In analyzing the quarterback position for Virginia Tech next year, it's highly obvious that the strength of whoever emerges as the starter will be a question mark until Tech's season opener against Northeastern. Realistically though, Tech's starting quarterback on September 2 could potentially be facing a lose-lose situation in being dubbed the starter to kick off the year.
Seriously? Yep, and it's a pretty simple concept if you think about it, so check this out:
First though, a quick disclaimer. As of right now, I remain unbiased and undecided in my decision of who I think deserves the starting role, so in avoiding using names, let's refer to the starting quarterback as "Ron Mexico."
Now come September 2, when the season starts, who does Tech play?
Exactly -- the Northeastern Huskies. Not even the Connecticut Huskies, the Northeastern Huskies.
Now you probably now know where I'm going with this -- basically the fact that following kickoff, every football critic and fan alike will be expecting nothing short of pure greatness and domination from Ron Mexico and Tech's offense in starting the season off on the right foot. So even if Tech's starting quarterback was to come out against the Huskies and have a phenomenal game, no one is going to be impressed. They will reference to Mexico's strong debut due by saying, "Hey, it was just Northeastern."
On the other hand though, if Ron Mexico was to come out and flop against a team whom many Tech fans wish wasn't even on their schedule in the first place, you can bet that that starting spot for Mexico is as good as gone. There's no doubt in my mind that later on in the day you'll be catching ESPN Gameday's studio recap and hear Lou Houltz's old, cobwebbed-self go on to bash the living death out of the Hokies. Somewhere along his ramblings, the unfortunate, dreaded words will come. Houltz will be sure to reaffirm the horrible thought we were all aware of going into the 2006 season by saying -- "It's going to be a long year for Virginia Tech Football."
After hearing that statement, you'll unfortunately be forced into agreement, and ponder, "If only Marcus wasn't getting caught underage drinking ... or pulling guns on teenagers at McDonald's ... or stepping on the legs of All-American defensive ends ..."
Altogether though, when it's all said and done for head coach Frank Beamer and his offensive unit, the simple fact of the matter is that a great deal of pressure will be riding on this one game against such a lackluster opponent in Northeastern. No disrespect to Northeastern's program and all, but it's just the honest truth -- I'd rather have an out-of-conference schedule that rivals that of Notre Dame's, not New Hampshire's.
So all in all, to whoever isn't crowned as this year's Ron Mexico to start off the season, maybe in the end, that won't be such a bad thing, for you could be coming off the bench a lot sooner than you, and everybody else thinks.
Quarterback battle highlights offense in spring practice
March 30th, 2006
by Clark Ruhland, Senior Staff Writer
Competition is the true embodiment of Virginia Tech football's spring practice -- just ask Sean Glennon and Cory Holt.
The Marcus Vick saga at the end of the 2005-2006 season resulting in his dismissal has opened the door for redshirt sophomore quarterbacks Glennon and Holt. Both have two years of experience in the system, which makes choosing a starter a tough task for Tech's new quarterbacks coach, Mike O'Cain.
"Cory and Sean have carried over a real understanding of what we do offensively and how the offense works," O'Cain said. "What we have to do this spring is what is going on around them -- recognizing what the defense is doing in coverages and where you throw. That takes time and experience."
Experience is what both quarterbacks lack the most. Holt only played in six games as Vick's backup, completing four of 12 passes for 80 yards. Glennon sat out last season as a redshirt, preserving a year of eligibility.
"Last year was tough," Glennon said. "It was a decision that I made along with the coaches. The year is over and now I have this season to look forward to."
With both quarterbacks listed as co-No. 1's on the depth chart, O'Cain says the competition is still a dead heat.
"We're not favoring one over the other," O'Cain said. "They both share equal time with the first and second teams. We've thrown an awful lot at them. We've probably put in five protections, four or five runs, 10-to-12 routes and then you multiply that by three fronts and five or six different coverages. It's not just one route, its one route against five coverages, or two routes against five, and so forth. From the physical standpoint to the mental standpoint, it has been better every day."
Since spring practice began, O'Cain has been pushing both quarterbacks harder and harder, to see which one will stand out.
"We've still got a long way to go," O'Cain said. "We're not where we need to be before we get to September. I've been pleased with the quarterbacks' knowledge from a year ago. What has pleased me the most is their knowledge of the offense. Our offense is fairly complicated for the quarterbacks. They have to do an awful lot of things at the line of scrimmage. It takes a lot of concentration, and the carry-over from a year ago is very good."
Both Glennon and Holt both have minor advantages over each other. However, they are close to the same level when it comes to reading coverages and passing skills.
"Sean has a great understanding of the passing game and has a great arm. He throws the ball on time and has good footwork and mechanics," O'Cain said. "Cory is very much the same as Sean. The only thing I see different in Cory is that he brings a little bit better foot quickness. He's just a little bit better athlete when it comes to running the football and things like that. Sean throws the ball a little bit better, so there are tradeoffs to both of them."
Third on the spring depth chart is redshirt freshman Greg Boone. Stricken by tendonitis in his right knee, Boone has seen limited practice over the past week. In the meantime, Glennon said is working hard to push ahead of Holt for the first spot.
"I want to separate myself from the other quarterbacks, and I haven't done that yet. So, I'm not where I want to be right now," Glennon said. "The first couple of practices I was working out the rust, getting my touch back. I can't throw any inaccurate balls and get them right on the money. I think every day, I've gotten better."
The task of getting better mentally and physically every day is a challenge Glennon is taking in stride.
"I have to do all of the little things right," Glennon said. "Everyone in the stands sees the big touchdowns. Out here, the coaches are watching to see my every move like checking the right play, calling the right protection, making the right read and putting the ball where it needs to be. I have to do those things every play, not just two or three."
Glennon feels he is prepared to lead the Hokies next season, a year earlier than the coaching staff expected.
"I definitely feel that I'm ready," Glennon said. "I've been with the program two years, so it's not like they're throwing me in there a year early. This is the perfect time. It usually takes two years to get going, and I thought I would have to wait another year, so this is a pretty good opportunity."
The opportunity and competition in front of Glennon and Holt will only heat up as the spring continues toward the first game of the season, 156 days from today.