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April 15, 2011

Offense lights up second scrimmage

Virginia Tech held their second open scrimmage on Friday night in Blacksburg. It was a showing that saw the offense go on a tear particularly from the likes of Logan Thomas, David Wilson and Danny Coale who moved the ball up and down the field on the night.

Leading the offense was a strong showing by Logan Thomas who displayed his rocket arm yet again. Thomas clearly showed a preference towards his receiver hitting Danny Coale on multiple occasions including a 29-yard strike right through the defense. Thomas made an outstanding read and stepped up in the pocket on the play. Thomas went back to Coale for a 43-yard touchdown against the second team defense a bit later in the night. It wasn't just his hooking up with Coale though, he had a terrific strike downfield to Jarrett Boykin too for 30-yards over Kyle Fuller. Not to be overlooked was Thomas' ability to run where he ripped off a 20-yarder in the open field. While he impressed, Thomas still had his struggles, once leading Jarrett Boykin into a bit hit from Antone Exum and a few incompletions, an overthrow and a bit of struggles in the redzone along with a fumbled snap. It was still a very good day from the Hokies starter who finished completing 9-of-16 for 214-yards and two scores.

In terms of the backups, the drop off is significant. Ju-Ju Clayton got the No. 2 reps and struggled on the night throwing what would have been a pick six to Chase Williams and a second interception later to Brian Laiti as he was 6-of-15 for 39-yards. It appears Clayton is still dusting off the rust and he'll need a strong showing next week.

However, Mark Leal looked to settle in and could be pushing for the No. 2 reps. Leal made an excellent 70-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Davis. The pass was tight and accurate. He added another deep pass late to Davis that was on the money, but dropped this time around. After struggling last week, Leal looked far more in control today and displayed the fact he can throw the football.

Trey Gresh rounded out the quarterback play and his opportunities were relatively limited.

Meanwhile, the tailback spot saw easily the biggest performance of the day from David Wilson who posted three touchdowns. This scrimmage is Wilson's final open practice as he'll be in a track meet next week. He didn't disappoint in the least not just scoring, but flashing some outstanding explosiveness against the first team defense nonetheless. Wilson displayed some great power and the ability to break tackles, breaking three on one of his big runs. He also showed off an impressive spin move and the ability to block. Wilson ended up with 76-yards on eight carries.

In terms of backups, Josh Oglesby struggled at the goal line with the first team offense against the first team defense and had a quiet day. James Hopper seemed to struggle.

The fullback spot saw a big play out of Joey Phillips who laid out Adeboye Aromire on Logan Thomas' 33-yard strike.

Meanwhile, the tight end spot was extremely quiet with Chris Drager, Randall Dunn, Eric Martin and Jerome Lewis seeing time, but none of them pulled down a reception. Drager continues to show good toughness as a blocker as he's making the transition to the offensive side of the ball, but his time was limited.

In terms of the wide receivers, Danny Coale was the star of the day and he seemed to be open on every play for a time hauling in seven receptions for 158-yards. As mentioned, he looks to be Thomas' first target. Coale like usual was a strong blocker too. Jarrett Boykin returned to action and made a nice reception, he took a big hit on the next play from Antone Exum. Marcus Davis showed outstanding ability on one play breaking multiple tackles on a 70-yard touchdown, but he did have a drop that should have been caught. Still, he came up with the ball again and continues to push hard for a spot on the field pulling down five receptions for 107-yards and a score. D.J. Coles saw time as well and made a nice reception across the middle that was just one of six receptions for 80-yards on the day. E.L. Smiling showed well in limited duties.

The first team offensive line held their own on Friday night until late in the scrimmage where they gave up three sacks. David Wang came up limping on one play, but should be ok as he came back quickly. He was solid on the day. In terms of the backups, Courtney Prince had his moments, but it was inconsistent. The starting tackle spot continues to be a battle between Andrew Lanier and Nick Becton, Lanier showed good ability on the night holding his own against the first team. Vinston Painter saw the field and had his times too, but then got beat bad once on a play by Nic Acree.

Defensively, the end spot continued to perform well. J.R. Collins continues to play well on the outside as he had a huge night with two sacks including one late on the first team defense. Collins was incredibly hard to handle on the night and finished with seven tackles and fur for loss. James Gayle added another sack to his resume this evening with a great move inside, he was consistent and reliable. Duan Perez-Means made a nice stop in the backfield for a loss, while Zack McCray had his moments before getting dinged up.

The tackle position saw solid performances from Derrick Hopkins and Antoine Hopkins. Derrick Hopkins continues to show a good burst off the ball as expected while Antoine Hopkins posted a sack. It was a relatively quiet evening by the backups as Kwamaine Battle appears to have a strong hold still on the No. 3 job. Nic Acree continues to play high and is losing leverage, but had his moments still.

The linebacker spot saw a few strong performances from the likes of Tariq Edwards, Chase Williams and Telvion Clark. Tariq Edwards displayed the ability to control the edge outside while Chase Williams came up with a tremendous interception return for 75-yards in what would have been a score. He also showed good quickness chasing Logan Thomas out of bounds on his scamper. Telvion Clark made a number of solid tackles finishing with eight on the day, and put a big hit on Justin Ryals.

In terms of the other linebackers, the battle between Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and Alonzo Tweedy continues to rage with both performing well. The backup spot saw Nick Dew play well before getting dinged up early.

Barquell Rivers had his moments briefly while Brian Laiti came up with a big interception late on Ju-Ju Clayton.

It was a bit of a rough night for the secondary particularly with Jayron Hosley out with a green jersey on the day, reported to be a head injury. That saw interestingly Cris Hill get the starting duties over riser Detrick Bonner in the scrimmage. Hill performed well breaking up a nice pass to Danny Coale. It was a solid showing for Hill. Detrick Bonner got the first team reps later in the scrimmage and he continued his solid play as well.

On the other side, Kyle Fuller got beat a couple times, but still is playing well. Carl Jackson saw time along with Chris Caver. Jackson got beat bad on one of Thomas' passes to Coale.

At safety, Theron Norman was out of the practice recovering from an injury last week. Still, Tech had their starters with Antone Exum and Eddie Whitley. Exum delivered a huge blow on Jarrett Boykin across the middle. He showed some good tackling on the day as well, making a great open field tackle on James Hopper. Meanwhile, Whitley proved to be a reliable tackler as well, once getting Oglesby down and making a few other plays. Adeboye Aromire impressed once again with his ability, especially considering he's just a few short months out of high school.

The kicking game seemed to get a lot clearer on Friday night as Ethan Keyersling at punter and Cody Journell at kicker got all the reps until the very end. Keyersling performed well except for a miserable 14-yard punt. Journell was 4-of-5 on field goals with his lone miss from 45-yards out. He showed good accuracy on the day hitting from 19, 27, 30 and 30.

Tyler Weiss and Justin Myer got attempts. Weiss missed a 37-yarder, while Myer showed good leg, but his accuracy is still off. At punter, Danny Coale didn't see time, but did as a return man on punts.

Virginia Tech will wrap up spring practice next Saturday with the Maroon vs. White Spring Game in Lane Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.

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