Tech’s pitchers and catchers reported on January 15, so they’ve been working out for almost a month. The whole preseason is really based around the pitchers and making sure they are healthy and prepared. This weekend, all pitchers will make their last outing in an intrasquad scrimmage.
Normally pitchers have an advantage early as hitters get their timing back, assuming the pitchers can throw strikes.
Baseball Night in Blacksburg was great this year. There was more energy than usual. People are optimistic about the program right now. It was great to have Wyatt Toregas back in Blacksburg. He played for the Hokies and in Major League Baseball, and now he’s a manager in the minors.
Chad Pinder is two courses shy of graduating. He left after his junior season and was drafted by the A’s in the second round. He’ll be in Spring Training with the A’s this year. He’ll find himself in the majors soon.
One of the items auctioned off at Baseball Night in Blacksburg was a football helmet signed by Frank Beamer and Justin Fuente. That was a very unique item.
Alex Perez was very important for Tech. He started every single game for four years. It will be tough to replace him. However, 50% of Tech’s bats return from last year’s team. Tech returns 80% of their innings on the mound, and Mason hopes better pitching can replace some of those big hitters they lost from last season.
Mason is high on Max Ponzurick. He was a highly-touted recruit, but he was hampered by a hamstring injury as a freshman last year. He has a lot of power. Mason thinks he might have more power than anyone who has come through Tech’s program recently. He’ll be in the middle of the order this year.
Ryan Tufts will move from third base to shortstop. Matt Dauby will be at second base. Both catchers return, and they both need to take a jump forward. They are talented players.
Everyone in Tech’s infield is going to be 21 years old or older, and that usually bodes well when trying to win baseball games in the ACC.
Nic Enright is a highly-touted freshman who will provide a big arm to the pitching staff. He was drafted in the 19th round by the Mets.
Whit Babcock is a baseball guy, and there are very few athletic directors who share the same vision as the baseball coach. The two are on the same page. They want to do big things with Tech’s program.
Tech wrapped up Signing Day and turned around and had a really productive Junior Day on Saturday.
Fuente worked with the players this afternoon in their offseason program. They’ll get to actually play some football soon, and he’s looking forward to that.
Fuente is happy for Torrian Gray. He wanted to get back home to Florida. They are going to do their due diligence in this hire. There are a couple of things that Fuente wants from this hire, and he and Bud Foster are on the same page.
The reception across the state has been great in recruiting. They’ve been received with open arms.
Tech is holding a coaches clinic in the 757 soon. ACC schools are restricted from having camps off campus, so the best way the coaches can reach out to high school coaches is to do clinics around the state. The Hokies will also take part in some other clinics around the state, and they’ll also do their own clinic in Blacksburg. It’s important that the Hokies get their name out there as much as possible.
Tech’s indoor facility is great, and they are in the middle of redoing the interior of the Merryman Center. That shows recruits that Tech is dedicated. The recruits who attended Junior Day this past weekend were very impressed.
Tech’s players will earn their reps. It will start off with everyone being pretty equal. As guys show off their ability during practice, their reps will either increase or decrease. Fuente is impressed with how everybody has been going about their business during the offseason. It will be fun. He wants competition.
Tech will talk about letting the quarterbacks go live this spring. They won’t do it the whole spring, but they might have a segment of live work. They’ll probably do it a little bit.
Fuente scripts every minute of the 15 practices of the spring. They’ll practice on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Saturdays will be reserved for scrimmages. There will be a lot of special teams work. He still has his practice notes from his days at TCU and Memphis.
Fuente hasn’t discussed whether or not scrimmages will be open. That’s low on the priority list right now, but when they decide it will be communicated to the fans.
Danielle Bartelstein is doing a great job as Director of Football Operations. She does a great job with recruiting when families are in town. She’s been fantastic, and she’s been instrumental in getting the support staff organized. She’s gotten the office up and running in a short period of time.
Fuente thinks there will be some good competition in the secondary. They will have some young defensive ends who will have to grow up immediately. He’s looking forward to the competitiveness in the spring. The coaches are going to try to put them in a lot of competitive situations in the spring, whether it’s one-on-one drills or half-line drills. Competition makes everyone better.
It’s huge to get nine new players enrolled this semester, especially with the new guys at wide receiver. Obviously Tech needs to get more depth at that position. Fuente wants to push the tempo, and they can’t do that with just 2-3 receivers.
Isaiah Ford might as well have a whistle around his neck. He’s doing a great job coaching up the young players right now.
The biggest challenge the offensive staff will have is finding out the strengths and weaknesses of each player and manipulate the offensive scheme to fit those strengths and weaknesses. Spring practice is Fuente’s favorite time of year. It’s all about individual and team development. He’s really looking forward to it.
Fuente is excited about the Thursday night game with Miami. That’s going to be a fun event. He’s happy with the way the schedule worked out. He thinks the Coastal Division is going to be very competitive.
Virginia Tech has held the Commonwealth Cup for 4090 days. #Hokies
— Commonwealth Cup (@CommonwlthCup) February 8, 2016