We are only a few days away from Virginia Tech’s annual Maroon and White game. The 2012 edition of Hokies football will be on full display Saturday. Fans hope to see a different offensive performance this time around. The Virginia Tech defense looked unbeatable in the first open spring scrimmage, but it was at the offense’s expense.
There have been plenty of headlines and injury news to come out of the Hokies’ camp this spring, the following is a list of the most important.
The defense has been making the offense look bad all spring. It seems that there are at least 10 sacks per scrimmage, and what is really scary is that the defense isn’t healthy yet. The linebacker unit this spring is one of backups.
If the Hokies defense can get and stay healthy, then this could be a unit ranked in the top five.
The Hokies’ offense is slowly starting to round into shape. Logan Thomas threw four touchdown passes in Saturday’s scrimmage, but he was only able to complete 9-of-23 passes. Receiver drops have continued to be a problem this spring, which is only making Thomas’s numbers look worse.
Telvion Clark Dismissed
Clark was dismissed from the team earlier this spring. According to Coach Beamer, Clark was dismissed for violating team rules (via ESPN). The loss of Clark hurts because the Hokies don’t have a lot of depth at linebacker at the moment (more on that later). Clark was expected to compete for some playing time this season.
The Emergence of Michael Holmes
The competition for the starting running back position this spring has been between Michael Holmes and J.C. Coleman. As of late, Holmes has started separating himself from Coleman. He had a 60-yard touchdown run in Saturday’s scrimmage and ran for a total of 89 yards.
Fans have been asking offensive coordinator Brian Stinespring for years to be more creative with his offense. Well, it appears that he may have finally received the message. The offense has used the pistol formation some this spring and it appears that Stinespring and play-caller Mike O’Cain are slowly moving towards the spread offense.
The defense lost both Bruce Taylor and Jeron Gouveia-Winslow to Lisfranc sprains last season and both are still recovering. They have competed in non-contact drills but aren’t expected to fully practice until the fall training camp. Taylor underwent surgery on Thursday in order to take a screw out of his foot and relieve pain.
The Hokies also lost Tariq Edwards to a stress fracture in his shin last month. Edwards hasn’t been able to participate in spring practices at all (via the Washington Post).
Dyrell Roberts on his Way Back
Roberts has suffered season-ending injuries the last two years, but he, the team, the coaches and the fans all hope that he can stay healthy in 2012. Roberts is currently the third receiver on offense but he is also the most reliable and he shows up in the biggest moments (Nebraska anyone?), but Roberts is a double threat.
He is also an excellent kick returner and that is exactly what the Hokies need now that David Wilson has gone to the NFL.
Corey Fuller is Competing for Playing Time
Corey Fuller is expected to be the fourth receiver for the Hokies this season, but he is distinguishing himself as a player to keep an eye on. Fuller has been buried on the depth chart during his time in Blacksburg but he appears to be taking advantage of his opportunity now. Fuller caught three touchdown passes in Saturday’s scrimmage.
Offensive Line Getting Better
The offensive line has been awful this spring; in the Hokies’ first two scrimmages the line gave up 11 and 10 sacks, respectively. However, the line only gave up six sacks on Saturday. Six is a lot, but it is miniscule compared to earlier numbers. The line should continue to grow during the summer and fall practices and fans hope the unit will be ready by the time the season roles around.