August 7, 2007
Hokies end Tuesday's practice with scrimmage
The Notebook
The Hokie football team practiced in full pads for the second time of the season on Tuesday, and the contact was in full force for several drills. Linebackers and running backs went one-on-one from a few yards apart with smash-mouth collisions encouraged. That was followed by the popular middle drill, where the offensive and defensive lines are brought in and every play called is your basic three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust. First-stringers went up against first-stringers, and it was evident that each side was out to prove something to its counterpart.

While most of the starters and upperclassmen did their normal conditioning at the end of practice, the freshmen and underclassmen fighting for playing time held a brief scrimmage to showcase what they could do.

"It went alright," head coach Frank Beamer said of the exhibition. "It's hard for some of the freshmen [to adjust to the college game], so we want to see if some of these young guys can play."

Freshman quarterback Tyrod Taylor took all of the snaps under center, and he looked elusive while impressing some of the onlooking upperclassmen.

One of his targets, although no balls were thrown his way, was No. 2 quarterback Ike Whitaker. Whitaker began working with the receivers on Monday in an experimental move to try to find him some time on the field. In no way is the move permanent - he's still second on the depth chart at quarterback - but he's getting the reps in to see if it's something that could be an option down the road.

The other telling story of the last two practices is the number of minor injuries that have a handful of guys in blue and green jerseys. There's been a cavalcade of hamstring strains that have hobbled WR Eddie Royal, FS Mario Edwards, CB Macho Harris, OL Richard Graham and OL Eric Davis. CB Brandon Flowers is in blue because of his steadily improving ankle, but he's been able to get some work in.

Three other players were out of action on Tuesday. According to assistant athletic trainer Chad Hyatt, LB Andrew Bowman had his knee drained to ease bursitis, and LB Corey Gordon was out due to a hyperextension in his neck suffered on Monday. Hyatt thinks Gordon should be good to go in a 3-4 days, but his outlook on DT Barry Booker is a bit less clear. Booker has a sprained big toe and will be in a boot for the time being. Hyatt said he's not likely to play in Saturday's scrimmage, and it's pretty much up to Booker as to when he feels good enough to play.

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