BIG SHOES TO FILL IN THE BACKFIELD
When David Wilson announced in January that he would forgo his senior season for the NFL, all eyes shifted to redshirt freshman Michael Holmes, sophomore Tony Gregory and incoming freshman JC Coleman.
As Gregory is still recovering from off-season knee surgery, Holmes and Coleman will get their chances to shine this spring.
After one day, their position coach liked what he saw.
“I was pleased,” said Shane Beamer. “Mike had a lot of retention, going back to last year. I thought he remembered a lot of it. Today was very basic, what we put in from an offensive standpoint.
“But he was good, and JC was a guy you wouldn’t have known was his first practice. He seemed natural out there and picked things up really well.”
Thomas also seemed impressed after day one.
“They looked good,” he said. “Obviously it’s a learning curve. Today was kind of simple, so I think everybody handled it pretty well.”
Holmes got some action during the spring scrimmages last year, and even more during fall practice. His quarterback likes what he’s seen so far, even going so far as to compare him to another great Hokie running back.
“I think he’s a lot like Ryan Williams, in comparison,” Thomas said. “He’s got great lateral movement, and he’s got good quickness straight ahead. He’ll make you miss more than he’ll run over you.”
Coleman, who just enrolled in January, had been waiting for this day for a long time. He said he had to take a nap during the afternoon just to make time go by more quickly.
“I just want to learn and look after Michael Holmes and what he did,” Coleman said. “He’s been a year so he has a tighter grasp on things than I do. I’m really trying to get adjusted to the speed of the game.”
While both looked impressive, the competition is still wide open, as Beamer still has no clue who his No. 1 guy will be.
“Michael Holmes took the first rep out here today because he’s been here the longest,” Beamer said. “Every day it’s competition, every day we’re evaluating, and that’s what we’ve told them.
“We’ve got 15 days of practice, and we’re evaluating every practice, every rep you take is being evaluated. So, we want to compete. And, in the best programs in the country, you have that kind of competition, and that’s what we have.”