BLACKSBURG — The rain interrupted Virginia Tech’s practice plans on Friday night.
The Hokies were in the early stages of practice No. 4 — new coach Brent Pry has scheduled fall camp in phases with each one having four consecutive days of practice — but the team has a contingency for that.
Tech staffers executed the rain plan once it started drizzling and had everyone move into the indoor facility.
The defense normally works outside during the individual drills while the offense works indoors to allow each position to spread out.
Pry led the charge inside.
“Let’s pick it right up,” Pry said.
Here are some observations from the periods of practice open to the media….
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Virginia Tech isn’t spreading out the quarterback reps evenly anymore.
The quarterbacks threw to the wide receivers for two periods, with Grant Wells and Jason Brown splitting the majority of reps.
Tech has five players working at the position — Tahj Bullock, Devin Farrell and walk-on Ben Locklear — competing for playing time, but the coaching staff said the battle for the starting job is down to Wells and Brown coming out of spring camp.
Wells is a smooth operator during drills with a consistent throwing motion and the arm strength to get the ball wherever he needs around the field.
The chemistry between both quarterbacks and the wide receivers is much improved from the spring (as we noted on Wednesday). The timing between the groups is much more in sync and only one ball hit the ground during Friday’s two-period stretch.
Brown looked sharper in drills from the spring as well, but Wells is still more accurate on deep throws.
Man on the move
Connor Blumrick ran routes with the wide receivers on Friday instead of running drills with his fellow tight ends. Pry said in the spring that was part of the plan for Blumrick — he also gets reps at quarterbacks from time to time, according to quarterbacks coach Brad Glenn — and the coaching staff is sticking to that plan.
How many snaps per game Blumrick gets and where those snaps come from, is one of Tech’s bigger question marks this fall.
Will he be more of a gadget play guy? Wildcat quarterback? Or do they feel confident in his route running and pass catching that they view him as a true option at receiver and/or tight end.
Offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen, who also coaches the tight ends, told The Roanoke Times in June that he already has a lot of confidence in Nick Gallo and Drake DeIuliis in the passing game, but Tech is still looking for depth at receiver.
It would give the Hokies’ new staff some additional flexibility in tackling that problem if Blumrick is capable of working on the outside.
Speed it up
Virginia Tech’s offensive line looked like this on Friday…
First team: Parker Clements (RT), Kaden Moore (RG), Johnny Jordan (C), Jesse Hanson (LG), Silas Dzansi (LT)
Second team: Bob Schick (RT), Danijel Miletic (RG), Jack Hollifield (C), Braelin Moore (LG), Xavier Chaplin (LT)
Third team: Chris Boyd (RT), Brody Meadows (RG), Nikolai Bujnowski (LG), Tyler Smedley (LG), Johnny Garrett (LT)
That’s pretty different than it was from the spring with defensive tackle- turned-offensive lineman Braelin Moore stepping into the left guard spot with the second-team offense and summer enrollee Xavier Chaplin working at left tackle with the second team.
Hollifield rotated at center and guard during the spring, but now has settled back in at center. While Rudolph had Schick rotating between guard and tackle during the spring as well, he would like to give him a chance to settle in at tackle during the fall.
Players have advertised Rudolph as being much more detail-oriented than the previous staff with an increased focus on technique, and all of that is evident from watching him on the practice field.
He had the offensive linemen face off against each other in a one-on-one drill across two periods of practice.
Rudolph had everybody run through the drill once and shouted out critiques and compliments in equal measure to make sure everyone was doing it correctly. For the rest of the time, he had them running at a much faster pace, and if there were any serious miscues, that pair had to run the drill again.
He expected a high level of intensity throughout and called anyone out that didn’t meet those expectations.