Monday, August 24, 2009

Tony Gregory... Starting Tailback?

It's a scary thought, but not all that improbable at this point. David Wilson is still healing from a shoulder injury, Josh Oglesby has an infection in his foot, Ryan Williams sprained his ankle in the scrimmage on Saturday, and Darren Evans is still out with an ACL tear (pansy). You have to assume that at least a few of these guys will get healthy before the Alabama game, but with the way things have been going this preseason, it feels all too possible that we might be starting our converted wide receiver, Tony Gregory, as our #1 tailback against the Crimson Tide. Yikes. That would put fear into the heart of any Hokie fan. The coaching staff has been very high on Gregory saying that he looks like the real deal at tailback, but the inexperience is killer. On a positive note, there wasn't much talk about Ryan Williams' sprain in the article I read, so I am guessing that it's not very serious. The coaching staff also mentioned that David Wilson could have played in the scrimmage, but they wanted to play it safe and keep him out until Wednesday's closed-to-the-public scrimmage.

As for the scrimmage, it looked like your typical VT intrasquad rivalry with the defense putting the hurt on the offense. Tyrod Taylor played well, but didn't have a touchdown throw (or run). JuJu Clayton played okay, going 6-10 with an interception. He looks to be our backup QB for this season as he outplayed Logan Thomas, but also because the coaching staff thinks they might have a future starting QB in Thomas, so they want to redshirt him this year. The idea of a very tall and athletic pocket passer like Logan Thomas leading the Hokies is almost inconceivable. James and I were sitting around the other day trying to decide who our last GOOD starting QB in that mould would have been, and we both decided it was Jim Druckenmiller. I believe that was 13 years ago. You may of course submit your arguments for Sean Glennon and Grant Noel, but I will put my fingers in my ears and shout, "LA LA LA LA LAAAAAAAAAAA" over and over so that I can't hear you. Oh wait, this is a blog... okay then I'll just spray paint my screen to cover up your comments. Done and done.

I am not going to start crying over the running backs just yet. David Wilson has supposedly been glued to RB coach Billy Hite's hip during the practices and scrimmages so he can get "mental reps" and comment on what his responsibilities would be during each play. He's a very bright kid, and is terribly eager to make his mark. I think he's game-ready as soon as his shoulder heals up. Matt Waldron has also done a very nice job with his field goal attempts, and I think (keeping my fingers crossed here), that we should have a solid season with him kicking. Beamer knows that his special teams units got burned far too often last year, and since that area is his specialty, you can bet that they will be well-drilled for this season. Expect more blocked punts, more return TDs, and more hard hits from our gunners than we have had in several seasons.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Darren Evans Lost for the Season

I just had to weigh in on the fact that the Hokies have lost Darren Evans for the season. He tore his ACL in practice, which is always a stomach punch no matter which player, but the fact that it was Evans is making most Hokie fans even more concerned. I am going to come out and say that I'm not "terribly" concerned. I do believe we will miss Evans for his leadership, his short yardage ability, and his blocking. He is much better in all three of those categories than Ryan Williams, David Wilson, or just about any other back (you have to give Kenny Lewis Jr the edge in leadership), but I think that the carries that Evans loses to Ryan Williams might actually be in the favor of Virginia Tech. Williams is just more explosive and dynamic than Evans is. The runs from last season where the O-line created a gaping hole for Evans to run through, but where he was also caught from behind after 15 yards will be touchdowns in the hands of Williams. Yet, with all that said, I do think the Hokies would have been better off with the option of Evans in addition to Williams. And granted, you will probably see more of other running backs like Lewis (untalented), Oglesby (inconsistent), and possibly David Wilson (inexperienced).

I still think this Virginia Tech squad is just as capable of going the distance as they were before, but it may also prove fortunate that this situation will add a chip on the shoulder of the VT players to show that they are still in the hunt for the National Championship even without Darren Evans. I'd be all about that.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm pumped to see what Ryan Williams can do... just about all of the seniors who have given interviews to have talked about him being the player they are most excited about this season. Or to say it better, I don't think any senior who was interviewed and asked that question had a response that wasn't "Ryan Williams." Now please, God, let him stay healthy.