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BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech Athletics Department entered into its first year with men’s and women’s basketball staffing support provided by Rhino Sports & Entertainment Services, and through a combined effort, the Virginia Tech ushers were named the “No. 1 Usher Team” in college basketball by Ephus 21, an independent third-party evaluation company.
Ephus 21 is the industry leader in measuring the effectiveness of collegiate athletics programs’ management of the game-day experience through a service named VenueChek. During the 2015-16 basketball season, VenueChek visited more than 30 venues and the Virginia Tech game experience ranked at the top of the list.
This partnership with Rhino resulted in a great experience for Hokies fans and it also provided part-time employment opportunities for approximately 1,000 individuals from Blacksburg, Roanoke, and surrounding areas in Southwest Virginia.
“It makes me proud when we can provide this level of service to a great institution like Virginia Tech, which is what they have been looking for,” Rhino Vice President Brett Hickman said. “We have great staff who enjoy working in a fun environment and that results in a fan-friendly atmosphere. I am excited to continue hiring more part-time employees from the Blacksburg area so that we can achieve similar results during the 2016 football season.”
On Saturday, a job fair and “quick interview” session will be conducted at Roanoke’s Valley View Mall in the West Court. Interested applicants should arrive between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. In addition, Rhino will hold a second job fair on Saturday, May 28 at the New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition to working with Virginia Tech at Cassell Coliseum and Lane Stadium, Rhino also will assist the Hokies with events at other Virginia Tech venues throughout the year.
“Hiring from the communities that we serve is a priority for us,” Rhino owner Billy D. Prim said. “We want to provide employment opportunities in the local areas that are so important to our partners. Our customer service training not only benefits our clients like Virginia Tech Athletics, but also is a valuable tool for our employees to use in their full-time jobs. Rhino staff will be seamlessly integrated into the game-day experience and proudly say, ‘Go Hokies’ alongside other fans.”
Applicants also may contact the Rhino hiring headquarters by sending an email to employmentVT@rhino-ses.com or by calling 540-784-1955.
Atlanta – Former Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer and former Hokies quarterback Cam Young earned $30,000 in scholarship and charity from the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament last week. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will split Team Virginia Tech’s winnings between Herma’s Readers and university scholarships at Virginia Tech.
The duo finished -6 in the event, earning $30,000 in charity winnings. An additional $20,000 was added to the team’s tournament total in honor of Coach Beamer’s retirement from coaching last year and his final appearance in the event.
Of the payout, $35,000 will go to Herma’s Readers. The organization was founded in 2008 by Beamer as a tribute to his mother, Mrs. Herma Beamer, who was an educator for 30 years. The organization’s goal is to promote literacy in the Commonwealth of Virginia. To date, Herma’s Readers has distributed more than 170,000 new and used books to children.
The other $15,000 will go to help provide scholarships at Virginia Tech.
Following its mission to support scholarship and charity at all levels, Peach Bowl, Inc. through its Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge will pay out a total of $540,000 to its 13 participating teams this year, with the winnings being split between a charity of the coach’s choice and scholarships at each university.
“We were honored to host Coach Beamer and Cam Young again for this year’s tournament and congratulate them for their successful efforts,” said Gary Stokan, president and CEO of Peach Bowl, Inc. “We are thrilled to be able to donate $50,000 this year to help both the foundation and the university help others in need. We have now been able to donate $405,000 to Virginia Tech charities through this event since 2007.”
In addition to the $540,000 charity and scholarship purse, another $124,500 was generated for other charitable organizations. Over the last 10 years, the event has contributed a total of $6 million in scholarship and charity, helping make the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl college football’s most charitable bowl game.
In 2015, through its Peach Bowl Cares program, Peach Bowl, Inc. with Chick-fil-A through the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge recorded its ninth straight year of more than $1 million in giving by donating $1.5 million. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl has now distributed $19.5 million since 2002, more than any other bowl game.
Frank Beamer has been elected into the Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame. He will be officially inducted at the annual OVC Honors Brunch which will be held June 3 in Nashville.
The Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame was organized in 1977 with the intent of honoring the coaches, administrators, faculty and staff that have been associated with the OVC for at least five years and provided extensive and outstanding service to the Conference. With the induction of this year’s class, the membership will reach 79.
Beamer helped put the Murray State football program on the map in the 1980s, spending two years as the defensive coordinator and six years as head coach before leaving to guide Virginia Tech to unprecedented success over 29 seasons before retiring this past year.
Beamer was hired by Mike Gottfried in 1979 and introduced the wide tackle six defense to the Ohio Valley Conference. It immediately made the Racers a national contender as the squad ranked second in the nation in rush defense and fourth in scoring defense his first season; that team ended up being one of four selected to the I-AA playoffs. A year later that defense allowed a nation’s-best 9.1 points per game.
The team of Frank Beamer and former Hokie quarterback Cam Young shot 6-under par and tied for eighth place at the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge, on Tuesday at the Reynolds Lake Oconee Resort outside Atlanta.
The duo won $30,000 for their efforts and the winnings will be split evenly between endowed scholarships at Virginia Tech and foundations or charities of the coach’s choice. They tied the Cincinnati team of Tommy Tuberville and JK Schaffer, finishing five strokes behind the winning team from Ole Miss of head coach Hugh Freeze and Wesley Walls.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge is the country’s premier head coach and celebrity charity golf event, featuring NCAA head coaches and former athletes and celebrities from the same school competing against their rivals for a share of a $540,000 scholarship purse.
Young also won $5,000 for his charity for being closest to the pin in the Celebrity portion of the Skills Competition.
In addition to the $540,000 charity and scholarship purse, another $124,500 was generated for charitable organizations. Over the last nine years, the event has contributed a total of $6 million in scholarship and charity, helping make the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl college football’s most charitable bowl game.
Beamer and Young finished third among ACC teams. Beamer and Dell Curry won the inaugural event in 2007.
Ben Hilgart, Associate Athletics Director for Strength and Conditioning at Virginia Tech, has been named Master Strength and Conditioning Coach by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches association (CSCCa). This honor is the highest given in the strength and conditioning coaching profession, and the ceremony is undoubtedly the highlight of the association’s National Conference each year. Master Strength and Conditioning Coach and CSCCa Executive Director, Dr. Chuck Stiggins, will present Coach Hilgart with the blue MSCC Jacket on Thursday evening, May 5, 2016, at the Fort Worth Omni Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas.
“This is an incredible honor for Ben,” says CSCCa Executive Director, Dr. Chuck Stiggins. “Being named a Master Strength and Conditioning Coach signifies a commitment to the student athlete, the Virginia Tech Athletic Program, and the strength and conditioning profession. We are honored to have Coach Hilgart as a member of our association and to have him join the ranks of the Master Strength and Conditioning Coaches. He is truly a model of an outstanding strength and conditioning professional.”
In order to receive this certification and corresponding title of distinction, an individual must first meet the following criteria:
1) Hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree;
2) Be a currently practicing, full-time strength & conditioning coach on the collegiate or professional level;
3) Hold current membership in the Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches association (CSCCa);
4) Hold the CSCCa Certification – SCCC (Strength & Conditioning Coach Certified); and
5) Have a minimum of 12 years experience as a full-time strength and conditioning coach on the collegiate and/or professional level.
Erin Brookshier (a Virginia Tech alum) of WSLS-TV recently sat down with Coach Fuente and his wife, Jenny, for an exclusive interview. In addition to lots of cute photos of the three Fuente girls, one can hear the story of how Coach Galen Scott introduced the couple and why Coach Fuente doesn’t play volleyball with his wife. Please check it out by clicking here.
The Maroon-Orange Spring Game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Current forecasts call for a gorgeous afternoon, with a high temperature of 72 degrees anticipated. With numerous events on campus this weekend and no reserved parking, fans are encouraged to arrive early. The tempo will be fast and furious on the field Saturday with the game expected to last less than 90 minutes. After Coach Fuente addresses the squad following the game, a PA announcement will be made and fans will be permitted on the field to take photos and watch postgame interviews. Fan Appreciation Day has been set for Aug. 14. Fans will have an opportunity at that time to get autographs with coaches and student-athletes.
For all the details you need to know on the spring game, click here.
Thursday evening, Coach Fuente put the squad through its final practice prior to Saturday’s game. In addition to individual drills and fine-tuning team elements for the spring game, the practice had an in-season Friday feel, as the head coach barked out various units on offense, defense, and special teams and the appropriate 11 individual players had to get into formation. For a photo gallery from Thursday’s practice, please look here:
ICYMI – HokieVision just released its fifth and final installment of its Spring All-Access series. The video contains some exclusive interviews with Charley Wiles, Vance Vice and Galen Scott, along with cool practice footage. Make sure to check it out by clicking here.
A large contingent of Virginia Tech students gathered at Lane Stadium on a perfect Tuesday evening to watch the Hokies’ football practice as a part of “Student Day.”
Students gathered on the west side of the stadium to watch the final nine periods of practice. Tech’s Tuesday practice consisted of 21 periods and head coach Justin Fuente saved the most entertaining portions of practice – the team period where the offense and defense face off and the pass skeleton drills with quarterbacks and skill players going against the linebackers and secondary – for the end.
The Voice of the Hokies, Jon Laaser, served as the public address announcer and explained to the students the purpose of each period of practice.
Following practice, Fuente addressed the students with a brief, 67-second speech. Then he invited them down on the field to take “selfies” with the players and coaches.
The purpose of the event was essentially two-fold. The Tech athletics department, and especially the football program, wanted to thank students for their support in the past. Also, the event allowed Fuente, as the new head coach, a public forum in which to reach out to students and encourage them to continue supporting the team.
“I’m overjoyed by the turnout,” Fuente said. “The weather helped us out. I know the students obviously are a huge part of this program. We want them to feel welcome and a part of it.
“I’ve always said that I wanted to have a tangible football program – one that was out in the community and out and about campus. I want one that embraces the culture here. For us, this was a part of it and it was great to see the students turn out.”
The department allotted 15 minutes for the students to take their “selfies,” but most players and coaches stayed well beyond the time limit. Popular defensive coordinator Bud Foster had a long line of students waiting for him and numerous students also waited patiently in lines for prominent players such as tight end Bucky Hodges, quarterback Brenden Motley, defensive end Ken Ekanem and fullback Sam Rogers.
“It’s awesome that these guys are coming out here and supporting us like this,” Rogers said. It feels great that they’re so excited about football and we love having their support. We couldn’t do it without them.”
The football team will go through one more practice on Thursday in preparation for the annual Maroon-Orange Spring Game on Saturday. Fuente said Tuesday that he will not split the team into two squads because of a lack of depth, but instead will go with an offense-versus-defense format and promised plenty of “good-on-good.”
The game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. It will not be televised, but can be heard on the Virginia Tech/IMG Sports Network and on SiriusXM College Sports Nation channel 84.
Here is a photo gallery from the evening:
On a perfect Saturday afternoon, the Virginia Tech football team participated in an intrasquad scrimmage that lasted roughly 100 plays. Several highlights included a touchdown pass from Brenden Motley to Bucky Hodges, touchdown runs by Dwayne Johnson and Jérod Evans in red-zone situations, and a 55-yard field goal by Joey Slye.
For the first time this spring, the quarterbacks were live in a scrimmage. They stayed that way until the final portion of the scrimmage when Justin Fuente and his staff worked on two-minute offense and defense.
Among the notables at the scrimmage was former defensive tackle Luther Maddy, who looks and feels great after knee surgery several months ago. Maddy and several other former Tech players will be participating in another Pro Day on Tuesday. The NFL Draft will take place nine days later on April 28.
The final hour of this upcoming Tuesday practice will be open to Virginia Tech students with a valid ID. Students can enter the stadium beginning at 8 p.m. and will have an opportunity to take selfies with the football student-athletes after practice. For more information, go here.
All Hokies are welcome to attend the Maroon-Orange Spring Game at 2:30 p.m. on April 23. Also, keep in mind that 2016 season tickets are still available to anyone who wishes to purchase. For those interested, please click here.
Finally, check out this photo gallery from Saturday’s practice and scrimmage:
The Virginia Tech football team wrapped up practice No. 11 on Thursday evening and the Hokies now gear up for a closed scrimmage on Saturday. This will be the last scrimmage of the spring before the annual Maroon-Orange Spring Game next Saturday, April 23. The game kicks off at 2:30 p.m.
The quarterbacks have been the focus of most people’s attention this spring, as Justin Fuente and his staff look for a starter. Also, there has been a lot of attention centered on the receivers
But the coaches are also looking for defensive backs to emerge. Brandon Facyson’s injury basically has left the squad with just two experienced corners – Adonis Alexander and Greg Stroman – this spring.
“Adonis and Stroman have been really, really good,” Fuente said. “We’ve got work to do behind those guys.
“The schedule is printed. The tickets are going out. We’ve got to find guys to play. That’s the bottom line. We’ve got to find people who can get the job done. That’s why we’re out there practicing, so that we can get those other guys out there ready to play.”
Cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell has been working diligently with his players this spring. To get an indication of how hard, please check out the latest in our “Mic’d Up” series with Coach Mitchell by clicking here.
Also, students are reminded that they are allowed to attend Tuesday’s practice in Lane Stadium as long as they show a current student ID. Students can enter the stadium beginning at 8 p.m. and will have an opportunity to take selfies with the football student-athletes after practice. For more information, go here.
In closing, here is a photo gallery from Thursday's practice:
Spring returned to Hokie Nation on Tuesday, as the Hokies conducted practice No. 10 of the Justin Fuente era under near-perfect conditions, with evening temperatures nearing 60 degrees.
Before the Hokies hit the field, Fuente addressed the media and indicated that senior quarterback Brenden Motley and JUCO transfer Jérod Evans are currently taking the majority of the reps with the first-team offense. While Fuente was clear that the quarterback competition is far from over, he did shed some light on the progress of his signal callers following his evaluation of last Saturday’s scrimmage.
“At times, they were really efficient, and at times, could have looked a lot better,” Fuente said. “So those two guys have kind of leaped ahead a little bit in terms of where we’re at. It doesn’t mean any decisions have been made. Far from it.”
The head coach left the door open for the other three competing quarterbacks to keep competing.
“It doesn’t mean those other three guys are done or redshirting or anything like that,” Fuente added. “We’re in the infancy of it [QB competition]. But through nine practices, we feel like those guys are ahead."
Fuente also announced that next Tuesday’s practice in Lane Stadium will be open to Virginia Tech students with a current student ID. Students can enter the stadium beginning at 8 p.m. and will have an opportunity to take selfies with the football student-athletes after practice. For more information, go here.
If you missed wide receivers coach Holmon Wiggins Mic’d Up, you should really check it out by clicking on this link.
We also have a photo gallery from Tuesday’s practice:
Blowing snow and blustery conditions may have kept many teams from practicing on Saturday, but thanks to Virginia Tech’s indoor practice facility, Coach Justin Fuente and the Hokies didn’t miss a beat despite an unusual April dusting of snow. Practice No. 9 went on as scheduled, capped by the second scrimmage of the spring.
Among many guests at practice were Felecia and Ferrell Edmunds, parents of current Hokies Terrell and Tremaine. All Hokies are welcome to attend the Maroon-Orange Spring Game at 2:30 p.m. on April 23. The preliminary forecast via accuweather.com calls for sunny and warm conditions on April 23, with an anticipated high of 76 degrees.
2016 Virginia Tech season tickets went on sale to the general public this week. To get in the game with Coach Fuente and the Hokies this season, please go here.
Check out this photo gallery from Saturday’s practice and scrimmage:
Approximately 200 coaches from Virginia and across the region are participating in a three-day coaching clinic sponsored by head coach Justin Fuente and his staff that ends on Saturday. Coaches are participating in classroom sessions with the Virginia Tech staff, observed Thursday’s practice and will be attending Saturday’s scrimmage.
Saturday’s scrimmage is closed to the public, but fans are encouraged to attend the Maroon-Orange Spring Game at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 23.
Sales have been brisk as 2016 Virginia Tech season tickets went on sale to the general public earlier. If you haven’t renewed or purchased your tickets yet, join us at Lane Stadium this fall by clicking here.
Assistant head coach Galen Scott was featured in our latest Mic’D Up segment from HokieVision. You can check it out here.
As usual, our photo team compiled a great gallery from Thursday’s practice:
Tuesday evening, the Hokies hit the field for practice No. 7. Head coach Justin Fuente and the squad will conduct 14 practices leading up to the Maroon-Orange Spring Game at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 23. Current NFL players such as DeAngelo Hall and Tyrod Taylor have already confirmed that they will be in Blacksburg for one of the most-anticipated spring games in recent memory.
Today, 2016 Virginia Tech football season tickets went on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. To
get in the game with Coach Fuente and the Hokies this season, please click here.
If you haven’t checked out our crew from HokieVision having some fun, please check out this video.
Finally, please check out this photo gallery from Tuesday’s practice:
Hokies conclude spring practice No. 6
After scrimmaging in Lane Stadium on Thursday night, head coach Justin Fuente and the Hokies returned to the practice field on Saturday. Fuente put the Hokies through a two-hour workout under sometimes breezy conditions. Only three Saturdays remain until the annual Maroon-Orange spring game at 2:30 p.m. on April 23. Season tickets for the 2016 season go on sale to the general public on April 6, so stay tuned to HokieSports.com and @VT_Football for more details.
• For the entire Virginia Tech spring football update with more notes, a breakdown of the quarterback completion and print-friendly rosters (including 2016 signees), click here.
• For a photo gallery of Practice No. 6, please check out the one below:
Tuesday marked practice No. 4 of the Justin Fuente era at Virginia Tech. Before the squad donned full pads for the first time this spring, Coach Fuente invited a special guest to the workout — former head coach Frank Beamer. Fuente informed the legendary college football figure that the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors had approved the renaming of the team’s locker room as The Frank Beamer Locker Room.
More details on The Frank Beamer Locker Room can be found here - bit.ly/BEAMERlr.
Exclusive video reaction video via HokieVision can be found by clicking here.
Following plenty of hugs and smiles between Beamer and current players, coaches and staff on the Tech roster, the Hokies got down to business with plenty of popping pads during the approximately two-hour evening practice.
Check out this photo gallery with Tuesday’s highlights:
Saturday marked practice No. 3 of Virginia Tech’s 15 spring football practices and it also marked the first day that the Hokies donned the pads. Tech practiced in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts – continuing a process in which the team begins practicing in full pads next week.
One thing that did not change was the fast pace and high intensity of practice. The Hokies were in constant motion, with the offense trying to run plays as fast as possible. Though not out of shape by any means, some players were winded toward the end of practice. The staff expected that and giving the players days off Sunday and Monday (weightlifting only) was part of the plan to let the players’ bodies recover.
Here is a photo gallery with Saturday’s highlights:
Take a listen to Coach Fuente on The Solid Verbal podcast with Dan Rubenstein and Ty Hildenbrandt. Please click the following link - https://soundcloud.com/solidverbal/justin-fuente-3-23-2016
Here are some of the topics they discussed:
• The process that took Fuente from Memphis to Virginia Tech
• What Blacksburg, as a city, offers Fuente and his family that Memphis couldn't
• His initial vision for the program during the interview process
• What he's looking for in the QB battle between Hokie incumbents like Dwayne Lawson and Brenden Motley in addition to newcomers Joshua Jackson and JUCO transfer Jérod Evans
• What the continuity of defensive coordinator Bud Foster means for players already on the roster and for recruiting relationships
• How much he watched of the Hokies’ 2015 season and what he, as a new coach, can glean from game tape
• The process for introducing elements of a faster offensive tempo to a team not used to playing fast
• How he'll measure success in year No. 1
Well-deserved congratulations go to Virginia Tech’s Tom Booth, who was named the ACC Video Coordinator of the Year by the Collegiate Sports Video Association. Booth (left in the photo) is now in contention for the top honor in the nation, the Bob Matey Video Coordinator of the Year Award, which will be announced May 12 at the CSVA national conference in Cincinnati.
Booth, a 1996 graduate of Virginia Tech, has worked in Tech's HokieVision office for the past 16 years. He came back to Blacksburg in 2000 after working as a news and sports videographer for WSLS, an NBC television affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia. He also occasionally filled in as the sports anchor.
Booth served as the head of the football coaches video department for the past several years before transitioning into a new role as an assistant coordinator under new coach Justin Fuente and his staff. Over his career, he has provided video content on the video scoreboards at Lane Stadium and Cassell Coliseum, and from 2005-13, he directed video scoreboard production on football game days. He also has assisted all other sports with any audiovisual needs.
Booth is the first individual from Virginia Tech to win this accolade. Everyone associated with Virginia Tech Athletics and HokieVision appreciates his dedication to the Hokies and applauds him on representing us and so well.
The Virginia Tech football team held its first spring practice under new coach Justin Fuente on Tuesday evening, as the Hokies embarked on the NCAA-allotted 15 practices. The Hokies practiced in helmets and short and will do so over the next few practices before putting on full pads.
“I think everybody’s just anxious to finally get to do what we love to do,” Fuente said. “Like I’ve said many times, I think this is the best time of year for any football coach. There are no games. It’s all about individual player development and team development. There are no scout cards or scout teams. It’s just good vs. good and trying to create an identity and develop some players.”
Tech is practicing on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the evenings because of class conflicts and the Hokies are also practicing on Saturday mornings, all leading up to the spring game.
Several former players attended the first spring practice, including Luther Maddy, Dadi Nicolas, J.C. Coleman and Kendall Fuller. All four will be staying in Blacksburg to train and work out for NFL teams in preparation for late April’s NFL Draft.
The Hokies resume practice on Thursday. The annual Maroon-Orange game will be held April 23 at 2:30 p.m.
Here is a photo gallery of the evening’s practice:
Former Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer was recognized in Richmond on Thursday, as Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe proclaimed Feb. 4, 2016 as “Frank Beamer Day.” Beamer and wife Cheryl traveled to Richmond and received the proclamation at the Capitol building.
Beamer’s unprecedented run as Virginia Tech’s football coach came to an end following the Hokies’ 55-52 victory over Tulsa in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, on Dec. 26, as the longtime head coach office officially retired following 29 seasons at the helm.
Beamer, 69, finished his career with 280 coaching victories in 35 seasons as a head coach (29 at Virginia Tech, six at Murray State). His final one came at the same stadium where he and the Hokies started their current streak of 23 consecutive bowl games. He departed with 238 coaching victories at Tech.
Beamer, who guided the Hokies to winning seasons in his final 23 years, left the game with more victories than legendary coaches such as Tom Osborne, Lou Holtz, Mack Brown, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler and Steve Spurrier.
Virginia Tech head football coach Justin Fuente confirmed Thursday that he has granted running back Trey Edmunds his release effective immediately to enroll at Maryland for the Spring 2016 semester.
“We appreciate the contributions that Trey has made during his time at Virginia Tech,” Fuente said. “Trey and his family put much thought and consideration in making this choice. We wish Trey the very best as he continues his education and playing career.”
The Danville, Virginia, native played in 32 career games (10 starts) with the Hokies, rushing 234 times for 957 yards with 13 touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 158 yards with two scores.
Virginia Tech football coach Justin Fuente made a foray into the community on Friday morning, speaking at a Chamber of Commerce Welcome Breakfast held at the Inn at Virginia Tech.
Approximately 150 business leaders attended the breakfast, which serves as a networking opportunity and a promotional opportunity for many local businesses in the New River Valley.
“It was fantastic to have him here,” said Terri Mitchell, who serves as the chairperson for the Board of Directors of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. “Virginia Tech athletics, and football in particular, are so important to the local economy here and to local businesses her, and if you asked any local business owner, he or she would say, ‘Yes, this is critical to the New River Valley and beyond.’ So it was fantastic to have him here and so many members of his staff with us today.”
To see video of the event, please click here.
Fuente, who coached at Memphis for four seasons before being tabbed to replacing retiring coach Frank Beamer several weeks ago, returned to Blacksburg this past weekend after spending the holidays in Memphis with his wife and three daughters. He told the audience that he hoped his family would join him within the next couple of weeks.
He spoke to the audience for approximately 10 minutes, telling the group that three things about the position intrigued him.
“There were three things that jumped off the page at me when there was mutual interest, and the first thing was community,” he said. “I’m from Oklahoma, and some of those values that are typically associated with people from that part of the country … I felt were right here. There was a chance to live in a smaller, closer-knit community and raise my girls there, and that was important to me. That was something I was seeking, and I wanted to be a part of.
“The other part was the fan base and the rabid support. Everyone wants to do something that they think is important and means something to other people. That’s incredibly evident here. Talking to some of the coaches that have been here and to some of the fans, the single biggest difference maker are Saturdays in the fall and the appreciation and the pageantry and the true love affair between the football program and the people that support Virginia Tech. The incredible fan support and being a part of something that was really important was something that I was interested in.
“The last thing was the tradition and to get a chance to build upon what Coach Beamer and his staff have done was important to me – to get a chance to be associated with doing things the right way. Coach Beamer has left us with some very good football players and some fantastic traditions and some very good football coaches that we’ve joined forces with to continue his legacy and honor his legacy as we move forward.”
Fuente also thanked fans for their past support and encouraged them to purchase season tickets. The ACC traditionally announces the football schedule in late January or early February, and the Tech athletics department will send out season ticket renewals to Hokie Club members shortly thereafter.
“I do want to thank everyone. It’s been great to meet some of the fans, and I look forward to meeting more in the spring,” he said. “ I encourage you to support us. There are going to be ups and downs, as you all know. It’s not all going to move smoothly. We’re not going to win every single ball game during our time here. I’d love to, but we won’t. I just ask that you continue to be encouraging of our student-athletes, of our coaches and our process. That’s what you’ve always done, and I encourage you to continue to do that.
“If you haven’t purchased your season tickets, you better do so quickly because we’re going to build something special. I also thank you for contributing to the Hokie Club. It’s very important in providing scholarships for our student-athletes and providing for cost of attendance and nutrition and things of that sort. We need that support, and we appreciate that.”
Virginia Tech made the final game for its head coach a memorable one, beating Tulsa 55-52 in a record-setting performance Saturday night at Independence Stadium in Shreveport.
The win marked the final one for Frank Beamer, who decided in November to retire after 29 seasons as the Hokies’ head coach. Tech’s players doused Beamer as he walked across the field to shake the hands of Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery.
Beamer finished his career with 280 coaching victories, including 238 at Tech. The win also marked the 11th bowl win for Beamer, who won three of his final four bowl games.
In the process, Tech registered its 23rd straight winning season.
Virginia Tech nearly squandered a 52-31 third-quarter lead. Tulsa cut the lead to 55-52 on a 36-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dane Evans to Keyarris Garrett with 3:47 left. The Hokies picked up a first down on their ensuing drive, but were forced to punt, and the Golden Hurricane took over at the Tulsa 20 with two minutes left.
Tech forced the Golden Hurricane to go for it on fourth-and-16. On the play, defensive end Dadi Nicolas sacked Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans, sealing the game for the Hokies.
Tech quarterback Michael Brewer completed 23 of 37 for 344 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Isaiah Ford caught 12 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown.
Ford was named MVP for the Hokies, who finished with 598 yards – a school record for a bowl game.
Hokies up 52-37 heading to the fourth quarter
By the first half’s standards, the third quarter turned out to be relatively tame.
Virginia Tech continued its scoring in the second half. On the opening drive of the half, the Hokies went 81 yards in 15 plays, scoring on a 1-yard run by Trey Edmunds with 7:38 left in the third quarter. Joey Slye’s extra point gave the Hokies a 52-31 lead.
Michael Brewer threw an interception later in the quarter, and that led to Tulsa’s Dane Evans scoring on a 9-yard run with 4:11 left in the quarter. Evans’ score cut the lead to 52-37 – Tulsa botched the extra point.
That marked all of the scoring. Brewer is now over the 300-yard passing mark for just the second time in his career, and Isaiah Ford has caught 11 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown.
Tech has 522 yards of offense.
Hokies up 45-31 at halftime
Virginia Tech led 45-31 at halftime after scoring three touchdowns in the second quarter.
Tight end Bucky Hodges scored to open the second quarter, lining up at quarterback and taking it in from 16 yards out. Joey Slye’s extra point gave Tech a 31-21 lead with 13:09 left in the first half.
Travon McMillian added his second touchdown of the game when he scored on a 1-yard run with 9:09 left in the half. That made the score 38-21.
Greg Stroman scored the Hokies’ final touchdown of the half, returning a punt 67 yards for a score. Slye’s extra point gave the Hokies a 45-21 lead with 7:11 to go in the half.
Tulsa scored 10 points later in the quarter to cut the lead to 45-31 at halftime.
Tech finished with 370 yards in the first half. Quarterback Michael Brewer with 209 yards passing and a touchdown, while receiver Isaiah Ford caught 10 passes for 188 yards.
Tulsa had 363 yards of offense.
Hokies lead 24-21 after high-scoring first quarter
A high-scoring game was expected and neither Virginia Tech nor Tulsa disappointed.
The Hokies led 24-21 after the first quarter, with the Hokies scoring on all four of their first-quarter possessions.
Tulsa grabbed leads of 7-0 and 14-7, but the Hokies tied the game on a 75-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Brewer to Isaiah Ford and grabbed a 17-14 lead on a 27-yard field goal by Joey Slye with 9:53 left in the quarter.
A 14-yard touchdown run by Sam Rogers gave the Hokies a 24-14 lead with 5:28 left in the first quarter, but Tulsa made it 24-21 on a touchdown pass from Dane Evans to Bishop Louie.
Tech finished with 238 yards of offense in the first half. Brewer completed five passes for 115 yards, while Travon McMillian rushed for 59 yards on four carries.
Tulsa’s Dane Evans threw for 117 yards. The Golden Hurricane had 225 yards of offense.
Photo gallery of the Hokies' first day in Shreveport
The Virginia Tech team and travel party comprised of more than 200 people arrived in Shreveport on Wednesday, albeit a little late after rain and fog delayed the Hokies' two flights out of Roanoke. Still, the party got there in time for a team welcome celebration and dinner not far from the team hotel. Below is a photo gallery from the evening's festivities:
BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer confirmed Tuesday that Kendall Fuller has informed him of his decision to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft.
“Virginia Tech is better because the Fuller brothers were Hokies,” Beamer said. “Vinnie, Corey, Kyle and Kendall were all different, but they were all the same in that they were smart, competitive, very athletic and great teammates, who possessed great character. Those qualities are all a tribute to their parents. The Fullers are what college football players should be. It is an honor for me that each of them followed their brother to Virginia Tech. It was my privilege to coach all four of them.”
A documentary on the life of Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is set to air Friday on the NFL Network as part of the network’s A Football Life. “Bruce Arians: A Football Life” comes on at 9 p.m.
The show looks at the former Virginia Tech player’s decorated and well-traveled coaching career. The one-hour documentary produced by NFL Films features interviews with Arians, his family, former players, former coaches, including former Virginia Tech coach Jimmy Sharpe, and more.
Every episode of A Football Life – as well as all NFL Network programming – is streamed live on the NFL Mobile from Verizon app (NFL.com/mobile), the NFL app delivered on XBOX from Microsoft, and through Watch NFL Network (NFL.com/watch), with participating cable and satellite providers.
As a former quarterback, Arians always related to the players in that position the best. He was Peyton Manning’s first quarterbacks coach when he arrived at the Indianapolis Colts in 1998, and then went on to coach Ben Roethlisberger when Arians became the offensive coordinator at the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007. After his contract expired after the 2011 season, Arians became the offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts under Chuck Pagano, and it was there where he coached Andrew Luck.
Following Pagano’s leukemia diagnosis, Arians was named interim head coach, leading the Colts to the playoffs and the Associated Press Coach of the Year award. In 2013, Arians was named head coach of the Arizona Cardinals with another All-Pro quarterback under his guidance, Carson Palmer.
Among the topics discussed in Bruce Arians: A Football Life are:
• Arians’ mission to become a head coach of an NFL franchise
• Overcoming the challenges and demands of being a head coach and a family man
•The impact that his father and Paul Bryant had on his life
• Establishing himself as the “quarterback whisperer”
• His fashionable style and sharp confidence
Emmy-nominated actor Josh Charles narrates.
Arians played at Tech from 1972-74. His best season came in 1974 when he threw for 952 yards and three touchdowns.
The Roanoke Valley Hokie Club has set a date for a bowl dinner that will feature Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer. The event will be held at the Salem Civic Center on Tuesday, Dec. 15, with a social hour beginning at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m., and immediately following will be a program portion featuring Coach Beamer and Bill Lansden, Senior Associate AD for Development; Executive Director of the Hokie Club. The cost for the evening is $35 and is payable at the door.
Beamer, who announced his decision to retire following Virginia Tech’s participation in this year’s postseason bowl game, stands as the winningest active Division I football coach and the sixth all time with 279 career wins. He has posted 237 victories over the past 29 years with the Hokies, winning seven conference titles – including four as a member of the ACC – and posting 13 seasons with 10 or more wins. Tech will play in a bowl game for the 23rd consecutive year under Beamer’s watch, the longest current streak in college football recognized by the NCAA.
Hokies rally past UVA, become bowl eligible for 23rd straight season
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia Tech kicker Joey Slye hit a field goal with 1:38 left and safety Chuck Clark sealed the game with an interception in the final minute to lift the Hokies past in-state rival Virginia 23-20 in Charlottesville.
The win marked Tech’s 12straight over Virginia and also moved the Hokies to 6-6 overall, 4-4 in the ACC. The Hokies became bowl eligible for the 23rd straight season.
The Hokies trailed by 20-13 in the fourth quarter, but tied the game on a 32-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Brewer to Isaiah Ford with 8:40 remaining to tie the game at 20.
Tech’s defense held UVA on the ensuing possession, and the Hokies took over at their own 20 with 6:38 to go. Tech then drove to the Virginia 23, eating five minutes off the clock. The Hokies settled for a 41-yard field goal by Slye that gave them a three-point lead.
Virginia tried to mount a rally, but on the third play of the drive, Chuck Clark intercepted Matt Johns’ pass, and the Hokies then ran out the clock, giving head coach Frank Beamer his 20th victory over the Cavaliers.
Brewer paced the Hokies by completing 15 of 29 for 237 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception.
UVA with a 13-6 lead heading to the fourth quarter
Offense was at a premium in the third quarter, but the Cavaliers broke through in the final minute of the third quarter. On first-and-10 from the Virginia 43, tailback Albert Reid burst through the line and went 57 yards for a touchdown. Ian Frye’s extra point gave the Cavaliers a 13-6 lead with 59 seconds left in the quarter.
The Hokies, though, were threatening at the end of the quarter, as a 71-yard pass from quarterback Michael Brewer to tight end Ryan Malleck gave Tech a first down at the Virginia 4. A 1-yard run by Travon McMillian put the Hokies at the UVA 3 before the quarter expired.
Both teams turned the ball over once in the quarter, but neither capitalized. Virginia Tech’s Adonis Alexander intercepted a pass at the Tech 41, but after a first down, the Hokies were forced to punt.
Virginia’s Tim Harris intercepted a Brewer pass in Tech territory, but the Hokies held and forced a field goal attempt. The Cavaliers’ Ian Frye missed a 45-yard attempt, and the third quarter
Virginia Tech had just two first downs in the quarter. The Hokies had just 103 yards of offense before the 71-yard pass to Malleck.
Hokies and Cavaliers tied at 6 at halftime
The second quarter resembled the first with a lot of solid defense and a couple of field goals.
Virginia grabbed a 6-3 lead on a 42-yard field goal by Ian Frye with 4:24 left in the first half. That came after the Hoies’ defense stopped Virginia on third-and-3 at the Tech 25, holding tailback Albert Reid to a 1-yard gain.
The Cavaliers then helped the Hokies to score toward the end of the first half. On fourth-and-16, Virginia tried a fake punt, but punter Nicholas Conte came up two yards short after the Hokies’ Tremaine Edmunds made a great play to stop him from getting the first down.
That gave the Hokies great field position at the Virginia 48. A pass interference penalty on the Cavaliers gave Tech a first down at the UVA 33, but the Hokies couldn’t convert on third-and-4 from the UVA 27 and settled for a Joey Slye 44-yard field goal with 57 seconds left in the first half.
The first half was a nightmare for Virginia Tech’s offense, which amassed just 69 yards and four first downs. Tech quarterback Michael Brewer completed 7 of 12 for 55 yards, while Travon McMillian rushed six times for 31 yards.
Virginia had 165 yards of offense in the first half. Matt Johns completed 10 of 17 for 63 yards, and he also rushed for 59 yards four carries.
Hokies and Cavaliers tied at 3 after a quarter
Virginia Tech scored first for just the second time in eight ACC games. A 41-yard kickoff return by Der’Woun Greene gave the Hokies great field position at their own 41. Tech drove inside the UVA 40 before the drive stalled, but the Hokies got a 48-yard field goal from kicker Joey Slye to take a 3-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.
The Cavaliers, though, answered on the ensuing possession. Converting on third down on three occasions, UVA manages to get to the Tech 13. But a holding penalty and a false start penalty pushed the Cavaliers back, and they ultimately settled for a 42-yard field goal by kicker Ian Frye with 3:40 left in the first quarter. That score capped a 14-play, 51-yard drive that took nearly eight minutes.
Virginia finished the first quarter with 73 total yards, while the Hokies only amassed 51 yards and two first downs. Tech tailback Travon McMillian carried the ball just twice in the quarter for seven yards.
Hokies fall to Heels in OT
Virginia Tech rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the game, but the Hokies lost in overtime, falling 30-27 to North Carolina at Lane Stadium on Saturday.
Tech lost the toss heading into overtime, and North Carolina elected to play defense first. The Hokies went three-and-out and settled for a 41-yard field goal by Joey Slye that gave them a 27-24 lead.
North Carolina then got the ball. The Tar Heels drove to the Tech 3, but a false start pushed them back to the 8. A 3-yard run by quarterback Marquise Williams left North Carolina faced a third-and-goal from the 5.
Out of a timeout, Williams threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Quinshad Davis to end the game. Davis appeared to be juggling the ball, but the officials reviewed the play and the call stood.
Tech finished with 405 yards of offense. Quarterback Michael Brewer completed 20 of 35 for 273 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Travon McMillian rushed for 80 yards.
Virginia Tech takes on Virginia next Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the regular-season finale The kickoff time has yet to be announced.
UNC and Tech tied heading to third quarter
North Carolina opened its lead early in the third quarter after a poor snap led to a blocked Virginia Tech punt that gave the Tar Heels the ball at the Tech 38. North Carolina got to the Tech 1, but the Hokies’ defense held on three straight plays, and the Tar Heels settled for a 20-yard field goal by Nick Weiler with 8:16 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing drive, Tech answered. The Hokies went 81 yards in 10 plays and finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run by quarterback Michael Brewer. Joey Slye’s extra point tied the game at 10 with 3:44 left in the third quarter.
The Hokies started to muster another nice drive toward the end of the quarter, but a long Travon McMillian run was negated by a holding penalty, and then Sam Rogers fumbled, which UNC recovered at the Tech 45.
Tech currently has 244 yards, while the Tar Heels have 193 yards.
UNC up 7-3 at halftime
Virginia Tech got on the board on its first possession of the second quarter, as the Hokies went 65 yards in eight plays. They got as far as the North Carolina 15, but Sam Rogers lost two yards on a carry, and then a Michael Brewer pass fell incomplete. That led to a 32-yard field goal by Joey Slye with 10:50 left in the half, which cut the North Carolina lead to 7-3.
North Carolina didn’t do a lot offensively in the second quarter. The Tar Heels drives ended in a fumble and three punts. They finished with just 45 yards in the second quarter after amassing 111 in the first.
Tech, though, didn’t accomplish much either. The Hokies had a golden opportunity after Corey Marshall forced UNC quarterback Marquise Williams to fumble, and Tech’s Andrew Motuapuaka recovered at the North Carolina 30. But a sack on third-and-15 pushed Tech out of field-goal range, and the Hokies punted.
Tech finished with 145 yards in the first half. Michael Brewer completed 7 of 12 for 101 yards, while Travon McMillian rushed for 41 yards on 12 carries.
Williams paced the Tar Heels with 94 yards throwing and 30 rushing.
North Carolina gets the ball to open the second half.
Tar Heels up 7-0 on Tech after a quarter
North Carolina got on the board first in this one. On the Tar Heels first possession, they went 65 yards in seven plays, converting on third-and-13 when quarterback Marquise Williams found Austin Proehl for a 32-yard gain to the Tech 36. Four plays later, Williams scored on an 18-yard run, and Nick Weiler’s extra point gave North Carolina a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.
The Hokies couldn’t capitalize on a scoring opportunity late in the first quarter. They drove to the North Carolina 26, but on third-and-1, quarterback Michael Brewer lost three yards, and Tech settled for a 46-yard attempt by Joey Slye, who hooked it wide left.
Tech dominated the time of possession in the first quarter, holding the ball for nearly 10 minutes, but the Hokies had little to show for it.
Brewer completed 5 of 7 for 47 yards in the quarter, while Williams completed 4 of 7 for 67 yards for the Tar Heels.
Photo gallery from the VT-UNC pregame walk
Hokie Village, Tech’s football pregame fan festival, will open this Saturday when Skipper blasts at 8:30 a.m. before the North Carolina game and will stay open up to an hour before game time (approximately 11 a.m.). The Village is held on the turf soccer practice field and can be accessed by a new entrance constructed along Beamer Way, which runs parallel to Lane Stadium.
Of note, there will be a banner at Hokie Village that commemorates the career of head football coach Frank Beamer, who will be coaching in his final home game after announcing plans to retire at the end of the season. Fans are encouraged to sign the banner, which will be displayed in Lane Stadium during the game and then given to him at the conclusion of the game.
Among the other activities available to fans who attend Hokie Village are:
• Inflatables (maze, bounce house, skee ball, obstacle course)
• Food trucks (pizza, grilled cheese, desserts, drinks)
• DJ TMMPO (music)
• Coca-Cola (product distribution, ball toss inflatable)
• SunTrust (enter to win prizes, handing out premiums)
• Yard games (corn hole)
• Bookstore (selling merchandise to fans)
• Fotoball mannequin (available for fan pictures)
• HighTechs Dance Team autographs (time TBD)
• Women’s tennis team autographs (10-10:30 a.m.)
• Drumline performance (10-10:15 a.m.)
And of course, the athletics department’s marketing table will have posters, schedule cards, schedule magnets and more available for fans.
A majority of Virginia Tech’s Corps of Cadets stopped by the Hokies’ football practice on Wednesday to say “thank you” to retiring head coach Frank Beamer for all his support and all he has done at the university while serving as the football coach for the past 29 years.
The group was in full uniform and the Highty-Tighties also attended, playing a song while the players warmed up for practice and then presenting Beamer with a gift.
A member of the Corps presented Beamer with a personalized framed photo of Lane Stadium, and the photo included a plane from a recent pregame flyover. Text on the photo thanked Beamer for his support of the Corps of Cadets.
After receiving the framed photo, Beamer addressed the Corps.
“My first year, 1965, was the first year when it was optional to be in the Corps,” Beamer said. “And I say ‘thanks’ to you guys for keeping this Corps. I remember as a kid going to the Thanksgiving Day game against VMI. The Corps marched into the stadium. That was big time for a kid from Fancy Gap to see all that.
“I really appreciate what you’re all about. The band, the Highty-Tighties, I appreciate what you guys are all about. Thank you so much. I feel like we’re really in this thing together.”
Following the presentation, the Highty-Tighties played “Tech Triumph.”
“That’s my favorite song,” Beamer said.
The Hokies play North Carolina this Saturday in what will be Beamer’s final home game.
Virginia Tech used great defense and a timely touchdown in the fourth quarter to rally from a 14-0 hole and knock of Georgia Tech 23-21 in an ACC game played at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta on Thursday night.
With the win, the Hokies moved to 5-5 overall, 3-3 in the ACC. The Hokies need one more win to become bowl eligible for the 23rd straight season.
Georgia Tech fell to 3-7 overall, 1-6 in the ACC.
Georgia Tech’s third lost fumble of the game put Virginia Tech in prime scoring position in the fourth quarter. Virginia Tech defensive tackle Woody Baron forced Georgia Tech’s Marcus Allen to fumble, and Dadi Nicolas recovered at the Georgia Tech 18 for the Hokies. Travon McMillian took advantage, scoring a touchdown on a 4-yard run with 6:58 left that gave the Hokies the lead. Joey Slye missed the extra point, but Virginia Tech still led 23-21.
Virginia Tech’s defense did the rest. Georgia Tech twice had chances to take the lead, but the Hokies held. On the Yellow Jackets final drive, they drove into Virginia Tech territory, but an unsportsmanlike penalty pushed them back and then the Hokies’ Ken Ekanem came up with a big third-down sack. On fourth-and-27, Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas’ pass fell incomplete, giving the Hokies the win.
Virginia Tech’s defense was outstanding after the first quarter. It gave up 130 yards in the first quarter, but just 128 in the final three quarters. The Hokies forced three turnovers in the win.
McMillian paced Virginia Tech’s offense with 135 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Quarterback Michael Brewer threw for 178 yards and a score.
Virginia Tech now gets ready for North Carolina, which comes to Lane Stadium on Nov. 21.
Hokies trail 21-17 going to the fourth quarter
Virginia Tech got off to a horrible start in the second half. The Hokies were looking to build momentum after ending the first half with two scores, but quarterback Michael Brewer threw a pass that was intercepted on Georgia Tech’s Brant Mitchell on third-and-10. Mitchell took it 32 yards to the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Yellow Jackets a 21-14 lead with 14 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Hokies responded on their ensuing drive, going 69 yards in 10 plays. Virginia Tech got to the Georgia Tech 12, but had to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Joey Slye with 8:42 left in the quarter that cut the Georgia Tech lead to 21-17.
The Hokies missed another opportunity to cut into the lead toward the end of the third quarter. Another long drive stalled deep in Georgia Tech territory, and Virginia Tech settled for a 40-yard attempt by Slye. Slye, though, missed it wide right with 32 seconds left in the quarter.
Virginia Tech had 319 yards of offense after three quarters, and Georgia Tech had just 195. But the Hokies trailed by four.
Brewer had completed 15 of 27 for 178 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Travon McMillian had rushed for 111 yards on 18 carries.
Two TD drives enable Hokies to tie game at halftime
The Hokies finally settled down in the second quarter, and a good drive got them back in the game. Taking over at their own 20 with 10:35 left in the first half, the Hokies drove 80 yards in 10 plays. The biggest came on third-and-5 from the Virginia Tech 35 when quarterback Michael Brewer hit Cam Phillips for a 45-yard gain.
Four plays later, the Hokies polished the drive on Travon McMillian’s 2-yard touchdown run. Joey Slye’s extra point cut the Georgia Tech lead to 14-7 with 5:56 left in the half.
The Hokies stopped theYellow Jackets on the ensuing drive, and the offense went back to work. This time, a 10-play, 76-yard drive ended when Brewer made a beautiful back shoulder throw to Isaiah Ford, who caught it and went 17 yards for a touchdown. Slye’s extra point tied the game with 35 seconds in the half.
Those final two drives enabled the Hokies to finish with 223 yards of offense in the first half – 154 in the second quarter. Brewer completed 12 of 19 for 154 yards and a touchdown, while McMillian rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown.
Hokies trail GT 14-0 after one quarter
The Hokies did not get off to a good start in their first game since head coach Frank Beamer announced his plans to retire at the end of the season. In fact, they got off to a horrible start.
Georgia Tech got the ball first and went 75 yards in just four plays. A 58-yard pass play from quarterback Justin Thomas to Ricky Jeune got the Yellow Jackets to the Hokies 8, and two plays later, Marcus Allen scored on a 4-yard run. Harrison Butker’s extra point gave the Yellow Jackets a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
The nightmare continued midway through the first quarter when Virginia Tech’s Cam Phillips fumbled after catching a pass at midfield. Georgia Tech recovered at the Hokies 45, and then an eight-play drive ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Clinton Lynch. Butker’s extra point gave the Yellow Jackets a 14-0 lead.
Georgia Tech finished with 130 yards of offense in the first quarter, including 72 on the ground. In contrast, the Hokies had just two first downs in the quarter.
Photo gallery from Tech's win over BC
Travon McMillian rushed for 105 yards, Joey Slye booted four field goals and the Hokies’ defense scored a touchdown, helping Virginia Tech down the Boston College Eagles 26-10 in an ACC game played Saturday at Alumni Stadium.
The win snapped the Hokies’ two-game losing streak. Tech is now 4-5 overall, 2-3 in the ACC. BC fell to 3-6 overall, 0-6 in league play.
The Eagles came into the game ranked in the top 10 nationally in nine defensive categories, but the Hokies got off to a good start, and the Eagles offense, which has struggled much of the season, couldn’t make up the difference.
Tech’s defense held the Eagles to just 218 yards, while the Hokies finished with 275 yards of offense, led by McMillian’s 105 rushing and Michael Brewer’s 180 throwing. McMillian rushed for more yards against BC than any tailback this season.
Tech led 23-3 going into the final quarter, but BC scored a touchdown on a 3-yard run by Richard Wilson with a little more than eight minutes left. The Eagles took over possession of the ball a few minutes later and could have made things interesting, but Tech's Dadi Nicolas forced BC quarterback John Fadule to fumble, and Nicolas recovered. That led to a field goal by Slye to give the Hokies a 26-10 lead.
The Eagles drove deep into Tech territory in the final minute, but the Hokies ended the drive when Greg Stroman picked off Fadule's pass in the end zone. The Hokies then ran out the clock to preserve the win.
The Hokies now get a week off before heading to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech in a Thursday night affair on Nov. 12. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Hokies up 23-3 heading to final quarter
Neither team did much in the third quarter. Tech’s lone points came after Greg Stroman’s 31-yard punt return put the Hokies in business deep into Eagles territory. Tech went three-and-out, but got a 32-yard field goal from kicker Joey Slye that gave Tech a 23-0 lead with 7:40 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles finally got on the board toward the end of the third. An 11-play, 59-yard drive ended when Mike Knoll hit a 29-yard field goal that cut the Hokies’ lead to 23-3 with 3:26 left in the third.
The Hokies had just six yards in the third quarter and are up to 241 for the game. BC had 51 yards in the quarter and was up to 131 for the game.
Travon McMillian has 78 yards on 20 carries for the Hokies.
Hokies lead 20-0 at halftime
The Hokies went on to control the first half. Tech finished with 235 yards of total offense, while BC amassed just 80.
Tech’s defense, though, accounted for the Hokies’ second touchdown, as mike linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka stripped Jordan Gowins at the BC 34 and grabbed the loose ball. He returned it 34 yards for a touchdown, and Joey Slye’s extra point gave Tech a 17-0 lead with 11:01 left in the first half.
Tech’s final score of the first half came on a nice, two-minute drive that was extended when BC roughed punter A.J. Hughes after the Eagles had stopped the Hokies at the Tech 17.
Tech retained possession and marched 55 yards to the BC 20, using big pass plays of 25 and 16 yards to Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips, respectively. Slye nailed a 38-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to give Tech a 20-0 lead at halftime.
Michael Brewer completed 13 of 17 for 153 yards, with a touchdown and an interception for the Hokies. Travon McMillian rushed for 66 yards on 15 carries – the most rushing yards allowed by BC’s defense this season.
Hokies lead 10-0 after a quarter
The Hokies got on the board first in this one, scoring on their second possession. They went 47 yards in just four plays, with the drive ending on a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Brewer to receiver Cam Phillips. Joey Slye’s extra point gave Tech a 7-0 lead with 6:44 left in the first quarter.
Tech’s third drive ended in points as well. The Hokies marched to the BC 27, but the drive stalled after that and they settled for a 47-yard field goal by Slye. That gave them a 10-0 lead with 1:13 left in the first quarter.
Tech amassed 112 yards of offense in the first quarter against BC’s vaunted defense. Brewer completed 4 of 5 for 73 yards and the score, getting the Hokies off to a good start.
Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Erich Schneider in the fourth overtime and then ran in the two-point conversion to give the No. 23-ranked Blue Devils a wild 45-43, four-overtime win over Virginia Tech.
The Hokies (3-5, 1-3 ACC) had taken a 43-37 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Travon McMillian. Tech went for two points, but quarterback Michael Brewer’s pass fell incomplete. Duke moved to 6-1 overall, 3-0 in ACC play.
McMillian led the Hokies, rushing for a career-high 142 yards on a career-high 29 carries. Brewer completed 24 of 45 for 270 yards, with three touchdowns. Tight end Bucky Hodges caught five passes for 101 yards and three touchdowns for Tech.
Sirk paced Duke’s attack, throwing for 270 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 109 yards on 18 carries.
Tech continues ACC play next week when it travels to Boston College. Kickoff is slated for noon.
Tech trails Blue Devils 21-16 heading to the fourth
Duke grabbed a 21-10 lead early in the third quarter, but the Hokies managed to cut the lead to 21-16 on a touchdown with 27 seconds left in the quarter.
Travon McMillian’s 2-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal capped a 20-play, 95-yard drive that ate 9 minutes, 46 seconds off the clock. It was the longest drive in terms of time of possession in Frank Beamer’s tenure as the head coach.
Duke needed just four plays to go 80 yards for its score. Duke tailback Shaun Wilson broke two tackles en route to a 58-yard touchdown run, and Ross Martin’s extra point gave the Blue Devils a 21-10 lead with 10:17 left in the third quarter.
Tech is now up to 283 yards of offense after three quarters, thanks to that 95-yard drive. Duke has 305 yards.
McMillian has rushed for 76 yards on 15 carries. Tech quarterback Michael Brewer has completed 14 of 28 for 177 yards so far.
Hokies trail Duke 14-10 at halftime
In the second quarter, the game turned into a slog, as both defenses clamped down.
The lone score came by the Hokies, as Tech cut into the Duke lead early in the second quarter. The Hokies drove from their 43 to the Duke 19, but a 12-yard loss on a pass play from quarterback Michael Brewer to receiver Isaiah Ford pushed the Hokies backward. The drive stalled after that, but the Hokies got a 44-yard field goal from Joey Slye with 13:07 left in the first half to cut the lead to 14-10.
Duke had a chance to extend its lead toward the end of the first half. The Blue Devils drove to the Tech 11, by on third-and-5, quarterback Thomas Sirk couldn’t connect with his receiver. Ross Martin, one of the ACC’s best kickers, came on for a 29-yard attempt, but he shanked it left and missed with less than three minutes to go in the first half. That left the score at 14-10.
Duke had 225 yards of total offense in the first half, with Sirk accounting for most of that. He completed 13 of 24 for 158 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 63 yards on 10 carries.
Tech had just 137 yards of offense in the first half. Brewer completed 8 of 15 for 101 yards, with a touchdown. Travon McMillian rushed for 21 yards on five carries.
The Hokies get the ball to start the second half.
Tech trails 14-7 after a quarter
Virginia Tech and Duke engaged in a high-scoring, fast-paced first quarter.
The Blue Devils got on the board first, going 75 yards in 14 plays on their first drive. They converted four times on third down, and they finished the drive when quarterback Thomas Sirk threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Max McCaffrey. Ross Martin’s extra point gave the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead less than six minutes into the game.
Tech, though, answered. The Hokies marched 78 yards in just six plays, getting a big play when quarterback Michael Brewer hit tight end Bucky Hodges for a 36-yard gain into Duke territory. Brewer and Hodges finished the drive, with Brewer hitting Hodges with a 16-yard touchdown pass. Joey Slye’s extra point tied the game at 7 with 7:21 left in the first quarter.
Duke took the lead toward the end of the quarter. A 75-yard drive ended with Sirk hitting McCaffrey again. His 16-yard touchdown pass to McCaffrey, and Martin’s extra point gave Duke a 14-7 lead with 4:51 left in the quarter.
Duke finished with 151 yards in the quarter. Sirk completed 10 of 14 for 135 yards on the drive.
Pregame Homecoming photo gallery
Hokie Village, Tech’s football pregame fan festival, will open this Saturday when Skipper blasts at noon before the Duke game and will stay open up to 45 minutes before game time (approximately 2:45 p.m.). The Village is held on the turf soccer practice field and can be accessed by a new entrance constructed along Beamer Way, which runs parallel to Lane Stadium.
Saturday’s list of activities include:
• Inflatables (maze, bounce house, mini hoops basketball)
• Food trucks (BBQ, grilled cheese, desserts, drinks)
• DJ TMMPO (music)
• Army (product distribution, hummer on the field for fans to take pictures with)
• Roanoke CVB (product distribution, prize wheel set-up, collecting sign-ups for VIP experience)
• Vet College (performing clinical skills, microscopes for use)
• Yard games (corn hole)
• Bookstore (selling merchandise to fans)
• Autographs by the Tech swimming and diving teams (time TBD)
• Men’s tennis demonstrations on mini court (time TBD)
• Wrestling team demonstrations for fans (12:30-1:45 p.m.)
• Autographs by the Tech women’s soccer team (1-2 p.m.)
• Autographs by the Tech men’s basketball team (2-2:30 p.m.)
• Virginia Techniques performance on turf (2-2:15 p.m.; 2:30-2:45 p.m.)
• A drum line performance from 1:30-1:45 p.m.
In addition, the marketing table will have posters, schedule cards, schedule magnets and more for fans.
FINAL: Hokies fall 30-20 to Miami. Virginia Tech returns home to face Duke on Saturday pic.twitter.com/xScOsRbJfZ— VT Football (@VT_Football) October 17, 2015
Virginia Tech turned the ball over four times, and that turned out to be the difference in the game, as Miami converted those turnovers into 10 points and knocked off the Hokies 30-20 in an ACC game played Saturday at Sun Life Stadium.
With the loss, the Hokies fell to 3-4 on the season, 1-2 in ACC play. Miami moved to 4-2 overall, 1-1 in the league.
Michael Brewer, who hadn’t played since fracturing his clavicle in the season opener against Ohio State, came into the game toward the end of the third quarter after starter Brenden Motley had committed his third turnover. A Motley interception with 3:34 left in the third led to a 21-yard field goal by Miami kicker Michael Badgley that gave the ’Canes a 23-13 lead with 58 seconds left in the quarter.
The Hokies sliced into Miami’s lead on a 33-yard pass from Brewer to Isaiah Ford. The extra point by Joey Slye cut the lead to 23-20 with 7:20 remaining.
But Tech’s defense couldn’t get a stop. Miami drove 75 yards in nine plays on the ensuing possession and scored on a 2-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brad Kaaya to Rashawn Scott with 2:44 left. Badgley’s extra point basically sealed the game.
The Hokies finished the game with 361 yards of offense. Motley completed 14 of 23 for 136 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions, while Brewer completed 3 of 4 for 65 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.
Kaaya paced Miami’s attack. He completed 19 of 30 for 296 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Miami finished with 395 yards of offense.
Tech continues ACC play next Saturday when it takes on Duke at Lane Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m.
Hokies down 10 heading to the fourth quarter
The story of the third quarter was two Virginia Tech turnovers, including one that killed a nice Hokie drive. Tech got to the Miami 30 on its first drive of the second half, but quarterback Brenden Motley threw a pass that was intercepted by Artie Burns and returned to the Miami 23.
Toward the end of the third quarter, Miami took advantage of Motley’s second turnover of the quarter. On third-and-18 from the Tech 19, Motley was intercepted by Juwon Young, and that turnover led to a 21-yard field goal by Miami kicker Michael Badgley with 58 seconds left in the quarter. With that score, the ’Canes took a 23-13 lead.
Tech’s staff made a change at quarterback on the ensuing possession, bringing in Michael Brewer for Motley. Brewer hadn’t played since fracturing his clavicle in the Ohio State game.
Miami has gained 314 yards through three quarters. Tech has 298 yards.
Miami up 20-13 on Tech at halftime
Tech appeared to be in great shape heading into halftime, tied with Miami at 13. The ’Canes faced a third-and-20 from their own 11, but quarterback Brad Kaaya completed a 45-yard pass to Herb Waters, who beat Terrell Edmunds on the play. Three plays later, a roughing-the-passer penalty on Tech’s Woody Baraon gave the ’Canes 15 more yards.
In the end, Miami took advantage of Tech’s mistakes. With 4 seconds left, Kaaya threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Rashawn Scott, and the extra point gave Miami a 20-13 lead at the break.
Miami finished with 277 yards of offense in that first half compared to 189 for the Hokies. Kaaya completed 14 of 22 for 215, with the touchdown and no interceptions.
Brenden Motley led the Hokies, completed 9 of 14 for 116 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. His first-quarter fumble, though, led to a Miami touchdown.
Travon McMillian rushed for 46 yards on seven carries for Tech.
The Hokies do get the ball to start the second half.
Miami grabbed a 10-3 lead on the Hokies in the first quarter, taking advantage of a turnover by Tech quarterback Brenden Motley and later tacking on a field goal.
The ball slipped out of Motley’s hand, and Miami’s Trent Harris recovered at the Tech 3-yard line. On the next play, tailback Joe Yearby scored, and the extra point gave the ’Canes a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
The Hokies answered, getting to the Miami 11 before settling for a 30-yard field goal from Joey Slye with 8:45 left in the first quarter. That cut the Miami lead to 7-3.
The ’Canes answered with a 24-yard field goal to push their lead to 10-3, but the Hokeis again responded, going 75 yards in 10 plays. On the final play of the first quarter, Motley threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Travon McMillian, and Slye’s extra point tied the game at 10.
Motley completed 5 of 6 for 70 yards in the first quarter. McMillian rushed for 46 yards on five carries. Tech outgained Miami 129-113 in the first period.
Marshall to miss Tech-Miami tilt
Virginia Tech defensive Corey Marshall will be missing the Virginia Tech-Miami game on Saturday with a sore hamstring. Marshall, a fifth-year senior, did not make the trip to South Florida.
Marshall, who missed the Hokies’ previous game against NC State, was one of three Virginia Tech players who did not make the trip – receiver Demitri Knowles and tight end Chris Durkin also did not make the trip because of injuries.
Marshall has started three of five games this season and has six tackles (three solo). He also has a sack.
Tech’s staff only dressed 68 players for the Miami game.
Virginia Tech quarterback Brenden Motley threw three touchdown passes to Isaiah Ford, and the Hokies rushed for 200 yards, as they notched a much-needed 28-13 victory over ACC foe NC State on Friday night.
The win moved Tech to 3-3 overall, 1-1 in ACC play. The Hokies avoided starting 0-2 in conference play for the first time since joining the league. NC State fell to 4-2 overall, 0-2 in the ACC.
The Hokies put the game way midway through the fourth quarter. Leading 21-13 and taking over at their own 12, they drove to their own 41 before quarterback Brenden Motley handed the ball off to Travon McMillian on a second-down play. McMillian broke down the left sideline, hurdled a tackler and went 59 yards for a touchdown that gave Tech a 28-13 lead with 6:54 left in the game.
NC State tried to mount a final assault, driving to the Tech 32. But on fourth down, quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s pass in the end zone was broke up by the Hokies’ Brandon Facyson, and Tech took over on downs.
Tech finished with 358 yards of offense. Motley completed 14 of 28 for 158 yards, with the three touchdowns to Ford and no interceptions. McMillian rushed for 96 yards on 11 carries.
Tech’s defense held NC State in check after the first quarter. The Wolfpack had 145 yards in the quarter and jumped out to a 10-0 lead. But Tech held the Wolflpack to just 125 yards the rest of the game.
The Hokies will try to continue their winning ways next Saturday at Miami. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m.
Hokies hold 21-13 lead over Wolfpack heading to fourth quarter
Neither team mounted much offense in the third quarter until NC State got a drive going toward the end of the quarter.
The Wolfpack took over at their own 30 with 6:21 left in the quarter and drove to the Tech 14 – on 10 straight running plays. But on third-and-2 from the Tech 14, NC State’s Jacoby Brissett tried to throw and was harassed by Tech’s Deon Clarke, throwing the ball out of bounds. The curious call led to a 36-yard field-goal attempt by Kyle Bambard, who drilled it with 56 seconds left in the quarter to cut the Tech lead to 21-13.
NC State finished with 73 yards in the quarter – 51 on that drive. The Hokies only amassed 34 in the quarter.
Tech owns second quarter, leads 21-10 at halftime
The Wolfpack added to their lead early in the second quarter. A long 91-yard drive that took more than six minutes ended when NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett hit Jumichael Ramos for an 8-yard scoring play. Bambard’s extra point gave the Wolfpack a 10-0 lead with 13:56 left in the first half.
But after that, the Hokies dominated the rest of the quarter. On their next possession, they marched 75 yards in just five plays, scoring when quarterback Brenden Motley hit Isaiah Ford for a 27-yard touchdown. Joey Slye’s extra point cut the NC State lead to 10-7 with 11:41 left in the first half. Motley completed 3 of 4 on the drive for 60 yards on the drive.
That drive seemed to spark the Hokies. Tech’s defense held the Wolfpack to a three-and-out, and the offense immediately went back to work. Tech marched 45 yards in nine plays, and Motley ended the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Ford. Slye’s extra point gave Tech a 14-10 lead with 5:54 left in the half.
Again, Tech’s defense forced a three-and-out, and the offense took advantage. A 71-yard drive ended with Motley hitting Ford for the third time in the quarter. His 2-yard touchdown pass to Ford with 18 seconds left and Slye’s extra point gave the Hokies a 21-10 lead at the break.
Tech dominated the second quarter, outgaining the Wolfpack 156-2. Motley finished the first half competing 11 of 21 for 124 yards and three touchdowns. The Hokies finished with 185 yards of offense in the first 30 minutes.
Ford became the first Tech receiver since Ernest Wilford in 2002 (Syracuse) to catch at least three touchdown passes in a game. Wilford caught four in the Hokies’ triple overtime loss to the Orangemen.
Wolfpack up 3-0 over Tech after a quarter
The Tech-NC State game was delayed briefly because of a series of thunderstorms that rolled through the area.
NC State, though, opened the scoring, getting on the board on its first possession of the game. The Wolfpack drove to the Tech 15, but the drive stalled, as the Hokies held on third-and-11. The Wolfpack settled for a 33-yard field goal by Kyle Bambard to grab a 3-0 lead with 9:52 left in the first quarter.
The Wolfpack out-gained the Hokies 145-29 in the first quarter. Tech’s defense, which has struggled with consistency this season, allowed seven plays of 10 yards or more.
Hokie Village, Tech’s football pregame fan festival, will open this Friday when Skipper blasts at 4:30 p.m. before the NC State game and will stay open up to 45 minutes before game time (approximately 7:15 p.m.). The Village is held on the turf soccer practice field and can be accessed by a new entrance constructed along Beamer Way, which runs parallel to Lane Stadium.
Please note that all the inflatables return this week after being cancelled before the Pittsburgh game because of the poor weather.
Friday’s list of activities include:
• Inflatables (slide, maze, bounce house, obstacle course)
• Food trucks (pizza, grilled cheese, desserts, drinks)
• DJ TMMPO (music)
• Ford (product distribution – “Enter to Win” cash prize toward a new car)
• Mobile Dairy Classroom (farming education, cow milking demonstration, t-shirt giveaway)
• College of Science (three clubs performing kid-friendly science experiments; craft tables for kids)
• Yard Games (corn hole)
• Bookstore (selling merchandise to fans)
• Autographs by the Tech lacrosse team from 4:30-5:15 p.m.• Dance Team (performance on the turf – TBA)
• Autographs by the Tech softball team from 5:30-6 p.m.
• A drum line performance from 6-6:15 p.m.
In addition, the marketing table will have posters, schedule cards, schedule magnets and more for fans.
Pittsburgh rushed for 166 yards and its defense held the Hokies in check for much of the game, enabling the Panthers to knock off Tech 17-13 in the ACC opener for both schools.
The win marked just Pittsburgh’s second in Blacksburg (2002) and sent the Hokies to their second straight loss. Pittsburgh is now 3-1 overall, 1-0 in the ACC. Tech is 2-3, 0-1.
Tech cut a 17-10 lead to 17-13 on a 48-yard field goal by Joey Slye with 13:20, but the Hokies couldn’t get any closer. Their next three drives ended in an interception, a punt and an interception.
Tech finished with 100 yards of total offense, including nine rushing. Brenden Motley was sacked seven times. He completed 9 of 20 for 91 yards, with a touchdown and three interceptions.
Pittsburgh finished with 276 yards of offense. Qadree Ollison rushed for 122 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown.
Tech will try to right the ship next Friday night when it takes on NC State. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m.
Pittsburgh up 17-10 after three quarters
Pittsburgh wasted little time in getting going in the second half. Tailback Qadree Ollison rumbled 43 yards on the Panthers’ first play from scrimmage, giving Pittsburgh a first down at the Tech 25. On the next play, he scored, and Blewitt’s extra point gave the Panthers a 17-7 lead.
Tech sliced into that lead midway through the third quarter. Andrew Motuapuaka forced Ollison to fumble, and the Hokies’ Terrell Edmunds recovered and returned it to the Pittsburgh 23. The drive stalled, but the Hokies got a 43-yard field goal from Joey Slye to cut the lead too 17-10 with 6:03 left in the third quarter.
Tech has just 118 yards of offense through three quarters. In contrast, Pittsburgh has 243 yards, including 157 on the ground. Ollison leads the Panthers with 102 yards rushing.
Hokies trail Pittsburgh 10-7 at halftime
Off to a slow start, the Hokies finally put together a good drive spanning the first and second quarters. A 12-play, 83-yard drive that took more than six minutes ended when quarterback Brenden Motley hit Cam Phillips for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The big play on the drive, though came two plays earlier when, on third-and-17 from the Pittsburgh 40, Motley completed a 28-yard pass to tight end Bucky Hodges for a first down. Slye’s extra point following the touchdown cut the Pittsburgh lead to 10-7 with 11:38 left in the half.
That’s how it ended at halftime in what has turned out to be a defensive struggle. The Panthers amassed just 107 yards in the first half – only 12 in the second quarter – as the Tech defense sacked Pittsburgh quarterback Nate Peterman three times.
The Hokies only had 73 yards in the first half, including 41 in the second quarter. Motley has paced Tech, completing 6 of 10 for 56 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Travon McMillian leads the Hokies with just 7 yards rushing.
Hokies spot Pittsburgh a 10-0 lead after a quarter
The Panthers got on the board first, driving to the Tech 27 before stalling and settling for a 45-yard field goal by kicker Chris Blewitt. The field goal gave the Panthers a 3-0 lead with 9:12 left in the first quarter.
After forcing the Hokies to punt on the ensuing possession, the Panthers went back to work. A 69-yard drive ended with Pittsburgh quarterback Nate Peterman hitting tight end J.P. Holtz on a 23-yard touchdown play, and Blewitt’s extra point gave the Panthers a 10-0 lead with 3:15 left in the first quarter.
Pittsburgh finished the quarter with 95 yards on 13 plays in the quarterback, while Tech had just 32 on 13 plays. Seventy-two of the Panthers’ 95 yards came on the ground.
Hokie Village, the football pregame fan festival that made its debut last fall, will open when Skipper blasts at 8:30 a.m. before the Pittsburgh game on Saturday and will stay open up to 45 minutes before game time (approximately 11:15 a.m.). The Village is held on the turf soccer practice field and can be accessed by a new entrance constructed along Beamer Way, which runs parallel to Lane Stadium.
Please note that all the inflatables have been cancelled because of the potential for bad weather. However, the athletics department will be giving away ponchos to the first 250 fans in Hokie Village.
Saturday’s list of activities include:
• Food trucks (BBQ, Thai, pizza, desserts and drinks)
• DJ TMMPO (music) – DJ Tmmpo will be giving away Hokie gear for each tenth of an inch of rain to fall during Hokie Village.
• Roanoke CVB (product distribution, prize wheel set-up, collecting sign-ups for VIP experience)
• Vet College (teaching clinical skills, microscopes available)
• Yard games (including corn hole)
• Bookstore (selling merchandise to fans)
• Balloon artist (making balloon animals)• A drum line performance from 10-10:15 a.m.
• Virginia Techniques performances (twice, at 10:30 and 11 a.m.)
In addition, the marketing table will have posters, schedule cards, schedule magnets and more for fans.
East Carolina quarterback James Summers rushed for 169 yards and threw for 110, helping the Pirates rally from a 14-0 hole to beat the Hokies 35-28 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday.
The loss marked the Hokies’ second straight to the Pirates, who downed the Hokies in Blacksburg last year. Tech also lost in Greenville, North Carolina, for the first time since 1992.
In addition to giving up all those yards, the Hokies hurt themselves with 11 penalties and a missed field goal.
The Pirates scored 28 unanswered after the Hokies went up 14-0. They led 28-14 before Tech cut into the lead with a 2-yard touchdown run by Sam Rogers with 6:47 left in the third quarter that made the score 28-21 in favor of the Pirates.
East Carolina, though, answered with a 41-yard touchdown run by Summers. That gave the Pirates a 35-21 bulge with 3:43 left in the third quarter.
Tech cut the lead to 35-28 midway through the fourth quarter on a 5-yard run by Brenden Motley with 8:18 left in the game. The big play came on a 60-yard completion from Motley to Cam Phillips and the touchdown capped a 95-yard drive.
Tech had two more chances to score in the final five minutes, but couldn’t capitalize.
Motley led the Hokies with 366 of their 439 yards of offense. He completed 19 of 34 for 281 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for 85 yards.
The Hokies will begin conference play next Saturday against Pittsburgh. Kickoff is slated for noon.
East Carolina pushed the lead to 14 points by scoring on its first possession of the second half. The Pirates went 53 yards in six plays and scored on a fourth-down touchdown pass from James Summers to Isaiah Jones. The extra point gave the Pirates a 28-14 lead with 10:09 left in the third quarter.
Tech, though, answered, ending the Pirates’ run of 28 consecutive points. An impressive 75-yard drive in which Tech twice converted on third down, ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Sam Rogers – his first career rushing touchdown. Joey Slye’s extra point cut the ECU lead to 28-21 with 6:47 left in the third quarter.
But the Hokies just couldn’t get a stop. East Carolina scored again on the ensuing possession, getting a 41-yard touchdown from Summers, who broke several tackles on the play to give the Pirates a 35-21 edge with 3:43 left in the third quarter.
The Pirates carried that lead into the fourth quarter. Through three quarters, they had amassed 352 yards compared to 238 for the Hokies. Summers was leading the way with 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and he also had thrown for 102 yards and a score.
Brenden Motley had 111 yards passing and 69 rushing through three quarters for the Hokies.
East Carolina grabbed a 21-14 lead early in the second quarter. Backup quarterback James Summers sparked an eight-play, 77-yard drive that ended with his 5-yard touchdown run. That gave the Pirates a seven-point edge with 10:02 left in the first half.
That’s how things stood at halftime. The Hokies squandered a scoring opportunity in the second quarter when they drove to the ECU 20. But on third-and-6, Brenden Motley couldn’t connect with a receiver, and Tech settled for a 37-yard field goal attempt by Joey Slye. Slye, though, pushed the attempt wide right with 5:21 left in the half, giving ECU the ball.
ECU gained 214 yards in the first half compared to 146 for the Hokies. Motley completed 8 of 15 for 60 yards and a touchdown for the Hokies, and he also rushed for 61 yards on 12 carries.
ECU quarterback Blake Kemp completed 9 of 12 for 118 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Summers completed a pass for 30 yards, and he also led ECU with six carries for 58 yards and a touchdown.
ECU finished with 10 plays of 10 yards or more in the first half.
Tech-ECU tied at 14 after first quarter
Virginia Tech took advantage of two East Carolina touchdowns in the first quarter to jump out to a 14-0 lead.
Greg Stroman’s first career interception on the second play of the game led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Trey Edmunds less than four minutes into the game. On East Carolina’s next possession, quarterback Blake Kemp fumbled, and Tech’s Mook Reynolds recovered at the ECU 19. That led to a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brenden Motley to tight end Ryan Malleck that put the Hokies up 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
But East Carolina stormed back. The Pirates scored their first touchdown of the day on a 3-yard run by Kemp with 4:33 left in the quarter. Then they stopped the Hokies and went back to work, driving 60 yards in eight plays and scoring on a touchdown pass from Kemp to Trevon Brown.
East Carolina racked up 128 yards in the first quarter, mostly on its final two drives. Kemp was 9 of 12 for 118 yards, with the interception and the touchdown.
Tech had just 55 yards in the first quarter.
Tech-ECU dress squad notes
There are a few changes to the dress squad from last week’s game against Purdue.
Whip linebackers Raymon Minor and Johnathan Galante and tight end Xavier Burke were all added to the dress squad this week by the coaches. If Burke sees action, he would be the ninth true freshman to play for the Hokies this season, joining quarterback Dwayne Lawson, defensive backs Mook Reynolds, Jahque Alleyne and Adonis Alexander, linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Carson Lydon, fullback Steven Peoples, and offensive lineman Yosuah Nijman. Burke, a product of Lawrenceville, Virginia, enrolled at Tech last January, as did Reynolds, Alexander, Nijman and Lydon.
Tech’s coaches removed two players from the dress squad for this game (compared to the Purdue dress squad) – backup tailback Shai McKenzie and backup offensive lineman Jack Willenbrock, who has been injured. McKenzie carried eight times for 26 yards in the Hokies’ win over the Boilermakers.
Tech quarterback Brenden Motley threw two touchdown passes and ran for one, and Tech’s defense and special teams also scored as the Hokies pulled away from the Boilermakers 51-24 at Ross-Ade Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Tech moved to 2-1 on the season. Purdue fell to 1-2.
Motley, making his second straight in place of injured quarterback Michael Brewer, completed 15 of 23 for 220 yards, with the touchdown and no interceptions. Behind Motley, Tech amassed 471 yards of total offense - 238 rushing and 233 passing - and played the main role in the Hokies scoring 27 straight points to break open a close game.
Defensively, Chuck Clark returned a fumble for a touchdown for the Hokies, and Terrell Edmunds’ blocked punt in the third quarter was returned by Anthony Shegog for a touchdown.
This game marked the first time since the Clemson game in 2007 that the Hokies scored in all three phases of the game.
The Hokies continue non-conference action next Saturday with a game at East Carolina. The kickoff time has not yet been announced.
Hokies hold a touchdown lead at halftime
Brenden Motley completed 12 of 19 for 200 yards and a touchdown in the first half and Isaiah Ford caught six passes for 128 yards, helping the Hokies to a 24-17 halftime lead.
Behind Motley, the Hokies racked up 330 yards of offense compared to 127 yards for Purdue. The Hokies should be up more, but a Motley fumble was returned 90 yards for a touchdown – a 14-point swing – and Tech also missed a long field goal at the end of the first half.
Motley accounted for both of Tech’s second-quarter touchdowns. His 3-yard scoring pass to Bucky Hodges gave Tech a 17-14 lead, and after a Purdue touchdown, he led Tech on a 75-yard march that ended when he scored on a 5-yard run.
The Hokies had a chance to add to it late in the first half. But with 7 seconds left, Joey Slye missed a 53-yard field goal wide left.
Tech receives the ball to open the second half.
Hokies up 10-7 after a quarter
The Hokies jumped on the board quickly in this one, getting a field goal on their first possession of the game. A 40-yard pass play from quarterback Brenden Motley to tight end Ryan Malleck got Tech down to the 20. The drive stalled shortly thereafter, but kicker Joey Slye provided the points with a 35-yard field goal to give Tech a 3-0 lead.
Tech added to it moments later. Cornerback Kendall Fuller came on a blitz and stripped Purdue quarterback Austin Appleby of the football. Chuck Clark scooped up the loose ball and went 20 yards for the touchdown. Slye’s point after gave the Hokies a 10-0 lead with 10:02 left in the first quarter.
The touchdown marked the first of Clark's career.
Purdue, though, answered, going 74 yards in 10 plays. The Boilermakers converted twice on third down, including once when officials flagged Fuller with a pass interference call. Appleby scored on a 2-yard run to end the drive, and the extra point cut the Tech lead to 10-7 with 6:56 left in the first quarter.
Motley was 4 of 5 in the first quarter for 116 yards, including a 61- and 40-yard completions to Ryan Malleck and Isaiah Ford. Motley also rushed for 19 yards in the quarter.
Seventy to dress for Tech at Purdue
The Virginia Tech coaching staff pared down the dress squad for the Hokies’ first road trip of the season, a non-conference game at Purdue. The staff listed 70 players on the dress squad, including quarterback Michael Brewer, who will not play because of the broken collarbone suffered in the season opener against Ohio State.
In other injury news, Andrew Motuapuaka (knee) was not on the dress squad. Motuapuaka is expected to miss at least a month.
Notable exceptions to the dress squad for this game included linebacker Raymon Minor, running back Jerome Wright, kicker Mitchell Ludwig, receiver Jaylen Bradshaw, and offensive lineman Colt Pettit and Billy Ray Mitchell.
Making his first collegiate start, Brenden Motley threw two touchdown passes and rushed for a touchdown to lead the Hokies past the Paladins 42-3.
Motley completed 16 of 24 passes for 233 yards, and he also rushed for 38 yards on four carries. Mostly behind Motley, Virginia Tech finished with 583 yards of total offense, the Hokies’ most in a game since 2010 and their most under offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, who took over in 2013. Virginia Tech ran for 299 yards and threw for 284.
Tech (1-1) broke things open in the third quarter behind two touchdown passes from Motley to Isaiah Ford and a touchdown run by Trey Edmunds.
Dwayne Lawson, a true freshman making his debut, scored on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter to account for the final margin.
Furman (0-2), which scored 35 points and had 525 yards in a season-opening loss to Coastal Carolina, amassed just 254 yards against the Hokies and turned the ball over three times.
Big third quarter gives Hokies big lead
Virginia Tech scored touchdowns on its first three possessions of the third quarter and opened a huge lead against Furman.
On the Hokies’ opening drive of the second half, Travon McMillian’s 63-yard run ultimately led to a 1-yard touchdown pass from Brenden Motley to Isaiah Ford that gave the Hokies a 21-0 lead.
Furman tacked on a field goal on its next possession, but Tech answered, going 76 yards and scoring on a 1-yard run by Trey Edmunds – his first touchdown since 2013.
Tech’s Adonis Alexander intercepted a pass on the ensuing possession, and that led to a 32-yard touchdown pass from Motley to Ford, giving the Hokies a 35-3 cushion.
Motley has completed 16 of 24 for 233 yards, with two touchdowns, and he has rushed for a score. Ford has caught five passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns.
Hokies up 14-0 at halftime
Virginia Tech tacked another score on the board in the second quarter, as the Hokies’ offense managed to put together a nice drive bridging the first and second quarters.
The Hokies got a big play from quarterback Brenden Motley, who completed a 46-yard pass to tight end Bucky Hodges. Five plays later, Motley finished the drive, scoring on a 4-yard run – the first rushing touchdown of his career – to give the Hokies a 14-0 lead with 13:53 left in the first half.
That was the last touchdown of the half. Tech finished with 212 yards of offense. Motley completed 7 of 14 for 113 yards and also rushed for 28 yards on three carries, scoring the touchdown.
Furman had 117 yards of offense.
Tech up 7-0 after a quarter
Virginia Tech’s offense mustered just three first downs in the first quarter, but the Hokies led 7-0 after a quarter because of a big play from their defense.
On second-and-12 from the Furman 15, Paladins quarterback Reese Hannon threw a pass that was intercepted by Tech linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka and returned 18 yards for a touchdown. The score marked the second of Motuapuaka’s career – he returned a fumble for a touchdown in last year’s win over Western Michigan – and gave the Hokies a 7-0 lead with 8:49 left in the first quarter.
The Hokies amassed 105 yards of offense compared to 58 for Furman, but the Paladins held the ball longer.
Tech staff enlarges dress squad for Furman game
The Virginia Tech coaching staff decided to add a dozen players to the dress squad for the Furman game after only having 71 players make the dress squad for the Ohio State game. Eighty-three players made the dress squad for Saturday’s Military Appreciation Day contest against the Paladins.
Most of those dozen are walk-ons who haven’t played in a collegiate game – in fact, nine of the 12 overall haven’t. The group of 12 includes defensive backs Erikk Banks and Curtis Williams, linebackers Drew Burns and Josh Eberly, receivers Joel Caleb and Jaylen Bradshaw, whips Johnathan Galante and Quinton Taylor, offensive linemen Colt Pettit and Billy Ray Mitchell, tailback Shai McKenzie and defensive lineman Laird Gardner. Of that group, only Caleb, McKenzie and Burns have played in a collegiate game.
McKenzie could be making his 2015 debut and his first appearance since tearing his ACL in the Western Michigan game last season. He served a one-game suspension for the Ohio State game, but has been reinstated.
Of the 83 players on the dress squad for this game, 17 have not played in a collegiate game, or 20 percent of the squad.
Hokie Village, the football pregame fan festival that made its debut last fall, will open when Skipper blasts at noon before the Furman game on Saturday and will stay open up to 45 minutes before game time (approximately 2:45 p.m.). The Village again will be held on the turf soccer practice field and can be accessed by a new entrance constructed along Beamer Way.
Saturday’s list of activities include:
• Five inflatables (maze, slide, obstacle course, bounce house and tug/dunk)
• Food trucks (wings, pizza, desserts and drinks)
• DJ TMMPO (music)
• Army ROTC (product distribution, hummer for fans to take photos)
• Roanoke CVB (product distribution, prize wheel, sign-ups for VIP experience)
• Business College (dunk tank set-up, giveaways)
• Marketing Table (passing out of VT collateral)
• Yard Games (corn hole)
• Bookstore (selling merchandise to fans)
• Balloon artist (making balloon animals)
• Autograph signings by the Tech baseball team (12-12:40)
• Autograph signings by the Tech softball team (1-1:40)
• Spirit Clinic performance (12:40-12:50 p.m.)
• A drum line performance at 1:30 p.m.
• Virginia Techniques performance (2-2:45 p.m.)
Sonic Camel to play before gameFans looking for entertainment before the game are encouraged to listen to Sonic Camel, a local band that will be playing at the Gate 3 Plaza. Sonic Camel will be playing after the Hokies’ pregame team walk along Beamer Way (approximately 1:30 p.m.) up until 30 minutes before kickoff (approximately 3:30 p.m.).
Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones threw two touchdown passes and rushed for 99 yards, as the No. 1-ranked Buckeyes rallied from a small halftime deficit to defeat Virginia Tech 42-17 at Lane Stadium on Monday night.
Jones completed 9 of 18 for 186 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. His 54-yard touchdown pass to Braxton Miller on the Buckeyes’ opening possession of the second half gave Ohio State lead that it would not relinquish.
On the ensuing possession, Tech quarterback Michael Brewer injured his collarbone and did not return. He completed 11 of 16 for 156 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Hokies.
Brenden Motley replaced Brewer and completed 4 of 9 for 36 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Ford with less than two minutes to go in the game.
Ohio State finished with 572 yards of offense, while the Hokies finished with 320. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 122 yards, and Miller scored touchdowns rushing and receiving to aid the Buckeyes’ cause.
Tech now gears up for Furman this Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m.
Ohio State struck quickly to regain the lead, scoring a touchdown on the opening possession of the second half. Quarterback Cardale Jones threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Braxton Miller, and the extra point gave the Buckeyes a 21-17 lead.
Toward the end of the quarter, the Hokies made a critical mistake. J.C. Coleman fumbled in Ohio State territory and the Buckeyes’ Eli Apple recovered, returning it to the Tech 47.
On the ensuing play, Braxton Miller scored on a 53-yard run, giving Ohio State a 28-17 lead with 2:05 left in the third quarter.
Miller’s run marked the seventh play of 20 yards or more allowed by the Hokies’ defense and the third touchdown of more than 50 yards.
Ohio State has more than 400 yards of total offense.
Tech quarterback Michael Brewer injured his left shoulder in the third quarter and was ruled out for the remainder of the game. He was 11 of 16 for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
The Hokies got on the board early in the second quarter when quarterback Michael Brewer threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to tailback Sam Rogers. That cut the Ohio State lead to 14-7 with 13:13 left in the first half.
The Hokies got closer after an interception by Desmond Frye – the first of his career. Tech drove to the OSU 29 and settled for a 46-yard field goal by Joey Slye that cut the Ohio State lead to 14-10 with 7:05 left in the first half.
A fumble by Ezekiel Elliott while trying to return a punt was covered by Tech’s Anthony Shegog at the Ohio State 38. Four plays later, Brewer threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ryan Malleck with 15 seconds left in the first half that gave the Hokies a 17-14 lead at the break.
OSU out-gained the Hokies 258-211 in the first half, but only amassed 53 yards in the second quarter. Tech’s Brewer completed 9 of 13 for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
OSU quarterback Cardale Jones completed 6 of 13 for 95 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.
OSU grabs early 14-0 lead
Ohio State struck first, scoring on its opening possession. Cardale Jones got the start at quarterback for the Buckeyes, and the made the big play on the drive with a 16-yard run on third-and-21. ON fourth down, the Buckeyes went for it and Jones completed a 10-yard pass to Ezekiel Elliott for a first down. Jones finished the drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Michael Thomas to give the Buckeyes a 7-0 lead with 9:44 left in the first quarter.
Ohio State grabbed a 14-0 lead a little more than three minutes later. On the first play of the drive, Elliott went up the middle 80 yards for a touchdown, giving the Buckeyes the 14-point advantage.
The Buckeyes drove to the Tech 16 on their final drive of the first quarter, but the drive ended with a missed 43-yard field goal by kicker Jack Willoughby.
Ohio State finished the quarter with 205 yards. Jones completed 6 of 9 for 95 yards.
VT-OSU dress squad notes
As Tech head coach Frank Beamer said early last week, the Tech coaches plan on having 71 players on the dress squad for the Ohio State game.
Of those 71, eight are true freshmen – quarterback Dwayne Lawson, defensive backs Mook Reynolds, Adonis Alexander and Jahque Alleyne, fullback Steven Peoples, mike linebacker Carson Lydon, backer Tremaine Edmunds and offensive lineman Yosuah Nijman. Reynolds, Alexander, Peoples, Lydon and Nijman all enrolled this past January and participated in spring practice.
Also, of those 71, 18 have never played in a collegiate game. In addition to the above-mentioned eight true freshmen, quarterback Chris Durkin, whip Ramon Minor, receiver Michael Brainard, rover Terrell Edmunds, tailback Travon McMillian, kicker Michael Santamaria, linebacker Trent Young, receiver C.J. Carroll, snapper Colton Taylor and defensive lineman Steve Sobczak have not seen action in a collegiate game.
Hokie Village, the football pregame fan festival that made its debut last fall, returns for a second year to offer fans free pregame entertainment before the Virginia Tech football teams takes the field at Lane Stadium.
Hokie Village will open 3.5 hours before kickoff and stay open up to 45 minutes before game time. The Village again will be held on the turf soccer practice field and can be accessed by a new entrance constructed along Beamer Way.
Hokie Village makes its 2015 debut Monday evening before the Hokies take on Ohio State in the season opener. Skipper will fire at 4:30 to signify the opening of The Village and it will fire at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. before the Village closes at 7:15 p.m.
Monday’s list of activities include:
• Interactive activities by Go RV (QB simulator, photo booth, corn hole), Geico (photo booth, finger football, giveaways), nTelos (football toss) and Coca Cola (fan sampling, giveaways)
• Former Hokie great Bruce Smith talking about the football game and signing autographs at the Go RV station
• Four inflatables (maze, slide, obstacle course and bounce house)
• Four food trucks (Toasted, Hot Stone Pizza, Viva La Cupcake and Soul Wingz) along with a concession trailer for drinks
• Wrestling team demonstrations from 5-6:15 p.m.
• Autograph signings by the Tech volleyball team (4:30-5:15) and cheerleading squad (6-6:45)
• A drum line performance at 6 p.m.
Also, the graduate college will have face painting available and water for fans. The ADCA Coach’s Trophy (awarded to the previous season’s No. 1-ranked team) will be on display for fans to take photographs, and as will be a mannequin wearing the game uniform. In addition, the marketing table will have posters, schedule cards, schedule magnets and more for fans.
Rutledge to play before game
Fans looking for entertainment before the game are encouraged to listen to Rutledge, a local band that will be playing at the Gate 3 Plaza. Rutledge has played with national sensations such as Lee Brice, Montgomery Gentry, Brothers Osborne, Emerson Drive, Ted Nugent, REO Speedwagon, Mark Wills, Andy Griggs and others. To learn more about this band, please check out this site: http://www.rutledgeband.com/
Rutledge will be playing after the Hokies’ pregame team walk up Spring Road (approximately 5:45) up until 30 minutes before kickoff (approximately 7:30 p.m.).
The preseason honors continue to roll in for Virginia Tech's junior cornerback Kendall Fuller, who was recently chosen as a 2015 ESPN college football preseason All-American - CLICK HERE to see the full release.
Fuller was named a second team All-American by four seperate organizations last year (Walter Camp, Football Writers, Fox Sports and USA Today), while earning third team accolades from the AP and Athlon.
The Baltimore, Maryland native was also a 2014 first-team All-ACC choice by both the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and the league’s coaches after he started all 13 games as a sophomore and had 54 tackles (32 solo), including 4.5 for a loss. He also had two interceptions and two sacks.
This is the 10th preseason selection for Fuller, which includes being named to the Thorpe, Walter Camp and Bednarik Watch Lists, and a preseason All-American by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele.
In Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 22, the Virginia Tech football team held its second scrimmage of the season, which was open to the public. It was the last time fans could get a glimpse of the Hokies in action before they take the field on the night of Sept. 7 against defending national champion and No. 1 Ohio State. Check out the photo gallery from the event below.
The Reese's Senior Bowl's 2016 Watch List was announced today and includes more than 350 student athletes from nearly every level of college football. Virginia Tech had four players named to the list, as three from the defensive line - Luther Maddy, Corey Marshall and Dadi Lhomme Nicolas - were joined by tight end Ryan Malleck.
This list of players is where the organization will start looking at to fill the 110 roster spots that form the North and South squads for the nation's premier all-star game. A player not on the initial list can be added to the watch list during the season and be invited to the 2016 game.
The game will be played in Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 4 p.m. ET and will be televised on the NFL Network.
CLICK HERE to view the entire list.
A familiar face shook Michael Brewer’s hand after practice on Wednesday, and he told the Hokies’ quarterback that he enjoyed watching him play and that the Hokies needed to throw the football more.
That’s to be expected coming from a receiver.
Antonio Freeman, maybe the school’s all-time greatest receiver, came to Blacksburg on Wednesday and showed up at the end of the Hokies’ practice. A regular visitor to Southwest Virginia – he usually comes to a few games each season – Freeman was in town this time to speak to Tech’s football squad as part of an NFL initiative to educate players about their futures.
“They [the NFL] do a bunch of initiatives at the high school and college level,” Freeman said. “I came last year as part of an initiative on social networking and social media presence.
“This year, we’re coming back to give these guys as much education as possible. There are those that do make it and get a chance to play on Sundays in the NFL, and those who go out in the real world. We try to emphasize what being on a team means and how it translates into the real world. So we come back and give these guys ideas and educate them a little on our experiences and things to expect moving forward.”
(Photo - Freeman and fellow Baltimore native Donovan Riley share some laughs following Tech's practice on Wednesday.)
This is just the latest effort by Freeman – who was a star with the Green Bay Packers in the late 1990s – to give back to others. In addition to working with the NFL on outreach initiatives, he also established his own charitable foundation – B’More Free, a play on words referring to his native Baltimore, where he grew up. His foundation does all sorts of charitable work, most of which centers on children.
“We have a financial and reading literacy aspect that I focus on,” he said. “Any time I’m able to get in front of high school kids or college kids or potential high school kids and kids with dreams of playing on Sundays, I try to make it my point to go educate them on how glorifying it is, but also how intense and how much pressure you live with daily. It’s not only on the football field, but also in life. You become a moving target.
“So I focus on going back and giving back to the schools and giving them little bits and pieces of me, things that helped make me a better man and things that don’t make me a better man. I tell them the whole story.”
Freeman also does some broadcasting, working with Comcast SportsNet and also serving as the host of a radio show in Wisconsin.
“I’m the jack-of-all-trades. Kind of like when I came to Tech. They put you on special teams and tell you to make the team. I’m all over the place, I guess,” he said, laughing.
Freeman, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Packers, played at Tech from 1991-94, participating on the first two bowl teams that started the current streak of 22 straight bowl games. When he departed, he held school records for career receptions (120), career touchdown receptions (22) and touchdowns in a season (nine in 1993). He still holds the record for career touchdown receptions and shares the record for touchdown receptions in a season with André Davis.
(Photo - Freeman and Tech assistant coach Cornell Brown share an embrace Wednesday. The two were teammates in the early 1990s.)
“It brings me great joy to read the stat book every year and see some of my records still stand,” he said. “I’ve got an 11-year-old son that I can brag to and show him, but he wants to see film. He doesn’t want to see the print. It does me great justice to know that what I was able to accomplish here still has meaning and is still in the archives at Virginia Tech.”
Freeman spends a lot of time at his home in Plantation, Florida; but he also returns to Wisconsin frequently in addition to making stops in Baltimore and Blacksburg. When he returns to Blacksburg, he practically receives a hero’s welcome.
“I was riding through the campus, and I was like, ‘Man, what would I do on a campus like this these days?’” he said. “I take myself back. I had a great time when I was here, but I miss being at Virginia Tech.
“This is home.”
Tech began preparations for the 2015 season on Friday afternoon with a two-hour practice, but before the Hokies started, they got to hear from arguably the greatest player in school history.
Michael Vick, who led the Hokies to a perfect regular season in 1999 and an appearance in the 2000 national championship game against Florida State, stopped by, and head football coach Frank Beamer introduced Vick to the team.
Of course, the players had heard of Vick, mostly from his exploits in the NFL. Most of them don’t understand the impact he had on Virginia Tech because they were in elementary school at the time.
“I can tell when I look and see their faces,” Vick said when asked if he realized how young the current crop of Hokies were. “I can also tell when I look in the mirror and see gray hair.”
Vick spoke to the team for roughly 5-10 minutes. His message was simple, but poignant.
“I told them to embrace the opportunity,” he said. “Don’t take anything lightly. Life is ahead of them, whether it’s the NFL or graduating and moving on to other things. They have a great opportunity to do many things with their life, and this is the platform to do it. They deserve it. They work hard to get here, and this entire school and program will give them everything that they need as long as they put in the hard work.”
It’s perhaps fitting that Vick arrived on campus the day after the school recognized Beamer for all his accomplishments. University officials renamed Spring Road, the road that runs in front of Lane Stadium, to "Beamer Way."
Vick spent three years in Blacksburg with Beamer. He took a redshirt year in 1998 and then started at quarterback in 1999 and 2000 before leaving school early to go to the NFL. He never forgot Beamer’s impact on his life.
“Coach Beamer deserves it,” he said of the renaming of Spring Road to Beamer Way. “This program wouldn’t be where it is without him. It feels good to be a part of something that … I won’t say this was built from the ground up … but [built] by a guy who paved the way for a lot of people. Coach Beamer did that for me and he did that for a lot of my brothers that I played with and for these guys who are ready to make a mark in their careers as well.”
Vick talked with media members inside of Tech’s new practice facility, which left an impression on him. Of course, a huge graphic of him is displayed on one of the walls in the facility, along with graphics of several other great players from Tech’s past.
“It goes to show that I did something right when I was here,” Vick said. “It’s remarkable. There are so many great players who did the same thing and made a contribution. We’re all proud to be a part of it.”
Vick, who is still hoping to land with an NFL team after having played with the New York Jets last season, expects big things out of the Hokies this season. He said he wasn’t concerned about what many perceive to be subpar seasons the past three years, though the Hokies made it to a bowl game each of those years – and won two of those bowl games.
“In any sport, the competition at this level is so high,” he said. “You’re in constant competition to get the best players in and playing against the best teams in the country. There are going to be years when you don’t do as well. It’s like Floyd Mayweather – it’s hard to stay on top, and that’s an individual sport.
“In a team sport, all components come into play. You have your moments and sometimes you don’t, and it’s all about rebuilding. That’s why you have to pick yourself up and keep doing it.”
Vick hopes to be in Blacksburg for the Hokies’ game against Ohio State. The decision mostly depends on whether he lands with an NFL squad.
Needless to say, he’s excited – like everyone else.“It’s probably the biggest game in the history of the program except for the national championship game,” he said. “We’re playing at home, playing Ohio State … it’s going to electrifying. It’s going to be exciting. It’s great for us because we’re playing at home. I expect the outcome to be nothing but us coming out on top.”
Marshawn Williams answers the question before it’s even asked.
“My knee is fine,” he said, with a laugh. “I’m getting better, getting stronger. I’m able to run almost full speed. I would say I’m 80, 85 percent in my mind. I don’t know what they’d [the sports medicine staff] say. But I should be ready, hopefully.”
Williams was one of the many injured last season when the Hokies suffered a rash of serious injuries. But his was probably the most serious.
The rising sophomore from Hampton, Virginia, tore the ACL in his left knee in the Hokies’ win at Duke. He also tore the lateral collateral ligament. He underwent surgery in December and missed all of spring practice.
If he plays against Ohio State on Sept. 7, he’ll be returning to the field approximately nine months after undergoing surgery – a lofty goal. But he’s optimistic.
“I’m doing everything – speed package [a series of conditioning drills], 110s [110-yard sprints],” he said. “I’m doing everything trying to get ready.
“I have no pain, honestly. Nothing major. With this surgery, you have your ups and your downs, but my downs are not as bad as they used to be. It’s getting better.”
In addition to getting fully healthy, Williams wants to get his weight down. He weighs 230 pounds and looks fantastic, but his injury limited his ability to work out over the winter and spring. So he hasn’t been able to get to his desired weight of 220.
“I’m trying to tone up,” he said. “I think 220 or 215 would be the best. When I was at 215 in high school, I was in the greatest shape of my life. Either way, I’m trying to get lighter and feel better.”
Williams started eight games last season and rushed for 475 yards and four touchdowns. He entered the starting lineup in the second game of his career, which happened to be the Ohio State game.
He hopes to be in the starting lineup again against the Buckeyes.
“In my mind, I’m practicing that first day. I’m full that first day,” he said. “But it goes back to the training room. It’s all about the work that I put in from here. If I slack at any moment, I’ll be in the green jersey [signifying limited work] the whole camp. It’s all on me. In my mind, I’m going to be practicing and ready to go game 1. It’s all in how I work.”
Three Virginia Tech football players are spending a portion of their summers in the Dominican Republic as part of a summer school course on leadership.
Donovan Riley, a senior from Baltimore, Maryland; Woody Baron, a junior from Nashville, Tennessee; and Carson Wise, a redshirt freshman from Blacksburg, are the football players among a group of 10 student-athletes who are taking a course entitled “Global Citizen Leadership.” The course focuses on leadership theory, international aid and service learning. It also requires that the student-athletes put leadership initiatives into practice.
A portion of the course includes spending 11 days in the Dominican Republic, and the group left Monday. Others in the group included Kelly Williford (women’s tennis), Nick Brascetta (wrestling), Logan Stevens (men’s swimming and diving), Lauren Buckworth (women’s swimming and diving), Ben Borgert (men’s swimming and diving), Maggie Tyler (softball) and Haley Lukefahr (lacrosse).
They will be staying at the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation and will be visiting the poorer parts of the country to work with underprivileged children. They will be coordinating sports camps to expose kids there to different sports, while also putting those leadership initiatives into practice. The group will not only have to teach kids different sports, but also need to overcome the language barrier.
This is the fourth year that student-athletes have taken part in this course. The athletics department’s office of student-athlete development, overseen by Reyna Gilbert-Lowry (associate AD for student-athlete development) and Danny White (assistant AD for student-athlete development), coordinate the trip.
Baron is majoring in Spanish, while Wise has declared business as his major. Riley is majoring in property management.
Former Tech offensive lineman Sergio Render was a fan favorite when he played for the Hokies from 2006-09. Fans will have even more of an appreciation for him when they learn that he is close to wrapping up coursework toward a degree in human development.
Render needs only to pass a psychology class this summer and to wrap up a field study to complete his degree requirements. It will mark the end of a journey for Render, who enrolled in January of 2006 and left following the 2009 season. At the time he departed, he needed just five classes (three courses and a two-semester field study) to graduate.
“It was a little hard to get back into the groove of things,” Render said. “I’m glad I finished most of it [his degree requirements] while I was here, so it’s actually been a little easier on me.”
Like many football players, Render thought he had an NFL future. He signed a free-agent deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following the 2010 NFL Draft. The Bucs, though, released him. Then he tried out with the Carolina Panthers, but an injury hindered his chances there.
Render bounced around after that. He played for the Georgia Force, an Arena League team in Atlanta, not far from Render’s hometown of Newnan, Georgia. He was going to play for the Hartford Colonials, a United Football League team in Connecticut, but the league shut down the team because of finances.
Render then returned to Georgia and took a job in the sheriff’s office in his hometown.
“After the Connecticut deal, I just decided to leave football alone, so I worked at the sheriff’s department in my hometown for three years,” Render said. “I was like a prison guard. I was always around inmates for the 12 hours I was at work. It was kind of crazy.”
After three years, though, Render decided to make a life-changing decision.
“I thought law enforcement was something I wanted to do, and after being there for three years, it was very stressful,” he said. “Any job is stressful, but that place was stressful. When you go into work, there’s always a negative atmosphere because of the inmates. It was a big headache. I enjoyed the time there, but it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t where I wanted to be for the rest of my life, and I just decided then that I needed to come back to school.”
Render had stayed in touch with Sarah Armstrong, who works in the Student-Athlete Academic Support Services office and helps football players with all things related to academics. She kept encouraging him to come back and get his degree.
He re-enrolled last August, getting some financial help from a family in his hometown who kept encouraging him as well. They covered the tuition costs for the first semester, and Render secured a place to live on the Blacksburg farm of J.B. and Pam Simpkin, whom he met while at Tech. A self-proclaimed country boy, as many Tech fans will remember, he loves to hunt, and he used to do both with J.B. He helps on the farm – located off Price’s Fork Road – as payment, and in return, gets to live there.
Last fall, he took one course, passing a pre-calculus course. This semester, he took a statistics course and worked a field study at Warm Hearth Village, a retirement community in Blacksburg.
To pay his tuition for the second semester, Render received a tip from Armstrong. She encouraged him to apply for the NCAA Degree Completion Award, a program designed to assist student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility for financial aid. Applicants must be within 30 semester hours of their degree requirements. Render ultimately was awarded the aid.
“Sarah’s been a big help,” Render said. “Even when I was in Georgia, I stayed in contact with her because I never knew when I was going to come back and finish school, but I knew I wanted to. She never gave up on me. She was always there to help me, and she let me know everything I needed to do to finish. She helped me set up my classes. She’s been great. I really appreciate her.”
This summer, Render is taking a psychology course and finishing the second part of his field study. Once completed, he’ll receive his coveted degree.
After that, he isn’t sure what path he will take.
“I have a lot of things that I may want to do,” he said. “I may work for this company called IronPlanet. They sell and auction off all kinds of equipment around the world, or maybe I’ll try to get a job with the railroad. There’s a mixture of things I want to do. Once I settle down and find a job, I’m going to start my own beef cattle farm on the side.”At least he’ll have options, more than he had before. His is a great story, one for all student-athletes. A degree can be gotten. The choice is there for those with the motivation to pursue it.
With graduation ceremonies at Virginia Tech set for Friday and Saturday, several Hokie football players are preparing to walk across the stage and accept their diplomas.
The list of current players who will be graduating includes defensive tackle Luther Maddy (photo on the right), offensive tackle Darius Redman and whip linebacker Ronny Vandyke (photo on bottom right). Maddy, from Delray Beach, Florida, will be receiving a degree in apparel, housing and resource management, with a concentration in residential property management. Redman, from Washington, D.C., is earning a degree in sociology, while Vandyke, from Lorton, Virginia, is getting his degree in psychology.
Also, J.C. Coleman and Demitri Knowles are participating in graduation ceremonies. Coleman, from Chesapeake, Virginia, needs only to finish one class this summer to wrap up coursework for his degree in psychology. Knowles, from Freeport, Bahamas, needs 12 hours this summer to finish up work toward his degree in apparel, housing and resource management.
There are several other former football players who are graduating this weekend – players whose eligibility expired after the 2013 season, who gave up the sport for personal reasons, or who gave it up because of injuries, etc. That list includes the following: Michael Branthover, Griffin Hite, Matt Roth, Michael Cole, Josh Trimble, Zach Snell, Brian Rody, T.J. Shaw and Joshua Stanford.
The university’s commence ceremony will be at Lane Stadium at 9 a.m. on Friday. Individual college and department ceremonies begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
Tech tailback J.C. Coleman helped the men’s track and field team with the ACC title this winter by finishing in fifth place in the 60-meter dash at the ACC Indoor Championships held at Rector Field House in late February. But that will be the extent of Coleman’s track exploits this season.
Coleman, who earned All-ACC honors for finishing in fifth, decided not to join the track and field team for the outdoor season. His reasoning certainly was worthwhile – graduation ceremonies at Tech are the same weekend as the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Tallahassee, Florida, and he wanted to attend those.
Coleman, the MVP of the Military Bowl in December, will walk across the stage next weekend and get his diploma. He needs just one course this summer to wrap up coursework toward a degree in psychology. The university’s commencement ceremony is next Friday, which coincides with the second day of the ACC Championships. The individual college/department ceremonies are next Saturday, which coincides with the final day of the league’s outdoor meet.
“Obviously, graduation is a once-in-a-lifetime situation,” said Dave Cianelli, Tech’s director of cross country and track and field. “A lot of times, families are coming in, and it’s a big event. You have to allow them [student-athletes] to make their choice. It’s not a situation where we’re going to dictate to them what they should do. We won’t do that.”
Coleman is the rare student-athlete who earns his/her degree in three and a half years. He enrolled at Tech in January of 2012, skipping his final semester at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Demitri Knowles is in the same situation as Coleman. He’ll wrap up coursework toward a degree in apparel, housing and resources management this summer and is participating in graduation ceremonies next week. Unlike Coleman, though, Knowles elected not to participate in the individual college ceremony and will fly down to Tallahassee that Friday after the university’s commencement ceremony. He will compete as part of Tech’s 4x100 relay team on Saturday.
A couple of CianellI’s other student-athletes ran into similar conflicts.
“We’re not the only school dealing with this,” he said. “There are a couple of others that have graduation on the same weekend.
“Sometimes, it [the decision] will depend on where the meet is. If it’s in North Carolina, then it will be easier for us to get them there or get them back. If it’s Tallahassee or Miami, then we’re talking about a flight, and it becomes a little more difficult. Also, which days do they compete? That’s a factor. There are a lot of moving parts.”
For Coleman, the past six months have been eventful. He rushed for at least 95 yards in each of the Hokies’ final four games of the 2014 season, he won the Military Bowl MVP honor after rushing for 157 yards in the Hokies’ win over Cincinnati, he earned All-ACC honors in track and field during the indoor season after finishing in fifth at the league’s indoor meet, and next weekend, he will be participating in graduation ceremonies.
The Virginia Tech athletics department has selected two longtime season ticket holders to be honorary coaches for the annual Maroon-Orange Spring Game that will be held Saturday starting at 2 p.m.
Rather than split the roster into two teams, Tech’s coaches have changed the format for this year’s game. The first-team defense and the second-team offense will comprise “Team Pylon,” while the first-team offense and second-team defense will be “Team Medal of Honor.” The team names honor the university’s Corps of Cadets and its military tradition.
Dr. Dwight Bradshaw of Suffolk, Virginia, will be the coach of Team Pylon, while David Lawson of Crownsville, Maryland, will be the coach of Team Medal of Honor. The two renewed their 2015 football season tickets by the “Early Bird” deadline of March 30, and by doing so, entered a lottery from which the honorary coaches of the spring game were chosen.
Dr. Bradshaw and his wife, Jennifer, have been longtime season ticket holders in both football and men’s basketball. They come to just about every football game and most basketball games, and were honored to be a part of the festivities this weekend.
“First of all, my wife was ecstatic about it,” Bradshaw said. “I was thrilled, too. I don’t know too much about what it entails, but it sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re thrilled. I’m not too worried about calling any plays. I’m going to leave that up to the coaches.”
Dr. Bradshaw graduated from Tech in 1966 with a degree in biology, and while at Tech, he served a two-year stint in the Corps of Cadets. He then attended the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, where he received his D.D.S (Doctor of Dental Surgery). He returned to his hometown of Suffolk, where he continues seeing patients in his private practice.
Lawson, like Bradshaw, has been a season ticket holder for more than 10 years. He graduated in 1991 with a degree in electrical engineering, and like Bradshaw, was also in the Corp of Cadets. He currently works as an engineer for Northrop Grumman. He also serves as the president of the Maryland Hokie Club, something he’s done for the past three years.
He and his wife are excited about the opportunity as well.
“I was excited and surprised,” Lawson said. “How many thousand season ticket holders are there? It was a great honor, and I was excited to be asked. I’m looking forward to it. It sounds like I’ll be on the field for the coin flip and then have a field pass and be on the sidelines. It will be fun. This will be the first time I’ve been on the field since college.”
Both Bradshaw and Lawson may get additional help on Saturday. Bradshaw and his wife are bringing their 5-year-old grandson to his first spring game, and Lawson and his wife are bringing their 2-year-old daughter to her first football game.
“Hopefully, she’ll enjoy it,” Lawson said of his daughter. “I think she’s a little young to stand on the sidelines, but I’ll get to spend some time with her. She’ll be upstairs with my wife.”
“The coaches better be looking at him already,” Bradshaw said of his grandson. “He’s a ballplayer. He’s been to games and he really watches the game. He’s not just there to go to the concession stand and all that stuff. He’s attentive to what’s going on. This is going to be fun. He’s going to have a great time.”
The game kicks off at 2 p.m. Admission is free.
Tech fans who know Trey Edmunds well will not find this nugget of news surprising – the young man spent a big chunk of this past weekend helping out with a couple of Special Olympics events.
Edmunds, a tailback from Danville, Virginia, went to a dance on Friday night and then to a regional swim meet at the Christiansburg Aquatics Center on Sunday. At the swim meet, he handed out medals to the winners of the respective events.
“It was their championship swim meet, and it was a lot of fun,” he said. “Just giving back and seeing those people out there competing, just like we [football players] do every day, it’s very inspiring to me. Any little thing I can do to help them, I’m all up for it. I’m always willing to help others.”
Edmunds, a communications major, used the events to amass hours for a service project as part of a Business Leadership and Ethics class. But he’s been helping with the Special Olympics long before he arrived on Tech’s campus.
While a student at Dan River High School, he often worked Special Olympics track and field events. He did that again recently at Tech, and one of the coordinators invited him to another event.
“Talking to the coordinator and talking to the people within, they invited me to different things, and I wanted to widen my variety,” he said. “I decided to go to the dance and see how it was, and I enjoyed myself. Then they invited me to the swim meet, and I went there and gave out some medals to those guys. They really enjoyed it. I had a blast, and they had a blast. I was talking with them and sitting with them. Just being around their presence made me feel good.”
Edmunds is currently No. 2 on the depth chart at tailback behind J.C. Coleman. But he’s No. 1 in the hearts of a special group of people. Expect to see him doing more things like this in the future.
“I compete every day on the football field, and to see them competing in track, basketball, swimming and bowling, it doesn’t get any better than that,” he said.
Tech kicker Joey Slye recently volunteered to help with a “Kindergarten to College” program – an initiative that is part of a partnership between the Tech’s School of Education and VT-STEM, a campus organization that shares research and resources among the university, public education and other partners to contribute to Virginia’s leadership in science, technology, engineering and math education.
The Kindergarten to College program is for high-needs schools across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Fifth graders from various schools across the state have visited Blacksburg and Virginia Tech throughout the academic year, and student volunteers give these children a background of life at a university.
The fifth graders participate in hands-on science projects in labs across the university, receive a meal in the nation’s top campus dining facility, visit with ROTC students and get a peek inside of Lane Stadium.
For more details on the series, please read: http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2015/04/041015-clahs-kindergartentocollege.html
Slye, from Stafford, Virginia, apparently was a favorite among the children. But that comes as no surprise. He has developed a reputation as someone willing to help others.
Slye’s take on life probably is different than many because his brother, A.J., passed away last year after a 14-month battle with leukemia. On the one-year anniversary of his passing, Slye and his family came up with a “Selfless Selfie” campaign – a concept in which a person does a kind deed, writes it down beginning with the phrase “I honored A.J. Slye by …”, takes a selfie of it and posts to a social media platform with the hashtag #SelflessSelfie or #SlyeStrong6.
The Slye family has a foundation called SlyeStrong#6 in honor of A.J., who wore the jersey No. 6. The foundation raises money and awareness about cancer and offers scholarships to those who exhibit the same values that A.J. Slye exhibited.
To learn more about the Slyes’ foundation, please click here: http://www.slyestrong6foundation.org.
Virginia Tech is halfway through its spring practice, and defensive backs coach Torrian Gray (in the photo) continues to play musical chairs with his defensive backs. In fact, there is only one certainty in the defensive backfield.
“We’re going to leave Chuck [Clark] at the corner spot,” Gray said. “He’s been doing such a great job this spring. We’ll evaluate him after spring and see where he goes. Does he stay at corner, or do we move him back to nickel? It’s all musical chairs. Do you get Brandon [Facyson] back and is he healthy? You’ve got contingency plans in different ways.”
Gray and defensive coordinator Bud Foster wanted to give Clark a look at free safety, a position that demands a dependable guy. The Hokies lost a dependable one in Detrick Bonner, along with rover Kyshoen Jarrett.
But injuries at corner have messed with those plans. Kendall Fuller (wrist) and Facyson (leg) are out this spring with injuries. Then Greg Stroman injured a hamstring last week and has missed a week so far.
Clark thus provides stability at the corner position. Freshman Mook Reynolds, who enrolled in January, and redshirt freshman Shawn Payne have been rotating with the first-team defense this week on the opposite side of Clark.
Gray originally wanted to look at the 6-foot Reynolds as a nickel back in Tech’s scheme. The Hokies routinely use five defensive backs in their scheme these days because of all the spread offenses that use four and five receivers at the same time.
“We started him off at corner, and then Greg got injured,” Gray said of Reynolds. “So we left him at the corner spot because we’re short with Greg and the other injuries we’ve had.
“In high school, he played more of an outside linebacker role. He was good off the edge as a blitzer. He’s got corner ability. We haven’t had a chance to evaluate him there [at the nickel spot], but we assume that will translate over to what we do defensively.”
This week, Der’Woun Greene and Anthony Shegog rotated at the nickel spot. Greene gives the Hokies a lot of versatility – he’s played everywhere in the secondary.
Gray made another move this week when he flipped redshirt freshman Terrell Edmunds and true freshman Adonis Alexander. Edmunds was working at cornerback behind Clark, while Alexander was getting reps at free safety. Both played well in Tech’s scrimmage, with Alexander leading the team with six tackles.
Now, the 6-3, nearly 200 pound Alexander will be at corner for the time being, with Edmunds going to safety.
“He’s raw,” Gray said of Alexander. “You’re talking about a guy who was a high school linebacker. He hadn’t even played safety. We weren’t quite sure what we were going to do with him. We wanted to see how he runs, see how he moves, see about his agility and all those things. He can change directions, which is impressive for a guy his size, so we’re going to try him at corner. Once he learns it, I think he’s got a huge upside.”
As for Edmunds, Gray said, “Terrell is a great prospect. He seems to pick up things pretty well. He’s coachable. I think he’s a good prospect moving forward.”
Gray also continues to look for answers at free safety and rover, where the trio of Donovan Riley (a former cornerback), Desmond Frye, C.J. Reavis are working, with Edmunds being the new addition to the group.
The final two weeks of spring practice should be interesting. Given all the mixing and matching, Gray should have a good feel for who can do what at what position by the end of spring.
On Tuesday, media members interview Yosuah Nijman for the second time this spring, and he’s practiced all of seven times with the Hokies. But anything involving the offensive line attracts the attention of Hokie Nation, and media outlets try to deliver.
Tech coaches moved Nijman, a freshman who enrolled in January, to the offensive line after working him at defensive end the first six practices. The move became the latest involving the offensive line, as the coaching staff continues to address what head coach Frank Beamer stated was the most important goal this spring – develop cohesion with that group.
The move made offensive line coach Stacy Searels (in the photo) – who played a large role in Nijman’s recruitment – very happy.
“I’ve had several guys in the past that I’ve coached that were defensive linemen or tight ends and things like that,” Searels said. “When you get the bigger athletes that can grow into the lineman body … it’s always better to have guys that can move their feet. You have to have guys that can move their feet and be athletic.
“I think he’s a very athletic talented big guy. We want as many of those that we can get.”
The move probably means that the Maplewood, New Jersey, native will take a redshirt season in 2015. The 6-foot-7 Nijman only weighs 265 pounds and needs to put on 30-40 pounds. Plus, he needs to learn the nuances of playing on the offensive line.
Right now, Nijman is behind projected start Jonathan McLaughlin and Darius Redman at left tackle (though Redman has worked at both tackle spots). Redman, a 6-4, 285-pound redshirt senior, was part of another move to bring depth to the offensive line, as the staff moved him from tight end to tackle before the start of spring practice.
“He’s doing a good job,” Searels said of Redman. “He’s got a good attitude. He plays hard, and he’s got good feet. We meet in the mornings, and then he’ll come by in the afternoon and we’ll meet again. He wants to learn. He wants it to be natural. He’s not having a whole lot of missed assignments. That’s the thing. They’ve got to get where we can trust them, and he’s starting to gain our trust. He just got to do it on a consistent basis.”
Searels was pleased with how the first-team offensive line played in the 54-play scrimmage this past Saturday. That group consists of McLaughlin, left guard Wyatt Teller, center Eric Gallo, right guard Augie Conte and right tackle Wade Hansen.
“I was excited about the first group,” Searels said. “I thought they did a good job. They played as a unit. They tried to play hard. We’ve got to be more consistent. We’ve got to eliminate the pre-snap penalties. That was an issue last year, and we’re not going to let it be an issue this year. We’ve got to get better at that. We’ve got to do a better job of protecting the quarterback. But I was pleased with their work ethic and the way they competed.”
The second unit consists of Redman, left guard Alston Smith, center Tyrell Smith,, right guard Colt Pettit and right tackle Parker Osterloh.
Gallo continues to enjoy a strong spring, but Searels continues the search for depth behind him. There were some snap issues with Smith, which is to be expected. Smith, like Nijman, enrolled in January.
Searels has given Pettit, a redshirt freshman some reps at center this spring as well. Unfortunately, Kyle Chung, whom the coaches wanted to work at center, is out with an injury this spring.
“Kyle Chung is going to be a really good center,” Searels said. “Tyrell Smith has really competed. He’s had seven days of practice, and I like the way he’s competing. Is he ready to go and start a college football game? No, not yet. But he will be a good player.”
The Hokies have another scrimmage this Saturday morning. The practice portion starts at 10:45, with the scrimmage to follow. The scrimmage is open to the public.
Stefan Duma, the head of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, and a group of researchers have been nationally recognized in the past for their studies of football helmets and their roles in limiting concussions. In fact, in 2011, the group introduced a ratings system for helmets that led to some companies overhauling their product lines in an effort to reduce head-related injuries.
How impactful was this research? Only one football helmet received a 5-star rating – the highest on the ratings system – following the initial testing. In most recent testing, however, 12 received five stars and another eight received four stars.
Now, this group of researchers has branched into the sport of hockey, where they recently tested and rated 32 helmets in the marketplace. Their study found that hockey players wearing the "not recommended" helmets risk incurring at least six concussions per season, and in some cases, more than eight.
Duma, his researchers and Virginia Tech received national attention on March 29 when ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” produced a story on the study of hockey helmets. For those with an interest, please check out it by clicking this link - http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/12564082/virginia-tech-study-hockey-helmets-finds-many-unsafe.
Meanwhile, Duma and his research team will continue to study concussion and head impact exposure through a $30 million effort sponsored by the NCAA and the U.S. Department of defense. For more on that, please click here: http://www.hokiesports.com/pr/recaps/20140930aaa.html.
Count offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler’s among the biggest fans of the Hokies’ new indoor practice facility.
Construction continues on the $21.3 million facility, which is slated to be finished at some point later this summer and certainly before the season begins. It will allow the Hokies’ staff to conduct a full practice during inclement weather – something the team can’t do at Rector Field House because of its low ceiling and sparse room beyond the sidelines.
The new facility also will eliminate the sharing of Rector for both the track and field programs and the football program. Currently, Tech’s indoor track resides in Rector during the months of January and February, as the men’s and women’s track teams participate in their indoor seasons.
That’s what Loeffler loves the most about the new indoor facility. It gives the quarterbacks, centers and skill players an area to work during those winter months.
“That’s why we need that thing built – so they can go out there,” Loeffler admitted. “At times, you feel like you’re running against the clock. On Feb. 1, those guys should be on a throwing program. Well, we can’t throw here in February [because of the weather]. There’s nowhere to throw in February.
“What we’ve done as an administration getting that building, what all the people did giving us the money to get that building, that is crucial in my opinion.”
The building also gives the centers an area to work on snapping in the winter. Most people tend to forget about their role in the passing game. Right now, Tech’s centers are sophomore Eric Gallo, who played just 14 snaps from scrimmage last season, redshirt freshman Colt Pettit and true freshman Tyrel Smith.
The facility should help the passing game in general. It gives all parties a chance to develop cohesiveness in advance of a spring practice – something that they really haven’t been able to do to this point.
“It’s like a pitcher showing up on day 1 and throwing a ball,” Loeffler said. “It’s not right. That building is going to be really, really helpful at the end of the day.
“We can have a year-round program. We can throw year round. That’s where the leadership is built because we [the coaches] can’t be there. That building is crucial for our success, and I’m so happy that we got it.”
Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer was on the field today for the Hokies’ first spring football practice, marking his first return to the field since before Christmas.
Beamer underwent throat surgery in early December and his doctors wanted him to stay on the sidelines while recovering. He was not an active part of the Hokies’ preparations for the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland, but now the longtime head coach is ready to return fully to his current role.
“The first thing I’d like to say is that this place is special, and I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers over the last few months,” Beamer said. “My throat is doing great. I’m here ready to roll. Everything is looking up.
“This place is special, and the people are special. What we’ve all gone through and how everyone has stepped up … I appreciate people. I appreciate our administration. I appreciate the people around us.”
Beamer said a couple of times during a news conference with media outlets that he really appreciated the efforts of his staff during his absence. Tech’s coaching staff handled the bulk of the work, running practices and meetings and preparing the game plans. Beamer did attend the game, overseeing things from the press box, but stayed in the background.
“It was different, but I was proud of our guys [the players],” he said. “Our coaches really did a great job of preparing them. We played well. We got that bowl win. Season tickets are going well right now. I think our fans are excited. We needed that bowl win. The staff did great. We’ve really got a good operation. You look at our coaching staff and our administration and so forth, and we really do have a good operation here at Virginia Tech. I like being a part of it.”
Beamer also admitted that he missed being a part of the day-to-day interaction with his coaches and players. That made this spring practice a little more special than most.
“When you’re not a part of it, you start thinking about how much you want to be a part of it,” he said. “It’s a day I’ve been looking forward to.”
Beamer liked what he observed from his players over the winter. Dr. Mike Gentry, Tech’s associate AD for athletic performance, and his staff ran the offseason strength and conditioning program, and the testing results were very good.
But Beamer said that the important part is what takes place over the course of 15 practices.
“This part coming up is the most important part – how you play the game,” he said. “You finally get evaluated on that. It’s great to have records [in the weight room], and we look at that and it makes a difference and you’re evaluated on that. In the end, you’ve got to play the game, play it the right way and play it consistently. That’s what we’re looking for starting today.”
Other notes from today:
• Beamer said the top priority for this spring practice was getting cohesion along the offensive line. The Hokies lost three starters in Caleb Farris, David Wang and Laurence Gibson, and they need to find replacements, particularly at center. Farris and Wang both played center in their careers. Eric Gallo, a sophomore, went into spring practice in the top spot on the depth chart.
“We need to get our offensive line together,” Beamer said. “We’ve got a couple of young guys. We need to have some young guys not play like young guys. We’ve got a couple of new guys at center, and we feel great about them as far as their athletic ability.
“Experience means a lot in the offensive line and we don’t have it totally. Guys like [Wyatt] Teller and [Augie] Conte are great leaders in there. They’ve got that toughness that you like. I see our offensive line going in that direction.”
• Beamer said he was interested in seeing a couple of young tailbacks – Travon McMillian and D.J. Reid – and how they progressed this spring. J.C. Coleman and and Trey Edmunds return, but Marshawn Williams is out this spring while recovering from a knee injury and Shai McKenzie has been suspended indefinitely. So the Hokies need to find depth at the tailback position.
“We’ve got some experienced guys, but I’m interested in McMillian and Reid,” Beamer said. “McMillian’s got the speed with good size, and Reid has the size with good speed. I’m eager to see what they do. I think it’s good competition.
“We need to get it narrowed down to who it’s going to be, and some good backs may not be in the game. I don’t think we can get too many going, but I do think we’ve got some really good possibilities.”
• Mike Gofoth, Tech’s associate AD for sports medicine, informed the media that defensive tackle Corey Marshall would undergo surgery on his ankle this week and be out for spring practice. Marshall injured the ankle last fall, but played through it, and the staff decided to go in and repair the damage now rather than wait until after spring.
Numerous Tech players are going to miss spring practice or be limited, including some big names (e.g. Luther Maddy, Brandon Facyson, Kendall Fuller, Marshawn Williams). Goforth explained the rationale for taking care of these players now rather than wait.
“One of the things we’ve tried to do is seek kids that we think might present us with problems down the road, problems from high school, and we decide to go ahead and choose to fix them now to have them ready for next season,” Goforth said. “You saw quite a bit of that last year.
“Then also, we were proactive as far as cleaning some things up, so that the kids don’t have to suffer through spring and then decide if we’re going to have surgery and hopefully get them ready for fall. So a lot goes into that.”