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Published September 12, 2015
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer insists that the Hokies' offense will be better than it was a year ago.
But the Hokies' longtime head man isn't sure who will be leading that unit next fall.
Mark Leal and Brenden Motley had their moments this spring and in the annual Maroon-White game at Lane Stadium on Saturday, a bland 7-3 contest that concluded Virginia Tech's spring practice. But neither dazzled enough to take the job, and the Hokies now head into summer workouts, when they will add two more quarterbacks to the competition.
Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer and freshman Chris Durkin arrive in late May, and the coaching staff plans to evaluate both extensively before making a call.
"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.
"I think we've got to take a direction pretty quickly in the fall. 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."
Leal, the fifth-year senior, and Motley, a rising redshirt sophomore, had similar stats in the Maroon-White game. Leal completed 10 of 18 for 90 yards, with an interception, and Motley completed 6 of 11 for 72 yards, with an interception.
Motley guided the White team on the lone touchdown drive of the game, though he did not complete a pass on the drive. A 52-yard run by Demitri Knowles on an end-around got the White squad to the Maroon 25, and two plays later, tailback Joel Caleb scored on a 27-yard run.
Motley had opportunities to have a huge day. But he overthrew tight end Bucky Hodges on what might have been a touchdown in the second half, and late in the game, his 19-yard touchdown run was called back because of a holding penalty.
"I feel as if I made a jump this spring," Motley said. "I'm not where I want to be, but I feel as if I did some good things. Today, we executed pretty well, but we left some plays out there. I know I left some plays out there that should have been made. But I felt we did pretty good."
The only other score in the game came on a 28-yard field goal by Eric Kristensen on the final play of the first quarter. Michael Branthover missed a 48-yard attempt near the end of the third quarter.
Neither quarterback went live in the game, as both were nursing minor injuries — Leal with a knee and Motley with an ankle. Beamer did not want to risk further injury to either by having them take on another Tech defense that appears to be salty yet again. That limited both, as both have the ability to make big gains out of broken plays.
Regardless, for the first time in quite a while, the Hokies go into an offseason with a question at quarterback.
"I think competing all spring brings out the best in us, and the pressure is always on us to make plays and do our best," Leal said. "With the guys coming in, we're just going to accept the competition. The decision probably won't be made until the end of camp, but we've just got to keep getting better every day."