Hokies Kick Off 2004 Preseason
First preseason football practice held Wednesday
August 4, 2004

BLACKSBURG - The Virginia Tech football team held its first practice of the fall Wednesday afternoon on the practice fields behind the Jamerson Athletic Center as the Hokies begin preparations for the Aug. 28 opener against Southern California, as well as the rest of the 2004 season.

Tuesday evening, 105 players, including 18 newcomers, reported to Blacksburg on the eve of the first practice. Wednesday morning, the newcomers went through a series of tests, including the bench press and the 40-yard dash. Tech spent the first day in helmets, jerseys and shorts and practiced for more than two hours.

"It was a good first practice but there is still a lot of work to do," said Beamer, who is entering his 18th season at the helm. "The kids had good preparation, but we need to get a lot sharper. We have questions, but we have talent and should continue to get better. The wide receivers did well. [Eddie] Royal and [Justin] Harper caught people's eyes today. In order to be good we have to have good chemistry. Defensively we are fast and around here we know what great 'D' is. We have to be relentless and be aggressive."

Because of the lack of practice time with the freshmen, Beamer and his staff plan on quickly identifying the freshmen most likely to contribute this season and giving them some additional reps, especially at the quarterback spot where freshmen Sean Glennon and Cory Holt will battle for the back-up spot behind senior Bryan Randall.

"We will pick a second-string quarterback fast, but we want both of them to get their snaps in before we make a decision," Beamer said. "Both are talented kids. As of right now they are both dead even."

"I've graded out pretty well in the film room, but on the field is a little different than it being paused on the screen," Glennon said. "Cory and I both thought we were definitely redshirting, but that's all changed. This is a good opportunity for both of us."

"They called plays today I'm already familiar with, so that was good," Holt said. "I'm pretty sure that will all be different tomorrow and down the road. Right now I'm not focussing on being the best quarterback out here because we have a great leader in Bryan [Randall]. That will be my goal for down the road. Right now, I have to go out every day and get better."

Tech conducts its next practice Thursday afternoon. The Hokies won't be in full pads until next week. All practices are closed to the public.

Other notes from the first day of practice:

The total of 105 does not include defensive end Jordan Trott. Trott, a junior from Torrance, Calif., will undergo surgery the week of Aug. 17 on his lower back and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

Tight end Matt Roan (illness) and safety Corey Gordon (hamstring) did not practice. Roan will rest for a couple of days while Gordon is projected to be out a minimum of two weeks. Additionally, fullback John Kinzer aggravated a right hamstring injury and sat out a majority of practice. He is listed as day-to-day.

Freshman flanker Eddie Royal turned in the fastest time among the newcomers Wednesday morning in the 40-yard dash at the freshman testing (4.3) while tying for the team high in the bench press with a 350-pound effort. He tied with linebacker Andrew Bowman. Cornerback Theodore Miller turned in the top vertical jump with a 35.5-inch leap.

Jim Davis, a redshirt senior defensive end from Highland Springs, Va., saw his first action since tearing his pectoral muscle last preseason. He sat out all of last year, taking a redshirt, but went full speed in Thursday's practice.

"Today was just like any other first day," Davis said. "It shows how far you have to go and what you have to work on. It feels good to work with all the players and overall it was a good first day, but I still have a lot of rust. Physically I'm about 90 percent but mentally I'm about 99 percent. It is a day-by-day process."

The practice also marked the first for tailback Cedric Humes since April 3, when he suffered a high ankle sprain and a distal fibular fracture in his left leg on his second rush of the first intrasquad scrimmage. He ran with the first team offense Wednesday.

"I am glad to be back and practicing," Humes said. "My leg feels really good and I am ready to go. I got a chance to run today close to full speed, make some cuts and overall it felt really good. I am glad to be out here running and working. I need to work on some things like my footwork and planting and stopping. Once I think I get it out of my mind and forget about my leg I will be OK. Right now it's just human nature but I feel I can overcome it."