August 4, 2007
Hokies hold annual media day
Following a half hour brunch at 10 a.m., Beamer spoke to the group before turning it over to his assistants for a position-by-position outlook. There were a few things that Beamer made sure to address.
• The team scrimmages in Lane Stadium on Sat., Aug. 11 and Sat., Aug. 18 will be open to the public. The goal is to make up for the absence of the spring game, where he normally tests his guys with the added pressure of fans in the bleachers. The special teams in particular need to get some work in, so expect there to be a lot of kicking during each of the scrimmages.
"I'm hoping that a lot of people will be here in the stands," Beamer said. "The more people that are here, the better indication we can get of how our kickers are going to perform."
• The team will hold a car wash on Aug. 17 in the softball/track parking lot across from Lane Stadium, in an effort to raise donations for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund.
"I think this makes a statement that we personally care, and we want to do something to help the victims and their families," Beamer said.
• In addition to returning graduate assistant coaches James Miller and Cornell Brown, two other former Hokies - Zac Lowe and Anthony Midget - will join the team as GAs this season.
• Saturday was assistant coach Jim Cavanaugh's birthday. A few age-related barbs were traded between Cavanaugh, associate head coach Billy Hite and athletics director Jim Weaver, but a happy 59th goes out to the recruiting coordinator.
In addition to the assistant coaches, strength and conditioning coach Mike Gentry also spoke, and identified four seniors who were outstanding during offseason workouts. Although many players put in hours of effort in the weight room and on the practice field, Duane Brown, Xavier Adibi, Barry Booker and Carlton Weatherford all took their bodies and leadership to the next level.
The team photo was taken at noon, and like any group picture, it was an interesting affair. Tech photographer Dave Knachel barked out directions to several players, and Macho Harris in particular took some flak from his teammates for having a water bottle in clear view.
After individual headshots and group photos were done, the players and coaches were fair game for the print media on a well-groomed Worsham field, as Beamer met with the TV stations in the south end-zone media room.
The biggest huddle was not around any one player, but associate director of athletics communications Bryan Johnston. He possessed the master list of interview requests, and players were constantly tracking him down to see if they were free to go and get out of the heat.
The heat was indeed a topic of discussion for the third day in a row. Hite and much of the defensive line hid out in the shade of the southwest tunnel until an interview was needed. The team did not go through its traditional head-shaving process this year, and several seemed to be regretting it. A few players have some shaggy haircuts going on, but none more than offensive tackle Ed Wang, whose thick mane may be a good portion of his bulked-up 312-pound frame.
"Man, I'm burning up," he said. "But I'm gonna keep it going."
As 12:30 rolled around, many of the players began to ward off much of the print media and make a dent in Johnston's list. But just as some Hokies were ready to take off, Beamer's press conference let out and the camera crews spilled out of the southwest tunnel like the Corps of Cadets.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the day came when linebacker Vince Hall got a hold of one local outlet's digital camera. He suddenly became the most vocal reporter on the field, and knocked out roughly nine hilarious interviews in 10-15 minutes.
Hall was instantly the most photographed player of the day, as a horde of cameramen followed him around to witness his hijinks.
Among Hall's subjects were Cavanaugh, Harris, Eddie Royal, Branden Ore, Ike Whitaker, Carlton Powell, Bryan Stinespring and Bud Foster.
"You keep having your fun," Cavanaugh jokingly warned to Hall. "But this afternoon [at practice], you're mine."
As Hall finished up, so did the rest of the media, and a productive day of interviews was in the books. The team will hold it's third practice Saturday afternoon.
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