April 11, 2012

Spring Position Battles to Watch: Week Three

Last week's scrimmage provided a solid first glimpse at what the Hokies are doing this spring, but really no definitive answers at any ongoing position battles. With another scrimmage quickly approaching, we take another look at some position battles to watch this week.

Fourth Wide Receiver: Kevin Asante vs. Demetri Knowles vs. E.L. Smiling vs. Christian Reeves

Analysis: Right now, the top three are pretty set with Davis, Roberts, and Fuller. That leaves a host of young, unproven receivers battling for that final spot, although really this is for the fifth spot with D.J. Coles coming back in the fall. However, let's say that won't happen and Kevin Sherman needs to find a fourth receiver. Asante and Knowles are the leaders right now, as they got the most reps last Saturday when the first team offense went with a four wide receiver set. Asante may even be ahead of Knowles, as he was used in a couple formations when he lined up in a funky pistol formation next to Logan Thomas and even received a handoff. Knowles had a nice catch down the sideline, although the coverage was lacking and made for an easy completion. The other two got plenty of time with the second and third units and both had solid days as well. Smiling proved he could go up and get the ball on a jump ball down the middle of the field, but he wasn't close to beating Antone Exum on a couple fly routes down the sideline. Christian Reeves had a couple nice grabs between the hash marks down the field, showing that he definitely can't be forgotten about either.

Whip: Alonzo Tweedy vs. Ronny Vandyke

Analysis: Right now, it is Tweedy versus Vandyke at this position until Jeron Gouveia-Winslow returns to full strength and then he will be factored into as well. Both played very well Saturday and showed off their athleticism from the whip position, although it is hard to ignore that Vandyke is the ideal candidate to be a big-time playmaker at whip during his career. Look for these two to really push each other this week and over the next week and a half as Cornell Brown tries to figure something out with regards to a rotation by the end of spring.

Punt Returner: Kyshoen Jarrett vs. Dyrell Roberts

Analysis: Jarrett and Roberts were the only two people to go back for punt returns during live action on Saturday, so expect this to be a battle between those two. Jarrett was masterful with his opportunity, as he made a couple people miss and then took it to the house down the sideline for one of the highlights from the scrimmage. That alone has to put him as the leader heading into this week's scrimmage. Dyrell Roberts wasn't as lucky with his opportunities, as one was a short punt that he let bounce and couldn't return and another, prior to the scrimmage beginning, went through Branthover's hands and wasn't even punted.

Kicker: Conor Goulding vs. The Field

Analysis: After last Saturday's scrimmage, it is clear that Goulding is currently sitting at the top of Tech's kicker depth chart, as he got every kick opportunity during the scrimmage. He made a few, missed maybe one or two by just a hair, and appeared to have reliable distance out to at least 40 yards. He will continue to face competition from guys like Michael Branthover and Skyler Hutcheson, although it seems like Branthover is heading for the punter's role and Hutcheson is well behind.

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