Tech holds another scrimmage
By Jimmy Robertson
August 23, 2003

On Saturday afternoon at Lane Stadium, the Virginia Tech football team played in its final full-contact scrimmage before the Aug. 31st opener against UCF, and while the Hokies got a few big plays on offense, the defense pretty much ruled the day. But head coach Frank Beamer wasn't particularly pleased afterward with any part of the Hokies' scrimmage.

"I think that UCF would have liked to have played some of us today," Beamer said. "I think our concentration was an issue. When you drop balls, concentration is an issue. When there's sloppy play, concentration is an issue. Not all of us - some of us, but not all of us - came out the way we needed to today."

Tech's offense scored four touchdowns in the two-hour scrimmage, with redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Vick throwing two touchdown passes and junior Bryan Randall throwing one. Tech's other touchdown came on a 50-yard run by tailback Cedric Humes, who broke a couple of tackles and outran Mike Daniels and Brian McPherson into the end zone. Humes led the Hokies with 62 yards on four carries.

Randall got the Hokies on the board in the early going, completing a 20-yard screen pass to Kevin Jones, who cut back across the field and scored. Vick later threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to receiver Ernest Wilford and a 73-yard touchdown pass to freshman David Clowney, who beat walk-on Ryan Hash on the play.

But Vick, who completed 5-of-15 for 47 yards, threw two interceptions in the scrimmage - one each by Garnell Wilds and McPherson. He also threw two in the pass skeleton drills before the scrimmage, giving him four on the day. Randall threw his lone interception in the 7-on-7 drills before the scrimmage.

The interceptions were disturbing to Beamer as well as the dropped passes and the misfires in the kicking game. Tech's receivers dropped several passes, including several that would have gone for big gains and one by Chris Clifton that would have been a touchdown.

"I'm not going to lose confidence in those guys," said Randall, who completed 5-of-18 for 135 yards and the one touchdown. "It's just like with throwing interceptions or missing blocks or fumbling. Sometimes, it happens and I'm sure those guys would have to have those plays back. But I wouldn't think twice about throwing to those guys."

In the kicking game, senior Carter Warley had an extra point blocked -a low snap messed up the operation - and he missed field goals of 42 and 57 yards. Brandon Pace, a redshirt freshman, missed an extra point as well, but made a 39-yard field goal.

"Low snaps, average kicks, interceptions, not crisp tackling," Beamer said. "I don't feel so good after this one."

Tech will conduct a "script" scrimmage Sunday, which features pre-determined plays and situations. The Hokies open with UCF the following Sunday at 3 p.m. at Lane Stadium.

Here are a few other notes from Saturday:

Defensively, several players played well. Rover Michael Crawford finished with five tackles, including two for a loss, and a sack, while Kevin Lewis recorded three tackles, including two for a loss, and a sack. James Griffin, another rover, recorded two sacks.

Despite Warley's rough day, Beamer named him the starting kicker for the opener against UCF. Pace will handle the kickoffs, with Vinnie Burns, who averaged 40.5 yards per punt, handling the punting chores. Nic Schmidt may redshirt, but that remains to be determined.

"We're going to open this way," Beamer said, meaning that he would continue to evaluate the kickers as the season progresses.

Jones, who rushed for 21 yards on three carries, was one of 39 running backs nationally on the Doak Walker Award watch list that was released Saturday. That award goes annually to the nation's top running back.

A celebrity made it to Tech's scrimmage Saturday. Moses Malone, one of the greatest NBA centers ever, came to watch his son, Michael, participate in the scrimmage. Michael Malone, a redshirt freshman, recently received a scholarship after walking on last year. Receiver Chris Shreve and punter Bobby Peaslee also received scholarships.

Jason Murphy (ankle), Brenden Hill (hamstring), Robert Parker (toe) and Richard Johnson (sick) all missed the scrimmage with ailments.

Speaking of injuries, Matt Welsh, the freshman offensive tackle from northern Virginia who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in a practice earlier this week, underwent successful surgery at Montgomery Regional Hospital on Thursday.

The plan tentatively calls for Welsh to enroll at Tech as a part-time student and pay his own way this fall before enrolling full-time in January. At that time, Welsh will receive his scholarship and the move also enables him to keep his redshirt year intact. He will join Tech recruits Nick Marshman and Brett Warren, who also plan to enroll in January.