It’s separation week in Blacksburg. The Hokies will hold two full scrimmages between this afternoon and Saturday, and hopefully some guys will begin to separate themselves at Tech’s positions of competition.
With Antone Exum out for the foreseeable future, Virginia Tech needs a starting field corner. The job is up for grabs, with Donovan Riley (#2, 5-11, 202, So.) and Donaldven Manning (#30, 5-9, 174, So.) competing with each other.
Riley ended last season ahead on the depth chart, so he began the spring ahead of Manning by default. However, that doesn’t mean it’s his job to lose. Manning has been getting some reps with the #1 defense as well, and he’s an improved football player. He’s put on nearly 20 pounds of weight, and he’s playing with more confidence.
I believe Riley and Manning are two very different players, which makes this an interesting battle. Riley is bigger, and is built more like a safety than a cornerback. I still believe his best position in Tech’s defense is rover, though I’ll admit that’s with a limited sample size. He wasn’t good in coverage last August, but he was only a true freshman. He’s got plenty of time to change my mind about him being a natural corner. At any rate, he’ll fit in … somewhere.
Manning is a natural corner with good ball skills. He had some maturity issues last season, and he even had a meeting with Frank Beamer during the regular season to discuss his future at Virginia Tech. He has to show the coaching staff that he is completely trustworthy.
In the spring, the Hokies have gone with a left corner and a right corner in the past, rather than a field and a boundary. That gets each player experience at both spots, and it gives Torrian Gray an idea of who fits in at which spots. In last Wednesday’s mini-scrimmage highlights, I noticed...
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