April 10, 2012

Five Big Answers: Scrimmage One

On Friday, we posed five key questions to keep in mind prior to Virginia Tech's first open scrimmage on Saturday morning. Today we review those questions and examine whether or not they have been answered yet.

Question: How does J.C. Coleman look?

Answer: Coleman didn't break any big runs or dominate the storylines of the scrimmage, so the hype machine should be put back in neutral for the time being. However, it is obvious that the quickness and vision is definitely there for him to be a major contributor in 2012, but he just needs more time to work into the flow of things. Coleman should still be in high school, a phrase you will hear Shane Beamer utter plenty over the next two weeks, but expect him to make a huge improvement leading up to the spring game.

Question: Is Ronny Vandyke the real deal?

Answer: Leaning strongly towards a definitive yes on this one. Vandyke is a physically imposing player and has seemed to pick up the position very quickly since moving there right before spring practice. He had a very nice looking interception during the scrimmage, as he picked up the slot receiver and undercut him a tad going across the middle, extending his arms high to pick the ball out of the air. He has got Alonzo Tweedy athleticism in a body that is just a bit bigger than Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, so his potential is off the charts. Look for him to start pushing for playing time in the starting lineup by the end of spring, although it is unclear if he will be able to fully unseat the experience ahead of him.

Question: What about the no huddle?

Answer: The no huddle is 100% in the plans for 2012, as they practice it everyday and ran it one series during the scrimmage. A no huddle takes huge numbers of reps to perfect, so it's still basically a rough sketch, but the version they ran on Saturday looked like it had all the right ideas. The play is finished, the other players rush into position as Thomas looks toward the sideline while barking out the signals. It definitely isn't an ultra-fast, snap it in less than five seconds kind of no huddle, but rather a more controlled, get the defense on their heels and dictating what they can do thing. Thomas looks very comfortable in that already.

Question: Who are the return men?

Answer: There weren't any kick returns on Saturday, although J.C. Coleman, David Mellstrom, Willie Byrn, Demitri Knowles, Donaldven Manning, Kyle Fuller, and Kyshoen Jarrett were working there during drills prior to the scrimmage Saturday. On punt returns, it looks to be a battle between Kyshoen Jarrett and Dyrell Roberts, especially after Jarrett housed a punt return during the scrimmage from around his own twenty.

Question: How is the offensive line?

Answer: After surrendering eleven touch sacks during the scrimmage Saturday, the offensive line is pressing issue number one during this week of spring practice. The defensive line completely dominated the offensive line no matter if it was the 1s vs. 2s or any other combination of strings. Brent Benedict in particular struggled with Luther Maddy and as a group there was multiple false start penalties, so there is a lot to clean up entering week two. No one really stood out on the second unit, although it was clear center Caleb Farris is still bothered by his sprained knee. He came off the field in discomfort after a number of series in obvious discomfort.

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