Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tech's dual quarterbacks still dueling

Randy King

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BLACKSBURG -- Nine spring football practices down. Six more to go.

That said, any chance Virginia Tech will head into August preseason camp with its starting quarterback position solved?

Doesn’t sound like it.

Thus far, neither senior Sean Glennon nor sophomore Tyrod Taylor have been dazzling enough to take even a car-bumper lead on the other in the competition. Just like down the stretch last season, we’re still talking 1A and 1B here. If this were a horse race going to the post today, they would be a coupled entry at the betting window.

Both are still splitting snaps 50-50. And so far, Tech’s offense hasn’t exactly lit things up in the club’s pair of two mini-Wednesday scrimmages and last Saturday’s full scrimmage.

Any chance one of the two will light it up enough in the spring’s final week and a half, which ends with the Apr. 19 Maroon-White spring game on 2 p.m. in Lane Stadium, to leave one behind in the other’s rear-view mirror?

"Only if one of us really separates ourself from the other," Glennon said following Wednesday’s short scrimmage. "And it doesn’t look like that so far. If I outdo [Taylor] him one day, he’ll might outdo me the next day. It’s not like one of us risen above the other. Until that happens, I think we’re going to split [time]."

Will that time come in August?

"Probably," Glennon said.

To this point, Tech’s offense hasn’t been consistent enough for either QB to look like the lock No. 1 guy. Neither one had much time to drop back and throw much Wednesday as Bud Foster’s defense spent much of the day in the offensive backfield. Forget about finding one of their bevy of new young, inexperienced wideouts deep. Neither Glennon nor Taylor had no such luxury. Basically, almost any pass play that took more than a second or two to develop turned into a helter-skelter, fire-drill activity.

Can you say dump it off? Screen city?

This against a defense that was supposed to be hurting big time from the loss of three starting linemen, void of a two play-making linebackers who may have been the nation’s finest combo a year ago, the loss of a cornerback who likely will be a first-round pick in the NFL Draft in 16 days, and minus a free safety who’s likely to wind in some NFL’s team preseason camp.

Sure, Tech’s offensive line is still a work in progress. Tackle Ed Wang is still trying to adjust moving from the right to the left side. Redshirt freshman Blake DeChristopher is still a young pup at the other tackle. Regular center Ryan Shuman is rehabbing a knee this spring. Plus, the running backs -- at tailback and fullback -- still have a lot to learn about pass-blocking. Plus, you’ve got a bunch of young cubs at wide receiver who are trying to break and pry themselves open to catch a pass downfield, much less worry about blocking everybody in sight on running plays or when the ball is thrown to the other side of the field.

Whatever, Glennon said it’s important that the offense changes its spring tune the next 10 days.

"Definitely, the defense won again today," Glennon said. "That’s a little frustrating. The defense is probably expected to win the first one or two scrimmages, they’re usually a step ahead of the offense, but by the third one we should get it going more than we did today.

"We broke two plays, big plays. [Tailback] Josh Oglesby had a nice run and Mike Reid [a junior walk-on from Martinsville] got wide open against a busted coverage for a touchdown [45-yard pass from Taylor]. But I’m still not satisfied. We’re working hard, but we’re not executing as well as we need to."

Glennon said that needs to start in this Saturday’s final full scrimmage and the spring game the following Saturday.

"I would like to put some points on the board and have some confidence going into the off-season," Glennon said. "I think we really need that. If we get shut down by the defense consistently, it could do stuff to our psyche ... like ‘does this offense have what it takes?’

"Hey, Coach Foster does a great job of getting it back together. We don’t have quite the guys we had on [offense] last year, but they’re still flying around, they’re still playing Virginia Tech defense. We need to answer now. We can’t give [the defense] a big head. We’ve got to keep them honest, too."

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