Brenden Motley vaulted over Leal with his strong performance in the team’s second scrimmage, but he didn’t do much in the Hokies’ third scrimmage to solidify his position.
He had the best day of the three quarterbacks on the roster, going 5-of-11 for 46 yards and a score while taking just two sacks, but that certainly wasn’t good enough to eliminate Leal from contention.
Motley looked sharp on a few plays, particularly on his touchdown throw to tight end Darius Redman when he got forced out of the pocket and put great touch on the ball to get it in the back corner of the end zone. He ran five times for 18 yards, discounting the 21 yards he lost on sacks.
However, like Leal, he still tended to feel the rush a little more than he should. But that is a typical response from a pair of quarterbacks that haven’t seen much game action, especially because the defense was free to tackle them since the scrimmage was “live."
“It speeds up the game. It gets your decision-making faster,” Motley said. “(We want to) try to eliminate the safety net of having the (no-contact) yellow jersey on.”
Yet, despite his deficiencies, with Leal still floundering, Motley seems like a pretty good bet to hang onto the top spot. Early-enrolled freshman Andrew Ford has continued to look a bit overwhelmed by the speed of the game, failing to complete a pass in five attempts in the third scrimmage, and Motley does seem comfortable running the offense.
However, he’ll have to have a big final week of practice and an even bigger spring game if he wants serious consideration for the top job when summer arrives.
He’ll likely get a longer look than Ford or Leal once Durkin and Brewer come to Blacksburg on May 28, but the staff will only have so many reps to divvy up among them.
Loeffler has been particularly emphatic that he wants a robust competition at the position, and Motley has precious little time left as the main contender for the job.
“May 28 there’s two guys that come in here, and it’s going to get really competitive really fast,” Loeffler said.
All eyes will be on Motley during the spring game, and if he delivers a strong performance, the coaching staff will have a much harder decision to make at the position when fall camp arrives.