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July 23, 2012

August Storylines: Offense

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Amazingly, seven months of 2012 have basically flown by and the beginning of August camp is quickly approaching. August is a crucial month as redshirts are determined, the depth charts are finalized, and the roster shrinks to only the players needed to win during the season. Today, we begin on the offensive side of the ball and preview some storylines to watch this August.


Top Storyline: Mark Leal's Development

Leal is a highly regarded backup in Blacksburg despite only having a few snaps of real game experience, however he was unable to prove it this spring when he came down with a nasty respiratory issue. Behind Leal, the depth chart is thin, so assistant coach Mike O'Cain and the Hokies absolutely need him to come into camp and be clicking from the beginning.

Other Storylines: Logan Thomas Handling The Hype, Brian Rody for third string QB?, Is Brenden Motley a true QB?

Running Backs

Top Storyline: Which True Freshman Will Play?

Assistant coach Shane Beamer has a lot to figure out this August, particularly with his depth chart, as he has three true freshmen, a redshirt freshman, and a redshirt senior to sort through in order to determine his rotation.

Michael Holmes, the redshirt freshman, and Martin Scales, the eldest, figure to factor in either in a big way (Holmes) or a situational way (Scales). However, the three freshmen - J.C. Coleman, Chris Mangus, Trey Edmunds - will have a huge say in how many carries each individual gets and in what way.

Coleman has the experience of graduating early and playing the spring, so he should be ahead of Mangus and Edmunds throughout August. However, if he struggles to get anything consistent, doors will definitely open for either Mangus or Edmunds to crack the rotation in 2012.

Other Storylines: What's the best way to use J.C. Coleman?, Is Chris Mangus a WR or a RB?, Is Trey Edmunds a LB or a RB?, Could Martin Scales be the story of the year?

Wide Receivers

Top Storyline: Getting Healthy at the Top

By the end of spring practice, the Hokies were painfully thin at wide receiver. Injuries to Marcus Davis and D.J. Coles made it very difficult to get a good look at the wideouts in action.

However, both are expected to be completely healthy entering August and will move back into their spots at the top of the depth chart.

With Davis and Coles in the top two spots and Dyrell Roberts and Corey Fuller right behind him, Tech has a very experienced quartet of receivers. This August will be all about fine-tuning the passing game and making sure everyone is on the same page.

Other Storylines: Will Joel Caleb Redshirt?, Which Young Receiver Steps Up?

Tight End

Top Storyline: So…Who Plays?

Tight end is easily one of the most intriguing positions on the team right now, as the Hokies have a host of legitimate options who could all play in 2012, but nothing really set in stone as of yet.

Eric Martin and Randall Dunn are solid, experienced veterans who bring their own skill set to the table. Ryan Malleck is a true sophomore who is arguably the future at the position beyond this season.

Then there is Darius Redman and Duan Perez-Means, both very athletic options who are looking to put it all together. Tight ends coach Bryan Stinespring will attempt to figure this one out early and then let the depth chart fall into place from there.

Other Storylines: How many two TE sets can we expect?, Can Martin be a reliable receiver?, Can Dunn be a reliable blocker?

Offensive Line

Top Storyline: Avoid Injuries

As we touched on a few days ago, the Hokies have a solid first five or six offensive linemen, but after that, the drop-off is considerable. The Hokies will be fine at the point of attack all season long if they manage to keep the original starting five completely healthy, but to expect that is ludicrous.

An injury is going to happen somewhere over the course of a 12-game season and August will be not only about making sure some backups develop, but also about making sure that key injury doesn't happen before the games start.

Other Storylines: Is Michael Via 100%?, Will Caleb Farris or Mark Shuman take the next step?, What is the deal with Jake Goins?

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