On Wednesday, Virginia Tech announced that competition for defenders had been narrowed, and Grant Wells and Jason Brown received “most of the repetitions.”
Behind them are Taj Bulak and Devin Farrell, while Conor Bloomrick moved into a closed room.
“As we said from the start, it was hard to get six reps of the guys,” defender coach Brad Glenn said Wednesday. “We needed to be creative about it in the beginning, and I think we did a pretty good job. And like the way we went forward, we narrowed it down to four guys during a fight the other day that got replays. … But obviously it’s still an open competition. We have nine practitioners. We still have two fights to watch, so we still evaluate things every day. “
Of the four, Wales and Brown are two QBs with experience that, according to Glenn, set them apart. Brown began in St. Francis, Pennsylvania, and then moved to South Carolina; Wales was a two-year starting at Marshall. Glenn said “you can’t repeat the gaming experience” that both possess.
This is important when it comes to learning a new system. The entire coaching staff sets up a new collection of games with different terminology on both sides of the ball, and the experience gives Wales and Brown a leg up. Glenn said he was looking for guys to process information quickly, and likened the training to this position to flying an airplane.
“You have all these gadgets, tools and the chaos going on around you,” Glenn said. “But you have to know where to look and what sensors and switches to switch, so to speak, and I think with Grant and Jason, with the experience we’re talking about, [they’re] doing a good job with it right now. “
Glenn also mentioned the “other 22” regarding the defender’s learning curve. There are 24 hours a day, and QBs spend about two hours practicing. How they spend their time in the remaining 22 hours is crucial, especially when trying to learn a new system. Glenn said he “throws everything at them” during spring training.
“We had eight or nine installations,” Glenn said. “So we don’t cherish them at all. And I was just very impressed with the band as a whole for how they were able to take it all in, because for them it’s all new. … So just the whole group from top to bottom to be able to handle and handle everything like them, I was very impressed with all of them. But especially Grant and Jason. “
Glen praised the strength and accuracy of Wales ’hands, as well as his eyesight and how quickly he processes information. He called Brown “inventive”, those who get the most out of every game and situation.
“He polishes the finish, probably just like everyone I’ve ever been with,” Glenn said of Brown.
As for the starter appointment, Glenn, offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen and head coach Brent Pray are all on one page: if Virginia Tech has a starting defender, staff will announce it.
“I think if you have a newbie, then you certainly need to name him,” Glenn said. “And if everyone feels good to one guy, then your team, your locker room should see it. So they can start rallying for the guy and building their confidence and faith in, “Hey, this is our guy”. Because it’s so important. “
Behind the two main guys are two inexperienced freshmen. In 2021, Bulak was in a red shirt, but saw several representatives in the Military Bowl, while Farrell – a real freshman who entered early.
Glenn said the concern of the young players is that they have too much information to handle. He can say they’re “a little messed up” with the setup, and Glenn doesn’t want his defenders to prevail. However, he saw some things that he liked.
“There were outbreaks with both of them, and you might think,‘ Hey, they really understood, ’” Glenn said. “But again, only the youth. This is Tahja’s first spring ball. So you expect him to lag a bit behind Grant Wells or Jason Brown. And Devin, having entered early, still has to go to high school. So these guys are exactly where I expected them to be. ”
And yet there is Blumrick, who is now finds that deals with wide receivers and hard ends. All the staff and players are delighted with his abilities, and Pray named him one of Virginia Tech’s “22 Best Players” back in March. Glenn described him as a “special talent”.
“I think if you have a guy like that, I look at it through the eyes of the defense coordinator,” Pray said. “I see a guy like Connor who is fast, long and athletic. This week he showed us he owns the ball. If he is in the game, will he be a quarterback? Is he going to line up in the tight end? Is he going to line up by bending into a wide receiver? He is a problem of the match for linebacks and, perhaps, for security. “
As Wales said of Blumrick: “I think he can catch the bar for 80 yards and the next game will be quarterback and throw tilt, so I think it will be a very unique asset for our attack.”
Kelly Lawson moved to Sam Linebacker
Pray had previously mentioned that J.R. Walker and Keonta Jenkins switched to Sam full-fledged (field defender). On Wednesday, he noted that Kelly Lawson’s wide receiver also made the move.
“I’ve known about Kelly since high school,” Pray said. “I knew his head coach at Sherando. Coach Hall always felt that Kelly was the best player in defense. When I watched the school movie, I felt it was the best defensive perspective. I felt that he was doing well at the reception, talked about the ability to quickly enter the field from the defense of the ball and his strengths. It’s getting better day by day. “
Pry said that a player in this position must have the qualities of security and linebacker, while minimizing the number of substitutions that will need to make staff.
Chamar Conner stands out in the defense hall
Pray said senior defender Chamary Conner, more than anyone else, is playing at the speed he needs protection. Behind him the group still needs to build some depth and consistency.
“He runs past people to get to the ball for the shot,” Pray said of Connor. “By bringing him back to the third level rather than the second level player, he can get more games. He can play more all over the field. I’m thrilled with what he’s doing. “
Pray said there had been no significant changes to the running room in the past week. He described it as good competition with many candidates, and the Hawks are looking for a few defenders with whom they can win.
“I think Keshon King, the explosive games he makes,” Pray said of the backbacks that stood out. “It caught my attention. I think Malachi [Thomas] seems to be the most developed guy. He quickly picked up the offense and played. I like what I saw by accident [Black], on Saturday he had a very good game. I think this is a good band now.