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Offense turns offensive in Hokies spring football game

BLACKSBURG

The Virginia Tech offense had improved incrementally during spring practice, without a truly bad day in the bunch.

Until Saturday.

Head coach Frank Beamer thought the group took a step backward. Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler went even further.

"Two steps back, in my opinion," he said. "I think we've had a good spring until today.

"I thought today was a 100 percent lack of focus. Intensity was terrible. Really disappointed with how we walked out on the field and how we competed today."

The Hokies' offense gained only 106 yards in the 82-play scrimmage at Lane Stadium, one of the final tuneups before next Saturday's spring game.

Quarterbacks Brenden Motley (5 for 11, 46 yards, 1 TD) and Mark Leal (6 for 17, 50 yards, 1 TD) were erratic, and the backs combined for 29 yards on 33 carries.

"The disappointment was... we were holding our own all spring," Loeffler said. "We were competitive, we were making strides, and we took two steps back. We went completely back to what we were. And we've been fighting not to be what we were today.

"So I think they got a good understanding that if you come out and you're not focused and you're not competitive and you're not doing what you're supposed to do, you're going to get your rear end kicked."

The flip side is that the retooling defense played well, looking as fast and disruptive as it has all spring. Defensive linemen Dadi Nicolas, Luther Maddy, Corey Marshall and Ken Ekanem seemingly lived in the offensive backfield - combining for 22 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks.

"I thought just from an effort and playing all-out, I mean you just felt it out there," Beamer said.

At linebacker, Deon Clarke, who has come on in recent weeks, and Chase Williams combined for nine tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks.

"I'd like to think it's partially because of us too a little bit," defensive coordinator Bud Foster said of the offense's woes.

Beamer has little doubt that Foster, who he called the "best in the business," will have a defense that must replace seven senior starters ready to go by the start of the season.

The question mark, as has been the case for years at Tech, is the offense.

In an effort to add a new dimension, the Hokies made the quarterbacks live in Saturday's scrimmage, only blowing plays dead ahead of time in obvious blind-side situations. Loeffler has done it at previous stops, particularly when he's had a young group of quarterbacks who haven't been in the line of fire.

"The art of playing quarterback is whenever there are people around you and in your face and you're making plays or not making plays, that's really a huge indicator," he said. "That's why you want to see it."

"Try to eliminate, I guess, the safety net of having a yellow jersey on you," Motley said.

Beamer, who hasn't had a crew this inexperienced in a while, plans to go live with the quarterbacks for a small scrimmage Tuesday as well as the spring game, the last major evaluation tool before Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer and freshman Chris Durkin arrive this summer.

Saturday's lackluster offensive showing doesn't change anything about the way the Hokies are approaching that quarterback situation come summer, although it does illuminate one fact.

"We've got to play better than this," Loeffler said. "That's for sure."

Posted to: College Football Sports Va. Tech Football

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