It has been an intriguing last four weeks for Virginia Tech, as they start a new era under Justin Fuente. On Saturday, the Hokies closed the books on spring practice for 2016 with a gorgeous day in Lane Stadium with the Maroon-Orange game. There was a large crowd on hand, which should come as no surprise with all of the excitement this new regime brings. We saw fast-paced offense that no one in that stadium Saturday afternoon has ever seen from their Hokies. We also saw a quarterback competition that has been part of the excitement and speculation throughout the spring.
As we were told in a press conference earlier this month, and were able to see during Tuesday’s open practice, Brendan Montley and Jerod Evans split the first team reps. We were not able to see much and no one expects Fuente to name a starter anytime soon, but we do know without a doubt that this is a close race. Evans had a nice touchdown pass late in the game to tally the only touchdown by either quarterback in the game. We saw the speed and athleticism that made Evans the number one rated Juco player in the country. Motley looked like he had command of the offense but was unable to really make any big plays. Isiah Ford and Cam Phillips both being out for the game (Bucky Hodges was also limited) makes it difficult to assess these quarterbacks completely and honestly, but Evans seemed to be able to make the most out of what he had.
A couple other players stood out to me during this game, those being C.J. Carroll and Houshun Gaines. C.J. Carroll, a redshirt sophomore that only appeared in two games in 2015, reminded me a lot of past receivers Danny Coale and Willie Byrn. He was constantly making plays and was very shifty in the open field. Carroll may be that third true receiver that the Hokies have been looking for. Houshun Gaines is another Sophomore that has stood out to me during practice as well as the game on Saturday. He is a great athlete that backed up all his hype with two sacks during the game. With a lot of the defensive line graduating a season ago, Gaines will have to continue his dominant play for the Tech’s defense to be successful in 2016.
Overall, I was happy with the team’s play. The fast-paced offense is fun to watch but I do not believe they are close to being ready for the fall. Fuente is going to keep his mouth shut about the quarterbacks, but in the meantime, I believe that it is Evans’ job to lose. The defense seems to have taken form and they aren’t too far off from being back to Foster’s standards. I like what I saw from this new coaching staff and this new-look team, but there are still some questions to be answered.
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