Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
It's a beautiful day here in Blacksburg, Va., and despite losing the winningest class in senior history, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer took time out of practice to say "Welcome back to Blacksburg" with a smile, a handshake, and a whistle around his neck.
Reporters were allowed to watch practice for the first six periods and I paid particular attention to the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers, although most of this stuff is fundamentals and the depth chart will change on a daily basis.
Keep your eye on No. 19, receiver Danny Coale. The receivers ran routes for two periods and he looked strong, making a diving catch and playing with a no-nonsense attitude. Zach Luckett also looked like he has good height and hands. The receivers started off by working on their blocking skills -- and their pushups.
Receivers coach Kevin Sherman did a basic catching drill where he hit the players in the numbers and there were numerous drops, which resulted in pushups.
"Get your hands up!" barked Sherman.
Marcus Davis dropped the ball and then dropped and did eight.
Ervin Garner got away with four.
Jarrett Boykin did five.
Next to them the DBs worked on recognizing play action with Torrian Gray, who also went over stance and starts with them.
"Don't backpedal outta there!" he yelled.
The quarterbacks practiced their drop-backs and handoffs. Sean Glennon was handing the ball off to Kenny Lewis Jr. and Tyrod Taylor was working with Jahre Cheeseman. A good sign for the running game.
"High and tight, get it tucked!" yelled Billy Hite, associate head coach and running backs coach.
The running backs and fullbacks then practiced catching the ball out of the backfield in zone coverage, with the tailbacks running a swing route and the fullbacks flat routes. Glennon would look for the tight end, see he's not there and then hit Cheeseman.
Poor Brandon Dillard, who will miss the season with a ruptured Achilles. He had to watch it all from the side on his crutches, with a protective boot on his right foot.
"It's kind of hard watching," he said. "I still want to be around and help the young guys."
And there were plenty of young, talented guys out there today looking for a little help.
Players and coaches will be available after practice. Check back later for more.