Virginia Tech’s youngest players are charging up the depth chart on offense. Most notable is r-sophomore Brenden Motley, who has taken the #1 spot away from Mark Leal as of today’s depth chart update.
Motley takes the lead
In today’s depth chart update on BeamerBall.com, Brenden Motley (r-So.) is listed as Tech’s #1 quarterback. He’s listed #1 by himself … there is no tie. Motley is #1, and Mark Leal (r-Sr.) is #2.
Based on what we saw on Saturday, that shouldn’t be a surprise. After struggling in Tech’s first scrimmage, Leal missed the second scrimmage with a knee injury. Meanwhile, Motley has put up impressive numbers. Let’s compare their scrimmage stats:
Motley: 17-of-25 for 199 yards, 1 TD and 0 interceptions
Leal: 3-of-9 for 34 yards, 0 TD and 1 INT
Obviously that’s a small sample size. However, turnovers and decision making are critical for the Tech offense this year. So far through two scrimmages, Motley hasn’t thrown anything close to an interception. In a very short scrimmage with limited reps, Leal tossed up one pick when he misread a basic coverage, and nearly threw another interception later in the scrimmage on the same misread.
For Motley to be #1 on the depth chart by himself shows that Scot Loeffler has been more impressed with him than Mark Leal throughout all of spring, not just the scrimmages. Can Leal reclaim the spot after he gets over his knee injury? We shall see.
I can think of three good reasons why it would be preferable for Motley to win the starting job:
1: More athletic. Brenden Motley can do more than Mark Leal. The Hokies ran a lot of outside speed option in Saturday’s scrimmage. Motley can be effective running that play, but Leal probably can’t. Having Motley at quarterback opens up the offense a bit more.
2: Better decision making. Based on our admittedly small sample size, Motley looks like a better decision maker than Leal. He made quick decisions on Saturday, and he got the ball to the right place. The last two times we’ve seen Leal, he’s thrown bad interceptions. Turnovers will be critical for the offense this year.
3: He’s younger. If Mark Leal starts this season, then Scot Loeffler would have to go through this process all over again next year with a new starting quarterback. However, if Motley (or Michael Brewer) starts, then Loeffler will have a returning starter for next season.
Obviously you can’t just throw Motley in there just because he’s more athletic, or just because he’s younger. He has to earn the job. So far this spring, I think he’s earned the right to be Tech’s starter more so than Leal, and it seems Scot Loeffler feels that way, too, at least at this point.
Loeffler is on record that he wants the quarterback competition to continue into the month of August. Leal started the spring as Tech’s #1 quarterback, but Loeffler was probably secretly hoping that either Brenden Motley or Michael Brewer would earn the job. I doubt he wants to break in another brand new quarterback next season.
I’m happy for Brenden Motley. He was an unknown to me. He ran the Wing-T offense in high school, and when I saw him throw at a Tech recruiting camp a few years back I was not impressed. He redshirted in 2012, and then missed last spring with an injury. He’s certainly come a long way since the last time I watched him throw. He’s in line to be Tech’s most improved offensive player of the spring.
I don’t try to make it a habit of rooting for one player to win a job over another. However, I think Brenden Motley...
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