User ID: Password:

May 9, 2011

The future appears bright, as the Hokies wrap up 2011 spring practice

By: Jimmy Robertson

Cornerback Jayron Hosley was a leader and a playmaker this spring, including this punt return for a touchdown in the Maroon-White game.

On the surface, the annual Maroon-White game can best be described as an ordinary scrimmage, or for fans, tailgating practice.

But the knowledgeable Tech fan knows better, at least when discussing this year’s game.

The 2011 Maroon-White game gave Tech fans a peek at the future. The football program unveiled two new assistant coaches, including the Big Whistle’s son, and a new play caller. The new quarterback made his debut as the man in charge after serving as a caddy last season. The Hokies’ 2011 recruiting class, for the most part, attended the game, and nearly 100 recruits were on hand as well. At halftime, they all got to see the athletics department recognize a dozen former Tech players now playing in the NFL, a testament to the success of head coach Frank Beamer’s program the past 18 years.

And all this happened on a day when the weather was practically perfect.

“Yeah, I don’t think it’s any question. Having a bunch of recruits, a bunch of your signees … having those NFL guys back, and then having a great crowd that shows they’re enthusiastic about Virginia Tech football, I think we made a good statement today,” Beamer said following the game. “The weather was good and the crowd was good and the play was good enough. So I think it’s a good day.”

Most left feeling confident about the future of Logan Thomas, the Hokies’ 2011 signal caller. Thomas, who backed up Tyrod Taylor a year ago and played in seven games, showed command of Tech’s offense all spring, and he guided his Maroon team to an easy 27-0 victory over the White squad.

Thomas completed 10 of 21 on the afternoon, with two touchdowns and two interceptions, and he also rushed for a game-high 37 yards. His touchdown passes covered 26 and 21 yards, both to receiver Marcus Davis.

In the scrimmages this spring and the Maroon-White game, Thomas completed 50 of 91 for 743 yards, with six touchdowns and three interceptions.

“I knew that I had to get a lot better and progress a lot more to gain the confidence of my teammates and have them believe in me,” Thomas said. “I think I did so. I think I played pretty well today, and I think I showed that I’m capable of carrying this offense.”

“I thought Logan had a couple that got away from him a little bit, but for the most part, threw it very well, like it’s been all spring,” Beamer said. “He’s been very good. He’s done everything he needs to be a really good quarterback.”

Another star this spring was Davis, the 6-foot-4, 231-pound receiver who led all receivers with six catches for 61 yards in the game. He caught 23 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns combined in the Hokies’ scrimmages and the Maroon-White game.

“I told him the other day he’s getting ready to make a lot of money if he keeps going in the direction he’s going,” Beamer said.

Other standouts in the game – and this spring, for that matter – included cornerback Jayron Hosley, who returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown; defensive end J.R. Collins, who recorded two sacks and forced a fumble; and whip linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, who had a sack and two hurries and also recovered a fumble.

All three of those guys played for the Maroon team and were three of eight projected defensive starters on that sideline. They held the White team to 83 yards of offense.

“I feel like we’re playing and one guy is getting better and the next guy is getting better and the next guy is trying to top that guy,” Collins said. “There’s a lot of competition within the group, and as soon as we take the season on, we’re going to put on a show.”

For the White squad, Telvion Clark – who had a great spring – finished with a game-high nine tackles, including one for a loss. Detrick Bonner had five tackles and broke up a pass, and both Cris Hill and Wiley Brown had an interception.

James Gayle, named the defensive MVP of spring practice, had two tackles and a sack. Offensively, Mark Leal paced the White team, completing 3 of 6 for 34 yards.

Cody Journell and Conor Goulding connected on field goals to account for the remainder of the scoring. Journell is the favorite to win the placekicking job.

Next up for the Hokies – working hard throughout the summer in the strength and conditioning program and preparing for the season opener Sept. 3 against Appalachian State.

“I think the challenge every year is to get the chemistry right on this team and how good we can become and how quickly we can do that,” Beamer said. “You hate to see those seniors leave, and we had some great ones leave, so there’s the challenge with the guys we’ve got coming back.

“I do know this. Your team starts with your quarterback, and I feel like we’ve got a good one. We’ve got a good starting point with that quarterback position.”

The following is a list of award winners from the 2011 spring practice:

Paul Torgersen Award
(top newcomers during spring practice)
Offense: Andrew Miller
Defense: Derrick Hopkins

President’s Award
(players who demonstrate the most outstanding leadership during the offseason program and spring workouts)
Offense: Danny Coale
Defense: Eddie Whitley

Dr. Richard Bullock Award
(players who show the most improvement during spring workouts)
Offense: David Wang
Defense: Tariq Edwards

Frank O. Moseley Award
(players who exhibit the most hustle during the offseason and spring workouts)
Offense: Andrew Lanier
Defense: Jeron Gouveia-Winslow

Coaches Award
(players who had an exceptional spring)
Offense: Jarrett Boykin
Defense: Jayron Hosley

George Preas Award
(MVP’s of spring practice)
Offense: Logan Thomas
Defense: James Gayle

Don Williams TEAM UNITED Award
(the offensive and defensive player who put the team first)
Offense: Blake DeChristopher
Defense: Barquell Rivers