Though he spent much of this offseason and training camp competing to be Virginia Tech’s starting punter, wide receiver Danny Coale swore this week that he wouldn’t punt in an actual game this season. But then redshirt junior Scott Demler kicked a 25-yard punt in the second quarter Saturday against Marshall and Coach Frank Beamer decided he had seen enough.
He walked over to Coale on the sideline and simply told him, “Be ready for the next one.” The redshirt senior, who punted and kicked for Episcopal High in Alexandria, admitted the entire situation caught him off guard.
“I didn’t even really even know what to do on the sideline there, whether I should warm up and kick into the little [net] or not,” Coale said. “But I decided not to. It looked pretty small. I didn’t know if I’d kick on into the stands.”
Coale admitted nerves got the best of him when his first career punt went just 25 yards early in the third quarter. “I was just trying to get it out and keep it straight,” said Coale, who later had a 37-yard punt that rolled into the end zone for a touchback and finished with seven catches for 107 yards.
Beamer said he was “disappointed” with the Hokies’ kicking game during his postgame news conference — place kicker Cody Journell also missed a 37-yard field goal and had an extra point blocked. Demler, meanwhile, has averaged just 35.1 yards on 15 punts this year, even though he had a career-long 51-yarder in the first quarter against Marshall.
Beamer indicated there will be a competition in practice to see who punts against Clemson next week.
“Our kickers, it’s not a lack of want to, it’s just lack of not being … as consistent as we want to be,” Beamer said.