Tech shakes up receiving corps
BLACKSBURG, Nov 16, 2012 (Richmond Times-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Virginia Tech's football team is shaking up its receiving corps heading into the final two games of the regular season.
Senior Corey Fuller and redshirt freshman Demitri Knowles are expected to start at wide receiver against Boston College on Saturday, ahead of seniors Marcus Davis and Dyrell Roberts.
Davis and Roberts had started the previous 10 games.
"I think each and every week you evaluate people on their performance, the consistency of their performance," Tech coach Frank Beamer said this week. "And I can tell you that's the way it's always been in our program.
"And the people that give us the consistency in their performance, that's who is going to be on the field."
Davis is Tech's leading receiver with 38 catches for 754 yards. He has scored four touchdowns. Roberts is third in catches (27) and yards (338) and has one touchdown reception.
But the speedy Fuller, a former track runner at Kansas before transferring to Virginia Tech, has been the breakout performer of the year for the Hokies' struggling, inconsistent offense.
Fuller, the older brother of starting cornerback Kyle Fuller and incoming five-star recruit Kendall Fuller, has 36 catches for 671 yards and a team-high five touchdowns.
Fuller said, after Tech (4-6, 2-4 ACC) lost wide receiver and former Goochland star D.J. Coles (knee) for the season, he saw an opportunity to finally get consistent playing time.
"In practice, I feel like I've been trying to get more reps to see different scenarios, see how people would defend it differently. And I think that's one of the things that's been helping me lately."
Knowles, the only one of the top four receivers who will be back next season, has had his moments as well, catching 13 passes for 201 yards and one touchdown, a go-ahead score in the fourth quarter of the season-opening win against Georgia Tech.
While Davis has been the Hokies' most productive receiving option, he has been inconsistent, struggling with dropped passes.
On Monday, a video that appeared to show Davis loafing when he should have been blocking against Florida State circulated the internet, going viral when it was picked up by the site Deadspin.com.
"I don't really pay those things attention," Davis said. "I still had a few plays I wish I could get back. I can't. So I just take that as motivation."
Davis said there were a few plays on which he could have blocked better, but said much of the video -- which he watched before heading out to practice Monday -- shows plays where he either wasn't in a position to make a block or had made a mental mistake that took him out of the play.
"A few of those were passing plays when I was behind the play," Davis said. "Clearly I can't block in the back. Another two of those plays were mental errors. One, (quarterback) Logan (Thomas) forgot to send me in motion. So of course that's going to look bad on me. Another one I read the signals wrong."
The always outspoken Davis took a jab at the video's producer.
"It's obviously somebody who's bored," Davis said. "If that's what they want to do with their free time, I applaud them. Go ahead, do what you want."
Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring offered just a lukewarm defense of Davis when asked about the video.
"There was a couple blocks we felt like we should have made," Stinespring said. "Tight ends missed a couple key blocks. We missed a couple blocks on the perimeter. We evaluated those situations, why they occurred and we dealt with it as a staff on Friday."
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