Inside HOKIE SPORTS | Vol. 13 No. 5 | May 2021

Kitty Newton Photo “The Farmhouse... Eating Great Food here for over 30 Years.” – Coach Frank Beamer 285 Ridinger Street, Christiansburg, VA 24073 • (540) 251-7600 Prime Rib • Steaks • Seafood • Outdoor Courtyard • Private Dining • Weekend Brunch After no spring ball in 2020 and all the challenges posed by COVID last season, the opportunity to have 15 practices as scheduled was huge for the Hokies, particularly in the back end of the defense. “Well (the continuity) has been huge for us in all areas. The defensive backfield was a difficult situation between COVID and all the other things that went on. It’s been nice to have the same guys out there on a consistent basis working together. Chammari (Conner) has a lot of experience in that group and some other guys that have some. Keonta (Jenkins) has had a really good spring and he’ll need to have a great summer and to keep progressing. When you add a guy like Jermaine Waller, I mean gosh you can’t help but get better immediately. We’ve all benefited from it, we’ve all benefited from a little bit of continuity here in the short term.” Coach Fuente has always loved spring football, but he has an even greater appreciation for the ability to teach and develop players after missing spring practice in 2020. “If there is one thing we’ve learned it’s that how important practice actually is. I’ve always loved not just the value of spring, but the tone of spring. It’s about teaching, it’s about development, it’s about good versus good. You don’t have to scout teams, you give guys a chance to go try and play. For the guys that have been redshirting running other people’s plays all fall, they get a chance to run your system and get out there and compete for a job. Not only is it incredibly valuable for our players and our coaches, it’s the most enjoyable time of the year … The weather turns warm and getting to play ball and you don’t have a game on the horizon.” 12 Inside Hokie Sports JUSTIN FUENTE 2021SPRING FOOTBALL HEAD COACH PROVIDES INSIGHT FROM With 15 practices complete, Fuente appreciates the value of spring ball even more