Had a little bit of time to offer you some insights from a few folks I talked to after the scrimmage and Monday. Forthwith…
On what he saw in watching the scrimmage that he can improve on:
“Just making more of an effort to be on every play, running to the ball, even if it’s a 40-yard pass down the field. You never want to get caught loafing. I don’t think I had a loaf, but I don’t want t it to be close. I kind of saw some loafs on my own, but the coaches didn’t. They kind of overlooked it, but I don’t even want to see it myself.”
Two cents: What Burnett is referring to is that coaches, in reviewing game video, watch each player’s effort on each play and gives him a “loaf” if he didn’t hustle the whole play. It’s a pretty common practice. Burnett, it would seem, is harder on himself than his coaches are, which is what coaches love to have from the best players on the team.
On if the defense biting on play-action plays was a result of it being the first scrimmage:
“I would say [the play action] worked well. Maybe it did have something to do with it being the first scrimmage and a lot of plays coming at us at once. Usually, we probably do situational stuff, just runs some days or passes some days. For them to throw it all at us at once, we probably weren’t as prepared as we should have been.”
Two cents: Makes some sense. It’ll be interesting to see how the passing game works on Saturday.
On the defense’s play overall:
“We did extremely good on the run. Like I said, we could’ve done better on the pass. As a defense, I think we did pretty good. Seventeen points in 100-some plays, that’s pretty good.”
Two cents: Options plays were defended well, particularly quarterback and A-back runs.
On the four B-backs:
Charles Perkins: “Charles, over the offseason, he worked real hard. He’s gotten pretty big. He’s just a hard runner. It takes a lot to get him down sometimes.”
Preston Lyons: “Preston hits the hole better than anybody, I think. He just gets up in the gap so quickly that you’ve just got to be down on your read.”
David Sims: “David’s got so much balance like, even if you can wrap up, hit him from all sides, some kind of way he stays on his feet and just keeps running. David’s a good runner, too. I think that was a good move for him, going from quarterback to B-back.”
Richard Watson: “He kind of like charges, hard to bring down. Just a hard runner.”
Two cents: Great observation about Sims. He’s likely the most improved player from spring. I figured the B-back competition was a two-horse race, but Sims has changed that.
Inside linebackers coach Joe Speed
On Daniel Drummond: “He’s coming along nicely. He invested a lot of time over the summer, opened up the playbook and doing work on his own. He’s got the physical tools. As long as he knows where to go and what his assignment is, he’s going to be just fine.”
Two cents: Some work to do, apparently, but I think the pairing of Drummond and Burnett on the inside could be punishing.
On Jabari Hunt-Days: “Physical tools, picking up the defense. A lot of verbiage for him, so I’m sure it’s fast for him right now, but once he picks it up, he’s going to be able to have a clear mind so he can play faster.”
Two cents: Coaches are looking for true freshman linebackers to play this season. Hunt-Days’ best chance to get on the field, as it is with the others, will be special teams.
Center Jay Finch
On changes in pass protection: “I think we’ve finally found something we like and we’re going to stick to it. It was a lot better today once we solidified exactly what we’re going to do. Last year, we used to have a call that we don’t even use anymore. A lot has changed.”
Two cents: It looked like it worked Saturday.
On watching video of the 2009 Virginia Tech game, a 28-23 win over the then-No. 4 Hokies, with the line:
“Kind of a little bit of motivation. We had ‘Shredder‘ (Brad Sellers), who is, you know, 250 (pounds), Sean (Bedford), who was a former walk-on. We were just talking about, if we can have the same mentality, fire out every play as a unit. It’s one thing we’ve been talking about. That’s the thing you’ve probably heard, the so-called ‘Goon Squad,’ just come out and fight every play. That’s what we’re trying to do.”