Practice Notes: Tech Going for Faster Tempo

Virginia Tech held a 47-play mini-scrimmage on Wednesday night, and Frank Beamer described it as “ragged”. That’s pretty typical for this time of year.

The Hokies are just installing their offense, and they’ve got a lot of new players getting playing time. I made a comment on the radio yesterday that I think the Tech offense will steadily get better throughout the spring as Logan Thomas and his new receivers get their timing down, and the new starting offensive linemen get used to playing next to each other. I stand by that statement. I think the offense will get better as the spring moves along.

With only 47 plays, there isn’t an opportunity for many individuals to get a lot of reps. Logan Thomas got limited work, as did backup quarterback Mark Leal . However, these mini-scrimmages do set the tone for the bigger scrimmages, such as the one that is coming up on Saturday morning in Lane Stadium.

First, courtesy of Andy Bitter, here are the stats from Wednesday’s mini-scrimmage.

Passing: Logan Thomas , 3-4 for 24 yards; Mark Leal , 2-5 for 23 yards; Brian Rody 32 yard TD to David Mellstrom

Rushing: Maurice Taylor, 2 carries for 34 yards; Martin Scales, 5 carries for 17 yards; J.C. Coleman , 4 carries for 6 yards; Michael Holmes , 4 carries for 4 yards

Receiving: Corey Fuller, 2 catches for 18 yards; David Mellstron, 2 catches for 43 yards and a TD; Demitri Knowles , 1 catch for 8 yards, Christian Reeves , 1 catch for 5 yards

Defense: Derek DiNardo, 5 tackles; Ronny Vandyke , 4 tackles and a sack; Brian Laiti , 3 tackles; Corey Marshall , 3 tackles and a sack; J.R. Collins , 3 tackles and a TFL; Matt Roth , 2 sacks

Kicking: Michael Branthover hit from 32 yards and missed from 37. Conor Goulding missed from 32.

Punting: Ethan Keyserling had punts of 37 and 29 yards. Branthover had a punt of 33 yards.

That’s all the stats that we know of. Keep in mind that with 100 players on the team, no one is going to stand out statistically in a 47-play scrimmage. There simply aren’t enough reps to go around, so there aren’t going to be very many impressive stats.

That doesn’t mean we can’t find a few players and a few topics to discuss, however.

Ronny Vandyke : 4 tackles and a sack are excellent numbers for a 47-play scrimmage, especially when Vandyke was splitting reps with at least one other whip. I’m a huge fan of Vandyke’s game. He impressed me at safety last August before he got hurt, but I think the move to whip is great for him. He has the athletic ability to play in space, and he has the ideal size and range for a whip linebacker at 6-3, 215. He seems to have blown by Nick Dew on the depth chart, and he seems like the clear cut favorite to start in 2013.

Martin Scales and the power running game: Scales had 5 carries for 17 yards, and I’m an advocate of getting him reps with the #1 offense to see what he can do. We know the Hokies will run a lot of spread this year, but just because the offense is spread out doesn’t mean there can’t be a power running game out of spread formations. In football, the most physical team usually wins. I know the Hokies have a big, strong offensive line. Logan Thomas is a big, strong quarterback. Martin Scales is a big (5-11, 226), strong running back. There are plenty of teams out there that would get tired of hitting (or being hit by) Logan Thomas and Martin Scales over the course of four quarters. Wear them out with Thomas and Scales, and then hit them over the top with playaction. I’m not saying I think Scales should start, but I think he definitely deserves some first team reps just to get an accurate comparison between him and the other backs.

Derek “Mr. Versatility” DiNardo: The walk-on from Virginia Beach is a good all-around football player. He played in all 14 games on special teams last year. He has played whip linebacker. He also started at free safety for one of the teams in the Spring Game last year. This spring he is playing