Football Practice Report by Stretch - 4/1/99

(Note from Will to Virginia Tech personnel who may be reading:   I have edited this post and have determined to my satisfaction that it contains no "insider information" or any other information which may do damage to Virginia Tech football by being posted.  If any VT personnel have objections to this material being posted, please contact me at will@hokiecentral.com.)

I got there in plenty of time to see the whole practice so I'll give you whatever solid observations I could formulate. I have not seen other people's reports they may have posted so there may be some things that have already been said. Even then...here goes:

1-DEFENSE!!!!!! Holy COW, it's scary how good these guys are and it's only spring practice.  Here's a recap:

Linemen - Our linemen are RELENTLESS! Nat Williams had a blue jersey on, so the starting four were Moore/Cyrus at DE and Bradley/Engelberger at DT. They were backed up by Cook/Monroe at DE and Beasley/Pugh at DT. Beasley is a BEAST! A couple of times he broke through the OL practically untouched. Keep an eye on Derrius Monroe...during line drills where they had Randolph handing off to whatever back was there, Monroe was constantly in the backfield. He's another Engelberger in the making. Cook was also looking good. I also noticed Cobb, Piniella and Thenus Franklin playing on the 3rd unit.

LB's - Houseright was always in on the stop, it seemed. He's going to get some serious time. J. Smith is INTENSE!!! He laid some big licks in the scrimmage. Welch and Taylor also had a nose for the action. TJ Jackson will get better at Whip backing up Ferguson. Travis Turner is currently third behind Smith/Taylor. He's an awesome-looking specimen, especially next to Jake behind the line.

DB's - Ronyell Whitaker is going to be great. He reminds me a bit of Killer Yarborough...tough, quick and a MEAN hitter. He absolutely STUCK Stith (I think, that's who it was) after a catch on a quick out pattern. He was practicing some with the first unit. He also covered Parham pretty well.

Sorensen is going to be solid at FS. Reggie Samuel, after being listed as a WR just last week, looks good in the secondary. In the scrimmage, he read the QB, saw the pass, darted about 10 yards and knocked it away. This is going to turn out to be a good move. Bird is going to be a great Rover. Austin also looked good. They didn't get tested too much because the line was always in the backfield sacking the QB. I even heard Ike as the units were switching say "Get someone in there who'll give us some work." There was one I didn't recognize who was wearing #1. Could that have been Steven Hunt or Chris Krebs? Lorenzo Ward impressed me as a coach. He, Foster, Wiles and Cavanaugh were intense and their players were too.

2-Offense.

QB's - Vick's passes are PRETTY!!! I've heard all the hype about his ability to throw the ball, but seeing it live is COMPLETELY different. Velocity, accuracy, quick release and a spiral that's tighter than Scrooge on a Monday morning. Me and my friend's jaws just dropped when we saw him in simple passing drills. Noel and Meyer throw just fine, but Vick's are incredible. In passing drills with full complement of receivers/backs/LB's/DB's-no linemen, he was nailing passes. Some just bounced off the intended receivers because they were thrown so hard. In the scrimmage he went deep twice (when he was not getting harassed by the D) with a pair of 50 yarders. He overthrew Parham by a bit, but I think Terrell was a little late in breaking from the DB. The second one was another 50 yarder where he nailed the receiver (don't know who it was, he was wearing #26?) right in the hands but the ball was dropped.

I only recognized Parham and Gildersleeve. Hall had a blue jersey on, did not notice Emmett Johnson, but that's probably because he has a different number. Didn't see too much of Davis. Anyway, as soon as the OL starts buying Vick some time, he's going to do some MAJOR damage. He's also got the scrambling thing down pretty well.

RB's - Stith is is usual self. But let me just mention, Suggs and Burnell are FAST!!! In their drills they were pure quickness. Good hands, too. Lee had some good moves against the D-line in the hand-off/hitting drills. Burnell peeled off a couple of long runs in the scrimmage amidst the carnage of the VTD. He came over and pointed at the sideline as if to say "Yeah, how's that?" The players were yelling at him enthusiastically. He's definitely got that attitude about him and he backs it up.

OL - I couldn't really tell too much about them. Nothing really new here. They've got talent that can take care of the job and they're going to get tested every single day by this voracious defense.

WR - There were some sweet passes thrown when the QB's had a chance. Among those I noticed were Parham and #5 (was that Johnson or Caines?). Once again, as soon as the OL starts buying some time, we're going to see some big plays. The TE's even got a few.

I think that's about all I can recall. I'll hopefully observe the line a little more at the next one.

-- Stretch