Tyrod Taylor nearly perfect in scrimmage, draws Michael Vick comparison from Beamer
There's been plenty of praise and criticism thrown Tyrod Taylor's way during his four-year career at Virginia Tech, but never before has he heard the stat line presented to him when he sat down in front of the assembled media following Saturday's final preseason scrimmage.
"What were the numbers?" he asked, raising his eyebrows when he heard the official word on his 16-for-17, 319-yard performance. "I'm hoping I can duplicate that in a game."
While Virginia Tech's run-heavy attack with tailbacks Ryan Williams and Darren Evans gets all the attention in preseason previews, Taylor is making it fairly obvious that this Hokies offense will be far from one-dimensional.
On Saturday, wide receiver Jarret Boykin was the primary beneficiary of the quarterback's accuracy with seven catches, 134 yards, and a touchdown. Tight end Andre Smith also had a 95-yard touchdown reception. Taylor finished with three touchdown passes, the third going to Evans.
Afterwards, coaches on both sides of the ball praised the poise and improvement shown by the senior quarterback, who has thrown for 300 yards only once during his career.
"I feel the same way with [Taylor] out there as I did when Michael Vick was out there," Coach Frank Beamer said. "Any play has a chance of going a long way and I think Tyrod gives you that same element right now.”
Running back David Wilson led all rushers with 65 yards on 11 carries, and also had a 43-yard kickoff return. Williams had eight rushes for 32 yards, while Evans had five for 21 yards.
The first-team defense was also impressive, allowing just two field goals -- a 23-yarder by Chris Hazley and a 54-yarder off the foot of Justin Myer. Hazley also kicked a 37-yard field goal for the first-team offense.
The scrimmage was closed to both media and fans. Beamer said the offense ran many of the plays it plans to use Sept. 6 in its opening week showdown against No. 3 Boise State. The format pitted Virginia Tech's first-team offense and defense against the second unit defense and offense, respectively.
As for that lone Taylor incompletion, it was a heave out of bounds as he avoided a sack. But perhaps the best sign for what could be an imposing offense was Taylor's detailed recollection of that one sort-of miscue.
"Actually, there was someone open, Darren [Evans] was open in the flat, and I came to him too late," said Taylor, who claimed he had gone without an incompletion in video games before. "By the time I came into my motion, there was a guy in front of me so I threw it away.”
It sure sounds like Taylor has all the confidence in the world right now. But remember, this performance came against a group of backups. There's still more than a week until this collection of dynamic weapons can prove itself as one of the nation's elite offenses.
Some other news and notes:
*-Taylor's dissection job was good for the offense, but bad if you're defensive coordinator Bud Foster. While he was happy with his first-team defense, which must replace eight starters from a year ago, Foster's displeasure with the reserves was evident.
"I’m really concerned about our depth," he said. "A lot of redshirt freshmen kids are gonna be playing for the first time and right now you’ve got probably a handful that I can count on and trust and then you’ve got another handful that have a ways to go. ... I don’t think it’s something we’ll remedy in a week, but I hope that we can remedy it over the course of the season."
*-Left tackle Nick Becton participated in some of the scrimmage but was limping as he walked past reporters Saturday. Offensive line coach Curt Newsome believes the redshirt sophomore will play next Monday against Boise State, but intimated redshirt junior Andrew Lanier will likely start at left tackle.
*-Backup offensive lineman Michael Via has been cleared for the opening game and played the entire scrimmage with the second-team offense. Reserve linebacker Alonzo Tweedy is still feeling the effects of a groin injury and his status is up in the air for next week.
*-Redshirt sophomore Marcus Davis drew the praise of Beamer after coming through the middle of the line to block a punt Saturday. The 6-foot-4 Davis has also made a case for playing time at wide receiver after a strong fall camp.
*-The quote of the afternoon goes to Stinespring as he tried to explain how a 6-5, 272-pound tight end like Andre Smith could put together a 95-yard touchdown reception:
"I didn’t know a tight end could run 95 yards," he said. "Normally they get to the 50 and kind of pull over, get a drink of water, and then try to get it in from there. Maybe grab a burger and a shake. I told him if he had to go 96, he would have never made it.”
Be sure to check out tomorrow's paper, where colleague Paul Tenorio will have a profile of freshman linebacker Chase Williams, son of New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. In his first fall in Blacksburg, Williams is challenging for a backup linebacker spot and has quickly drawn the praise of the Hokies' coaching staff.
August 28, 2010; 8:53 PM ET
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