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VIRGINIA TECH - HokieSports.com

VIRGINIA TECH - HokieSports.com

8 OUTLOOK offensiVe line

8 OUTLOOK offensiVe line headlineS Key Losses: tackle Blake DeChristopher; tackle Andrew Lanier; guard Jaymes Brooks; guard Greg Nosal Key Returnees: center Andrew Miller Tech lost four players who started every game over the past two seasons. Redshirt junior Andrew Miller started 14 games at center last fall and began taking over a leadership role up front during spring practice. Point of Interest: Brent Benedict came out of spring practice on top at right guard but the job is not quite locked up yet. Caleb Farris and Laurence Gibson will still have a say in the matter come August. Player to Watch: If redshirt senior Michael Via can bounce back from his ACL surgery of last winter, he could give the offensive line a tremendous boost. Via has the ability to help provide the depth the Hokies are in need of at the tackle positions. Andrew Miller 2012 Virginia Tech fooTball left tackle Nick Becton (r-Sr.) – Becomes an anchor guy after splitting time the past two seasons … Has all the tools to play at that level … Gives you the protection aspect with his size and long arms … Coaches want him to be a leader for the offensive line. Mark Shuman (r-So.) – Was the best backup at tackle during the spring … Possesses the size and athletic ability for the position, but has been slowed by injuries … Must continue working to improve … Getting him healthy and ready is a focal point. left GuarD David Wang (r-Jr.) – Moved into the starting position during the spring and was named the offensive player who had an exceptional spring … A physical player who is ready to play after missing the past two seasons due to injuries … Coaches feel his technique is the best they have had at the position. Matt Arkema (r-So.) – Was much improved during the spring … Will be a top backup and perhaps a spare starter at guard … Could also fill in at center if needed … Has good skills and athletic ability … Will have an important role along the line. ceNter Andrew Miller (r-Jr.) – Is now the Hokies’ most experienced lineman after starting all 14 games last fall … Helped bring the line together during spring practice … A tough, hard-nosed player with excellent ability … Must continue to be a leader during the summer … Will be a big factor in how the line does when the season rolls around. Caleb Farris (So.) – Will be the top backup at center this fall but will also get a shot at the starting right guard duties when practice resumes … Has shown maturity and toughness … Combines good footwork with solid technique … Gives the Hokies some versatility. Michael Via (r-Sr.) – A talented and valuable player who has been plagued by injuries … Joins Andrew Miller as the only current Tech offensive linemen with a collegiate start … Played most of last season with a torn ACL … Missed spring workouts … Can play any of the line positions … Coaches will see where he can best help the team. rIGht GuarD Brent Benedict (r-So.) – Heads into August as the leading candidate for the starting spot … Has great work habits … Is ready to go in the run game but still needs to improve in the pass protection phase … A highly regarded transfer from the University of Georgia. Laurence Gibson (r-So.) – Was in the competition for the starting job during the spring … Brings a lot of length to the position … Has the physical tools but hasn’t quite been able to get over the hump … Will get another shot in August. rIGht tackle Vinston Painter (r-Sr.) – Took over as the starter in the spring … Has not been on the field in many live, first-team situations, but his hard work off the field has helped put him in a leadership role … Got a lot of reps and direction during the spring … Really improved in his run blocking … Is motivated to have a good season. Jake Goins (r-Fr.) – Has natural ability but is not playing as fast as he needs to … That should improve as he continues to get a better feel for the offense … Needs to use the summer to get bigger, faster and stronger … Will battle for a backup role in August. coach NeWsome oN the offeNsIve lINe: “It was a new group out there in the spring. We had some guys coming off injuries and we had some guys who hadn’t been out there, but we always played to the whistle. We created a tempo getting to the line of scrimmage and sped that tempo up. I think we played harder throughout the spring. Our blitz pick-up was better, our protection of the quarterback was better and we were able to run the football some. I knew it would take a little time, but they gelled as a unit.” returnerS No. Name Cl. Pos. 64 Matt Arkema r-So. OG Tyler Barfield r-Jr. OG 54 Nick Becton r-Sr. OT 55 Brent Benedict r-So. OG 79 Caleb Farris So. C/OG 61 Darian Fisher r-Jr. OT 63 Laurence Gibson r-So. OG 70 Jake Goins r-Fr. OT Marcus Mapp r-Fr. OT 74 Andrew Miller r-Jr. C 71 Vinston Painter r-Sr. OT 69 Mark Shuman r-So. OT 67 Michael Via r-Sr. C/OT 76 David Wang r-Jr. OG newcomerS Name Cl. Pos. Augie Conte Fr. OT Adam Taraschke Fr. OT Jack Willenbrock Fr. OG/C

eCeiVers & tight ends sPlIt eND D.J. Coles (Sr.) – Is expected to be one of the Hokies’ top offensive weapons in 2012 … Did not see contact work during the spring after injuring his knee late in the fall … Is on pace to return to action … Had a personal-best 36 catches for 480 yards and three touchdowns in 2011 … Team needs him back in shape and running full speed. Dyrell Roberts (r-Sr.) – With Coles out, moved to split end and picked up a lot of valuable reps during the spring … Has missed parts of the past two seasons due to injuries, but has played in a lot of big games for the Hokies … A playmaker with all the skill sets … Coaches are happy to have him back as both a player and a leader. Corey Fuller (r-Sr.) – Was named the most improved offensive player of the spring … Has good size and speed … Showed he can step up and be productive, he just needs to focus on doing it on a regular basis … If so, he will be in the receiving rotation. Kevin Asante (r-Fr.) – A young player who has shown good promise … Works hard and can really run … Brings a physical presence to the position … Still has some work to do on route running and perimeter blocking, but has a chance to contribute early. flaNker Marcus Davis (r-Sr.) – The No. 1 guy … A playmaker who is big, fast, physical and athletic … Had 30 catches and a team-best 17 yards per catch average in 2011 … Tied for the team lead with five TD receptions … Must take a leadership role and be focused and consistent. Marcus Davis Demitri Knowles (r-Fr.) – Brings a lot of bigplay capabilities to the offense and special teams … Showed some consistency and great effort during the spring … Must continue working on his blocking and his route running … Has a chance to play a big role ths fall. coach shermaN oN the WIDe receIvers: “This summer is going to be big from a physical standpoint in the weight room, but even more importantly for working on the timing with Logan (Thomas) and the quarterbacks and getting a little more consistency in the passing game. That is an area we are going to need to improve on this summer and in preseason camp. These guys are hungry and are buying into the approach we are trying to take offensively this coming year. I like where we are; I like where we are headed. The expectations are high and they understand what it takes to play at a high level.” tIGht eND Eric Martin (Sr.) – The Hokies’ most experienced tight end … Brings toughness to the position … Was the No. 2 tight end each of the past two seasons … A solid player the coaches can dependable on. Randall Dunn (r-Sr.) – Brings a dimension to the position that the coaches like … Is athletic and runs well … Still has good ball skills from his wide receiver days … Has made the adjustment to the position and earned the right to compete for the starting job. Ryan Malleck (So.) – Coaches really like his frame and potential … Still has some work to do, but catches the ball well and brings something to the running game with his size … Will look to improve his footwork over the summer and battle for playing time in August. coach stINesPrING oN the tIGht eNDs: “Overall, I was pleased with the spring, but I know we can get to another level in terms of our play. Each guy was inconsistent at times, but also at times played to the level I thought they could get to in terms of helping us win. We had to build a foundation by each guy playing to his strength and developing his confidence. Now we are ready to start building on what we accomplished. We need to expand on the diversity within the group and I believe we will. The starting job is wide open. We have capable candidates, but I would like to see somebody separate himself from the pack.” headlineS Key Losses: split end Jarrett Boykin; flanker Danny Coale; tight end Chris Drager Key Returnees: split end D.J. Coles; flanker Marcus Davis; flanker Dyrell Roberts Boykin and Coale departed ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in career pass receptions at Virginia Tech. Coles and Davis combined for 66 catches and eight TDs last season, while Roberts is a proven playmaker who returns after missing all but three games last season due to injury. Point of Interest: The graduation of Drager left a void at tight end that led to good competition but no resolution during the spring. Eric Martin and Randall Dunn lead the way heading into preseason practice, but whoever shows the most versatility when the competition resumes is likely to get the nod. Player to Watch: Redshirt freshman Demitri Knowles has shown the explosiveness and speed that the Hokies are looking for. He could be a big part of the offense and special teams this fall. returnerS No. Name Class Pos. 19 Kevin Asante r-Fr. SE 82 Willie Byrn r-So. FL 18 D.J. Coles Sr. SE 7 Marcus Davis r-Sr. FL 9 Randall Dunn r-Sr. TE 83 Corey Fuller r-Sr. SE 48 George George r-Sr. TE 80 Demitri Knowles r-Fr. FL 88 Ryan Malleck So. TE 86 Eric Martin r-Sr. TE David Mellstrom r-Fr. FL 81 Duan Perez-Means r-So. TE 33 Darius Redman r-Fr. TE 44 Christian Reeves r-Fr. SE 11 Dyrell Roberts r-Sr. SE 85 E.L. Smiling r-So. SE newcomerS Name Class Pos. Joel Caleb Fr. FL Mark Irick Fr. SE Dakota Jackson Fr. TE Joshua Stanford Fr. SE 2012 Virginia Tech fooTball 9 OUTLOOK

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