Virginia Tech football has at least one more objective spring ball results oriented article in me. And then we get to the Logan Thomas is tall and rain is rumored to be wet style of more and less rinse, recycle, repeat; and less peculiar publishing later this summer.
This springs practice has come to a close; although and we did see some movement(s) across and up and down the orange and maroon depth-chart, there are still a few things to sort out, and some other things that just plain need some ironing out. Our beloved Hokies are in quest for some additional offensive line depth, defensive line depth, and linebacking help plus depth. We have two handsome potential stop-unit starters still in flux, possibly fluxed up and at the very best, those two are still suspended. And yet we did see some overall and individual improvements; in very particular to overall and individual pulmonary and cardio conditioning. So let us pick up where we left off with some individual nuggets and some collective broad-brush canvasing strokes sprinkled in here and there…
Do you see what I see?
I see the exact same grip. One from a 6’7” Adonis in cleats (#2, Lawson) and the other from Chris Coleman’s 6’2” boy (#12, Joshua), the likely Qb4, at least for the 2016 moment. Point being, you seldom see the exactly same grip between any given two Qb’s on the same given roster. Different hand sizes, different release points, different throw-game mechanics –or even a wet football; all conspire to say the same. Terry Bradshaw gripped the nose of the football with his right-index finger; Johnny Unitas gripped further down the football, like he was hurling a watermelon. Differences happen, though you are no longer seeing them here. Now, for the sake of R.A.T.T., some would call this: “over-coaching” or Todd Marinovich mechanically stylized “robo-Qb’s”. With every single thing textbook, pinpoint, by the book, with nary a deviation(s) allowed from the same. The best Qb coach I never meet; when I asked him: “…what kind of (throwing) mechanics did you coach?” Once taught me: “…did it get there?” in response. He said he did not care if they slung it underhanded or submarine, just answer me this… “…did it get there”? Loeffler was something of a throw-game mechanics micro-manager and the early returns hint that coach Corny is pretty strict here too. Wanted make sure you saw this in order for you to further understand that nothing, as in nil, none, nadda is being left to chance under the new regime Whether that is code for: micromanagement or not, well, that remains to be seen?
Not one of my favorites to have to type out… however, in the interests of full coverage… someone picked up some reports that Shai lacked a bit of explosion or suddenness (in terms of movement(s)) to his game to close spring ball. His testing is pretty good, his straight ahead speed is decent enough, and he has improved his twice spent wheel, to be sure. However, what if the jump-cut voltage is no longer there? How much mileage can a guy give you like that, on a twice flattened right-side tire? As I’m really hoping Shai is not a comeback season Gayle Sayers who did crack the 1,000 yard barrier, on grit, guts, guile and moxie, sans nearly his entire former “Kansas Comet” fabled fast-twitch back in 1969. As that Gayle Sayers got the job done, while simultaneously paying a heavy physical price –as he could not get out of the way.
Another (really) wild one someone found here, as our walking wounded go? Well, they run, as in the Lane Stadium steps! As someone who has been in Virginia Tech football practices, since the mid 1980’s, has never ever never ever seen this one; until now! Used to be the medical contrast crowd did extra sit-ups, and prone on the ground condition work. All under the look the other way watchful eye of some grad’ assistant just trying to be everyone’s best friend. And do recall that the jersey is a more severe grade than the jersey is in medical allowance terms. (do not forget someone already reporting that we had guys in jersey‘s going live contact this spring as well | and dangnation, that truly is plum getting after it!
Rather curious to see Bucky Hodges switching to the modern version of the former “bimbo” Coles’ patella knee band. This is now a full fledged patella knee wrap –right below the kneecap same as the old-school looking glorified rubber-band style brace once was. Bucky has a quiet history of a little knee tendonitis, and he does seem to slow down just a scosche later on in games on an artificial surface. Accordingly, although this may not be anything bad bad, it is something to watch per a kid with a history of tender knees and thick expectations in the new Fu’fense offensive set.
Nice to see likely Qb1, and JuCo transfer Qb Jerod Evans looking noticeably slimmer and tauter along the waistline to end spring practice 2016 (see: below). Less parts Tajh Boyd, and more parts coach-Fu pulmonary and cardio physically fit; as Evans does not look his reporting to work former 237 lbs. anymore at all. He looks better, as in a good deal better as the eye test goes.
Although I do not know if r-sophomore Billy Ray Mitchell contributes this year or not I do know I like two things about this up and coming Guard. First of all, I like his barnyard good ole boy name. Does that read like a pitchfork posse or a deuce of a Guard or what? I also really like his hustle, his work ethos, as Billy-Ray is part worker-bee and every offensive line needs a pure all-heart grinder just like this 6’4” 286 lb. and 485 lb. back-squatting Billy-Ray.
Tim Settle is a lotta thing(s), though one thing that his 6’3” 344 lb. svelter frame is -and is not getting any run for it- is that Tim Settle is a pure play-maker with an organic nose for the ball. Since arriving at Virginia Tech, he has logged numerous practice field or scrimmage fumble recoveries and returns; INT returns; and this spring there were even reports of his punt-returns and some whispers of his potential involvement in some goal line offensive Sets! This from the aforementioned 6’3” 344 monster sized true Ng (nose-Guard) frame that: benches 350 lbs., squats a mere 600, dead lifts 450, has a nifty 5.06 shuttle time, a 5.18 forty, throws an absurd 31.5′ power-ball and can vertical at just under 28”. That’s just plum crazy for a bulwark or rather rotund sized human wrecking ball folks. And what is even more fun is hearing/seeing the stories of the offensive guys -and staffers alike- in no hurry to try to lasso (much less tackle) this breakaway Brahma bull on the return; as they actually and quite actively try to get the hell out of his way! Tim is a big ole boy, though he has improved his physique and yet he gets no publication for what a play-maker he can and quite possibly will, be; as there is something about this much fast-twitch, moving this well, at this size that is nearly chilling, indeed. (UPDATE: interesting to see how Settle was deployed this past spring –virtually entirely as a Dt, virtually never as a true-Ng. Which to me, Ng is his most intrinsic or natural home position. Saw a lotta (his) inside-eye to (the right-G’s) outside-eye alignments, or what the modern gridiron lexiconists want me to call a: “3-technique”. Honestly, I’m not a fan; and with a freak like Tim? Why not get creative? Maybe nose-to-nose him at Ng vs. the opposing Center in what is now called a “0-technique” … or even aligns him with in pinch or 0-technique angularity like the 1970’s Steelers did “mean” Joe Green? You could even dabble in a fifty-two or 5-2 set with Tua’ and Carson backing that up. Lot of ways to do a lot of things with a kid who industrializes a whole lot of Gifts as a Tim Settle does. Or did that just make too much, sense?)
Andrew Motuapuaka: did catch just a whisper or two that Andrew ended spring-ball on a more aggressive note. This is not a coincidence in my book; as he played most of last season on one or two bad knees; then entered spring practice with a modestly lingering post-op’ right knee issue (torn M.C.L.) and that after spraining his left knee earlier in 2015. Now mix in a calf-muscle strain this camp –which actually helped reduce any lingering post-surgical knee symptoms when he had to miss almost a week of spring practice back in March. Then, you suddenly saw a Motuapuaka who was moving better, or at least less gingerly; and therefore a bit more aggressively; as people forget that Andrew really does test well for being such a narrow looking Mike-Lb upstairs. Would you have bet Andrew can dunk a basketball at 5’12” in height? You should after you see his highly surprising 33” vertical leap, his nifty 380 bench and his strong enough 390 lb. front-squat. I’m not saying that Andrew is this or that… I am saying we have seldom -if ever- seen this kid experienced enough and healthy enough to see both curves intersect to therefore gain the rightful measure his performance curve max’. I’m not saying that his max’ is great, it may not even be really good; I am however saying we’ve never see that; and it is pretty difficult to measure that which you’ve never seen in the first place. (READERs note: perhaps this is part of Bud’s love affair with #54? Maybe Bud is the one seeing healthy practice-field glimpses of Andrew’s best play that we simply are not?) Or to put it another way, guess what the purely measurable difference(s) between Andrew Motuapuaka and the much fabled Vince Hall is? 5 lbs. in body mass; as they have exactly the same vertical leap! And yet Andrew beats Vince in bench press by 25 lbs.! Crazy; ain’t it?!?
Fun to see the “Dab On It” dance routine from Qb Jerod Evans and big ole Jonathan McLaughlin this spring. Don’t know if this sees the light of day in the everyone is now so enlightened and therefore everyone is now so easily social media offended era, or not? I do know that this does show us that coach-Fu is pro (hard) work and yet that does not make coach-Fu anti-fun. And I will say that these two put on a fairly well coordinated show –even if no one will ever top what the former big whistle did when he went full monty and Dabbed on uva post game over in hooville last season.
Interesting to see potential starting Qb, Brenden Motley finish the spring in a full left-leg sleeve. Recall that Mot’ has a history of lead or left-leg injuries as an orthodox or right-handed thrower. Motley has had a torn left meniscus (knee cartilage) and a sprained left-foot vs. uva a couple of years back. Is this a big deal? I presume not, as full sleeves tend to be precautionary more often than not; nonetheless, I can also tell you that you do not start adding athletic taping or bracing …just because. You add them in a terminal contact sport because you need to add them. So keep an eye on this once August training camp opens for business.
Not that our very own blocking Lou Ferrigno orange and maroon colored incredible hulk needs any help looking any more like a human battleaxe than he already does. However, Wyatt Teller added a neck brace under his shoulder pads this spring and the peak on his neck/trapezius muscles could not be any higher or any scarier looking if it tried; as it is officially October 31st all day all night if you have to line-up opposite of Virginia Tech’s mega high voltage #57.
Speaking of likely starting Qb J.Evans, there was something downright more confident to his pocket game set-up’s on his five-step drops later on in spring practice this year. Like a boxer feeling his oats, light on his feet and dancing around on the outside on his tippy-toes while at the same time effortlessly jabbing away at range vs. a hapless and over-matched opponent. Something changed a bit here for Evans a bit later on in the spring body language wise; something to the good, or something to the more self-assured. As you could literally see the increase in so-called textbook: meta-communicating in his close of spring practice body-language. Recall before when you saw Evans looking a bit rushed and a good deal less comfortable with his self-game when we opened spring practice for business. As it is most welcome to see the settling in process for Evans officially, begin.
Interesting to see ostensibly polemic Coach Foster now punishing the entire defense under coach Fuente. As a whole, I mean –the entire 11 disciplined for the infraction of the one. Including any participatory guys in jerseys! Now, there are at least three schools of thought here to my sporting knowledge. You punish the entire group for the individual(s) infarction(s); you punish the individual(s) for their given infraction(s); or you punish the rest of the group, while giving the infraction individual(s) the punishment off; thus drawing the corrective ire of those who were punished for something they did not actually do. The later is my Hawthorne Effect favorite. Jerry used to punish like that during WWII. Although clearly there is more than one effective way to skin the disciplinary cat here. Coach-Fu however inflicts discipline unanimously; all for one and one for all.
Virginia Tech=better conditioned mentally and physically for the 4th Quarter!