Hokies Make Some Position Changes

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The BeamerBall Twitter account (@Beamer_Ball) announced a few position changes yesterday morning.  Let’s take a look and see what they mean for the depth chart, and for the players involved.

To recap, here are the position changes:

r-Freshman Jack Willenbrock from center to tight end
Freshman Jerome Wright from tailback to fullback
r-Junior Fuller Hoepner from tight end to fullback
r-Junior Nick Acree from offensive tackle to offensive guard
r-Sophomore Josh Trimble from backer to whip
r-Junior Derek DiNardo from backer to whip

To me, the moves of Hoepner and Wright to fullback are the most telling of all.

A New Prototype for Tech Fullbacks?

Ever since Doug Easlick completed his eligibility in 2003, Virginia Tech has had basically the same fullback each and every year.  They typically have a shorter player (5-9 to 5-11) who is physically strong, and who is a good lead blocker.  Except for Kenny Jefferson, they have all been walk-ons.  They’ve all been limited in the things they can do on the field.

The moving of Fuller Hoepner and Jerome Wright to fullback could signal a change in what the Hokies are looking for out of their fullbacks.  Wright was a tailback in high school.  He is a big guy who can be physical.  He also has skill with the ball in his hands, which is something that Tech’s fullbacks have lacked over the last 10 years.  Since Easlick left, defenses haven’t had to worry about accounting for VT’s fullback in the game plan.

Chances are, you’ve probably never heard of Fuller Hoepner before.  He’s a 6-2, 227 walk-on who has played the tight end position in recent seasons, though he’s never played in an actual game.  He’s been timed at a 4.65 in the 40 in the past (back in 2010), so he has athletic ability.  However, he’s never gotten the opportunity.

You know in the past that I’ve been a bit critical of some personnel decisions of the old offensive coaching staff.  For example, wasting a year of Vinston Painter’s development at guard, and then promptly doing the same to Laurence Gibson (who will open the spring at #1 at right tackle).  Hoepner is another guy like that.  At 6-2, 227, he’s never been big