Friday Q&A: December 20, 2013

1) Do you feel Brenden Motley will change positions, as I’ve always heard he would be an outstanding safety?  (Note: I got another question asking how much truth there is to the rumor about Bucky Hodges moving to tight end, and I’ll address that question in this answer as well because both questions tie in together).

Chris Coleman: As of right now, I don’t believe Virginia Tech has the luxury of moving Brenden Motley to another position.  I believe that Bucky Hodges will be a tight end this spring, and if not this spring, then soon afterwards.  Hodges took to the position very well when he simulated Eric Ebron before the UNC game, and I’ve heard through the grapevine that the coaches view tight end as his future position (even if they might say differently in public right now).

If that’s the case, then here’s what Tech’s quarterback depth chart will look like this spring…

1: Mark Leal (r-Sr.)
2: Brenden Motley (r-So.)
3: Andrew Ford (Fr.)

As you can see, Virginia Tech doesn’t have the luxury of moving Brenden Motley.  If Andrew Ford comes in and lights the world on fire during the spring and proves that he doesn’t need to redshirt, then yes, you can consider moving Motley to a different position.  But Ford, while a good prospect in my opinion, is still a 3-star recruit.  He’s not a sure thing.  Like most 3-star recruits, he’ll probably need to redshirt.  Chris Durkin probably will too, when he arrives in August.

A lot of people are making the assumption that Andrew Ford will hit the ground running.  He might.  But it’s far from a certainty, and it’s unfair to have those kind of expectations of a 3-star recruit.  Ideally, he can take a redshirt like most college quarterbacks.

To me, Brenden Motley is filling the Ju-Ju Clayton role.  Clayton filled one significant role in his Virginia Tech career.  He was good enough to be Tyrod Taylor’s backup in 2009, which allowed Logan Thomas to redshirt that season.  If Clayton had transferred, or never come to VT, then Thomas never could have redshirted to learn the QB position.  Ideally, Motley can play the same role for Ford and Durkin.

I’ve heard the argument that Tech needs to play Ford in 2014 to make sure VT isn’t starting a r-freshman against Ohio State in the 2015 opener.  Some argue that he needs garbage time action in 2014 to get ready for 2015.  I  disagree with that argument for a few reasons…

1: It assumes that Ford will be ready to play as a true freshman.  What if he’s not?  If you can help it, never play a guy as a true freshman unless he’s ready.

2: Why do you assume he’ll get garbage time playing time in 2014?  Virginia Tech doesn’t blow anybody out.  Mark Leal got limited reps against Alabama and Western Carolina in 2013.  All the other games were close, and he didn’t play.  There might not be many chances for Ford to get garbage time action in 2014, and in that case it would be a wasted redshirt. Don’t blow a redshirt for him to throw four passes against a 1-AA opponent.

3: Never made a redshirt decision based on one game.  Knowing Virginia Tech’s history against the elite programs, the Hokies aren’t going to beat Ohio State in 2015 (or 2014, for that matter) no matter who is playing quarterback for them, no matter how much experience that quarterback has.  I’d rather do what’s best for Andrew Ford‘s future than sacrifice his redshirt year to make sure he’s “more ready” for one game that VT is unlikely to win anyway.

In short, no, I don’t believe Brenden Motley