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VIRGINIA TECH - HokieSports.com

VIRGINIA TECH - HokieSports.com

10 OUTLOOK rUnning baCks

10 OUTLOOK rUnning baCks & Qbs headlineS Key Losses: tailback David Wilson; tailback Josh Oglesby Key Returnees: quarterback Logan Thomas; fullback Joey Phillips With Wilson gone to the NFL early and Oglesby having graduated, the Hokies have a lot of new faces at the tailback spot. Not so at quarterback, where Thomas had a record-setting first season, or at fullback, where Phillips is a veteran. Point of Interest: Michael Holmes earned the top spot at tailback during the spring, leaving an interesting pool of talent for the remaining spots. Senior bruiser Martin Scales and speedy true freshman J.C. Coleman made good impressions during the spring and will be joined in August by some highly touted newcomers. Tony Gregory, who sat out the spring, could also be in the mix. Player to Watch: Redshirt freshman Michael Holmes showed consistency and playmaking ability on the way to winning the tailback job in the spring. taIlBack Michael Holmes (r-Fr.) – Has a firm hold on the tailback job after being named the top offensive newcomer of spring practice … Showed consistency, a great work ethic and toughness … Studies the game to try and get better … Has a knack for making plays … Possesses good vision and the ability to make a cut and get upfield in a hurry … Will be hard to beat out in August. Martin Scales (r-Sr.) – His switch from fullback to tailback during the spring was a good move … Brings another dimension to the position with his size and bruising north-south style of running … Will continue to get better at the position. J.C. Coleman (Fr.) – Entered school straight from high school in January … Showed maturity beyond his years … Made plays and got better … Is tough and fast … Will need to get stronger and be able to hold up between the tackles … Has the right approach to succeed. fullBack Joey Phillips (r-Sr.) – Started last season and did an outstanding job … Is experienced and smart … Doesn’t miss assignments … Is a physical blocker … A weight room warrior with a great work ethic … Had the top power clean on the team during the offseason … Also contributes on special teams. Riley Beiro (r-So.) – Got a lot of reps during the spring and took a step forward … Has what you 2012 Virginia Tech fooTball Logan Thomas are looking for from the fullback standpoint … A tough guy who will compete and battle you every step … A Super Iron Hokie in the weight room. coach shaNe Beamer oN the ruNNING Backs: “I’m pleased with the group overall, I thought the spring was really productive. I think that we’ve got guys that complement each other well. The concern is just the lack of experience at tailback. We’ve got a lot of guys in that meeting room who have never played in a college football game or carried the ball in a college football game. We have to try to identify who our top three or four guys are going to be early in the preseason and give them the work and see what comes out of it. As for fullback, fullback is good. I think with the group we have, we can keep them on the field and be able to do some different things with them, like we have done in seasons past.” QuarterBack Logan Thomas (r-Jr.) – Finds himself surrounded by a lot of new faces with only two returning starters joining him from last year’s offense … Spent much of the spring making the adjustment to the new cast … Is coming off of a record-setting first season as a starter … Posted a Tech season record 3,482 yards of total offense and registered the second highest single-season passing total for a Hokie with 3,013 yards … Tossed 19 TD passes returnerS No. Name Class Pos. 32 Riley Beiro r-So. FB 4 J.C. Coleman Fr. TB 39 Daniel Dyer r-So. TB Greg Gadell r-So. FB 22 Tony Gregory r-Jr. TB 12 Trey Gresh r-So. QB 46 Griffin Hite r-Fr. FB Justus Hoffmann r-Fr. FB 20 Michael Holmes r-Fr. TB 6 Mark Leal r-So. QB 45 Joey Phillips r-Sr. FB Brian Rody r-Fr. QB 25 Martin Scales r-Sr. TB T.J. Shaw r-Fr. QB Maurice Taylor r-Fr. TB 3 Logan Thomas r-Jr. QB newcomerS Name Class Pos. Trey Edmunds Fr. TB Drew Harris Fr. TB Chris Mangus Fr. TB Brenden Motley Fr. QB Jerome Wright Fr. TB and ran for 11 more … Is big and strong … Makes good decisions and remains poised under pressure … Was named the offensive MVP of spring practrice … A year ago, his experience was a weakness, now it is one of his strong points. Mark Leal (r-So.) – Missed a portion of spring practice due to a respiratory illness … Was in all the team meetings so coaches feel they can get him caught up when practice resumes … Did a good job adjusting to the Tech system last season … His understanding of the passing game, poise and demeanor are real assets … The coaches have confidence in his ability to do the job. coach o’caIN oN the QuarterBacks: “Overall, I feel good. We didn’t get to accomplish everything that we wanted to in the spring, mainly because Mark Leal missed the last part of practice, but I was very pleased with the progress that Logan (Thomas) made. I thought he picked up where he left off in the fall. We’ve changed a few things and obviously don’t have the same set of receivers out there, so it took him a few days to get adjusted, but I think he got better every day. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, particularly in the timing of the passing game with quite a few new receivers in the mix. Come August, it will be critical that we get everybody on the same page.”

defensiVe line Key Losses: none headlineS Key Returnees: tackle Antoine Hopkins; tackle Derrick Hopkins; end James Gayle; end J.R. Collins Not only do all four starters return, so do the top four backups, including Luther Maddy who started seven games last year as a true freshman when Antoine Hopkins was lost due to a knee injury. Point of Interest: After returning just one starter on the D-line last year, the top eight return this fall. However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any challenges from new faces. Expect redshirt freshmen Dadi Nicolas and Kris Harley to battle for playing time at end and tackle, respectively. Player to Watch: Tech’s coaches have been waiting for talented end Zack McCray to let himself go. This may be the season, as McCray showed the physical side that had been missing, while playing well at both end and tackle during the spring. eND James Gayle (r-Jr.) – A dynamic football player who gets noticed on the field … Has high expectations after being named second-team All-ACC in his first season as a starter … Tied for sixth in the league in sacks with seven last season … His 12.5 tackles for loss were second-best on the team … Could become one of the nation’s top defenders if he stays healthy. J.R. Collins (r-Jr.) – A very productive performer who plays with a lot of emotion … Is physical and chases down plays … Started 13 games at end last season and started at tackle in the win over Georgia Tech … Led the defensive line in tackles with 57 and the team in QB hurries with 29. Tyrel Wilson (r-Jr.) – Showed a tremendous amount of toughness getting through spring and improving despite a severely strained hamstring … Played a key role in the defense’s success last fall … Stepped in and started two games when needed … Will battle for playing time. Zack McCray (r-So.) – Will likely see playing time at both end and tackle … Showed he could handle that during the spring … Plays hard and has gotten more physical … Could still use a little more weight. Dadi Nicolas (r-Fr.) – Was in the conversation for the most improved player of the spring … Has a lot of potential and room for growth, but is extremely raw … Combines an outstanding work ethic with excellent speed … Could be in the mix in August. tackle Antoine Hopkins (r-Sr.) – A two-year starter who is a force in the middle … Missed the last James Gayle nine games in the fall with a knee injury and sat out spring practice … Will use the summer to get back in shape … Can expect some competition when he returns. Derrick Hopkins (Jr.) – Started every game in 2011 … Played great but seldom got to rest due to depth issues … Got worn down at times … Should benefit from playing fewer snaps this fall … Strong against the run but needs to get after the passer more … A key player on the D-line. returnerS No. Name Class Pos. 87 Dewayne Alford Fr. DE 42 J.R. Collins r-Jr. DE 99 James Gayle r-Jr. DE 97 Kris Harley r-Fr. DT 56 Antoine Hopkins r-Sr. DT 98 Derrick Hopkins Jr. DT 92 Luther Maddy So. DT 96 Corey Marshall So. DT 95 Zack McCray r-So. DE 90 Dadi Nicolas r-Fr. DE 91 Matt Roth r-Fr. DE 93 Justin Taylor r-Fr. DE Ross Ward r-Fr. DT 66 Tyrel Wilson r-Jr. DE newcomerS Name Class Pos. Woody Baron Fr. DT Seth Dooley Fr. DE Ken Ekanem Fr. DE Jarontay Jones Fr. DE Alston Smith Fr. DT Nigel Williams Fr. DT Luther Maddy (So.) – Burst on the scene as a freshman, starting seven games after Antoine Hopkins was injured … Got better each time out … Played well in the Sugar Bowl … Capped the year by being named the most valuable defensive performer in spring practice … Is disruptive in the middle … Will be hard to keep out of the lineup. Corey Marshall (So.) – Moved from end to tackle when injuries struck last year … Started a game and gave the team a boost … Will likely see some action at both spots this fall … Is athletic and runs well. Kris Harley (r-Fr.) – A highly regarded player who learned the importance of preparation during a redshirt season … Got in shape and had a strong spring showing … Put himself in position to play an important role this fall. coach WIles oN the DefeNsIve lINe: “We need to be better than we were last year, and I’ll be disappointed if we’re not. I think right now we have five true defensive tackles with Antoine Hopkins included in that group. We’re expecting him to come back full speed and we’ve explained to him the importance of his summer preparation because we are going to start the best guys. I’m looking to play two groups and play them 35-40 plays each, especially at tackle. It may not be that equal at end where we have a little bit bigger drop-off between our ones and twos right now. We’re trying to get our best, fastest, athletic guys and put them in a position to get on the field where we can really maximize our personnel and keep them fresh.” 2012 Virginia Tech fooTball 11 OUTLOOK

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