Rogers Arrives In Jacksonville
Gator Bites
December 29, 2001

JACKSONVILLE - Kevin Rogers, Tech's newly hired quarterbacks coach, arrived in Jacksonville on Friday afternoon and attended the Hokies' practice on Saturday. Tech conducted its last practice in full pads before its Gator Bowl game against Florida State on Tuesday, Jan. 1.

Rogers also met the media for the first time since being hired. He takes the place of Rickey Bustle, the offensive coordinator who recently took over as the head coach at Louisiana Lafayette.

"I feel kind of guilty to be here to be honest," Rogers said. "I really haven't contributed anything to contribute to the success of the program, so it's certainly a pleasure to be here and coming to a bowl game without much pressure on me. But it's a different feeling."

Rogers spent the past three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, but lost his job when Bob Davie was fired after the season. He spent eight seasons at Syracuse before moving to Notre Dame.

Rogers will start working at Tech on Jan. 5. The Hokies return five quarterbacks for next season, including starter Grant Noel, and Rogers will have his work cut out for him to help Tech's struggling passing game.

"I believe you can have too many if you have to divide the reps up," Rogers said. "Two quarterbacks is basically what you can get ready. If you divide it up more than that, you get diminishing returns."

In other news:

Game nearing a sellout: Local media outlets are reporting that less than 500 tickets remain for the Gator Bowl, though a few more may become available if Florida State fails to sell its allotment. Tech has sold more than 15,000 through its ticket office and Gator Bowl officials expect close to 20,000 Tech fans to be at the game.

Nelson released from hospital: Reserve offensive lineman Anthony Nelson was released from a local hospital Saturday afternoon after being admitted Friday with an irregular heartbeat. Nelson also suffered from dehydration, but team physician Dr. Duane Lagan listed Nelson as probable for the game.

On an unfortunate note, Jacob Gibson, another reserve offensive lineman, will miss the Gator Bowl with a disc problem in his back.

Pile takes it easy: Tech safety Willie Pile saw limited work in Saturday's practice because of a burst bursar sac in his left knee. The sports medicine staff likely won't drain the fluid. Pile is listed as probable for the game and should be able to practice full speed on Sunday.

Vincent Fuller took most of the reps with the first team during Saturday's practice, with Garnell Wilds also getting some work. Wilds normally plays cornerback.

On tap: Nearly half of the team and most of the official travel party will spend Saturday afternoon on a tour of the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, an 86,000-ton aircraft carrier based at the nearby Mayport Naval Shipyard. The party also will get a tour of a helicopter squadron.

Sunday's practice will be like a normal Thursday practice and will be the final practice for the Hokies at the University of North Florida. It is set to begin at 9:45 a.m. Most of the team will be attending the NFL game between Kansas City and Jacksonville Sunday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m.