’s mature, he’s smart, he’s tough. He keeps getting better. He’s not satisfied with where he’s at. He’s a team player. To me, he’s ultimate captain material.”

Keonta Jenkins:

Pry was asked about the players that made position changes in the spring, and the first name that came to mind was Jenkins. The former safety is now at Sam linebacker.

“He’s a long guy, really good speed, particularly when you’re moving from safety to linebacker, [and] he’s got a lot of DB qualities,” Pry said. “He’s learning the linebacker traits that are going to be necessary. But the spot he plays for us, he’s kind of a hybrid, he’s got to have both sets in his toolbox. He’s the guy I’m most excited about as far as position changes.”

Jaden Keller:

Keller is a redshirt freshman that the previous staff raved about. Marve and Pry shared the same opinion in the spring, and he has a chance to compete for Virginia Tech’s Will linebacker spot. He had a nice breakup in the one-on-one drill against the running backs. In Charlotte at the ACC Football Kickoff, Keller was a name that came up many times when asking players about young talent in the program.

“He is a beautiful looking young man who’s really had a great summer, just changing his body and looking lean and fast,” Pry said of Keller. “And when he plays, when he knows what he’s doing, he plays as fast as anybody on defense. He’s got a real shot.”

3 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. It is so hard to get excited about these because every time that you see a great play by the offense, you think, who the defense just got toasted…

  2. Tisdale has always been maddening. He makes a splash play, but so inconsistent and doesn’t get off blocks. I’m excited about Keller. It’s a win either way, Tisdale lifts his play or we unleash Keller. I think our LBs could be good. Jenkins and if Dax playing lighter, what he’s learned from Pry, ups his game.

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