Virginia Tech Football Press Conference Notebook 8/3/19

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomas1996 | Aug 03, 2019
For the second time during fall camp, Virginia Tech football head coach Justin Fuente took the podium to provide some early updates on the team and thoughts on where the Hokies are headed. Here are some of the highlights from his remarks.

No Update On Transfer Waiver Appeals

One of the biggest early fall camp headlines is the question surrounding whether Coastal Carolina OL transfer Brock Hoffman and Oregon QB transfer Braxton Burmeister will receive waivers from the NCAA to be immediately eligible to play this fall. So far, the Hokies haven't heard anything though Justin Fuente is hopeful that they'll have an answer soon. https://twitter.com/normwood/status/1157707772835848192?s=19 As Fuente also mentioned, the Hokies aren't too stressed about it yet given that the Hokies have time to be flexible on giving those 2, especially Hoffman, first team reps even without knowing their status for the fall. https://twitter.com/AndyBitterVT/status/1157707579314855936?s=19 Hoffman's case has been well-documented as he moved from Coastal Carolina to Virginia Tech to be closer to his still ailing mother hoping to be able to play immediately but being rejected because VT is 5 miles outside of a 100-mile radius of his home. It would be shocking if Hoffman wasn't ruled immediately eligible after his appeal but it will definitely have a big impact. If he is eligible, Hoffman immediately becomes a frontrunner to start at either right guard or center alongside returning starting center Zachariah Hoyt with redshirt senior Tyrell Smith, redshirt freshman John Harris, and true freshman Doug Nester among the notable competition to watch at either center, right guard, or both. Meanwhile, Burmeister's case for immediate eligibility is much more unclear with Justin Fuente appearing to hold on formally naming a starting QB until a decision is made. However, it seems extremely unlikely that anyone other than Ryan Willis will be the Hokies' starting QB this fall.

Pair of 757 Receivers Standing Out Early at Punt Returner

Fall camp may have just started but a pair of wide receivers from the 757 have already made a strong impression on Justin Fuente at punt returner. https://twitter.com/normwood/status/1157727760120459264?s=19 Seeing a pair of slot receivers in Hezekiah Grimsley and Tayvion Robinson at the top of the punt returner depth chart shouldn't be a major surprise. Slot receivers demands great acceleration and the ability to quickly change directions, two skills that are also important at punt returner. Grimsley's name was mentioned some last year as a potential punt return candidate, but was never able to overcome some of the players in front of him. However, this offseason has appeared to be a great chance for Grimsley to develop at that spot and emerge as a serious contender. The fact that Robinson has made such a strong impression so quickly has to be a great sign for his potential at the position especially given how he was a high school QB moving to receiver. While Robinson wasn't a favorite on paper entering fall camp, it's hard not to imagine him as a top contender given the early praise he's received.

Jeremy Webb Returns With VT Using Technology to Help

One of the big news items heading into August was the fact that after suffering two Achilles injuries in 2018, redshirt junior CB Jeremy Webb would be cleared to practice during fall camp. Unsurprisingly, the Hokies are still being careful with bringing Webb back to full speed with Virginia Tech using some technology to help them carefully bring Webb along. https://twitter.com/AndyBitterVT/status/1157707806285451264?s=19 From using virtual reality for quarterbacks to GPS tracking to help understand player movements, the Hokies have embraced technology as they look to speed up recovery times and improve their ability to develop their players outside of games. The fact that Webb is even able to return is a testament to his toughness, work ethic, and passion for the game. Though Webb may have an uphill battle to earn playing time or even a starting job given those injuries, he should not be ruled out whatsoever because of those intangibles.

Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics

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