Vt Spring Break 2023

Vt Spring Break 2023 – Big plays were scarce for the Hokies last year. Point too. You don’t break vanity offensive records set 30 or more years ago if you don’t have problems, one of the reasons Virginia Tech went so far this offseason on the skillful boy transfer portal.

It wasn’t until Saturday’s spring game, which comes with the usual caveats, but the Hokies seemed to see a deeper roster in the Maroons’ 34-0 loss to the Whites at Lane Stadium.

Vt Spring Break 2023

Vt Spring Break 2023

Running backs Chance Black and Bryce Duke combined for 152 yards, with Black finding the end zone twice. Tucker Holloway’s three catches for 77 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown in the third quarter, opened up a revamped receiving room with more options.

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Overall, the Hokies had seven carries of 20 or more yards on Saturday, after a dismal 2022 season in which they averaged just 3.5 such carries per game, one of the fewest in the country.

Vt Spring Break 2023

“We needed this,” said Hokies head coach Brent Pry. “Everyone has those players. Any good team has enough guys who can get you out of trouble and play a game. When the defense is where they’re supposed to be, they’re still there and they’re making something happen. We had to win every meter we had (last year), which wasn’t much. But I think we’re in a better place that way.”

Although Tech tried to split the teams as evenly as possible, that was made difficult by an offensive line that was not deep to begin with and saw left tackle Xavier Chaplin scratching with a sore back just before the game. The White Team suffered most of that separation, with their quarterbacks having less time in the pocket to throw and fewer holes to run through.

Vt Spring Break 2023

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But the Marron pack, led by quarterback Grant Wells’ 12-for-18, 148-yard day, showed a few things. Wells scored on a 10-yard run on the opening drive, while Black reeled in a 4-yard pass from the backfield the next.

The next drive hit Wells Holloway with a 33-yard pass on a fourth-and-4 play after the defense jumped out of the way, allowing a 12-yard touchdown run by Black to make it 21–0.

Vt Spring Break 2023

Wells spread it out to seven different receivers in the first half, pleased with the depth of player skill at his disposal.

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“It’s definitely noticeable,” he said. “The running backs, the receivers and the tight ends, they’ve worked really hard this spring. We’re starting to build chemistry in the attack space. I think it showed there today and when they play it seems like the whole offense is fueled by that energy.”

Vt Spring Break 2023

Last year’s lack of guns was most apparent across the board, with Kaleb Smith being the only player to consistently create separation, with 674 yards receiving more than double that of any other wide receiver on the team.

Smith transferred to Notre Dame in the offseason (unfortunately, he announced his medical retirement on Saturday), though the Hokies have been proactive in reforming that room with transfers from Ali Jennings (Old Dominion), Da’Quan Felton (Norfolk State) and Jaylin Lane (Middle Tennessee). ). Lane did not play on Saturday due to a hamstring injury, although Felton had two catches for 40 yards and Jennings had two catches for 29 on the white team.

Vt Spring Break 2023

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Meanwhile, several returning recipients seem to have made great strides. Stephen Gosnell, who lost 12 pounds in the offseason, had three catches for 53 yards, capping off a spring in which he was named the Most Improved Offensive Player.

“I think sometimes you see that in a man when he makes that change. He throws it and just gets more invested,” Pry said. “He’s been our most consistent receiver all spring.”

Vt Spring Break 2023

Although Da’Wain Lofton and Christian Moss did not play on Saturday after fatigue, Holloway seemed to have taken a step forward. Though he broke out as a sensational returner late last year, his offensive snaps were limited, with the true freshman catching just three passes for 18 yards while redshirting.

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However, he showed he could pull the defense’s lead on Saturday by going 33 yards on Wells’ fourth—”I like Tucker against 1-on-1 coverings,” Wells said—and running under a 39 -yard lob by Pop Watson in the third quarter for the longest drive of the day.

Vt Spring Break 2023

Virginia Tech’s offense hit some big plays on Saturday, like this 39-yard TD catch by Tucker Holloway. (Brian Bishop)

“We have competition at the wide receiver position that we didn’t have before,” Pry said. “There are five or six guys who have a chance to get into that lineup, and he’s one of them.”

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Vt Spring Break 2023

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“It’s not a selfish room,” Holloway said. “We all work very, very hard and we all work together.”

For a team that ranked 119th in the nation last year and scored the fewest points since 1989, Saturday was an encouraging move.

Vt Spring Break 2023

“We’re not a good team yet, but we’re looking at it,” Pry said. “We just look better. We do more things like a good team than a good team.”

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Kyron Drones made his Virginia Tech debut, going 7-for-13 for 102 yards, but threw two interceptions on punts. (John Fleming)

Vt Spring Break 2023

Despite the drastically different Saturday stats from Wells and Kyron Drones, the Hokies’ quarterback competition will continue into the summer, likely into August.

“It’s a real league,” said offensive coordinator/QB coach Tyler Bowen. “Those guys have made big strides all spring, both of them. And I don’t see that changing any time soon.”

Vt Spring Break 2023

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Wells looked sharp and accurate in his half of work, spreading the ball around and on target with his throws, although he had the cleanest pocket with most of the first team striker. However, he has been like this for most of the spring.

“He’s been very accurate and made good decisions,” Pry said. “That was important to him today, making decisions in a game-like environment, especially in the stadium. Even last year, Grant practiced well. He went out in a game and sometimes you questioned the decisions he made.”

Vt Spring Break 2023

Wells, who threw for 2,091 yards last season, with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions, said much of his improvement was between the ears.

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“I believe I can make all the throws and runs I need, but it’s really mental,” said Wells. “I can do all that, but if it’s misread, none of it matters. Understanding the offense goes a long way.

Vt Spring Break 2023

Drones, who had just finished his freshman spring after moving from Baylor, was shakier for Team White, going 7-for-13 for 102 yards with two interceptions, though he found more pressure working behind a dotted line.

Both of his interceptions were tips, one a pitch that hit Jennings twice, the second hit it high in the air for safety Mose Phillips to pick up, and the second a tipped ball on a straight tackle Jennings that hit Jalen Stroman from direction changed. in the red zone, right by the Derrick Canteen.

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Vt Spring Break 2023

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“I thought the decisions were clear,” Bowen said. “For both sides, we need to have better ball locations all the time. I don’t think there’s a pitch that can’t be found better. That’s how we approached it. Of course there were some hints in the air that were unfortunate. throw and catch.”

“I would say the trend was increasing,” he said. “I think as it went on he showed us more and more every workout, every outing as he got more comfortable. … He’s a worker. He’s intelligent. And he has good skills. I like where he is now We just have to keep coming.”

Vt Spring Break 2023

It was not a showcase for Tech’s expected top players Bhayshul Tuten and Malachi Thomas. Thomas had three carries for 14 yards for the white team. Tuten had no ball for the Maroons, although he caught two passes for two meters.

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But Black and Duke combined to average 4.9 yards per carry for the Maroons, going through some good holes produced by most of the first team offensive line.

Vt Spring Break 2023

“For me, that’s the one area we had to improve on,” Pry said. “We need to be able to run the football. It really helps everything else. With our attack, with our defence. If we can run the ball, that’s a 100 staple for me. And that’s where we get better.

“I think we’ve got a pretty good group up front on defense. We’ve got some old heads at d-tackle who have some weight on them, can close gaps and do things, and we were still able to get some moves on guys. So it’s a work in progress but again I think the O line has improved I think the backs are better I like what’s going on in that room There’s still a way to go to go.”

Vt Spring Break 2023

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