The talent pool at Virginia Tech has always been deep under Frank Beamer, but this may be his best group of offensive skill players ever.
Senior quarterback Tyrod Taylor returns after his first full season as a starter. His spot isn’t in question, but the backup slot is definitely up for grabs.
Last year’s backup, redshirt sophomore Ju-Ju Clayton, is battling redshirt freshman Logan Thomas for the second-string position.
Clayton saw action in five games last season, getting in for 23 snaps against Marshall and 19 against Boston College when he completed an 80-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Davis, his only completion of the season.
Thomas was the No. 1 tight end in the country according to Superprep coming out of high school, but he also threw for 1,535 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior at Brookville High school in Lynchburg, Va.
Thomas has tremendous athleticism, and the idea of using him at multiple positions has been tossed around by the coaching staffbut that will largely be determined by his spot on the quarterback depth chart.
The battle to backup Taylor is tight thus far, and quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain hopes the competition can be resolved sooner rather than later.
“I’m hoping for some separation this spring,” O’Cain said recently.
“That’s what we’d like, but at the same time, you want to be fair to both of those guys and give them work. Hopefully some separation will take place. But we don’t want to force it. We want to let it happen.”
With the plethora of running backs at Tech’s disposal, Josh Oglesby has moved from tailback to fullback and entered spring as a co-number one at the position with returning fullback Kenny Younger.
Oglesby had 78 carries for 335 yards and two touchdowns last season, and should be a versatile part of the Hokie offense.
Coaches are hoping to use him like former Tech fullback Jarrett Ferguson, an excellent blocker, solid runner and capable receiver who went on to play in the NFL.
Oglesby’s move frees up carries to be split among standout sophomore Ryan Williams, sophomore speedster David Wilson and redshirt junior Darren Evans, who returns from a torn ACL suffered last August.
How the Hokies rotate the backs remains to be seen, but with the entire receiving corps returning as well, the Tech offense has a tremendous amount of firepower in the arsenal this season.
The one question mark is the offensive line, which has to replace two starters and has been bitten hard by the injury bug so far this spring.
Backup center Michael Via has a “stretched” ACL that will require surgery, and guard Vinston Painter has a dislocated kneecap.
Neither player was slated to start, but it has created serious depth issues for the time being.
Another backup center, Andrew Miller is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery leaving 5’9”, 240-pound walk-on Bo Gentry as the new No. 2 for now.
While the injury situation should be resolved by the fall, the spring is all about getting reps and gaining experience for the untested players.
The current predicament removes that from the equation and leaves the coaches holding their breath every time a lineman is slow to get up.
The Hokies will hold their second spring scrimmage Saturday at 11 a.m. in Lane Stadium. The scrimmage is open to the public and will be the final scrimmage leading up to Tech’s Spring Game Saturday, April 24 at 2 p.m.