After posting an abysmal completion percentage of 19.2 percent resulting in just 56 yards against Alabama last Saturday, many fans were quick to point the finger at Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas for the loss.
While Thomas certainly did not have a great game against Alabama, he was the victim of many mistakes by inexperienced receivers.
Boasting only two returners in the starting lineup, many of the receivers came into the game against Alabama untested. It certainly showed.
The Hokies dropped six passes in the game and lazy route running contributed to Thomas’ interception that was returned for a touchdown.
Even though many predicted a slow learning curve for the receivers, the subpar performances of D.J. Coles and Demitri Knowles were disappointing.
“Well, I just think (the problem is) concentration,” said head coach Frank Beamer. “I have seen D.J. Coles make a lot of tough catches and Demetri just has to go up and get it at the highest point.”
After sitting out much of last season due to reaggravating a knee injury sustained in 2011, Coles is the leader of the group. Coles caught one pass for 34 yards against Alabama.
The only other returning starter on the receiving line is the redshirt sophomore Knowles, who is renowned for his speed. Knowles accounted three receiving yards on two catches and dropped four passes.
“Demitiri had a rough game,” said wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead. “There is no doubt about it. We looked at it and he didn’t play his best. You’re disappointed for the kid because at the end of the day he’s a competitor.
“He’s not someone that’s going to let something drag on. He was the first guy out to practice on Sunday. He wanted to get past it.”
After Knowles and Coles it’s only freshmen. Redshirt freshman Joshua Stanford was the only other receiver to catch a pass against Alabama and he's been rewarded with the starting spot over Coles.
The coaching staff is also excited to see what redshirt freshman Charley Meyer can bring to the table.
“Were excited to get Charley Meyer back, he is a very dependable player in there.” Beamer said.
After not playing against Alabama due to a lingering hamstring injury, Meyer will get his first game action against Western Carolina this Saturday. Meyer began in the Virginia Tech football program as a preferred walk on, but worked his way up to earn a scholarship this offseason.
The Hokies hope their wide receivers, in particular, and their entire passing game in general, can develop and grow from the rough start and experience more success in the following weeks.