Fair 81°
    August 21, 2007
    Hokies continue preseason practice
    The Notebook

    Two major depth chart changes highlighted Tuesday's practice, as head coach Frank Beamer announced that Ike Whitaker, a redshirt sophomore from Germantown, Md., would be moving to receiver on a full-time basis and that Tyrod Taylor, the heralded freshman from Hampton, Va., is now the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart behind Sean Glennon.

    In discussing Whitaker, Beamer left the door open for the young man to return to the quarterback position after the season.

    "We want him on the field and he wants to be on the field," Beamer said. "We'll see how things work out this season and then meet after the season and talk about it." 

    Whitaker had been working at both quarterback and receiver the past week or so, but had struggled throwing the ball both in practices and in the scrimmages. The move to receiver allows Whitaker a chance to fully acclimate to the position before possibly moving into a starting role next season. The Hokies lose four senior receivers after this season. 

    "I'm doing this for the team and for a chance to get on the field this season," Whitaker said. "Doing both has been tough. I've messed up mentally on some things just trying to do both. I think some of that is because I've been so tired in the scrimmages. It's been tough, so I think this is the right move." 

    Whitaker also said he could see that Taylor was progressing nicely. 

    "I knew early on that he was legit," Whitaker said. "I've got nothing against him at all. This is a D-I school and there are always going to be great players coming in. And he can do the job. So why not have him back there? 

    "I may work on both next summer when I'll have more time. I don't know. We'll see how it goes. I'll talk to my family and then go from there." 

    Taylor got plenty of action against Tech's No. 2 defense - a stout unit in and of itself - on Tuesday afternoon. He had been getting most of his reps against the No. 3 unit, particularly in scrimmages, but today, he fared reasonably well against the second-teamers, throwing no interceptions during the team periods. 

    "They're [the No. 2 unit] faster," Taylor said. "I'm adjusting to it. I've got to react quicker and move faster. Plus, those guys know the [defensive] scheme a little better [than the No. 3 unit]. I thought I did OK. I can do better. 

    "This was the coaches' decision. I have the same mentality that I had before. I'm going to work hard and prepare myself every day and whatever happens, happens." 

    It's still not a given that Taylor will play this upcoming season. A couple of years ago, Glennon served as the No. 2 quarterback while redshirting to preserve a year. 

    "Tyrod's thrown the ball accurately for the most part and he's made some plays with his feet," Beamer said, explaining the move. "He's also shown a lot of poise. 

    "He needs to get more work than what he's been getting. He's going to be getting reps against the second-team defense when things are going faster and then we'll evaluate further whether he redshirts. Instead of getting a couple of reps [each team period], he's going to be getting 6, 7, maybe 8. That'll enable us to get a good evaluation on him and then we'll decide." 

    Here are a couple of nuggets from the rest of practice: 

    • Beamer put his kickers through two kicking competitions. In the first one, Dustin Keys and Matt Waldron tied for the top spot. In the second one, Keys won it outright.

    However, Jud Dunlevy, who missed three field goals and had one blocked in Saturday's scrimmage, was the kicker during the team periods and drilled all his attempts. Dunlevy still leads in the battle for the kickoff job as well.

    Beamer also changed the rules for the competition. A kick now must be down the middle for it to be good. If it's remotely close to the goal posts, it's ruled no good. Also, if it hits the cross bar and bounces through, it's still no good.

    "That shows how much this kicking duty means to Coach Beamer," Keys said. "If he thinks it's too close to call, he tells you that, and you're out."

    • Only three players missed Tuesday's practice because of injury - Cody Grimm (knee), Andrew Bowman (knee) and Hivera Green (high ankle sprain). Grimm and Green should be back soon. Bowman's status is more up in the air.

    For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Football).

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