ACC: Ervin Garner

Odds n' ends from Blacksburg: Practice cheat sheet

August, 4, 2008
8/04/08
8:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

It was nice to finally watch some football again Monday, talk to players and coaches, and there's MUCH more to come this month as I trek all over the ACC.

A few odds 'n ends from practice before I head out ...

* As a reporter, you don't usually get handed a practice plan complete with a personnel roster. Wanna know what the Hokies really did today?

Here are a few things you won't understand (hopefully):

  • Tags/pinch (defensive linemen)
  • Dallas (inside linebackers)
  • Hand Violence (defensive linemen)
  • Punch and machine gun (offensive linemen)
  • Blaster (running backs)

Here are a few things that should sound vaguely familiar:

  • Four full gassers (wide receivers)
  • Drops (quarterbacks)
  • Routes (quarterbacks)
  • 1-on-1 (wide receivers)
  • Kick (I won't insult your intelligence here)

* Frank Beamer said he travels with three running backs, so ideally, that's the number he'd like to cut it down to. There was a whole entire team of them out there Monday, including Jahre Cheeseman, Kenny Lewis Jr., Darren Evans, Josh Oglesby, Dustin Pickle and Ryan Williams.

* Sean Glennon is ready for the staff to start narrowing down the receivers. He said he threw to about four or five different guys for the first time today. Beamer said he liked what he saw from Dyrell Roberts, Marcus Davis and Ervin Garner, who showed some speed.

The guy who has been the most impressive, though, is the mild-mannered Danny Coale, a redshirt freshman. He said he feels "a lot more comfortable" than he was a year ago.

"I just try and attack each day and get better each day. If breaking away [from the group] is what happens then it happens," he said. "... There's always going to be competition. You're always going to have that sense of urgency and someone breathing down your neck, which is great because it makes you bring your best every day."

With their top four receivers from a year ago gone, the Hokies will certainly need it.

Virginia Tech practice observations

August, 4, 2008
8/04/08
5:51
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

It's a beautiful day here in Blacksburg, Va., and despite losing the winningest class in senior history, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer took time out of practice to say "Welcome back to Blacksburg" with a smile, a handshake, and a whistle around his neck.

Reporters were allowed to watch practice for the first six periods and I paid particular attention to the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers, although most of this stuff is fundamentals and the depth chart will change on a daily basis.

Keep your eye on No. 19, receiver Danny Coale. The receivers ran routes for two periods and he looked strong, making a diving catch and playing with a no-nonsense attitude. Zach Luckett also looked like he has good height and hands. The receivers started off by working on their blocking skills -- and their pushups.

Receivers coach Kevin Sherman did a basic catching drill where he hit the players in the numbers and there were numerous drops, which resulted in pushups.

"Get your hands up!" barked Sherman.

Marcus Davis dropped the ball and then dropped and did eight.

Ervin Garner got away with four.

Jarrett Boykin did five.

Next to them the DBs worked on recognizing play action with Torrian Gray, who also went over stance and starts with them.

"Don't backpedal outta there!" he yelled.

The quarterbacks practiced their drop-backs and handoffs. Sean Glennon was handing the ball off to Kenny Lewis Jr. and Tyrod Taylor was working with Jahre Cheeseman. A good sign for the running game.

"High and tight, get it tucked!" yelled Billy Hite, associate head coach and running backs coach.

The running backs and fullbacks then practiced catching the ball out of the backfield in zone coverage, with the tailbacks running a swing route and the fullbacks flat routes. Glennon would look for the tight end, see he's not there and then hit Cheeseman.

Poor Brandon Dillard, who will miss the season with a ruptured Achilles. He had to watch it all from the side on his crutches, with a protective boot on his right foot.

"It's kind of hard watching," he said. "I still want to be around and help the young guys."

And there were plenty of young, talented guys out there today looking for a little help.

Players and coaches will be available after practice. Check back later for more.

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