BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech held its second fall practice of 2019 at its indoor facility on Saturday afternoon. The media was allowed in for four periods of the practice at the midway point.
Much of the time was spent on special teams install, but here are some observations from the short viewing window:
Head to head — Virginia Tech's skill players ran one-on-one routes against the secondary during the first open period.
While players weren't in pads, neither side wanted to lose the individual battles.
The offense managed three long touchdowns with Tayvion Robinson (against Nasir Peoples), Hezekiah Grimsley (Chamarri Conner) and Tre Turner (Ny'Quee Hawkins) all blowing past their man with a little head fake for scores. Grimsley made two other catches against strong coverage during the period, one was a leaping grab against safety Brion Murray.
There were some highlights from the defense as well with safety J.R. Walker breaking up a pass intended for tight end Drake DeIuliis, Conner broke up a pass as well (he leaped in front of the route and tipped the ball to himself almost resulting in an interception), Devon Hunter intercepted a pass and Divine Deablo showed off strong coverage skills.
Secure the rock — Virginia Tech did some more ball security work on Saturday. The drill involved a pair of defenders walking alongside a ball carrier for about 20 yards and trying to force the ball loose. The defenders didn't hold back as they pushed, shoved, hit and slapped at the ball. They didn't go easy on the quarterbacks participating in the drill either. Defensive end Emmanuel Belmar got a few words from Ryan Willis when he attempted to knock the ball out with an uppercut.
Dealing with pressure — Virginia Tech quarterbacks spent two of the periods indoors working alone with offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen. He pushed a pop-up dummy at them on every rep to simulate defensive pressure. The quarterbacks had to take the snap and make quick 10-yards throws to the tight ends (Dalton Keene and DeIuliis) without letting the contact disrupt their throwing motion.