Friday Q&A: March 9th, 2012

1: What is the thinnest position on the team going into the spring?

GMSAHokie: I think the secondary is definitely the thinnest position on the field and I will get into that more in a second.  I have heard some argue that the OL position is extremely thin, based on losing four starters, but I actually don’t see it that way.  Obviously, there are going to be several guys on the Oline this Spring and Fall that need to prove themselves in order for the staff to feel comfortable putting those guys on the field, executing our full offense.  But, I don’t think that’s going to be much of a problem.

Nick Becton

The Hokies have plenty of talented, if unproven, bodies on the Offensive Line.  Here’s an example: I said in this column about five weeks ago that I thought Brent Benedict and Mike Via were both likely starters in 2012.  I figured Benedict would start at guard and Via would start at tackle.  In the intervening weeks, I have heard reports from people close to the program who are thinking Arkema is a possibility to start over Benedict at guard or even Caleb Farris or Laurence Gibson .  I have also heard Via’s name thrown around as a guard with the strong belief that Vinston Painter will turn it on in the Spring and win the right tackle position outright.  This is great news.  Benedict was a four star guy out of high school with great film.  Beating him out would be quite an accomplishment.  If Benedict, Shuman, Arkema & Gibson prove they are ready to play, we could possibly go 10 deep with very talented backups who play almost as much as the starters on the Oline.  I  could see Becton-Wang-Miller-Benedict-Via starting with some combination of Shuman/Gibson/Farris/Arkema/Painter playing almost as many snaps, or being starters themselves.

The secondary is definitely in far worse shape from both a depth of talent and depth of experience standpoint.  Going into the Spring, we have two guys who have only played in mostly backup capacity looking to start at rover and free safety, and even though the projected starters at cornerback are experienced, one of them, Exum, didn’t see a snap at that position last year and really has only played corner sparingly (as a nickel).  To make matters worse, both backups at corner this Spring will be either a true freshman or a walk-on and the backups at FS/Rover either haven’t been good enough to solidify their position on the depth chart over unproven young players moving over from corner ( James Hopper ) or lack experience themselves ( Boye Aromire ).  Torrian Gray recently mentioned bringing Tony Gregory over from running back to get some snaps at CB, but that move won’t help out the depth chart until the fall anyway.