BLACKBERG, VA – Grant Wells made a spring lead in the Virginia Tech team’s uncompromising fight, as he was officially tasked with a hockey start on Wednesday. Head coach Brent Brie made the announcement after training, appointing Jason Brown as backup and praising Wales’ performance in the early part of the August camp.
“(He has) an exceptional camp, very precise, and a great place for the ball,” Bray said. “He just makes plays, big body, it would have been really better to throw football in that camp. … He puts the extra things in, he’s a very well-adapted student, he’s a great student at the game, he’s getting better all the time. I really like the ball he throws. He’s It makes it difficult for the defense.”
Wells, who is 6-foot-2, 208-pound, was moved in the offseason from Marshall, throwing for 5,623 yards and 34 touchdowns with 23 interceptions in two years as a start. He was the front-runner almost right from the start in Tech, cementing his position with a solid spring that he ran for 178 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game.
Although Brown moved to South Carolina closing the gap over the summer, he didn’t outsmart Wales in any of the things hockey was initially looking for.
“At the end of the day, even though Jason was chasing after him and had a great summer and a great camp, Grant was a bit ahead in all aspects of overall offensive leadership, and he understood the offense,” his quarterback coach, Brad Glenn said. “Accuracy of the ball is fast, medium and deep. He was ahead of him in all of those. But as the coach said, we as an employee and our locker room are good because we have really good players.”
The coaches told the contenders for the position of their decision earlier this week. Wells said he called his entire family together — including his father, a Virginia Tech graduate — in a group chat to tell them the news.
“He’s brutal,” said Wells, whose father was his only personal trainer in life. “I only had a couple of days to really think about it, but I’m sure it will sink in at some point. I don’t really know how to put it in words.”
Starting is nothing new for Wells, Charleston, West Virginia, who did so for two years at Marshall, earning a USA first-team honor as a freshman in 2020. He threw for 3,532 yards last year as a sophomore. Among its goals? Reduce pressure on the ball. His 13 objections last year were the most restrictive at the USA Conference.
“That’s one thing from last year that I knew I had to focus on in the off season,” Wells said. “And only get the completions. The coach says it all the time: You’ll never go bankrupt and make a profit. Whether it’s a 3-yard gain or 60 yard gain, completion is all that really matters.”
For Glenn, Wells more than makes up for it with everything he brings to the table, including a big arm and some accuracy in those deep throws that could force Tech to change its game layout.
“I think its number one asset is deep ball accuracy,” Glenn said. “Nothing really I taught him. He came here with a really good feeling to throw a deep ball, and when you have a guy like that you trust, you can take more shots.”
“Usually it’s a really good rule of thumb, you like to take two or three shots deep a quarter. But with him it can be more than that. And then we have some guys out there who we trust to throw, they have good chemistry and built over the summer, so We feel good about our shots.”
Described by Glenn Wells as the most accurate quarterback he has coached, he was impressed by the placement of his passes. And while Wells wasn’t asked to run much in Marshall, he did have an understanding of the jeep that jumped out.
“He just has talent, a sense of when to move and how to move and not bail too quickly,” Glenn said. “A lot of guys who have good running skills, want the bail right away. Well he does a good job at it and he gets stuck in the pocket and knows when and when not to get out and then has a few effective movements with his feet. Those are the first two things that come up when I think about comparing him to the others. “.
Brown, a native of Fredericksburg, joined hockey at the same time as Wales. He spent one season with South Carolina, where he started as a quarterback for the third team but started the last four games of the regular season. He led the Gamecocks to wins over Auburn and Florida and finished with 721 yards, eight touchdowns, and six interceptions. He began his college life at Saint Francis (Pa.), an FCS school.
“It’s always hard when you have to tell a hard-working guy like Jason that he’s working as an assistant,” Glenn said. “We did it a couple of days ago. We called Jason at first and he took the news as I thought. He was disappointed but he treated her like a professional, because he treats her like a professional. Really proud of him in that sense. And there is no doubt in my mind that he will help Grant.”
There has been no decision yet on the third-team quarterback, with Tahj Bullock and Devin Farrell still getting equal representatives there.
Here are some notes and quotes from Wednesday’s practice:
1. The hockey injury bug has hit.
Pry isn’t very open about injuries, but he did provide some updates on Wednesday:
• The Dallan Wright wide receiver was out for a year due to an unspecified injury. I have seen Posted Tuesday on his Instagram A photograph of himself from the hospital either immediately before or after the surgery.
“We wish him the best,” Bray said. “He was having a really nice camp. I am excited about his future. He is in great spirits.”
Wright was expected to be among the players contending for the second team behind Caleb Smith, Dwayne Lofton and Jadan Bleu. Berry reported that moving UNC Stephen Gosnell and Christian Moss as recipients stepped up from that second group.
Bray said: • Malachi Thomas suffered an unspecified injury that left him “week after week”. The sophomore has been absent from the past three open practices the media has seen, going back eight days.
“He’s in meetings, he’s in camp, he’s very involved, he’s getting treatment and rehabilitation,” Bray said. “And I’m excited about the year Malachi can still have.”
When asked if this meant Thomas could be up for the Old Dominion match, Bree said he wasn’t sure.
“We have two weeks left,” Bray said. “Obviously we hope he can, but I’ll leave it up to the docs.”
• Berry said full-back Kelly Lawson is “now unavailable”. Lawson was not in training on Wednesday.
• Blue is still out with what appears to be an ankle injury, although he was practicing on Wednesday as an observer.
“He’s getting better, he’s getting better, he’s getting well treated, and I expect him to be back sooner rather than later,” Bray said.
2. The quarterback pairs lately seems to be trending towards Jaden Keller who is playing a prominent role.
It was only one span on Wednesday (and Lawson, who worked some as he pleased, was out), but the mike-will linebacker pairs up as follows:
- Dax Holyfield/Keller
- Kishon Artis / Alan Tisdale
- Will Johnson and Matt Johnson / Dean Ferguson
These are several consecutive practices where Keeler, a freshman, cast a lot of looks on the post of will next to Holyfield. Pry even said Tisdale might cast a few peeks at the mic.
“I am very impressed and developed into this position,” Bray said. “I think Jadan Keeler and Kelly Lawson have done a great job. They make us feel better and better all the time about what we can deliver in this place. Alan Tisdale is clearly in the mix, we’ve got Tisdale playing some willpower, and we might start looking at him on Mike” A little. Like I mentioned before, these guys are learning two points to create depth and resilience.”
3. A competition is underway in one of the offensive guard positions.
Bray said he shoots at least six or seven deep up front, adding that he was satisfied with the five start while noting that there was “good competition” in one of the guard positions.
This is probably where the left keeper is because Kaden Moore is among the best Hokies on the right flank. Fourth-year player Jesse Hanson has worked with the first-team left-footed guard since the spring, but hockey moved real novice Brian Moore (Caden’s younger brother) to the offensive line after the spring ball.
“He’s smart for a guy,” Berry said. “He’s mature, he’s talented. I think it was absolutely the right thing to take him up front. He has traits that say DD, but he’s set himself up. He’s in the conversation to play time.”
4. Tech will get more in the Old Dominion setting next week.
The Hokies have a full brawl on Saturday that will be more situational than anything else. Bray said he’ll see where the team is before deciding whether it’s full contact or “tagging.”
“There’s going to be a part of it living in good poses that we need.” “We’re going to start stepping back a little bit on some of the guys that have proven themselves a little bit and get some of those other guys we’re talking about, these in-depth guys coming up, get some core casting.”
Next Tuesday, preparations for the inaugural team match will begin on September 2 at ODU.
““We’re really focused on us right now,” Bray said. “Some analysts and GAs have taken on some projects related to Old Dominion and to our opponents in the first half of the season, and some unofficial projects they’re finishing. But in terms of players and our main focus, it’s all about us now.”
(Top image: Courtesy of Virginia Tech Athletics)