There were only 30 plays in the mini-scrimmage that highlighted the sixth day of Virginia Tech’s training camp, and it included no starters on the field. The offense, meanwhile, gained just 43 yards against a defense that used no blitzes and stuck almost exclusively to its base package.
Not to mention, this scrimmage was closed to the public and media. So to take anything meaningful away from Tuesday night’s dress rehearsal is a bit of a stretch. But here’s a few notes that came up in the post-practice scrum. . . .
Defensive line Coach Charley Wiles came away impressed with two of his defensive tackles – one a veteran of the program and the other a freshman.
Redshirt junior Isaiah Hamlette had three tackles, including a tackle for loss, a sack and a quarterback hurry. The Stafford native showed up to camp this year at 296 pounds, 17 heavier than he was a year ago. Wiles has him listed as a second team defensive tackle alongside redshirt senior Kwamaine Battle.
“I’m proud of what he’s done these last five practices,” said Wiles of Hamlette, who had 43 total tackles in 2010 but played mostly in blowout situations. “Kid made some plays and he’s gotten bigger. He’s trying to do it right.”
Freshman Luther Maddy, meanwhile, tied for the team-lead with four tackles during the scrimmage. Wiles has raved about him throughout the first week of camp, enamored with his innate quickness and strength.
Maddy was recruited by Wiles late in the recruiting process out of Atlantic High in Delray Beach, Fla., the same school to produce Jayron Hosley and Brandon Flowers. Maddy’s only other Division-I scholarship offer was from Western Michigan, and it looks like he could turn into a big time contributor during his time in Blacksburg.
Now, though, Wiles finds himself in a predicament. Maddy is currently fifth defensive tackle on the depth chart, and if it remains that way, the coach would prefer the freshman take a redshirt rather than see limited action. Regardless, it seems as if new freshmen like Maddy, Corey Marshall and Kris Harley are giving Wile’s veterans some extra motivation these days.
“Those guys can see on video that [the freshmen] are coming, getting better, and they can tell who can play,” Wiles said.
Maddy will face a big challenge Saturday when the Hokies defense will actually use different formations and call blitzes as part of the team’s first real scrimmage. That’s also when the coaching staff hopes to figure out definitively who is on the two-deep chart heading into the season. . . .
On offense, redshirt junior quarterback JuJu Clayton went 3 of 4 for 12 yards. His main competition for Virginia Tech’s No. 2 quarterback job, redshirt freshman Mark Leal, sat out Tuesday’s mini-scrimmage as he nurses a sore groin.
Coach Frank Beamer singled out fullback Martin Scales for praise after he led all rushers with 12 yards on six carries. In the process Beamer intimated Scales could potentially see some carries this season in short-yardage situation. Beamer was also intrigued by the speed of freshman wide receiver Demetri Knowles. . . .
On the injury front, Harley did not participate in the scrimmage after suffering an oblique injury during drills Tuesday. Running back Dominique Patterson was seen on the sideline wearing a boot, and head trainer Mike Goforth said he’ll be out at least a week with an ankle injury. Cornerback Jayron Hosley, offensive lineman Mark Shuman and wide receiver D.J. Coles all missed parts of practice Tuesday with leg injuries. None are thought to be serious, and Hosley said he was being held out for precautionary purposes. . . .