BLACKSBURG It isn’t often a college football player cracks a smile when referring to himself and a teammate as “troublemakers,” but in Virginia Tech linebacker Deon Clarke’s case, the word is a reflection of the past as opposed to the future.
On the other hand, it could be an indication of things to come for both Clarke and defensive lineman Corey Marshall. With both players back in the good graces of Tech’s coaching staff after rocky experiences in the 2013 season, the expectation is they’ll create a lot of trouble for opposing offenses.
As they finished Saturday’s spring football game at Tech with honors representative of just how far they’ve come Marshall was awarded the defensive most valuable player award for the spring, and Clarke earned the top defensive “up and comer” award for the spring Clarke realized the work for both guys had just begun. cheap jerseys Bird High in the Richmond area who is vying for a starting job at Tech’s “backer” position. “Coach says me and him are the troublemakers, but we know we’ve got to step up and show the coaches that we love our position and we love our sport that we’re playing in. Just make sure that they know we want to be here.”
Though he played in nine games last season, Clarke never really had a chance to establish himself on Tech’s defense because he served two suspensions one suspension for a game and another suspension for the final three regular season games. Clarke didn’t go into specifics, only saying the suspensions were for breaking team rules.
After being called during the spring a potential playmaker at Tech’s “backer” position by defensive coordinator Bud Foster, it’s clear Clarke might head into August with an edge on sophomore Dahman McKinnon in the competition to replace Tariq Edwards. Of course, Clarke’s offseason marching orders from the coaching staff include keeping himself clear of trouble off the field.
“Every single day, (the coaches) never let that down,” Clarke said. “They always put pressure on me to stay good on the field as well as off the field. As (defensive line) coach (Charley) Wiles always says, ‘If you’re a bad player off the field, you’re going to be the same on the field and we can’t trust you.’ I definitely want to be trusted.”
Marshall, a 6 1, 257 pound junior from Dinwiddie High in North Dinwiddie, left the team last August for nearly three weeks due to what was referred to at the time as personal reasons. He returned in September, but was redshirted and worked on the scout team.
He didn’t find out until late January, when Tech’s players got together with coaches as a team for the first time after the Sun Bowl, that he would be back on the team for spring practices and beyond. Since then, Marshall has gone about proving his value to the team, playing defensive tackle and defensive end.
“With the off the field thing, I mean, the connotation with that is, ‘This guy is getting in trouble with the law,’ ” Marshall said Saturday while speaking to media for the first time this spring. It was never that. It was in house issues, being punctual, stuff we could fix and stuff maturity wise.
“Coach (Frank) Beamer gets a lot of flack for giving guys second chances, so what I want to do with this opportunity is be a man and make sure that I make him look good, as well as improving his defense in every way I can.”
In his first two seasons at Tech, Marshall was a valuable asset as a versatile defensive lineman, playing in 27 games (starting five) and logging 39 tackles, including six for losses and 4 1/2 sacks.
Marshall’s presence is a big reason Beamer decided to leave yellow jerseys on quarterbacks Brenden Motley and Mark Leal in the spring game, indicating they were off limits to absorbing contact from defensive players when standing in the pocket.
Prior to Saturday, Beamer and offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler had planned to have Motley and Leal go live at all times against the defense in the spring game, but both players were banged up after an April 19 scrimmage in which they went live.
“If I put a gimpy guy back there against the Corey Marshalls and Dadi Nicolas’s (a Tech defensive end), I might have a lawsuit on my hands,” said Beamer, who, despite getting ready to welcome immediately eligible transfer Michael Brewer from Texas Tech and incoming freshman Chris Durkin to the quarterback competition May 28, said he wants to make a determination on the starting quarterback and No. 2 quarterback early in August practices.
“Both (Clarke and Marshall), they showed up (this spring). Corey showed up a bunch. Deon is playing fast. Before (this spring), it was a little bit (of missed) assignments. Not so much of that anymore.”
Motley completed 6 of 11 passes for 72 yards and an interception in the spring game, while Leal completed 10 of 18 passes for 90 yards and an interception. http://www.cheapjerseysfree904.top Marshall had two tackles, including a half sack, while Clarke had a tackle and a fumble recovery for a Tech defense that only surrendered one touchdown.
Clarke said there’s a part of him that can’t wait to be on the field in the fall with Marshall even if it means having to work a little harder to get on the stat sheet.
“I don’t like it when Corey’s in there in front of me,” Clarke said. “I don’t never get no plays. He just goes in there and he messed every (offensive) play up. That’s the player you want on your team. You want a player to go in there and mess everything up on the snap of the ball.”