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April 20, 2013

Hokies Conclude Spring Practice With Spring Game

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The Virginia Tech Hokies revamped offense didn't exactly offer the 40,000 fans in attendance a promising future in its Spring Game.

Given a 13-0 lead to start, the White Team (2nd teamers) scored on two interceptions early and held on for the victory, 27-9. The first was Der'Woun Greene's 98-yarder and Donovan Riley added a 53-yard touchdown just three minutes later.

"Offensively we've gotta get more consistent," Head Coach Frank Beamer said following the annual contest. "Today is kind of where we are right now. A good defense, good kicking game, and an offense that's gotta function better."

The Orange (first team) offense managed just one score against the second-team defense thanks to a Mark Leal touchdown pass, but that was about it. A lot of work needs to be done before August 31, when the Hokies begin the season in the Georgia Dome against two-time defending National Champion Alabama.

"I thought it was going to be cake work," defensive end James Gayle said regarding the 13-point cushion given by Team Orange. "But they came out there and played well, and we weren't able to overcome it. It was just one of those days."

Logan Thomas threw three interceptions in an interesting performance- he also showed glimpses of excellence by completing over 60% of his passes. Overall, he was 16-29 for 216 yards, while the backup Leal was 3-8 for 60 yards and the touchdown to Ryan Malleck.

"People are going to say that I had a bad day today," Thomas said. "But I can't complain with how I played. I put the ball where I wanted to, I hit my spots, I was accurate. My mechanics and accuracy have gotten better and that's all I can ask for right now. I'm excited to go into this summer and work with these guys."

The first two interceptions were a result of bad decisions, something that can easily be fixed before Week 1. But Thomas is right- he was zipping the ball around the field and was accurate with just about every throw he made.

One of the surprising bright spots for the offense were the tight ends, Malleck and Zack McCray. Malleck had 3 catches for 45 yards and the touchdown while McCray had a team-high 5 catches for 65 yards.

Virginia Tech struggled to run the ball all day, combining for just 23 net yards of rushing. Sophomore Michael Holmes led the way with 24 yards on 7 carries.

While the offense will face certain scrutiny in the near future for this performance, the truth is that offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler has only put in a small piece of the playbook.

"If I had to give a percentage, I'd probably say a quarter of it, not even half of the playbook is in," backup quarterback Mark Leal mentioned. "[Loeffler} tells us once we have all of this basic stuff down, we'll just build on that and we will probably never run a lot of what he calls now. It's just base stuff."

Over the next 132 days, the players will make drastic improvements such as Malleck, who hopes to catch "100 balls a day" from Thomas. But the big question still remains- will it be enough to compete with the best college program in the land?



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