McFarling: ‘White Lightning’ hopes to be a deep-hit target for Hokies | Amateur

BLACKSBURG — When your coach calls you ‘White Lightning’, you have the opportunity to do something.

” That’s what he said ? Cole Beck said with a laugh, when told of Brent Pry’s nickname for him. “Hey, that’s cool. I think it’s funny.

Pry isn’t wrong either. When he returned to the Virginia Tech football field this year for the first time since 2019, Beck instantly became the team’s fastest player. Any skeptics need only look to the Blacksburg High School graduate’s 10.11 seconds in the 100 yards, which earned him the 2021 ACC Outdoor Championship and set the Hokies program record.

“I don’t think anyone asked me to prove anything with my speed,” Beck said. “Maybe other things. Maybe run some routes. I have to clean up those things.

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Beck knows there’s more to football than getting from point A to point B in a jiffy. Especially when you’ve been away for a while and you’re trying out a new position.

Beck, who now works as a receiver, was running back at Blacksburg High and his previous two years with the football team in 2018-19. He stepped away from the grid after the 2019 campaign to channel all of his energy into the track and the academics.

“I never wanted to quit,” Beck said of football. “But at the time, I felt like I just had to focus on my track career. I knew I could do something really special if I could just sit down and focus mostly on that.

“Over the past two years we’ve had a few championships as a team, so we’ve had a lot of success with my teammates there. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. »

But the football itch remained strong. When the new coaching staff took over last winter, Beck contacted running backs coach Stu Holt to ask if there might be a possibility for him to return to the team.

There were, but it wasn’t automatic. Beck scheduled a meeting with Pry and had a long conversation about the level of commitment that would be involved.

“He had to convince me, convince us, that he really wanted to do this,” Pry said. “It wasn’t just, ‘Yeah, man, I would really like to be on the team again.’ It wasn’t going to be easy. It was going to be a tough road to get back into football, get the rust off and learn the playbook.”

Contact is not a problem. Besides being a speedster for the Bruins, Beck was also a tough runner, welcoming collisions near the sidelines rather than ducking out of bounds. The physique has always been his favorite part of the game.

Now it’s more about grasping the nuances of his new position. He says he was greatly helped by veteran wides Jadan Blue, Da’Wain Lofton and Kaleb Smith, among others.

“He fits in quickly,” technical offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen said. “You see marked improvements every day, and obviously he’s got top speed that’s hard to train. There are some things he can do from a vertical threat perspective.

When Grant Wells was named Tech’s starting quarterback last week, QB coach Brad Glenn noted the team would like to take two or three shots deep. per quarter this season.

That sounds like a lot – and it also sounds exciting. It could be a job for White Lightning.

Beck, who earned his bachelor’s degree, was recently accepted into Tech’s graduate engineering program. He will compete on indoor and outdoor track again this college year, but he hasn’t considered his footballing future beyond this season.

A singular goal, he found, is the way forward.

“I’m not passing this one up,” Beck said. “I’m going to give it my all, and if it’s not enough, yes, I can live with it. This opportunity, I will not take it for granted.

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