News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Monday, August 20, 2001
by Will Stewart,

Randall Named #2 QB

After a wild and woolly week of practice, the battle to find out which freshman quarterback would not wear the redshirt ended up the way most observers thought it would. Bryan Randall from Bruton High School in Williamsburg was named the #2 quarterback behind Grant Noel, and fellow freshmen Chris Clifton and Will Hunt will both redshirt.

Just a week and a half ago, the buzz circulating around the three freshmen made it appear that Clifton was a sure redshirt and that Hunt and Randall would battle it out. But when the players left the classroom and went to live drills, Hunt rapidly fell behind in the passing drills, primarily because of a lack of experience in passing offenses. Practice observers said Hunt had difficulty throwing the square in and square out routes, and that he had trouble reading defensive alignments and predicting which way receivers would break on routes.

Hunt was quickly shuffled down the depth chart and tabbed as a redshirt. Meanwhile, Clifton showed the strongest arm of the three freshmen, and this elevated him into the top two with Randall.

From that point on, Clifton showed occasional flashes of brilliance but was too inconsistent and lacked the poise in the pocket that Randall showed. Randall was struggling with a sore arm, but his level-headedness put him ahead of Clifton. The deal was sealed on Saturday, when the Hokies had a scrimmage, and Randall went 4-for-6, compared to 0-for-4 for Clifton. On Sunday, Coach Beamer named Randall the #2 quarterback behind Noel and announced that Clifton would redshirt with Hunt.

Randall will get significant playing time this coming season, and that will put him well ahead of Clifton and Hunt in the spring of 2002. It's unknown if Clifton or Hunt will be moved to another position, and if so, if that will occur before or after spring practice. One thing is sure: the coaches will enter the spring with more quarterbacks than they are used to. Due to injuries and other factors, the coaches have sometimes had to go through spring practice with just one or two healthy QB's. The wealth of QB's next spring (as many as five, including Noel, the freshmen, and Jason Davis) will be a luxury.

Scrimmage Notes

As noted, the Hokies held a scrimmage Saturday. It was dominated by the defense:

Defense Dominates First Scrimmage --, 8/18/01

Notable statistics from the scrimmage:

QB's: Noel was 3-8 for 27 yards, Randall was 4-6 for 36 yards, and Clifton was 0-4. Davis and Hunt did not play.

RB's: Lee Suggs had 4 carries for 35 yards. Kevin Jones had 11 carries for 21 yards, including a 50-yard TD that was nullified by penalty.

WR's: Emmett Johnson 2 catches for 22 yards, Terrell Parham 2 for 21.

Tacklers: the defense had 9 sacks, 11 total tackles for loss and a fumble. Jason Lallis had 4 solo and 1 assisted tackle, plus a sack. Cols Colas had 2 sacks. Alex Markogiannakis had 5 tackles. The other 6 sacks were distributed among 6 players.

It is not unusual for the defense to dominate the offense in Tech scrimmages, a fact duly noted by Coach Beamer. He said that the offense had to get better blocking and protecting, but the results were not unexpected.

Jones, Hall, and Randall Will Not Redshirt

Beamer also announced that all fall-entry scholarship freshmen will redshirt, with the exception of Kevin Jones, DeAngelo Hall, and Randall.

Jones has long been noted as being the most "physically ready to play" of the true freshmen, so this is not a surprise. The ankle sprain he suffered in the Big 33 Classic high school all-star game is healing nicely. Jones's size and speed are well known, but his true gift is his acceleration. All he needs is a small slice of daylight, and he can blow past defenders with a tremendous burst of speed, as he did in Saturday's scrimmage. Beamer noted that Jones jukes and cuts a bit too much, but this is not unusual for a freshman.

Likewise, the buzz surrounding DeAngelo Hall has been tremendous. Various sources say that the coaches are privately calling Hall one of the best athletes they have ever signed at Virginia Tech, perhaps the best. He has already cracked the two-deep behind Ronyell Whitaker at the Field Corner position and will play a lot this year, barring injury.

In addition to Randall, Jones, and Hall, two other true freshmen have cracked the two deep, both at the right guard position as co-backups behind Jake Grove: January 2001 enrollee Jim Miller and fall walk-on Will Montgomery.

Miller was 6-5, 255 when he signed with Tech in February of 2000, and he was asked to delay his enrollment until January of 2001. Miller did so, and he is listed in the 2001 media guide as 6-5, 291. He needs to get stronger, but he did well in spring practice (where he worked at tackle before moving to guard) and has been impressive enough in the fall to be listed as a co-backup with Montgomery.

Meanwhile, Montgomery has been the surprise of the fall. It is extremely rare for a true freshman offensive lineman, much less a walk-on, to crack the two-deep.

Hall, Randall, and Jones are sure-fire non-redshirts. It's still possible that Beamer will decide to redshirt either Miller or Montgomery, but it's likely that at least one of them will play this fall, maybe both.

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