Foster had a busy summer, as two of his children were married in the offseason.
Tech has had a great camp so far. The Hokies are better offensively, which is making the defense better. They have seen a lot of different looks from the offense, and they have been doing a lot of “good on good” work.
Foster feels like Tech might have some growing pains at certain spots, but overall he feels good about his defense.
Corey Marshall, Luther Maddy, Ken Ekanem, Deon Clarke, and Chase Williams have had great camps, as has Andrew Motuapuaka. The first two free safeties (Detrick Bonner and Desmond Frye) have been nicked up, but Foster is pleased with the secondary.
Dadi Nicolas is about 230, and he can really run. Ken Ekanem, Dewayne Alford and Seth Dooley are in the 245-250 range. They lose a little in size at defensive tackle, but Corey Marshall really adds great athleticism and pass rushing.
Dadi Nicolas needs to hold up in the running game. Dewayne Alford practiced on Monday after being hurt for a week. It’s also good to get Woody Baron back at defensive tackle. They are a little more athletic at defensive tackle than they’ve been in the past.
This is Ken Ekanem’s time at end. He had a great spring, and that carried over to the summer and fall. The Hokies have high expectations for him, and he has high expectations for himself. He is playing faster and more physical.
Foster is concerned about defensive end depth, as well as depth at backer. Melvin Keihn is comfortable at end, and he looks more natural there than he does at linebacker.
Foster doesn’t feel like the ACC is behind other conferences in terms of fast paced spread offenses. UNC does it. FSU does it some. The Hokies work hard at preparing against that type of offense.
It makes Foster feel good about having Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson at corner. The Hokies ask a lot of their corners. Brandon Facyson missed the spring and the first part of fall camp, but he just got turned loose recently. He feels comfortable right now. He practiced full speed on Monday.
With Facyson out, it gave Tech a chance to rep Chuck Clark, who has played very well. Foster is excited about Clark, and he will probably play the nickel spot this season.
Kyshoen Jarrett had a big year last year. He is Tech’s free hitter in a lot of sets. He has a heavy shoulder. He can tackle, and he knocks people backwards.
Chase Williams is having a good camp. He has been one of Tech’s most improved players. He is now in his right spot at mike. He was always stuck behind some pretty good players, and he has a lot of practice snaps under his belt. He’s playing at a high level right now.
Andrew Motuapuaka might be Tech’s most improved player on defense. He missed a lot of workouts in the summer because of rehab from an injury, but he is playing fast right now. Foster thinks he’ll be able to help the Hokies this year. He will be a dynamic football player.
Ronny Vandyke was playing well, but he pulled his groin and isn’t doing any contact work. Foster hopes they can get him back soon. He brings speed and athleticism to the whip spot. Derek DiNardo and Josh Trimble have had a good camp in Ronny’s absence.
Tech will probably play a couple of freshmen. Ricky Walker will probably be the fifth defensive tackle. Melvin Keihn is probably the fifth defensive end. Tech might play Raymon Minor on special teams. CJ Reavis is another guy. Foster has been really impressed by him. Greg Stroman and Holland Fisher are other possibilities to play special teams.
Foster really likes the 2014 true freshman class. They have some playmakers on offense. Cam Phillips and Isaiah Ford look good, and Shai McKenzie has been impressive. Travon McMillian can really run.
Tech’s offensive line is more physical and in tune. They have to stay healthy there; they are a bit thin at tackle. They have some speed at the skill positions, and they have some backs who can hit it up inside. Foster thinks the quarterback battle has been impressive. Leal and Brewer are playing well.
Beamer thinks the team is about as far along as they can be at this point. The players have been really good, and they are working hard. They’ve gotten a lot accomplished.
Tech has some young linemen who are going to be really good. They have more options at tight end. Last year wasn’t a great situation at tight end. Bucky Hodges is a very dangerous matchup for defenses. Those tight ends can factor in on the punt block/return team also because they are athletic and long.
Brenden Motley came back to practice on Monday, but the battle is between Michael Brewer and Mark Leal. Both guys have done “exceptionally well.” They wanted to decide after Saturday’s scrimmage, but they decided to let the competition go through this Wednesday’s mini-scrimmage. We’ll see what happens on Wednesday.
Beamer has really been pleased with the kicking so far. They are better off there than they were a year ago. Joey Slye, Michael Santamaria and Carson Wise (all freshmen) are kicking well. Joey Slye would probably be the guy right now, if the Hokies played a game tomorrow.
Tech will play Travon McMillian. He is fast and tough. They have to figure out his role, but he’s a talented guy who can help the team.
Cam Phillips and Isaiah Ford will play this year. Guys like Joshua Stanford are a year older. Carlis Parker is getting closer, and he’s a talented guy. Beamer thinks the fans will like watching Phillips and Ford.
Laurence Gibson has a foot sprain. He and Caleb Farris had a nice scrimmage on Saturday. Beamer thinks Gibson will be ok, but you worry that those injuries will linger. Beamer thinks Tech is doing ok up front. They popped some big plays on Saturday. They are taking a step forward every day.
Alston Smith is still getting used to offensive guard. They want him to come along and play to his athletic ability. Wyatt Teller looks the way you should look at guard. He’s a big guy who can run fairly well. The Hokies have high hopes for him.
Shai McKenzie is a different runner than most of Tech’s other guys. Defenders will get tired of tackling him all day long. Travon McMillian can outrun people to the corner.
Trey Edmunds has come back, and he has a great attitude, but when you look at him you can tell he is coming off a significant injury. He looks a little gimpy at times. That will keep getting better. The staff talked with Mike Goforth about it this morning. He’ll come along as he uses the leg more.
This 2014 class might be a little better than the coaches originally thought. They really bring a lot to the table. They bring athleticism. They help the kicking game. Phillips, Ford and Greg Stroman could factor into the return game, as well as Travon McMillian.
Beamer liked what he saw in the scrimmage. He saw a lot of toughness. They have to become more consistent and they have to execute better.
Monday was day 3,551 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.