April 13, 2012

Five Big Questions: Scrimmage Two

Tech holds the final open scrimmage of the spring prior to the Maroon-White Game this Saturday morning at 10:45 a.m. Last week's scrimmage was rough and ragged in many phases, so it will be interesting to see what improvements have been made over the past week. Today, we pose five questions to keep in mind for tomorrow.

1. Which wide receivers will step up?

All of a sudden, Virginia Tech's wide receiver depth chart is extremely low on proven talent after Marcus Davis pulled his hamstring during Wednesday's practice. With him very likely missing Saturday's scrimmage, the only proven receivers left are Dyrell Roberts and Corey Fuller. This means Saturday's scrimmage will be a massive opportunity for guys like Kevin Asante, Demitri Knowles, E.L. Smiling, Christian Reeves, and David Mellstrom. Knowles had a nice touchdown on a reverse during Wednesday's mini-scrimmage, while Mellstrom has a touchdown in two different scrimmages this spring.

2. Will Mark Leal have time to throw?

This will be a very interesting scrimmage for Leal, for a couple of reasons. One, Leal wasn't at practice on Monday or Wednesday, assumingly due to class conflicts. Secondly, he didn't have any time to throw during the last scrimmage so I would expect him to work a lot with the first unit so Mike O'Cain will have time to evaluate him. The only thing Leal showed last game is a pocket presence and the ability to throw on the run, but this game O'Cain will look to see how he throws from the pocket and runs the offense.

3. Was last week simply a bad week for Brent Benedict?

Benedict, in essentially his first public outing as a Virginia Tech player, really struggled to contain DT Luther Maddy all day long. His struggles were among the most prominent on an offensive line that was under fire all day long. With another week of practice and work, how Benedict responds will be one of the hot topics of the day. Another day of struggles and it becomes time to worry about the right guard position for the Hokies.

4. Can Ronny Vandyke continue his climb?

Vandyke is firmly sitting at number two behind Alonzo Tweedy on the depth chart, but has made waves with his development and progress this spring. He was all over the place last Saturday, even coming up with an interception. Tweedy is playing very well right now too and you have to factor in Jeron Gouveia-Winslow somewhere when he comes back, but if Vandyke continues to perform well there is no way Bud Foster can keep him off the field in the fall.

5. Is the kicking competition heating up?

Conor Goulding kicked every field goal during the scrimmage last Saturday, so it seemed that he had the inside track on place kicking duties at this point. However, he missed Wednesday's practice, presumably for class conflicts, and Michael Branthover was able to make a few. Look for Goulding to be the first guy out there on Saturday, however a poor day will definitely bring Branthover right into the mix once more.

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