Motley gets chance in Hokies' QB spotlight, runs with it


Virginia Tech's coaches have been hesitant to say much about the play of the quarterback hopefuls this spring, knowing more contenders will arrive this summer and hoping to foster as competitive of an atmosphere as possible.

So even Brenden Motley's performance Saturday - he threw for 163 yards and a touchdown and showed good mobility working with the first team in place of an injured Mark Leal - was met with vague statements.

Motley's teammates were more obliging with some praise, however.

"To me at first, it was Mark and the rest of the guys," receiver Demitri Knowles said. "But I feel like today Motley showed that he is in the running. It's impressive."

Saturday's effort isn't likely to upend the depth chart, but it served as a reminder that Motley, a redshirt sophomore from Christiansburg, is still very much in the picture.

"I think he's made progress this spring," head coach Frank Beamer said. "The guy is getting a lot of reps for the first time. It's not an easy place to be the quarterback. There's a lot of stuff going on. So I think he's making progress."

Motley has been considered a project since arriving in 2012. He ran the Wing T and guided Christiansburg High to the state title game as a senior. Many observers assumed he'd switch to safety, where he also starred in high school, but he stayed under center.

"I know some people were thinking I was going to switch positions, but I knew I could play quarterback," Motley said. "When I first came in, (former play-caller Mike) O'Cain told me I could be a quarterback and then when (Scot Loeffler) got here, I felt with his help and expertise, I could play quarterback. Definitely. "

After redshirting and working on the scout team in 2012, he tore his left meniscus last spring. He served as the Hokies' third-string quarterback last fall, but didn't get in a game.

With Logan Thomas gone, Motley has moved up to second on the depth chart. But the competition will begin in earnest this summer, once Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer and true freshman Chris Durkin join him, Leal and Andrew Ford.

Motley made the most of his opportunity Saturday, working with the first team as Leal watched as he recovers from a knee injury. He completed 12 of 20 passes, including a 44-yarder to Knowles early in the day.

"He has an arm that I didn't even know he had," Knowles said.

Motley later tossed a short pass to Knowles, who cut back inside and ran past the defense for a 56-yard touchdown.

He showed off some good mobility, gaining 32 yards on three scrambles. He also overthrew a few passes, including one to tight end Bucky Hodges that would have been a surefire touchdown.

"Like coach is always telling us, when plays present themselves, you've got to make those plays," Motley said. "And I feel like that's where I fell off a little bit today. I think it will come with reps, it will come with practice and all that good stuff."

More reps are needed. The coaches say that's true of all of the quarterbacks in the competition. But at the very least, Motley showed Saturday he shouldn't be overlooked.

"He honestly will surprise you when it comes to this whole quarterback battle," Knowles said. "I kind of sensed that he kind of got lost a little bit, but I feel that he has a lot of talent and you guys saw it out there."

Posted to: College Football Sports Va. Tech Football Virginia

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