Tech completes first day of two-a-days
By Jimmy Robertson
August 12, 2003

The Virginia Tech football team began two-a-days on Tuesday, conducting two practices on the practice fields behind the Jamerson Athletics Center - one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The Hokies practiced in helmets and shoulder pads in the morning session, while going in full pads in the afternoon.

In the morning session, the humidity kicked in and appeared to drain the players as they got a little sluggish and tempers flared toward the end of practice. A small pushing contest broke out after an extra shove by a defensive player - Tech's defensive players had been instructed not to hit or tackle to the ground. DeAngelo Hall got involved and head coach Frank Beamer decided to replace Hall on the next play.

"It's just a competitive situation out there and people want to win," Hall said. "As a defense, we're going to bring it just like the offense brings it. We're not allowed to hit the ball carrier now. We're only allowed to touch with two hands, but as a defensive player, that's tough to do. You don't like to see the person with the ball keep on running.

"Coach Beamer watched the video later and came and apologized to me. I really wasn't involved in it. He wanted all of us to tone it down some. That's cool. He's the coach and we do what he says. Things happen in the heat of the moment and that's all it was. There's no hard feelings between any of us."

The afternoon session went much better. Despite the heat - and being in full pads - the Hokies looked much sharper. A spirited middle drill, in which the offensive line goes against the defensive line and linebackers while the running back runs up the middle - took place, with some serious popping coming from both sides of the ball. The first-team offensive line got the best of things in the early going, but later, the second-team defensive line and linebackers, which included guys like Xavier Adibi, Michael Brown, Blake Warren and Chad Cooper, got the better of it.

Tech continues its practices Wednesday afternoon. The Hokies will once again go in full pads.

Other notes from practice:

Hall reported no ill effects of the cramps he suffered on the first day of practice. Working at both receiver and corner, Hall endured a painful "body" cramp after the first day of work. Tech's coaching staff thus is holding him out of conditioning drills at the end of practice.

"Other than that first day, things have been good," he said. "It's what we expected. I came into camp in good shape, but the heat takes a little more out of you, so I have to make sure I hydrate myself both during practice and once it ends."

Tech's staff conducts two periods of pass skeleton drills (where the offensive skill guys work on the passing game against the defense's linebackers and secondary). Hall participated as a corner in one period and a receiver in the other. He works as a receiver during the final period of practice as well, whether it be the offense going against the scout team or the offense going against the varsity defense.

Speaking of Hall, no need to worry about his defensive back skills. He picked off two passes in the afternoon session, one each against Bryan Randall and Marcus Vick. Both came in the varsity period (offense versus defense). In fairness to Vick, he hit tight end Jeff King with a perfect pass that deflected off King. Hall plucked it for the pick.

Aaron Rouse, a redshirt freshman whip linebacker, also recorded an interception, picking off a Randall pass in a pass skeleton drill.

Brandon Pace, the redshirt freshman kicker from Virginia Beach, is on fire. Pace won Tuesday's kicking contest in a landslide. Pace has won three of the four kicking contests thus far, with sophomore Nic Schmitt winning the other.

Richard Johnson (quad bruise), Robert Parker (toe), Noland Burchette (ankle), Josh Hyman (back spasms) and Cedric Humes (hamstring) all sat out Tuesday's practices. They all figure to be back within a few days. Humes may even practice Wednesday.

Also, Robert Ramsey (ankle) saw limited work Tuesday. He, too, may be back Wednesday.

With Johnson out, safety Jimmy Williams got some action in the afternoon session as a punt returner. Hall returned the first few punts and then Williams returned a few.

Tech's staff and players got a surprise visitor during the morning practice. Joel Hicks, the former coach at nearby Pulaski County High, stopped by and watched practice. Hicks coached at Pulaski County for years before retiring at the end of last season. Current players Jeff King and Robert Peaslee and walk-on punter John Hedge and walk-on tight end Matt Roan all played for Hicks.

College Sports TV will be at practice on Thursday for a package they're putting together. The network will be with the Hokies from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed, and will have all access. The story basically covers a day in the life of a Tech football player during fall practice. There has been no date listed as to when that story will run.