1) Is Jonathan McLaughlin going to be ready to play this fall? Even if he is, are we better off redshirting him and giving him more time to acclimate to the college game?
Chris Coleman: That’s a very good question. McLaughlin obviously benefited from his postgraduate year at Fork Union. As Jeff Grimes said on Wednesday, he’s a confident guy who doesn’t back down from anyone.
The best thing about having a press pass is seeing the expression on someone’s face when they are answering questions. Many answers are generic and robotic, but when Grimes was asked about McLaughlin on Wednesday, you could tell that he was honestly excited about the future and potential of the true freshman.
The way things look right now, I’d be surprised if McLaughlin doesn’t play this year. He ran with the #1 offense on Wednesday, and I can’t wait to see if he gets reps there again in tomorrow’s scrimmage. Even though the Hokies are in an experimental phase up front, it’s still very impressive for a true freshman to get reps with the #1 offense just a couple of weeks into his college career.
But, will he be “ready”? I certainly don’t expect him to go out there and pancake Alabama’s defensive linemen, but I think it’s possible that he could be more effective in the running game than Mark Shuman . From what I’ve seen, Shuman has been pretty good in terms of pass blocking, but at times he struggles to stay low in the running game. I like McLaughlin’s base and his natural aggressiveness, and his ability to move laterally seems like a good fit for what the Hokies are trying to do offensively. It’s still early, but right now I think he’s a good physical fit.
Right now he’s...
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