Hokies in full pads for first time
By Jimmy Robertson
August 8, 2002

After four days of dressing in helmets, jerseys and shorts, the Virginia Tech football team donned the pads Thursday and got to hit each other, though there was no full-scale tacking (just hit and wrap). The practice wasn't as crisp as some of the previous ones and Tech head coach Frank Beamer attributed that to practicing in pads for the first time.

"It's obvious we weren't used to the pads and that's what this practice was for," Beamer said. "We were out there stumbling, bumbling and fumbling. We got a little slow at the end, too, and we didn't catch the ball well."

Tech's receivers struggled on the day, dropping several passes. In fact, during one pass skeleton, Tech's receivers dropped at least four passes, with a couple being bobbled into the air and intercepted by the defense. It wasn't just one person either. It was the entire group.

"I think that gets back to not being used to the pads," Beamer said. "We didn't react well to that."

As for bright spots, the offensive line blocked well during a middle drill (no tackling to the ground) and the secondary played well. The defense, in general, continues to look good as is usually the case during early fall practices.

Also, the kicking game looked fantastic. Early in the practice, Tech's field goal kickers went to the stadium and made 28 straight field goals from various distances. And Carter Warley won a kicking contest by making a 54-yard field goal.

As for punting, freshman Nic Schmitt is drawing raves, with Vinnie Burns sitting out because of an injured muscle in his groin. Schmitt boomed several punts during the special teams period, kicking them high and long.

"Last time I checked, that's pretty good," Beamer cracked. "I continue to be impressed with Nic. Every time we're in a team situation, he kicks the ball well."

Blake Warren, Jason Murphy and Mike Daniels all sat out the practice while nursing hamstring injuries. Jordan Trott also sat out because he was sick. He is expected to return Friday.

Tech practices twice on Friday. The Hokies will practice in helmets and shoulder pads during the morning session and in full pads for the afternoon session.