Leal Is Quarterback Front-Runner For Hokies
In the meantime, Frank Beamer is searching for his new quarterback. Beamer stated that redshirt senior Mark Leal is definitely the front-runner going into spring practice.
Leal played in the Sun Bowl against UCLA when Thomas was knocked out of the game and struggled mightily. He was 12-of-25 passing for 130 yards and two interceptions, while the Hokies fell 42-12.
Despite Leal’s struggles in the bowl game, Beamer still has plenty of confidence in the redshirt senior quarterback, telling the Roanoke Times’ Andy Bitter that Leal was a “better quarterback than he showed in the bowl game.”
There is no doubt that coming into a game as a backup quarterback is challenging, but I would argue that the level of difficulty multiplied with the shortage of weapons that the Hokies’ offense possessed last season.
Regardless of the past struggles Virginia Tech has experienced on offense, Leal believes that this group is up for the challenge in 2014.
“I think we’re going to be a lot better this season. Last year we had a really young offense, it was our first year in the system. Now that everybody has had that year to grow, a year under their system, I think everything will be a lot more fluid and people understand the concepts and what we’re trying to get done on the offensive side of the ball. Obviously I’m going to put as much on my shoulders as I can and try to lead this team all the way”, Leal said to Heather Dinich of ESPN.com.
Leal seems to have the confidence in his teammates but he still has to prove himself this spring. He’s currently battling with redshirt sophomore Brenden Motley and early enrollee Andrew Ford, a three-star prospect.
I expect Leal to win the starting job, however he’ll have to hit the ground running when he steps between the lines this fall. The Hokies open with William & Mary at home on August 30, but then head to Columbus to face Urban Meyer and Ohio State.
I’m sure Leal he has the game against the Buckeyes circled on his calendar; that’s when we will see what he's made of.