Secondary experiencing spring shuffle

The Sports Xchange
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--Position changes are usually a staple of spring camps as coaches try to experiment with familiar faces in different places. But the secondary is undergoing a total makeover, aside from junior Kyle Fuller staying at field cornerback. Rover Antone Exum is moving to Jayron Hosley's boundary corner spot, while corner Kyshoen Jarrett is switching to free safety. Redshirt sophomore Detrick Bonner, who started four games last year and acquitted himself well, is changing from cornerback to rover.

--Sophomore LB Chase Williams is getting first-team reps this spring, but that's not the big story in his family. He's the son of Gregg Williams, suspended indefinitely for his role in the New Orleans' Saints bounty scandal. Gregg Williams was the Saints' defensive coordinator who signed off on a program to monetarily reward players for knocking opponents out of games. Virginia Tech has made Chase Williams off-limits to the media this spring.

KEY QUESTIONS
With a lot of uncertainty in the offensive line after the loss of four starters to graduation, this will be a critical spring for last year's backups/redshirts. Fifteen good practices could land them atop the depth chart for August. The Hokies must also identify replacements for single-season rushing leader David Wilson at tailback and NFL-bound cornerback Jayron Hosley, although history suggests they have capable players on hand to fill the gaps. The kicking game, which was perhaps the shakiest last year in coach Frank Beamer's quarter-century, will get plenty of work as well.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

OG Brent Benedict -- A transfer from Georgia, Benedict is seen by many as a guy who should be able to help the graduation-riddled offensive line replace four starters. The coaches have switched him from tackle to guard, feeling his 6-foot-5, 311-pound frame is more suited to playing on the inside. If Benedict can stay healthy and play to his potential, he's likely to fill Greg Nosal's vacated spot at left guard.

OT Vinston Painter -- It's now or never for this redshirt senior. Painter is one of the best athletes on the team but has never been able to earn consistent playing time for one reason or another. A workout warrior in the offseason, Painter can earn Blake DeChristopher's old spot at right tackle. If he can come close to duplicating DeChristopher's play of last year, the coaches will be thrilled.

TE Duan Perez-Means -- With a plethora of talented defensive ends keeping him off the field, Perez-Means was more than agreeable to moving to offense this spring. Tight end is a position of need for the Hokies as they lost starter Chris Drager to graduation and don't have anyone who's a cinch to replace him. If Perez-Means can master the blocking schemes and prove to be an average receiver, he could see the field in game situations come September.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"The next time, don't let it get into an official's hands. Let's take care of things ourselves." -- Beamer, still rankled by a Sugar Bowl loss to Michigan in which Pac-12 replay officials took away Danny Coale's go-ahead touchdown catch in OT, leading to a missed field goal which set up the Wolverines' winning field goal.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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