Mark Leal

Back-up Hokies QB turning pro in something other than football

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Virginia Tech back-up quarterback Mark Leal is turning pro.

Well, sort of.

The reserve quarterback for the Hokies has decided to leave the program to pursue what the school is calling a professional opportunity. The school says Leal has already earned a degree.

What the professional opportunity is is unknown, but it is said to conflict with playing football. This is why Leal has made the decision to leave the program now, instead of sticking though the rest of the 2014 season.

The loss of Leal is an obvious dent in the depth at quarterback for Virginia Tech. Michael Brewer remains the starter for the Hokies, and Virginia Tech still has a few younger players on the roster if needed. Former four-star quarterback Class of 2013 recruit Bucky Hodges has converted to tight end. Virginia Tech added two quarterbacks in the Class of 2014, Chris Durkin and Andrew Ford. Both are three-star recruits out of high school according to Rivals.

Virginia Tech QB question will linger

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Saturday’s spring scrimmage at Virginia Tech did nothing to solve any questions about the starting quarterback vacancy left by Logan Thomas. On a day that saw the defense dominate, quarterbacks Mark Leal and Brenden Motley each scored a touchdown but failed to take a lead in the competition under center.

Leal completed 10 of 18 pass attempts for 90 yards and was intercepted once. Motley had similar results, completing six of 11 attempts for 72 yards and an interception. Motley also ran for a touchdown inside the red zone, but it was called back due to an offensive holding. This leaves head coach Frank Beamer and his staff with something to ponder over the summer and leading up to the start of the 2014 season. For now, no decisions are being made.

“We’ll talk [as a staff],” Beamer said. “Both of our new quarterbacks will be here the first session of summer school, and they’ll have a chance to throw to our receivers quite a bit.”

There will also be some other options to consider as well. Virginia Tech will welcome Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer and freshman Chris Durkin, a three-star pro-style recruit out of Ohio according to Rivals. It appears Motley and Leal are the top two candidates though.

“I think we’ve got to take a direction pretty quickly in the fall,” Beamer said. “Whoever it is going to be needs to get a lot of reps in preseason practice and whoever is second needs to get a lot of reps. So we’ll decide on those two, and those are the guys who will get the reps.”

Hokies defense leaves Tech OC Loeffler disappointed

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It is no secret Virginia Tech is a team that will focus on defense first and hope the offense can put together enough points to win some games. That was the case Saturday as the Hokies brought a close to spring practices with the annual spring game. The defense recorded six sacks and 17 tackles for a loss while holding the offense to 106 yards over 96 plays.

“I felt like our defense took a step forward today,” head coach Frank Beamer said following the scrimmage. “They were having fun, flying around and being aggressive.”

Defensive end Dadi Nicolas had 10 tackles, a sack and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Defensive tackle Luther Maddy had six tackles, 1.5 sacks and two tackles for a loss. Linebacker Chris Williams also had a fine afternoon with 1.5 sacks. In the battle to replace Logan Thomas as the starting quarterback, Brenden Motley and Mark Leal each tossed a touchdown but neither excelled against the Hokies defense.

“The art of playing quarterback is whenever there are people around you and in your face, and you’re making plays or not making plays, that’s a huge indicator,” offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler said. “That’s why you want to see it.”

“Offensively, we’ve been taking steps, but I thought we took a step backward today for whatever reason,” Beamer said.

The Hokies offense is in need of an upgrade. Virgnia Tech ranked 12th in scoring offense, 13th in rushing offense and ninth in passing offense within the ACC in 2013. Going up against the Virginia Tech defense is certainly no confidence booster for an anemic offense, but the opportunity to work against one of the best defenses in the ACC should, in theory, benefit Virginia Tech in preparing for the season.

For now, there is a bit of a negative vibe following the Saturday scrimmage. Loeffler was not pleased.

“Our intensity was terrible,” Loeffler said. “I’m really disappointed in how we walked out on to the field and competed. That hasn’t been our M.O. this spring, but it obviously was today, and I was very, very disappointed.”