With the first week of camp in the books, head coach Justin Fuente spoke with members of the media on Saturday afternoon and discussed his admiration for redshirt junior safety Terrell Edmunds, Virginia Tech’s reputation as “Defensive Back University” and other topics. Here are the highlights:
With 24 defensive backs selected in the NFL Draft since 1997, and many of them carrying success to the next level, Virginia Tech has developed the reputation as DBU. The Hokies return almost all of their starters in the defensive backfield from last season including cornerbacks Brandon Facyson, Adonis Alexander and Greg Stroman as well as Terrell Edmunds, who moved from rover to safety during the offseason.
Considering the history and talent at that position group over the last two seasons, it didn’t take long for Fuente to realize the importance of the DBU title within the program.
“It wasn’t until I got here that I realized that those positions and the defensive backs were kind of a marquee spot on the team and it’s true,” Fuente said. “When they do team introductions for home games it’s obvious that it’s a celebrated group. Obviously there have been a lot that have played in the NFL, a lot of really good players and it’s fun to be a part of.”
TERRELL EDMUNDS RECEIVES HIGH PRAISE FROM FUENTE
Terrell Edmunds’ younger brother, junior linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, has received the watchlist accolades and the preseason All-ACC honors, and rightfully so. but fans should not underestimate the importance that Terrell will have on the team moving forward as Fuente sang praises in his direction on Saturday.
“I think athletically he’s just different. He’s an incredibly hard worker but I’ve never seen a guy that can’t get tired. He doesn’t,” Fuente said. “We know about the family, just great people in general but there’s just something different about him. His stamina, his strength, his work ethic, his intelligence. He’s pretty special. When they go run in the summertime and we go do things and you’re playing games and he’s covering punts and playing safety and covering kickoffs, he’s the fastest guy out there every single time, every single rep, it’s pretty fun to watch.
So, about that move to safety that he made this spring, should we be worried?
“He can do about whatever he wants, really. He’s pretty talented,” Fuente said.
FUENTE KEEPING AN EYE ON NFL HOKIES
The Hokies were featured prominently in the first NFL preseason game of the season on Thursday night as Woody Baron and the Dallas Cowboys faced head coach Bruce Arians, Jonathan McLaughlin and the Arizona Cardinals. Fuente remarked that it’s tough to watch the games but he texts with the players when he can.
“I try to keep track via text with those guys, with Sam [Rogers], with Isaiah [Ford], it’s just fun,” Fuente said. “It’s neat when they’re such good kids and they worked hard to get an opportunity, that’s all anyone really wants in life is a chance. To see those guys out there, they’re great example of Virginia Tech on and off the field. It’s kind of fun to be a part of that.”
OTHER TECH TIDBITS
· Fuente has been encouraged by the current progress of the Hokies’ freshmen class in training camp. While he specifically named running back Jalen Holston, defensive back Devon Hunter and tight end Dalton Keene, Fuente said there have been other rookies that are on track to earn immediate playing time.
· On the thin depth at defensive line, Fuente said that there is still concern but redshirt freshman defensive end Emmanuel Belmar and others have continued to get better.
“They’re not there and they’re not a finished product but they’ve certainly looked better out there,” Fuente said. “It’s improved but certainly not the level that we expect. It’s getting better.”
· Fuente also had the chance to comment on running backs coach Zohn Burden’s experience at Washington Redskin training camp as part of the Bill Walsh Fellowship program.
“Well he asked me if he could go and I shooed him out the door. I said ‘absolutely,’” Fuente said. “The Redskins gave him total access to what was going on and he brought back a couple of good things in terms of running back play that will hopefully help us down the line. I know it was great experience for him, he really enjoyed it, I’m glad he got to do it, it’s a good program they’ve got going on there in the NFL.”
–Jimmy Robertson, VT Athletics