There were few offensive highlights during Virginia Tech's first scrimmage of fall practice on Saturday, with senior quarterback Bryan Randall throwing for the only touchdown and the large number of inexperienced players predictably inconsistent.
"A decent play [and then] a so-so play [and] not many long plays," Coach Frank Beamer said. "It looked a lot like a first scrimmage. We've got a lot of work to do."
A lot of that work will be on field goal attempts. Brandon Pace tried three, all from mid-range. The first was wide right, but the defense was called for a penalty. The next was blocked by defensive end Jim Davis after a strong rush up the middle. Earlier, Davis had a block on Pace after a bad snap. Backup Nic Schmitt was successful on his only try, a 37-yarder.
Beamer, who is in charge of the kicking game, praised the blocks while vowing to shore up the protection.
Several players were absent from the hour-long affair, most notably the first- and second-string tailbacks. Starter Cedric Humes (ankle) was held out as a precaution, and backup Mike Imoh didn't participate because he will not play the first three games because of a suspension that resulted from his conviction of three misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
"The closer we get to the season opener, the more [Humes] will work," Beamer said. The Hokies open Aug. 28 against top-ranked Southern California at FedEx Field.
Freshman George Bell showed promise while gaining 16 yards on six carries. Randall was 3 for 4 for 42 yards, including a 20-yarder that tight end Jeff King grabbed over linebacker James Anderson in the end zone during a first offense vs. first defense set.
The coaches were interested in matchups and evaluations, which meant that the flow frequently was interrupted by one unit replacing another on second or third down. Still, the defense had five sacks, and Davis mustered a tackle behind the line in addition to his two blocked field goals.
As usual in these scrimmages, the quarterbacks were not tackled. But true freshmen Cory Holt and Sean Glennon mostly were ineffective while working about equally with the second team. Beamer said a decision on which one backs up Randall would come next week.
Holt has the advantage of going through spring practice after enrolling in January. But he has missed a few recent practices because of arm trouble. Glennon has practiced fewer than a dozen days, and that was evident on Saturday.
"We don't slow our defense down," Beamer said. "They do a lot of stunting. That's rough on Sean Glennon."
"I'm 20 times more comfortable than at the start," Glennon said. "But I still have a lot of work to do. I made mistakes I shouldn't have made."
Glennon's favorite receiver last season at Westfield High, Eddie Royal, has been impressive but slightly hampered by a hamstring injury. He was deep on punt and kickoff returns Saturday, although none involved tackling.
"He's a guy that does things very naturally and very easily," Beamer said. "If he can keep on coming, he'll definitely be in our playing plans."
Royal also had one catch for five yards, and said: "It's good to get on the field. Whatever they have me doing, I'll be happy."