Coach Justin Fuente goes over what he saw at Hokies' fall camp first day

After Virginia Tech's first day of fall camp Thursday, coach Justin Fuente went over what he saw and where the Hokies stand.

This spring, Virginia Tech got a bit of a dry-run of what to expect under coach Justin Fuente. 

On Thursday, the Hokies' first day of fall camp, much of the same was evident. The pace was fast, there was a lot of passing and moving around on offense and the players are a long way from mastering what Fuente wants them to.

To Fuente, that's ok. The first day was a lot of what he expected. Retention continues to improve and there's rust that needs to be shaken off.

“I was optimistic that it (the team’s retention) would be pretty high," Fuente said. "Obviously, it is pretty rough with the guys that weren’t here in the spring. Those guys are just drinking water through a firehose right now. I don’t know if I felt like that or if I just hoped. Walking off the field, I feel pretty good about us having a general understanding of what’s going on.”

Check out Fuente's full transcript from yesterday:

On the team’s first practice

“My initial reaction was certainly better than our first practice in the spring. I liked the way our guys flew around. They seem to have a decent retention level. Obviously, it is hard to tell anything in just helmets. You can tell that there are some guys out there that have spent some of their own free time trying to figure out what’s going on. It showed a little bit today. In a good way.”


On if he is ready to name a starting quarterback

“Not quite yet.”


On the feeling he had with the team’s retention rate coming into today’s practice

“I was optimistic that it (the team’s retention) would be pretty high. Obviously, it is pretty rough with the guys that weren’t here in the spring. Those guys are just drinking water through a firehose right now. I don’t know if I felt like that or if I just hoped. Walking off the field, I feel pretty good about us having a general understanding of what’s going on.”


On if he was able to get a feel on the student-athletes that missed practice last spring

“It is hard to tell right now. They looked fine out there right now. Obviously, Khalil (Ladler) has to gain confidence and all that stuff. The few times that I paid specific attention to it, I felt like everyone was moving around pretty well. I have to really look at it to say something definitively. I know Isaiah (Ford) didn’t do much in the spring, but he moved around pretty well.”


On what he is looking for in the veteran players

“Overall, I would like to see us execute at a higher level. Don’t get me wrong, we have a long way to go. It was a step forward through the summer. From the older guys, it has to be a given that they know what’s going on. It has to be them moving the other guys along. We are seeing some of that. That’s a good thing.”


On what he is looking for from junior wide receiver Isaiah Ford

“He has been like that. He doesn’t need a lot of coaching when it comes to helping guys out. He is kind of naturally outgoing and like that. He might as well have had a whistle around his neck most of spring. He’s a sharp kid that picks it up quickly. He is not afraid to help those guys out.”


On if he has a similar approach this fall compared to the spring

“We will go basic installation for the first six (practices). Then we will take a day off. We will get into a little bit of down and distance in those first six. We will really work on first and third down to try and get everything going special teams wise. Obviously, we have to get ready to play games. We have to get some great situational work. Then we will really turn our attention to in-game scenarios on a daily basis after that. When we get through that phase, we will start to turn our attention to opponents and that sort of thing.”


On the importance of the offensive line and how they have adjusted to him

“Since I’ve been here, those guys have been the most consistent group. They are a little bit more mature. There are a lot of juniors and seniors in that group that have played enough football to know that the inside zone is the inside zone, whether it is called something else in a different scheme. It is the same. They can kind of correlate those things and pick things up a little bit quicker. We are asking them to do a couple different things, but not a tremendous amount that I’m sure is not different from what they have been doing for four or five years. I am not saying they are riddled full of first-round draft picks. They just seem to be the steadiest and accountable group. It is some good competition;  too.”


On redshirt junior offensive lineman Wyatt Teller’s personality

“He talks a lot. He is a really good kid. He is a good worker. He takes his performance very seriously. He is a very outgoing guy that is a pleasure to be around. It is important to him which is always nice.”


On whether Teller held back on his personality right away

“I don’t think so. I think it was pretty much all out there from the start. He is pretty outgoing.”


On redshirt junior safety Deon Newsome playing both sides of the ball and his expectations

“It is certainly different from a freshman. It is still an adjustment. Basically, you are going from going forward all the time to going backward. I think he will pick it up quickly. He seems to be taking to it fairly well. We will continue to evaluate that as we go through camp.”


On if he remembers anything from his first year at Memphis that will help him with his first year at Virginia Tech

“I try to block that first year out at Memphis. I store that deep, deep inside. There is something about conveying a message. It is my job to do a good job at articulating what I want and how we need to go about our business. I do believe that these guys are good listeners. You can see them actively do what we are asking them to do, which makes you feel good. It also makes you look introspectively and how you are articulating the message.”


On if he had a moment of reflection with the first day of practice

“No, I didn’t. My frame of reference now is how it looked from where we left things in the spring. Obviously, I wish those guys all the best. They poured their heart and soul into that team. Hopefully, they have a great season, but my focus is on our team and making sure we do as good a job as we can for them.”


On how he was able to get junior college transfer Henri Murphy cleared to play this year

“We just called and asked very nicely. That’s the truth. We just called and asked if they would release him and coach was great. We got through that, and I’m very appreciative of that. I think his most comfortable spot starting out is at wide receiver, so that’s kind of how we went about it.”

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