Spring practices have finally wrapped up in the ACC — nearly three months after Duke got them started — and for Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, it wasn’t exactly the rousing conclusion fans might have hoped for.
The major question mark of the spring for both programs was on offense. Last season, the Hokies finished 13th in the conference in total offense. Wake Forest finished dead last. Both lost key starters on that side of the ball, including their quarterbacks. So, if nothing else came of Saturday's spring games, it would’ve been nice to have seen the offenses in Blacksburg, Va., and Winston-Salem, N.C., find a little success and calm some nerves for the long offseason ahead.
But, of course, that’s not how it went.
For Virginia Tech, Joel Caleb’s 27-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the day was the only touchdown in a game that ended with just 10 points. The QB battle certainly isn’t any clearer now than it was before spring practice began, as Mark Leal (10-of-18 for 90 yards and an INT) and Brenden Motley (6-of-11 for 72 yards and an interception on a end-of-half Hail Mary throw) failed to assert themselves. It could be that Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer is best equipped for the job — but he won’t arrive in Blacksburg for another six weeks.
Even tailback Marshawn Williams — perhaps the most exciting prospect on the Hokies’ offense — didn’t provide much encouragement Saturday, mustering just 11 yards on six carries.
Of course, there were some significant absences on the offense, and a vanilla playbook is common during spring games, but this was hardly the spring sendoff Virginia Tech fans had hoped to see.
At Wake Forest, the offensive shortcomings were at least a bit more expected. When Dave Clawson took over this offseason, he knew he’d have his work cut out for him replacing his starting quarterback, his top runner, his best receiver and his starting tight end.
The Demon Deacons’ first-team offense scored 31 points Saturday, but the first three scores all were set up by interceptions. Overall, the No. 1 unit gained just 252 yards of offense — or 41 fewer than last year’s average, which ranked 120th nationally.
Orville Reynolds, who moved from receiver to tailback because Clawson was down to just one scholarship running back, had a nifty 33-yard run to highlight his afternoon, but he managed just 20 yards on his other 20 carries.
The quarterback race also remains in flux, Clawson said. Kevin Sousa was the clear standout Saturday, completing 16 of 32 passes for 178 yards and gaining another 68 yards on the ground, but he also had two ugly interceptions. Tyler Cameron was even more erratic, completing just 9 of 26 throws for 83 yards with an interception. Both quarterbacks split reps with the first-team offense.